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SITREP 6/15/23: Kakhovka Powerplay Heats Up as AFU Readies For Round 2
One of the latest developments I’ve been following over the past few days is the continued clarification of the Kakhovka reservoir situation around the ZNPP nuclear plant. Several new alarming photos and videos have been released showing the drastically reduced water levels therein. The most striking of which is this video showing the view of the ZNPP plant itself across the entire now wholly dried out reservoir from the vantage of Nikopol on the other side:
For those wondering, this would be the direction of the view from Ukrainian controlled territory on the other side of the reservoir:
And here I managed to grab a screenshot from google maps to show how it looked previously:
Now look at that first video of the dried up reservoir again. You can literally walk from Nikopol to the ZNPP plant now. Here are another two photos of the reservoir around the actual Kakhovka dam to show an idea.
For obvious reasons, this now puts the ZNPP in grave danger because you can march an entire formation across the bed without boats. Well, sort of. People are debating that very point and in reality it’s very muddy (difficult to judge the exact hardness of the ground).
The other big issue is that as you can see it’s wide open with no obstructions which can be used for cover. Sure, the AFU would do a potential cross during the night anyway, but even during the night they’d essentially be sitting ducks out in the open dry lake bed.
Now, as I’ve said there are differing opinions and ideas on what’s really going on, with some indications that Ukrainian signaling towards seizing ZNPP are in fact a desperate feint. Let’s unpack some of the top ideas.
Firstly, there’s a report that the AFU in concert with their MI6 handlers wargamed the assault with unfavorable results:
"The General Staff, together with MI-6, simulated an updated scenario for the assault on the ZNPP, all formats turned out to be bloody for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The operation can only be carried out at night and without heavy equipment, since the silt dries out for a very long time, it will not be possible to move along the dried-up Kakhovka reservoir this year" , - the Ukrainian TG-channel " Resident " shares an insider.
As you can see, they believe that no heavy equipment can be moved on the muddy silt for a long time. I’m no expert on this particular matter so I can only take others at their word. They appear to believe that it will take the rest of the year for the river bed to dry up.
Either way, though, I don’t see the particular need for ‘heavy equipment’ for them to make an effort. It’s hard to determine whether they mean simply ‘tanks’ would not make it through the mucky silt or lighter vehicles like MRAPs or at least cars/Humvees as well. Because if cars can make it then surely that would be good enough for AFU to try, after all, they had previously tried on canoes and small boats, so it’s not like they’d only attempt the assault if they had ‘heavy armor’. Something fast and relatively armored could perhaps do the trick.
Here’s Rybar’s take on it:
❗️🇷🇺🇺🇦 Kherson direction
situation by the end of June 14, 2023
According to the official authorities, the water from the Dnieper will return to its normal course by June 20. But the flooded areas have yet to bounce back.
▪️ At the suggestion of the Ukrainian authorities of the information and psychological warfare, a scenario divorced from reality of the offensive of Ukrainian formations deep into the Kherson region and the borders of Crimea is spreading.
According to the enemy’s plan, a crossing will be built through the swampy area for the transfer of a large-scale shock fist, which should occupy Novaya Kakhovka, and later deliver dissecting blows through Chaplinka to Armyansk and Melitopol.
Such a scenario, given the unsuitability of the territories on the left bank of the Dnieper, looks implausible.
▪️ Most likely, such messages are spread in order to disguise the direction of the transfer of reinforcements: recently three brigades were transferred from Nikolaev to the Donbass. In addition, informants from the field report a constant transfer of equipment to the east.
🔻The scenario of a landing operation in the Kakhovka Reservoir is much more likely: after the shallowing of the basin, mine-explosive barriers were damaged, so the option of dropping landing groups in this area is potentially possible.
What they touch on here is that there have been several other recent reports, which I’ve even mentioned before, that the AFU is actually desperately transferring as many of their Kherson area reserves/garrisons out to help the depleting and embattled ‘counter-offensive’ formations which are taking a walloping in the Zaporozhye direction.
So the idea here is for them to induce Russia into over-committing large reserves to the Kakhovka area under the fear that Ukraine may launch a large ZNPP assault, weakening Russia’s reserves from Zaporozhye.
These reports were not just notional possibilities but were rather based on actual observed heavy troop movements from AFU’s Kherson garrison towards Zaporozhye axis.
And to keep up the appearance of this threat, they continue to attempt landings much farther south on the Kherson shores, like yesterday’s attempt described here:
⚡️ This morning, the enemy in the area of Hola Pristan, Kherson region, attempted to land their DRGs on our shore.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine involved as many as four boats, the total number of enemy personnel was at least forty people.
One of the boats was supposed to distract us while the other three were landing.
As a result, only the distracting boat managed to land, but not on the shore, but on the bottom of the Dnieper.
The other three raced off home to lick their wounds🤗
Here is another report of the transfers I spoke of:
1. In the last three days, the enemy has been taking active measures to transfer the forces of three brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to the Zaporozhye and Donetsk directions from the territory of the Mykolaiv region.
2. In particular, brigades equipped with M55S tanks and American Stryker armored personnel carriers are deployed.
3. We can expect their appearance in the first line in the coming days in the Zaporozhye or Yuzhnodonets direction.
Not only do they mention general reserve transfers from Nikolayev but the purported transfer of the Stryker brigade, which is a little confusing because as per the Pentagon leaked ‘power build’ the 82nd is the only one supposed to be armed with Strykers and British Challenger 2s. The brigade with T-55Ss is the 47th which already took a hiding (the same brigade with the Bradleys). But since we saw the Bradleys which were supposed to be in the 47th already used concurrently with the Leopard 2s, which were supposed to be 33rd brigade, then it’s feasible that they’re mixing and matching different elements from each brigade rather than committing them in whole.
This jibes with another report stating that new reinforcements are gathering in the rear lines of the Dnipropetrovsk region:
We receive data on the transfer of the Ukrainian Armed Forces ' reserves of equipment to the line of contact. The main rear area in which mechanized units are concentrated is the Dnipropetrovsk region. The main route of relocation of reserve forces is the Pavlograd - Pokrovsk railway junction
But back to the reservoir and ZNPP situation. Big Serge has a detailed thread here:
(And also another great one from Erik Zimerman: https://twitter.com/ZimermanErik/status/1666948710536757248)
With satellite photos that show the before and after of the reservoir at the spot I showed before, Nikopol and the ZNPP:
He further posts the oft-discussed idea that the Energodar assault was meant to link up with the ongoing Orekhov direction thrust, but due to the massive failure of the 47th and co. to breach Russian defenses there, it has sort of obviated—for now at least—the suitability of the ZNPP seizure.
The idea being that seizing it without a supply line directly linking to your rear would ultimately be suicide or just a temporary procedure.
Of course, I’ve espoused my own theory before that seizing it could revolve more around a major psyop/falseflag, so they wouldn’t necessarily be worried about resupply. The point of the operation instead could be to either blow or damage the plant in an attempt to frame Russia and activate a NATO response/incursion. They can blow the plant from afar with strikes, but then that makes the culprit obvious. If they can seize it, for instance, then blow it, they can claim that Russia attacked their positions and blew the plant, or something along those lines.
Either way, as per Serge’s idea above, the plan could potentially still be ‘on hold’ up until they make certain necessary breakthroughs on the Orekhov front.
Either way, seeing those images of how dry and accessible the lake bed is and how close such a cataclysmically strategic target as the ZNPP is to Ukrainian forces is quite unsettling, one must admit.
Now, let’s comment on the adjacent topic of the ongoing ‘counter-offensive’. There are some indications that internally, Kiev and Washington are panicking about the unexpectedly dismal results thus far. Not only were they meant to reach Russia’s first line already within the first few days, but by now they would have liked to have breached it. Instead, they got mired down only a few kilometers in.
The Ukrainian TG channel Woman with a Scythe writes about disappointment in the counteroffensive in the offices of the Kiev regime:
"There were rumors on the sidelines that the President's Office is very afraid that the Azov offensive will lose momentum and turn into a second meat grinder.
On the sidelines, everyone has already given this a name. There will be a "Azov massacre", since there are fields there, there are no places where you can hide, which means there will be more losses.
The West expected more from the counteroffensive."
Here’s one view of how far they’ve gotten in what is now eleven days of heavy combat:
Sure, the Ukro-supporters say, they’ve captured an area in eleven days that’s larger than Russia captured in Bakhmut in months of fighting. The problem with this argument is it wholly ignores the fact that the AFU fought and died bitterly for every square inch of Bakhmut, paying for those months with tens of thousands of lives. As I reported on the tactic last time, Russia on the other hand simply withdraws in the face of unfavorable odds, then puts the giddily approaching AFU units into firebags in which they get decimated. Russia is suffering losses here too, but they are nothing like the losses AFU suffered in Bakhmut and elsewhere while fighting tooth-and-nail for every inch of land.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s position, particularly on the western side, looks bad as ever. They’re not even close to Russia’s impregnable multi-tiered main lines:
There are some reports that Zelensky’s office is now even attempting to launch a new information campaign to reverse course and rebrand the ‘offensive’ as something else, i.e. a probing action, in order to save face:
💥🎪💥A source in the nit's office said that the Office of the President wants to launch an information campaign to shift the focus away from the pause in the counteroffensive on the southern front.
The CiPSO will dispel the narrative that this is not a counter-offensive, but a leveling of the front before the start of the Azov battle. Ukraine has already incurred great reputational costs and now the international backdrop needs to be corrected so as not to finally discredit the AFU's ability to retake their territories.
I think they should also change the clown's clothes. A latex suit with a hole in the ass and heels would look harmonious. Pride month.💥🤡💥
Taking his cue, presidential advisor Mikhail Podolyak appeared to already be toting the new narrative:
🤡🇺🇦🤡The Armed Forces of Ukraine have not yet launched a counteroffensive, said Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine.
Now, according to him, the Ukrainian troops are conducting "testing", which "allows us to move forward."
There is a feeling that they themselves do not even understand : is there an offensive or is it still not there?
⁉️If they already lost so much just on "testing" cant wait for a real thing
Of course, I already predicted this several reports ago where I said that the infamous Schrodinger’s Offensive will be labeled accordingly ex post facto depending on how well it does. If they make breaches they will have retroactively announced that it was the big one all along, if they get wiped they’ll simply pretend they’re just testing Russia and ‘the big one’ will happen later when they get F-16s.
Here’s a good thread that also highlights some of the things we’ve discussed, such as the fact that doctrinally Ukraine was supposed to make breakthroughs in the first days of the offensive:
It quotes general Petraeus from a Guardian interview days before the offensive stating the following:
Notice, not only does Petraeus envision that the AFU would flawlessly de-mine Russia’s fields with their newfound Western breaching equipment, but he specifically gives a timetable of 72-96 hours (3-4 days) as being the critical limit of breakthrough.
As CheburekiMan notes in his thread, Petraeus stays sneakily ambiguous and vague, and doesn’t quite put himself out on the limb of telling us exactly what kind of breakthrough he expects in those 3-4 days. But the impression we’re left with is that he clearly expected some significant, observable breakthrough and operational success to be made in that time.
After the lead vanguard elements break through in 3-4 days, he envisions the ‘follow on units’ to capitalize by pouring their reserves into the gap and “maintaining the momentum”. We’re now almost two weeks in, do you see any “momentum” happening? Nor do we see his envisioned ‘Russian defenses moving’ and uncovering their flanks.
The fact is, it’s obvious that the Schrodinger’s Offensive is only an offense to common sense. Because anyone with a brain can see that Western officials and thought-leaders expected it to have already yielded wildly different results by now.
In fact, the longer it goes the more we’re privileged with revealing nuggets of information from the MSM of how badly awry it all actually went.
This new WashPost article, for instance, gives us some new tidbits:
🇺🇦☠️🇺🇸 NATO trained and equipped brigades of the Armed Forces of Ukraine suffer huge losses in the counteroffensive - Washington Post
▪️The soldiers of the 37th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine underwent modern training according to NATO standards and were armed with weapons supplied from the West, but within 20 minutes after their offensive they suffered heavy losses.
▪️There were about 50 people in the military unit with the call sign "Woodcutter", and 30 did not return - they were killed, wounded or captured by the Russians.
▪️5 units of armored vehicles of the unit were destroyed in the first hour.
▪️“We stayed there in the field, without tanks and heavy armored vehicles. We were fired from mortars from three sides. There was nothing we could do,” the militant says.
"Heavy battalion casualties portend a terrible price that Ukrainian leaders are willing to pay - and feel they must pay," writes the Washington Post .
The article has other horrific descriptions of the opening of the ‘not-offensive’:
Within 20 minutes of their June 5 advance south of Velyka Novosilka, in the southeast Donetsk region, mortars exploded all around them, soldiers said. A 30-year-old soldier known as Lumberjack saw two of the men in his vehicle bleeding heavily; one lost an arm as he cried out for his family. Lumberjack crawled into a crater, but the shrapnel from a mortar went through the soil and pierced his shoulder.
“We were left there in the field, without tanks or heavy armor,” said Lumberjack, who spoke to The Washington Post on the condition that he be identified only by his call sign because he was not authorized to discuss the battle. “We were shelled with mortars from three sides. We couldn’t do anything.”
The article even reveals that some of the “survivors” of the battered 37th brigade are ‘American volunteers’, which not only seems to imply that many of the killed ones could’ve been Americans as well, but is a general revelation about the fact that Western mercenaries are padding out the ranks of these new ‘elite’ brigades. Given the fact that these brigades are armed with Western tanks, it gives a good indication towards the long-held theories that the most prized of Western gear is actually operated by soldiers from those Western armies themselves.
Another soldier on the eastern side of the offensive described how easily Russian shelling penetrated their unsuitable French AMX-10s:
For the first hour and a half of the 37th’s assault near Velyka Novosilka, the Russians bombarded the unit with nonstop shelling that penetrated their AMX-10 RC armored vehicles, according to Grey, another soldier in the battalion who spoke on the condition that he be identified only by his call sign. The armored vehicles, sometimes called “light tanks,” were not heavy enough to protect the soldiers, Grey said, and had to be positioned behind them instead of in front.
The soldier admits later in the article that they made a “big sacrifice” for the [little] territory they gained.
And this Politico article most emphatically summarizes the tragedy of the situation.
It details a Ukrainian pilot who trained in a special fighter jet program in Mississippi, U.S. earlier this year. I’ll let the quote summarize what happened next:
Savieliev finally completed the course in March and returned to Ukraine after not flying in his old jet, the MiG-29, for at least two years.
He died on one of the first combat missions he flew after returning from the United States, Fischer said.
He spent two years in this special U.S. piloting program and literally died on his very first mission when he returned to Ukraine. There’s nothing more that can be said about that.
By the way, this is how Lloyd Austin is doing damage control about the Western armor losses:
And one report even claims that UK is begging Ukraine not to use their Challengers in the vanguard position:
The UK has strongly asked the Office of the President of Ukraine not to use Challenger for the first stage of the counteroffensive. After the loss of several Leopardovs in the hands of the Russian army, MI6 believes that it is not rational to use British tanks in storming the defense lines on the southern front.
Well, what else should they use? The truth is, in the famous Pentagon leak ‘power build’ most of the other of the 9 total brigades have T-55s, T-64s, T-72s, P-91s (T-72 variant), and the laughable AMX-10 as their main MBTs. That means the two brigades with Leopards and Challengers were the only two brigades with relatively ‘advanced/modern’ Western tanks—and one of them already got wrecked. So what else are they supposed to use if not the Challengers?
But getting back to the offensive, the larger concluding point I want to make is to reiterate something I’ve said before. Which is that, to me the chief danger lies in Ukraine ‘turtling up’ in the face of disastrous results, which would allow them to conserve much of their strength in order to save it for future assaults when they get ‘more stuff’ from the West.
As Putin said himself in the talks two days ago, it’s highly preferable for Russia that Ukraine continues in absolute fanatical fashion to ram its head against the bulwark of Russia’s impregnable defenses. This brings the highest chance of attriting Ukrainian forces to such a degree as to give Russia a large enough disparity that may lead to Russian commanders feeling confident enough to launch crippling subsequent offensives of their own, rather than abide by stalemate-y positional warfare.
As of today, there’s already new talk about plundering a new source of armor for Ukraine. Since they’re running out of Western tanks, the new idea is to gather up large amounts of old M60s and Israeli Merkavas for Ukraine’s future replenishment fund.
I’ve said this in the comments but I’ll repeat it here. The big danger for the AFU is that they’re being attrited of all their actual high-value and dangerous heavy armor while replacing it with things that look filled out on paper, but are actually far less lethal.
For instance, Ukraine’s MBT stocks are already largely filled with T-55/T-62/64s. Now, the only remaining medium term replenishment for MBTs is a batch of German Leopard 1A5s tentatively scheduled for delivery sometime this year. On paper, this could look like Ukraine has hundreds of tanks and is doing fine. But the huge problem is: almost all of these tanks have tiny 105mm and 115mm barrels, which can’t compare to the massive 125mms on Russia’s vast T-72/80/90 fleet.
The same situation is currently happening on the artillery front. Ukraine is heavily attrited in NATO standard 155mm pieces. For instance, latest Russian numbers are that 90-100 of the 150 delivered M777s have been destroyed. There were only a handful of other 155mm systems like Krab/Caesar/Dana/Phz2000/M109s/Archers/etc.
Now, they’re trying to replenish UA with a bunch of 105mm howitzers like the L/M119s, etc.
That means by next year, Ukraine may still have armor and artillery ‘on paper’ but it may almost entirely be of calibers that will be vastly outranged and outgunned by Russia like never before. If you thought Ukraine was outgunned earlier in the war, wait til they have nothing but 105mms left and see how well they do against Russia’s massive stockpile of 152mm, 203mm, etc. The same goes for the tanks, as the 105mm cannons likely won’t even penetrate the fronts of Russian MBTs. The M60 they’re now discussing is another 105’er.
And since we’re on weapons, a few updates on that front. Rheinmetall released a new confirmation that they are capable of producing 450,000 155mm shells per year, which amounts to 37,500 per month.
Recall that the U.S. can only do a measley 14k per month and plans to ramp it up over the course of the next 5-6 years:
All in all, if Rheinmetall’s numbers are true, then all of NATO can likely produce nearly 1 million shells per year. Recall that Ukraine wants to fire at least 10,000 per day, which would be ~3.5M per year, however according to the Pentagon leaks, they’ve actually averaged closer to 2,500 shells fired per day of specifically 155mm. This amount is just a bit over 900k per year, which means that for the foreseeable future the West can in fact sustain Ukraine’s small daily firing rate. But it will not be able to raise that rate significantly for many, many years, if ever at all.
Russia on the other hand is said to already be doing upwards of 250-350k per month and 2.5M - 3.5M per year in shell production, and one can only expect that this can grow much higher over the next couple years as well. But recall that an attacker will always need more shells than the defender anyway.
But to finish off the offensive topic. There are now indications that Ukraine has regrouped and is planning another major attempt to break through at the Orekhov line in west Zaporozhye:
Reportedly they will make another try at hitting Robotne, pictured with the red mark above, just south of Orekhov and their staging area in Mala Tokmachka.
💥🐽💥 The enemy in the Zaporizhzhya direction from Orekhovo are laying minefields with their self-destructing cluster mines.
The nature of the mines suggests text that they are preparing passageways to attack with heavy equipment. Preferable time for their attack is night, as all the western armour they have is equipped with night optics. So, they will soon try to break through again. This time with fresh, previously uninvolved reserves.
🪖 Situation on the Orekhovo direction (Zaporizhzhya region, SMO Zone)
✅ The Ukrainian Armed Forces are completing the formation of a strike grouping. They plan to send it into a second attempt to break the 58th Army's defense strip (Russian positions). In total, the AFU command managed to assemble eight brigades.
The expected direction of the strike is the positions of the 42nd Division of Russian Army. But this is the main strike. An auxiliary one is also planned, in the area of Maly Shcherbakov-Pyatikhatok.
❗️ A new wave of counterattacks could be launched at any moment.
Sources indicate they’re ready to launch in 2-3 days, with some saying they will actually launch by cover of darkness tonight.
There was an interesting report from Rybar that the commanders of certain units of the Russian 37th brigade which were charged with holding Levadne and Novodarovka on the southwest flank of Velyka Novosilka ‘have been removed’.
No confirmation of that, but if true it shows the ruthless discipline that the Russian MOD has been exemplifying lately as any commander or general who shows incompetence or major failure is immediately replaced. These are the ‘parquet people’ Putin had mentioned in his talks two days ago.
One thing I forgot to mention is the fact that the weather has been poor the last few days, with a lot of rain in the region. This is reportedly one of the reasons the AFU has gone cold, but now it’s clearing up and they’re ready to make another strong effort to advance along the entire front.
Now for some sundry items to catch up on other important developments.
One big update is that NATO plans to adopt an agreement at the upcoming Vilnius summit in July to increase their 40,000 ‘rapid response’ force to an enormous 300,000. This is clearly troubling in light of our recent thoughts about the fact that NATO appears to be gearing up for war with Russia. Of course, I don’t think this means war is inevitable, it’s still just preparatory ‘precautions’ on NATO’s behalf in many ways. However, it does give credence to some of my explanations last time about why Putin may be holding back upwards of 200-300k troops and not fully committing them to Ukraine. With a massive NATO 300k contingent being prepared on your doorstep, you’ be crazy to not have a large force in reserve.
In the meantime, Russia appears to be loosening a lot of restrictions to attract increasingly more recruits:
The State Duma adopted in the first reading a bill on the possibility of attracting convicts to military service under a contract. Further consideration at the level of the Duma and the Federation Council is unlikely to cause any difficulties. Now the service of contract prisoners will become another tool for regulating the prison population. For long-term prisoners, service at the front will certainly be an attractive option for all the risks to life. The Federal Penitentiary Service will fulfill and exceed its plans to reduce the population of Russian prisons by 2030.
It’s a really brilliant maneuver because it serves so many dual societal roles simultaneously. Not only are you getting tons of new soldiers but at the same time reducing prison populations and possibly reforming a lot of people.
What’s interesting about that is the latest numbers from MediaZona which tracks Russian casualties shows that Inmates now represent the highest types of casualties:
In many ways this is brilliant usage by Russia of available resources. They use inmates in the hardest assault fights with the biggest risks while preserving their best forces, all while liquidating the best of Kiev’s troops.
On that similar note, an interesting photo was published yesterday showing what is claimed to be Syrian forces fighting for Russian VDV in Kremennaya forest:
What’s most interesting is it was posted by the official accounts of the 98th and famed 76th Pskov Paratroopers—so it’s not a fake or misattribution. With that said, they posted no info along with it other than saying they’re Syrian. Some say they’re volunteers but typically a volunteer doesn’t get to go into the elite VDV Airborne Forces, that just wouldn’t make sense.
Remember long ago how many people argued that Russia should utilize Syria’s offered assistance. There were over 20,000 Syrian troops, particularly from the elite Tiger Forces under Suheil al-Hassan, which were offering to fight for Russia, but the Kremlin demurred at the time. Perhaps now they’re likewise opening the floodgates and easing restrictions?
There is now a rumor which came with flight tracking info of reported military flights that Budanov is in fact gravely wounded and has been transported to Germany:
The head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine, Budanov, was wounded on May 29 as a result of a strike on the headquarters of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense in Kiev. The head of the Ukrainian military intelligence Budanov was wounded on May 29 during a Russian strike on the building of his department, the rocket "flew" into the office next to Budanov, an employee of the Russian security forces told RIA Novosti, citing sources in Ukrainian intelligence. After being wounded, Budanov was taken by helicopter to a military base in Rzeszow, Poland, where he was specially picked up by an American evacuation plane that delivered the head of Ukrainian intelligence to Germany.
Now Budanov is in a hospital in Berlin, he is in serious condition.
Also, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Zaluzhny has not yet appeared in public.
This, of course, very closely mirrors the rumors we had of Zaluzhny so take it with a grain of salt, but it’s worth filing away for now.
There still appear many strange things about Zaluzhny/Budanov in light of the rumors. Not only were they both missing from certain important upper echelon meetings, but a new sycophantic BBC article about Zaluzhny literally has this postscript at the very bottom:
On the other hand, Ukraine claimed to have killed hundreds of Chechens as well as Adam Delimkhanov, who reappeared only hours later without a scratch, once more proving the comical nature of Ukrainian propaganda. But the more important take away was that he reappeared in the Belgorod region, showing that Chechens have in fact now taken up the responsibility of protecting the Belgorod border from further Ukrainian incursion:
Also, the rumors of Chechens leaving Marinka were fake as well. They’re still there and advancing daily.
And speaking of Belgorod, Patrick Lancaster released an interesting video from the town of Novaya Tavolzhanka in Belgorod which has been cleansed of RDK mercenaries and SBU. But what he and other Russian journalists sweeping the area uncovered was eye-opening:
At the given timecode above, you can see that in the houses that the AFU units took cover in, they left a bunch of ominous and threatening messages spray painted on the walls and ceilings which can only be described as war crimes. Most of the messages say things like ‘This is for Mariupol’ or ‘Bakhmut’, etc., with bullets left in the open which have names of cities etched on them with black marker, some of which are written in English, perhaps implicating English-speaking mercenaries.
Another interesting revelation came from Sladkov, who took part in Putin’s chat the other day. Apparently, there was a ‘closed session’ away from the cameras as well, where the correspondents gave Putin the real messages from the front:
Sladkov on the closed part of the meeting with the Supreme Leader:
The closed part of the conversation was devoted to the problems of the warring units. The President marked a lot of things in his notebook both in the first part and in the second, and commented several times:
- "Wow, I didn't know
about this"... - — This is the first time I've heard about this"... - "I
'll call the Defense Ministry today and discuss it with them" ...
Only once the President said harshly " no"when one of us asked to equalize cash payments for all regions. Putin replied:
"We are Russia, not Ukraine, we are a state, not a regime, and I am not being ironic or joking. There is a law, these are voluntary payments of each region to its mobilized people, we have no right to order them."
By the way, on that last part, it shocked me to learn that a lot of people don’t even know that mobilized fighters get paid. And not only get paid but quite handsomely. In fact, the average Russian soldier gets paid not only far more than equivalent American soldiers, but they make a king’s ransom compared to average Russian salaries. In Russian terms, the average Russian grunt soldier makes over 200k+ rubles per month. Depending on ruble/dollar conversion fluctuation that’s upwards of $3000 USD per month. That makes Russian soldiers some of the highest paid people in all of society, the equivalent to a senior programmer’s salary in Russia, and similar to doctors’ pay.
Where the fake Ukrainian psyop came from, which convinced people that mobilized fighters don’t get paid, was a video in some rural region in far east Russia that showed a local governor offering families a bag of potatoes among other things, for their troops being mobilized. The low-IQ commentators thought this was their “payment” and many headlines blared that Russia pays its mobiks with potatoes. In fact, that had nothing to do with their pay, which they get in full. The rural, rustic governor was simply offering a gift basket as a personal thank you to families who’ve had mobilized sons go to the war. A kind gesture was twisted into crass propaganda.
And speaking of propaganda, many have heard the story that a Russian tourist in Egypt was eaten by a shark while swimming on the beach. Ukrainians on social media celebrated the incident with a slew of memes praising and glorifying the shark, including this announcement:
But what interested me most was that even Arestovich appeared to see the inhumanity of their behavior:
Americans, in the meantime, continue to bring more troops into illegally occupied Syria all whilst pearl-clutching about Russia’s “illegal invasion” of Ukraine:
One of their helicopters even crashed two days ago with over 22 of the soldiers badly injured in this area.
Now, the U.S. has moved in fresh F-22s into the area, parking them in north Jordan right on the border of Syria, because they claim that the Russian airforce has been acting “unsafe and unprofessional”.
p.s. the Raptors look poorly maintained, RAM coating on its last legs.
And speaking of poor construction, new photos show a destroyed/damaged Ukrainian Leopard 2A4, and reports claim that Russian experts studying the Leopards were ‘shocked’ at their poor construction and flimsier-than-expected armor:
As the #Russians started to study #Leopard tanks they were surprised by the flimsy construction and poor quality. Leopard armor: in some places the thickness of the roof of the #German tank is 20 mm (up to 15 mm) it appears to have increased brittleness of steel.
In fact, the blast wave did not dent in instead it shattered the armor It turns out that the roof of the Leopard tower is about as good as cardboard. This was a set up for #Ukranian military that has relied on these tin cans #Leopard tanks -Source
One report claims this Leopard was hit by an FPV drone and that the tank commander, who was directly underneath that panel break, was killed.
Now, a last few tech updates for those who are interested in the latest arms developments. A fascinating bit of news has flown over the transom which claims that Russia’s latest variant of the Lancet drone in fact uses artificial intelligence to kill targets on its own. This is long but worth it for those interested in tech advancements:
Neural networks control the guidance of the Lancets of the UAV-the Lancet kamikaze has long been the main means of counter-battery warfare of the Russian army. But
few people know why the Lancets are so effective. Let's try to open a little gray veil hiding the answers to these questions.
High-performance microcomputers on the Lancet kamikaze UAV and the reconnaissance UAV are used to operate the latest generation of neural networks in order to detect and classify targets. At the same time, both UAVs actively exchange results with each other in flight. For those who are not in the subject - let's explain what neural networks are. There is a chip on each drone. It provides the use of convolutional networks of the latest generation. Such networks are many times superior to human capabilities by recognizing visual images. What is a convolutional neural network?
So, a convolutional neural network is a class of networks that specializes in image and video processing. Such neural networks solve exactly two tasks well: they recognize objects and classify them. The Lancet reconnaissance UAVs and the Lancets themselves, using a convolutional neural network, are just engaged in recognizing and classifying targets on the battlefield.
Previously, there were rumors that "Lancets" are induced with the help of "Eagles". However, this is a mistake, even during the development of the complex, a special. The UAV is a scout. The scout is made according to the "flying wing" scheme. It is somewhat similar to the "Eagle", but specially adapted for the tasks of reconnaissance, recognition and classification of the object.
They soar in the sky on an almost silent electric motor for 5 hours. With the help of convolutional networks of the latest generation, such a reconnaissance UAV easily detects enemy targets and transmits images of identified objects to the Lancet high-performance microcomputer which in turn manages the priorities of the goals. According to the available information, neural networks best detect moving objects. They also perfectly recognize objects under disguise. But unfortunately, they still do not work well with the layouts of the equipment.
That's not all! Lancets use convolutional neural networks for visual odometry! What is visual odometry? In simple terms, this is the ability to navigate on the ground without GPS or GLONASS. The AI simply compares the images from the camera of the reconnaissance UAV with what is in the memory card. It's like a person who is second once he arrives at the place and says - Oh! I was here! There 's a cool cafe around the corner. That's why it's impossible to silence the Lancet's navigation with GNSS suppression. Because he doesn't need this navigation. Thanks to convolutional neural networks!
So, what we have. The neural network is engaged in the search and control of drones. Therefore, the operator can track several UAVs at once. After all, he does not need to direct or search for enemy objects and equipment - the operator only confirms the goals. A person has not been involved in search and recognition for a long time. There are better tools for this. It remains to say that NATO is also actively moving in this direction. However, they have not implemented artificial intelligence into existing kamikaze drones. Therefore, Western UAVs are easier to jam with ordinary Slaves. That's why you don't hear much about their use.
This is fascinating for several reasons: firstly, because it explains why all Western loitering drones in Ukraine so far have been dismal failures compared to the Lancet. This purports that they are susceptible to jamming because they obviously require a video feed to the operator at all times. But the Lancet would then theoretically be un-jammable because there is no ‘signal’ to jam. Everything is internal as the drone simply identifies the target on its own, makes the decision and kills it.
What’s interesting is that this article from over a year ago attempted to investigate such rumors but was skeptical of Russian capabilities in this regard. But, even in their own findings, they confirmed that Russian drone-makers were in fact working towards this direction. So it’s obviously plausible that over a year later they would have something workable.
For instance, in the article not only do they confirm that the manufacturer of the KUB drone, Kalashnikov, stated in their own spec sheets that the drone could identify targets on its own, but there’s also this:
Regarding means, a recent report by Russian news outlet RIA Novosti interviewed an unnamed Russian military source that is worth quoting (via Microsoft’s automatic translation) at length:
Russian reconnaissance and reconnaissance-strike UAVs will receive a digital catalog with electronic [optical and infrared] images of military equipment adopted in NATO countries. This will allow them to automatically identify it on the battlefield and create a map of the location of enemy positions directly onboard the device, which will be broadcast to the command post. . . . It is formed due to neural network training algorithms, which makes it possible to accurately determine the samples of equipment in a wide variety of environmental conditions, including with a short exposure (the technique is visible for several seconds or less), as well as when only part of the sample falls into the field of view of the drone—when, for example, only part of any combat vehicle is visible from cover.
Either Russia has been getting help from the Chinese, or the Russians aren’t as “backward” as Westerners seem to think. This follows reports I’ve already written about that Russia recently marked its first ever fully AI automated S-350 interception of an enemy object.
In fact, anyone who was paying attention would know that Russia has always had not only arguably the first ever such AI system but the world’s most powerful: Dead Hand / Perimeter.
I suppose the West will keep itself entertained with their ignorant sneering jokes about Russian washing machine chips while Russia actually pulls ahead of the world in the military AI arms race.
Those interested should consult my previous article outlining how the technological face of the SMO will change over time into a very unpredictable AI driven direction. It seems perhaps we are in fact headed there:
Lastly, we now have the full over two-hour-long subtitled video of Putin’s meeting with Russian correspondents, with which I’ll leave you. I only wish I knew who to thank for doing the hard work on the subs but unfortunately I saw no attribution. I haven’t even had a chance to watch it all yet so after I do, maybe next time I’ll offer more commentary on anything else particularly interesting we may have missed from the smaller released clips of the conclave.
Lastly, I wanted to make an unrelated update about blog policy. As you know, I’ve been one of the most liberal hosts in terms of allowances in the comments section. I’m mostly a free speech absolutist and believe that anyone should be able to say whatever they want no matter how much it ‘hurts someone’s feelings’.
But, as the blog continues to grow to new heights, I’ve been forced to re-evaluate how I handle certain types of behaviors simply due to the nature of the new types of ‘personalities’ this blog is now attracting with its growing membership.
Pretty much every other prominent blogger out there, from MoA, to TheSaker, Dreizin and others all have or have had fairly strict commenting policies. Whether it’s “stick to the topic” or “no bashing other commenters” or outright prohibition of naming certain topics, names, etc. Who, for instance, could forget Saker’s famous proscription against so much as citing the forbidden name of ‘Strelkov’ on his blog?
For now I refuse to wield such a heavy hand partly because it’s a lot of work to police hundreds of comments. So for the time being, I’m simply issuing an appeal to at least attempt to stick somewhere in the general vicinity of the topic(s) of the post and not go off into psychotic or unhinged tangents about your various personal prejudices, etc.
One important point on that account is, Substack in general has already become a target of the ADL earlier this year, which has begun openly attacking it. While I personally don’t care about anyone’s personal views and even prejudices, if you are spamming those views in a very overt way repeatedly in the comments section, you begin to come off as an agent provocateur whose sole purpose is to tarnish the blog or bring some form of negative censorial attention to it.
I’ve only banned a small handful of people thus far, probably less than five, and in each case it was not due to a particular topic (despite the fact that they wildly harangued on crazy ‘racist’/xenophobic tacks, and I still let it slide) but more due to the persistent annoyance of spamming the same thing over and over, and attacking me.
I have eyes and ears everywhere, and there are some recently banned who play the victim despite the fact that on other sites they have viciously attacked and slandered this blog, thinking that I don’t know about it.
Like I said, my rules are the most lenient of any other prominent blog in existence. If you want an example of how strictly some others run their comments sections, just take a look at the popular Jacob Dreizin’s Report. In fact, I’m going to post a screenshot of his comments rules not only because I think they’re hilarious but to give you an inkling of how strict others are:
Yes, you get banned on his site for using the term ‘SMO’—and yes, he enforces the rules very stringently. Incidentally, I do wish someone would explain the SMO thing, for sheer curiosity’s sake.
But to get back to the point, I intend to remain permissive, particularly because 99% of you are all fine and leave great, thoughtful comments. So this message is mostly for the 1% ne'er-do-wells who don’t quite grasp proper decorum, and who try to turn the comments section into a flaming dumpster fire for the sake of bringing negative attention to the blog.
The main problem with agitators and provocateurs is that they have a sort of gravitational pull on others who end up feeling obliged to ‘repel’ their deliberately antagonistic baits. This quickly devolves into mud-slinging matches that turn off other mature and erudite posters who would have otherwise actually had something to offer.
So, in the vaguest sense possible: don’t turn the comments section into a sewer that resembles the StormFront forums and don’t spam the same schizo Ritalin-immune tirades over and over under different people’s comments. That’s not too much to ask, I hope!
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
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