I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend on both sides of the Atlantic. Here in the United States, Monday is our Independence Day. Across the pond in Great Britain they call it Treason Day and it is not so much a day of celebration as it is a day of bitter remembrance. 😊 As for D+23, the next post will be up tomorrow night and perhaps a thermonuclear fireworks display will kick off on Monday if time permits.
For this post, however, I wanted to discuss the present-day conflict in Ukraine briefly. I came across an article earlier today on how the Ukrainians believe that Russia’s growing reliance on Soviet-era weapons has increased collateral damage in recent weeks. A fair argument at first glance, I admit. But considering that nearly every current Russian weapons system, as well as a healthy number of Ukrainian ones (Western systems included) can trace their origins back to the Cold War years, it is safe to say that every weapon now in play is from the Soviet/Cold War arsenal. From the AK-74 to the T-72, -80 and -90 battle tanks, as well as the MiGs and Flankers up above, everything originated in the Cold War era in either design or production. The same can be said for tactics too, but that’s another discussion altogether.
In a press briefing on Thursday, Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov, Deputy Chief of the Main Operations Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine highlighted the use of more weapons from the Soviet era by Russian forces. “To carry out rocket strikes, the enemy in more than 50 percent of cases is using missiles from the Soviet reserve, which are not sufficiently precise,” General Hromov said. “As a result, civilian buildings are being hit.” Now, in any conflict there are going to be weapon malfunctions and miscues that result in non-combatant casualties and collateral damage. This is simply a part of war. To blame the age and/or origins of weapons systems, Hromov sounds more like Baghdad Bob than a reputable general officer and spokesperson for the Ukrainian military.
As for the war, things could be going better for Ukrainian forces in Donbas. The fight for Lysychansk appears to be over going by reports from independent analysts and observers. The Ukrainians claim to still be fighting in the city amid growing indications the Russians have advanced into the center of the city and are attempting to encircle it. Either way, loss of this city will essentially remove Ukrainian forces from the Luhansk and give Russia total control of the Luhansk region. Shortages continue to plague Ukraine’s soldiers fighting in the east, most notably artillery shell shortages. Material from European nations and the US is coming in, but not fast enough to reach the front and make a difference. Russia has considerably more artillery pieces and shells available. This advantage is steadily contributing to major victories in Donbas. For the moment, artillery is King of the battlefield in Eastern Ukraine.
Despite public promises to continue providing Ukraine with whatever war material it needs, the United States and other Western nations are singing another tune behind the scenes. Economic blowback from the war continues to adversely affect Western economies. High energy prices, shortages of a variety of goods and skyrocketing costs are being felt around the world. Pressure is growing on Zelenskiy to consider a negotiated settlement to the war. Zelenskiy, understandably, is against any settlement that would result in his country losing more territory. But Ukraine’s leader has to realize the rest of the world, while still morally supporting Ukraine, is growing weary of the war and want it to end soon. Before the economic damage to national economies in Europe and North America increases.