Week 31 of Putin’s War, that projected 3-day romp through Ukraine is not starting off well. Just one day after annexing the Ukrainian oblasts of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, Ukrainian forces routed Russian troops from a critical defensive position and overran the newly “Russian” city of Lyman. This may be the first time in history that a city has been annexed on Friday and conquered on Saturday.
My last update was two weeks ago, Ukraine Update. The Tempo Slows and Ukraine and Russia Plot What Happens Next. Read it along with Putin’s War, Week 28. The Sitzkrieg Goes Blitzkrieg as Ukraine’s Army Moves 50 Kilometers in Two Days for the context and background of this update.
Vladimir Putin announced “partial mobilization” on September 21. The mobilization covered “reservists” with specific military skills in high demand in the meatgrinders in Donbas and Kherson theaters of operations; Vladimir Putin’s Speech About Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Was a Wild Ride but Where Does It Go? Keep in mind that Russia does not have an organized reserve like the US and most of Western Europe. Its reserve is anyone who has served in the military, and they are vulnerable to mobilization until they are 50 years old.
The pictures speak for themselves. pic.twitter.com/gfPPEabwqe
— Andrew Perpetua (@AndrewPerpetua) September 28, 2022
The order was not well received; Putin’s Mobilization Order Isn’t Getting the Reaction He’d Hoped in Russia. The military was not prepared to house, equip or train the reservists reporting for duty (read the whole thread).
With thanks to @JayinKyiv for posting it, here's a list of what newly mobilised Russian soldiers are reportedly being told to provide for themselves (they or their relatives have to buy this all of this – good luck when 300,000 others want it too). Translation follows.⬇️ /1 pic.twitter.com/LWANHLw1fZ
— ChrisO (@ChrisO_wiki) September 29, 2022
Top Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov is quite upset with how Putin’s “partial mobilization” is going and everything the supposed “superpower” is lacking. So much in this video, just watch. It fits right in with what I described in my latest article⤵️https://t.co/bgYMYZma24 pic.twitter.com/qk3qiUdkm3
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) September 27, 2022
The demand on the front lines for fresh meat resulted in a significant number of recently mobilized men becoming casualties or prisoners of war within just a few hours of reporting for duty; First Mobilized Russians Are Captured in Ukraine and Other Stories From Putin’s Magnificent ‘Partial Mobilization.’
Putin seems to have recognized that his mobilization order has been so poorly executed that it has become dangerous to him instead of unifying the country.
VIDEO of Putin on mobilisation saying
“We must correct mistakes and not allow them going forward,” he says, and everyone who doesn’t meet the criteria “must be sent home.”
If he is concerned about backlash he needn`t be as Russians will accept any sh-t he spews. #Ukraine #Russia pic.twitter.com/ftDORYuA62
— raging545 (@raging545) September 29, 2022
Belarus to mobilize?
Putin’s butt-remora in Minsk, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, is under increasing pressure by the Kremlin to enter the war in Ukraine and open a second front. Lukashenko has allowed Russian troops to stage in Belarus. Russian troops invaded Ukraine from Belarus in February. Russian air and missile forces strike targets in Ukraine from safe harbors in Belarus. But, thus far, Lukashenko has stayed out of direct involvement, perhaps in memory of the dishonor Italy attained for attacking France while France was trying to stop von Rundstedt’s blitz. Last week, the rumor circulated that mobilization was imminent. It was met in much the same way Muscovites dealt with Putin’s mobilization order.
#Belarusians are leaving the country en masse on the eve of mobilization. After the announcement of the mobilization in #ruZZia, there is a high probability that Lukashenko may also announce the mobilization or carry it out covertly in #Belarus pic.twitter.com/rTkSbmFftn
— ꑭ Natalïa ꑭ (@NatalieSmal) September 30, 2022
The Wagner Group private military contractor (PMC) has emerged as the most reliable component of the Russian military in Ukraine. It has a couple of items in the news. First, Evgeny Prigozhin, aka “Putin’s chef,” has finally admitted that he owns the Wagner Group. You may remember Prigozhin for the vigorous buggering he gave Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s lackwit minions on one of the occasions where they ventured into court against an opponent who could afford legal counsel; see Russian Oligarch Tells Mueller to Put Up or Shut Up, and Mueller’s Team Continues Their Humiliation at the Hands of a Russian Oligarch, and Government Tries to Cancel Trial in Key Mueller Case Because the Defendant Isn’t Playing Fair.
Evgeny Prigozhin, who was suing people as recently as a couple months ago for saying he was the boss of Russian paramilitary group Wagner… now admits he is the boss of Wagner, per @rianru https://t.co/feI0GfoU0W
— max seddon (@maxseddon) September 26, 2022
Prigozhin achieved some minor notoriety two weeks ago when he was filmed recruiting “talent” inside a maximum security prison; Vladimir Putin to Address Russia; Annexation of Ukraine Provinces and Mobilization Seem to Be on the Table.
Wagner’s long-time field commander, Alexei Nagin, was confirmed killed in action in Ukraine.
Wagner Mercenary Alexei Nagin's death in UA was confirmed by RUS media 9/24/22 – Yevgeny Prigozhin attended his funeral
With FSB SOF, he was part of RUSs occupation of Crimea in 2014. His deployments with Wagner included Syria, Libya, & Ukraine
— OPSEC? (@GuinieZoo_Intel) September 29, 2022
Enjoy the movie trailer.
Russia and Ukraine agreed to a prisoner swap brokered by Turkish President Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Sultan. See Vladimir Putin Agrees to Swap 215 Ukrainian PWs Including Foreign Volunteers, for 55 Russians. What’s up With That? As my friend and long-time commenter, Laocoon (we were both banned from Lucianne.com about the same time) said,
If you’re Putin and preparing a global thermonuclear apocolypse…do you even do prisoner releases? That’s retail and the apocolypse is wholesale. And with THESE prisoners specifically?
Especially as most of those 215 Ukrainian PWs released, which included the commanders of the Azov regiment at the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works during its 82-day siege (Mariupol Surrenders to the Russian Army After Epic 82-Day Siege), had been reviled as nazis. In terms of an existential conflict, this doesn’t make sense. It didn’t make sense to the Russian power structure either.
Scoop: Putin overruled the FSB when he approved the sweeping prisoner swap with Ukraine. The internal spy service was concerned about the optics of releasing so many Azov soldiers who the Kremlin had branded as hardened neo-Nazis. W/ @ikhurshudyan https://t.co/V3ZnQIWPC6
— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) October 1, 2022
Ukraine buys its own reconnaissance satellite.
I don’t think it is much of a secret that Ukraine has benefitted from intelligence sharing, particularly satellite reconnaissance, on the part of the Five Eyes (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Ukraine has crowdfunded a moderately sophisticated satellite with synthetic aperture radar that can reveal vehicles and equipment invisible to traditional overhead imagery. It seems to be cost-effective.
The minister noted that in fact, in just these two days, the enemy lost armored vehicles worth more than the cost of the entire ‘satellite project.’
Whodunit? The Nord Stream pipeline explosions
On the same day that Norway and Poland celebrated the opening of the Baltic Pipe carrying natural gas from the North Sea to Poland, explosions created four breaks in the Nord Stream pipelines running from Russia to Germany. Blame was hurled about like confetti. Some morons went so far as to blame Fin-f***ing-land and the Baltic states for the attack (somehow, creating a major environmental disaster in their own fisheries makes sense). I made my prediction, and I’m confident that Putin looking for the culprit is like OJ searching for the real killer. See Putin’s PR Machine Throws up Smoke as the Nord Stream Pipeline Explosion Investigation Begins.
The major news, of course, was Putin’s announcement on Friday that four Ukrainian oblasts were now Russian territory. I don’t think this has much practical significance as no one, including the Russians, really believes this. However, its strategic importance is difficult to understate. Putin took a page from Cortez and metaphorically burned his ships. As I wrote yesterday (Putin’s Illegal Annexation of Ukrainian Territory Marks the Beginning of a War Without a Perceivable End), the annexation has created a situation where return to the status quo ante of February 24 is no longer possible via negotiations because Putin would have to repudiate his annexation or Zelensky would have to acknowledge the loss of about 20% of his country.
To forestall claims that Russia is prevailing on the battlefield, let’s start the operational analysis by looking at an animation of the front lines since February 24.
'The latest government data from Germany shows that Berlin aims to send three additional IRIS-T air defence systems to Ukraine.'https://t.co/EJS6H4RbrU
— Franz-Stefan Gady (@HoansSolo) September 30, 2022
Ukraine had been promised one battery in August with a delivery date of sometime later in the year. However, that system’s delivery has been accelerated to October.
#Germany will hand over to #Ukraine the latest IRIS-T air defense system, which even the the German army doesn't have at this point. It is being produced specifically for 🇺🇦. The first system will be delivered in October, the second one by the end of 2022, and two more in 2023. pic.twitter.com/Ezig2Q2Svg
— BREAKING NEWS: UKRAINE (@MrFukkew) September 28, 2022
The IRIS-T is a short-range air defense system built around the AIM-9 Sidewinder. It will complement the NASAMS batteries arriving in Ukraine (Putin’s War, Week 19. Political Uncertainty, Lots of New Weapons, and a Replay of the Western Front). NASAMS is a medium-range system built around the AIM-120 AMRAAM.
The Russian Air Force has nearly been shut down due to the omnipresence of MANPADS; these new systems will dramatically increase the amount of airspace off limits to Russian planes and missiles.
M30A1 HIMARS rocket
Our Eurotrash allies have beshat themselves for years over Improved Conventional Munitions (ICM). The idea behind ICM is that rather than a bomb, rocket, or artillery shell carrying a unitary explosive device, it would carry dozens or hundreds of independent bomblets. I suspect the Euros objected because it was so damned effective, but the excuse they used was the dud rate among the bomblets leading to lots of unexploded ordnance or UXO. The M30AI fixes that problem. by using 182,000 pre-formed spheroid steel/tungsten fragments.
Iranian Shahed-136 suicide drone
You’d expect any nation that uses suicide bombers to be pretty good at designing a suicide drone. For a few days, these drove the Ukrainians nuts, but the mention has abated, indicating that either the supply ran out, much like the human variety, or the Ukrainians developed countermeasures. The below thread gives details on the device.
1/ QUICK THREAD about Russian commentary on using Shahed-136/Geran-2 loitering munitions in Ukraine. First, Geran-2 is preferable to launching cruise missiles since the drone launch is very difficult to observe and detect, given that it can be launched off a truck. pic.twitter.com/5SPAm74bLY
— Samuel Bendett (@SamBendett) September 25, 2022
Reupping our moment of silence for a Putin fluffer who is way out of his depth.
Zelensky’s counterattack on Kherson and Nikolaev has been a complete disaster. Total defeat for the Ukrainian side.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) August 29, 2022
The Ukrainian Army continues to make small, opportunistic gains in the Kherson area of operations. However, the bulk of the Russian force is on the left or north bank of the Dnieper River and dependent on resupply by pontoon rafts after the destruction of all bridges across the river. In my view, the Ukrainians are carrying out low-risk, low-cost operations that force the Russians to consume fuel and ammunition that is in short supply.
Early last month, the Ukrainians launched a surprise offensive that drove the Russians out of most of Kharkiv Oblast that they had occupied. Since that offensive wound down, the area has been mostly quiet.
Combat has been limited to three Ukrainian bridgeheads across the Oskil River in the vicinity of Horobivka, Kupiansk, and Kivsharivka. Nothing appears to be going on there now, but the jostling around the bridgeheads is a clue we should keep an eye out for.
When the Ukrainian Kharkiv offensive ended, the southern end of the reconstituted Russian line was anchored by the strong point of Lyman.
CREDIT: Critical Threats
About five days ago, the Ukrainians launched an attack against the Russian salient west of Lyman. It quickly developed into something much bigger. This video was produced by the pro-Russian milblogger known on Telegram as “@rybar.”
An estimated 5,000 Russian soldiers, mostly Luhansk People’s Republic troops and Russian reserve formations, were caught in the pocket and mauled during their attempt to break out east to Kreminna.
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) October 1, 2022
7/ Liberation of #Lyman.
— Fella Campeador (@AldemiraVeiga) October 1, 2022
The loss of Lyman unhinges the Russian line, and if reserves, ammunition, and fuel are available to exploit the breakthrough, a substantial part of Luhansk will be lost. But as I noted above, keep an eye on those bridgeheads across the Oskil River.
Russian Rybar is very worried about the Ukrainian transfer of equipment through the city of Pervomaiskyi in Kharkiv Oblast, indicating an accumulation of forces to strike Svatove from the north.https://t.co/2SilKP9Zx1 pic.twitter.com/6quQwpvVfh
— Dmitri (@wartranslated) September 28, 2022
This breakthrough by Ukraine into the Russian rear areas in Luhansk will be a real test of how Russian Putin thinks that stolen oblast really is.