First my apologies for the flippant headline. I personally abhor all loss of human life. On the other hand, I have been waiting patiently for quite a long time to employ that particular pun, so I should be forgiven.
Secondly, you may have seen the big news in other forums, regarding the Russian military wiping out much of the Ukrainian General Staff in a single air strike. This happened yesterday, around 12:30 hours. A Russian Cruise Missile launched from the Black Sea struck a village called Shirokaya Dacha, in the Dnepropetrovsk Oblast, killing over 50 Ukrainian generals and other officers as they gathered for a convocation. Their operational working group known as “Alexandria” included the commanders of the “Kakhovka” parachute troopers and several other units operating in the Nikolaev and Zaporozhie fronts. So, these guys got together, they were meeting and chatting, probably drinking some tea, and then BOOM! If you have to die, it’s probably the best way to go, because it’s so quick.
The news of their instant obliteration was sensational, and all over the Russian blogosphere, everybody is talking about it. What I can add is some backstory, and also some expert analysis, based on this piece from the Russian mainstream media. The reporter is Alyona Zadorozhnaya.
First some backstory: Celebrity-watchers spotted DPR Head Denis Pushilin walking the red carpet at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum this past weekend. It is said that Pushilin made a direct and official appeal to Vladimir Putin: Please do something to stop this ungodly shelling of Donetsk civilian infrastructure. People are dying like flies.
Some pundits assume that this missile strike was part of the response. Gossips say that Russo-Ukrainian back-channels exist; that Russians have hitherto avoided such blatant attacks against Ukrainian decision-making centers and individual leaders; and that Russians have warned their Ukrainian “colleagues” not to presume on the continuation of such forbearance. It is further rumored that the Ukrainians ignored these subliminal warnings and continued to target the people of Donetsk. And that this is the response, as promised. When will they ever learn, that the Russian state does not bluff?
Full Control of Land, Sea, Air
On the other hand, other pundits, such as the one interviewed in Zadorozhnaya’s piece, believe that the purpose of the strike was to abort a specific operation. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that both things can’t be true. The reporter interviewed a man named Sergei Khatylev, who is touted as a military expert, and by the look of his photo has a chest full of stripes and medals to prove it. Plus, Khatylev (now retired) used to command the special Zenith-Rocket forces for Special Operations, so he definitely knows from rockets.
Khatylev: “The determination of the exact location of these Ukrainian Generals and [other] officers — this was the fruit of our Intel, our Spetznaz, and our spy agencies. Together with the Russian military command, they prepared a brilliant operation which resulted in the mass elimination of the enemy’s General Staff.
“Our modern means of Intel allow us to know the exact locations of Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) generals and officers with an accuracy close to 100%. Then our very accurate rockets can reach [any spot] in the Ukraine from any border. The entire territory of the Ukraine is under our fire control. For example, from the Black Sea we can launch Kalibr missiles. Our Kinzhal missiles are air-based, and we can also launch ground-based missiles such as the Iskander.
“The trickiest task was the determination of the time and place of the meeting of the UAF military leadership. For this purpose we have [human] Intel, Special Ops troops, and also information from our agentura [e.g., spies].”
Khatylev goes on to speculate that this particular meeting had the agenda of discussing how best to employ the new weapons donated by the West. Those guys were probably planning some kind of operation, he thinks. The operation might have been urgent, like in the next few hours. Which also explains the urgency of the decision to wipe these guys out before they could even get started on whatever it was that they were planning.
Nice pun, yalensis – you’r e forgiven!
I agree with your thought that this might have been an occasion of killing two birds with one stone: demonstrating their support for Pushilin’s plea, and destroying the planning for a new attack. The gentleman producing the daily ‘Military Summary’ videos on utube pointed out last evening that there were signs of another Attack planned for Snake Island – perhaps putting paid to this plan by the destruction of this meeting of ‘high officers’ was an additional Russian consideration.
Given that the missiles came from ships in the black Sea I think High militaries in the USA and the UK ought to ponder the vulnerability of their command centres from such attacks.
On that background, I found this remark extremely significant – it’s the first paragraph in the report you linked to:
“”Russia promised to strike at Ukrainian decision-making centers. And this is actually one such example. Yes, so far we are not talking about strategic, but rather about operational decision-making centers, but they are also important,” said military expert, corresponding member of the Academy of Military Sciences Alexander Bartosh.”
That means to me that this is also a warning: strategic centres can and will be reached should the occasion demand. Let’s not forget that Mr Putin alone knows where the ‘red lines’ are (he said so, and that he wasn’t going to tell …). That means though that his general staff must have worked out detailed plans for whatever centres which the can then execute within hours.
If that doesn’t make for squeaky-bum-time in Kiev, London, Washington and (one can hope!) Brussels then I dunno what would …
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Yeah, thanks for quoting that, colliemum. In my post I ended up editing out poor old Bartosh and his opinions, just to make the post briefer. Based on his name, by the way, I would guess his folks were ethnic Hungarians.
In reality, they sought it out with the bombardment of the civilian population in the Dombas, the Russians endured until they decided to stop a criminal conduct without military ends that only sought applause and the pumping of more money from the West.
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Sadly, it’s getting worse. I was just reading today, that the Ukrainians employed their first American HIMARS battery …. (you guessed it) against civilians in Donetsk.
It wasn’t “much of the General Staff” that was wiped out. Zadorozhnaya refers to “генералитет” and she and the Russian MoD Telegram channel both refer to “more than 50 generals and officers.” I think the General Staff must be located in Kiev, no?
This village is 25Km from centre of Kiev, so quite feasible for a meeting given that they must me hopping from place to place and not staying permanently in one building.
No it’s not. It’s in the south, 450 km from Kyiv. Shirokaya Dacha.
That’s what I read too. Shirokaya Dacha, which is Southwest of Kryvoi Rog.
Initially, the RT headline read something like “50 Generals and other officers killed”. That headline stunk like propaganda and was rightly ridiculed. “Wow, they killed 50 generals at once, in what fantasy world?” The new headline is what it should have been from the start, “Dozens of Ukrainian officers killed in missile strike” because that headline states a fact without deliberately distorting its perception.
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The exact headline from RT was:
“Over 50 Ukrainian generals and officers killed in missile strike – Russia”.
That directly mirrored the statement from Russia’s MOD, cited within the article:
“More than 50 generals and officers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were killed”.
Naturally, your results may vary. But I see nothing remotely “propagandistic” in accurately relaying that official statement. Nor does it distort perception in any way. To the contrary, it’s your paraphrase that does so, falsely implying “50 generals killed at once”. Perhaps the righteous ridicule should be re-directed in this case.
I agree headline was misleading. Typical of Russian press: technically not a lie if you call them on it, but misleading nonetheless. For example, there could have been 2 generals killed and 48 lieutenants, so the headline is technically still not a lie.
My favorite example of a misleading (but technically correct) headline from Russian press, was one I saw several years ago in a Russian tabloid: “Americans admit they were never on the moon.”
Then you read the article, the Russian reporter went to a planetarium somewhere in the U.S. where they were showing the moon, and interviewed several ordinary Americans: “Have you ever stepped foot on the moon?” “Me? No….”
There should be an award for headlines of this ilk. Call it “The Posties”, after the New York Post!
A great many people don’t think the Americans ever went to the moon. This is discussed in great depth in the article linked below and if you have the time and the inclination the discussion in the comments that follow the article are illuminating.
eg. ““NASA admitted in 2006 that no one could find the original video recordings of the July 20, 1969, landing. Since then, Richard Nafzger, an engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, who oversaw television processing at the ground-tracking sites during the Apollo 11 mission, has been looking for them. The good news is he found where they went. The bad news is they were part of a batch of 200,000 tapes that were degaussed — magnetically erased — and re-used to save money.”
That’s insane that they would erase the tapes, if that was their only proof! Okay, I promise I’ll read the unz article and see what they have to say.
Totally NOT a swastika – thanks for trucking on despite horrible Gravatar, LOL!
That is a truly unfortunate Gravatar image. I noticed your plaintive explanation of “it’s not me!” a few days ago. I thought those images were random and varied from comment to comment — surprised they don’t. You’re stuck with it, mate! Perhaps you could sell it to someone from the Azov Brigade (if there are any left alive) and they could use it to post troll comments on Yalensis’s blog.
I too always just assumed those wordpress avatars were random and varied from one comment to another, I’m too dense to have ever noticed a pattern. Now I realize, thanks to Mr. Swastika, that they are a kind of QRCode, maybe even before QRCodes were invented. Swasti [as we’ll call him henceforth] figured it out: that WordPress hashes a commenter’s email address into a given pattern of pixels/colors.
The only solution is to GET A NEW EMAIL ADDRESS. Either that, or create your own thumbnail gravatar, like I did!
The downside of which, as I explained before, is that said Gravatar will follow you everywhere on the internet and eventually into the hands of the NSA and CIA! So, they will know everything you ever said and thought. Just don’t ever blog or comment while drunk, nor after a big breakup with your significant other, that’s my only advice.
“So, they will know everything you ever said and thought.”
They’ve got everything recorded, but there’s so much info-haystack that they won’t bother searching for your needle unless you represent a challenge to the Power System. Like someone running for political office, or an anti-establishment individual who’s amassed a following. Otherwise, you’re not enough of a threat to be worth the effort it takes to squash you.
After I left the U.S., I gave up trying to change The System via protest marches and other civic activism. TPTB don’t care what peaceful protesters say. Only violence matters. I am a mere Internet loudmouth with my Gravatar of Rocko the Wallaby (from a Nickelodeon cartoon my daughter watched when she was young.) Not worth an extradition request or an Anwar al-Awlaki type drone strike. You, on the other hand, might be worth a few squints from the Eye of Sauron if your blog keeps getting mentioned on Naked Capitalism and other more trafficked websites.
I tell the paranoid patients on the psych wards “Of course the CIA has a record of everything you said or did. But you’re a single person who’s in a marginal position in life. You’re not important enough for them to be spying on you.” I phrase it more tactfully than that, of course. It’s a common delusion among schizophrenics that “THEY” are watching everything and hacking their Facebook accounts, etc. That still doesn’t stop the patients from spouting on antisocial media or carrying their mobile phones everywhere (which DO record where you go, and funnel all sorts of information to corporations who want to know how long you spent in that particular store, so why don’t they send you some spamads for the latest specials…)
When I suggest to patients that they are paying for the privilege of carrying a Big Brother tracking device, and if they were really worried, they should leave it at home, it’s like I was telling them to walk in public around without any pants on their arse. Which they do sometimes when they’re quite unwell, often resulting in an involuntary trip to the mental hospital. I wonder whether it’s more common for them to walk outside naked than it is for them to not carry their phones. Of course, if you’re stark nekkid and out of your mind, you’re probably not holding a phone at that moment either.
Bukko, now you really got me paranoid, because that particular comment went into my spam bin, even though it didn’t contain a link! (I retrieved it, that goes without saying.) Eye of Sauron, indeed! He’s just playing with us…
I noticed that it didn’t post. I gave it a thought later and concluded that it was because I had posted three thought-farts in quick succession just before, so the spam filter decided I must be a machine to be injecting so much stuff in such a short time.
Haha! I never thought of that. Fast typists are mistaken for machines? spam filter is, like, this is superhuman speed, must be a bot. I’ll have to remember that because I am a fast typist myself, that’s how I am able to pump out a new post every single freaking day. (Well, I vowed to do it until the end of the war, so this war better end soon, because my fingers are getting tired…)
In a previous comment, you said you don’t look under the hood, or something like that, to see email addresses. That implies that you could. If you can, and if you don’t mind me knowing your email, send me a message, and I’ll tell you something else (privately) about gravatar that you won’t enjoy knowing.
Either way, PLEASE never call me that again.
Hi, Grav (is it okay if I call you that?) I don’t have an email any more for this function. I used to have one when I first set it up, it was in google-mail. But then at a certain point I deleted my gmail account (for security reasons, after a flame-war with a certain troll, long story…), but I was still grandfathered into my wordpress account so I was able to get away with that, and my gravatar still works, somehow, I’m not sure how.
Still laughing at the headline — Bravo, yalensis!
Once again, this time with feeling:
I’d been hoping that the traditional leadership of the Army would have some kind of coup as they are probably the only group that can a) announce a defeat without being killed by Azov types, and b) negotiate credibly with Russia on behalf of Ukraine.
(This is not so much about their credibility in Ukraine as everyone else’s lack of credibility in negotiations with Russia).
I think the Russian government hoped for that as well, but it’s not so easy. Only rarely do coups happen.
That sounds like something Henry Higgins would be forcing Eliza Doolittle to repeat, to improve her posh accent: “Only reh-ley do cooz Happn…”
you can always tell what the western propaganda du jour is going to be from watching the local news affiliates here in canadia. their segments on ukraine have dwindled down to every few days; today instead of “generals and officers killed” it’s “NATO warns the war could last years”. odd disconnect there (as usual). they also echoed (i believe it was bojo who said it first) the worry that “ukraine fatigue” will set in. all followed by footage of a blonde ukrainian “refugee” woman eating beef in a knights of columbus meeting hall surrounded by doughy guys in cowboy hats. because alberta.
both are incredibly myopic; the war will last exactly as long as russia wants it to or until kiev lets adults run the show and the “fatigue” felt by hoi polloi in the west was there before this operation. i’m sure the people who see news from ukraine will have some basic human empathy but as for sympathy i’d say they’re more concerned about $6/gallon gas and the fact that they’ll soon need a bank loan to buy groceries. “people” like bojo have no inkling of what that’s like and are blinkered to see only ukraine 24/7. that will change soon as summer is always a volatile time (unless the clustered mass shootings in the US are a “coincidence”).
Every now and then I take a look at American MSM propaganda on Ukraine. Like a broken record, they are still dining out on “Russian defeat at Kiev” from back in March.
I also skim U.S. and Aussie mainstream media to see “what is the mindset we’re supposed to absorb?” Not a word on this incident, of course. It’s weird how there are two opposite presentations of reality in the MSM and elsewhere. “Elsewhere” being “in the world of reality.” I don’t know how media workers (not going to dignify them by calling them “reporters”) can live with themselves, only telling half the truth. During the decade I was in that trade, admittedly at more localised level of weekly and small-town papers, my attitude was that government officials always lie, obfuscate and shade the truth. So the job of the journalist is to challenge what they put out. I grew up inspired by the reporting on Watergate. My adversarial attitude played a part in why I got squeezed out of the business in the early 90s. Even then, I could see how younger reporters were increasingly lickspittles. Nobody likes an iconoclast (especially when he directs some of his barbs at the bosses) so after the final time I was sacked from a job, I had to change careers. Just as well — I would not have made it in the “obey the official line” culture of today.
Yeah, in today’s world you’d only be able to make it as a maverick type reporter, maybe on youtube, and probably not make enough money to sustain self. The regular reporters all work for the CIA, basically. That’s what happens when media monopolies are allowed.
“…eating beef in a knight of columbus meeting hall…because Alberta.”
Harrumph! I’ll have you know, sir that we have Cabbage rolls, kolbasa and perogies a plenty here, too, as we are like, totally multicultural. Also, we have the world’s largest Pysanka, which was one of the very first structures designed in CAD.
That dinner actually sounds delicious, I love cabbage rolls and Polish pierogies!
The simplest explanation for why they haven’t wiped out a large gathering of high ranking officers like this before is that even now Russia still insists on not going all-out like they should. Putin, or someone else making key decisions, is too damn soft-hearted and keeps restraining Russian actions, and it keeps biting them in the ass.
I know! Kremlin insiders call Putin Mr. Softee, like the ice cream. [not really, I made that up]