2300, March 9th
The UK confirmed today that a small number of soldiers have gone AWOL from the British Army in order to fight in Ukraine. Thousands of foreign volunteers have allegedly arrived in western Ukraine since the conflict began, a testimony to both the widespread support of Ukraine and the effectiveness of Western media messaging. Zelensky recently announced that foreign volunteers would be granted free Ukrainian citizenship following the conflict; an offer contingent upon successful defence.
Team America Weighs In
An anonymous US spokesman claimed today that the majority of Ukraine’s air assets are still operational, which testifies to the ineffectiveness of Russia’s airforce in this conflict.
The US has moved two Patriot missile defence systems to Rzeszow-Jasionka airport, near the Polish-Ukrainian border, ostensibly to protect the landing zones for NATO military aid against a potential Russian strike.
Much chatter has been raised concerning yesterday’s offer of providing Polish Mig-29s to Ukraine via the USA. The offer is a logistical non-starter, and a prime example of politicians attempting to conduct policy via virtue-signalling on Twitter.
The White House and the State Department both released statements laying the ground for a potential ‘chemical weapons false flag attack’ by Russia against Ukraine, citing statements by Russia and China concerning potential ‘American bioweapons labs’ in the country. Seasoned watchers of US foreign policy will note that talk of WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) is very often a precursor to direct US military intervention; Iraq and Syria are notable examples. Russia inherited 40,000 tonnes of chemical weapons from the USSR, along with an unknown arsenal of biological weapons.
The US Secretary of Commerce, Ms Raimondo, has apparently threatened to sanction Chinese companies that provide advanced technology to Russia. With the global economy reeling in the wake of NATO sanctions against Russia, a sanctions war with China would seem to be ill-advised, and could cause widespread economic hardship across the globe. Either the Americans are gambling that China will be cowed by these threats, or they’ve gone mad with power and don’t have a clue what they’re doing. We leave the reader to decide.
The Siege of Mariupol
Ukraine alleges that Russians bombed a maternity ward in Mariupol in an airstrike today, with footage emerging of pregnant women being stretchered across the city. City authorities claim 1,200 civilian casualties (almost certainly exaggerated, but possible). Multiple attempts to establish humanitarian corridors have failed; the Ukrainians accuse the Russians of shelling the evacuation zones, and the Russians accuse the Ukrainians of holding civilians hostage to use as human shields. A unilateral declaration by Russia that it would evacuate civilians to Rostov-on-Don in Russia was turned down several days ago. Fighting appears to have continued unabated throughout these attempts at humanitarian intervention.
The following aerial images show destruction around Mariupol as the siege continues. Russian drone footage shows Ukrainian ATGM (anti-tank guided missile) teams occupying rooftops in Mariupol.
Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia
Ukrainian forces have prepared a defence of Kryvyi Rih, a major city north of Mykolaiv, after Russian armoured forces are sighted approaching along two axes from the south.
A MLRS barrage was recorded striking residential areas in Mykolaiv, presumably from Russian mobile artillery. We will not show the footage here.
A large amount of footage from Ukrainian soldiers shows dozens of vehicles captured from Russian airborne forces (VDV) in the vicinity of Mykolaiv. Judging by the sheer volume of captured inventory recently, the VDV appear to have been comprehensively routed over the past few days — but of course, footage alone can be highly misleading as to the situation on the ground.
Towards the centre of the southern front, an evacuation column arrived in Zaporizhzhia today, indicating that some evacuation corridors have worked. A Russian armoured convoy was recorded moving north through Melitopol, where protests have taken place over the past few days.
Russian Garrisons Deployed
Rosgvardia soldiers have been sighted in Kherson, a city occupied by Russia since last week. The Rosgvardia (or National Guard) are a peculiar formation, either a highly militarised police or a military force with police-like responsibilities. They were established in 2016, outside the chain of command of the Armed Forces of Russia. Numbering 360,000 in total, they are believed to be a well-trained and politically-reliable reserve force. Their presence in Kherson may answer the question ‘how does Russia intend to secure its captured territory?’ Spetsnaz have also been sighted in Kherson, but are unlikely to be used as a police force.
Rosgvardia have also been sighted occupying the nuclear power station in Enerhodar, south of Zaporizhzhia.
Kharkiv and Kiev
More battles and ambushes were reported around Sumy today. Civilian protests in occupied Berdyansk, Melitopol, and other locations. Russian troops allegedly withdrew from Maksaki, near Chernihiv, northeast of Kiev.
Ukraine claims to have liberated Derhachi, north of Kharkiv. The city endured sporadic bombardment for yet another day, with images of what appear to be empty clusterbomb capsules found impaled in several roads. Earlier footage showed soldiers from the Azov Battalion (neo-Nazis) unloading British-supplied NLAW anti-tank weaponry in the city.
Ukraine claims that a convoy of Russian troops east of Kiev was destroyed en route to Brovary. Ukrainian Special Forces are believed to be using night-vision equipment, which gives them a distinct advantage in night operations.
Drone footage shows a Ukrainian tank engaging Russian vehicles; location unknown.
Nuclear Power and Airstrikes in the North
The operational nuclear power station in Chernobyl has allegedly been disconnected from the national grid, while workers are prevented from rotating shifts by the Russian Army, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Workers usually rotate in two week shifts in order to prevent fatigue and exhaustion, which could cause dangerous mistakes. The IAEA has raised concerns over these developments but insists there is no critical impact on safety at this stage. Disconnecting the power station has allegedly caused blackouts in two nearby Russian-occupied Ukrainian towns.
Seven Russian aircraft sortied from a Belarussian airbase this evening, possibly indicating that the Russians are attempting to mount air operations with more than two planes at a time. The fact that reports of their takeoff reached us a mere 20 minutes after the reported takeoff time testifies to the effectiveness of publicly-available online intel, and surveillance of Belarussian airfields.
Russian airstrike on Zhytomyr. Also near Zhytomyr, a Russian anti-radar missile was shot down by air defences. Anti-radar missiles are designed to home in on active radar sources, such as air defence systems, and dissuade the enemy from using their radar except in short bursts.
A Russian Iskander missile carrying a clustermunition warhead landed in the city of Kramatorsk, near Donetsk. Separatists allegedly brought down a Ukrainian Leleka-100 reconnaissance drone using electronic warfare.
Location unknown, but the comments of this Ukrainian NCO upon capturing a Russian mortar are rather entertaining.
“We got a mortar. Look, that’s supposed to be the second best army in the world! One wheel is one thread pattern, the other is another! Look, they don’t even have mudguards so all the s*** from the road is on the controls. And look at the paint they used for their dumb Z, boom, like it was never there!”
Photo Credit: Фото Дмитрий Муравский, Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. CC-SA-2.0.
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