The war is diverging between an inept armored thrust in the north to a mobile strategy in the south of Ukraine that appears to be working. Russia is going to fire some generals, if they are not killed as they have been, for some absurd tactical errors in their approach to this war.
The Chechen forces in the center of Mariupol is a strong indication that the city is being cut up and its defenders destroyed block by block, building by building. Once it falls, all bets are off.
The encirclement and choking of Mariupol is complete and with forces starting to enter into the center of town, it is a when, not if that if falls to Russian forces. That will free up units to begin the assaults on Dnipro and Zaporizhzhia to seal off the Dnieper River crossings in southern Ukraine and to the east. That will have a dramatic impact on Ukraine’s ability to protect Kiev, Kharkov, and the sparsely defended regions in the west of the country.
I am just going to throw all of this weekend’s updates into this thread because I have a hunch after the logistic chain catches up to the forward units, a major offensive begins next week. Fortunately for the Ukrainians the Russian military has shown the imagination of a third world African military and not learned one thing about modern warfare.
On to the updates and this weekend, no Telegram snippets, all updates will be here…
Russian state media claims “89 Ukrainian military targets” were hit by the RuAF today. Now the big question is, where the targets of any consequence?
Apparently, the Western media doesn’t want anyone to see this if true. It would mean that the campaign to seal off the western bank of the Dnieper River and close off resupply to the forces in the east:
The Donbas campaign seems to be breaking out:
After a battle, DPR troops have captured Stepnoye, North of Volnovakha. pic.twitter.com/cG1e8qcLeh— Russians With Attitude (@RWApodcast) March 20, 2022
Mariupol continues to burn:
Mariupol pic.twitter.com/QwEnbkILGP— Aldin 🇧🇦 (@aldin_ww) March 20, 2022
Video of Russian Air Force Su-35 operations over Ukraine:
Then again, there is a noted decline in RuAF activity over Ukraine after the first few weeks due to the failure to achieve air superiority:
And someone decided to point out the hypocrisy of the West with this tweet:
Better put some ice on it after that one Germany.
Excellent point by Tayfun Ozberk about the Russian naval operations off of Odessa:
Russia has been keeping Ukraine’s force alert on the Odesa coast by posing a significant amphibious assault threat. This is called amphibious demonstration, not only a type of feint but also a way of torturing. 🇷🇺⚡️🇺🇦— Tayfun Ozberk (@TayfunOzberk) March 20, 2022
My #sunday story on @navalnewscom https://t.co/b9NyKq8hAA
“Volunteers”; um, yeah.
One more update later on today or as developments warrant. This appears to be a pause for re-supply and consolidation day versus any major offensive.
Someone had a bad day at the other end of this:
Russian TOS-1A thermobaric multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) in action in Ukraine pic.twitter.com/6rNZ3xG1lv— ELINT News (@ELINTNews) March 19, 2022
Kharkov continues to burn:
Kharkiv pic.twitter.com/5GSPXSnZhH— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) March 19, 2022
Chechen fighters in Mariupol:
Chechen fighters in Mariupol pic.twitter.com/vFfJvYQ5Qr— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) March 20, 2022
The Russian military has loitering weapons also, by the way:
Russian loitering munition targeting the position and equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/g8vPlRBaxC— CaucasusWarReport (@Caucasuswar) March 19, 2022
It would appear that the Kremlin’s military might finally have gotten shuffled up if the invasion into Western Ukraine finally occurs; that should have happened on Day 1:
Large convoy of Belarusian military vehicles heading for Brest near the Polish border.— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) March 19, 2022
Worrying signs from Belarus in the past 48 hours.
Fears grow of a RU-BEL invasion of Ukraine along the Polish border to cut off access to western weapons deliveries. pic.twitter.com/YBSgZqzcj2
Meanwhile, Lukashenko makes some interesting comments (via the UK Daily Mail):
Putin’s ‘in better shape than EVER’: Lukashenko says the West needs to get the ‘stupid fiction out of its heads’ that Kremlin leader is acting ‘irrational’ over Ukraine, but jailed opposition leader’s aide says invasion will end regime ‘within five years’
I doubt the “regime” will end in five years as there are others lurking in the shadows that will make Putin seem like Gandhi.
Still the absurd claims by both sides continue:
A must read thread explaining the lack of Russian air superiority and why the current strategy might end in disaster for the Ukrainian military once it is achieved:
1) Interesting information on the control of the skies above Ukraine: @nytimes: “While experts have been puzzled by Russia’s failure to gain complete control over the Ukrainian skies, they are certainly dominant …”https://t.co/MJgihSWoCk— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) March 20, 2022
The key excerpt from above:
7) We have to consider the possibility that the Russians have been holding back the bulk of its air force until Ukrainian air defenses have been sufficiently degraded. Russia appears to be relying on long range missiles to hit key air defense facilities.— Bill Roggio (@billroggio) March 20, 2022
It would tend to explain the lack of maximum effort formation attacks on Ukrainian ground positions by the RuAF.
To close out this update, here is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, however, not surprising coming from the “woke West” idealists: