Kyiv celebrated its 1,541st birthday, founded when Moscow was still a swamp. This is how Russia celebrated the occasion:
This was the second straight night of massive waves of drone and missile attacks. On Saturday night, Ukraine reported 59 Iranian-made Shaheed “doodlebug” drones were launched at Kyiv, and 58 shot down. Last night, another 29 Shaheed drones and 37 cruise missiles targeted the capital.
It’s unclear how many, if any, of the latest wave reached their targets. And even shot-down drones and missiles can cause carnage on the ground. So for the third time in three days, Kyiv residents were forced to bomb shelters. Life went on.
What is clear is that this terror campaign underscores Russia’s rank impotence.
At the same time, Ukraine launched its own volley of cruise missiles toward several Russian-held towns in Ukraine, including Yur’ivka, near Mariupol in Russian-occupied southeastern Ukraine.
These British-supplied Storm Shadows cruise missiles targeted a resort facility used to barrack Russian forces. Local partisans reported that the barracks were occupied by newly arrived Russian military personnel, and Ukrainian officials claim 100 were killed, more than 400 wounded. At least one Russian Telegram source claims that successive strikes on Mariupol targets have killed more than 450 Russians:
With its new longer-range Storm Shadows, Ukraine is pounding Russian troop and equipment concentrations that had been moved back beyond HIMARS rocket range. The difference with the Russians? Ukraine is striking military targets.
It’s clear by now that attempting to kill civilians isn’t assisting Russia’s war effort. To the contrary, it’s hardening national resolved to expel all Russian forces from Ukraine, regardless of the cost.
Yet instead of using those expensive rockets, missiles, and drones to hit rail stations, tracks, bridges, military bases, air bases, logistical hubs, fuel depots, and other targets that could advance Russia’s military campaign, they continue to waste their ordnance on militarily insignificant targets.
Now, I don’t mean to minimize the impact of civilian casualties from Russia’s indiscriminate bombings, which we see daily. But from a military strategic perspective, it’s unbelievable how uninterested Russia seems in actually trying to win this war. The only rationale that makes sense is that Russia wants to freeze the current lines, and thinks that the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians will bring Ukraine back to the negotiation table for a cease fire.
Russia might have also believed the leaked intelligence document that claimed Ukraine was running low on air defenses and aims to deplete Ukraine’s remaining stock. Yet if the last month has proven anything after 16 strikes on the capital, it’s that Ukraine’s allies responded robustly to that predicament (back in February), and that the country’s current air defenses are perfectly capable of handling everything Russia sends their way.
Russia could certainly use its Shaheed drones the way Ukraine is: targeting military vehicles and trenches.
FPV drones are different from the Shaheeds, which can’t hit moving targets (they strike predetermined coordinates). But there’s nothing stopping the bigger Iranian drones from making life miserable for Ukrainians manning trenches on the front lines.
The fact that Russia insists on targeting civilians is a de facto admission that they have given up the military campaign. They know they can’t win on the battlefield. Their best hope, as stupid and evil as it is, is that Ukraine sues for peace to stop civilians from being targeted.
Except Russia can’t even land most of their targets. And since U.S.-made Patriots arrived from the U.S., Germany, and the Netherlands, Russia’s supposed “hypersonic” Kinzhal missile is no longer hitting its targets.
Meanwhile, on the latest episode of “terrible people fighting each other”:
Afghanistan has defeated global powers Russia and the United States. Why not take on regional power Iran?
There’s a certain irony that American-made equipment abandoned by the Afghan army is now being used by the Taliban to fight Iran.
We always expect the law of unintended consequences to be a net negative, but in this case, it’s kind of working out okay.
China’s diplomatic efforts re: Ukraine are, um, dumb.
The Chinese envoy dispatched to push Beijing’s peace plan for Ukraine carried a clear message: U.S. allies in Europe should assert their autonomy and urge an immediate cease-fire, leaving Russia in possession of the parts of its smaller neighbor that it now occupies, according to Western officials familiar with talks in capitals across the continent.
Diplomat Li Hui, who has visited Kyiv, Warsaw, Berlin, Paris and Brussels this month, urged European governments to view China as an economic alternative to Washington and said they should move quickly to end the conflict between Russia and Ukraine before it spreads, those officials said.
If China wants to avoid a weakened Russia, it should be pushing its ally to withdraw. This is amateurish, and will only be laughed at by European capitals.