Monday witnessed a massive Russian attack (reportedly the largest since February 24th) using high-precision long-range air- and sea-based armament on Ukrainian facilities that control communication and energy systems throughout the country, which reportedly disrupted the command control and logistics operations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) and their logistic networks. You got to ask, “What took them so long?”
The war in Ukraine clearly has entered a new phase, with Ukraine failing to press its offensive and Russia solidifying its lines of defense and launching counter attacks that are pushing Ukraine out of key strategic areas in Donetsk. It appears that the combination of the murder of Darya Dugina, the sabotage of the Nordstream pipelines, the bombing of the Kerch bridge and the spoiled drone attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastapol convinced the Russians to step up its military strikes to destroy critical electrical and energy infrastructure that they had previously left intact.
Yet, even while achieving success in systematically turning off the lights and heat throughout Ukraine, Russia is focusing on destroying transformers and key transmission installations rather than blow up nuclear, thermal and water power plants. If those sites are still intact, Russia will face an easier reconstruction task once Ukraine is defeated. It is easier to install new transformers and power lines than it is to build a new nuclear reactor. Right?
The Russian strikes reportedly have eliminated 50% of Ukraine’s ability to supply power and heat, which means life in Kiev, Lviv and Kharkiv will become unsustainable. We are not talking about the inconvenience of being unable to charge your cell phone or watch your favorite show on Netflix or keep your computer battery alive. The loss of power cuts off water supply and degrades the sewer system. As I noted in a previous piece, if your live four or more floors above ground level you will either have to carry buckets of water to the toilet or give up flushing. It also means no heat and the temperatures in Ukraine fall to near 0 Celsius at night. That would be tolerable if you have a fireplace (which most of the apartments in the urban areas do not have). With no radiant heat you must layer up just to avoid hypothermia.
Basic task like shopping require you dress as a cave explorer. Check out this photo of grocery shopping in Ukraine.
It looks like there is a split growing between Washington and London on the future of the war in Ukraine. NBC news reported today that President Dementia Joe screamed at Ukraine’s Zelensky during a June phone call:
But a phone call between the two leaders in June played out differently from previous ones, according to four people familiar with the call. Biden had barely finished telling Zelenskyy he’d just greenlighted another $1 billion in U.S. military assistance for Ukraine when Zelenskyy started listing all the additional help he needed and wasn’t getting. Biden lost his temper, the people familiar with the call said. The American people were being quite generous, and his administration and the U.S. military were working hard to help Ukraine, he said, raising his voice, and Zelenskyy could show a little more gratitude.
Biden yelling at people is not unusual, at least for an old guy with dementia. What is striking is that this “news” was leaked today, one week before the mid-term elections. While the NBC report goes on to insist that things are just swell between Joe and Volodomyr and that they have patched things up, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, John Kirby, said this:
“The president’s goals were clear from the very beginning. We don’t want conflict with Russia. It’s number one,” Also among the tasks, Kirby listed strengthening the eastern flank of NATO and helping Ukraine to approach the negotiations on the settlement of the conflict in the most advantageous position.
So, the United States is backing off of its bellicose rhetoric and is now briefing that it does not want “conflict with Russia.” Someone forgot to tell the Brits. I made a point of listening to a raft of British political figures, including Boris Johnson, on Sky News today. They were pushing the meme that Russia is on the ropes and that Ukraine is marching to an inevitable victory. Check out Lord Dannatt–Putin is desperate and gravely ill:
And here is Kiev’s Mayor Klitschko reporting, falsely, that Ukraine stopped most of Russia’s missiles. Yet, he concedes that 80% of Kiev is without water.
I save the best for last. BOJO. This interview, if you have the stomach for it, demonstrates Boris Johnson is a wretched, dishonest, deluded man. He is still all in on Ukraine beating Russia on the battlefield.
Johnson insists it is up to the Ukrainians to decide their own fate. He fails to mention that he pressured Zelensky in May not to negotiate a deal with Russia. In BOJO world, Russia will have to surrender annexed territory. How that will be accomplished is not spelled out. BOJO is delusional. He appears to believe sincerely that Putin is running out of options, while oblivious to the economic horror wrecking England. Prominent, famous pubs are closing their doors. Inflation is surging and the common folk are finding it more difficult to buy food and maintain lifestyles they enjoyed just a year ago.
Here is the bottomline–Ukraine’s military position will continue to erode in the coming weeks while economic conditions in England and the rest of Europe will worsen. The latter will make it impossible to sustain political support to continue sending unlimited financial and military aid to Ukraine.