Что ж мы? на зимние квартиры? (Lermontov)
The Latest + Greatest: In the course of of only 3 days, the Russian army successfully evacuated (without any losses) 20,000 troops. From one side of the River to the other. And then BLEW UP THE BRIDGE on the way out!! (Talk about “burning one’s bridges”.) And not just the foot/car bridge; but also the railroad bridge. In other words, the Russians were able to do, in a single moment, what the Ukrainians with their HIMARS have been trying doggedly for months now! In his news report (which I just linked above) Kots noticed some hapless civilians who almost made it home. They needed to cross that bridge on foot just one more time, but they got held back, and then BOOM! Oops, now they’re stuck and they can’t get home. Sucks to be them. Or maybe they have strong biceps and they can swim home…
Readers, I am actually impressed. Pundits were saying it would take weeks to get these troops out. And then only 3 days! And not a single loss! [Putting on my Winston Churchill voice:] Never since the Dunkirk Evacuation have so many men been moved in so short a time without losing a hair on anybody’s head… You gotta hand it to General Suvorikin: He said he would make a tough decision. He made that tough decision. And then he executed it flawlessly and ruthlessly.
Readers, I must remind you that I abhor violence and destruction. That Bridge was a marvelous work, built by genius engineers of the Soviet period. But, as Lermontov pointed out, “The people of those times were giants. Not like the pygmies we see around today…” People of that era were able to build very large works of infrastructure. The apes of our era are only capable of destroying everything they see around them.
But What Happens After Pereprava?
Переправа, переправа! Берег левый, берег правый! ("The crossing! The crossing! The Left Bank, the Right Bank!") poem Vasily Terkin by Alexander Tvardovsky
Okay, let’s get serious about prognostifications. This piece has 3 authors, Oleg Isaichenko, Darya Volkova, and Evgeny Poznyakov.
In the very first paragraph we learn that peaceful civilians are currently being evacuated from Novaya Kakhovka. Wait a minute! That’s on the Left Bank, I thought they were only evacuating from Right to Left… Well, turns out they are expecting some fireworks in Novaya Kakhovka as well. That’s the one with the dam. That’s the dam the Ukrainians keep bombing, the one that could break and flood the entire region… And that’s the city where the Russian soldiers are going to be taking up defensive positions. Military analyst Yury Podolyaka: “It is precisely this populated town which is located near the Kakhovskaya Hydroelectric Dam. This will become the main target of the operations, from both sides.”
According to the municipal administration of Novaya Kakhovka: “The evacuation of civilians proceeds in a calm and orderly fashion. All people have to do is sign up, and then leave the next day. Some people are leaving in their own personal transport. We have also organized the evacuation of non-ambulatory people who need [wheel chair] assistance.”
Podolyaka: “As far as I know there are three layers of defenses being constructed on the Left Bank. They have been building these concrete structures for the past month.”
Podolyaka’s colleage Mikhail Onfrienko adds that the lines of defenses will stretch for 12-15 kilometers, from the Left Bank of the Dnieper River almost all the way to the Black Sea. “The Left Bank is somewhat on the low ground. [Without these barriers], it would be quite easy for [the Ukrainians] to shoot at us [from the higher ground]. Besides that, these barriers will protect our positions from flooding in case the Ukrainians should achieve their goal of destroying the hydroelectric plant and dam.”
Onufrieynko goes on to prognosticate what might happen next: “The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) will no doubt enter Kherson. A lot of peaceful civilians still remain in the city. Amongst whom there will be quite a few who voted Yes to join the Russian Federation. And we have a pretty good idea what is going to happen to those people, as we saw on the Kharkhov front.”
At the same time, Onufriyenko does not believe the Ukrainians will try to force their way across the river. “More likely than not, they will activate sleeper cells of diversionaries. Our main problem, is that the enemy still enjoys an overwhelming superiority in numbers. And they understand that we will not be able to return our positions for quite some time. Therefore, the Ukrainian army may just leave a skeleton crew of artillery in order to shoot at our positions. And they may also bring in some long-range rocket systems. But the mass of their troops, they will re-divert them over to the Donbass front, where they are currently being forced back.”
Was There A Deal?
I will end today’s post with a brief discussion of some speculations I was hearing yesterday (all over the Russian blogosphere). People were speculating that some back-door “great deal” was reached between Russia and the U.S. This deal allegedly including guarantees that Russians be allowed to retreat across the river without being HIMAR’ed on their way. In return for? that maybe they agreed to NOT knock out the last remains of Ukraine’s electrical grid.
Well, if it were so, then twas a brilliant deal. Because the Russian forces made it across the pereprava intact; and then I saw this morning that the Russians started bombing the grid again. Is General Surovikin truly that cold-hearted that he will cut the Ukrainians off completely from their electrons? We shall see…