If a single Ukrainian infantry fighting vehicle, with no heavy armor (i.e. tanks) or infantry support, can operate like this, it means that the Russians being pushed back don’t have the capability to deal with armor. That is, no armor of their own, no anti-armor missiles, no precision-guided artillery, and no air support.
However, it also betrays Ukraine’s own lack of combined arms capabilities. That is what the U.S. and allies are hoping to remedy before the new Western armor is put into play this spring.
Hundreds of Putin supporters have descended on Washington D.C. to rally in Russia’s support. Speakers like Jimmy Dore and Cynthia McKinney prove, once again, the horseshoe theory of politics—that the ideological spectrum isn’t a line, it’s a horseshoe, with the far right and far left meeting at the bottom.
Seymour Hersh delighted tankies and Russians everywhere by writing fiction-mascarading-as-fact story claiming the United States sabotaged the Nord Stream pipeline. I’ve already noted Snopes excellent takedown of the story, focused on Hersh’s sketchy sourcing.
Indeed, the entire story hinges on a single "source with direct knowledge of the operational planning." Supposedly, this source was aware of a top secret task force convened by President Joe Biden to destroy the pipeline. This source is also a legal expert, claiming a Biden press conference created a loophole that eliminated the need to brief congressional leaders. This source also knew about Norway’s secret deliberations over this supposed operation. This source was also in the room at the CIA and State Department as they planned the operation. And this source was aware of the conversations happening in the deep sea diver community.
This source got around!
Time isn’t helping Hersh’s story look any better.
Indeed, this summary thread of a Hersh interview is gold. We get such gems as:
"I wouldn't even think to take a story like this to the New York Times, they have decided that the Ukraine war is going to be won by Ukraine and that's what its readers get, so be it"
"The stories I have been getting about the war, particularly beginning in fall and that's what gets interesting, have been pretty dire. I think the end is just a question of time, right now it is a question of people Zelenskyy wants to kill of his own people. It's gonna be over"
“I think [the story is] going to undercut NATO, which I always found to be supremely useless”
The M350 Alta angle is actually quite interesting, as the ship last sailed in 2012. This isn’t conjecture or theory. Ships can be tracked. Oliver Alexander asked Hersh to comment on the claim that a decommissioned scrap-heap ship was part of the secret operation. His response … was he drunk?
Alexander painstakingly examines every claim Hersh makes in his Substack.
When first reading through Hersh’s account of the events, the level of detail he provides could add credence to his story. Unfortunately for Hersh’s story, the high level of detail is also where the entire story begins to unravel and fall apart. It is often stated that people who lie have a tendency to add too much superfluous detail to their accounts. This attempt to “cover all bases” is in many cases what trips these people up. Extra details add extra points of reference that can be crosschecked and examined. In Hersh’s case, this is exactly what appears to have happened. On the surface level, the level of detail checks out to laymen or people without more niche knowledge of the subject matter mentioned. When you look closer though, the entire story begins to show massive glaring holes and specific details can be debunked.
It’s worth the read if you’re in the mood for a righteous takedown, or at the very least, an incredibly detailed and technical one.
If you’re wondering about Bakhmut, it still stands. Yesterday’s update by OSINT analyst Andrew Perpetua captured the claims and counterclaims from various sides on the active areas around the city. Russia may or may not have advanced here or there. Ukrainian counter-attacks may or may not have recaptured lost ground. And Russia may or may not have recaptured the recaptured territory.
Today, Mad’ar’s update from inside Bakhmut (he’s the guy with the now-famous pointer, in drone videos counting Russian dead around Bakhmut) claims Russia focused on picking up its dead.
He says today was a “light” day. Listen to the artillery barrage in the background.
I’m going to copy and paste what Mark wrote yesterday:
"We will hold Bakhmut,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday. “Anyone who complains that the defense demands too many victims should not forget: if we withdraw, another city will become a new Bakhmut. That is why our soldiers fight for every square centimeter.”
Why is Russia throwing away thousands in Bakhmut if it has no strategic value? Because logistical factors make it the easiest place for Russia to attack. Quite possibly Bakhmut is the only place that Russia can currently muster consistently large forces, because the logistical effort at other locations is too great.
Why is Ukraine willing to expend men and materials in fighting at Bakhmut? Because the longer they keep the fighting concentrated around this once already heavily damaged area, the longer they spare other locations in Ukraine from the kind of destruction seen around Bakhmut.
Neither reason is strategic. Quite frankly, it’s quite bizarre. But Ukraine at least has a logical reason for expending so much on Bakhmut’s defense. Russia has none for attacking it.
Few things get me angrier than the thought of Russia and Belarus taking part in the upcoming Paris summer Olympics. And yes, while Ukraine is the biggest reason why, it’s also because Russia is a nation of cheaters. Even while sanctioned for its cheating at last year’s Winter Olympics, competing under a “neutral” flag, they were cheating.
Eight months ago, the Russian Olympic Committee’s first-place finish in the team figure skating event at the Beijing Olympics was thrown into limbo when it was revealed, a day later, that 15-year-old Russian phenom Kamila Valieva had failed a drug test. Medals for the event have still not been awarded, irking the second-placed U.S. team, in particular.
Now, Russia’s anti-doping agency says it will never publicly release its report on the Valieva case, triggering fresh outrage. But whatever decision Rusada reaches for its star athlete, it may not stop the Russian Olympic Committee from claiming the gold medal.
That’s because while the determinations of the Russian investigation will almost certainly be challenged by international sports bodies, forcing it into the open, sports lawyers saw a variety of ways that the Court of Arbitration for Sport could still uphold the team event outcome.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has been Russia’s biggest booster in the growing campaign to exclude Russia and Belarus.
Asked Sunday at the Alpine skiing world championships if the IOC could be on the wrong side of history, Bach dismissed the suggestion.
“No, history will show who is doing more for peace. The ones who try to keep lines open, to communicate, or the ones who want to isolate or divide,” the IOC leader said.
“We have shown this in the past with great success in the Olympic movement,” Bach said, pointing to the examples of North and South Korea, Israel and Palestine, and Kosovo. “Our role is bringing people together.”
But don’t worry, Bach added that “Every Ukrainian athlete can be rest assured that we are standing in full solidarity with them and that all their comments are taken very, very seriously into consideration.” Well, every Ukrainian athlete that Russia hasn’t murdered.
In fact, Ukraine’s entire athletic future is being wiped out.
Not to mention, the idea that Russian athletes are “neutral” is ludicrous, given how sports have always been an extension of the government and key propaganda arm since Soviet times. Check out this thread:
Russia doesn’t belong in the Olympics, nor Belarus. The IOC may not want to do the right thing, given what’s happening in Ukraine. But they can’t even do the right thing with a country that proudly and consistently cheats.
So it will come down to whether enough other countries threaten to boycott (the Baltic nations and Poland are leading the way), and whether sponsors will want to see their names dragged into the gutter with the inevitable pressure campaigns begin in earnest.
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