Putin’s War. Week 26: Bizarre Assassination at Moscow and a Nuclear Power Plant Hostaged. Ukraine launches (Maybe?) Its First Offensive

Putin’s War. Week 26: Bizarre Assassination at Moscow and a Nuclear Power Plant Hostaged. Ukraine launches (Maybe?) Its First Offensive

Here we are, 26.5 weeks into Vladimir Putin’s 3-day cakewalk to Kiev. This is the first time I’ve done it in quite some time (last update Putin’s War). Week 21. The Battlefield is changing in Ukraine’s favor, but are they stronger than European cowardice or stupidity? Because not much has happened if you’re not in Donbas trying to get through an artillery bombardment.

Today’s big news is the possibility of a Ukrainian offensive in Kherson Oblast. After the preliminary, we’ll be able to discuss it.

Politico-Strategic Level

Although there has been a lot of activity at this level of the organization, it’s often more beneficial to view it all together to see what is going on.

Bizarre assassination.

On Saturday night, August 20, a bomb demolished a car belonging to Aleksandr Dugin. Dugin is a name most westerners don’t know. Many Russians have never heard of Dugin. Dugin, however, was hypernationalist and claimed to have the ears of Vladimir Putin. He also took credit for being the intellectual driver behind the Russian invasion.

Police found Darya Dugin’s remains in the rubble of a Moscow street. She had been following in the footsteps of her father and ran a disinformation website as well as a propagandist for war.

There was a lot of chaos. The FSB quickly reported that they were Ukrainian Special Forces Operators who had fled to Estonia. Further, the FSB claimed that they had rented Darya’s apartment and then followed Darya around Moscow in a discreet Mini Cooper. The FSB claimed that they were women from the Azov battalion, which Russia calls a terrorist group. Russia is a country where you can feel as if you are stumbling around in a carnival. It was a photoshop attempt to debunk the ID that the FSB had created and left behind by assassin. You can see the entire thread here.

2/5 A killer shadow effect is unbeatable. There are no limits on what you can do with gaussian blur. pic.twitter.com/5nPPdvvH6n

— Lauri Linnamae (@IssandJumal) August 22, 2022

The eulogies were off-key.

A truly unbelievable speech by Dugin to the funeral of Daria his daughter, who he considers a martyr in the cause for Russia’s victory over Ukraine. Only victory can justify the price she paid, he says: “She died in the name of victory.” pic.twitter.com/FBIJQ1zLEu

— Matthew Luxmoore (@mjluxmoore) August 23, 2022

“One country. One president. One victory! One victory! – Leonid Slutsky, deputy Russian State Duma was heard at Daria Dugina’s funeral.

This is almost an literal translation from the German Nazis slogan “Ein Volk, ein Reich und ein Fuhrer”>. Who needs demazification? Russia or Ukraine, perhaps? pic.twitter.com/HsZhsmeBtU

— UkraineWorld (@ukraine_world) August 23, 2022

The piece de resistance Darya’s funeral.

I must admit that I am now completely confused. This is Daria’s car after it was destroyed by fire and explosion. Right: Daria Dugina in her coffin, after being reportedly killed inside the car. It’s hard to believe that anything can “compute”. pic.twitter.com/t3YJ2ecYXg

— Anton Shekhovtsov (@A_SHEKH0VTS0V) August 23, 2022

There was much mewling among the usual suspects about this being an “escalation”, and that it would provoke Russia to new and unspecified actions (when cruise missiles are fired into randomly placed apartment blocks it’s hard to think of anything to counter that). One question that no one can answer is why anybody would bomb the third-tier Moscow grifter’s daughter. If Ukraine sent a hit squad, they could have done at least as well as an untrained but angry babushka.

VIDEO: Deputy Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces, Yevhen Secretaryov, car set on fire in Moscowpic.twitter.com/8CNWsrEJ8o

— Breaking News (@NewsJunkieBreak) August 27, 2022

In #Moscow, the car of a propagandist responsible for military censorship was blown up. The #ruXXians claim that 65-year-old Olena Belova set fire to the car of the Deputy Chief of the Directorate of the General Staff of #ruZZia Yevgeny Skretaryov. pic.twitter.com/5wEKnkua24

— xy Natalia xy (@NatalieSmal) August 28, 2022

The story is now over. This story is more likely to be about a power struggle or business dispute than it is with Ukraine, according to smart money.

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RedState coverage: Daria Dugina’s death sparks new concerns about Russia, Escalation Ukraine War and Russia points fingers at Ukraine in Darya Dugina Assassination.

EU takes on Russian ban on tourist.

Much is being done by the EU to ban Russian tourists visas. France and Germany are the main opponents. France and Germany are the primary opponents to it. They argue that Ukraine’s war is more than Putin’s; it is an all-Russian war. Russians shouldn’t be permitted to reside or travel in the EU as long as this war continues. While some countries may have unilaterally placed a ban on Russians traveling, the EU as a whole is unlikely to do so. The EU will stop giving Russians preferential status when applying for visas; this will reduce the number of Russian tourists and increase the wait times for those who get visas.

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

A high-level game is being played in chicken at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Russia has occupied the ZNP and tried to disconnect the Ukrainian grid from the ZNP. The power poles were knocked down and the ZNP was taken off of the grid temporarily by Ukrainian partisans. This could have led to another Fukushima-like catastrophe. Russia declined to give control of the facility to the IAEA. It seems that the IAEA might be present at the site.

@RafaelMGrossi and a team of experts & inspectors have set off for the IAEA Support & Assistance Mission to #Zaporizhzhya (ISAMZ), to help ensure nuclear safety and security at #Ukraine‘s Zaporizhzhya NPP and undertake vital safeguards activities.
https://t.co/IrcPxHuukI pic.twitter.com/0IzcLDYsxO

— IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency (@iaeaorg) August 29, 2022

Money, money, money.

The White House of Vice President Joe Biden has authorized an additional $3 billion for defense and economic assistance. This brings the total assistance to Ukraine to $13.5 billion since the Russian invasion.

New weapons in action.

One of the most interesting weapons included in the Ukraine assistance package is the Vehicle Agnostic Modular Palaletized ISR Rocket Equipment, or VAMPIRE. The 2. 75-inch (70mm) Hydra rocket usually found on the AH-64 Apache and AH-1(insert your variant here) Cobra. It can operate on almost any truck, can perform precision engagements with ground targets and drones as well as rotary-wing or fixed-wing aircraft. Although I would not want to try the latter, The system provides anti-drone coverage for Ukrainian troops and other critical assets. This is an important thing in this war.

Ukraine will be receiving VAMPIRE UAV anti-measure systems starting at L3Harris as part of its new military assistance package.

pic.twitter.com/ex8xknBU pic.twitter.com/ex8x08knBU

— The Rage X (@theragex) August 28, 2022

The vendor produces an excellent video for the system.

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Current week saw something very interesting on Russian-oriented social media platforms. Pictures emerged showing the wreckage of an AGM-88 High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile, or HARM.

There are photos of the remnants of an AGM-88 HARM missile after the use by Ukraine on Russian troops. Based on the release date – 1991, it is an AGM-88B Block III missile. https://t.co/amUYUNhQJ5#HARM #AntiRadiationMissile #UkraineRussiaWar #UkrainianArmy #RussianUkrainianWar pic.twitter.com/sB3mdMbhLy

— Sergey from Kyiv (@SergeyFromKyiv) August 26, 2022

The HARM was designed to destroy air defense radars. When “painted” by radar, it locks onto hostile anti-air defense systems. It isn’t an anti-radiation weapon. The lock-on jam function allows it to detect electronic warfare jammers. You are wrong to think that turning off your radar can save you. HARM has an inertial and GPS guidance system that locks in the target radar emitter’s location if it loses its signal.

This shocked a lot of folks on both sides, as no one had any idea that US and Ukrainian technicians had worked together to adapt the AGM-88 to, we think, MiG-29 fighters. What is known is that the introduction of the HARM has shut down the ability of the Russian S-300 system and has opened the skies to the Ukrainian Air Force.

Operational Level.

Here are some videos showing how war progresses. The first one you’ve seen before, it covers the limits of Russian occupation for the first 90 days of fighting, from February 24 to about May 25.

This next map displays the lines of war for the first six month.

The bottom line is that frontlines have stabilized, and territorial changes are minor.

Crimea

A new theatre was created against Russian forces in Crimea. Read more: Devastating Ukrainian attack on Russian-Occupied Crimea. It is not clear how this attack took place. A SOF attack is a possibility that I don’t believe possible. Although there are claims of ATACMS being used to launch a short-range missile from HIMARS or MLRS platforms in Ukraine, I am not certain that ATACMS exists.

Drone strikes have been conducted on targets in Sevastopol. It is possible that the Ukrainian SOF operates fairly freely in Crimea.

HQ in Russian Black Sea Fleet was occupied Sevastopol and hit by a suspected drone. 5 wounded, all celebrations of the Navy day cancelled in the city https://t.co/GlBMFbQJUO pic.twitter.com/qOnP9f7hZs

— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) July 31, 2022

Video showing a kamikaze drone strike on the Black Sea Fleet headquarters in temporarily occupied Sevastopol. This was just yesterday.

Despite the invasion attempts, the drone flew calmly to its target. pic.twitter.com/JsMcp622Sx

— War in Ukraine (@Rinegati) August 22, 2022

Kharkiv, Donbas

The frontlines of these areas remain largely unchanged, just like in my previous update. Although the Russians made small gains in Donbass, they still have to be measured by hundreds of yards.

Kherson

For the last six weeks, Ukrainian artillery has battered Russian C3I and logistics nodes. You don’t need to see any more videos of explosive ammo dumps. Check out my latest update.

To understand the situation, we will look at the theatre of operations.

Credit: Critical Threats

The Dnipro River (Dneiper) is the most important terrain. The Dnipro River is the most important area of battle for Russian troops. The Russian forces north of Dnipro are dependent on reinforcements and supplies that come either from Crimea (off to the south), or Donbas (off to the east). Only four bridges are available. The massive Antonivsky Bridge, the bridge attached to the hydroelectric dam at Nova Kakhovka, and the railway bridge at Prydniprovs’ke cross the Dnipro. In addition, a bridge crosses the Inhulets River at Dar’yivka.

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These bridges cannot be crossed and traffic over the Dnipro must use a ferry. At the Antonivsky Bridge, a pontoon bridge of more than a kilometer is being built. Basically, all Russian units north of the river are supplied by ferry. Numerous reports claim that Kherson’s Russian headquarters has been moved to the Dnipro. This makes tactical sense but is not a good look given the circumstances.

Ukraine telegraphed, or head-faking an offensive in the area, for over two months. Russians responded by moving units from Donbas to defense positions north of Dnipro.

To add to this feeling of anxiety, Ukrainian special forces or partisans have assassinated collaborators.

pic.twitter.com/5avVlnrJhR

— Special Kherson Cat (@bayraktar_1love) August 26, 2022

It was reported that in temporarily occupied Berdyansk an assassination attempt had been made against a co-conspirator: Alexander Kolesnikov was “deputy chief of traffic police” and was seriously injured. With shrapnel injuries, he was transported to the local clinical hospital. #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/R1RK1Wvdj7

— Special Kherson Cat (@bayraktar_1love) August 26, 2022

Reports about Alexei Kovalev’s death are coming just months after his second assassination attempt. https://t.co/JdIsQy08t3

— Newsweek (@Newsweek) August 29, 2022

Today the Ukraine launched ground attacks after an intensive overnight artillery bombardment and gained some fast gains of more than six miles.

This may or may not mean anything. It is not possible to determine if this “shaping operation”, intended to create the conditions for an offensive, or if it’s an opportunistic limited offensive that inflicts casualties and introduces new combat units; or if the purpose is to attract Russian attention before the actual blow hits Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

The reason I believe there are good chances that Ukraine will see tangible benefits from this is because the battleground is so isolated. It will prove difficult for supplies and reinforcements to be moved. The traffic on the bridges that have been destroyed will not be carried by the pontoons, and they are also vulnerable to attack. Russian ammunition dumps will be demolished in the theatre, meaning that Russian artillery won’t be able provide massed fire support in Donbas.

However, it is yet to be seen how the Ukrainian army can coordinate infantry and armor artillery. Many of those units that are going to battle will have just returned from training and may be blooded the first time. It is not clear how the units will fare. We will get a better picture of how this war unfolds over the coming months.

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