Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment — 6 Mar 22
Here is some of the latest from Ukraine:
· Here is the ISW assessrep for 6 March 2022
Moscow says that it is not attacking civilians:
Russians violated a ceasefire agreement with the besieged city of Mariupol and continued artillery barrages during refugee evacuation
Russians fired on unarmed protesters in occupied Kherson and Novopskvo.
Russia continues to pound Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol with artillery… and have added cluster munitions to their bag of tricks
Russians continue to use cluster munitions in populated areas
· The Russian Airforce has still not established air superiority. The thinktank that brought us the earlier analysis of the Russian Airforce now poses the question as to why? Spoiler alert: it is institutional incompetence that stems from lack of adequate training and training facilities. In short, they are a Fifth Gen airforce in name only.
· A member country of the IAEA is violating both the provisions of the IAEA Statute and the Geneva Convention. This has long term implications for nuclear proliferation. Guess who it is?
· More than 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries who happen to be NATO members. For some reason, they aren’t keen to take up Russia’s offer to evacuate to Russia or Belarus. (It is difficult to imagine Russian negotiators being able to offer this with a straight face.)
· Putin laid out his terms to stop the invasion. All Ukraine has to do is become a puppet.
· Ukrainian military losses are difficult to determine. Russian losses are probably north of 5,000 KIA. Even if Ukrainian losses equal those of the Russian’s, the war is evolving into a war of attrition, and based on that fact alone, Russia will eventually win the invasion because it has a larger military.
· To this point, social media has played a large part in showcasing small Ukrainian victories and Russian losses. Despite the setbacks, losses, poor morale, terrible logistics, lack of air superiority or close air support, the Russian Army continues to make plodding progress towards its objectives. So despite the popularity of the Ukrainian resistance, they are indeed losing.
· How can the US leverage its instruments of national power to continue countering Russia? Doug Livermore, an acquaintance of mine, seeks to answer that question in this well-written Small Wars Journal article… and gives a little Easter Egg to a book series by Les Grau.
· The CEO of Bellingcat, a Dutch fact-checking and open-source journalism firm, published his translation of a letter he received by an FSB agent (available on Twitter @Christogrozev). Some current events corroborate the authenticity of the letter. The letter, if true, points to some deep fissures within the national leadership of Russia and indicate severe dissatisfaction amount the rank and file of the FSB, and potentially the military. Again, it is difficult to tell if this is authentic, or if this is a well-conceived deception operation because there is no other open source reporting to help verify it.
· And now… the moment we’ve all been waiting for, Around the War with my favorite Twitter OSINT Analyst, Jomini of the West (@JominiW)… oh, and welcome to war in the 21st Century…
· Overview: NATO forces continue to build a deterrence force in Poland, the Balkans Slovakia and Romania. Russian advances on their main prize continue at a slow pace, probably because pushing logistics that far forward in a contested environment is a challenge by any measure, and doubly so for Ivan. Some reports saw that the Russian Army has committed 95% of its allocated force to this operation. It is entirely plausible that they could pull from other military districts as reinforcements… obviously at great risk.
· Near Kyiv. Encirclement of Kyiv is nearly complete. The western flank of the encirclement is still going slow, and some estimates suggest that we are still 24–48 hours away from seeing a large offensive resume… we also said that 24–48 hours ago too. There is likely a great deal of shuffling of units and rearranging of C2 structures in addition to logistics resupplies occurring. All of these require a great deal of coordination and planning, and as we’ve seen, this does not appear to be a strength of the Russian Army.
· In the Northeast, no significant change to the dire situation there. Ukrainian units continue to offer resistance, but RA units continue to pound away at Kharkiv with artillery.
· In the East, Ukrainian units are slowly giving ground. Again, there is not a great deal of information as to their losses, but nearly two weeks of fighting has to be taking its toll on troops, equipment and supplies by now.
· In the South, Russians continue to violate ceasefire agreements near Mariupol, and are actively blocking refugees from fleeing the city. Further west, the town of Mykolaiv is also now under siege; it is yet another small town that is between the Russian Army and their objective of Odessa.
· More to follow tomorrow
Eric (aka Token Army Guy)