First a quick summary of the day’s events from this site, the main news being that Soledar has fallen. (Finally!) By yesterday, Prigozhin’s Wagner troops had taken the center of the town, with photographic geo-location proof of their feat. Other sources are claiming the Wagner “musicians” even took control over the salt mines, although that info has not been fully confirmed, and it is likely they are still “cleaning” out some of the mines of lurking Ukrainians.
Meanwhile, in the center of the city the Wagnerites are busily building a cauldron into which they can shoo the fleeing Ukrainian troops. Smart people prognosticate that Soledar’s fall will begin a series of cascading dominos, to include Bakhmut, Chasov Yar, Seversk, and eventually the Kramatorsk/Slavyansk conglomeration; and then the entire Donbass. This is a consummation devoutly wished for, these many months passing, by the pro-Russian crowd. The only down-side is that the Wagnerites have, as their logo, a smirking skull. Which, in some circles, denotes them as the “baddies”! Despite which, if this news be true, then I imagine they can pick any logo of their choosing, even if twere a gaping a$$hole.
In other news, the Russian army has started to deploy modernized KA-52M helicopters on the Ukrainian front. These helicopters descended from an earlier species that had proved its mettle in the Syrian war. The newer brand can shoot off contemporary “Item 305” (Изделие 305) high-precision rockets with a distance over 14 kilometers. On the other side of the ledger, though, Pakistan has promised to send Kiev 159 containers chock full of ammo, including 155-mm caliber. This cargo will be transported first to a Polish port, and then offloaded and shipped to Ukraine. In return, Pakistan expects Ukraine to help it modernize its fleet of MI-17 helicopters. There is a Ukrainian factory that still, to this day, produces aviation engines and naval gas turbines.
“There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow, la-la-la…”
A couple of days ago we learned how a group of lucky Ukrainians got to travel to the English town of Lydd to receive some basic training in urban counter-insurgency tricks.
Today we learn that an even luckier group gets to go to Oklahoma, USA! That’s the magical place where the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye; where cowboys go for a joy ride in a surrey with the fringe on the top; where people dance and sing all day; and where the entire community comes together to raise a barn for a neighbor. It’s a place where farmers and ranchers may feud, from time to time, but in the end they all come together against the common enemy, those damn Injuns who used to own the land.
This is a perfect place to learn about the white man’s Patriotism. And, more importantly, how to operate Patriot Missile Complexes.
We see that the training has already begun. According to the Pentagon, 100 eager Ukrainian soldiers have already arrived in Fort Sill and their classroom sessions will begin as early as next week.
Brigadier General Patrick (“call me Pat”) Ryder is a specialist in Air Defense systems; and he explained the process of training to the American press. Ryder explained that Patriot training usually takes several months, however the Ukrainian soldiers will get the quickie abbreviated course. In fact, most of the course will take place in simulation studios, as it is rather cumbersome and inconvenient to train on the actual equipment.
That reminds me… Tonight, after work, I start my youtube training on “So you want to be a tap dancer?” They promise after 10 lessons you are almost ready for Broadway. If that doesn’t work out for me, there is another series on how to play the violin.
“there is another series on how to play the violin.”
Training on real patriot missile systems would be a bit like giving a 5 year old in a tantrum a Stradivarius for their first violin lesson.
$4m a pop! never mind the system that costs a billion and wouldn’t cover all of Kiev.
Lets be honest here, The Patriot system is not going to Ukraine – too damn expensive, not good enough and a massive MIC embarrassment. Actually I doubt any of the weapons promised since start this year are expected to be delivered.
The Ukrainians will be disappointed to hear that! I read a lot of Ukrainian comments in the blogosphere, and they are in full-on cargo-cult mode right now: Oh, if only we had more weapons! It’s the solution to every problem.
Cargo-cult – good word! I wish I’d said that (I will)
I think Ukraine is running out of men too. Indeed there have been a number of cryptic remarks coming out of Kiev, tacitly admitting to big losses is unusual, so blaming lack of equipment rather than poor leadership or lack of fresh idiots to join up sounds to me like passing the blame on to the US.
No doubt the US will do the reverse – offering patriot missiles some time in the future (like the UK tanks is traditional western politics (reminds me of climate change promises).
Maybe those Ukrainians are just a cover for the American actually operating those Patriots.
It may be but the important thing is that this is a good opportunity to test whether or not they work against the advanced defenses, the ukronazis that will be killed by the Russian missiles, I don’t think they matter.
Yes, of course they are.
Just watched a video (looks legit) of Ukrainian soldiers refusing to surrender and being (rightly) shot. I think the Ukies had been fed with the narrative “Ruskies will torture you and kill you, better not surrender”.
Was that in Soledar? I saw an article today, Prigozhin is being a real bad-ass and not taking any prisoners.
Not in Soledar as far as I know.
Nazi fans on Twitter are torn between two copes.
1. “The evil RuZZian dressed in Holy Ukrainian uniform!”
2. “The two shot men were actually RuZZians” (in Holy Ukrainian uniform)
I saw a different cope on another Ukr channel: “In Soledar, Zaluzhny is luring them into a trap, he prepares a juicy tort for the orcs…”
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anyhoo…at least their patch is just a badly drawn “death’s head” type skull like you’d see on the arm of a douche bouncer at a dive bar. they could have gone with the punisher logo like every idiot US merc and/or cop. even the guys who created and wrote frank castle are tired of those types. wagners may be just a bunch of chris kyleovitches but i guess they get the job done. i’d love it if they set up a squad of covert assassins and called it the “philip glass brigade”.
those KIA numbers are pretty high but also believable. not much in the US/western media about ukie victories since they blindsided the conscripts singing “happy new year”. as for the guys sent to oklahoma i wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to defect or run off and blend in with the locals by making out with a cousin or getting diabetes.
Thanks for the laugh! I love Norm MacDonald!
I think I’ll train on being a neurosurgeon.
I only need a classroom lecture, right?
No, you also need to attend the simulation lab twice a week, one hour apiece.
By the way, it looks to me that the Wagner logo has the skull in the crossbars of a telescopic sight, so the skull is actually a target?
Well, if they are just using skulls for target practice, I guess that’s okay.
Shake up at the top of the operations woodpile. Surovikin is now Deputy to Valery Gerasimov, who takes Surovikin’s title as well as what he already had. I can’t make head nor tail of the bad English translation provided by Scooptrade, but two other generals now report to Gerasimov as deputies as well instead of to Surovikin. It’s not clear if this makes any practical difference since Gerasimov hangs out in Moscow and was Surovikin’s titular boss anyway. Looks to me as if Surovikin got a demotion and let down a peg in the army bureaucracy.
It does seem weird that Wagner seems to be doing all the work in Soledar and now Artemovsk, while the new re-conscripts and volunteers sit around eating and checking that their socks are a good fit. What am I missing, O yalensis?
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I think Wagner has very significantly less restrictive rules of engagement than the regular military, including less squeamishness about collateral damage. Ukranazi sources were squealing that a Wagner detachment would call in mortars to level any point of resistance to rubble before storming it. Doesn’t sound like they are overly concerned about killing civilians used as human shields by the nazis.
That’s probably why Soledar was liberated so quickly, without any humanitarian corridors and so on.
Soledar wasn’t liberated quickly — yalensis’ first post on the assault was August 13.
Humanitarian corridors are for civilians, not retreating troops, and anyway, the Ukies are surrounded finally in the centre of Soledar.
You seem to be suggesting that Russia is fine if Wagnerites act like assholes, but not if their own troops act the same way. Who knows if that’s true? It doesn’t seem all that likely brcause Russia has to bear the responsibility.
Anyway, with all due respect, I’d like yalensis opinion on the general staff changes, not yours on the rapid takedown of Soledar that was 5 months in the making.
Hi, Beluga, I’m still trying to absorb the news about the staff changes, and Surovikin’s demotion. Was thinking about doing a post on it today, the title would have been “War is Hell, But Office Politics is Hellier!”
At first blush, I don’t like it, I mean the phrase “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” comes to mind. On the other hand, what the hell do I know about war and military command? Zero.
Anyhow, I think I will defer that particular topic to the weekend, when I will have more time to read and analyze. Instead, today’s post (look for in about an hour) will be a more cerebral one about Bakhmut’s history.
From what I’ve heard/read, the “shakeup” is actually the formation of a “General Staff” and allows each Deputy General to focus on a single aspect of the conflict. Larry Johnson points out the following:
“Letting Surovikin focus on the “Aerospace Forces” means that Russian air and space operations are likely to kick into overdrive. Until now, the Russian Air Force has played a minimal role in the battles during the last 11 months. Putting Gerasimov in charge of the Joint Group of Forces is a clear signal that the command task going forward is going to be more complex and comprehensive.”
We may be seeing the rumored Big Russian Offensive taking shape. Time will tell.
I think you might be right, pugbuddy. There have been simmering rumors about the ramp-up of the Russian air force. Who have been holding back so far, waiting until the Ukrainian air defenses were completely mapped out and taken out. That process has taken many months.
I saw one prognosis that, in the event of a “Perfect Storm”, if things were planned exactly right by the Russian side, then the Ukr Donbass front would start collapsing like a house of cards at the exact same moment their air defenses would fall completely, leaving them naked for Russian air strikes.
From the Russian side, a “perfect” finale to a very bloody symphony.
Well, everyone has been having their take on Surovikin’s demotion.
After I posted about it above, I read Larry Johnson’s take and was left unsatisfied. Today, nakedcapitalism moved in, and frankly, the level of discussion there is at a far higher and deeper level than Johnson, Rybar and the always “I know best because I’m an expert Martyanov”. Who knows what the Saker thinks — I gave up on that site because I have no time for his prognostications and religious input.
So, to my way of thinking, which I do not attempt to foist on anyone else who believes they do in fact know better, you’re going to have to refute Yves Smith’s take on nakedcapitalism, including in the comments. I believe she’s brilliant on many things, with a memory like no other and a mind like a steel trap. Unless you read this post in its entirety including the comments — and absorb it — I believe you cannot be seriously following developments.
So I look forward to your weekend take, yalensis, and I hope that the Russian quotes you come up with merge with Smith’s take as stated on NC. But if not, I’ll live with it! You’re a canny fellow.
Okay, I’ll read it over the weekend and see what I think. Thanks for the links and suggestions!