Russia/Ukraine INTSUM 01MAR22–2; 1733 Eastern/0033 Kyiv
[Originally posted on author’s Facebook page; post is publicly available.]
1.) Shelling in Kyiv has been ongoing. RU forces appear to be targeting the Kyiv TV Tower with missiles and artillery, and the structure has been hit. Reuters reports that five people were killed as a result. Additionally, the Kyiv Independent has stated that some communications from the tower have been disrupted, which was likely the purpose. It further appears that some buildings around the tower were also struck, possibly consisting of residential apartments. The Kyiv TV Tower, completed in 1973, is 1,263 ft high, and constructed of metal pipe. It was the first metal tower in the world to be welded, and was not exceeded in height for its type until 2012.
1.a.) The convoy approaching Kyiv from the northwest has reportedly not continued its advanced in quite some time. US defense official has stated that RU forces are running out of food and are likely low on fuel. Some reports are that RU troops are surrendering without putting up any resistance which, if true, possibly confirms these severe logistical issues. A captured RU soldier had a ration cared showing issued field rations with an expiration date of 2015, and there have been widespread reports of RU troops foraging for food and fuel from towns. It is likely that RU forces are taking an operational pause with hopes to get adequate resupply and to rest personnel before their eventual advance on Kyiv. They’re going to have to figure out how to secure their logistics lines.
2.) Kharkiv continues to suffer heavy MLRS fire, likely with cluster munitions of the sort discussed the other day. Additionally, what appears to be an ammunition depot southeast of the city may have been struck, resulting in a very large explosion and subsequent secondary explosions. If you’re seeing these types of explosions in which a shock wave is visible, don’t jump to the most extreme hypothesis. Even a small warhead hitting a lot of ammo can make a very large blast. Anything “bigger” would be a major turning point and would be all over every news station in the world. Additionally, it’s hard to make out scale on these videos at night. It is *possible* that this was the result of a thermobaric weapon employed against the target, though this is not confirmed.
3.) [Analyst’s Comment: I am highly skeptical of the following information. Russian forces have historically been very good at denial and deception (maskirovka) at every level — tactical, operational, and strategic. If this information is true, then it indicates a stunning, catastrophic failure in preparation and logistics. However, in such cases, it is important to consider a deliberate effort to mislead forces engaged with RU.] Earlier today, it was reported that RU forces have been relying on civilian, unencrypted analog radios, communicating in the clear with very few OPSEC practices. This problem is not even at the squad level; it’s allegedly at the brigade level. A Baofeng radio was found on an infantry POW captured by UA forces on 27 Feb 22. UA civilians are, allegedly, engaging in widespread jamming of these communications during fire fights. The conversations can, again, be heard for almost anyone listening. Observed conversations have shown a lack of coordination between units and an increasingly dire logistical situation. One source speculated that the radio/comms problem may be why RU has not widely deployed or used electronic warfare equipment that had been observed during the buildup. This equipment would basically render RU forces wholly unable to communicate. If all this is true, it would represent to me one of the most stunning and baffling aspects of this entire invasion. A modern army unequipped to communicate on a modern battlefield is not a modern army at all. So again, I want to stress that I remain skeptical of this reporting for the time being. More elite units, even if this is true, will undoubtedly be equipped with better communications gear.
4.) Fighting around Mariupol remains intense, with UA drone footage showing UA artillery engaging RU targets in an urban area. Reports from UA forces in the city state that they are, indeed surrounded at this point.
5.) The UK recently announced sanctions against Belarus due to the latter’s “abetting” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The sanctions are targeted, aimed at several government defense ministry individuals and two military industries (an aircraft repair facility and a semi-conductor manufacturer). I would expect that those sanctions expand in the coming days, especially if it’s confirmed that Belarusian troops have entered Ukraine in order to support Russian operations there.
6.) There’s a picture of what appears to be a section of a RU Su-34 wing, taken in Kharkiv. The section is no longer attached to an airplane. The Su-34 Fullback is a strike aircraft used to bomb things. It is a side-by-side two seat aircraft that is very capable. Video shows a Pantsir-S1, an air defense system, on fire. It has the infamous “Z” painted on it. UA forces claim to have captured a TOS-1 MLRS system. Oryx reports as confirmed 366 RU assets as losses, including 22 x T-80s, 10 x T-72B3s, and 5 x T-90s. In total, RU has lost 45 main battle tanks (destroyed, damaged, abandoned, or captured) in less than a week of fighting. Losing nine tanks a day in this war is not sustainable. The number of abandoned vehicles in general seems extraordinarily high.
7.) European Parliament President Roberta Metsola has indicated that the EU will work with Ukraine toward joining that body. President Zelenskyy had recently asked for an expedited membership and signed Ukriane’s application yesterday. “We must face the future together,” Metsola said. She further presented four goals for the EU, including the end of EU’s reliance on “Kremlin gas,” and an increase in investment in Europe’s defense.
7.a.) As a somewhat humorous aside, President Zelenskyy was in a television show called “Servant of the People” (2015–2019). In this show, which he developed, his character inexplicably became the Ukrainian president. One episode shows then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling him to say that his country was being welcomed into the EU. A visibly excited Zelenskyy, jumping up and down, states that the people of Ukraine have been wanting it for so long. After a pause, Merkel apologizes and says that she thought she was calling Montenegro. Zelenskyy’s character then politely congratulates Montenegro, before jumping into an expletive-filled rant after he hangs up.
8.) EU officials have signaled that they will consider asylum for RU soldiers who desert. UA released a video of a Russian soldier calling his mother, crying. He states that their (his) commanders “leave the dead on the field…they finished off all the wounded in my unit.” Russia, the presumptive propaganda master, is losing the propaganda war by leaps and bounds. It seems likely that they didn’t even win the hearts and minds of their own rank and file soldiers.
Admin Note: Every past post, what I’ve labelled INTSUMs and INTREPs (intelligence summaries are the longer; intelligence reports the shorter reporting) has been uploaded to my Medium page. I will post a link below. Today’s reporting (2 x reports/INTSUMs thus far) have not due to Medium’s limits on daily posts (15). Thanks for reading. More to follow.