Ukraine Invasion Day 26: “If they climb inside, it’s their fault.”
Time and anti-tank weapons favor the Ukrainians even if air superiority remains complicated. An extended siege of Kyiv looks possible with the current stalemate, and long-range bombardment continues. Mercenaries are being recruited to support Russian forces. The disinformation campaign continues, including the relocation of some of the Mariupol population elsewhere, including to Russia.
Mariupol: Ukraine rejects Russian offer to surrender Mariupol https://t.co/cxSCMZM75P
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 21, 2022
Ukraine has rejected a Russian ultimatum to surrender the strategic port city Mariupol on coast of the Sea of AzovThis was announced by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories Iryna Vereshchuk in a comment to Ukrainian Pravda, Ukrinform reports.According to the official, the Russian Ministry of Defense has sent an official letter to Ukraine, issuing an ultimatum: Ukrainian defenders must lay down their weapons and withdraw from Mariupol, and only under such conditions will the evacuation of civilians be possible.
“There are eight pages of revisiting history and other delusional things. They have sent the same letter to the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and hoped that international organizations would react and start exerting pressure on Ukraine. This didn’t happen. ICRC and UN understand that this is Russian manipulation, and that this is hostage-taking,” Vereshchuk said.
With sanctions, RU cannot sustain the war long enough to "win." There's no hope of a "win" from negotiations now. So they have a very limited window in which to radically reset their losing strategy.
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) March 20, 2022
The #Ukrainian General Staff reported for the first time that the #Kremlin is preparing its population for a “long war” in #Ukraine and implementing increasingly draconian mobilization measures.
Read the latest from @TheStudyofWar and @criticalthreats https://t.co/OHhpaXoEUI pic.twitter.com/Rfni59kfAQ
— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) March 20, 2022
- The Ukrainian General Staff reported for the first time that the Kremlin is preparing its population for a “long war” in Ukraine and implementing increasingly draconian mobilization measures, including deploying youth military organization members aged 17-18.
- Ukrainian forces reportedly killed three Russian regimental commanders in the last 24 hours.
- Russia’s Wagner Group will likely facilitate the deployment of Libyan fighters to Ukraine.
- Russian forces are digging in to positions around Kyiv, including the first reports of the war of Russian forces deploying minefields.
- Ukrainian forces repelled a Russian assault on Izyum, southeast of Kharkiv, and inflicted heavy casualties.
- Russian forces continued their slow advance into Mariupol but did not achieve any major territorial gains.
- Ukrainian forces launched further localized counterattacks around Mykolayiv.
The Ukrainian General Staff reported for the first time that the Kremlin is preparing its population for a “long war” in Ukraine and implementing increasingly draconian mobilization measures. The General Staff reported the Russian military commissariats of the Kuban, Primorsky Krai, Yaroslavl Oblast, and Ural Federal Districts are conducting covert mobilization measures but are facing widespread resistance. The General Staff reported the Russian PMC Wagner Group will facilitate the transport of Libyan fighters from LNA leader Khalifa Haftar’s forces to Ukraine. The General Staff reported universities in the DNR and LNR are conscripting students above the age of 18 and that most units in the DNR’s 1st Army Corps are comprised of the “mobilized population,” rather than trained soldiers, and face low morale and equipment shortages…
Russian forces face mounting casualties among officers and increasingly frequent desertion and insubordination.
The Ukrainian MoD reported that forced mobilization in the DNR has demoralized Russian proxy forces, with many refusing to fight and accusing Russian leadership of forcing them into combat to find Ukrainian troop positions. The Ukrainian Military Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported the number of insubordinate Russian personnel who are refusing combat orders is “sharply increasing” in the Kherson and Mykolayiv oblasts on March 20.
Ukrainian military intelligence (the GUR) reported on March 20 that another group of mercenaries connected with Yevgeny Prigozhin and the “League”/Wagner Group began arriving in Ukraine on March 20. The GUR claimed this group aims to eliminate Ukraine’s top military and political leadership, including Volodymyr Zelensky, Andriy Yermak, and Denys Shmyhal. The GUR claimed Russia is turning to assassination plans due to the failure of Russian conventional operations.
Kyiv remains the biggest prize of all for the Russian military; it is the seat of government and ingrained in both Russian and Ukrainian identity. But capturing it, military analysts say, would require a furious and bloody conflict that could be the world’s biggest urban battle in 80 years.
On a roadside were two empty carrying tubes for American-supplied Javelin anti-tank missiles. “Raytheon/Lockheed Martin,” read the stenciled markings. “Guided missile surface attack.” Ukrainians have been joking that, after the war, they will use these tubes to store potatoes.
#Ukraine defeated the initial phase of #Russia’s invasion.
On what basis can/should we evaluate Ukraine’s success or failure in this war?
This thread will unpack a few key concepts & arguments
— Jennifer Cafarella (@JennyCafarella) March 20, 2022
The Economist is not saying this. I am. You can’t say Ukr forces have “defeated” initial campaign when a city is in siege (Mariupol), your second city under heavy bombardment (Kharkiv) and much of the eastern contact line is still fluid around Donetsk and Luhansk region.
— Oliver Carroll (@olliecarroll) March 20, 2022
Big picture, Ukraine succeeds or fails based on whether it emerges from this war intact. I’d argue that includes all territory (#Crimea)
Big picture, every inch Russian forces take is a loss for #Ukraine
But this lens blurs the ebb & flow of the struggle of wills on the battlefield as the war is fought
#Russia’s objectives when it invaded were to seize #Kyiv, #Kharkiv, #Odesa & force a change in government.
It has achieved none.
But #Ukraine has also waged a capable defense to deny Russia these objectives. In doing so, it has won an important phase.
This doesn’t mean they are defeated or can’t fight. Local battles will continue. But the initial campaign is over.
A huge win for #Ukraine
But #Ukraine has fought #Russia’s forces to a stalemate on many fronts
It has defeated Russia’s initial campaign by denying its objectives & breaking its operational cohesion.
It does not mean an end to the killing.
Stalemates can be even more violent than prior phases.
Amidst this grinding attrition, #Russia’s violence against #Ukraine’s civilians will likely grow
• • •
Russia is a vast and very unequal country. Socio-economic and other parameters of its regions vary greatly. Putin enforced obedience, but enforced it by brutal violence. Russian siloviki whom he directly subordinated to Moscow terrorised barons, making them obey to Kremlin pic.twitter.com/eigaGdrmiq
— Kamil Galeev (@kamilkazani) March 20, 2022
Satellite imagery from @planet (left) from 11:32am UTC March 20th that shows the location of the art college reportedly sheltering hundreds of people that was reportedly attacked in Mariupol today. Right is the location on older Google Earth imagery. 47.094852, 37.550582 pic.twitter.com/T0Kwn6LfTn
— Bellingcat (@bellingcat) March 20, 2022
After releasing this claim below, Russia shelled the Sumy chemical plant (Sumykhimprom), leading to an ammonia leak. The leak has since been eliminated, but this shows some of Russia's wild claims do actually lead to a Russian attack.https://t.co/ErOsRIwmH4
— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) March 21, 2022
In 2020, Fox News earned more money from these carriage fees ($1.6 billion) than advertisements ($1.2 billion)https://t.co/bYwJ6Q02Oe
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 20, 2022
1/Russia plants narratives, often blunt instruments intended mostly to divide, to serve future kinetic actions.
So if they are saying something (nazis, biolabs, cleansing) it’s because they plan to do something that will be justified or explained by that narrative.
— Dave Troy (@davetroy) March 17, 2022
And it’s not always projection, though it sometimes is. The “biolabs”…
• • •
Yeah it is.
It's basic reading comprehension and media literacy. We can't stop people from lying, but we can certainly figure out what a lie is. It's not that hard, friend.
We just need to take responsibility for our media intake and learn how to shift through information. https://t.co/y9JBJ1XkfY
— Terrell Jermaine Starr 🇺🇦 (@terrelljstarr) March 17, 2022
I've just come back from three weeks in Moscow. I spent a lot of that time in our bureau, where the TVs are tuned to Russian state television.
A couple observations on what ordinary Russians are being told – and aren't being told – about the war in Ukraine:
— Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) March 17, 2022
But it isn’t saying how many Russian troops in total have been killed.
Putin condemned the West this week for “speculating on the combat losses”.
And a lot of clips of Fox’s Tucker Carlson criticising the US or Ukraine. Like several times a day.
Sometimes cloaked as a history lesson (a lot of talk about Bandera, a Ukrainian ultra-nationalist who died in 1959).
But often it’d more blatant, like this clip claiming to show a Nazi flag in a captured Ukrainian base.
• • •
The Russians are losing so many generals they’re gonna have to call up Mike Flynn from the bullpen.
— 🇺🇦Max Hanlon (@MaxHanlon) March 19, 2022
10 million Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes, thousands dead. Think how much damage one mentally unbalanced sociopath has caused in less than 4 weeks, including to his own country. Anyone who supported and enabled Putin should be DONE for good in American politics!
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) March 20, 2022