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There has been an intensification of activity on the battlefields in the last 48 to to 72 hours. A good source on this is Simplicius the Thinker substack site - see below.
My overall impression is that the intensity of the current waves of Russian missile and drone attacks is such as to suggest an attempt by Russia to persuade Ukraine once and for all that whatever Ukraine puts forward Russia can match X 10. Were this message to actually get through, and if Ukraine was a sovereign agent (i.e. not a Washington pawn) Ukraine would withdraw its plans for a counter-offensive and seek a negotiated settlement prior to Russia’s implementation and its clear capability of and preparations for, a massive offensive of its own could which would take it to the Dnieper, probably enfolding Odessa, and poised to go further south to the Polish border as necessary.
What follows is my summary of the main points from Simplicius the Thinker’s post yesterday, May 29th.
The intensity of Russian missile and drone attacks suggests to some that Russia is tapping into some new source of supply or technology, perhaps Geran-2 drones. Russian Shaheed drones are believed to be controllable by satellite. Each has its GPS-equivalent navigation. They can fly in swarms at low altitudes and are difficult for Ukraine to counter.
One huge explosion over Kiev is said to have registered as a magnitude 3.4 on the Richter scale. This could have been the product of the destruction of a large underground arsenal. Despite Ukrainian claims to be destroying most of the incoming projectiles (Kiev imposes punitive restrictions on anyone who takes and shares images of incoming missiles), there is evidence of widespread damage (even Kiev mayor Klitschko admits as much), principally to military targets and transport hubs.
Either because some drones fly off course after being intercepted or because they and their intercepting missiles break up on impact, debris and other materials fall to ground and can cause harm to residential properties and to civilians. There were reports that Russian missiles obliterated an airport in Khmelnitsky region, where the five Su-24s which were outfitted with British Storm Shadows were housed. One “hospital” hit in Dnipropetrovsk is said to have been a staging area for the Ukrainian army. The scale of the attacks has been so broad as to involve Russian Tu-95 bombers flying in from as far away as Murmansk.
The relative ease of penetration is a further indication that the Patriot missile system recently installed near Kiev has been damaged or destroyed and that perhaps whatever was left of it was destroyed in the past 24 hours. The Patriot is a relatively static technology which local informants and satellite can quickly identify and target. The missiles are also expensive and Ukraine is reported to have already fired off 40% of annual production of the missiles by the USA. Simplicius cites sources that invite doubt as to whether the Patriot has ever even shot down anything. Meanwhile Ukraine’s Mayraktar TB2 drones, once hailed as saviors for Ukraine appear to have been all shot down by Russia. Turkey has ceased deliveries. Simplicius cites a leak that reportedly shows that an unprecedented amount of the Stryker units supplied to Ukraine by the U.S. are defunct. The source says that 76% of Strykers cannot fully participate in combat operations. Strykers have a large number of malfunctions in electronics and chassis. These are only some of the problems that are reported to afflict Ukrainian equipment.
Perhaps as retaliation and distraction, and although it does not claim responsibility, Ukraine has fired off some 32 drones against Moscow, most of which Moscow says it shot down. This has received major attention in the western mainstream media who exaggerate its military significance, while the much greater damage inflicted on Ukrainian facilities by Russia’s barrage is typically underreported and its significance diminished. The Ukrainian military has also intensified firing along many points of the front lines, involving among other things the deployment of British-supplied air-to-ground Storm Shadow missiles (especially against positions or targets in Mariupol and Berdiansk), of which Russian defense minister Shoigu says Russia has now downed 29 since these missiles were first delivered three weeks ago.
Simplicius the Thinker continues, noting that Ukraine is ticking off all the boxes of its pre-counteroffensive preparations, including (and here I quote directly):
“Large increase in hybrid/asymmetrical attacks on civilians, government leadership in Donbass, infrastructure, etc.
Multiple large attempted incursions into Russia proper as a final disorienting feint to ‘shape the field’ and throw Russia off-balance
Huge uptick in Ukrainian artillery, drone, and missile strikes all across the front, into Russian territory (large strikes into Shebekino, Belgorod region, for instance), and rear areas. This implies that AFU was given the command to begin increasing their daily shell allotments from previous conservational levels during stockpile period
Pronounced increase in pysops of all kinds, fakes, and attempts to disorient and distort the information field
Russia’s own huge uptick in strikes, which we always said would come as precursor to any offensive, as Russia would begin hitting final staging areas
Actual unambiguous announcements from numerous Ukrainian and Western figures that the offensive is nigh. This includes yesterday’s visit of ground forces commander General Syrsky to the frontlines, to give a ‘pre-offensive speech’”
Ukraine appears to be preparing false flag attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant that it wishes to be attributed to Russia. In addition, Ukraine is reported by Rybar to have almost completed preparations for its southern offensive against the land-bridge to Crimea. Ukrainian forces are said to be planning to attack Orekhovsky, Pologovsky and Gulyai-Pole. In addition, a special raid will act as a breakthrough force, bypassing major population centers to break through to the rears of Russian defenses.
In the meantime, Russia’s missile production capacity is expanding fast, as is its surveillance and electronic war capabilities, and its preparation for ground-attack air units. Its strikes are devastating Ukrainian reserves.
These considerations could yet lead to a delay or complete postponement of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. On the other hand, the longer it is postponed the more force Russian can bring to bear, so that pressure on Ukraine to launch right away is intense.
Germany’s foreign minister anticipates that the upcoming offensive will be ‘the largest land battle in Europe since the 1940s.
There is intense debate as to whether Ukraine will get all the F16s (the latest “wonder weapon” supposed game-changer) that it believes that it needs, in time, and as to whether these fighter jets will make that much difference anyway, particularly given that they have inferior radar and shorter range missiles compared to most modern Russian jets and air defenses. Further, Russian IRBIS-E and Zaslon-M radars on the Su-35s and Mig-31s are said to be more powerful and have higher detection and tracking ranges.
Russia, meanwhile, is being urged by Prigozhin to launch a colossal offensive on Kramatorsk, Slavyansk, Druzhkovka, Konstantinovka, Chasov Yar, that is, the “Donbas ring”. He claims that since march 2022, Wagner alone destroyed over 72 thousand Ukrainian soldiers, captured a little more than five hundred, and took out 309 tanks, 566 BMP, 131 BTR, 1134 armored vehicles, 2075 cars, 3155 mortars and guns, 300 ATGM/LNG, 124 SAU, 83 MLRS, 45 air defense systems, 282 UAV, 5 aircraft, 4 helicopters and 149 EW/radar systems.