After giving up on Kyiv, Russia still had designs on a full envelopment of the Donbas front lines, thinking they could trap a good 1 / 3rd of Ukraine’s army in a deadly cauldron.
Russia expended a great deal of effort to both capture Izyum, and to flood it with the bulk of its army. It’s now been almost three months since Izyum fell on April 1, and Russia has pushed just 30 kilometers (~ 18 miles) south of town. Their inability to advance forced Russia to settle on the limited Lysychansk-Severodonetsk approach that has netted them the latter, almost the former, and trapped just a handful of Ukrainian troops. (Seriously, Russian Telegram paraded 10 POWs from their approach south of Lysychansk.)
So what happened in Izyum? The same thing that happens everywhere else where Russia tries to extend from friendly territory — it cannot manage its supply lines.
Back when Russia was attempting that bigger encirclement, I laughed off the effort as ludicrous, making these maps in the first several weeks of April:
The idea being that Russia’s Izyum approach was exposed to flank attacks from the west — from the ground, sure, but more importantly, from Ukrainian artillery. How could Russia move significant forces south with artillery raining on its supply routes?
I belabored the point day after day, making new maps to underscore it:
And really, that’s exactly what’s been happening all these months. And we have geolocated video showing exactly what that looks like. Here is a supply convoy north of Izyum:
Here’s an equipment / supply depot of some sort:
And here is the geolocation for both those artillery ambushes, with Izyum on the bottom right of the map, in white.
And here’s a third video from the same area north of Izyum:
That Izyum salient is critical for any Russian assault on the twin fortress cities of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, yet Russia is struggling to supply its advance under constant Ukrainian artillery barrage. The appearance of HIMARS rocket artillery (and nine M270 MLRS launchers in the weeks ahead), will only make that more difficult.
When Finland and Sweden announced their intention to join NATO, a furious Russia reacted with their usual threats. Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov thundered, “We condemn the irresponsible course of the North Atlantic Alliance that is ruining the European architecture, or what’s left of it.” I have a great deal of doubt as to whether the upcoming period will be calm for our north European neighbors. ” The Russian foreign ministry warned that Russia would be forced to “restore military balance” if the two Nordic countries went forward with their NATO applications.
And Russia would not be Russia without threatening nuclear retaliation. “There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored, “said Dmitry Medvedev, Vladimir Putin’s top lieutenant. Countries in the region literally laughed, pointing out that Russia already had nukes in the Baltics — in Kaliningrad.
Finland, Sweden, and NATO ignored the threats and did their thing. Russia’s glee at Turkey’s recalcitrance was short lived, as those objections have now been dropped. And yesterday, forced to respond to the ongoing NATO summit in Madrid, Putin was forced to concede his impotence on this issue. (Statement below was run through Google Translate.)
The Russian Federation does not have any issues with Sweden and Finland that could bother Moscow at the event of their membership in NATO, the President of the Russian Federation believes. Russia will mirror the deployment of NATO’s military infrastructure in Sweden and Finland.
Russia had lots of issues, everyone ignored them, and now Russia needs to pretend that it never really cared. That’s how you stand up to bullies. Now we get to see Lithuania provide another lesson in handling Russian bullies:
Russia is threatening unspecified repercussions if a European Commission blockade of goods though Lithuania to the Russian enclave at Kaliningrad is not lifted. The EC now wants to cave, even though the sanctions don‘t affect food or consumables like toilet paper. If Russia wants to ship construction equipment or other things that aren’t sold in a grocery store, they can use boats or planes. Otherwise, what are they really going to do? Trigger NATO’s Article 5 by making moves against Poland or Lithuania? Russia is already losing one war, it does not have the capability to start a second one, much less wage it effectively.
It takes a country like Lithuania, that has suffered for decades under Russian / Soviet occupation, to really understand both 1) the threat that Russia poses, and 2) how to best deal with it. Western Europe should be taking notes.
Caesars have been spotted with long range shells with 40 km range, well within range of Snake Island. With a lack of functional Air Force able to project into Ukrainian airspace, the island was a sitting duck to these howitzers. Russia has no choice, leaving behind hundreds of millions of dollars in destroyed gear and likely dozens of lives.