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After more than two weeks of war, the Russian military grinds forward at a heavy cost (1 Viewer)

Rogue Valley

Lead or get out of the way
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Apr 18, 2013
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After more than two weeks of war, the Russian military grinds forward at a heavy cost


They don’t fully control the skies, despite possessing one of the world’s most advanced air forces. Their ground assault on the capital has been inching along for days, with a miles-long convoy marooned by supply problems. And all the while, they are taking heavy losses — both in personnel and equipment. Two weeks after Russian forces streamed into neighboring Ukraine following months of buildup, evidence is mounting that the invasion has not gone to plan — and that Russia’s much-vaunted military may not be the formidable force once feared. “The word I’m hearing from everybody in the government who is watching this is ‘surprising.’ My own word is ‘shocking,’” said Barry Pavel, a former top Pentagon official who is now senior vice president at the Atlantic Council. “It’s shocking how incompetent they are in the basics of joint military operations by an advanced country.” That doesn’t mean Russia won’t ultimately seize Kyiv and topple the Ukrainian government. And it doesn’t mean Ukraine won’t pay a horrific price in both military and civilian casualties, as it continues to do daily.

But the stumbling pace of Russia’s assault since President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine late last month — marked by apparent confusion among commanders plus viral images of downed Russian planes and tanks set alight — has reset expectations for how the conflict will unfold. While the invasion has turned into a bloody slog in the face of a fierce Ukrainian resistance, Russian forces have continued to make slow advances around multiple cities — particularly in the south, where several major cities appear in danger of falling in the coming days. Only one major city, Kherson, has so far been taken by the Russians. In the north, progress has been tougher to discern. Officials added that the large Russian column north of Kyiv had “made little progress in over a week and is suffering continued losses.” The Ukrainian military posted on Facebook on Wednesday that since the invasion began, the Russians had lost 12,000 people, 526 vehicles, 335 tanks, 123 artillery systems and 81 helicopters. If those numbers are accurate, the Russians have lost nearly 7 percent of the 190,000 troops they had arrayed at Ukraine’s border before the invasion began.

For the 1st time, the far western city of Lviv was struck by rockets. The mayor of Kyiv (3 million) says that well over half of the city population has evacuated and the rest have taken up arms. He said the city is a fortress and every street intersection has barricades and kill zones.

Probably most of you are unaware of this. Underneath the city of Odesa is the largest catacomb system in the world. There are 3 different levels which go down 200 feet below sea level. There are ~1,600 miles of tunnels. All of the limestone used in the early 19th century construction of many city structures came from below the city. It was used extensively during WWII by partisan fighters. About 50% has been explored and mapped. Only about 30% is open to the public. Today sometimes smugglers store their goods down there. I once went down with a friend/guide into a closed section and spent about 2 hours in the tunnels. It is pitch dark. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Odesa partisans used the catacombs to attack any Russian occupation forces above.

The mayor of Kyiv (3 million) says that well over half of the city population has evacuated and the rest have taken up arms.
If that is true, Russia might as well turn their military column around right now. How a military force measured in the tens of thousands is expected to take a city with thousands of professional soldiers and hundreds of thousands of armed civilians is beyond me.

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