Russia/Ukraine INTREP-1 07MAR22; 2010 Eastern/0210 Kyiv
1.) A journalist from the Kyiv Independent states that UA forces conducted offensive operations, allegedly by UA naval infantry, against the airfield in RU controlled Kherson, destroying 30 Russian aircraft (likely helicopters). Synthetic aperature radar (SAR) imagery from 06 March showed at least 49 helicopters at the base. This requires some verification, but if true represents a very significant loss of helo assets in one action.
2.) Ukraine claims to have killed General Major Vitaly Gerassimov, who was the chief of staff for the 41st Combined Arms Army near Kharkiv, which would be the second general grade officer killed in the last 11 days. This was potentially confirmed by an intercepted phone call between an FSB officer attached to that army and his supervisor in Tula, Russia. Significantly, the FSB officer, who was using an unsecured phone with a local SIM card, asked the senior officer to use a secure communication system called Era, and was told that Era is not working. If this is true, then Russian forces have an incredibly limited ability to use secure communications and it would seem that a majority of comms are happening in the clear.
3.) The mayor of Hostomel, Yury Prylypko, has reportedly been killed by Russian forces while distributing food aid to residents of the town. Two other people were also killed.
4.) The US State Department suggests that Russian forces may soon attempt to interdict arms shipments into Ukraine. Additionally, the US states that close to 100% of the combat power RU had deployed prior to the invasion is now in Ukraine. It will be interesting to see in the coming days just how, exactly, Russian forces will interdict these arms shipments or, even, if they will. I am not clear as to what that might mean in terms of escalation of this conflict. The efficacy of these arms shipments is very apparent, with considerable damage done to Russian forces in Ukraine. As discussed previously, it does seem unlikely that Russia will continue to allow these shipments. Seventeen thousand anti-tank guided missiles delivered in one week is a substantial number, and I can’t see Russia sitting on its heels. That said, I’m not sure how Russia intends to interdict these shipments coming in from the western border of Ukraine.
5.) Speaking about the seemingly indiscriminate nature of Russian artillery and air strikes, US officials stated that they “cannot assess with specificity how much of those strikes…are deliberate and how much of them are simply the result of imprecision.”
6.) During negotiations between RU and UA today, which in part discussed the potential for localized cease-fires that would allow civilians to depart certain cities under assault, Russia suggested that evacuees from Mariupol just cross into the two separatist republics because it’s closer. This was evidently rejected.
7.) Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics told Secretary of State Antony Blinken that his nation would like a permanent US military presence in his country. He stated, “Looking at the most recent developments we would be very happy about the permanent presence of U.S. forces here in Latvia. We have no illusions about Putin’s Russia anymore, we don’t really see any good reason to assume Russia might change its policy.” Once again, it seems likely that Putin miscalculated, and his moves in Ukraine have bolstered support for the continued and increased militarization of Eastern Europe by NATO.
8.) Russia is allegedly planning to recruit Syrians to fight in Ukraine. This may indicate some concerns regarding manpower, whether in terms of losses or morale.
9.) According to Senator Mark Warner, a US ban on Russian oil imports could come very soon. It should be noted, however, that the US does not import significant amounts of Russian oil or gas.
10.) IBM has stated that it will suspend all business in Russia. Rockstar Games has made its games unavailable to Russian players through Steam. Epic Games has blocked payments in Russia.
This intelligence report (INTREP) is intended to provide some timely information as the situation evolves. A full intelligence summary (INTSUM) will be published tomorrow morning. Thanks for reading.