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Reports: Ukrainian Military Now on Offense Against Russian Troops Outside Kiev – And Succeeding

AP Photo/Andrew Marienko

In the south, the Russians have been waging total war against Mariupol, savagely shelling anything and anyone that moves. They still haven't technically taken the city – read this horrific story – but they're determined to reduce it to a pile of rubble, then take control of a crucial land route between Crimea (which Russia stole in 2014) and the Donbas region, where the current invasion started. In the north, Belarus' government reportedly may be close to joining the fight alongside Russia's beleaguered troops, among whom morale is low, amid shockingly high casualty figures. That's the "good" news for Moscow. But quite a lot of bad news is piling up for the Kremlin. The Ukrainian military has launched a counter-offensive outside of Kyiv, going on offense, and it appears to be working. They've taken back ground from the Russians, and they're pushing for more. This was Tuesday


And this was yesterday, via CNN and NBC: 

Ukraine's counter-offensive, now under discussion for days, isn't just a PR-generating stunt or a quasi-feint designed to press Kyiv's information warfare advantage. It's real, and it's bearing some real fruit on the battlefield. Outside the nation's capital, the invading force isn't advancing right now; it's being repelled and pushed back. Among the thousands of Russians who've been killed so far, at least five of them have been generals (along with other high-ranking officers). Russian tanks are sitting ducks and death traps. A Putin aide has publicly come out against the war, fleeing the country. Other major figures within Putin's regime have reportedly attempted to resign, or have seemingly disappeared. Retired Russian military and intel officials have reportedly started grumbling: 

Igor Girkin, a former colonel in Russia’s F.S.B. intelligence agency and the former “defense minister” of Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, said in a video interview posted online on Monday that Russia had made a “catastrophically incorrect assessment” of Ukraine’s forces. “The enemy was underestimated in every aspect,” Mr. Girkin said…“We can definitively say that nothing is going to plan,” countered Pavel Luzin, a Russian military analyst. “It has been decades since the Soviet and Russian armies have seen such great losses in such a short period of time.”…The failures in Ukraine have started to create fissures within Russian leadership, according to Andrei Soldatov, an author and expert on Russia’s military and security services. The top Russian intelligence official in charge of overseeing the recruitment of spies and diversionary operations in Ukraine has been put under house arrest along with his deputy, Mr. Soldatov said. Even Russia’s defense minister, Sergei K. Shoigu, who vacations with Mr. Putin and has been spoken of as a potential presidential successor, has suffered a loss of standing

"If retired Russian officers are embarrassed about the war and laying blame at his feet, it’s a safe bet that Putin’s current deputies are quietly doing so too," Allahpundit reasons. And why wouldn't they be embarrassed? This has been a rolling humiliation for Russia: 

Russian troops in Ukraine have been suffering from frostbite because of a lack of cold-weather equipment, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. A Pentagon official told reporters on Tuesday morning that the U.S. had received evidence of frostbite among the Russian servicemen, who lacked appropriate gear. "Even in terms of personal equipment for some of their troops, they're having trouble and we've picked up indications that some troops have suffered and [have been] taken out of the fight because of frostbite," the senior official said. Russian troops have faced unexpectedly cold temperatures in Ukraine, which on occasion have dipped below freezing point....Russian troops, the Pentagon official added, are also food shortages and logistics challenges...the Pentagon assessed that Russia has lost ten percent of its fighting force in Ukraine, while U.S. estimates released last week stated that between 6,000 and 7,000 soldiers had been killed since the beginning of the invasion. An even higher number of casualties was suggested on Monday when newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda put Russia's death toll in Ukraine at almost 10,000. The information was later deleted from the newspaper's website

The fact that conversations like this are evidently being intercepted and broadcast to the world is a major blow to Moscow unto itself, but the contents of the conversations are even more devastating: 


The Ukrainians are now estimating that large swaths of invading Russian forces only have a few days' worth of supplies remaining (food, fuel, ammo), amid resupply chain failures. Some of this may be propaganda, but not all of it. The interceptions seem to be increasingly commonplace, and at high levels. Putin is said to be furious about the leaks and resulting loss of face. And this would be a stunning development: 

Context from AP at Hot Air: 

"I cannot begin to tell you how big a loss this thing is for the Russians," an astonished Trent Telenko tweeted afterward. According to The Drive, the Krasukha-4 is one of Russia’s most capable electronic warfare systems, something the west is dying to scrutinize. The container above is only one half of a standard system, apparently, but it’s worth its weight in gold to foreign intelligence. It’s a highly sophisticated radar-jammer, disguising Russian positions from enemy surveillance aircraft...Russia hadn’t used electronic warfare much in Ukraine so far, The Drive notes, which may have been due to Moscow not wanting to risk having the Krasukha fall into enemy hands. Oops.

It looks like this story is real, and that the captured treasure trove is on its way to the United States for full examination. Another big gut punch for Putin. But before anyone gets too triumphalist about Ukraine's successes and Russia's failures, I'll leave you with this very sobering thought from a foreign correspondent and Russia expert. His theory is that the worse things get for Putin, the greater the likelihood that he entertains the use of WMDs: 

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