Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the eastern part of the country has been very successful so far. They have retaken about 3,000 square kilometers of territory from Russian forces.
The operation, so far excellent and aided by U.S. intelligence, bears all the hallmarks of a U.S. Special Operations Command deception operation, according to a former U.S. official.
Evelyn Farkas, the top Pentagon official for Ukraine and Russia during the Obama years, said, “These guys have been trained for eight years by Special Ops. They’ve been taught about irregular warfare. They’ve been taught by our intelligence operators about deception and psychological operations.”
Russian Bloggers Turn on the Government
In their headlong retreat out of the Izium region, Russian forces, in danger of being encircled and chopped up piecemeal, retreated in chaos. In doing so, they left behind a lot of armor, armored vehicles, weapons, equipment, and ammunition.
It is too early to predict how this will play out. For now, we can say the Russian military has suffered a huge setback – significant enough that they had to admit their forces are retreating. Even the most well-known pro-Russian bloggers, who always paint the picture of a “glass completely full,” have had to change their tune.
Igor Strelkov, the former head of the Donetsk People’s Republic militia, has become critical of the Russian invasion, especially “the exceptional caution of the actions of Russian aviation.”
Ramzan Kadyrov, the iron-fisted leader of Chechnya, called out the Russian army’s leadership after the disastrous events of the past two days. Kadyrov, a Vladimir Putin puppet, said that the Russian president might not know the real state of affairs.
“They have made mistakes, and I think they will draw the necessary conclusions,” Kadyrov said in a message posted to his Telegram channel on Sunday.
“If today or tomorrow no changes in strategy are made, I will be forced to speak with the leadership of the defense ministry and the leadership of the country to explain the real situation on the ground to them,” said Kadyrov, whose military expertise consists of terrorizing civilians behind the lines. “It’s a very interesting situation. It’s astounding, I would say,”
In the West, Ukraine’s blitzkrieg offensive has muted Germany’s reluctance to provide Kyiv with more advanced and plentiful weaponry. Berlin has taken the stance that by giving Ukraine these weapons, it would only prolong a war that Russia is bound to win.
“In this new phase of the war, Ukraine needs weapons that will enable it to liberate territories occupied by Russia and keep them permanently under its control,” Michael Roth, the foreign affairs committee chairman of the Social Democrats, the party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz, told the Funke media group.
Russia Withdrawing and Resetting
The Russians are trying to quickly consolidate their lines and possibly take advantage of Ukrainian lines that are now stretched thin. The UK Ministry of Defense, in its daily intelligence assessment, posted on Twitter, “The rapid Ukrainian successes have significant implications for Russia’s overall operational design. The majority of the force in Ukraine is highly likely being forced to prioritize emergency defensive actions.”
The Ministry added: “The already limited trust deployed troops have in Russia’s senior military leadership is likely to deteriorate further. Isolated pockets of resistance remain in this sector, but since Wednesday, Ukraine has recaptured territory at least twice the size of Greater London.”
Resistance Grows in Kherson
With dual offensives ongoing, Ukrainian civilian resistance in Kherson, in the south, continues to grow. People are pushing back against Russian attempts to force a sham referendum on joining Russia. There have been bombings, assassinations, and other means of resistance among a population eager for liberation.
The Russians have had to divert some of their combat forces to occupation duty. They have been driving around the city, destroying garages and raiding apartments in search of Ukrainian partisans.
They’ve posted on television, offering about $165 to anyone ratting out partisans. Trying to win the minds of the young, they have opened schools that teach a Russian curriculum. They have threatened Ukrainian parents, telling them that anyone who doesn’t enroll their children in school risks having their children taken away.
Expert Biography: Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. A proven military analyst, he served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.