25 February 2022

Latest from the Russian invasion of Ukraine (updated)

The best news source I've found on the war is the live update page on Kyiv Independent.  It reports on specifics of events from different parts of Ukraine, with details where known, with no distracting blather about Western domestic politics or Western leaders making empty speeches.

The UK Ministry of Defense assesses that Russian forces are not yet achieving their objectives, due to fierce resistance all over Ukraine.  It estimates that Russia has lost about 450 soldiers so far (Ukraine is claiming 800, vs losses of 137 military and civilians on the Ukrainian side).

A few Russian units have reportedly entered at least one district of Kyiv.  Kyiv is a fairly large city (population three million), so a small number of enemy troops does not, in itself, mean the capital is in imminent danger of capture.  It is, however, under ongoing missile bombardment.

Ukrainian intelligence says that Russia's immediate goal is to capture as many top members of the Ukrainian government as possible and force them to sign a peace on Russia's terms, either agreeing to a partition of the country or forming a kind of Vichy puppet state which would accept Russian domination.

There are reports of Russian forces shelling hospitals, which is odd since this would serve no obvious military purpose.  Perhaps they are getting angry over stiffer-than-expected resistance.

After Kyiv, the largest cities in Ukraine are Kharkiv, just thirty miles from the Russian border, and Odesa on the Black Sea coast.  Intense fighting has been going on around both.

Thousands of Russians turned out to protest against the invasion in dozens of cities across Russia; 1,700 were arrested.

President Macron of France has promised €300 million in military aid for Ukraine.

Updates:  The US agrees with the UK's assessment that Russian forces are meeting greater resistance than they expected.

France has declared its support for cutting off Russia from the SWIFT system.

Here's a video report on the experiences of Ukrainian civilians:

Putin's work!

Ukraine strikes back into Russia itself, with a missile attack on a military base ten miles on the Russian side of the border.

[Image at top:  one of several Russian tanks destroyed near Kharkiv]


Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

It is going to be bad.
I also read that Vlad was pissed off because he was not expecting for his moves to be publicly discussed in America. Ukraine is putting up a fight and he does not like that. I hope the Ruble drops underground. Something that will not affect the Russian oligarchs (or Vlad), who have all their money in the... West. But it'll hopefully wake up the Russian on the street.
BTW, did you see the anti-war protests? In Russia? I never thought I'd live to see that. Bet Vlad already sent people to their houses with some tea...


25 February, 2022 04:17  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Yes, there's a link in the post about the protests in Russia. That took guts. 1,700 arrested so far.

The Russian stock market and ruble crashed pretty badly right after the start of the invasion. And like I said before, if Putin and the oligarchs have most of their money in the West, we need to find it and freeze it.

25 February, 2022 05:17  
Blogger Rad said...

Good morning,

I am new to your blog. Good summary of information!

My absolute fear right now is that Putin has taken control of Chernobyl. This is not some James Bond villain slated to die in the last act - this is real. Why do I feel this is his leverage against NATO, where his true evil is going to surface ; "Pull our or I will detonate the site and contaminate Europe!". And like all good Authoritarians, he doesn't give a crap about his or any people in harms way.

25 February, 2022 06:44  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rad: Thanks, and welcome to the blog!

I'm not too worried about Putin pulling something like that with Chernobyl. Recall that during the original meltdown, most of the radiation damage hit Belarus -- which is now a Russian satellite state. There was little or no actual harm done beyond Belarus and Ukraine. Putin has no reason to want to re-contaminate Belarus.

The actual area that would suffer from some kind of large radiation release from Chernobyl would depend mainly on the wind direction. It might be mainly in Belarus again, or it might be mainly in Ukraine (which Putin hopes to incorporate into his empire), or even some of the territory of Russia itself, which begins not far to the east of Chernobyl. There would be relatively little impact in any NATO country, except possibly eastern Poland.

So I don't see it as being in Putin's interest to do such a thing. That doesn't mean there's nothing to worry about, of course. If artillery or missiles are still in use in the area, the containment could be breached accidentally by a stray hit.

25 February, 2022 07:20  
Blogger riverrider said...

sorry, that is a ukrainian tank. they use old soviet equipment. that one left russian arsenals years ago.

25 February, 2022 08:03  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

I very much appreciate your level-headedness and the links you provide. Thank you.

25 February, 2022 09:54  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Riverrider: The news site where I found that picture said it was Russian. At any rate, all reports seem to agree that several Russian tanks were destroyed there. From what I hear, Russia is also using a lot of obsolete and decrepit equipment.

Ricko: Thanks. Obviously early reports from a war zone will include some unreliable information, but I'm doing the best I can to focus on what's verifiable or at least plausible.

25 February, 2022 10:18  
Anonymous Annie said...

Thanks for all this information, Infidel—heartbreaking though it is. I watched as much of the coverage as I could bear.

Many commentators share Anne Applebaum’s view that Putin may have underestimated the Ukrainians and overestimated his ability to reshape the West as he chooses. I think she’s wrong, though, that he is ignorant of Ukrainian history: it’s just more convenient to ignore it and pursue his distorted plans.

The fact that so many Russian people demonstrated in 54 cities—after being warned they’d be considered terrorists—is amazing and encouraging. The NY Times reported that they went to bed thinking he was a calm, deliberate leader, and many are astonished that he declared war on a country where they have close ties, including relatives. There is understandable fear and shock there.

You somewhat allayed my concerns about Chernobyl; it just seems so diabolical that he could have even thought of attacking the area.

I just hope NATO can hang firm while the Ukrainians—either now or as insurgents—do what they can. I read that Italy already requested an exception for luxury items in SWIFT. It will be difficult to inflict pain on the oligarchs when leaders must balance the inevitable pain on their own economies and people.

25 February, 2022 13:11  
Blogger jenny_o said...

Thanks for the update and the links, which help a great deal to round out my usual news sources.

25 February, 2022 19:48  
Blogger Mike said...

"Russian forces shelling hospitals"
So Putin says, "Hey, what can we do that will piss off the rest of the world and get all the world's military forces into Ukraine? Let's bomb hospitals! Yeah, that ought to do it!"

25 February, 2022 21:23  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Annie: Thanks. It's important to face the reality of the situation, even though that reality is horrific.

Dictators always seem to underestimate the resolve of democracies. Hitler did. The Japanese military regime in World War II did. The Soviet regime did. Putin apparently did. I suspect the same is true of Xi Jinping.

The courage of the Russian people standing up to Putin is amazing. It's the most hopeful development so far.

I don't think Putin actually cares that much about Chernobyl. But the main invasion route towards Kyiv is along the Dniepr river from Belarus, and Chernobyl was on the way.

The economic sanctions increasingly seem just irrelevant. I'm glad the emphasis is shifting back to providing more weapons for Ukraine.

Jenny_o: Glad to help. Mainstream news sources sometimes have good information, but they're maddeningly preoccupied with Western politicians making speeches and holding meetings, which has no impact on the situation on the ground.

Mike: It's not clear whether Putin told them to do that (assuming the reports are true). But it's bizarre behavior because it serves no apparent purpose and will just encourage stiffer resistance.

26 February, 2022 00:35  
Blogger Bruce.desertrat said...

Krgthulho thinks we can definitely put the hurt on Putin and the Oligarchs, but it will take the courage to stand up to our own:


Properly dealing with the gargantuan issue of tax avoidance by the 0.01% would provide huge benefits for the rest of us worldwide, but it will directly harm a whole lot of very powerful people.

26 February, 2022 08:23  
Blogger Bruce.desertrat said...


As we saw in the Russian intervention in Syria, it's pretty apparent that Putin and the Russian military command simply doesn't care what the rest of the world thinks about them; only that the rest of the world fears them. (which was the point of the "exercises" with their nuclear forces..a reminder that Putin's perfectly willing to play nuclear chicken with the West.)

26 February, 2022 08:28  
Blogger NickM said...

That is true but where Putin makes an epic mistake is equating his lack of caring what everyone else thinks with the idea that that means it doesn't matter because it does matter. Joining the "Everyone hates us - we don't care club*!" is a bad move for Russia. Friendly relations with other nations are almost invariably more valuable than being able to monster your weaker neighbours. If the C20th taught us anything (which clearly it didn't in Mr Putin's case) it was that.

*AGM in Pyongyang.

26 February, 2022 09:53  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

everyone hop over to blogfodder and give Allan some love.

26 February, 2022 14:43  

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