Two Interesting Reads: AFU Commander Interview, and a New Polish Book
There’s a couple very interesting reports that made it through the transom this week which I couldn’t fit into the last writeup as they’re a bit adjacent to main developments. But nevertheless, they offer some fascinating views on the Ukrainian conflict, particularly some of the details of its origins.
The first was another interview with a company commander, Nikolai Melnik—callsign ‘Fritz’, and wait til you hear why—of Ukraine’s now-storied 47th brigade by Censor. He lost his leg in the fighting but gives a detailed account of the beginnings of the AFU’s grand summer counteroffensive, with many interesting tidbits anent Western equipment, training, etc.
The first interesting note was that the training was ironically too long, in his estimation. He states that they began as a recon battalion, then an assault regiment, then a mechanized brigade, and each transition was heralded by grueling stretches of new training programs. While this may sound good on paper, he believes it exhausted and burned the men out:
You see, most people "burned out", and you just forced them to find fire in themselves again. Constant communication, constant explanations of why this is happening. Please understand: first you are an assault regiment and learn how to storm houses. Then they say: you are a mechanized brigade, and they give you MaxxPro, which you see for the first time in your life. They give you rocket-propelled grenades, I think they're MK-13s, and you don't know how to put them on. And then they take everything away from you, and they give you a Bradley, but you also have to go to school on them.
In other words, three training processes actually took place, and people completed three KMBS. Of course, they"burned out".
Next he goes into a description of the M2 Bradley—if you recall, the ‘elite’ 47th was the only brigade of the offensive-designated corps to be granted the privilege of operating the revered Bradley fighting vehicles. This extract has made the rounds on the pro-UA commentariat as it praises the hallowed NATO equipment and philosophies as being so superior to the backwards Soviet one. Tasteless as it may be for these young upstarts to so gratuitously spit on and backbite their Soviet legacy, it does offer some interesting insights, at least insofar as their perceptions of the differences:
- Is Bradley a really reliable car? What impression did it make on you?
- The Americans have a completely different approach to training, not the Soviet one. How does the Ukrainian army train on BMPs?
"Kids, here's an infantry fighting vehicle, but we're not going to start it because there's no diesel. And here is a gun, but we won't shoot it because there are no bullets. And in general, don't touch anything with your hands, because it will fall apart. We'd better practice the landing, and that's it."
That is, in fact, the soldier knows how to land from an "infantry war grave" (because BMP-2 is a war grave), and that's it. That's how the training process works in our army. And in the American army: "Here's a Bradley. And we never run out of diesel fuel or ammunition. We fired 74 shots a day, and we covered normal kilometers. The Americans were not afraid. On the first day, they explained everything, and on the second day we got on the Bradley. And each of the crews (infantry was trained separately, crews were trained separately) rode five to ten kilometers.
On the first day of driving, I was already doing the backup at night, refueling the vehicles. And they always asked: "Do you want more?" I said: "Yes, I do". We had night shootings, day shootings, and round-the-clock shootings, and we slept in the cars. Again, until we learned, until each mechanic understood what was required of him, until each gunner-operator, each vehicle commander disassembled and reassembled that Bushmaster in seven minutes... I managed it on the eighth try.
Unfortunately, when I failed, I reacted very emotionally, so the American soldiers said: "О! Mykola, f**k you!" But the eighth time I did it, I realized how to do it. Until you learn to do everything on automatic, you're not going anywhere. You don't do the next exercise. Everyone had an instructor by their side, and everyone had an interpreter. It's impossible not to learn how to use modern machines.
Wait, so first he mocks “Soviet” training but then says it was actually the Ukrainian army—i.e. of the post-Soviet variety—where the lackluster training and inadequate supplies predominated. How does that redound to the reputation of the ‘Soviet system’? It’s not Russia or the USSR’s fault you became a failed state after spurning and turning your back on the people that gave you everything you had.
But okay, the Americans had fuel in their Bradleys and allowed them to fire 74 shots. Wowee, NATO training is certainly generously abundant.
He goes on to explain that they were filled with a sense of great confidence and pride in having these Bradleys under them. He doesn’t quite seem to intimate why specifically, but the inferred gist is that simply being around the ‘Americans’ and their smiley, oorah faux-confidence filled the Ukrainians with a contagious sense of invincibility. It was more the psychological effect of feeling like America has your back, the sterling American-made machines, fresh from the democratic forge-fires of the Pennsylvania steel plants and freedom-infused Texaco fuel. It was all a sort of heady whirligig of patriotism and puissance and that old-time grainy newsreel, squeaky-Gramophone-jazz Americana glory, that was like a fuzzy fur-coat of comfort about the sagging, bedraggled shoulders of these mentally traumatized Ukrainian fleischsoldaten.
It may sound tongue-in-cheek, and hammed up a bit, but read it for yourself—this is really the tragic essence of it all; they fell for the hype. It’s readily apparent from the photo in that section, which depicts the shopworn Ukrainians giddily sluicing their hand-me-down Bradleys with American chaperons cackling at their backs—glad it’s not them to drive these deathtraps into the maw—with the caption that seems to suggest: “Look ma! These civilized American ubermenschen actually wash their cars after each round. This is nothing like those Suvok orcs! We’re definitely winning this war now!”
This is sadism of an extreme form. It’s bathetic burlesque, no different than those photos of the first McDonalds opening up in Moscow in 1990.
But you thought that was bad? How’s this for psychological manipulation and gaslighting:
We often spent the night on those towers, and he was explaining to me for the twentieth time how to use the Bradley correctly. Again, there were people who had fought in the Gulf, and they explained how they countered tanks there. It was all very interesting. Basically, I tortured everyone very hard. I had Chris next to me, who is now dead... He spoke very good English, and the two of us were constantly beating the Americans to understand everything. I think the problem with several companies of the brigade, the officers of the brigade, was that instead of kicking their instructors' asses, they went to bed. That's my opinion.
Oh suuure. So the Americans glutted them on stories of Bradleys heroically wiping out Saddam’s tank armies in the Persian Gulf. “You go give those Russkies hell, soldier. These here machines took out legions of Saddam’s iron horses, exactly the same as you’ll face in Rabotino, no doubt!”
This isn’t the Gulf War, jack. And for the record, Saddam didn’t even have Russian tanks. He had Assad Babils which were Russian tank knock-offs produced in Iraq with completely inferior steel and other components.
Barring all that, he goes on to convincingly justify the fact that the 47th did appear very well prepared. Every single aspect of the operation was ironed out, every squad and platoon leader met repeatedly with the company commanders to hash it all out. Every officer and NCO knew their exact chain of command and how it would pass in the event of losses. The 47th was moved to forward positions in southern Zaporozhye in mid-May and began to coordinate and plan for that fateful early June breach.
But when the starting gun sounded there were immediate problems. Our intrepid commander reports that right away his battalion was three hours late to the opening assault, meant to be highly coordinated:
- When was the first assault you went on? What was your first experience?
- The first experience was that we were late for the assault... According to the plan, we were supposed to assault right after the 3rd battalion. But because of the failures in planning, we were, to put it mildly, three hours late, so, of course, we could not help. It was already morning, and it was very difficult to fight the Russians during the day because of their superiority in artillery, aviation, and UAVs.
We can’t knock them too harshly for that, recall in Russia’s own recent tough Avdeevka assaults, correspondent Filatov likewise reported precisely a three hour delay to one of the main groups which completely clustered the entire opening operation. Why it’s so difficult to get multiple formations to attack in coordinated fashion, it’s hard to say—but the best on both sides are clearly experiencing it.
Melnik goes on to describe how he got badly injured, losing his legs in the opening assault. First a heavy caliber bullet tore one leg apart, and apparently, as he fell back from the hit, he landed his other leg on a landmine. The interesting insight comes from his description of the mine density:
- How did you get blown up, what was it like?
- How... We called the Bradley, which was supposed to evacuate the first wounded. I saw that it was about to drive across the minefield, jumped out of the landing and started waving my hands where to go. I heard shots, saw my leg fly off, was surprised... Most likely, it was a large-caliber machine gun, because there were tanks on the enemy's Real position, and they were working.
I started jumping on my left leg, stepped on an anti-personnel mine, and fell on my back. Apparently, the "petal" worked, because during the period when we captured and repelled the first attack, there was a massive remote mining. Every ten meters in the sky there was an explosion, explosion, explosion... The sky turned pitch-black, I've never seen anything like it in movies.
The detonation went off, and I turned over on my stomach. Something also went off under my chest, and I was thrown again. I have good armor, so the blast wave went through my arms. After all these explosions, I fell down, lying down and looking around: my hands were burned. I realize that I can't do anything for myself now. But my friend Piro was next to me, and I called out, "Piro, help!" Piro ran across the minefield to save me. And he did. In a minute or two, he put four tourniquets on me, somehow tied my leg with paracord and pulled me out.
This is the most visceral confirmation of Russia’s remote mining capabilities we’ve yet seen. At first some had doubted Russia’s mining diligence, particularly leading up to the offensive. Then it softened to “well they mine, but the backwards Russkies just have a few drunks throw some old Soviet TM-62s here and there in the field…they’re probably expired anyway…”
But this is something else. He relates that the entire sky was blackened by an apocalyptic storm of bursting remote-mine munitions, showering the battlefield with leg-chewing, tank-tread-gnawing, glacis-spalling death. For those wiping their eyes and balking at the description, this lurid reminder from the very battle may humble you.
The next part has gotten the most traction on the Russian side, as it reveals the critical linchpin of the entire plan for the grand counteroffensive:
- Obviously, the Russians in this area were preparing for assaults. They were not afraid of the Leopards and did not run away as expected.
- The entire plan for the big counteroffensive was based on simple things: a Muscovite sees a Bradley, a Leopard, and runs away. That was it. "Guys, you're going to unwind them there!"
But the Bradley has no active defense! "Don't piss off! It's good enough as it is." And the tankers had never fired from the Leopard! "Don't piss me off, they worked on T-72s!"
So, basically the whole purpose of the counteroffensive was to thrust a phalanx of scary topshelf NATO armor at the Russkies and hope they ran away in terror, in their inferior Soviet rustbuckets. Well, we all know how that went down.
Undoubtedly to the tune of Flight of the Valkyries, the almighty NATO steel fleet descended on those Russkie drunks, but instead met an impregnable wall.
Admittedly, Russia too learned this lesson the hard way in the opening of the war. It seems both sides needed to be taught that ‘fear’ doesn’t quite work the same way as in the movies. Russia had intended to descend on Kiev with its mighty tank armies and scare Zelensky out of his pants. Well, credit to both armies—neither is much fit for running.
Melnik goes on to relate another incident, which is interesting to read and does show fairly good initiative and on-the-fly coordination in the 47th. It does put things in perspective, as one must recall as unfathomable as the losses they took were, the AFU did manage to carve out quite a wedge into Russian lines on the Rabotino axis. Of course, ultimately they never even made it to the first Surovikin line, let alone past it.
But we turn back to the Bradley, which he again praises:
- And the Bradley...
- ...Bradley withstood everything. The shell hit the starboard side, and the track was damaged. The armor withstood the debris, but the shock wave tore the wiring in the vehicle... The only time the Bradley failed to withstand the attack was when helicopters were working, a week later. A Ka-52 hit the vehicles, and one Bradley detonated. But there are cases when they did not detonate, when they withstood such strikes. In principle, this is a very reliable vehicle. This is not a BMP-2, where the entire crew dies, no. "The Bradley can be hit, but the crew survives. And the engine is always running. The mechanic-driver wakes up from the concussion, the engine is still running, and we continue driving.
Well, that doesn’t sound too enticing. Driver regaining his consciousness to continue driving? Well, all right.
But as to the armor. Look, let’s be frank here. A lot of comparison is made between the Bradley and its much maligned BMP-2 counterpart. The fact is this: the BMP-2 is 14 tons. The Bradley is 28 tons. They are not even in the same weight class and are only counted in the same category by some vague vagary of armor classification.
In fact, the U.S. army’s latest Bradley upgrades bring it to over 33 tons. For reference, the Russian T-62 is 37 tons, and T-72 is 41t. So the Bradley is damn-near the same weight as Russia’s main battle tanks—you would think it should be able to soak up some bloody damage.
Of course when you have a vehicle literally twice the size as another, it’s going to have much heavier armor and other accoutrements that give it certain positive attributes or advantages. But in these comparisons the distinct disadvantages are always missed.
In particular, Russian light armor vehicles were meant to be sleek and mobile, with low profiles. The Bradley may be built like a truck and can take some punishment, but it also attracts much more punishment on account of its far larger profile. Russian Ka-52 pilots regularly remarked on how easy the Bradleys were to spot and hit from afar due to their bulky two-story profile. The BMP-2 is a thin, slithering snake in the grass. It often goes by completely undetected by distant ATGM operators, helicopters, etc. And the BMP-3 is superior to the Bradley in almost every imaginable way including armor, anyway—all while still being lighter and faster with a far better power-to-weight ratio, and much more firepower to boot.
But does that mean the Bradley is a bad vehicle? Of course not. It has some great characteristics. Let’s be real—almost no vehicle in this war is outright terrible—well, maybe the AMX-10. But to deny that NATO is capable of making top notch gear is to ignore the rich European war history, France, England, and co. These guys know what they’re doing, they don’t make outright “junk.”
The Bradley, Marder, CV-90, etc., can all be amazing vehicles. But just as I’m giving credit to them, the other side has to stop blanketly deriding Russian gear as inferior when it’s clearly proven to simply have asymmetric differences. As I said, the Bradley has great accuracy and can soak up damage. But the BMPs have greater mobility, far stealthier profiles, and have more firepower, though it’s less accurate. They’re pros and cons, but to simply say Bradley is better because it tanked a few ATGM hits is nonsense because the BMP may have never even been targeted in that scenario due to its lower visibility. Plus, there’s a video out there showing crewmen losing their legs in the back of a Bradley after it hit a mine, so its armor isn’t exactly impenetrable.
Anyway, he compares to BMP-2 only because that’s the best gear Ukraine has. I’d likely choose a Bradley over a BMP-2 myself. But a BMP-3 is a whole ‘nother story—I’ll take that anyday over the Bradley.
Moving on, this next bit gives an interesting look at the coordination levels of the top AFU brigades:
You know, the command and control system in the 47th was so good that I could see where each of my vehicles was on my tablet. This helped in management, you understood who was where. The brigadier understood who was where, and the commander understood. The only thing they did not understand was what was really happening on the battlefield. And the situation was quite simple: ATGMs in every position. The Russians knew our routes of advance, and everything was flying along these routes - 152s, 120s, and Grads... And so you are moving, and where are you going to maneuver? Only back and forth, because everything else is mined. And we are the ones who did it...
He goes on to describe his withering recovery, how he lost his leg due to doctors not even being able to treat it properly due to the flood of wounded which paralyzed emergency centers. But if that wasn’t bad enough, officers are already calling him to prepare for the next offensive:
Once an officer I knew called me and said: "Well, you go ahead and recover. There will be a counteroffensive next year, too." And I told him: "I don't have enough legs for the next counteroffensive."
- "We have to reach Crimea!"
- "I don't mind, but I really don't have enough limbs..." It's not a good idea to storm the Russians' prepared positions once again. I really hope that after what happened, they drew conclusions... An offensive always means losses. Still, I would like to see better interaction between the branches of the armed forces, to have aviation, to not be afraid of helicopters, to have the means to counter them. I really wish there were personnel conclusions.
- Do you still want to return to the army? What do you think about it?
- I don't think there is a single person who wants to go back to the army. But... We all want to continue to defend Ukraine. Are you asking if I want to go back to the army? No, I don't. Not at all. I don't get enough sleep there. Will I return to defend Ukraine? Yes, I will. In what condition, in what position - I'm not ready to answer. Because, apparently, it will not be possible to storm the landings.
Oh, and, to end he’s asked why his callsign is ‘Fritz’. I suppose the answer was to be expected:
- Why do you have the call sign Fritz?
- Oh... My friend Halychanyn first called me Fritz in 2016. And it stuck. I have never hidden the fact that I am half German. You know, I have a family of "anti-Soviet" people: some were in the Hitler Youth, others in the UPA. And they all met in Siberia, and my mother was born from this love. That's how it happened. In principle, I am quite boring and methodical when it comes to doing something. I think I live up to my pseudonym somewhere.
And you wonder why the Russkies call them ‘Wehrmacht’ on the radios.
We move on to our second and final exploration. It comes by way of this Twitter thread, which gives an illuminating account of the early part of the war apropos Poland’s relationship and dealings with Ukraine. The content stems from a newly released Polish book titled Polska na Wojnie (Poland at War), which is not available in English so the thread’s relay of information is priceless.
Just recently a book came out titled "Polska na wojnie" (eng. Poland at war) which is a mash up of interviews that the author (journalist Zbigniew Parafianowicz) made with several high ranking members of Polish government and presidential office, as well as army/special service officers, with some additional comments from their Ukrainian counterparts. They all remain anonymous, from obvious reasons, but the story checks out with what we`ve learned in the past.
So basically the book has a bunch of ‘insider details’ from the highest echelons of Polish office about what transpired behind the scenes in the opening stages of the SMO.
The thread author starts with the first revelation:
1. Polish government was seriously concerned that Lukashenko will join the war, and was preparing a scenario in which anti-regime diversion groups would be sent to the Belarusian army rear to wreck havoc.
In the end, Lukashenko was so afraid himself, that through various channels made inquires to Warsaw, if they`d let him pass the border and then to fly away from the closest airport. He knew if things went south for him, Russians would not let him lift into his own airspace.
So the claim is that Poland was preparing to send some sort of DRG units into Belarus, or perhaps activate some kind of sleeper cells, such was their concern about Belarus entering the conflict. This is a bit eye-opening if true, as it shows how close to full European war it came, and likely will again reach in the future.
The part about Lukashenko wanting to escape to or through Poland has gotten wide reach the past day or two. It sounds a bit ridiculous—perhaps the usual Polish propaganda—but who really knows for sure?
The next part starts getting really juicy.
2. Polish special forces were securing Ukrainian delegates that were attending negotiations in Belarus (March 2022). They were escorting them in helicopters that landed on Belarusian soil and took them out when they were done. Also, by a coincidence (they were training Ukrainian specials), Polish commando forces were present at the facility in Brovary (Kiyv suburbs), when the war erupted. They stayed on longer, gathering intel. A British unit is also reported doing the same.
This one bit alone confirms a lot of the ‘unspoken’ details that many of us knew—and which the Pentagon leaks confirmed—but continue to be downplayed or outright denied.
Internalize the gravity of that revelation. Polish special forces commandos were infact present in Kiev during the opening operation, which includes the Gostomel assault, etc. “They stayed there longer” and a British unit was there as well.
We can infer and conclude that Polish commandos were infact fully participating in the hostilities as Russian special forces landed in Gostomel and fought for Irpin, there’s no doubt about that. And they never left, it’s almost certain they’re still there and continue to fight just at the rear of Ukrainian units in key hot spots, and perhaps even closer in some. This is all par for the course. American special forces were present in Georgia too, desperately trying to shore up Georgian forces during the 2008 war.
3. Despite Russian propaganda, while Poland never even thought about using the opportunity to reclaim Lviv (Lwów), it remained a concern for Ukrainians. Warsaw told their partners - we will be with you till the end, as long as you keep on fighting. Together with the unconditional help that was immediately provided on many levels, it convinced Ukrainians about the sincerity of Polish intentions. As a side note: Dmytro Kuleba with his whole family (and dog) was received by his Polish counterpart - Zbigniew Rau at his private home, where they could wait out the critical time period. Similar proposals were made to Ukrainian Danilov and Sybiha.
Well the first part is certainly dubious and unbelievable, most likely just done to protect Poland’s reputation and seed the ground with an innocent pretense for future revanchist goals.
The second part I don’t fully understand but it sounds like they’re basically saying that foreign affairs minister Kuleba and his family fled Ukraine to Poland to “wait out” the early part of the invasion, and this same invitation was extended to the rest of Ukraine’s elite.
Remember how that early time period teemed with rumors about Zelensky and co. all having fled Kiev, constant speculation about them living in and making their greenscreen videos from Poland? This admission appears to confirm this at least in part, but perhaps they managed to stop themselves from giving up the entire goose, as it would be a tad too risque to admit Zelensky himself was hiding there; instead they just gave us a big crumb to figure out the trail ourselves.
4. On the 25th of March brand new Polish Boeing 737-800 NG had an emergency landing while on the way to Jasionka (Rzeszów) to a meeting with president Biden. President Duda and gen. Andrzejczak were on board. The cause of near-death experience (how passengers described it) was a faulty trimmer which malfunctioned forcing the pilots to fight with the steering handles. Luckily the plane landed safely and the delegation quickly changed their plane to another one, continuing the trip. Nevertheless, at the time possible sabotage or assassination attempt was one of the probable causes that were being investigated.
This definitely sounds like a CIA assassination attempt which sought to throw a major spanner into the works and spin the situation out of control, probably to blame Russia.
The next is very interesting:
5. Americans were convinced that Kyiv will fall within 3 days and prepared to evacuate 40k people, presumably apart from own American citizens, also whole Ukrainian political elite and establishment. Jake Sullivan was the most skeptical about Ukraine's chances, and argued about that with Jakub Kumoch (presidential secretary) who was convinced UA will prevail.
Later on, from the same reasons US remained reluctant to provide additional help in the form of heavy equipment. Washington agreed for providing tanks after Biden-Duda meeting, which Warsaw insisted on doing asap (a batch of T72's followed soon afterwards paving the way), but they were still sending mixed signals about transfer of fighter jets.
Warsaw wanted US on board, as it need it to be an allied effort in order to shield Poland from possible Russian retaliation. In the end, Warsaw got tired US indecision and reluctance, and acted independently. Dismantled around 10 Polish MIG-29 fighter jets and left them in parts, in a forest belt near the border. Kyiv was notified about "ownerless" parts, which were then picked up and quickly assembled on the Ukrainian side of the border. That happened months(!) before the official transfer of jets in a larger international coalition.
Remember how in the early part of the war many pro-UA accounts denied Russia’s continual destruction of jet planes, but there were constant rumors of Ukraine receiving a stream of secretly sourced planes, parts, etc. This puts things into perspective and adds a very intriguing Tom Clancy-esque espionage-thriller spin on things.
Poland dumped a bunch of Mig-29s in a forest and told Ukraine to pick them up. Imagine the amounts of such ‘transfers’ that have gone on under our noses without official sanction or admission?
He goes on to elaborate on that with very interesting details:
Since you keep asking me in the comments about MiG-29's jets, I will add a couple of quotes to give you a better understanding about this particular event.
In the beginning of March, Ukraine was in dire need of additional fighter jets. Poland was willing to provide them, but there was a catch. At that time Russia officially warned against using western airbases by Ukrainian aviation, threatening that it "may be regarded as the involvement of these states in an armed conflict." Therefore, if planes were to be flown from Poland directly to Ukraine, in best case scenario they could be targeted by the enemy, in worst case - retaliation could struck Polish AB's.
Fully aware of that risk, Warsaw tried to convince US to put its weight behind the idea and therefore insure it against what ever Russia comes up with. But Washington was reluctant, sending mixed messages depending who have been asked. US didn't want to back Poland in this act, neither did it send additional air cover of Polish AB's. There was no clear answer and the time was running. More over, Washington told Zelensky that's it's Poland that is holding up the transfer of planes, which made Ukraine’s president call president Duda asking - WTF? Unwilling to take the blame, Poland decided to force US hand, openly proposing that jets will fly over to German Ramstein AB, where they will be abandoned.
Polish Pilots will go back home by bus or train and Warsaw won't care who picks them up and where they are going to fly. If Polish AB's could risk taking the Russian heat, why not German/American Ramstein? That got Washington angry. Book quotes one of the ministers saying that Americans called asking "what kind of game are you playing with us?" to what they got bounced back with "how about you?".
Blinken said to the press that "there are difficulties" with this idea adding that each country can provide whatever help it wants. But that was Blinken, while NSA was staunchly against. Hardly a unified and strong message for Russia.
Therefore, Warsaw decided to look for a way to directly transfer the planes without giving Kremlin any reasonable anchor for reaction. One of the Polish ministers (Jakub Kumoch) from presidential office called his Ukrainian counterparts, and because he was respected and also on a very friendly level, asked them jokingly if they knew that in Polish language the name 'Ukraina' derives from 'ukraść', a Polish word for stealing? And if they still remember how to run a scheme. Nobody got offended (at least author doesn't mention that), and the message was clear.
Later on Ukraine was notified of certain parts being left on a specific location near the border. Completely unattended. Next day parts were gone. Americans supposedly asked if Ukrainians managed to assemble them back into one piece, and if so, then where? The reply was "Yes, in the forest".
In fact, Ukrainians were doing exactly that in the beginning of war, operating from field airstrips in forested areas. Changing location after each 24 hours. With their skills, assembling a plane they were perfectly familiar with did not present any challenge. While exact date was not provided, it seems that this whole operation was carried out around March/April 2022.
--- My private side note (book doesn't mention [this]): It's a common knowledge among Polish domestic military experts, that Poland provided Ukraine with immensely more than what was officially reported thus seriously degrading it's own military capabilities. Details? We don't know all the numbers, but the talk is about as much as (!) ~350 T72/PT91 tanks, ~300 BMP-1, 72 Krab SPH, ~126 2S1 SPH, ~60 Grad MLRS, two dozens of S125 and S200 AD systems, and a lot of other stuff. Much of it came straight from Polish field units. This is probably one of the main reasons to why it's being kept as a secret, and also an explanation to why Poland went on a buying spree kicking the spending to 4% of its GDP.
Wow! What a trove of revelations.
First, for all the people repeatedly asking how Ukraine continues to operate some jets, we get further insider confirmation of their abilities to field the jets from highway airstrips and such, changing locations every 24 hours.
Then the admission that Poland provided immensely more material than officially claimed, which is also very telling, and explains a lot about the AFU’s sometimes perplexing staying power.
The most significant revelation to me is how much fear the NATO allies showed toward Russian threats, while publicly dismissing or downplaying them. In reality, this continues to be the most bitter of pills for pro-UA commentators to swallow. Daily, I continue to see them wailing to the stars about how the ‘mighty U.S.’ could still refuse to ‘give everything necessary’ to Ukraine—the longest range version of ATACMS, all the F-16s, and everything in between.
And each time I hear this, I just sigh and shake my head at how utterly sophomoric their grasp of international relations is. In their wild conceit, they’ve gotten so utterly drunk on their distorted and ill-conceived image of Russia that they completely ignore inherent realities, of just how much actual power and influence Russia wields on the global stage. This is the danger of drinking your own spiked punch, and getting wasted on it. But once again, as always, this comes from the babylonian tower of lies built around Ukraine and Russia’s capabilities in the SMO. Being told that Ukraine has “intercepted 20 Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missiles in a single day” leads to gross misrepresentations of Russia’s power and abilities, which consequently leads to the inability of the deluded to understand how the West could possibly fear Russian reprisals.
Take the earlier Ramstein or Rzeszow example. If one is propagandized to believe that even little old Kiev—with its third rate air defenses—can intercept a volley of Russian hypersonics, then the same person would consider it patently ludicrous for NATO to fear Russia striking Ramstein. But fortunately for them, actual NATO planners know the truth—that Ukraine stops maybe 5-10% of Russian strikes and everything else gets through, and NATO’s best assets would likewise struggle. Just look at what’s currently happening in Syria and Iraq. U.S. bases are getting pounded with impunity with numerous troop deaths and injuries already mounted. If U.S. can’t stop insurgent bottle rockets, you really think their Rzeszow assets are going to stop an Iskander-Kinzhal saturation attack? Get real!
“Well, but if Russia dared strike them then NATO’s airpower would send xxx amount of JDAMS, etc., in retaliation!” The same JDAMs now widely reputed to be nearly useless due to Russian jamming? In short, unlike NAFO internet incels, NATO brass knows Russia’s capabilities and isn’t crazy enough to test every single red line.
Finally, the last bit:
There is more. A trip of Roman Abramovich through Poland and then to Turkey, that was supposed to be an attempt of reaching out to Russians through unofficial channels, or how Poland used specially created private companies to bypass bureaucracy when transferring military goods. It also has a significant chapter about why Polish-Ukrainian relations on the governmental level blossomed for a year, but then started to wither due to European power-politics, personal ego-trips and internal affairs in both countries.
Particularly, chancellor Scholz and president Zelensky receive a bit of a whipping for their behavior. Edit: Ah yes, I forgot the topic of rocket that fell on polish village of Przewodow, killing 2. All the gathered material (the rocket parts itself) indicate that it was indeed of Ukrainian origin. The stubborness with which Kiyv insisted it was Russian, despite no evidence was provided became one of the reasons why the relations cooled down. But I will leave that and the rest of the book for you to find out.
He elaborates on this infamous rocket incident referenced, where a Ukrainian S-300 errantly crashed in Polish territory, killing two Polish farmers—which was blamed on Russia in another desperate ploy to start WW3:
Elaborating on the incident at Przewodów.
One of the 1st serious difference in Ukrainian relations. There was an official Polish investigation to which Ukrainian side had full access, that established the rocket was of Ukrainian origin. Poland didn't demand compensation for families of 2 civilians killed by the explosion, although due to Kiyv attitude it was considered, and in the end just tried to tone down the emotions for the sake of greater cause.
Yet, president Zelensky insisted on Russia’s responsibility and called for NATO article 4 implementation while failing to provide any evidence. Poland stance was backed by the US and other alliance members and was unwilling to be pulled into direct war on questionable basis.
Quotes (see below) from the book state, that while Polish authorities understood why Ukraine tries to pull them into the war (a country fighting for its survival), they couldn't grasp the ongoing stubborness of president Zelensky. Which antagonized president Duda and the cabinet.
From Ukrainian point of view, it was perceived as a sign of Warsaw's weakness under US gaslighting.
Interestingly, gen. Zaluzny supposedly acted differently, and called his Polish counterpart gen. Andrzejczak to apologize for the incident. But that gesture was kept on the military level, and never made it to political relations.
Btw. this book has a significant part about why the relations deteriorated further, leading in the end to the conflict about grain export, Zelensky's disastrous speech at the UN, and then similarly fatal PM Morawiecki's comment (which in addition was untrue) about Poland suspending arms export to Ukraine. In my opinion, author successfully balances the responsibility between both sides, remaining critical where it's due. It's not a hagiography, rather recollection of accounts of people involved in the events, with critical comment.
So it sounds like that incident might’ve had far greater consequences than seemed at the time, leading to the terminal decline of Polish-Ukrainian relations.
Well, that’s all for now folks. If you enjoyed the read please consider subscribing to a paid monthly/yearly pledge, as it’s ever an up-hill battle against the dreaded churn.
And also, things have been moving a bit too fast to do a mailbag in recent days so there hasn’t been one of those in a while. Should we do another one soon?
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