Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will deliver a virtual address to Congress on Wednesday, according to an announcement by House and Senate Democratic leaders. The address will be broadcast at 9 AM on Wednesday morning.
Zelenskyy is sure to use the address to again ask the United States to itself enter the war with the implementation of a "no-fly zone" over his country, a move that would be effective only if the U.S. is willing to shoot down any Russian jets or helicopters that cross the border. Barring that, he will again likely ask for the delivery of new fighter jets to Ukraine, as Poland attempted to broker last week with their unilateral announcement that they would be giving a large number of their jets to the United States for rebranding as U.S. planes. That gambit failed as the United States was unwilling to accept delivery of the fighters.
The United States and other nations are concerned that providing jets will be so provocative towards Russia that Russia will launch military strikes against NATO members in retaliation. But it is also not clear that fighter deliveries to Ukraine will significantly boost Ukrainian defenses. Most Ukrainian air attacks use missiles and unmanned drones to destroy Russian targets; the nation's aircraft have seen few sorties in comparison.
The Biden administration has been adamant in insisting that the United States will not engage directly with the Russian military unless required to do so by an attack on NATO members themselves. Russia remains a nuclear power, even if its standing military appears to have been hollowed out and rendered ineffective by all-encompassing Russian government corruption. Some Republican lawmakers have clamored for a no-fly zone or other direct engagement nonetheless, either as political tactic to boost their own reputations for "toughness" or for the sake of future political attacks on Biden for not taking such steps.
The effectiveness of such political ploys may be tenuous, however; among the pro-Trump wing of the party, which comprises nearly all of it at this point, Republican pundits and boosters have expressed such admiration for the authoritarian Vladimir Putin and his government that they are visibly struggling with the transformation into Ukrainian allies.
The most visible case remains Fox News' Tucker Carlson, who continues to promote ridiculous pro-Putin propaganda on his show nightly. He is now promoting a nasty and asinine conspiracy theory that supposes medical research laboratories in Ukraine to be "biolabs" intended to develop weapons to be used against Russia. It is grotesquely false; the labs are the direct counterparts to medical research labs commonly attached to United States universities, a rote feature of any country that takes public health seriously.
Zelenskyy may or may not specifically address the American promotion of those anti-Ukrainian propaganda efforts as giving them still more publicity would likely do more harm than good. But Putin is attempting to use them as justification for his attacks on civilian population centers and buildings, one of a multitude of similarly ridiculous claims Russian leaders are now using to claim that Ukraine poses a direct threat to Russia unless it is subdued.
From Pentagon briefing:
More than 10% of Russia’s invading force is off the battlefield, that means equipment destroyed or captured, and soldiers killed, captured, or wounded (and evacuated, out of the fight). That may not sound like a lot, but 1) it’s been less than three weeks, and Ukraine has taken out 10+% of Russia’s entire war fighting machine, 2) same Pentagon briefer says no Russian reservists being called up yet, 3) Russia will try to plug the gap with low-quality Syrian forces not used to Ukrainian cold, and perhaps even lower-quality Belorussians (though thus far, they’re like NOPE), and 4) Russia is already unable to take major urban centers. 10+% is a lot if even 100% wasn’t getting the job done.
In the same briefing, the Pentagon said Russia has deployed 100% of its 190,000 pre-invasion force, and also said that Ukrainian forces “stalled a 40-mile Russian convoy advancing on Kyiv with direct attacks.” We assumed as much, but didn’t have any confirmation.
I recently wrote about the logistics of my MLRS artillery unit—9 rocket launchers supported by over 50 vehicles. Here we can see a Russian artillery battery and its logistics chain:
This is south of Kharkiv, in the Donbas region out east. I count five self-propelled artillery vehicles. two armored personnel carriers, likely for security once deployed. Two command and control vehicles, likely fire direction. Two jeep-like vehicles, were officers likely ride. Three fuel trucks (take those out, and the whole battery grinds to a halt). Two vehicles which are either recovery (to pull stuff out of mud) or ammunition auto loaders or something. And TWENTY-TWO supply trucks, to carry ammo, spare parts, food, and other supplies.
So that’s 33 vehicles supporting five artillery cannons. That’s why logistics are so hard. Like I keep saying, only a minority of combat forces deployed actually shoot anything. Everyone else is supporting the shooters (infantry, armor, and artillery). And if you take out that supporting cast, the combat arms guys can’t move, can’t shoot, can’t eat, and are stuck in the mud.