09:00 UTC UPDATE-
Yesterday started out with bluster and proclamations by both sides that the second phase of the war has begun with Russia exercising it’s much anticipated new offensive in the eastern sections of Ukraine. On the surface with the large number of air and missile strikes, that seemed to make sense to any reasonable outside observer and even TASS promoted the new wave of attacks:
Russian missile, artillery troops strike 1,053 Ukrainian military sites — top brass
Yet the battle for the Azovstal Steel plant in Mariupol was not over where estimates of maybe 1,000 up to 2,000 Azov loyalists were reported holed up still. There is another humanitarian truce being offered today for the Ukrainian soldiers to surrender and release any civilians they are using as human shields. After 16:00 Moscow time (13:00 UTC) the Russian military has promised to flatten the plant if they do not surrender.
Using the OSINT community’s own maps, it does appear hard to believe that this much vaunted offensive has really begun in earnest. Yesterday’s situation map from Southfront.org displays what looks like a major move:
But in review of the overall situation, it does appear to be more probing and repositioning rather than the full offensive the Russian’s have been building up for. This looks more like a Sitzkrieg situation where the Russian Air Force and artillery are simply softening up the Ukrainian lines in anticipation of a much larger move once the forces in Mariupol finish cleaning up the last of the resistance this week.
If the map above is the true beginning of the offensive, it is doomed to fail unless more forces are committed. With the spring rains expected to wind down at early next week, marginal flying weather, and a lack of sufficient forces (reportedly) to the southwest of Donetsk to close the bulge, it would be a waste of resources. Perhaps this is just the probing and softening up that I project it to be but if not, the Russian military truly has some antiquated souls commanding its forces in the East.
Meanwhile, some lessons for everyone:
Why you should never F around in a minefield.. Just don’t.. pic.twitter.com/BfmRemRwCu— Aldin 🇧🇦 (@tinso_ww) April 19, 2022
In not so shocking news, the West and Senile Joe’s junta appears to have lied again:
In Kharkov the nightly artillery barrage has become something to set one’s watch by:
🔥🔥🔥Night has come and artillery offensive fire around Kharkov has begun💥💥💥 pic.twitter.com/NbBKlWOHR1— AZ Military News (@AZmilitary1) April 19, 2022
More Russian Ministry of Defense video:
Russian MoD video showing Bal coastal defense systems launching Kh-35 missiles at targets in Ukraine. https://t.co/Dirx9w5WMT pic.twitter.com/LCtwxm41vx— Rob Lee (@RALee85) April 20, 2022
And another showing Su-34 bombers attacking the steel plant in Mariupol:
Video of Russian Su-34 bombers targeting the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. https://t.co/4ZjwILfe93 pic.twitter.com/eeNJk8Ds3L— Rob Lee (@RALee85) April 20, 2022
More softening up of the Ukrainian positions by Russian artillery:
No one can ever accuse the Russians of not turning up the propaganda volume up to 11:
More updates will be provided via my Telegram channel throughout the day…