More to ignore, Book 53.........

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: Russia spreads itself thin again, while whining about Western arms shipments
kos

FRAqppmWYAALyKA.jpeg

A Ukrainian soldier, somewhere on the eastern front.

On the ground, both sides nibbled on the edges. Russia made some gains south of Izyum, but were repulsed at Pashkove—the last town before reaching a critical line supplying Ukrainian forces in this entire front. And if you’re wondering, “why is there a functional rail line still supplying Ukrainian forces well within reach of Russian artillery?,” well then, you’re not alone. Russia has clearly prioritized war crime’ing over actually trying to win a war.

Down south, Ukraine pushed toward Kherson, and is just a few miles outside of Kherson city itself.




In addition to threatening Kherson on the eve of its sham “referendum,” taking the city would cut off the mass of Russian forces threatening Kryvyi Rih to its north. While strategically unimportant, Kryvyi Rih happens to be Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s hometown, and did we mention that Russia doesn’t seem to be trying to win the war? Massacring civilians and pushing to the gates of Kryvyi Rih have zero to little military purpose.

Note, some late-night reports claimed Russia had retaken Oleksandrivka, which is west of Kherson, at the base of that little red “up” arrow in the map above. Except … there’s another Oleksandrivka north of Kherson, on the approach to Kryvyi Rih. It would make more sense if it was the top one, and everyone is certainly confused (as I write this, Monday night). Regardless, I’ve talked of the tug-of-war nature of this front, where wide open and exposed terrain allows artillery to shred infantry. This is where those American M113 armored personnel carriers are most desperately needed. Whichever Oleksandrivka Russia’s took, expect Ukraine to retake in the days ahead. Then lather, rinse, repeat. This isn’t just a tug of war, it’s a tug of war in mud, where no one can get a proper footing.

Now let’s take a trip down memory lane, when Russian forces spread themselves out among too many axes, diluting their effectiveness? Remember?

Also, remember when Russia was going to learn from their early failures, and concentrate their efforts in a single axis to conquer the entire Donbas region in a massive offensive? Remember? Seems like just yesterday!

Right now, Russia is attempting to advance toward:
  • Mykolaiv
  • Kryvyi Rih
  • Zaprozhzhia
  • Sievierodonetsk
  • Slovyansk/Kramatorsk
  • South, east, west, and northwest of Izyum (seriously)
  • Pushing out from Donetsk
  • Mariupol
Russia never learns. Russia will never learn. And sure, they grind out a kilometer here or there, but their losses are unsustainable. Ukraine can well afford to give up land for blood, as their reserves (300,000 strong) continue to train and equip out west, and entire new armor, infantry, and artillery battalions are formed with all the great gear streaming in from the West.

Speaking of that, the United States made their new weekly aid announcement:



The $165 million will buy Soviet-era munitions from eastern European countries (and maybe others) on Ukraine’s behalf, so Ukraine is getting nearly half a billion in new weapons and ammunition this week. The U.S. also graduated the first cohort training on American howitzers, and the U.S. is expanding the training program to train more Ukrainians on western systems. Note, they aren’t teaching Ukrainians from scratch how to be artillerymen, but training experienced Ukrainian artillerymen on using a new howitzer. Our gear has longer range and is more accurate than the stuff they’re using now, and Ukraine has already been amazing on their older Soviet-era gear.

Russia is clearly frustrated having its soldiers chewed up by Western weapons and munitions, and the howitzers and suicide drones will only add to the carnage in the coming weeks and months. So, once again, Russia issued the typical lame threats.



There was even a sternly worded letter!


  1. Of course military equipment in Ukraine is a “legitimate target.” Nothing has changed from the first day of the war. Note that not now, and not ever, has Russia argued that those arms shipments are legitimate targets outside of Ukraine.
  2. Are we going to pretend that Russia cares about whether a target is legitimate or not? As mentioned above, they’ve been more interested in war crime’ing than trying to actually win this war.
Russia can pout all it wants. It’s actually a pathetic look. Lavrov even complained about NATO countries “shipping weapons and basically advertising their efforts in this area.” It’s true, the United States and Britain have been particularly vocal in rubbing Russia’s nose in all that sweet, sweet military gear for Ukraine. Yet the last two months have shown how impotent those threats have become. Where once it set the world on edge, now they’re shrugged off. If anything, Russia seems less intent on expanding the war, not more.

p.s. Russia
did hit some rail targets yesterday. But the fact that there’s a rail system operational at all at this point of the war shows how little Russia has prioritized taking out Ukrainian logistics.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 9:08:16 AM EDT · Mark Sumner
If you’ve been looking at maps of Ukraine for the last two months, you might have noticed that, down in the southwest corner of the nation, beyond the city of Odesa, is a little section of land connected to the rest of Ukraine only by a bridge and a narrow road that cuts across a very narrow set of levees. That area is the Budjak, part of an area known historically as Bessarabia, which has passed around among various nations before landing with Ukraine.

screencap.jpg

The Budjak lies south and west of Odesa, and makes up a good portions of Ukraine’s coast

The area has a lot of coastline on the Black Sea, but it’s relatively sparsely populated. Even so, it’s extremely cosmopolitan, as it’s history of being passed around has resulted in a very diverse population.

On Tuesday, Russia targeted the bridge to the Budjak with a cruise missile, largely cutting it off from the rest of Ukraine.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 10:10:53 AM EDT · Mark Sumner
The UK Ministry of Defense is voicing the same concern that their Ukrainian counterpart has been expressing for a week.



On Tuesday, there seems to have been several small villages captured by Russia. While the larger town of Kreminna has actually been occupied by Russia since Saturday, they have continue to press toward Oskil, located at the northern edge of Ukrainian held territory east of Izyum. Russian forces reported entered the town of Yatskivka on Tuesday, as well as pressing south of Izyum into the villages of Dibrovne and Kurulka.

However, for the moment at least, Russia doesn’t seem to be pressing down the main route of the M03 highway south of Izyum, but is instead proceeding along a number of much smaller, narrower roads. If Russia can push Ukrainian forces from the town of Oskil, it could open more lines of supply to their Izyum salient.

At the same time, the combat to the east near Rubizhne and the city of Severodonetsk is reportedly fierce in both directions.

screencap.jpg

Area on the edge of Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.
 

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 10:37:44 AM EDT · Mark Sumner
As of Tuesday morning, these are the numbers reported by Ukrainian authorities. As usual, expect these numbers to shade north of reality — especially in the area of aircraft taken out.



However, with Oryx now listing over 3,200 systems verified destroyed through images and video, including 562 tanks and 1031 APCs (including IFVs and AFVs), the other numbers presented by the Ukraine MOD may be quite close to Russia’s real losses.
 

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Ukraine update: Weakening Russia is a noble goal, well worth the cost
Mark Sumner

GettyImages-1393356904.jpg

A memorial wall for Ukrainian civilians killed during the Russian invasion, Lviv, UKraine, April 24, 2022.

On Monday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made it clear that the U.S. has a broader goal in assisting Ukraine against the invasion by Russian forces. “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can't do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” said Austin.

The secretary of defence’s words have generated a good deal of faux outrage and blustering from those who claim this represents some sort of change from the mission of seeing Ukraine preserve its nation against an illegal and brutal invasion. It’s not. This is that same goal, elevated.

In 1987, historian Barbara Fields said this about of the importance of battles and tactics when discussing the American Civil War: “It’s not about soldiers except to the extent that weapons and soldiers at that crucial moment joined a discussion about something higher, about humanity, about human dignity, about human freedom.”

That’s where we are in Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is, as Fields said then, not about “battles and glory and carnage.” If that’s all there was to it, this would be a very ugly story, no matter which side we were on. For this story to mean something, for the cost of the war in both blood and money to be redeemed, requires a greater goal. The weakening of Russian power under Vladimir Putin might not have the same incalculable good as equality and freedom, but it is an almost unsullied good.

Decades ago, Putin turned his back on joining the family of nations and recreated Russia as an engine of destruction. He has used that engine in disrupting democracies and furthering authoritarian governments, not just in Russia, but around the world—including the United States. He’s used the Russian military to expand his own power by systematically attacking civilian populations in Georgia, Syria, Ukraine, and elsewhere. He’s turned his own nation into a crime-driven and criminal-obsessed parody of what it could be.

Reducing Russia’s ability to conduct more invasions like the one underway in Ukraine isn’t just a side note, it’s a noble goal. It’s a goal that elevates both the contributions we are making to this cause, and the suffering and sacrifice by the Ukrainian people.

Weapons and soldiers are once more in a discussion about something that can’t be measured in the number of tanks destroyed or the acres of land under control. We’re not just obligated to take part in that conversation, we are privileged to do so.

............
Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 12:21:08 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
We’ve talked several times about Transnistria, sliver of Russian-controlled territory running along the eastern edge of Moldova. In describing their updated goals for Ukraine (when Russia admits that they’ve fallen short on their original goals of simply absorbing Ukraine), Russian officials have suggested that they plan to construct a “land bridge” of territory that would stretch from the Donbas on the east, to Crimea, then on through Odesa to connect with Transnistria. At that point, this whole Ukraine / Moldova hodge-podge would be swallowed up as a new Russian district.

Though Russia hasn’t had a lot of success in attempts to progress past Kherson when it comes to capturing the Ukrainian Black Sea coast, over the last few days, it seems that they’ve been preparing to somehow evolve Transnistria in their chaotic action.

On Monday, a series of explosions in Transnistria included attacks on television towers in the region. There have been suggestions that this is intended as a false-flag operation with Russia claiming that Ukrainian forces had attacked across the border, but it also seems perfectly in line with efforts Russia has made throughout Ukraine to destroy broadcast communications.



In response to the threat of a complete Russian takeover and the possibility of bringing the region into the conflict, hundreds (if not thousands) of those who live in the small region made a break for the border with the rest of Moldova.



And in another bad sign, Russia’s favorite YouTube propagandist has moved his act from explaining how Russia was being so nice to civilians in Mariupol, to explaining how enthusiastic everyone in Transnistria is about getting involved with this invasion.
 

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 12:52:46 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
This could be an oddly big deal. DJI drones are cheap and ubiquitous in the U.S. and in Ukraine. However, DJI also offers a software service that allows civil authorities to locate both the GPS location of the drone and the drone operator. It’s intended as a safety feature, so that, for example, police and locate the operators of drones that intrude into space around airports.

Russia, at least until now, has had access to this program. That means that attempts by Ukraine to use standard DJI drones as observation platforms often resulted in quick incoming fire from artillery or MLRS systems targeting the drone operator. Tragically, this also happened in the case of children operating drones for recreation.

If this new means that Russia no longer has access to DJI’s operator-locating system, it could instantly add a lot of low-cost observation drones to Ukraine’s arsenal.

 

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 1:08:36 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
Definitely looks like things are leaning toward “blame Ukraine” for the explosions. Russia may be doing this in the homes that Transnistria could do what Belarus never did — open up a “western front” that forces Ukraine to divert forces away from the battle in the east. However, it’s unclear what the supposed 3 battalion tactical groups stationed in Transnistria could actually do. In fact, there have been indications that the “Russian soldiers” there are not Russian’s at all, but Moldovan locations who have been given Russian passports. It’s unclear how willing they would be to enter Ukraine.


 

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Tuesday, Apr 26, 2022 · 1:57:38 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
Russia is continuing that advance south out of Izyum along roads running to the southwest, rather than down the M03 corridor toward Slavyansk.



FRSQ6QDWQAEFOIJ


Updating from the latest reports of which villages have been entered by Russian forces, and which are still being shelled by Russian artillery, the current situation appears to be roughly like this:

screencap.jpg


Earlier reports had indicated Russia slowly capturing small villages along side roads directly south of Izyum, before being turned back at the tiny crossroads of Pashkove. But the footage above looks to be from Russian forces moving SW along the highway that runs straight down to Barvinkove. Russia may be attempting to bypass towns and villages like Nova Dmytrivka to move quickly toward the highway nexus at Barvinkove.
 

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told a gathering of military leaders in Germany that Ukraine’s “resistance has brought inspiration to the free world and even greater resolve to NATO” — and that Russian President Vladimir Putin “never imagined that the world would rally behind Ukraine so swiftly and surely.”

Austin’s remarks, as he opened a U.S.-organized gathering of more than 40 countries to discuss Ukrainian defense needs for the fight against Russia, came as the United States announced more military aid and plans to reopen its embassy in Ukraine’s capital, Poland said it would send tanks, and Germany planned to send armored antiaircraft vehicles.

“All of us have your back,” Austin told Ukraine, in remarks that follow his own trip to Kyiv.

Senior defense officials from NATO and non-NATO countries attended the meeting, part of the new Ukraine Defense Consultative Group. Some nations, such as Israel and Qatar, had representatives at the table, although they were not included on the official list of attendees. The inclusion of non-NATO countries such as Kenya, Tunisia and Japan was part of an effort to extend substantive and symbolic support for Ukraine beyond Europe and the alliance.

In separate remarks to the group, Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered a stark picture of the next phase of the war, as Russia attempts to take full control of southeastern and southern Ukraine. “Time is not on Ukraine’s side,” Milley said in closed-door comments provided to reporters traveling with him. “The outcome of this battle, right here, today, is dependent on the people in this room.”

World leaders are seeking to pressure Putin to stop the war now grinding into its third month. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, who is in Moscow to meet with Putin and his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, called for a cease-fire Tuesday and said everything must be done “to end the war as soon as possible.”

Lavrov, meanwhile, set off alarm bells when he told state television that the risk of the conflict escalating into nuclear war “is serious, it is real” — but added that Moscow’s position is that nuclear war is unacceptable. Lavrov accused NATO of fighting a proxy war by donating weapons to Kyiv and said weapons flowing from allies into Ukraine will be considered “a legitimate target” for Russia’s military.

U.S. objectives for the gathering were to share what Pentagon spokesman John Kirby called a “common understanding” of the current battlefield and Ukrainian defense capabilities and requirements, as well as the capacity of national industrial bases.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov headed a delegation from Kyiv, where Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Sunday.

“That visit only underscored my sense of urgency, an urgency that I know that we all share,” Austin said at the meeting. He emphasized that he would “like this whole group today to leave with a common and transparent understanding of Ukraine’s near-term security requirements because we’re going to keep moving heaven and earth so that we can meet them.”

President Biden announced last week an additional $800 million in weapons aid for Ukraine, including heavy artillery and high-tech attack drones that are targeted for the new battle in the south and southeast. U.S. military officials have assessed that the Russians, who have retreated to those areas following their failure to take Kyiv, will try to encircle Ukrainian forces there in a major ground battle.

“My trip to Kyiv reinforced my admiration for the way that the Ukrainian armed forces are deploying” the help they are getting, Austin said in his opening statement. “Ukraine clearly believes that it can win. And so does everyone here.”

Milley was less definitive after reporters had left the room. “The next two, three, four weeks will shape the overall outcome of this fight,” he said.
 

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Sen. Rand Paul, forever angling for attention, treads perilously close to Putin's own talking points
Hunter

I've said this before and I'm going to keep saying it until it becomes the theme of every story that so much as touches on the antics of Sen. Rand Paul: Rand Paul is a contrarian opportunist. That's his schtick. Whatever anyone else has got, Sen. Rand Paul will come up with a reason why he's against it, and if you stumble into agreement with something Rand Paul previously believed then Rand Paul will declare that now he's against that thing and the nation will unravel if people like you support it. All of this is constant, cynical experimentation by Paul as he tries his hand at creating the latest Viral Fundraising Moment, some brief moment in time when equally contrarian Americans see Paul saying something and are willing to reward his gadfly nature with five American dollars. Possibly 10, if Paul can wedge the word "filibuster" in there somewhere.
........
Right now the nation's attention is focused on Russia's military attack on Ukraine, so that is where Rand Paul's own attention lies. Rand Paul is vaguely aware that under Donald Trump, Republicanism drifted from perennial hawkishness to international nihilism, a new belief that America owes nothing to anybody and even our closest allies are treating us like "suckers." Rand Paul has inherited a mailing list of longtime conspiracy cranks, more than a few of them raging racists, thanks to his father's long career as contrarian opportunist. And Rand Paul is quite certain that the Trumpian wing of Republicanism
likes Vladimir Putin, does not like Vladimir Putin's enemies, and that Ukraine is bad because they wouldn't turn over Hunter Biden's secret DNC server holding Italian satellite-controlled Jewish Space Laser data even though Donald Trump asked them super nicely to do that.

And that is how we get this. Keep in mind: Rand Paul is a contrarian opportunist. He does not have principles; he merely puts on little one-man plays to see what reactions might net him the most fundraising cash.





If you watch that whole clip you'll notice a few little details, like Paul having to correct himself after saying "Russia" to say "Soviet Union," and most notably Paul's determination to not take full ownership of the argument he himself is making. Paul's anti-NATO stance is one he's actually stuck to for a while now, since it plays exceptionally well with a base forever worried about things like the United Nations coming to indoctrinate your kids or NATO being a secret conspiracy aimed at creating a "one world government." It's also gotten him, like numerous other House and Senate Republicans, in some tight spots as he ends up regularly being one of the American lawmakers that "coincidentally" keeps landing on the same talking points Putin's allies are trying to sell in any given moment of time.

But Paul is arguing that the United States shouldn't respond to a new war of conquest because the authoritarian government doing the conquesting is, after all, focusing its campaign on annexing territories that fled from their rule after their last authoritarian government ended in crisis and collapse, which is ... a very odd argument! And one that, according to Rand Paul himself, he's, uh, not making! Unless you like it, in which case he is! He'll look at the Internets later and decide which parts to run with.

I dunno, senator. This sounds a bit like if you called the police because your neighbor got tired of you talking smack, jumped the fence and broke a few of your ribs, then when the police came they just looked at you and said, "This guy has owned the property next door for an awful long time, so we can kind of see where he's coming from on this."

And, scene. Once again Rand Paul has used one of the most critical issues of the day to Rand Paul-up a Senate hearing with Rand Paulisms that none of us are going to remember a few weeks from now, but which he'll use for a new fundraising drive just as soon as his staff can clip the footage. (For the record, as I write this Paul's Twitter feed still consists mostly of anti-mask statements, including one that claims masks to be "ineffective" and another claiming he has been "vindicated" by a far-right judge deciding that nobody's gotta wear masks on planes anymore because FrEEdOmZ.)

Contrarian opportunism: A political tactic in which you claim to have a grievance with absolutely everything anyone else says, use that ostensible disagreement to tie up government in such a way that practically requires reporters to flock to him to have him speechify, you solicit donations based on the publicity, and then move on to the next thing. Sometimes it does require you to get rather close to Putin's own theories that Russia is justified in invading any nation that Russians have ever had historic claims on, so it requires more courage—or at least fewer principles—than you might think.
 
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Under pressure both at home and abroad for his dithering over Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reversed course and finally agreed to supply heavy arms to aid in the country’s defense against Russia.

The agreement to deliver anti-aircraft tanks to Kyiv was announced on Tuesday in conjunction with a summit meeting among western nations held at the U.S. Air Force Base in Ramstein, Germany. On the agenda were discussions about how best to prevent a Russian victory in the eastern Donbas region, where combat tactics are different due to the wide-open terrain.

According to U.S. secretary of defense Lloyd Austin, who chaired the meeting, 50 “Gepard" armored vehicles are to be delivered from existing inventories of the German armed forces. Named after the German word for cheetah, these Gepard tanks are designed to neutralize modern combat aircraft, attack helicopters, remote-controlled missiles, rockets, and can also detect and eliminate drones thanks to their high-frequency radar.

“That’s exactly what Ukraine needs right now to secure the airspace from the ground,” defence minister Christine Lambrecht told reporters.
.....
 

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Ukraine update: Balancing desperate needs and uncomfortable reality
Mark Sumner

GettyImages-1240255997.jpg

Ukrainian children pose on the pedestal of what was a statute to "Ukraine-Russia friendship," Kyiv, April 26, 2022.

Over the course of the now more than two-month-long invasion of Ukraine, kos has written several times about the difficulty of integrating unfamiliar weapons systems into an army—especially when that army is already engaged in a life-or-death struggle. Every single one of these systems comes with its own training requirements, not just for the person whose finger is on the trigger, but for all the mechanics, electricians, and support crews needed to keep it operating in the field. For some systems that training can be done in days. For others it extends into months.


Then there were issues with the supply chain. Even if the U.S. or some other NATO country shipped additional weapon systems into Ukraine, they had to come with a steady stream of parts and ammo to keep them running. Why Russia has been unsuccessful at shutting down that supply chain is going to be a subject of debate for decades, but there’s no doubt they’ve tried. To a large extent, the push that Russia is making toward the town of Barinkove, southwest of Izyum, is about cutting supplies to Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine.

The more different systems a military is using, the more different calibers and types of ammo they require, and the more parts and varied training are required, the less likely something is to work when it’s needed. A piece of artillery may be just in the right spot, but it’s no good without shells. A tank may be prepared to breech the enemy lines, but it won’t operate if it blows an engine gasket and there’s no spare. An anti-aircraft system may be the shiniest thing on the planet, but if no one on site understands how to operate it, it might be literally worse than nothing.

As the weeks have passed during Russia’s invasion, the floodgates on heavy weapons have opened—as kos predicted they would weeks ago.

Part of the reason for that is simple enough: Time. It doesn’t make much sense to train someone on a system that takes six weeks to learn if the war is expected to be over in days. When it became clear that Russia wasn’t going to roll into Kyiv and put on those parade dress uniforms, it suddenly made a lot more sense to introduce weapons and systems that took more time to learn and more time to integrate with Ukraine’s existing systems.

In almost all cases, it still makes the most sense to give Ukraine more of what they already have—mostly variants of Soviet-era systems that match up well with the Russian opposition. They know how to operate these systems and how to repair them. Where they need to be modified to bring a NATO-spec vehicle into line with Ukrainian standards, Ukraine already has shops set up to make those changes. As long as a stream of T-72 tanks, S-300 air defense systems, and Mi-17 helicopters can be kept flowing, it needs to flow.

However, there are already a wide variety of systems being sent to Ukraine. As Oryx records, new deliveries include a wide variety of drones, six different radar systems, three new types of APVs, five kinds of howitzers (using at least two new ammunitions), and three different kinds of artillery (again, with at least two different types of ammunition).


As desperately needed as some of this equipment may be on the front lines, and as gratifying as seeing these systems in operation may be, particularly to the nations sending them, there is a real chance of helping Ukraine to death. Every truck that’s bringing 155 mm howitzer ammo is not carrying 122 mm. Or 152 mm. Every mechanic who spends a few weeks in Poland learning to repair an M198 is not learning to repair a D-30. Just shooting one round out of these things is not a cakewalk.




Watching the round-robin of calls between allied nations looking into what to send next can be extremely frustrating, and must be 100 times more frustrating in Ukraine. But coordination, cooperation, and those all important logistics have never been more vital than they are now.

Almost from Day One, the supply chain going into Ukraine has been “remarkable.” Ukraine earned the time to integrate all those new systems by fighting back against Russian forces in those first few days. They didn’t just prove Russia wrong, they proved everyone who thought that by now we’d be in the “Russia takes all the cities, while Ukraine is reduced to partisan warfare” stage was way off base.

They earned a chance to not just survive, but to win, and now NATO is doing what they can to bring in a steady stream of not just older weapons, but some so new that we honestly don’t know much about them.



It would be easy for NATO nations to treat the invasion of Ukraine like an opportunity to clean out the closets and empty the hangers of everything they want out of the way anyway. But the best thing to do for Ukraine is still what kos said back on April 8: Give them what they know, or things that—like a Javelin anti-tank missile or Switchblade drone—are essentially disposable.

It would be very easy to place an additional burden on Ukraine even while trying to help them, which is why all those meetings that are happening outside Ukraine, like the one chaired this week by the United States, are so important.

The more time Ukraine gets, the more it will be possible to replace older Soviet-designed systems with newer, more powerful, more effective systems. But they have to buy that time, and we have to help them.
 

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Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK was looking at ways to supply anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, including mounting its Brimstone missiles to vehicles.

Now, defence minister James Heappey has told MPs that the work to adapt the missiles has progressed quickly enough that it can provide them “in the next few weeks”.

This latest planned delivery is in response to requests from Kyiv for longer-range ground attack missiles, he said.

Brimstone missiles are designed for use against fast-moving land and sea targets and are typically fired from aircraft.

 

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.....Tuesday’s gathering, which was organized with less than a week’s notice, will now be a monthly event. Austin announced the creation of a standing Ukraine-focused “contact group” during a press briefing at the end of the event at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.......
 

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It looks like Madison Cawthorn tried to get on plane with a loaded gun
Walter Einenkel

On Tuesday, WSOC-TV Channel 9 reported that three sources tell them Rep. Madison Cawthorn “was cited for having a gun at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Tuesday morning.” The outlet says that they were given a photo that shows a “loaded Staccato C2,” a 9 mm handgun that was taken away from Cawthorn during a TSA check inside of Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

This would not be the first time Cawthorn has tried to board a plane with a firearm. Back in 2021, Asheville Regional Airport police took away an unloaded “Glock 9mm handgun” that Cawthorn was attempting to board a plane with. At the time, Cawthorn called it a “mistake,” and no charges were filed......




'Tomorrow, we go to the moon!' Watchdogs say Madison Cawthorn might be guilty of insider trading
Walter Einenkel

Rep. Madison Cawthorn is in the news again! No, not because he was busted for a second time trying to get on a plane with a loaded firearm. I mean, yes, yes that happened and was reported on today, but that’s not what this new news is! The Washington Examiner has put together a pretty damning bit of circumstantial evidence, brought to them by “multiple watchdog groups,” concerning Cawthorn being guilty of insider trading on a cryptocurrency stock.

The stock in question is the Let’s Go Brandon cryptocurrency (LBG) put together by hedge fund manager James Koutoulas. Koutoulas and Cawthorn seem to be buddies; a social media post from a day before NASCAR driver Brandon Brown announced he would be sponsored by the meme coin for all of 2022—leading to a huge spike in the coin’s value—has set off warning flares for watchdogs of insider trading, who say this is a clear case that needs investigation.

It seems Koutoulas and Cawthorn are social buddies as the founder of the Let’s Go Brandon crypto currency has quite a few posts with Cawthorn, including an Instagram post from Dec. 29, 2021 at an outdoor function, where Koutoulas wrote “Never get sick of a Madison Cawthorn bro out.” After reading that (and subsequently recovering from nausea), you can check out Cawthorn’s reply in the Instagram post, saying, “Tomorrow we go to the moon!” Going to the moon is a phrase the kids use in regards to buying cryptocurrencies with the belief that the currency’s market value will skyrocket.......
 
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