Fighting and bombardment has continued across the country on day eleven. There do not appear to be any substantive changes in occupied territories or combat fronts, but this should not be taken to mean that nothing is happening.
Havryshivka Vinnytsia International Airport, 100 miles southwest of Kiev, is allegedly ‘completely destroyed’ by eight Russian missiles, according to a statement by Zelensky. It is unknown whether Ukrainian Air Force planes, supplies, or personnel were present at the time of the strike. Thus far in the conflict, Russia’s missiles appear to be their most accurate and effective form of long-distance strike. According to the Ukraine Minsitry of Defence, these missiles were launched from Russian ships in the Black Sea. Various reports suggest they were either ballistic or cruise missiles.
Russian AWACS aircraft arrived at Baranovichi airbase in Belarus. Two large planes, believed to be IL-76 transports, arrived at a separate airfield 70 miles north of Chernihiv.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announces that he has been discussing with European partners the prospect of banning Russian oil imports. Analysts are already predicting a severe cost of living crisis in Europe due to a combination of aggressive CO2 emission reduction policies and the resultant ‘green tape’, the decommissioning of Germany’s nuclear power stations, and the sudden drop in supply of fossil fuel imports. Readers may recall that former UK Prime Minister Theresa May sold the UK’s entire strategic reserve of natural gas during her tenure, claiming that ‘we are entering a buy-on-demand economy’.
Putin reiterates threats of ‘catastrophic consequences’, warning that the West’s economic sanctions are ‘akin to a declaration of war’.
Moscow released a statement declaring that “the use of the airfield network of neighbouring countries to host Ukrainian military aviation will be regarded as involvement in the armed conflict.” Three hours later, Moldova declares a state of emergency in regard to the situation in Ukraine. Whether these events are connected, and whether Ukraine has been using neighbouring airfields for its aviation, remains unverified.
The US has also given a ‘green light’ to NATO countries to provide fixed-wing aircraft to Ukraine’s Air Force. If this happens, it could be considered a significant escalation of NATO involvement.
The US cannot donate planes without also donating pilots and ground crew, since Ukrainian airmen are trained to fly different aircraft. The former Eastern Bloc countries are able to donate aircraft, but likely unwilling: apart from the risk of escalation, these countries have relatively small airforces.
After a meeting with Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin announces that his forces will ‘no longer target nuclear power stations’. Following the capture of Enerhodar last week, the remaining nuclear power stations are situated to the West of Ukraine, a considerable distance from the fighting. Russia now controls just over half of Ukraine’s nuclear power generation capacity. The declaration may be strategically meaningless, but signals a willingness to at least be seen to negotiate.
Kharkiv was subject to repeated bombardment by airstrikes, artillery, and cruise missiles throughout the day. At least one aircraft was downed by MANPADs.
A Russian jet was shot down over Kharkiv by what appears to be two surface to air missiles (SAMs). The eye-catching footage was captured from several different locations. The pilot did not eject and was likely killed by the first or second explosion.
A missile strike on a warehouse in Kharkiv appears to have destroyed two cars and their drivers, as recorded by dashcam footage. This clip has been inaccurately labelled an ‘airstrike’ by ‘warplanes’.
Borodianka to the west of Kiev is now under Russian control. Ukraine has evacuated the district of Irpin to the north of Kiev, site of heavy fighting in previous days, as it has been devastated by shelling and airstrikes.
Kiev has apparently formed a militia reconnaissance corps from commercial drone enthusiasts. This drone footage shows two Russian MLRS systems engaging targets near Peremoha, Kiev Oblast. (Yet another reason to buy a drone.)
However, many of the drones being used in Kiev are apparently Chinese-made, and according to Chinese legal requirements, they have an inbuilt tool which allegedly broadcasts the GPS location of the drone and/or its operator. In the PRC, a drone will automatically deactivate if it flies into a restricted zone. The Chinese firm DJI declined to comment on this software in regards to the Ukraine conflict. (A good reason not to buy a Chinese drone.)
The Ukrainians have also been carrying their smartphones into battle, as these clips demonstrate. This is likely less of a problem for the Ukrainians, since Big Tech is overwhelmingly based in California, USA. However, there may still be operational risks. Perhaps the morale benefits from public footage of successful engagements compensates for the lack of even a basic understanding of tech security.
The unit carrying out this simple ambush with RPG-7s is identified as KORD, the Ukrainian Police Special Forces unit. The engagement took place near Brovary, east of Kiev. The Russians are reported to have taken significant losses here today, though that claim is unverified.
Heavy shelling has continued throughout the day in Chernihiv. The city is mostly surrounded by Russian forces, and presumably hosts a combat-effective garrison, having resisted attacks and bombardment since the first day of the conflict. Two T-64BV tanks were captured by the Russians in this sector.
In Luhansk, a Russian convoy was destroyed by Ukrainian ambush. Another convoy was destroyed near Sievierodonetsk.
A Russian T-72 was allegedly captured near Mariupol today. The veteran forces in this sector continue to hold out, defying our earlier prediction that the city would fall soon after being cut off from resupply and utilities. Allegations that the Russians are preventing citizens from evacuating by shelling humanitarian corridors is unverified; actions against Russian and separatist convoys in this sector by the Ukrainians do not seem to have diminished to allow this evacuation either.
Ukraine allegedly consolidates control of Mykolaiv, capturing Russian vehicles. A large group of Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) vehicles was recorded abandoned, consisting of at least 7 infantry fighting vehicles and an artillery fire direction vehicle were lost. The vehicles appear to be in good condition, and the VDV may have fled the scene under artillery fire.
Ukraine halts most of its food exports, anticipating a food shortage this year as the war interferes with its planting season. Ukraine is a major exporter of crops and iron, with wheat constituting its largest export commodity.
1 million Ukrainian refugees have now crossed the Polish border since the conflict began.
Rallies against Russian occupation continue in Chonhar, on the Crimean border, and Melitopol. A similar rally in Novopskov in the east has apparently led to 5 protesters being wounded.
Photo Credit: Фото Дмитрий Муравский, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, CC SA 2.0.
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