More to ignore, Book 58........

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1
House Committee refers Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to DOJ on allegations of criminal bribery
Dan Bacher

BernhardtTwitter.jpg


David Bernhardt, former Interior Secretary under President Donald Trump and a lobbyist for the Westlands Water District and Big Oil who oversaw the creation of the environmentally devastating Trump Water Plan in California, is back in the news over alleged bribery he engaged in during his tenure as Secretary.

Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Katie Porter (D-Calif.) today made a criminal referral to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) outlining evidence of a likely criminal quid pro quo between Trump administration officials, including former U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary David Bernhardt, and real estate developer Mike Ingram.

“Ingram is the owner of El Dorado Holdings, which proposed to build the Villages at Vigneto (Vigneto), a 28,000-unit housing and commercial development spanning more than 12,000 acres near the endangered San Pedro River in Benson, Arizona,” according to a press release from Grijalva and Porter. “Evidence from the Committee’s investigation strongly suggests that Ingram and several other Arizona donors gave nearly a quarter of a million dollars to the Trump Victory Fund and the Republican National Committee in exchange for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) changing its position about a Clean Water Act permit for Vigneto.

The redacted criminal referral to DOJ is available here: https://bit.ly/37AbiIf

“The findings of this investigation show us yet again that the previous administration cast career staff expertise aside while they handed out federal agency decisions to Trump’s buddies and big donors on a pay-to-play basis,” Chair Grijalva said. “The Villages at Vigneto may not be a household name for many Americans, but to Arizonans, it’s been a looming threat to our fragile desert ecosystem for years. Allowing the development of 28,000 homes, golf courses, resorts, and other commercial buildings to suck the San Pedro River dry during a time of unprecedented drought is nonsensical on its face and agency staff were right to be concerned. It seems Vigneto’s developer figured backroom deals with top Trump officials would be a more fruitful avenue for getting his way—it’s a shame he wasn’t wrong. I strongly urge the Justice Department to take up this investigation and make sure the right people are held accountable for what they’ve done and how they’ve betrayed the trust of the American people.”

“An exchange of money for a specific government action is the clearest form of corruption there is, and Americans—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—share an understanding that this kind of quid pro quo erodes our democracy,” Rep. Porter said. “In this case, our oversight uncovered that the Trump administration’s Department of the Interior overruled local career professionals and reversed a longstanding position on environmental review requirements, just weeks after politically connected donors made nearly a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of contributions benefiting the Trump campaign. This concerning fact pattern demands additional fact finding, at a minimum, so the American people have answers on whether the Trump administration was acting in the public’s interest or the interests of the highest bidder. We’re calling on the Department of Justice to conduct a thorough investigation and to determine whether criminal charges are appropriate.”


Investigation Background

In April 2019, the Arizona Daily Star’s Tony Davis reported the whistleblower account of Steve Spangle, a now-retired Field Supervisor at FWS’ Arizona office, who claimed he was directed by a “high level politico” to reverse FWS’ position about whether issuance of Clean Water Act permit for Vigneto could potentially have adverse impacts on endangered species or critical habitat. Subsequent reporting revealed that then–Deputy Secretary Bernhardt directed the decision reversal. Spangle noted that he never received such pressure in his more than three decades in public service.

Additional reporting revealed that Dep. Secretary Bernhardt had a private breakfast meeting in Billings, Montana, with Mike Ingram on Aug. 18, 2017, two weeks before Spangle received the phone call directing him to reverse the Vigneto decision. The meeting was not disclosed in Bernhardt’s public calendar or travel documents. Then, on Oct. 6, 2017, Ingram made an unusual out-of-cycle $10,000 donation to the Trump Victory Fund. Less than three weeks later, on Oct. 26, 2017, Spangle officially reversed FWS’ decision on Vigneto.


New Evidence Uncovered in the Committee’s Investigation

The Committee launched an investigation into the Vigneto decision shortly after the incident was publicly reported. Committee staff obtained multiple document productions from DOI and El Dorado, conducted an in-camera review of documents at DOI, questioned then–DOI Chief of Staff Todd Willens, and reviewed Federal Election Commission records.

The Committee’s investigation uncovered several additional pieces of evidence in the case, which now warrants criminal investigation by DOJ:
  • An extensive review of the document productions shows that career officials at FWS, including Spangle and his colleagues in FWS’ Arizona Field Office, FWS’ Regional Office and DOI’s Office of the Solicitor all maintained consensus about FWS’ legal position on Vigneto for more than a decade before Bernhardt demanded that Spangle reverse that position. After being told to reverse the decision, FWS and DOI career employees struggled to credibly defend the new position, citing concerns that it would appear as if it had been “arbitrarily about-faced.”
  • Ingram was not the only person who made a large campaign donation on Oct. 6, 2017. Twelve other individuals from Arizona, most of whom have personal or professional connections to Ingram, donated a total of $241,600 to the Trump Victory Fund or the Republican National Committee on or near the same day. All 13 individuals donated in a similar pattern, indicating a coordinated effort. Conspicuously, throughout the entire 2017–2018 election cycle, there were no other days in which more than three people from Arizona donated $2,700 or more to the Trump Victory Fund.
  • On the same day as Ingram’s donation, October 6, 2017, the Trump administration announced it would re-evaluate Vigneto’s Clean Water Act permit. There is evidence that Ingram had advance notice of this announcement, giving him time to coordinate the donations.
  • Ingram had frequent access to multiple Trump senior officials, including personal email addresses and cell numbers, indicating a high level of influence within the administration.
This is the first time the Committee on Natural Resources has sent a criminal referral to DOJ.
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

For more than 150 years, the U.S. government pursued an explicit policy of destroying Indian families and culture as the nation took over lands once occupied by Indigenous people.

A primary weapon in that effort was a system of hundreds of Indian boarding schools — 21 in Minnesota — that separated children from their parents and sought to assimilate them into the predominantly white, European-oriented U.S. culture of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Those findings are contained in a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the first step in an effort to repair the damage longstanding government policies caused to native Indian, Hawaiian and Alaskan people.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

A U.S. government investigation into the dark history of Native American boarding schools has found "marked or unmarked burial sites" at 53 of them, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said on Wednesday.

Haaland, the first Native American cabinet member, announced the investigation last year. In releasing preliminary findings during a press conference in Washington, she spoke through tears and in a choked-up voice.

"The federal policies that attempted to wipe out Native identity, language and culture continue to manifest in the pain tribal communities face today," Haaland said. "We must shed light on the unspoken traumas of the past."......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

An initial investigation commissioned by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland cataloged some of the brutal conditions that Native American children endured at more than 400 boarding schools that the federal government forced them to attend between 1819 and 1969. The inquiry was an initial step, Ms. Haaland said, toward addressing the “intergenerational trauma” that the policy left behind.

An Interior Department report released on Wednesday highlighted the abuse of many of the children at the government-run schools, with instances of beatings, withholding of food and solitary confinement. It also identified burial sites at more than 50 of the former schools, and said that “approximately 19 federal Indian boarding schools accounted for over 500 American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian child deaths.” The number of recorded deaths is expected to grow, the report said.

The report is the first step in a comprehensive review that Ms. Haaland, the first Native American cabinet secretary, announced in June after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of children who attended similar schools in Canada provoked a national reckoning there.

Beginning in 1869 and until the 1960s, hundreds of thousands of Native American children were taken from their homes and families and placed in the boarding schools, which were operated by the government and churches......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

Three Russian prisoners of war accused of targeting or murdering civilians, and a soldier who allegedly killed a man before raping his wife, are set to be in the dock in the first war crimes trials of the Ukraine conflict, the Ukrainian prosecutor general has revealed.

More than 10,700 crimes have been registered since the war began by the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general, led by Iryna Venediktova, and a handful of cases have now been filed or are ready to be submitted in what marks a watershed moment two months into the war.

Vadim Shysimarin, a 21-year-old commander of the Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, who is currently in Ukrainian custody, is expected to be the first to face trial over his alleged murder of a 68-year-old man......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

Extreme stress has been part of life for many people in Ukraine since the beginning of the war. In pregnant women, anxiety and stress often cause health problems. […]

Since the outbreak of the war, there has been a steep rise in medical complications in pregnancies. The number of premature births has skyrocketed in particular, health experts report a threefold increase in some of the cities that are targeted by attacks more than others. According to local doctors in the embattled city of Kharkiv in the northeast, as many as one in two deliveries was premature in the first weeks of the war. In many hospitals, that resulted in a shortage of incubators, which can be vital for the survival of premature babies........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

With mined beaches, extended curfew, Ukraine’s main tourist hub Odesa is ready to fight​


Anti-tank hedgehogs, military patrols and an extended curfew aren’t what one expects to see in Ukraine’s main sea resort.

In May, Odesa, a Ukrainian port city on the Black Sea, usually rolls into the tourist season, which generates a substantial part of the city’s earnings. Now the beaches are mined, tourism is dead and the city of 1 million people is gearing up for war.

“We’re ready,” Mayor Hennadiy Trukhanov told the Kyiv Independent.


Two months into Russia’s war against Ukraine, the attacks on the city intensified. In the past few weeks, Odesa has been attacked with missiles and artillery, which killed at least nine residents, including children.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

Russia was behind a cyberattack that disrupted satellite Internet connections across Europe just before the invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, the United Kingdom, United States and European Union have said.

In a statement, the UK's Foreign Office said the attack, launched about an hour before Russian forces began their assault on Ukraine, was likely aimed at the country's military.

"This unacceptable cyberattack is yet another example of Russia’s continued pattern of irresponsible behaviour in cyberspace, which also formed an integral part of its illegal and unjustified invasion of Ukraine," the Council of the European Union said in a statement.

In March, Ukrainian cybersecurity expert Victor Zhora told reporters the attack led to "a really huge loss in communications in the very beginning of war"......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

British soldiers would be sent to defend Sweden and Finland from Russian invasion, Boris Johnson said on Wednesday as he sealed mutual defence pacts with the Nordic nations to strengthen opposition to Vladimir Putin.

The Prime Minister suggested troops could be sent even if the two countries did not join Nato as he gave his public support for expanding the military alliance to further contain Russia.

The defence pacts, signed during Mr Johnson's visit to both countries on Wednesday, are a warning shot to Moscow in case it is tempted to invade Sweden and Finland before they are expected to join Nato.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

For the second year in a row, a judge has ruled that GOP Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley are barred from overseeing an election — this time, the June primaries and November general election.

Peters, an election denier who is seeking the Republican nomination for secretary of state, is also facing multiple investigations surrounding allegations of an election equipment security breach and campaign finance violations, including 10 criminal counts from a grand jury indictment. Knisley was also indicted by the grand jury, and was suspended from her role at the county on Aug. 23, 2021, for a workplace investigation.

On Monday, a third ethics complaint was filed against Peters with the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission. The embattled clerk, however, received the most votes among GOP secretary of state candidates at the Republican assembly and convention.......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

Before he urged Vice President Mike Pence to unilaterally hand the 2020 election to Donald Trump, right-wing lawyer John Eastman, who represented Trump after the election, floated a somewhat subtler, but no less extreme plan to undermine Joe Biden’s victory: Throw out absentee ballots, recount the votes, and use the new totals to “provide some cover” for Republican legislatures to appoint their own electors. “Having done that math,” Eastman wrote in a December 2020 email to a Pennsylvania state lawmaker, “you’d be left with a significant Trump lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors.”

“Perfectly within your authority to do anyway,” Eastman added, “but now bolstered by the untainted popular vote.”

The Pennsylvania plan, which Eastman proposed from his email account at University of Colorado, where he was a visiting professor, provides yet another glimpse into the Trump team’s relentless efforts to subvert democracy in 2020. .......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1
US Budget Deficit Shrinks $1.6 Trillion on Record Tax Surge

The US federal government’s budget deficit has shrunk by some $1.57 trillion so far this fiscal year, driven by record receipts from a strong economy and a slowdown in spending as pandemic-era programs fade.

The deficit dropped to $360 billion over the seven months from October through April 2022, according to Treasury Department data released Wednesday.

Receipts were $2.99 trillion in the fiscal year-to-date, up from $2.14 trillion a year ago, boosted by strong growth in employment and wages, a Treasury official said during a call with reporters. Receipts just for April -- the month individual tax returns are due -- amounted to $864 billion, the highest for any month on record.......
 
  • Like
Reactions: tgar

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

President Joe Biden on Wednesday labeled his predecessor, Donald Trump, “the great MAGA king” and continued sharp criticism against Republicans ahead of midterm elections that could be bruising for Democrats.

“I think it’s important that, as we go forward, you’re gonna hear me talking more about not only what we’ve done, but what they’re trying to do,” the president told an evening Democratic fundraiser crowd of about 40 at a Chicago hotel.

The party that controls the presidency usually loses seats during the next election and, with inflation reaching its highest levels in 40 years, Biden’s party could see its control of Congress wiped out in November. To try to counter that, Biden has in recent days begun decrying “ultra-MAGA” Republicans — a reference to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan. […]

“Under my predecessor — the great MAGA king — the deficit increased every single year he was president,” he told the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers conference, which was also being held in Chicago. “The first year of my presidency, the first year, I reduced the deficit.”.....
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

President Joe Biden visited a family farm in Illinois on Wednesday where he announced steps his administration is taking to lower the costs of farming and food.

The president announced that his administration will expand insurance for double cropping, which allows farmers to plant a second crop on the same land in the same year. He also announced the government would increase technical assistance to farmers and double the funding to produce fertilizer domestically. […]

“Right now, Americans are fighting on two fronts. At home, it’s inflation and rising prices. Abroad, it’s helping Ukrainians defend their democracy and feeding those who were left hungry around the world because Russian atrocities exist," he said........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

Stores across the U.S. are continuing to run low on baby formula, with the Biden administration saying it is working to ease the problem for American families and caregivers.

During the first week of May, the average out-of-stock rate for baby formula at retailers across the country was 43%, according to data from the firm Datasembly, which collected information from more than 11,000 sellers. […]

Part of the reason the formula supply is so low is because, in February, the company Abbott issued a recall of some of its baby formula products. The voluntary recall included certain lots of Similac, Alimentum and EleCare formula products......
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

Sen. Josh Hawley introduced a bill on Tuesday that aims to revoke Disney’s copyrights, as Republicans are seeking to outdo each other in attacking the “woke” corporation.

Hawley’s bill would dramatically rewrite U.S. copyright law, shortening the total term available to all copyright holders going forward by several decades. It would also seek to retroactively limit Disney’s copyrights, effectively stripping the company of much of its intellectual property, in a move that would face several legal obstacles.

“That is a blatantly unconstitutional taking of property without compensation,” said Prof. Paul Goldstein, an intellectual property expert at Stanford Law School........
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

Republican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Dan Crenshaw (Texas) feuded on Twitter on Wednesday over the passage of an Ukrainian aid bill that cost $40 billion.

In a 368-57 vote, with only Republicans voting against the measure, the House passed a bill that gave ample support to Ukraine — from military to humanitarian assistance. […]

Greene chimed in, saying Crenshaw is funding a “proxy war with Russia.” […]

“Still going after that slot on Russia Today huh?” Crenshaw fired back.

The exchange shows the small but impactful divide in the Republican Party, where a minority of lawmakers have stood in opposition to multiple bills targeting Russia and supporting Ukraine........
 
  • Like
Reactions: tgar

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1

Breaking News: Finland's leaders announce support for NATO membership

In a statement Thursday, Finland's President and Prime Minister announced their support for joining NATO, moving the Nordic nation – which shares an 800-mile border with Russia – one step closer to membership of the US-led military alliance.

Siemens to exit Russian market as a result of invasion of Ukraine

More than 6 million people have fled Ukraine since Russian invasion began, UN refugee agency says

"Difficult negotiations" on evacuation of badly wounded from Azovstal are ongoing, Ukrainian deputy PM says

EU proposes streamlined export plan for Ukrainian produce

Russian state energy giant Gazprom stops sending gas through pipeline via Poland after Kremlin sanctions

 
Last edited:

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1
Jan. 6 panel subpoenas five GOP members of Congress, including Kevin McCarthy
Kerry Eleveld

Remember last year when House GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy suddenly turned against the bipartisan Jan. 6 commission he had deputized one of his own members to negotiate?

Right. Now McCarthy is among five sitting Republican House members who have been subpoenaed by the select committee investigating Jan. 6:
  1. Kevin McCarthy of California
  2. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
  3. Jim Jordan of Ohio
  4. Andy Biggs of Arizona
  5. Mo Brooks of Alabama
These represent the first publicly known sitting members of Congress to be subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 panel in what is an unprecedented move.

In January, Committee Chair Bennie Thompson of Mississippi sent McCarthy a letter indicating the committee wanted to interview him about his discussions with Donald Trump and other White House staffers surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection.

McCarthy flatly rejected the invitation, calling it an "abuse of power."

The subpoenaed members—all Trump henchmen—will almost certainly file legal challenges in response.

It's quite a cast of characters: Brooks has bragged about wearing body armor during his speech to the Jan. 6 MAGA crowd; Jordan has had a number of brain malfunctions surrounding his conversations with Trump on Jan. 6 (not to mention some interesting text exchanges with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows); and McCarthy has recently been heard in recordings with GOP leaders to have discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Surely that is just the tip of the iceberg, and committee Vice Chair Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming likely knew quite a lot about the rest of that iceberg even before the investigation proceeded.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1
Accused insurrectionist known as Baked Alaska ‘blows up’ his own plea deal in court, blames God
Walter Einenkel

ScreenShot2021-01-15at8.51.10AM.png

Answering phones on a livestream where you are trespassing on federal ground is big ignorance energy.

The far-right livestreaming troll Anthime Joseph “Tim” Gionet, known best by his moniker “Baked Alaska,” has been facing all kinds of legal problems in regards to his participation in the attempted overthrow of our government on Jan. 6, 2021. On Wednesday, Gionet was finally having his day in federal court, ostensibly ready to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of parading or demonstrating in the Capitol. The white supremacist-friendly Gionet livestreamed himself during the break-in of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in the Capitol building.

However, when asked by Judge Emmett Sullivan whether or not he wanted to plead guilty, Baked Alaska surprised everyone (maybe his lawyers most of all) by replying: “I wanted to go to trial but the prosecutor said if I didn’t go to trial they would put a felony on me so I think this is probably the better route. I believe I’m innocent.” Prosecutors have said that they plan on continuing their investigations into Baked Alaska now that he has chosen to go to trial, but deny that they threatened him with federal charges if he didn’t plead guilty to the misdemeanor on Wednesday.

Why did Baked Alaska suddenly change his mind?
............
In January of this year, a Scottsdale, Arizona, judge sentenced Baked Alaska to serve 30 days in jail for assaulting a man at Giligin's Bar in Old Town Scottsdale. In that case, Baked Alaska filmed himself antagonizing patrons, which is what he does in the hopes of getting online subscribers, and then ended up in a confrontation with the bar’s security. A member of security tried to get Gionet to leave, so Gionet assaulted them, spraying pepper spray at the employee twice.

It was a clear case of how shitty a person Baked Alaska is. While this wasn’t the first or second or third time Gionet has filmed himself being an absolute menace to people, it was his first criminal conviction. He only received 30 days of a possible six-month maximum sentence.

Gionet’s sentencing came after he broke an agreement not to leave the state of Arizona—which he clearly did by traveling to break the law in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5 and 6, 2021. At the time of his sentencing, Gionet recorded himself saying "They can't force me to serve whatever sentence they give,” which sort of sums up pathetic privileged white fascists like Gionet perfectly. He has yet to serve the sentence as he is currently appealing the case.

Wednesday’s shenanigans are in the vein of someone who is willing to do anything to pull in subscribers to make money, and believes the law does not really apply to people who look like him. Considering that Gionet filmed himself during the seige of the Capitol saying things like, “America First is inevitable. **** Globalists, let’s go!” and telling police “You’re a ****ing oathbreaker, you piece of shit,” and shouting “Occupy the Capitol let’s go. We ain’t leaving this bitch,” his defense that he’s a reporter of some sort is weak at best. It seemed a relatively minimal plea deal could be pretty sweet, all things considered.

According to Right Wing Watch, Gionet explained his sudden change of heart to his livestream audience, saying: “So, I went in [to the courtroom] to take the plea, blah blah blah, dah dah dah, talk to my attorney this morning, and then I sat in the hearing and God just put it on my heart. To just speak the truth. To just speak from the heart and that’s what I did.” By saying he didn’t “care” about “blowing up” his plea deal, but God and values and stuff. He literally says that he was “filled with God’s holy spirit” and that he was “speaking what God wanted me to say.”

Of course, he then proceeded to leave open the very real possibility that he will still take the plea deal, but that he was able to “expose” what “was happening to Jan. 6 defendants.” Huh. So, God sort of invaded, maybe broke into Baked Alaska’s body—let’s call it his personal office—and then proceeded to force him to blow up his plea deal—which he still might take because the truth is that it’s a better deal then being found guilty of personally filming the evidence of how guilty you are of breaking the law? This God guy! It sounds like Gionet is blaming God for fumbling the football here.



Sullivan reportedly set the trial date for March 7, 2023, and U.S. attorneys told the court that the plea deal on the table would continue to be viable for the next 60 days if Gionet changes his mind. Maybe God will tell him to take off those ridiculous shades?
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1
Ukraine update: 'Russians are arriving to replace Ukrainians and live in their homes'
Mark Sumner

GettyImages-1240617052.jpg

We've gotten used to pictures Ukrainian couples parting tearfully at train stations, but this woman is excited to be returning to her husband and her life in Kyiv. May 12, 2022.

In both a tactical and strategic sense, it certainly seems as if Ukraine has played its hand smartly. In the most heavily contested areas of the Donbas, they’ve used intelligence about Russian actions, defensive positions built up over eight years since the previous invasion, and dogged persistence in the face of almost constant hammering by artillery, to slow Russian advances in the area to a crawl. Meanwhile, in areas where Russia has drawn down its forces to reinforce that effort in the Donbas, Ukraine has gone on the attack. Most notably, they’ve moved quickly to recapture villages and towns north of Kharkiv, pressing Russian forces kilometers away from Ukraine’s second-largest city and, in some areas, right back to the Russian border.

Ukrainian leadership is well aware that before it can make extensive gains in any area, it has to have some measure of air support, and some ability to push back at Russian artillery. In many areas, that means waiting until new equipment promised by the West is in place, and new training being offered to Ukrainian soldiers is completed.

In some cases, even that may be not enough. Much of the Donbas is not only territory that Russia has held, and fortified, since 2014, it’s also close enough to Russia to be covered by anti-aircraft systems positioned across the border. It’s certainly within easy range of Russian planes and helicopters and it’s the only area of Ukraine that those aircraft feel remotely comfortable flying over. All those factors that have made it so difficult for Russia to capture territory inside Ukraine, go into effect for Ukraine when it’s operating in or near territory that has long been held by Russia. Meaning that Ukraine needs the same kind of massive advantage if it wants to recapture territory without suffering horrendous losses.

Even for recapturing a city like Kherson or Mariupol, where Russia doesn’t have the advantage of long-established fortifications and reliable air support, it’s hard for Ukraine to advance without having at least a localized advantage in numbers. Traditionally, it requires a 3-1 advantage. Better tactics and better technology can shave down that number, but they can’t necessarily make it go away.

For the world of watching keyboard warriors, the fact that Ukraine hasn’t swept back into Kherson—which seemed like a possibility in the week following the Russian retreat from Kyiv, when Ukrainian forces in the Kherson area appeared to be recapturing villages at a steady clip—is frustrating. It has to be far, far more frustrating for the people held hostage in a city that has become a very large-scale prison.






That incredibly bad situation includes ongoing efforts to turn Kherson into an outpost of Russia. Kherson has been taken off the Ukrainian internet and placed on a Russian network. Russian cell towers are going up. Ukrainian products are being replaced on the shelves with ones brought in from Russia as Russian troops insist that business be done in rubles. There are checkpoints throughout the city where Russian forces demand strip searches at gunpoint. And, “My friend says that when they go out now they don’t see familiar faces. Russians are arriving to replace Ukrainians and live in their homes.”

In the last week, Ukraine announced that a counteroffensive was underway in Kherson as well as in Kharkiv and near Izyum. But unlike the Kharkiv area, where there has been the constant excitement of villages and towns captured, including some very fast and unexpected movements by Ukrainian forces, even reports of heavy fighting in the Kherson area have resulted in few changes on the map.
...........

This map shows a significant number of Russians positioned across the entire Kherson region. A month ago, some reports had indicated that Russian soldiers were packing up and getting ready to go back across the Dnipro River. Instead, Russia seems to be digging in. As one visiting Russian official told the people in Kherson last week, they expect Russia to be there “forever.”

screencap.jpg


Rather than pulling out, Russia has been shoving into this area. That’s because they’re supporting two different actions out of Kherson. First, there’s the push toward Kryvyi Rih. Strategically this move for Russia appears pointless. It gets them none of the ground they have set as strategic goals. It moves their forces into a vulnerable position. It gains them nothing except that Kryvyi Rih is Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s home town and Vladimir Putin wants to hurt Zelenskyy. It’s also an industrial center, but count on the personal motive as the real driver here.

screencap.jpg

Mykolaiv — Kherson Area

The bigger show is going on between Mykolaiv and Kherson. There was a point, almost a month ago now, when Ukraine was retaking settlements in this area rapidly, was pushing toward Kherson from both north and south, and seemed ready to drive Russian troops back across the bridges. This is not currently the case. Russia remains on the west bank in force, struggles over towns are going on at multiple positions along the line, and nothing seems to be moving all that quickly.

Unlike Kharkiv, if Ukraine is going to mount a major counteroffensive at Kherson, they’ll be doing it into the teeth of serious Russian opposition. On the other hand, Kherson is one part of the area Russia now occupies where they’re unlikely to feel safe providing extensive air support and are also less likely to have significant air defense. So Ukrainian armor may be better able to maneuver without a response from above.

However, there’s one other big difference: Kharkiv was already in Ukrainian control. Kherson is not. Every day that Russia remains in control of the city, they do damage to it in ways that may be more subtle than the artillery that leveled Mariupol and has so damaged Kharkiv, but it’s just as real.

With that kind of incentive, Ukraine may be prepared to initiate that offensive, even if the odds are less than great.

UKRAINIANS CAPTURING RUSSIAN STUFF THEATER​

Rather than looking at Russian stuff blowing up, today it’s Russian stuff that Ukraine is driving away more or less intact. Showing once again that Ukraine understands that you need combined arms, they start with an APV...



Then add a tank ...



Then throw in some artillery (with an appearance from the 101st fighting tractors)...



And finish off with a bit of specialist kit in the form of a TOS thermobaric missile system.

 

Ten Thousan Marbles

Well-Known Member
Feb 6, 2014
103,473
18,489
1
Thursday, May 12, 2022 · 4:31:23 PM EDT · Mark Sumner
Somewhere, there is a person who is actually in charge of selecting the musical motif for each weapon deployed in Ukraine. That’s going to be an interesting item on a future resume.

These Brimstone missiles, like the Phoenix Ghost drones created in the U.S., were specially made to fit the situation on the ground in Ukraine, as well as be a system that could be rapidly deployed without intensive training and support.