More to ignore, Book 103...

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: A night attack on the port in Sevastopol damages at least three Russian ships

Mark Sumner

On Friday night, Ukraine launched an attack on the Crimean port of Sevastopol. Russian sources have reported that this attack included at least nine UAVs (drones) and seven UMV (automated boats). Ukrainian sources have called these claims ridiculous. But however it was achieved, there are reports of damage to a number of Russian naval vessels, including the Frigate Admiral Makarov. At least three of the ships damaged are reportedly those which have launched Kalibr missiles into Ukrainian cities.



Images from the event show a series of explosions. In the immediate aftermath, Russian news outlets attributed the blasts to a “training exercise.” Then Russia claimed that Ukraine had launched their incredible air-sea drone combo punch, but had only taken out a fishing trawler. Russia later acknowledge damage to a minesweeper.

However, it was evident from the beginning that several large ships were ablaze in the harbor. With the coming of the morning, some of these ships can be identified. The Admiral Makarov — a 122m (400’) long ship that was just launched in 2015 — appears to have suffered heavy damage and has now been burning for hours. The harbor may be too shallow for it to join the cruiser Moskva at the bottom of the sea, but there’s little doubt that the Makarov will be out of action for an extended period.




The power of the explosions is clear. Less clear is what Ukraine actually used to carry out this mission (based on recent experience, Russia is likely to blame NATO-trained dolphins and attack mosquitos). Adding to the wonder over just how badly Russia handled this, even on the propaganda front, just minutes before the explosions Russian officials reported that Ukraine had launched drones toward Sevastopol, but all those drones have been destroyed.

In April, Russian ships were forced to move farther away from the Ukrainian coast after Ukraine gave a vivid demonstration of their ability, and of Russia’s inadequate defenses, by sinking the Moskva, which was at that point the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. With the Moskva out of action, Russia needed a new flagship and, this is true, the selection was … the Admiral Makarov. So Ukraine may have just sunk the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet. Again.


In September, Russia reportedly relocated its Kilo-class submarines from Sevastopol to the Russian port of Novorossiysk in Krasnodar Krai. This came after a series of explosions in Crimea whose origin seemed to baffle the Russian military. Some planes from Crimean air fields were also relocated back to the other side of the soon-to-be damaged Kerch Bridge. However, Sevastopol is almost 300km from the nearest Ukrainian-controlled territory, well outside of the longest-range attack from HIMARS and at the limit of operations for the Bayraktar drone. Despite the handful of earlier explosions, it seemed that Russia didn’t think its Black Sea Fleet was in serious danger.

They thought wrong. Those subs over at Novorossiysk better make room. They’re likely to have some new neighbors … assuming those neighbors are capable of making the journey. And now I’m going to link my own tweet, because I want to share the meme, and because I can barely resist typing “wessels” every time it comes up.


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Because the border between liberated territory and Russian occupation in the south has changed so slightly over the last six months, we rarely look too closely at what’s going on all along the line from south of Bakhmut over to Kamyanske. But there are a whole line of hero towns along that front; towns that have been forced to withstand daily shelling from Russian artillery day after day, week after week, and month after month. Before the war, Orikhiv was a town of around 20,000, making it larger than Lyman, smaller than Izyum. As with Bakhmut, Russia has made almost endless attempts to advance into this area. Those attempts have all been unsuccessful, but the damage to this beautiful old town, formerly home to a large group of Mennonites, is heartbreaking.


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This morning I need to offer both a retraction and an apology. The retraction comes because, after I published the initial update yesterday, I updated again with news that Ukrainian forces had crossed the P66 highway north of Kreminna and were in control of the road. In particular, the town of Ploshchanka was mentioned as the site of this important change in control.

My sources on this were a pair of highly reliable Ukrainian Telegram accounts, and their sources were even better—because the statement came from Serhii Haidai, head of Ukraine’s Armed Forces in Luhansk. That would seem hard to beat.

Hard, but not impossible. Because hours later, the commander of Operational Command “East,” Major General Serhiy Nayev, called out Haidai by name for spreading false information and potentially causing damage to Ukrainian operations in the area. According to Nayev, Ukraine holds fire control over an extended stretch of the highway, but is not in physical possession of the highway in the area Haidai cited.

Whether this means that Ukraine has taken the road, but doesn’t want it talked about, or hasn’t taken the road and is angry that Haidai jumped the gun, or whether this is all still another level of OpSec … I don’t know. But for now, I’m pulling back that control line and saying “never mind” to the update stating that Ukraine held the highway near Ploshchanka.


The apology comes because I had hinted at a second update yesterday, but didn’t actually get that accomplished. In part, that was because some asshole broke into Nancy Pelosi’s house hoping to murder her and ended up sending her 82-year-old husband to the hospital for emergency surgery.

But it was also because I got involved in a project that is Coming Soon. Here’s your sneak peak…

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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UPDATE: Saturday, Oct 29, 2022 · 3:27:03 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
A small, and potentially not so small, update from the area between Kupyansk and Svatove.

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Stelmakhivka confirmed, areas east of Kupyansk reported liberated.

First, there’s the matter of Stelmakhivka, about 15km west of Svatove. It was reported liberated over a week ago, but now that’s been confirmed, with numerous videos today of Ukrainian soldiers strolling through the town and no sign of current conflict.

Second, there’s a small cluster of villages east of Kupyansk where fighting was reported on Friday and where there are now reports that locations have been liberated. This unconfirmed list includes: Pershotravneve, Mykolaivka, and Orlyanske, along with some too-small-to-be-seen-here villages. With the focus on transportation hub cities like Lyman, Svatove, Kreminna, and Starobilsk, Ukraine hasn’t been particularly aggressive in picking up these smaller locations at the extreme northeast of Kharkiv Oblast, but that appears to be changing over the last two weeks. Liberating this whole area could take pressure off Kupyansk and give Ukraine more flexibility.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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UPDATE: Saturday, Oct 29, 2022 · 1:57:13 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
And exactly why are Republicans standing in the way of a plan to provide assistance to Ukraine using funds recovered from seized Russian assets? According to The Washington Post

A group of House and Senate Republicans have objected to a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act conference report that would allow the United States to transfer the proceeds of forfeited Russian property to Ukraine, according to people involved with the negotiations. …
The dispute over the measure comes amid questions about the future of Republican support for Ukraine’s war effort.

Republicans are making a lame procedural argument about sending this idea back for further review by House committees, but there’s little doubt the goal here is to protect Russia and starve Ukraine.
 

McCloudersportLion

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The Penn State Ohio State game is on and you're steady schluckin off Azov Nazis - You and RoyalT- why the fug are u two fat fa66ots even on this site- do you even follow Penn State football?
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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The largest city in Crimea and the home of Russia's Black Sea Fleet woke up to heavy explosions and anti-aircraft fire during an attack Russian officials say included aerial drones and especially unmanned surface vessels (USV), both of which were 'suicide' or 'kamikaze' types mean to explode when they arrive at their targets.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have since released incredible footage purportedly from aboard several unmanned surface vessels used in the attack. The video shows the purported attack run on a guided missile frigate and Russian forces engaging the USVs with machine-gun fire.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Brazilians head to the polls on Sunday in their most important election for years, with leftist challenger Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva the slight favourite to put an end to four years of destructive government by the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.

Opinion polls on the eve of the ballot gave Lula, as the Workers’ party candidate is known, a lead of between four and eight percentage points.

However, polls before the first round underestimated the incumbent’s numbers and there is no guarantee he will not spring a surprise and win another four years in power.

The two candidates slugged it out in a desperate final debate on Friday night that started off with 30 minutes of name calling and improved little over the subsequent two hours....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Feb 6, 2014
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Ukraine Update: The noose tightens around Svatove, as Russia blows key bridges

kos

Ukraine is tight-lipped about its advances, and Russia has effectively muzzled its Telegram milbloggers, forcing them to report on Russia’s glorious victories under threat of imprisonment. So getting accurate information has suddenly gotten a bit tougher, and the fog of war has always been a challenge to see through.

The front around Svatove and Kreminna is a perfect example, with claims and counter-claims and rumors muddying the picture. Mark Sumner worked hard all week to peer through the fog, but confirmed news is hard to come by. The best he had was educated guesses.

Today is no more certain, but Russia has taken two curious actions suggesting Ukrainian advance are, indeed, coming along—they blew the rail bridge north of Svatove, and they blew another bridge leading into the town of Krasnorichens’ke, south of Svatove.

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As Mark wrote yesterday, there are rumors that Ukrainian forces are working their way north of Svatove, attempting to surround the city from multiple sides. Blowing a key bridge north of Svatove suggests those rumors have merit. The bridge into Krasnorichens’ke is even more intriguing, as it is located not just well east of the P66 highway that runs north and south west of those two towns, but also on the other side of the cliffs that run parallel to the highway.

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If you look closely at the map, you’ll see that Krasnorichens’ke has the only road east through those hills anywhere between there and Svatove. It’s a military checkpoint. If Russia blew the bridge into town, it almost assuredly means that Ploshanka, to its west, is in Ukrainian hands. Whether Russia still holds positions on the hills remains to be seen, but Ukraine doesn’t have to walk into town to dramatically impact Russia’s positions on this front. Holding the high positions will give it fire control into that entire string of towns, and the roads that help supply Svatove.

Remember, if Svatove falls, another major slice of Ukraine is immediately liberated, and opens up the road toward Starobilsk, which would single-handedly liberate the entire northeast corner of Ukraine.

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Look at how EVERY road in their regions go through Svatove and Starobilsk (circled, from left to right). Liberating Starobilsk would also cut the last supply line from Belgorod in Russia to the Ukrainian front lines, requiring Russia to completely rejigger their already-strained supply efforts. Taking those two cities would literally turn all this red on the map liberated yellow—both a massive propaganda victory for Ukraine, and a substantial strategic blow to Russia’s war effort. As much as we want to see Kherson liberated, taking these two cities would have the biggest immediate impact on Russia’s war effort.
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Just a day or two after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cautioned that Russia
wasn’t pulling out of Kherson, and that any claims otherwise were Russian disinformation, the Ukrainian General Staff reports that … Russia is pulling artillery out of the Kherson pocket.



Now, this isn’t incompatible with a Russian defense of Kherson, it just requires really tight defense lines close to both Kherson and Nova Kakhovka—critically important for Russia because it is the source of occupied Crimea’s water supply. It makes sense logistically, as artillery is hungry and Russia is limited to what it can get into the Kherson pocket via barge or ferry.