02.18.22 0500 UPDATE:
And here’s your morning UK Daily Mail propaganda piece:
Vladimir Putin is a snarling rat backed into a corner… and he may yet try a desperate last throw of the dice, writes IAN BIRRELL
Meanwhile, the shelling continues this morning in the Donbass region:
20 ceasefire violations reported till 9am this morning:— marqs (@MarQs__) February 18, 2022
“The enemy used artillery systems of 122 mm caliber, mortars of 120 mm and 82 mm caliber, grenade launchers of various systems, armament of infantry fighting vehicle and heavy machine guns.” – JFO
The UK Telegraph weighs in with a fascinating editorial:
There is one key sentence which rings truer than most think in the piece linked above:
The world isn’t rational: sanguine financial markets may not be pricing in the risk of an accident
Such a sad, but true statement. And to double down on this, the Prime Minister of the UK and President of the US at that moment in history were both inept at their foreign leadership skills; much like Biden and Boris in this era.
The rhetoric however is not dying down and as observed by one UK Telegraph reporter, is not reassuring:
The claims of the big withdrawal are still coming under increased scrutiny by the OSINT community:
So much for the Russian withdrawal. SAR imagery of the Kursk military camp around 90km from the Ukrainian border shows a huge increase of activity. pic.twitter.com/DNorhO2B8E— Kyle Glen (@KyleJGlen) February 18, 2022
The sudden appearance of helicopter bases is also a reminder that this may not be over despite Russian claims otherwise:
To close out this morning’s updates, here is the insanity from America’s inept State Department just before a meeting with Blinken and Lavrov (which may or may not happen):
Stay tuned to my Telegram channel as I’m still banned on Twitter and there is any relevant events, I shall post them there while I am on the road.
And now the big breaking headline which may be fruitful or just another stalling tactic to distract the West by Russia:
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accepted a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov late next week “provided there is no further Russian invasion of Ukraine,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.— Jennifer Hansler (@jmhansler) February 18, 2022
Before anyone gets too excited, remember, the Russians have faked out the US foreign policy elites before.
The situation is fluid but quieted down since earlier today. The big headline comes from the Times of London:
That report reverberated through Eastern Europe rapidly:
Of course Whitehall had no problem releasing their “map” of the proposed Russian attack:
And then the British tabloids ran with it, like this article from the UK Sun:
VLAD THE INVADER – Chilling map revealing EXACTLY how Russia could invade Ukraine ‘without warning’ is released by the MoD
I’m glad to see that the yellow journalism degrees earned by the American newspaper elites are still be distributed overseas.
Another bit of news which caused panic in Ukraine tonight was a cell phone outage from Vodaphone:
And confirmed by monitoring services:
⚠️ Confirmed: Real-time network data show a significant disruption to internet connectivity in #Luhansk, eastern #Ukraine, resulting in a loss of mobile service on operator Vodafone; incident root cause not yet determined 📉— NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 17, 2022
📰 Report: https://t.co/d8QWF8m0Kz pic.twitter.com/7nr5RuTjHD
Obviously the first thoughts were that this was “it” and the invasion was beginning. A few hours after those reports, service was restored but keep in mind, it’s quite possible this was possibly a test run of systems to bring down the service until whomever ended up in charge decides to restore it.
Lastly, the wandering LST’s are starting to appear loading and unloading, be it practice or preparation, in Crimea:
By early morning I am sure there will be a lot more news as the weather now becomes an inhibiting factor for observation and activity. Unfortunately for Kiev, that weather will start to improve on Sunday through Wednesday.