Russia/Ukraine INTREP 26FEB22–1; 1643 Eastern/2343 Kyiv
[Originally posted on author’s Facebook page; post is publicly available.]
This update is out of order; apologies.
1.) Evidently, the entirety of the EU is closing its airspace to Russian airlines. Russia, and Russians, grow ever-more isolated from the rest of the world. At this point, it seems their purpose is to surpass DPRK in isolation.
2.) It appears that Kyiv is under assault, yet again, tonight. Air raid sirens audible in some videos. A bit ago, some Twitter feeds were reporting that the “Bear Net” frequency was active. I can’t remember the freq, and I tried to listen to it the other day. In any case, this tends to indicate activity amongst Russian strategic bombers of the sort that might launch cruise missiles. I wonder if that means Kyiv is being struck by cruise missiles. Local officials say that a massive RU Air Force attack is imminent.
2.a.) I have to toot my own horn real quick, because it seems like my estimate that Russian troops would not be entering Kyiv until at least Sunday has so far been proven mostly true. Elements, perhaps reconnaissance or other probes, have entered. But massed RU units were reportedly still thirty kilometers (~19 miles) from the city center as of a few hours ago, according to the UK’s defense ministry. It is unlikely that they will enter Kyiv en masse tonight. That’s not to say that it’s safe to walk around downtown. Again, it is not easy to take modern cities.
3.) A Tweet about a war of attrition got me thinking. If this does happen to settle into such a war, then the odds shift substantially in favor of Ukraine. That seems preposterous on its face due to the disparity of the two nations’ military forces. However, UA is fighting in the defense, for their own nation’s continued freedom. Morale is incredibly high. On top of that, the war materiel flood gates are about to open from the West, pouring resources into UA. Additionally, a lot of money will be given. Russian forces have to deal with the fact that they seem to be ill-trained and equipped to handle the task given to them thus far, are suffering disproportional losses, and are being slowly cut off from virtually the entirety of the outside world, from finance to travel. I don’t see a war of attrition as sustainable from Russian perspective. I think Putin would agree, because he seems to have thought that this would not take very long. I’m also guessing that those troops who’ve been sitting around the border and in Belarus “training” are sort of sick of being deployed at this point. And now they’re being attacked by Molotov cocktails and Javelin missiles, and their rocket and artillery forces and air force has been unable to render UA’s defenses moot. I’ve never wanted to be a Russian soldier less than I do right now.
3.a.) Speaking of which, UA Major General Borys Kremenetsky stated that, “We have captured around 200 Russian soldiers, some around 19 years old. Not trained at all. Badly equipped. We allow them to call their parents. Parents completely surprised.” Interesting. Unsurprising if true.
4.) Russia claimed that the US was involved in UA naval operations IVO Zmiiny Island (Snake Island). John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, says those claims are false and that “We did not provide ISR or any other support.” Kirby has to say that. I’ll refrain from further comment regarding it other than to say that we have had some ISR in that area quite frequently. True or not, it seems like Russia is trying to make some connections for reasons.
5.) Su-25 Frogfoot, a close air support plane similar in purpose to the A-10, was observed on video being hit by a MANPADS near Kherson. It seems that the aircraft survived with damage. Su-25s are built tough, but that particular air frame won’t be flying again for a bit.