Some odds and ends observations for this Sunday afternoon/evening. 

* Twitter and Telegram had an above average number of pictures and videos of destroyed Russian equipment and more dead Russians than I’ve seen all war. Ukraine seems emboldened, and in particular, it appears to be pressing its advantages in northwest Kyiv and in the Mykolaiv region—the best evidence yet of continued counter-offensives by the defenders. 

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mykolaiv.jpg

More Russian losses in the region here, here, here and here. This last link actually gives us the location of this most of these pictures: Bashtanka. Looking at the map, that’s actually in the opposite direction of Kherson, northeast of Mykolaiv. This might’ve been a column on that ill-fated under-resourced push toward Kryvyi Rih. I circled Snihurivka, which was the site of a major ambush yesterday. These battles show the ground is contested, but no one has been able to confirm whether Ukraine now occupies the ground, hence the fog of war continues. Some maps treat this entire area as liberated, while other ones do not. I’ve been keeping a close eye on official reports from the Ukraine general staff, but today’s update was short and light on specifics, and made no claims to this territory. All we know at the moment is that there is fierce fighting in this region, and Ukraine is definitely making Russia bleed. 

* Same thing up north, around Kyiv. Check out the pocket of Russian forces suddenly surrounded by hostile territory in northeastern Kyiv:

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This are some thin-ass support lines, basically coming down to “Russia holds some towns, but everything in between them is swarming with Ukrainian territorial defense forces. In northwest Kyiv, Russian forces remain stuck, digging into defensive positions as they are unable to push forward. Ukraine is actively trying to expel them from the area, reportedly operating as far north as Poliske, that furthermost red-dot town top-left on this map, near the Ukrainian border. 

Russia’s inability to take Chernihiv, literally on Russia’s border (like Kherson), is one of the big stories of this war. And while Kherson is mostly surrounded and blockaded (though supplies still seem to be making their way in), Chernihiv is still far from being encircled. 

* Russia is running low on soldiers, between dead, wounded, captured, and the first signs of troop rotations as front-line units are rotated out for breathers and reconstitution. Having committed the bulk of its army, there isn’t much more to draw on, and a general mobilization would betray Moscow’s insistence that this is just a small military operation. We were promised Syrian troops, but they haven’t surfaced so far. So the best Russia seems able to do for the moment is pull in their forces from occupied territories in Central Asia and their puppet militias: South Ossetia, Georgia (Russian and Ossetians, troops),  Karabakh (Russian troops), 

* Belorussian troops are heading toward west Ukraine (also here), making noise about interdicting Western arms supplies, but good luck with that. I didn’t see it happening last time chatter claimed they were invading, and I still don’t see it now. Western Ukraine is inhospitable territory for invaders—hilly, wooded, with few roads. And if you think Russian troops have shit the bed, wait until you see Belorussian conscripts. And how the hell would those troops be resupplied? They can’t even supply Russian troops on the Russian border. At worst, this is a feint to tie up Ukrainian forces in the west, unable to be pressed into battle at the front. I doubt Ukrainian is sweating it. Local territorial defense forces could handle these. 

* There was sporadic night-time gunfire in Kherson the first couple of nights after Russian occupation, but things got relatively quiet. One major reason: Mass daytime protests signaled to Russia and the occupying troops that they weren’t welcome, and provided Ukraine major propaganda points. However, that looks about to change. 

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This guy’s car was shot up

* Look at this dumbass foreigner who thought war was some kind of adventure, and are more likely to do harm than help. Former military? Okay, sure. I’m sure Ukraine could use the help. But these idiots with no experience seem to be shocked when death is a thing that can happen in a combat zone. 

* This is quite the ambush, somewhere around Kyiv. If I had to guess, it was daisy-chained mines—the first vehicle triggers a mine that then sets off mines behind it. I wonder if this the other view of it, the damage patterns seem to match: 

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No one else has tied those two attacks together, so I’m probably wrong, but it does show what this kind of mined ambush looks like, and is a new tactic in Ukraine’s arsenal. Here are two more Russian vehicles felled by land mines. Ukrainians are learning faster than Russia is adjusting. 

* Ukrainian artillery showing up more and more in a big way: here, here, here, here, and here. In that last one, you can see the use of drones to help correct artillery fire. One reason we’re seeing more destroyed Russian artillery could be the presence of American-supplied anti-artillery radar, allowing Ukraine to track where incoming is coming from. Here’s one such vehicle, unfortunately damaged by the Russians. Here’s what happens when Ukraine knows where artillery fire is coming from: 

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SPG is “self-propelled gun,” an artillery gun. MRL, also known as MLRS, are “multiple launch rocket system.” This is the destruction of an entire artillery battery. 

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022 · 9:57:39 PM +00:00 · Hunter

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