The disinformation campaigns increase as attacks and counter attacks begin to suggest a military stalemate and some signals that some of the major powers would like a negotiated settlement with Russia maintaining territory it has captured. This is unsatisfactory for Ukraine but will require new estimates of combat power as well as some better projections of the likelihood of driving the Russians back to the pre-2014 borders.
Christopher Caldwell decides in a NY Times op-ed which way the war should head with accommodations to Russia and worries about US intentions.
In 2014 the United States backed an uprising — in its final stages a violent uprising — against the legitimately elected Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych, which was pro-Russian. (The corruption of Mr. Yanukovych’s government has been much adduced by the rebellion’s defenders, but corruption is a perennial Ukrainian problem, even today.) Russia, in turn, annexed Crimea, a historically Russian-speaking part of Ukraine that since the 18th century had been home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
One can argue about Russian claims to Crimea, but Russians take them seriously. Hundreds of thousands of Russian and Soviet fighters died defending the Crimean city of Sevastopol from European forces during two sieges — one during the Crimean War and one during World War II. In recent years, Russian control of Crimea has seemed to provide a stable regional arrangement: Russia’s European neighbors, at least, have let sleeping dogs lie.
But the United States never accepted the arrangement. On Nov. 10, 2021, the United States and Ukraine signed a “charter on strategic partnership” that called for Ukraine to join NATO, condemned “ongoing Russian aggression” and affirmed an “unwavering commitment” to the reintegration of Crimea into Ukraine.
That charter “convinced Russia that it must attack or be attacked,” Mr. Guaino wrote. “It is the ineluctable process of 1914 in all its terrifying purity.”
This is a faithful account of the war that President Vladimir Putin has claimed to be fighting. “There were constant supplies of the most modern military equipment,” Mr. Putin said at Russia’s annual Victory Parade on May 9, referring to the foreign arming of Ukraine. “The danger was growing every day.”
Whether he was right to worry about Russia’s security depends on one’s perspective. Western news reports tend to belittle him.
The rocky course of the war in Ukraine thus far has vindicated Mr. Putin’s diagnosis, if not his conduct. Though Ukraine’s military industry was important in Soviet times, by 2014 the country barely had a modern military at all. Oligarchs, not the state, armed and funded some of the militias sent to fight Russian-supported separatists in the east. The United States started arming and training Ukraine’s military, hesitantly at first under President Barack Obama. Modern hardware began flowing during the Trump administration, though, and today the country is armed to the teeth.
The United States is making no concessions. That would be to lose face. There’s an election coming. So the administration is closing off avenues of negotiation and working to intensify the war. We’re in it to win it. With time, the huge import of deadly weaponry, including that from the newly authorized $40 billion allocation, could take the war to a different level. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine warned in an address to students this month that the bloodiest days of the war were coming.
- Russian forces conducted unsuccessful assaults southeast and southwest of Izyum and west of Lyman but remain unlikely to secure major advances towards Slovyansk.
- Russian forces made minor gains in the eastern part of Severodonetsk, but Ukrainian forces continues to launch localized counterattacks in Severodonetsk and its outskirts.
- Russian forces did not attempt to launch assaults on Avdiivka.
- Russian forces failed to regain lost positions in northeastern Kherson Oblast and continued to defend previously occupied positions.
Russian occupation authorities began issuing Russian passports in Kherson City and Melitopol, though they continue to face challenges establishing societal control over occupied territories and ending Ukrainian partisan actions.
A Russian milblogger published a lengthy message on June 3 claiming that nearly the entire 35th Combined Arms Army has been destroyed in Izyum due to incompetent Russian commanders. A Russian milblogger under the pseudonym Boytsovyi Kot Murz said that Russian commanders did not account for combat challenges in the Izyum woods, leading to significant losses in the 64th and 38th Separate Guard Motor Rifle Brigades, which he reported now have less than 100 servicemen in total. Boytsovyi Kot Murz claimed that Russian commanders failed to provide necessary equipment to units fighting in wooded terrain and did not repair Russian heavy artillery in a timely manner. Russian forces also reportedly lacked effective communication with command centers and relied on messengers due to the shortage of encrypted phones. Boytsovyi Kot Murz noted that the lack of communications between Russian units and commanders allowed Ukrainian forces to strike Russian advanced positions with drones. Russian private military company servicemen from Wagner also refused to participate in combat, leading to a significant lack of advances on the Izyum axis. While ISW cannot independently confirm these reports, they are consistent with previous reports of Russian operations and high casualties on the Izyum axis.
Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Russian forces attempted a series of unsuccessful assaults on Barvinkove (southwest of Izyum) and several settlements southeast of Izyum on June 3. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces attempted to resume an offensive operation towards Barvinkove but did not secure any gains. A Russian attack against Sviatohirsk, approximately 27km southeast of Izyum along the major road to Slovyansk, also failed. Ukrainian Defense Ministry Spokesperson Oleksandr Motuzyanyk reported that Ukrainian forces repelled Russian assaults on Bohorodychne and Dolyna, both located along the Izyum-Slovyansk highway, and Studenok, approximately 18km southeast of Izyum. Russian forces likely attempted to assault Sviatohirsk from both the northwest from Izyum and east from Lyman, as the forward positions of Russian forces on the Lyman front in Bohorodychne are only 5km west of the settlement. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces are accumulating up to 20 battalion tactical groups (BTGs) in the Izyum area, but these units are highly unlikely to be fully staffed or equipped. Russian forces may be generating forces and renewing attacks towards Barvinkove, as opposed to continued stalled attacks directly towards Slovyansk from Izyum, in an attempt to bypass Ukrainian defenses. Russian forces are unlikely to make major gains on the Izyum front in the coming days, however.
Ukrainian forces have recaptured around 20% of the territory they lost in Sievierodonetsk since Russia’s invasion, according to Ukrainian officials. “Whereas before the situation was difficult, the percentage [held by Russia] was somewhere around 70%, now we have already pushed them back by approximately 20%,” Serhiy Gaidai, the head of the eastern region of Luhansk, announced on national television on Friday.
Vladimir Putin says exporting grain from Ukraine is “no problem”, after Moscow’s invasion raised fears of a global food crisis. The Russian president said in a televised interview on Friday that exporting could be done via Ukrainian ports, via others under Russian control, or even via central Europe. Putin accused the west of “bluster” by claiming Moscow was preventing the grain exports from Ukraine.
The African Union head and Senegalese president, Macky Sall, said he was “reassured” after meeting with Putin in Sochi regarding food shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, he told Putin that Africans were the victims of the war in Ukraine.
Leading US general Mark Milley has met Finnish president Sauli Niinisto to pledge US support for Finland’s and Sweden’s Nato membership bids, which Turkey is blocking. Milley told reporters it was clear that, if the two countries’ applications were approved, “they will bring a significant increase in the military capability of Nato”, Agence France-Presse reported. After Helsinki, Milley was expected to visit neighbouring Sweden on Saturday.
European president Ursula von der Leyen said that Ukraine must meet all the necessary standards and conditions for accession. She went on to call on the EU to help Ukraine achieve its goals.
A driver transporting two Reuters journalists in eastern Ukraine was killed and the two reporters lightly wounded on Friday, a company spokesperson said. They had come under fire while en route to Severodonetsk. “They were travelling in a vehicle provided by the Russian-backed separatists and driven by an individual assigned by the separatists,” the international news agency said.
French president Emmanuel Macron says Putin has committed a “historic and fundamental error” by invading Ukraine and is now “isolated”. “I think, and I told him, that he made a historic and fundamental error for his people, for himself and for history,” Macron said in an interview with French regional media on Friday. “Isolating oneself is one thing, but being able to get out of it is a difficult path”.
14 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes, the majority women and children, the UN Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine, Amin Awad, said on Friday. In a statement released on the 100th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Awad spoke of displaced Ukrainians, describing the “scale and speed of [their] displacement not witnessed in history”.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Ankara, Vasyl Bodna, accused Russia of “stealing” and sending Ukrainian grain abroad. “Russia shamelessly steals Ukrainian grain and sends it overseas from Crimea, including to Turkey,” Bodna said in a tweet on Friday.
Staring down the prospect of an extended stalemate in Ukraine, the US and its allies are placing a renewed emphasis on the need for a negotiated settlement to end the war as the conflict grinds into its 100th day with no clear victory in sight for either side.
US officials have in recent weeks been meeting regularly with their British and European counterparts to discuss potential frameworks for a ceasefire and for ending the war through a negotiated settlement, multiple sources familiar with the talks told CNN.
Among the topics has been a four-point framework proposed by Italy late last month. That framework involves Ukraine committing to neutrality with regard to NATO in exchange for some security guarantees, and negotiations between Ukraine and Russia on the future of Crimea and the Donbas region.
Ukraine is not directly involved in those discussions, despite the US commitment to "nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine." US and Ukrainian officials said the US has not been pressuring Ukraine to commit to a certain plan or directly pushing them to sit down with the Russians.
Still, there is some confusion about what kind of framework the US would consider appropriate to bring to the Ukrainians for further discussion.
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas Greenfield told reporters earlier this week that the Italian framework is "one of those initiatives that we certainly would love to see bring a conclusion to this horrific war and the horrific attacks on the Ukrainian people." But two US officials told CNN that the US actually does not support the Italian proposal.
In any case, US and western officials tell CNN that there is a growing concern that if the Russians and Ukrainians don't get back to the table and work out a deal, the war will drag on -- potentially for years.
- Those opposed to assault weapon bans continue to play games with AR-15 semantics, pretending there’s some meaningful differences between it and the M4 carbine that the military carries. There really aren’t. 2/
- The military began a transition from the M16 to the M4, an improved M16, some years ago. The AR-15 is essentially the civilian version of the M16. The M4 is really close to the M16, and the AR-15. 3/
- So what’s the difference between the military’s M4 and the original AR-15? Barrel length and the ability to shoot three round bursts. M4s can shoot in three round bursts. AR-15s can only shoot single shot. 4/
- But even now, you can buy AR-15s in variable barrel lengths with Weaver or Picatinny rails for better sights and aiming assists like lasers. Like the military, but w/o the bayonet. 5/
- But our troops usually use single shot, not burst fire. You’re able to fire a much more accurate (deadly) shot, that way. Note: you can buy our Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight on Amazon. So troops usually select the same fire option available on AR-15. 6/
- That is why the AR-15 is ACCURATELY CALLED a ‘weapon of war.’ It is a very deadly weapon with the same basic functionality that our troops use to kill the enemy. Don’t take the bait when anti-gun-safety folks argue about it. They know it’s true. Now you do too. 7/7
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