The crisis continues with greater indications of weapons transfers from France, Belgium, Canada, Poland, and the UK. The Mayor of Mariupol reports that 20,000 civilians have perished. Maneuvering continues in the east and the Ukrainians troll the Russians by declaring the sunken cruiser Moskva as an underwater sanctuary. Some analysts say that the major Donbas offensive has yet to begin.
The problems that beset the Russian military in its failed attempt to seize Kyiv are likely to continue into the next phase of the war, according to independent analysts, giving the Ukrainian military a chance to drive back the invading force.
Big militaries fight with tight organization and strict hierarchy, with multiple levels of command ensuring that large forces can move in a coordinated way, but during the current invasion, analysts and U.S. officials have said, the Russian military has abandoned that structure. It has formed 800-person-strong battalion tactical groups, and to fill them out it has combined units that had not previously worked together, and gutted the middle layers of its battlefield command structure.
Those choices contributed to the logistics and communication problems that hampered the Russian military, leading to its defeat in the battle for Kyiv, and exposed deep weaknesses in its forces, outside analysts said.
Both allied governments and independent analysts had seen the Russian military perform well in large-scale military exercises that Moscow conducts each year. But those turned out to be scripted and rehearsed events, not actual drills meant to improve the military.
“The Russian military appears to have been a Potemkin army in the sense that it was really optimized to look good on training exercises rather than to fight well,” said Frederick W. Kagan, a military expert with the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project.
Russia’s forces, in both the slow but largely successful fight for the southern city of Mariupol and the unsuccessful battle for Kyiv, have been battered and weakened. But rather than resting, reinforcing and re-equipping the forces, Moscow is pressing forward to try and make gains in the east.
Some Russian forces are beginning a drive to encircle Ukrainian Army forces that are in entrenched positions in the eastern area known as Donbas. The Russian military appears to be trying to secure battlefield gains — including capturing all of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, or oblasts — ahead of May 9, when Moscow holds its annual celebration of victory in World War II.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned of growing Russian irredentism late Friday, cautioning that the invasion of Ukraine was “intended only as a beginning … they want to capture other countries.”
Zelensky’s remarks came after a Russian commander said the Kremlin intends to establish a path through Ukraine to a breakaway territory in Moldova. While the Ukrainian president has used a similar tack to pressure the West for more assistance, the hint that Russia’s aims may go beyond Ukrainian borders sparked unease. Moscow declined to confirm whether this was official policy; some analysts said they doubted Russia had the capability.
Evidence of widespread atrocities continues to emerge from the devastated southern port city of Mariupol. The mayor said new satellite images show another mass grave — where an estimated 1,000 residents may be buried — in a nearby village. Ukraine said it was planning a humanitarian corridor to evacuate residents on Saturday, after an attempt to help some of the roughly 100,000 trapped civilians flee failed the previous day.
A flurry of diplomatic endeavors to peacefully resolve the war continues, even as Russia claims that talks with Ukraine have stalled. U.N. Secretary General António Gutierrez heads to Moscow next Tuesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, before visiting Ukraine on Thursday for discussions with Zelensky. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has hosted a previous round of peace talks, plans on calling Putin and Zelensky in the coming days to push for a leaders’ summit in Istanbul.
Ukrainian officials are hoping to safely transport residents from the Mariupol area Saturday after previous efforts to organize a humanitarian corridor failed.
In a Facebook post, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk told residents of the devastated port city to “be patient, please hold on." About 100,000 people remain in the city, including citizens trapped in the Azovstal steel plant still held by Ukrainian forces.
Donbas region: The second phase of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced Friday, adding that its objective is the “complete liberation” of the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address Friday that Ukrainian armed forces were deterring attacks in the east and south. “The Izyum direction, Donbas, Pryazovia, Mariupol, Kherson region are the places where the fate of this war and the future of our state is being decided,” he said.
Kharkiv region: The armed forces of Ukraine warned Friday of a possible Russian offensive in the region, where Ukrainian defenders have intelligence that the Russian military is conducting aerial reconnaissance near the town of Izyum.
Mariupol: A day after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared victory in the shattered Ukrainian port city, the president of the European Council said he “strongly urged” Putin to immediately open up humanitarian access to residents. A small pocket of resistance, about 1,000 Ukrainian fighters and citizens who remain holed up in a steel plant, are surrounded. Also, newly surfaced images of two mass graves near Mariupol underscored the scope of the devastation.
When I wrote my “Letter to the Western Left” two months ago, I hoped that the shock of the war and the criticism from the Eastern European left would force the Western left to reconsider their position. 2/
But I was disappointed with how many leftists continued to write complete shit. Jacobin published ten times more bullshit texts on ten normal materials about Ukraine. 3/
They even distorted the history of the socialist movement to justify their shameful position. Here is a good article by @lionel_trolling about it. 4/
When Russian Socialist Movement asked them to publish their anti-war statement, which our organization also signed, they refused. 5/
They said that the statements were not their format. But this was a false excuse, because at the beginning of the war they published two Russian anti-war statements. 6/
The difference was that those two statements did not call for support military aid for Ukraine. Russian anti-war socialists risked being imprisoned to supported us, and Jacobin failed to publish their statement. 7/
LeftEast also does not support the supply of weapons, but they published with a preface. Instead, Jacobin not only refused to publish, but also lied. 8/
But a special place among Jacobin's materials is occupied by the texts of Branko Marcetic. He became an odious figure among the Ukrainian left because of his incompetence and manipulation. 9/
Here is a good article by Stephen R. Shalom, in which he analyzes one of the examples of Branko's manipulations. Jacobin refused to publish it. 10/
Instead, Jacobin continues to publish the bullshit of this manipulative idiot. Yesterday they published his new article. 11/
Marcetic wrote: “Zelensky announced early on in the war that he would give out weapons to anyone willing to fight.” This is true, but it was only a few days at the beginning of the war, and even then only a part of those who wanted to fight received weapons. 12/
Very quickly, the state began to tightly control the issuance of weapons. 13/
Our military unit is now in Kyiv, where it is calm. We do not fight, but are constantly trained. And we are forced to report for every fucking cartridge shot. Our officers are shocked, because in 2014 there was nothing like that. 14/
But Marcetic is not interested in the real situation in Ukraine and what the Ukrainian left can say. He uses statements that are convenient for him to justify his own shameful position. 15/
Marcetic wrote: “Ukrainian troops pick up trucks loaded with weapons mostly in Poland… before driving them across the border, at which point it’s entirely up to Ukrainians how and where they’re given out” 16/
Yes, because Ukrainians are fighting, and we decide where given out. Does this chauvinist want NATO generals to lead our defense? Fuck off! 17/
This is a 1944 Maxim gun. Nestor Makhno fought with the same machine guns on tachankas in Ukraine a hundred years ago. Therefore, when he was handed over to our unit, our anarchists were delighted. 18/
But in fact, the fact that Ukraine had to deconserve even such old weapons to have something to fight is not a positive fact. 19/
Against this background, the Western left, which criticizes military aid to Ukraine, are outrageous. What do they want us to fight with bows and arrows when we shoot all the bullets? Do they want the Russians to kill as many Ukrainians as possible? That there was more Bucha? 20/
Idiots have written since the beginning of war that military aid will increase casualties. At that time Ukrainian authorities requested in the first place air defense. Is it really so difficult to understand that the more we shoot down Russian missiles, the less Ukrainians die?21
“Anti-imperialist” idiots who call on Ukrainians not to resist imperialist aggression are a disgrace. To those assholes who want us to capitulate, I can only say: go fuck yourself. 22/
PS. My “Letter to the Western Left” was translated from Ukrainian for publication. A mistake was made in the translation – the translator did not read Marcetic's article, which I criticized, so he replaced the word “intentions” with “actions”. 23/
This was unfair, because there is criticism of Putin's actions in the article. But Marcetic used the softest possible wording about his intentions. At a time when the Russian army was bombing Ukrainian cities, the words “signal less-than-benign ambitions” looked like mockery. 24/
When Marcetic wrote about mistake, we corrected it. The editor of openDemocracy sent a letter to anyone who translated or reprinted my letter asking for changes to the text. But this was not enough for Marcetic, he demanded to edit the text more. 25/
The problem is not only that they refuse to support Ukrainian resistance. Fortunately, they have little effect on military aid policy. The problem is that these idiots discredit the socialist movement. And we will have to deal with the consequences of this for a long time to come
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