More to ignore, Book 63........

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Voters overwhelmingly know what is to blame for inflation: Corporate greed
Joan McCarter

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine Update: Dovhen'ke, the insignificant little town holding back the Russian hordes
kos

As Russia and Ukraine remain in a bloody fight over Severodonetsk, a town with a pre-war population of around 100,000 and roughly zero strategic value, another far more important battle is being waged 80 kilometers (50 miles) directly to the west at Dovhen’ke, pre-war population 850.

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Dovhen’ke is just south of Izyum, on the main M03 highway running southeast toward Slovyansk—a key strategic goal in Russia’s effort to conquer the entire Donbas region. As such, this otherwise insignificant hamlet, straddling an important road, has been the scene of near-relentless Russian assaults since early April, when Russia took control of Izyum.

One of the first Russian volunteers in the approach to Dovhen’ke wrote a diary about his experience ( translated part I and II), using the Russian name for the town, “Dolgen’koye.” This guy Viktor never actually made an assault on the town. His unit got lost during one attempt, and he said screw it and refused to participate in subsequent attacks. Instead, he chronicled the stories of other soldiers attempting to take the town as he dug ditches at HQ.


[T]hose who later came back from the assault were telling us - it was 7 kilometers of walking through the fields between Suligovka and Dolgen'koye. They left at 10AM and only by 4PM managed to reach 600 meters from the village. They were exhausted. All this time they marched under heavy mortar and artillery shelling. Dead and wounded started appearing. When we reported to our battalion commander Major Vasyura about dead and wounded, he cussed: 'leave them and keep advancing!!!'.

They said that reconnaissance squad commander who was moving together with our incomplete companies got wounded. He himself told his scouts to keep going forward and support the attack, and to pick him up later. He appointed another senior to them. After all, they picked him up. When they almost reached Dolgen'koye the mortar shelling became very intense. A Ukrainian tank started firing. This resulted in even more dead and wounded. The officers (who were alive and not wounded) did not know what to do. Then, one of the volunteers (he told me that in person; he was 40 years old and for 12 years prior he served on a contract, including in GRU; a combat veteran) said: 'Guys, we need to fall back, otherwise we will be smashed with mortars and those who stay alive will be finished off'. So they retreated. Everyone was exhausted. It was very difficult carrying the wounded. We came back at 11PM. One of the volunteers, Andrey from Kursk who came together with me said that many simply ran off while retreating. He yelled at them to help pull out the wounded, but they didn't help. He said he wanted to grab an assault rifle and start shooting in their backs... Thus, the grenade launcher platoon commander, Captain Nikolaev who was dragged for 4 hours, died from blood loss... I didn't know him personally, but everyone said he was a very good person... So that was an attack on Dolgen'koye on 20 April...

By all indications, this “attack” was nothing more than some bedraggled infantry marching for hours, no armor, not even the common courtesy of a truck to transport them to the front. They reached the outskirts of town exhausted and got smashed by Ukrainian artillery and mortar fire. Since that approach didn’t work … they decided to try it again, and again, and again.

Many had a feeling that we were just deliberately being destroyed. Looking ahead, I’ll say that based on the fact that different units tried to take Dolgen'koye, I think that our command simply had the task of taking Dolgen'koye and simply sent in everyone they could. It got to a point where in early May they started sending only 7 people to attack!! As I understood, other units went to assault Dolgen'koye one or two times before stopping.

The volunteer’s diary has multiple examples of ill-fated Russian advances on the town. There was the airborne VDV unit that got hit around the town and refused to advance, while soldiers wondered if they were meant to be sent to expend Ukrainian ammo, hoping they’d eventually run out (which was a very WWII Russian tactic). One day, they almost got lucky:

At the end of April they brought to us around 18 people who advanced as a large group of 120. They said that apart from them some other unit attacked Dolgen'koye from another direction. Perhaps that is why they reached Dolgen'koye without any mortar shelling. They had 300-400 meters to go when they came under crossfire from two machine guns... Even closer to them were positions of Ukrainian assault riflemen. They started combat. Our guys also had machine guns and RPGs. As I understood they killed at least 6 assault riflemen but had to retreat due to Ukrainian machine guns which they couldn't suppress. Most likely the machine guns were located in well-fortified positions. The guys said that if they had a little help, if the machine guns were suppressed with helicopters or tanks, then they would have entered Dolgen'koye...

Russia’s basic maneuver unit is the Battalion Tactical Group (BTG), which has 10 tanks, 40 infantry fighting vehicles, and around 600-1,000 soldiers on paper (of which 200 are infantry, though that distinction has long been erased in this war). Ukrainian and American intelligence has long claimed that Russia has around 22 BTGs in the Izyum salient. Yet this key town, a speck on a map, on the main highway toward their key objective, couldn’t merit anything more than 120 poor souls with zero armor or air support? And that was one of their better-resourced assaults!

In May, Ukrainian General Staff reported Russian assaults on May 3, 5, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 25, and 30. Russia claimed to have captured it on the 13th and on 19th. Our Russian volunteer was still in the area for some of those attacks.

In May they brought the remnants of 'Bars' (trained reservists from all of Russia) - 14 people. They assaulted Dolgen'koye for a month and remained in the area. As I understand it, they were attached to the leadership of our wicked division. In total, 340 of them arrived to Ukraine. After a month of shelling only 57 remained. Moreover, half of the survivors were at the headquarters. Most of them were wounded. They never had a single firefight, all the losses came from Ukrainian artillery fire...

One of those failed attacks on Dovehen’ke was captured by a drone:



For Dovhen’ke, June has been no different than the preceding two months—General Staff has announced near-daily Russian assaults on the town. The town’s defenders, the 95th Airborne Assault Brigade, continue repelling those attacks.



Meanwhile, those paratroops are taking their own abuse, such as this TOS-1 thermobaric MLRS pounding the town.



And of course, they’re taking frightening losses.



I’m sure you’re asking yourself why Russia can’t crack Dovhen’ke. Partly, it’s their incompetence. But the town does have some natural features assisting in its defense.

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The terrain around Dovehen’ke

This isn’t exactly the Rockies or the Alps, but that undulating terrain offers several layers of natural fortifications, likely extensively entrenched. Just coming down that M03 highway, I can see four bluffs overlooking the highway,. There are several more flanking the road into town.

Those bluffs are also wooded, so it looks like this:

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No wonder Russian soldiers, rucking for hours on end, get slaughtered when they reach the approaches to town. Still, it’s no impenetrable fortress. This little speck on the map shouldn’t be that difficult.

And on Saturday, Russia finally captured Dovhen’ke.

Well, they
claimed they captured it. Again. For the third time in a month.

But this morning?

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Continued focus by RuAF on the offensive towards Sovyansk. RU forces shelled multiple towns, the shelling of Dovhenke indicates it is not under RU control as they have claimed. Unsuccessful RU assaults on Bohorodychne and Dovhenke.

Dovhen’ke, population almost nothing, is no longer insignificant.

Elsewhere on the map, just minor adjustments:



It’s a slug-fest, with artillery making it incredibly hard for anyone to go on the offensive. That mostly plays to Ukraine’s advantage right now as it holds its ground on the eastern Donbas front, buying time for western weapons and fresh units to deploy. But it hampers Ukrainian efforts to retake territory in Kharkiv and Kherson regions despite the relatively thin presence of Russian military forces. Hence, we shouldn’t expect big sweeping gains by anybody anytime soon.

As for Severodonetsk, Russia had taken 80% of the city before Ukraine counter-attacked (supposedly having laid a trap). Current estimates are that city control are split 50-50.
 

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Address by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy following the working trip to the Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions

Good health to you, dear Ukrainians!

Today, it's the night address, so I will be brief.

There was a lot of work. An endless day. I was in Zaporizhzhia, Zaporizhzhia region. Expressed support to our military and awarded the best. Heard the report. We were in positions.

Had a meeting with the head of the regional state administration, the leadership of the local police, the Security Service, and some mayors of the temporarily occupied cities.

Met with Mariupol residents, who managed to leave the city alive and with children. Here they were met by Khortytsia, humanely and warmly. Conditions - I saw - are temporary, but not bad. Understood their difficult questions. I think we will solve them.

Each family has its own story. Most were without men. Someone's husband went to war, someone’s is in captivity, someone’s, unfortunately, died. A tragedy. No home, no loved one. But we must live for the children. True heroes – they are among us.

After that, together with the Head of the Office we headed east. We were in Lysychansk, we were in Soledar. I am proud of everyone whom I met, whom I shook hands with, with whom I communicated, whom I supported. We brought something to the military. I will not talk about it in detail. We also brought you something from them. It is important. We brought confidence. And strength. I wish them health. Low bow to their parents. I wish victory to all of us.


Glory to Ukraine!

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Ten Thousan Marbles

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TTM note: Good 6/5 podcast....


EPISODE SUMMARY​

June 5, 2022: Dmitri Alperovitch talks with Michael Kofman (Research Program Director in the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analysis) and Rob Lee (Senior Fellow at the Eurasia Program of the Foreign Policy Research Institute) about the new developments in the war in Ukraine on Twitter Spaces.

Topics covered: - Latest on the war in the Donbas, Russian progress and Ukrainian counteroffensives - Will the Western military aid (howitzers, MLRS/HIMARS, armor, UAVs...) be enough to help Ukraine in this stage of the fight? - Why is the rate of Russian casualties appearing to decrease from earlier in the war? - Can current high rate of Ukrainian casualties be sustained? - Are the Russians performing better at close-air support and electronic warfare than they had been earlier? - Putin's war on global food supplies - Can the Ukrainian ports be safely demined now? - How long can this phase of the war continue? - Russia: Bad military or bad plan? - Russian force design: why they weren't prepared for this fight - Shadow mobilization options for Russia
 

Ten Thousan Marbles

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Ukraine update: 70% of Severodonetsk is back under the control of Ukraine, heavy fighting continues
Mark Sumner

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Smoke and dust rise above the streets of Severodonetsk.

At some points in the war, it’s been not only possible, but sensible, to doubt reports from either side, especially when they have sounded too rosy. Russia has repeatedly made claims or even shown videos that were absolutely at odds with the reports of those on the ground—that includes happy-happy-joy-joy videos showing smiling people in the areas occupied by Russia going about their day in cities unscarred by weeks of pounding artillery. There’s absolutely no doubt that Ukraine has also applied spin to the public information it releases, in part to protect troops in the field, and in part to move the news needle in ways that make it more likely to receive the support required to survive the invasion.

But when it comes to what’s happening in Severodonetsk, there’s not much doubt about what’s happening. As kos has pointed out, that’s because from the town of Lysychansk, just across the river, it’s possible to look down into the streets of Severeodonetsk. That means not just that Ukrainian soldiers in those streets are able to guide artillery to very precise locations, it also means that observers have a ringside view to what — according to some of those gathered — has been Russia’s worst loss since the war began.

On Thursday, Russia had taken 80% of Severodonetsk. Pro-Russian sources were bragging that the city had already fallen, and Chechen baddie Kadyrov’s forces put out their second video in which they pretended to be walking around in a peacefully captured Severodonetsk, surrounded by adoring fans. Then on Friday, Ukraine began a counterattack that seemed to quickly retake about 20% of the city. Even then, Russian media outlets insisted that Ukraine was simply wasting the effort. Ukraine was, it said, “sending in foreign mercenaries because it had no other troops to send,” and even those mercenaries were “suffering 90% losses” as Russia took what remained of the town.


Except by Saturday, Ukraine again controlled at least 50% of Severodonetsk. And at the end of the day on Sunday, that number appears to be more like 70%.

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Russia has made gains east of Izyum, with Studenok reportedly captured.

Meanwhile, in the area near Izyum, Russia reportedly captured Dovhen'ke on Saturday, but subsequent reports indicate that Ukrainian forces there once again repelled an attack. Instead, Russian forces shifted to the southwest, attacking down the road toward Barvinkove, but getting stopped just east of the village of Virnopillya.

Further to the east, Russia had more success, finally taking the town of Studenok, along with two other villages on the east side of the river. Ukrainian troops have reportedly either moved back from another pair of villages, and may be preparing to relocate across the river at Svyatohirske, which would essentially cede the north bank of the river in that area. Ukraine still has control of bridges and the ability to withdraw in good order. So far, Russia doesn’t appear to have made a crossing in the area west of Severodonetsk.

At the far end of the area on the map, Russia has apparently surrounded the town of Komyshuvakha, a few kilometers north of Popasna, which Ukraine snatched back over a week ago. At the moment, there still seem to be some Ukrainian forces in the town, and Russia has been repulsed on several previous attempts, but this time it is looking tough.

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Ukraine expanding bridgehead.

In the Kherson area, Russia has reportedly rushed more forces into Davydiv Brid, but Ukraine doesn’t actually appear to be trying to actively take the town. Instead, they’re guarding against Russian forces moving down from that direction and steadily widening the bridgehead around their pontoon bridge about 4km to the south. Russia reportedly made two attempts to take back Vysokopillya at the northern point of this area, but both were repelled.


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Odd fire zone in low ground across bridge from Rubizhne

At the far end of the line, Ukraine is continuing to press the counteroffensive that has recaptured several villages west of the Siverskyi Donets in the last two days. However, Sunday once again saw a repeat of some odd artillery activity in the low-lying area directly across the river from Rubizhne. This came late on Sunday, at the same time that Russian channels on Telegram were indicating a new Russian offensive in the area. This is the third time this same area has been hammered by artillery. The first time corresponded with Ukrainian forces moving north and attempting to capture the arear around the bridge (the bridge itself is down). The second time came as Ukrainian forces had reportedly crossed the river both at Rubizhne and Staryi Saltiv and were reporting to be moving north. The third time is over the last two days when there has been fire directed here, and also across the bridge by Startsya farther to the north. And it means … ???

One of Dimitri’s latest translations helps to explain why few DPR and LPR infantry units are being mentioned in recent news.

“...both the People’s Militia of LPR, and the People’s Militia of DPR, if we consider their composition as of Feb. 24, most of them died in the first weeks, if not days, of the war.” … “Poor training, poor equipment, shoddy supply and the shoddy quality of most of the imported “advisors,” has systematically reduced the combat readiness of the troops...”



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Ten Thousan Marbles

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Welcome to uawardata.com

This project shows you where which troops are located in the Ukrainian-Russian war. We use symbols like those used by NATO (specifically: MIL-STD-2525C). Here is a brief introduction to what the symbols on the map mean. Feel free to skip it if you don't need it.
 

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Proud Boys leader, 4 lieutenants face seditious conspiracy charges over insurrection involvement
April Siese

Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, along with four top lieutenants of the extremist group known as the Proud Boys face news charges of seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, according to a 10-count superseding indictment that was returned on Monday. The Proud Boys leader and four men—Dominic Pezzola, who notably broke through the first window on the Capitol grounds with a police shield during the Jan. 6 uprising; Ethan Nordean, who’s also known as Rufio Panman, of Auburn, Washington; Joe Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida; and Zachary Rehl of Philadelphia—were “previously were indicted and remain detained,” according to the Justice Department.

“All defendants now face a total of nine charges and Pezzola faces an additional robbery charge,” the Justice Department noted in a press release. “The defendants are scheduled to appear for a hearing on June 9.” The news comes ahead of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6 Attack beginning its public hearings on Thursday. The hearings are scheduled to last for nearly a month and will include a rundown of evidence from congressional investigators through extensive interviews with key witnesses.