A COUNTER-STRIKE OPPORTUNITY OPENS UP FOR THE KYIV (24 03 2023)
Political strategic level
Yesterday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made his third visit in two days to heavily war-affected areas of the country. He travelled to the southern region of Kherson, where he met local security officials and inspected the infrastructure affected by Russian strikes.
Late last year, Ukraine regained control of the capital of Kherson region after the Russian occupiers left the city. They took Kherson at the very beginning of their large-scale invasion, almost without resistance. At the time, many people questioned the betrayal, which is still being talked about more and more loudly now, in the search for those responsible. Today, the Dnieper River marks the front line in a region that is still partly occupied.
On Wednesday, Mr Zelensky visited Kharkiv, the country's second largest city in north-east Ukraine. Kyiv's troops recaptured Kharkiv from the Russians in September last year in a weeks-long offensive that also saw the liberation of other smaller towns and settlements, such as Izum, which was seen as an impregnable fortress. The latter the Russians managed to occupy without resistance because of the possible presence of active collaborators.
V. Zelensky also met with troops in the eastern Donetsk region, visited a hospital to see wounded soldiers and presented state awards to the defenders of Bakhmut.
These visits, far from Kyiv and close to the front line, with the weather improving and the ground drying up, indicate that serious changes are coming on the battlefield. The bitter winter weather, followed by the mud turning to mush as the ground thawed, prevented major offensives by either side and the war, in the estimation of many, was stalemated.
We, however, who have seen the hot and the cold, calmly observe that every day of stalemate, when there was nothing to write down under the headlines that irritated the nerves of the public, meant, and still means, hundreds of dead and wounded young men and women, thousands of tragedies, on both sides. War is ugly, stupid, brutal, openly aggressive, where blood and the basest instincts spill freely. War is a very accurate reflection of who man is. Who we are.
Yes, we, because we are all responsible for it.
The Russian occupying forces, despite all the claims of the experts who say the same thing day after day: 'the war will end tomorrow with the crushing of Moscow', are not going to retreat. They have set up defensive fortifications in all four annexed territories - Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhia - which have been 'legalised' as Russian territory by the international crime syndicate in the Kremlin.
The commander of the Ukrainian ground forces said yesterday that Russian forces are "exhausted" by the constant attempts to take Bakhmut, which gives Kyiv the opportunity to launch a counter-strike. Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi wrote on his account that "we will seize this opportunity very soon, as we once did at Kyiv, Kharkiv, Balakliya and Kupyansk".
The difference with the last surprise attack is that no one trumpeted it then. If this is a military subterfuge to divert attention from the offensive operations in Kherson and Crimea, it seems to us that it is aimed more at the general public than at the planners of Russia's war crimes in Ukraine.
Be that as it may, Russia is certainly not going to apologise 'for everything' and withdraw its forces behind the Urals with its tail wagging. Unfortunately, with Chinese support, the Drisky horde is preparing for fierce and bloody battles.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy secretary of some council chaired by Führer Putin, told reporters yesterday in a video that Russia's relations with the West have reached an all-time low. Asked whether the threat of a nuclear conflict had diminished, Mr Medvedev said: "No, it has not decreased, it has increased. Every day that they supply Ukraine with foreign weapons brings the nuclear apocalypse closer". Calling the German Minister of Justice a "prig" and a "wimp", he also threatened that if Germany arrested Putin, such an action would be tantamount to a declaration of war and would lead to a Russian strike against Germany.
And if the seriousness of the alcoholic's ravings is not even remotely comparable to the warnings of Zhirinovsky, who is shrinking with Kobzon in the hell of Chiastushki, the words of the Pentagon chief are thought-provoking.
"Xi's visit to Putin and his few days with him, I think, sends a very disturbing message, a message of support (for Russia)," said Lloyd Austin at a hearing of the US House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.
Hungary welcomed Medvedev's alcohol delirium speech. A Hungarian official said that the country's authorities would not detain Russian President Vladimir Putin if he came to the country, despite the fact that an international arrest warrant has been issued against him.
But there is some really good news. The Turkish Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission has approved a draft law ratifying Finland's application to join NATO. Parliament has yet to approve the bill and is expected to do so by mid-April, before the parliamentary and presidential elections on 14 May.
European Union leaders on Thursday approved a plan to send 1 million artillery rounds to Ukraine over the next 12 months to enable the country to resist Russian invasion forces. EU foreign and defence ministers earlier this week endorsed the plan for a fast-track procurement procedure, and the bloc's 27 heads of state gave it their political backing yesterday at a summit in Brussels.
The EU also announced the preparation of an 11th package of sanctions against Russia, aimed at circumventing the restrictive measures already in place.
During the UN summit with EU leaders, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed that the bloc wants to "ensure that Russia's terrible war of aggression against Ukraine does not lead to food insecurity in the world". For her part, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas spoke out against any easing of sanctions against Moscow, which the terrorists are demanding in exchange for grain supplies, and called for tighter limits on the price of Russian oil exports.
Mr Zelensky, who joined the video, asked Europe to speed up and increase the supply of weapons, including long-range missiles and modern aircraft, and to impose additional sanctions on Russia, otherwise predicting a protracted war.
However, there has been no sign of a breakthrough within the EU on the proposed new sanctions against Moscow's ally Belarus. Lithuania (and rightly so) opposed the exemptions allowing fertiliser to transit through Europe, which, according to Russia's supporters, would help to secure food security in Africa.
That's right. It turns out that Lithuania is guilty of starving children in Africa.
Yesterday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured members of Congress that the billions of dollars already approved for Ukraine should be enough for most of the year, and he was confident that all measures were being taken to ensure that the funds would be used properly.
"We have 45 people working in our embassy in Ukraine whose job it is to oversee the use of this money," Mr Blinken told the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee during a hearing on the State Department's budget request. Several Republican lawmakers have questioned the amount of money being sent to Kyiv, given the huge US budget deficit and talk of cuts to domestic programmes.
The Slovak defence ministry announced that the first four of the 13 Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets that Slovakia decided to donate to Ukraine have been safely handed over to the Ukrainian air force.
The Ministry said that the combat aircraft were flown from Slovakia to Ukraine by Ukrainian pilots with the assistance of the Slovak Air Force, Ukrainian personnel and others. The remaining MiG-29s will be handed over to the Ukrainian side in the coming weeks, the Ministry said.
After yesterday's cheerful reports in the media that the invaders were retreating to Novo Kakhovka in the south of Ukraine, a deep disappointment awaited those hungry for good news today. It turns out that the information "was published due to incorrect use of available data." The marauders have not left the settlement and continue to rampage there.
During the night, Russia attacked Kryvyi Rih with six unmanned "Shakheds", one of which the defenders managed to shoot down. Unconfirmed reports indicate that no casualties were reported and that other consequences of the attack are being assessed.
Yesterday, the Russian occupiers launched a total of 37 air and 4 missile strikes, once on Kramatorsk. The enemy also fired 82 rounds of salvo fire.
The likelihood of air strikes remains high in Ukraine.
The horde is attacking towards Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Maryinka and Shakhtarsk. On this front, the Guards have repulsed more than 79 enemy attacks.
Contrary to what the experts in the comfortable armchairs in front of the computer monitors say, the Russians have not stopped the attack on Bakhmut. It was in the vicinity of this town that most of the clashes on this part of the front took place on 23 March.
Because of the heavy losses the occupiers were suffering on a daily basis, the enemy decided to increase the number of beds in the hospitals operating in the temporarily occupied territory of the Luhansk region. The number of beds in the military hospital in Troitsk was doubled from 200 to 400. All wounded officers were evacuated by helicopter to the territory of the Russian Federation on 17-18 March.
The mortality rate of wounded occupiers is increasing. This is due to an increase in the number of serious injuries and poor medical care, in particular due to the lack of professionalism of medical personnel.
Yesterday, the Ukrainian Air Force carried out 12 air strikes against the occupying forces' personnel and military equipment. The Ukrainian defenders also shot down two Kh-59 cruise missiles and 4 unmanned aerial vehicles of various types.
Rocket and artillery units hit a Russian command post, a focal point for enemy manpower, weapons and military equipment, an anti-aircraft missile system and 2 fuel and oil depots.
As the weather warms up and spring knocks on windows and hearts, Member of the Seimas A. Skardžius cannot control his hormonal storm. After joining the Social Democratic Party in the morning, he has already left it in the evening.
You can't fight nature. Even bison have formed a large herd in the Kaunas region, near Vandžiogala, and are wondering where to go next, according to the State Service for Protected Areas.
Thank God, the Member of the Seimas is not a herd of bison.
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Pictured here, a Ukrainian soldier strokes a cat near Bakhmut, 23 March 2023, Aris Messinis/AFP.
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