Current summary Russia’s invasion.
Russia’ disastrous and inept invasion of Ukraine has entered a new phase. I’ve termed this – Putin needing to save face stage. Unable to capture the capital Kyiv and the northern border region, Russia’s forces have entirely withdrawn from the Kyiv, Chernihiv & Sumy regions. With Russia’s invasion today dragging on into its 53rd day and the Russian army exposed as nothing more than an ill-disciplined looting, rapist rabble, Putin desperately wants to capture all of eastern and southern Ukraine. Should he do so, he’ll claim a hollow victory over an apolcaliptic landscape of rubble and boast to the Russian people that everything went according to plan.
From the UK Ministry of Defence, The below map shows the current state of play.
Russia’s partially blockading Kharkiv, with the city still suffering indiscriminate daily shelling. Further to the east, Russia’s forces are trying to capture the entire Luhansk & Donetsk Oblasts (provinces). Currently, they’re trying to take some key settlements and mass Russian shelling is laying waste to towns, villages and hamlets. Soon, Russia’s expected to launch a massive offensive in the east – with reports, videos and imagery showing a huge buildup of Russian forces on Ukraine’s eastern border. With Russia’s military reluctant to engage in combat with Ukrainian forces, This eastern offensive will almost certainly be a case of mass Russian artillery pummeling areas into oblivion and then they’ll try and advance.
Down on the south coast, Russia’s still been unable to capture the whole of Mariupol. Despite reducing virtually the entire city into rubble and its army, air force and navy raining down shells, missiles and bombs onto them, Ukrainian forces are still valiantly hanging on in the port and steel works area. But things are extremely tough for them. Cut off, their ammo, food and supplies are running low, so no one would begrudge them surrendering. Today Russia again called on them to surrender, which Ukrainian officials say was refused.
Seen above, Ukrainian Marines and regular army forces are holding out in the port area and the Azovstal iron and steel works. This is a good defensive position, as the Azov Sea and the harbour shield its southern & western flanks and the river Kalmius lines its northern side. However, the eastern flank is more open and armour can be used during attacks. This small number of incredibly brave Ukrainian troops continue to tie up a large quantity of Russian invasion forces; forces who Russia urgently needs for its wider eastern offensive. Below are some recent pictures showing the devastation in Mariupol.
Further along the southern coast, Russia’s forces are still trying to push deeper into Ukraine, beyond the city of Kherson. But for the most part, they are trying to secure that southern coastal region and establish that much heralded land border to Crimea. But Ukrainian forces are counterattacking & continue to recapture villages around Kherson.
With Ukraine having sunk Russia’s flagship Black Sea missile cruiser, the Moskva, the Kremlin’s invasion plans have been further thrown into disarray. It’s clear Russia naively thought they could dominate the Azov and Black Seas and capture all the Ukrainian cities and ports along the south coast. Once done they planned to use Russia’s large navy to pour military hardware, troops and supplies into the country. They also hoped to use their numerous large landing ships which can be partially beached on shores to do the same. On paper Russia’s invasion strategy probably looked good to Putin and his nodding donkey generals. But the reality of fighting a modern day war against a brave and motivated adversary, has shown Russia’s plans to be nothing more than worthless scraps of paper.