Russia/Ukraine INTREPs1–3 27FEB22 Compilation; 1323–2205
[Originally posted on author’s Facebook page; post is publicly available.]
1.) Sweden has stated that they will send Ukraine the following: 5,000 x “anti-armor rocket launchers; 5,000 x body armor kits; 5,000 helmets; 135,000 field rations. The launchers are likely the MBT LAW, also known as the NLAW. The NLAW is a joint British-Swedish venture and has been used to good effect in Ukraine already. This is a sizeable venture.
2.) BP (formerly called British Petroleum), is reportedly dispensing with a 19.7% stake in Rosneft, a Russian state-owned oil firm, citing “acts of aggression in Ukraine.”
3.) Widespread reports of a lax discipline and operational security (OPSEC) by regular Russian forces. Force protection posture of units not actively engaged in combat are, evidently, atrocious. This is not indicative of a modern, first-rate military force. They are failing to follow their own doctrine to a degree that is stunning. Russia’s rear areas, those being areas that connect the front line combat troops with logistical hubs, are nowhere near secure. If Russian forces opt for a switch to siege tactics against UA cities such as Kharkiv and Kyiv, they will likely have to overcome constant harassment and degradation of their already poor ability to resupply.
4.) A Twitter channel was just discussing the previously reported question posed by Ukraine about the removal of Russia from the UN Security Council, the rationale being that Russia occupies the seat given to the Soviet Union and thus should not have a seat. This, again, is an intriguing approach, and even if it’s technically true, there’s the hurdle of a 30-year precedence during which Russia has occupied that seat. There are no mechanisms to my knowledge in the UN Charter for the removal of a country from a permanent seat on said council.
5.) There’s a video of an alleged exchange between a Russian ship (NFI) and a Georgian maintenance ship. Here’s the transcript (I cannot verify the accuracy of these translations, but the gist of it looks legitmate).
Georgian Ship (GS): You Russian?
Russian Ship (RS): Yes.
GS: We refuse you refueling.
RS: Who speaks?
GS: Assistant captain from Georgia. Russian ship, go fuck yourself!
RS: But we run on fumes!
GS: Okay, then row, fucking invaders!
6.) The European Commission has announced that “our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane, and that includes the oligarchs (private jets),” and will ban Russian state-owned media outlets (i.e. propaganda outlets) Sputnik, RT, and their subsidiaries. European Commission also announced sanctions against Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus. As announced, the sanctions are significant, and target a number of industries in Belarus.
7.) Senator Chuck Schumer has stated that the Biden Administration will ask Congress for a $6.4 billion economic and military aid package for Ukraine. Since 2014, the US has provided $2.5 billion in military aid to Ukraine from what I’m seeing, so this represents a substantial increase.
8.) I just watched footage from a TB2 Bayraktar, an unmanned aerial vehicle, that engaged a Russian self-propelled Buk-M. I’ve seen a lot of footage in my day, and looked at a lot of battle damage assessment (BDA) conducted on real-world targets. My assessment: Good effect on target. The TB2 seems to be a decisive player for Ukraine.
8.a.) Edit: Oryx, a site that follows combat operations in various places and reports on losses of military equipment, has confirmed that UA TB2 UAVs have destroyed 4 x 152mm 2A65 Msta-B howitzers; 1 x Tor-M2 (NATO reporting name SA-15 Gauntlet), 4 x KamAZ-6350 8x8 artillery tractors, and 8 x unidentified supply trucks. For Oryx, confirmation must meet very specific criteria.
1.) No news on the meeting between UA and RU that was supposed to happen. Christo Grozev reports that the meeting has been postponed until tomorrow “due to ongoing fighting.” UA delegate requested the location be moved. NFI. This comes as Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko has reported that Kyiv is surrounded and that the evacuation of citizens is no longer currently possible. There are, however, some conflicting reports on this. Other sources are saying that Kyiv is not under siege. There’s some differences in terminology that some might consider semantic. But being surrounded does not mean that a city is under siege. Being surrounded can just mean that enemy forces are blocking lines of communication by virtue of their presence. A siege is usually a little more involved. I suspect we’ll have a better picture in a few hours. This, dear readers, is often a problem with open source information in a rapidly moving situation.
2.) Floating around are some images of a destroyed T-90 and a video showing an abandoned T-90, stuck in the mud, that was towing a 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled artillery gun of 152mm. This could indicate a lack of sufficient recovery vehicles, in both cases. The 2S3 is clearly non-op; the T-90 was left behind after getting stuck.
3.) Some reports are saying that Berdyans’k has fallen to Russian forces. Berdyans’k is a port city east of Mariupol, which has been the scene of some heavy fighting. This seems to have been confirmed by Berdyans’k’s mayor on a Telegram feed. NFI. Mariupol seems to be essentially cut off, if this is true. RU Air Force is evidently active over that city.
Addendum: I’ve resisted the temptation up to now, partly out of superstition and partly because of an incomplete picture, but I’m growing slowly more and more convinced that we may be witnessing the death throes of the Putin regime. Time will tell, of course. But protests by regular Russians are, it seems, ongoing. Several thousand of them have been arrested; more than 2,000 on Sunday alone. Inevitably, news will begin trickling back to Russian mothers about the unsustainable losses Russian boys are suffering in Ukraine. There are murmurs about elites and high-level officials in Putin’s government becoming concerned and dissatisfaction is spreading. No authoritarian, no matter how long in power, is wholly immune to ouster, especially if he is surrounded by disgruntled people who’ve come to expect certain things and are now being denied. We may be on the precipice of some world-changing events. Let us hope that everyone can keep their cooler heads regardless of what happens.
1.) Large RU forces positioned outside of Kyiv, possibly supported by the previously reported large convoy, will likely begin movement toward and engaging UA positions in Kyiv beginning between 0500–0600 local. Which would be in just a few minutes. Air assets have been reported near Zhlobin, Belarus heading toward UA, possibly indicative of the previously reported air assault featuring Belarusian troops. Additionally, reports of helicopter assets flying IVO Rechitsa, Belarus. Another hypothesis is that some of these air assets could be RU planes providing CAS or a combat air patrol to assist movement toward Kyiv by RU forces. Size/amount of these assets is not known. Some sources report RU fighter assets sortieing from Gomel, Belarus. Reporting suggested previously that the Kremlin issued a directive that Kyiv be taken by Monday no matter the cost. Tomorrow/today is Monday. I’d expect heavy fighting IVO Kyiv.
1.a.) Kyiv will likely be a death trap for RU forces for the foreseeable future. Expect to see rapid advancement into the city along certain avenues of approach, which will overstretch and expose elements of RU forces. This will allow UA forces to target these forces with near impunity, often from elevated positions within the city, and at their flanks. Expect also numerous sniper positions, well prepared and well concealed.
2.) Kharkiv was under heavy assault throughout the night, though at this time it it appears that Kharkiv withstood that assault, as it has all previous assaults. UA soldiers allegedly looted burned out Tigr-M vehicles.
3.) Ruble is continuing to crater. Reuters reports that “Several European subsidiaries of Sberbank Russia, majority owned by the Russian government, are failing or are likely to fail due to reputational costs of war in Ukraine, the European Central Bank, the lender’s supervisor, said on Monday.” The economic costs mount up.
It will be another long day in Kyiv.