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Smart Bombs: Military, Defense and National Security

Why Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Has Become a Total Trainwreck

TU-22M3M Bomber. Image from Russian Military.
TU-22M3M Bomber. Image from Russian Military.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has entered its third week and the Russian military has become increasingly bogged down. None of Russia’s primary objectives have yet been accomplished.  

And the more bogged down the military gets, the more the Russian military reverts to the tactics that it has used in Syria and elsewhere. They are indiscriminately bombing and shelling civilian areas, exacting a heavy toll. 

Putin Takes the War to Civilians 

On Wednesday, as the West warned that more attacks were coming against civilians, disaster struck. A Russian airstrike destroyed a maternity hospital in the besieged port city of Mariupol. At least three people were killed, including at least one child and several more injured. 

In a report from the Associated Press, the bomb crater in the courtyard of the hospital was two stories deep, as several blasts blew out windows and destroyed the front of one building. The shock wave was felt more than a mile away.

Despite the graphic video and still photographs from the scene, the Russian government refused (at least initially) responsibility. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Russia will look into the situation. 

“We will definitely ask our military because, of course, we don’t have clear information on what happened there,” he said. 

One military official with knowledge of the situation told that Russian aircraft, leery of US-made Stinger missiles, which have exacted a heavy toll on Russian aircraft are now flying above their range and dropping “dumb bombs” for high altitudes, which makes for very inaccurate, indiscriminate bombing. 

Thursday Meeting In Turkey Accomplishes Little

The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine met in face-to-face talks mediated by Turkey on Thursday in the first high-level contact between the two sides since Russia invaded Ukraine late last month. 

Although Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba pushed for a 24-hour ceasefire, the Russians refused, while persisting with the fallacy that all of their “special military operation” plans have gone completely to plan. 

“We also talked on the ceasefire but no progress was accomplished on that,” Kuleba said after the meeting. “It seems that there are other decision-makers for this matter in Russia,” Kuleba added in reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

“I made a simple proposal to Minister Lavrov: I can call my Ukrainian ministers, authorities, the president now and give you 100% assurances on security guarantees for humanitarian corridors,” Kuleba said.

“I asked him ‘Can you do the same?’ and he did not respond.”

“I want to repeat that Ukraine has not surrendered, does not surrender, and will not surrender,” said Kuleba.

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told Turkish newspapers that “We are not planning to attack other countries. We didn’t attack Ukraine, either.”

Russian Ministry of Defense Finally Admits Conscripts Involved in the Invasion

The Russian president Vladimir Putin has insisted that no conscripts have been used in the Ukrainian invasion, despite the fact that prisoners taken by the Ukrainian armed forces were clearly conscripts. On Wednesday, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) finally admitted that conscripts have been involved in the fighting. 

However, they have claimed that they were sent by mistake and then withdrawn. Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov said, “Unfortunately, several facts of the presence of conscripts in the units of the Russian armed forces involved in the conduct of a special military operation on the territory of Ukraine were discovered.”

Just a day earlier Putin addressed a “Women’s Day” event in Russia and assured mothers and wives of troops that no conscripts had been sent into Ukraine. 

“I understand how you’re worrying for your beloved ones … I emphasize that conscript soldiers are not participating in hostilities and will not participate in them,” Putin said, according to Reuters. “And there will be no additional call-up of reservists.”

Konashenkov claimed Wednesday that Russian conscripts have been returned to Russia. “Almost all such servicemen have already been withdrawn to the territory of Russia,” he said, but that may have been in part because of how poorly the conscript troops performed and had been led. 

Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for, he has covered the NFL for for more than 10 years and his work was regularly featured in the

Written By

Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive's Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.