Mad Dash War Ends, Triangle of Death Pacified, Are Russians Getting Their Act Together?
We’re now seeing fewer videos of annihilated Russian detachments. It leads me to believe that Russians have cleaned up their act somewhat and are no longer sending out small units far ahead.
Difficult to understand what that was about. Some of it maybe have been catastrophic communication failure as in the case of the Rosgvardida (paramilitary police) detachment that got annihilated at the eastern gates of Kiev (what was it doing there??).
Some of it may have been supply issues.
Mostly I think it was to create the impression of lightning-fast advance to see if that couldn’t shock Ukraine into collapse. (Perhaps Zelensky would flee and it would trigger a chain reaction, especially if they really had sleeper cells in the capital?) It didn’t. Instead, it boosted Ukrainian morale as tiny detachments could be met on equal or advantageous terms, and in many cases defeated.
Particularly in the triangle to the west of Sumy, south of Chernigov, and east of Kiev too many lives were thrown away too easily.
I guess the idea was that before the Kremlin could justify to itself launching an all-out war it had to explore the possibility that perhaps victory could be had with a “phantom war”. If it worked it could have spared numerous lives, but of course it didn’t. It also required keeping the majority of the assembled force in reserve for the real war that would follow if the mad dash war failed.
I think the mad dashing (with no artillery and virtually no airstrikes) was the major part of it during the first four days, followed by a day or so of reorganization, now seemingly followed by more by-the-books advance by sturdier units. It’s slower going with full battalion tactical groups of 800 men, but at least it’s not throwing lives away and gifting the opposition easy victories. (Or it could be that my mind is imposing order on a situation where it does not exist, but that’s my impression anyway from data that is both biased and incomplete.)
In the past two days, the Russians have taken Kherson (300,000 people) and encircled Mariupol in the south.
Forces attacking from the rebel Lugansk Republic have made a breakthrough, are in Starobelsk moving on to Svatovo, and could soon be linking up with Russians who have advanced south to Kupyansk and Balakliya.*
Most importantly of all, a much firmer grip on the old triangle of death in northeastern Ukraine below Chernigov and to the west of Sumy has been established. Some attacks on supplies continue, but at least passing combat troops are not getting blown up. It has allowed the Russians to quietly and without much fanfare move further west and establish themselves 40 kilometers to the east of Kiev.
In other words, as most everyone was focused on the giant traffic jam moving from Belarus that will be encircling Kiev from the west and storming it from the north, the Russians have made more critical work to the east of the city.
Map for Kyiv's Eastern Approaches as of 2200 UTC 01MAR. With more information, I was able to get better fidelity on how 1st GTA was arrayed at the border. Dotted is low confidence, solid is moderate confidence. Otherwise NATO symbology mostly, with a bit of artistic license. pic.twitter.com/k4sGizoWB9
— Henry Schlottman (@HN_Schlottman) March 2, 2022
Another interpretation of the NE area (almost a day behind now):
*A competing interpretation is that forces in Starobelsk have advanced to there directly from Russia and not from the Lugansk Republic:
Oryx has documented over 400 Russian vehicle losses, including over 50 tanks. Oryx is a team of notorious NATO-loving Russophobes. They were notoriously pro-Qaeda in Syria. However, their tally is backed by photograph and footage. Every claimed loss is linked back to a video or photo so their exaggeration can not be by leaps and bounds. The worrying part for Russia is that so many of the vehicle losses is gear that was abandoned or abandoned and captured. Documented Ukrainian losses are smaller (160 vehicles and 18 tanks) because 95% of the footage is from Ukrainians and Ukrainians don’t like filming their losses, and also because they had less gear to start with.
BTW, war is hell:
Footage captures the moment directly after Ukrainian military base gets hit by a Russian airstrike and soldiers experience shock — "fck fck fck they are hitting us, guys, fck" pic.twitter.com/37NJwYhwtR
— ASB News / MILITARY〽️ (@ASBMilitary) March 2, 2022
Moscow opted not to conduct missile strikes on Ukrainian barracks in the opening night of the war. Now it’s occasionally carrying them out, and as you can see it’s utter hell and tragedy. Horrific stuff.