Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Editor's Note

 I have visitors from overseas. Blogging will be light for the next few days.

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Appear To Be Underway


CNN: Ukrainian offensive is ‘taking place in several directions,’ says official  

A Ukrainian offensive is “taking place in several directions,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar told Ukrainian television on Monday, heightening speculation that a major push by Kyiv to recapture land held by Russia’s occupying forces could be getting underway. 

“It is not only about Bakhmut. The offensive is taking place in several directions. We are happy about every meter. Today is a successful day for our forces,” she said. 

Recent weeks have seen Ukraine’s military stepping up shaping operations – attacks on Russian targets like fuel depots and weapons dumps far behind frontlines – which typically precede a major advance by ground forces. But government officials in Kyiv have been at pains to say the start of any counteroffensive would not be announced.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: The sources that I trust are saying that both sides are suffering heavy losses, but Russian forces continue to hold their primary positions. 

Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Appear To Be Underway  

Ukraine’s troops attack along front in apparent precursor to counteroffensive -- The Guardian  

Counteroffensive? Probing defenses? A look at the fighting in Ukraine -- AP  

Ukraine war: Kyiv launches 'offensive actions' on frontline - as Zelenskyy mocks 'hysterical' Russia -- SKY News  

Kyiv's troops advance around Bakhmut after Wagner chief dismissed 'absurd' Russian claims -- Daily Mail

Ukraine starts conducting ‘offensive actions’: Defense ministry -- Al Arabiya News 

Ukraine deputy defence minister says forces moving to ‘offensive actions’ in some areas – as it happened -- The Guardian  

Ukrainian counteroffensive 'shaping-up' amid attempts to destabilize Russian forces -- ABC News  

Early Stages Of Ukraine’s Counteroffensive Appear To Be Underway -- Warzone 

Ukraine’s counteroffensive appears to have started: Here’s what to know -- The Hill 

It seems like the counteroffensive has started -- Politico  

Ukraine trying to end battlefield stalemate in what may be start of counteroffensive -- AP

Normandy Marks D-Day’s 79th Anniversary


FOX News: On this day in history, June 6, 1944, US and Allies invade Normandy in greatest military invasion 

Invasion force included 7,000 ships, landing craft manned by over 195,000 naval personnel from 8 nations 

On this day in history, the D-Day operation of June 6, 1944, brought together the land, air and sea forces of the Allied armies in what became known as the largest amphibious invasion in military history, according to the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kansas. 

"The operation, given the codename OVERLORD, delivered five naval assault divisions to the beaches of Normandy, France," notes the same source. 

"The beaches were given the code names: UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, JUNO and SWORD."  

Read more ....  

Update: Normandy marks D-Day’s 79th anniversary, honors World War II veterans (AP) 

 WNU Editor: President Reagan's address at Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, France, June 6, 1984, is the one that I always like to see and hear on this day (see below).

Mapping The Fallout From The Collapse Of The Kakhovka Nova Dam


Business Insider: Engineers modeled the disastrous flood that would follow a key dam in Ukraine being destroyed. The reality is even worse, they say. 

* Engineers predicted what would happen if Ukraine's Kakhovka Nova dam was breached. 

* The dam was breached for real on Tuesday, and the reality is worse than predicted, one said. 

* Russia and Ukraine are blaming each other for destroying the dam. 

The impact of Tuesday's breach of a major dam in Ukraine is likely worse than outlined in a widely-shared model of the disaster developed last year, engineers said. 

On Tuesday morning, videos of water flooding through a massive breach in the Kakhokva Nova hydroelectric dam in southern Ukraine were widely shared, with Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for the disaster. 

In the wake of the news, animated maps created in October last year by Swedish engineers D√§mningsverket have widely recirculated on social media. Read more .... 

Update: Kakhovka Dam Attack: Mapping the Fallout From Ukrainian Strike (Sputnik).  

WNU Editor: It is easily going to take a few weeks before the flood waters start to recede.

Dnieper Dam Collapse Unleashes Floods In Southern Ukraine. Crimean Water Supply Cut. Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant At Risk

Reuters: Ukraine, Russia trade blame over sabotaging Kakhovka dam on Dnipro River  

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday said that Ukraine sabotaged the Kakhovka dam to distract attention from its faltering counteroffensive, and rejected Kyiv’s claim that Moscow had blown up the dam. Blasts at a Soviet-era dam in the Russian controlled part of southern Ukraine on Tuesday unleashed floodwaters across the war zone. 

The dam, 30 meters (yards) tall and 3.2 km (2 miles) long and which holds water equal to the Great Salt Lake in the US state of Utah, was built in 1956 on the Dnipro River as part of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant.

It also supplies water to the Crimean Peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014, and to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is also under Russian control. 

 Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian forces of blowing up the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station from inside the facility, and said Russia must be held to account for a “terrorist attack.” 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Western media is pushing the narrative from Kyiv that Moscow is destroying this dam. But why would Russia destroy a dam in an area they control and have done so for a year? A dam that also provides the water supply via through the North Crimean Canal to Crimea. The flooding is also going to primarily impact the southern bank of the river, which is controlled by Russian forces. 

What is even more worrisome is that this dam is critical to providing adequate water levels in the Kakhovka reservoir to cool the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. And while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said there is no immediate nuclear safety risk and that a cooling pond beside the facility could be used to cool the plant if necessary, this only means that one of the many nuclear safeguards at the plant can no longer be relied upon.  

Update: According to Russian authorities, the breach is expanding .... Kakhovka HPP continues to collapse, water is discharged uncontrollably — mayor (TASS). More here .... Half of spans of Kakhovka HPP collapse, destruction continues — emergency services (TASS).  

Update #2: My gut tells me this is probably why the dam collapsed .... Western journalists speculate that it might not have been explosion that destroyed dam at hydroelectric power plant (Ukrainska Pravda). Concerns about the Kakhovka dam have been persistent since last year when it was shelled and partially damaged. But no one is going to repair a dam in the middle of a war-zone.

On a personal note. I saw a small dam collapse near my property a decade ago. People noticed a problem that was getting worse due to the spring thaw, but no one did anything. After a few days it just collapsed. It looks like this is what happened to the Kakhovka dam

Live Updates  

LIVE — Ukraine accuses Russia of blowing up Kakhovka dam -- DW  

Live: Evacuations under way as water gushes through damaged Ukraine dam -- BBC  

Live: Villages evacuated in flood-hit Ukraine as Kyiv accuses Moscow of destroying dam -- France 24  

Russia-Ukraine war live: evacuations under way near Kherson after Kyiv accuses Moscow of destroying dam -- The Guardian  

Live Updates: Major dam collapse triggers evacuations as Russia's war in Ukraine rages on -- CNN 

Ukraine war live updates: Ukraine and Russia blame each other for dam breach that floods 24 settlements; 1,300 Kherson residents evacuated so far -- CNBC  

LIVE UPDATES: Kakhovka Power Plant Destruction Deliberate Sabotage by Ukraine - Kremlin -- Sputnik 

 Dnieper Dam Collapse Unleashes Floods In Southern Ukraine  

Collapse of major dam in southern Ukraine triggers emergency as Moscow and Kyiv blame each other -- AP  

Strategically vital Nova Khakovka dam blown up near border between Ukraine and Russia -- ABC News  

Nova Kakhovka Dam blown up in Ukraine's Kherson region, settlements being evacuated -- ABC News Australia  

Ukraine Says Russia Has Destroyed A Major Dam In What Zelenskiy Calls A 'Terror' Attack -- RFE  

Hydroelectric dam in Kherson partially destroyed – mayor -- RT  

Ukraine commits sabotage at Kakhovka HPP, says Kremlin -- TASS 

Ukrainian dam collapse ‘no immediate risk’ to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant -- The Guardian  

Thousands flee homes as collapse of dam is blamed on Russian forces -- The Guardian  

Ukraine dam: Thousands evacuated from ‘critical zone’ near Kakhovka plant -- BBC  

Villagers flee after Kakhovka dam destroyed, flooding Ukraine war zone -- Reuters  

Explainer: What the Kakhovka Dam Catastrophe Means For the Ukraine-Russia War -- Moscow Times 

The destruction of a major Ukrainian dam could have grave consequences. Here’s what we know so far -- CNBC 

Nova Kakhovka dam: everything you need to know about Ukraine’s strategically important reservoir -- The Guardian  

What we know about Nova Kakhovka dam attack -- BBC

Why Sanctions On Russia Are Not Working

Al Jazeera: Sanctions on Russia may not be working, we now know why 

European businesses and third countries are actively circumventing sanctions, providing Russia with sanctioned goods and thus helping its war effort. 

On February 25, 2022, a day after Russia undertook a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the European Union introduced unprecedented sanctions against the aggressor. The measures were intended to send a clear signal to Moscow that there would be severe consequences for its actions. 

The sanctions targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, as well as Russian companies and several sectors of the Russian economy. In the following months, the sanctions regime against Russia was expanded with eight more instalments, hitting its most valuable exports to Europe – oil and gas – and curbing its access to products that could be used in its war on Ukraine. 

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: Russia is the world' resource superpower. You cannot shut that spigot without incurring severe economic pain. But Western leaders still proceeded..

They made the decision to not buy Russian products nor export its products to Russia. And they are paying dearly for it. The rest of the world has a different point of view on what is happening in Ukraine, and they made the decision to not heed Western demand for Russian sanctions. Not surprising. Their economies are booming.

On a personal note. 

My aunt arrived today to be with my ailing mom. She is my mother's youngest sister, and she lives in Moscow. It took her 18 hours and 4 interconnecting flights to get to Montreal. In the past it would take 8 hours, and maybe one interconnecting flight.

I asked her on how sanctions are impacting her and her friends. Her response was .... there is no impact. The stores are full, and almost all of the Western goods and brands that she is familiar with are available. She also told me that everyone she knows is flushed with money. 

I am not surprised to hear that last comment from my aunt. 

Before the war hundreds of billions of dollars was flowing out of the country each year. No more now. Sanctions has killed that practice. That money is now staying in Russia, and it is having a  huge impact on everyone's lives. My aunt included.

Has Putin Decided To Use Nuclear Weapons?

Kevin Ryan, UnHerd: Why Putin will use nuclear weapons  

All the signs suggest Russia has made up its mind 

 However you try to spin it, the drone strikes that struck Moscow’s wealthiest neighbourhoods on Tuesday night represented a grim turning point in Putin’s flagging campaign against Ukraine. The surprise attacks — which killed eight people, and for which Kyiv has denied all responsibility — were the first against Russian civilians since the war began. They were also the most significant incursion into Russian territory since the Second World War. 

Putin was quick to brand the strikes a “terrorist” act, while a rattled Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenaries, gave war chiefs a dressing-down for their inability to prevent three of eight drones from evading Russian air defences. Yet while this all provided a morale boost for the Ukrainian war effort, the question of retaliation hangs in the air.  

Read more ....  

Update: In Ukraine, Russia is nearly down to its nukes (Jonathan Sweet and Mark Toth, The Hill) 

WNU Editor: The two commentaries above firmly believe that Russia's army is failing, and that Putin's only salvation is using nuclear weapons. 

I disagree. 

What I see is a Russian army focused on conducting a war of attrition, using its advantages in air superiority and firepower to degrade and bleed what is left of the Ukraine army.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Deadly Fighting Escalates In Sudan As Truce Expires


Reuters: Shelling, looting in Sudan's capital as military factions battle for eighth week 

DUBAI (Reuters) - Shelling hit western areas of Sudan's capital on Monday morning after rival military factions fought through the night, residents said, with reports of deepening lawlessness in Khartoum and in the western region of Darfur. 

Fighting between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), who have been battling each other for more than seven weeks, intensified after the expiry late on Saturday of a ceasefire deal brokered by Saudi Arabia and the U.S. 

The conflict has uprooted more than 1.2 million people within Sudan and sent about 400,000 fleeing into neighbouring countries, inflicting heavy damage on the capital where remaining residents are at the mercy of battles, air strikes and lawlessness.  

Read more .... 

Deadly Fighting Escalates In Sudan As Truce Expires  

‘Real hell’: Deadly fighting escalates in Sudan as truce expires -- Al Jazeera  

Sudan battle rages as Saudi Arabia, US urge new truce talks -- Arab News  

As Sudan war rages, country's health system nears breaking point -- ABC News  

Sudan war to enter its deadliest phase yet -- Middle East Eye  

Sudan’s war is wrecking a lot, including its central bank – a legacy of trailblazing African American economist and banker Andrew Brimmer -- The Conversation

US Military Trainers Admit There Are Problems Training Ukrainian Soldiers

Image: Ukrainian Ministry of Defense  

War On The Rocks: What the Ukrainian Armed Forces Need to Do to Win  

Our instructors were training a Ukrainian national guard unit near the Moldovan border. When we arrived at the range, a Ukrainian unit was already on the range throwing hand grenades in an open field less than 200 meters from us, then just dropping to the ground and watching them explode without any cover. These soldiers then proceeded to conduct machine gun training, shooting from positions from the left range berm across the range (not against the backstop). Our instructors were conducting round-robin training about 150 meters behind the range, and the rounds were whistling over our heads. When we approached the person in charge, he said not to worry; he was a Ukrainian marine who had survived Mariupol, and the range was to NATO standards. The bravery and elan of the Ukrainian Armed Forces are not in question, but this example is a small indicator of the issues plaguing the training of the Ukrainian Armed Forces — the lack of an ingrained understanding on how to conduct uniform, consistent training.  

Read more ....  

WNU Editor: It takes a long time to train a soldier, and in this war of attrition, it is a problem that both Ukraine and Russia are facing.

Ukraine Is Operating Sabotage Groups Inside Russia


CNN: Exclusive: Ukraine has cultivated sabotage agents inside Russia and is giving them drones to stage attacks, sources say  

Ukraine has cultivated a network of agents and sympathizers inside Russia working to carry out acts of sabotage against Russian targets and has begun providing them with drones to stage attacks, multiple people familiar with US intelligence on the matter told CNN. 

US officials believe these pro-Ukrainian agents inside Russia carried out a drone attack that targeted the Kremlin in early May by launching drones from within Russia rather than flying them from Ukraine into Moscow. 

It is not clear whether other drone attacks carried out in recent days – including one targeting a residential neighborhood near Moscow and another strike on oil refineries in southern Russia – were also launched from inside Russia or conducted by this network of pro-Ukrainian operatives.  

Read more ....  

Update #1: Ukraine has a network of sabotage agents in Russia and is sending them drone for attacks, report says (Business Insider)  

Update #2: Ukraine Operates Sabotage Cells, Smuggles Drones in Russia – CNN (Moscow Times)  

WNU Editor: The above CNN report should surprise  no one. Since the start of the war attacks on critical Russian infrastructure have been reported daily. Ukraine's intelligence services have also been implicated in a number of successful assassination operations within Russia itself.