Today’s post focuses on issues of Ukrainian infrastructure. An infrastructure that was built up by many generations of industrious working men and women, toiling like beavers to make their country better.
The original plan, when the Russian army began its “special operation”, was to spare as much of this infrastructure as physically possible. Which is in stark contrast to the American way of doing war. Namely, the “Shock and Awe” methodology, which just points the muzzle forward and blows away everything in its path. If something is in your way, be it a building full of innocent people, or a heritage site thousands of years old, or a museum containing priceless exhibits — it don’t matter. If it’s in your way, you just blast it to smithereens. That’s the American way of doing war.
When it comes to the Ukraine — Russians didn’t do it that way. At least, not at first. But after weaponry starting rolling in from NATO countries, on what a Russian spokesperson called “an endless carousel”, it seems like things are starting to change. Russia is truly worried about this weaponry — especially the offensive weaponry — I was reading yesterday how one of these big guns is capable of shooting a projectile that could almost reach Moscow. I’ve said it before: If Azov had nukes, then Moscow would have been toast already.
Pro-Russian hard-liners like Yury Podolyaka have been insisting for weeks now that more needs to be done to destroy this NATO weaponry before it reaches the front. Hence Putin is under that kind of pressure from patriots who think he has just been tiptoeing through the tulips instead of fighting a real war.
No More Mister Nice Guy
I saw this piece from around 5 days ago, the reporter is Kristina Tsytsura. Her main source for this piece is Israeli analyst Yakov Kedmi.
The Americans have been supplying the Ukrainians with multiple-launch rocket systems (реактивные системы залпового огня). Most of this stuff comes in across the Polish border. Ukrainians need a way to get this stuff to the Eastern Front. Problem: The Russians control the air, and it’s too conspicuous to just drive it across in convoys of trucks. So, the Ukrainians, using typical peasant cunning, started loading this equipment into passenger trains. Along with actual passengers, sitting in nearby cars. Utilizing the fact that Russians are too kind-hearted (or too sensitive to world public opinion) to just start blatantly bombing passenger trains.
This next piece, by reporters Artur Priymak and Rafael Fakhrutdinov, explains how the Russians employed counter-cunning to get around this cute trick without harming actual passengers: They started bombing the substation power lines which supply the trains.
A word of explanation for people who don’t realize that most passenger trains in the Ukraine run on electricity instead of diesel. They actually have wires above, like those old trams from World War II movies. Substations along the way distribute and boost the electrical power. In Russian, these are called тяговые подстанции (“traction substations”). If a substation goes down, the train is paralyzed. Passengers are inconvenienced, but not killed. The Russian army apparently commands a full detailed mapping of all the Ukrainian substations, and they can hit any one they like, at any time, using long-distance precision strikes. Brilliant!
According to Russian army spokesperson Igor Konashenkov (this news was from April 26), the following substations were hit by precision artillery: Krasnoe and Kovel (the Lvov railway network); Zdolbunov (Rovno); Zhmerinka and Korosten (Zhitomir); and another Zhmerinka (Vinnitsya). All of these substations are in the Western Oblasts of the Ukraine, so the idea is to paralyze the trains bringing NATO weaponry in from Poland and destined for the Eastern front.
Colonel Viktor Baranets explains to the reporters: “We didn’t want to strike the railroads, knowing that the Ukrainians use passenger trains to carry their military technology donated by the U.S. The Ukrainians resorted to such cunning: the electric train, the passenger car — they would attach a platform containing the technology. We were worried that [if we struck it] the Ukrainians would accuse us of targeting the civilian population. […] Then we came up with the idea of hitting the substations. That’s a way of causing least harm to the peaceful population. And so, the railway war has begun…”
Next: We turn our attention to the Bridges
[to be continued]