NBC’s Richard Engel got an unclassified look at the status map at a Ukrainian headquarters. Click the link for the full video, but here’s a screenshot of the map itself:
For all the talk about Ukraine encircling the Russian spearhead at Bucha, northwest of the city, it’s actually the northeastern side of Kyiv where counter-attacks are having the most success. Here’s @War_Mappers latest map of the area, updated last night:
Both of these maps have Bohdanivka, just northeast of Brovary, in Russian hands. But look at the thin tendril supplying it in the official HQ map. Some reports claim that those supply lines have been cut. Certainly wouldn’t take much. The HQ map also seems to have cleared the supply routes to Chernihiv of all Russian forces (all that orange in the second map), and that critical highway that runs north of Nizhyn. With Russians out of the way, supples can now flow more easily into embattled Chernihiv.
NASA’s forest fire satellite FIRMS is clearly showing the frontlines:
That entire lower tendril ending at Bohdanivka is under attack. According to the Pentagon, that line has now collapsed:
Bohdanivka is 40 kilometers (26 miles) away from Kyiv, so this would mean it’s been cleared of Russian troops. Yet there is no video confirmation anywhere that this has, indeed, happened. So take with a giant grain of salt. Similarly, Bucha is 32 kilometers away from central Kyiv. Is this Pentagon official suggesting Russians have been cleared from Bucha, Irpin, and Hostemel airport? There is zero indication this has happened. So let’s just assume something was lost in the translation, because the Pentagon (like the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense) have both been conservative when discussing territorial gains and losses. [See update below, that reporter misreported the briefing.]
The Pentagon has been weird the last couple of days, like this:
Russia has been trying to encircle Ukraine’s significant fighting force on the Donbas front lines because it would isolate and potentially destroy a third of Ukraine’s armed forces. That’s a heck of a prize! It has nothing to do with “reinforcing cities,” since Russia has shown zero ability to take any cities. It still hasn’t managed to take Mariupol, despite having surrounded it from the beginning of the war, isolated, starved, and pounded to oblivion. A Ukrainian retreat from their prepared trench defenses, over open, flat land, would be a turkey shoot for Russian forces, artillery, and air force. The fact that Russia has been unable to dislodge the defenders from those positions speaks to their efficacy.
Ukraine has plenty of defenders in their cities, and Russia severely lacks the troops to make a serious push into most of them. Indeed, it is this confidence in territorial defense forces and prepared urban defenses that has given Ukrainian high command the confidence to go on the offensive around Kyiv and Kherson in the south.
Yesterday, Russia destroyed a key rail junction supplying Ukrainian forces on the Donbas front. If you’re wondering why Russia didn’t do that on day one, that’s an excellent question. It took them a month, but they finally wised up. And that’s the goal, to starve those troops of food and ammo, so that they can either prompt their surrender, or keep hitting them until they run out of ammo and have nothing left with which to fight back.
According to Ukrainian intelligence, those promised Syrian soldiers ain’t coming.
On March 22, a meeting was held between the commander of the 8th Brigade in the southern Syrian province of Dera, Colonel Nasim Abu Irra, and Russian Armed Forces General Alexander Zhuravleov (performs the function of the commander of the Russian group in the southern provinces cíyah of Syria).During the meeting, the Russian general made a clear demand to formulate and provide a list of names and personal information of militants from Abu Irra units and the Syrian Defense Forces ready to participate in the war against Ukraine.The Syrian colonel did not provide a clear answer. Instead, he promised to get in touch after consultation “with other representatives of the management team of the 8th brigade”.
“I’ll get back to you,” is hilarious. Just like Belorussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. Who would want to send troops, knowing Russia would just feed them into the wood chipper? Russia doesn’t even treat its own troops well.
This is a plea from the Ukrainian government to the hobby drone manufacturer DJI. Despite how the text may make this sound, it’s not about those drones being used to carry Russian weapons. It’s not even about those drones being used to spy on Ukrainian positions. It’s about something built into those drones that is called “AeroScope.”
AeroScope is a signal that each drone gives off. It was designed to satisfy the needs of government agencies around the world to locate drones that enter restricted airspace, like that around airports. DJI will sell to “legitimate” purchasers, like government agencies and police forces, both short-rage and long-range tools for detecting these AeroScope signals. Encoded in the signals is both the location of the drone itself, and the location of the drone operator on the ground.
Among those legitimate purchasers of the AeroScope system were Russian agencies and Russian police. Now they are using the AeroScope signal to locate Ukrainian drone operators. And kill them. Sometimes this is soldiers using the DJI drones for reconnaissance. Sometimes these are kids playing with a birthday gift.
According to Ukrainian officials, 100 children have already died from this system. They, understandably, for both humanitarian and military reasons, want DJI to turn off AeroScope.
However, there is an issue. DJI is a Chinese company. China has provided a token amount of humanitarian aid to Ukraine (far less, and this is true, than Daily Kos readers). However, it has not taken any position in support of Ukraine’s military. In fact, there continues to be a chance it might support Russia in some form. So getting AeroScope turned off seems unlikely.
Ah, okay, that tweet above was wrong.
That makes more sense. Russians are still relatively close in NW Kyiv and digging in, but have been driven way back on the eastern side.
Wednesday, Mar 23, 2022 · 11:19:42 PM +00:00
@War_Mapper has updated with the latest information.
Ukraine is close to re-establishing rail service to Chernihiv, and it has clear highway access once again.
Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 12:14:37 AM +00:00
Good stuff is happening around Mykolaiv:
The four town I circled were liberated by Ukraine over the past 24 hours. Really looks like Ukraine is trying to cut off supplies to the north, including the thin tendril reaching for Kryvyi Rih to the northeast of this map. We’ll know or sure if they continue pushing toward Snihurivka, on the right end of this map. Russian morale in this area is constantly assessed to be the worst in the entire war, so it might not take much to break them. Russia may have no choice but to pull back to Kherson.
Note also, these offensives are all relatively small pushes. Ukraine doesn’t have air superiority, so it can’t launch massive attacks without putting a great deal of their troops and equipment at risk. So the strategy is smaller in scope—picking up towns on the edges, then consolidating for a few days. Indeed, there’s a very good chance Ukraine didn’t need to fight for these towns. They may be opportunistic pickups as Russia consolidates its forces.
Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 12:26:54 AM +00:00
Putin’s own propaganda machine is signaling that no peace agreement would be acceptable.
Thursday, Mar 24, 2022 · 12:28:55 AM +00:00
The first tranche of the latest $800m package of assistance that President Biden signed last week began arriving in Ukraine today. So the possibility of seeing a Switchblade in action against Russian artillery could become a reality very soon.
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