Blyatskrieg

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Sat Aug 05, 2023 4:40 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2023 2:31 pm
I wonder if the Russians' report of nobody hurt is the same sort of nobody hurt as the Moskva. The Ukrainians are talking about a spectacular effect which could be seen from afar, which is rather what you would expect from a jet fuel tanker, though it's possible they just assume that. The Russians say minor damage to the engine room. If it was laden I'd expect something up toward the more catastrophic end of the scale.

I also wonder why it wasn't underway. Hanging around waiting for an escort?
There was a rather dramatic light on the horizon photograph that had everyone speculating about an attack on the bridge. On the other hand, as Jimbob's posted, there's pictures of a flooded engine room, which doesn't suggest explosive annihalation. Jet fuel's flammable, but it's not like petrol, it takes a bit to get it going. On the one hand, a thousand pounds of high explosive certainly qualifies as quite a bit, on the other hand a thousand pounds of high explosives can probably generate a dramatic light on the horizon photograph on its own, too.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by dyqik » Sat Aug 05, 2023 8:26 pm

EACLucifer wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2023 4:40 pm
Martin Y wrote:
Sat Aug 05, 2023 2:31 pm
I wonder if the Russians' report of nobody hurt is the same sort of nobody hurt as the Moskva. The Ukrainians are talking about a spectacular effect which could be seen from afar, which is rather what you would expect from a jet fuel tanker, though it's possible they just assume that. The Russians say minor damage to the engine room. If it was laden I'd expect something up toward the more catastrophic end of the scale.

I also wonder why it wasn't underway. Hanging around waiting for an escort?
There was a rather dramatic light on the horizon photograph that had everyone speculating about an attack on the bridge. On the other hand, as Jimbob's posted, there's pictures of a flooded engine room, which doesn't suggest explosive annihalation. Jet fuel's flammable, but it's not like petrol, it takes a bit to get it going. On the one hand, a thousand pounds of high explosive certainly qualifies as quite a bit, on the other hand a thousand pounds of high explosives can probably generate a dramatic light on the horizon photograph on its own, too.
And explosives can be pretty good at extinguishing fires as well.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Sun Aug 06, 2023 3:56 pm

[/img]]Bridge on the Arabat Spit route not looking happy at all

Image

Also reports of more hits against the Chongar bridge. If Chongar and the Arabat Spit bridges are out of action, the only other options to supply forces in occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are the Isthmus of Perekop through Armiansk, which is in GMLRS range of Ukrainian positions, or supply ships. Ukraine's naval drones are a real threat to those, though, with one such supply ship left badly listing and needing a tow into Novorossiysk the other day. The other approach is the land bridge through the Donbas, but it's a long way by truck, and there's no rail route, and most of the roads also go within GMLRS range of the front. This puts a lot of pressure on Russian logistics for a key area of the frontline.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Grumble » Sun Aug 06, 2023 9:29 pm

EACLucifer wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2023 3:56 pm
Bridge on the Arabat Spit route not looking happy at all

Image

Also reports of more hits against the Chongar bridge. If Chongar and the Arabat Spit bridges are out of action, the only other options to supply forces in occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are the Isthmus of Perekop through Armiansk, which is in GMLRS range of Ukrainian positions, or supply ships. Ukraine's naval drones are a real threat to those, though, with one such supply ship left badly listing and needing a tow into Novorossiysk the other day. The other approach is the land bridge through the Donbas, but it's a long way by truck, and there's no rail route, and most of the roads also go within GMLRS range of the front. This puts a lot of pressure on Russian logistics for a key area of the frontline.
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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by IvanV » Mon Aug 07, 2023 9:59 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2023 3:56 pm
[/img]]Bridge on the Arabat Spit route not looking happy at all

Image

Also reports of more hits against the Chongar bridge. If Chongar and the Arabat Spit bridges are out of action, the only other options to supply forces in occupied Kherson and Zaporizhzhia are the Isthmus of Perekop through Armiansk, which is in GMLRS range of Ukrainian positions, or supply ships. Ukraine's naval drones are a real threat to those, though, with one such supply ship left badly listing and needing a tow into Novorossiysk the other day. The other approach is the land bridge through the Donbas, but it's a long way by truck, and there's no rail route, and most of the roads also go within GMLRS range of the front. This puts a lot of pressure on Russian logistics for a key area of the frontline.
So while these things are annoying, I don't see that a seriously limiting reduction of supply routes has yet been achieved.

If stuff is coming via Rostov-na-Donu, as we are told much does, then the shorter truck route is through Donbas. Over the Kerch bridge is a long way round and the bridge is a problem. If it is coming from Novorossiysk/Krasnodar, then clearly it is much shorter via the Kerch bridge, but that is damaged, so did that option exist?

If you are supplying forces in western occupied areas, then you come within range at some point. So does it make much difference if you go via Armiansk, which looks like proper roads? Maybe you are even within range for a shorter distance or time that way, depending where you are going to. The Arabat spit is some back road anyway, I doubt it was very important.

If they are being supplied from Sevastopol or some other Crimean port rather than Rostov, then that has come by sea into port somewhere in the Crimea anyway, so has the vulnerability of anything going by sea in the Black Sea, like at Novorossiysk.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by FlammableFlower » Mon Aug 07, 2023 10:55 am

There are good reasons. Russia is very rail-reliant for supplies and the western, most direct, rail link is now within HIMARS range. All of these strikes add pressure to the system, meaning further strikes can have a bigger impact. It's death by a thousand cuts.

Second is the longer-term goal of retaking Crimea. These strikes reinforce an idea that Crimea isn't as defendable as Russia would like and with lots of Russian tourists still using Crimea it gives them something to take home and talk about.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Mon Aug 07, 2023 11:09 am

IvanV wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2023 9:59 am
So while these things are annoying, I don't see that a seriously limiting reduction of supply routes has yet been achieved.
That's because you are missing a key piece of the puzzle. The Russians don't want to be using trucks for long journeys at all. They want to be using railways. They don't have the truck capacity for long range supply by truck. Driving through the Donbas to Zaporizhzhia is a long run, meaning the amount of trucks needed per unit cargo per unit time, and the Russians are not very well blessed with cargo trucks.

When Russians were allowed to use their preferred method of logistics - rail with massive forward depots to allow massive quantities of ammunition to be distributed - without interference due to America needlessly holding back HIMARS and blocking other countries from sending related systems, the Russians were able to fire so many grad rockets they were able to clear minefields with them, slowly bulldozing their way through Popasna and Severodonetsk that way. Now Russians actually connected to the front line are panicking about their artillery losses and lack of counterbattery options.

Shelling levels by the Russians in the south are reported down, and that's going to be because of strikes on logistics and strikes on ammunition stores, as well as the significant counterbattery campaign against the artillery pieces themselves.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Woodchopper » Tue Aug 08, 2023 2:38 pm

That Ukraine would need to be on the offensive by late 2022 was already acknowledged in assessments as early as April of that year. The capability requirements for such operations were becoming apparent from July, and reports to Western capitals were articulating clear training, equipment and support needs from September. Despite the requirements being known and understood, the decision to provide this support was not taken until January 2023, with the implementation of these decisions still in the process of being carried out.

[…]

The massive consumption of ammunition from deficient NATO stockpiles was evident from June 2022. Across the board, assessments were clear that Western capitals needed to expand production of munitions and key spare parts like barrels. Here, however, the urgency felt in defence ministries has not been recognised across government. In the UK, for instance, while the Ministry of Defence has had the power to purchase materiel from the international market, sending UK money abroad and kicking the impending shortfall down the road, there has been little cross-government strategy on expanding production.

The UK has no barrel machine, for example. Setting one up could create skilled forging jobs, contributing to the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. But no such forward thinking has taken place. Now the lead time to rectify these deficiencies risks being shorter than the remaining available munition stocks. For all the UK’s boasting of its ‘Fusion Doctrine’ and cross-government working, the war in Ukraine has seen more interdepartmental feuding than collaboration across Whitehall.

It would be easy to blame these problems on politicians. Politicians always like to preserve decision-making space. But it is also the case that civil servants have given the illusion of choice long beyond the point at which decisions have to be made. Culturally, Western governments have spent decades writing long-term strategies and managing small-scale, short-term crises like terrorist attacks. It appears the institutional memory of how to cohere the operational level of war has atrophied. This malady is correctable, but only if we can acknowledge that there is a problem to be addressed.
https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/p ... ts-wanting

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Aug 09, 2023 9:02 am

Massive explosion at the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical plant a few dozen kilometres from Moscow.

Some reporting suggests that this plant is involved in making sighting systems for armoured vehicles, but I've not been able to confirm anything yet.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by IvanV » Wed Aug 09, 2023 9:16 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Tue Aug 08, 2023 2:38 pm
The UK has no barrel machine, for example. Setting one up could create skilled forging jobs, contributing to the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. But no such forward thinking has taken place. Now the lead time to rectify these deficiencies risks being shorter than the remaining available munition stocks. For all the UK’s boasting of its ‘Fusion Doctrine’ and cross-government working, the war in Ukraine has seen more interdepartmental feuding than collaboration across Whitehall.
About 30 years ago, while on secondment to the (former) Monopolies and Mergers Commission, I visited the Royal Ordnance Factory in Nottingham, then owned by British Aerospace, and saw gun barrels being forged. I don't know if they were putting on a show for us, but we saw them forging barrels for naval six inch guns while we were there, and saw them in various stages of manufacture. We were there because we were considering a proposed merger between BAe and VSEL. The relevance was that VSEL made artillery, as well as making nuclear submarines and other warships.

GEC were also trying to buy VSEL at that time, and we were investigating that too. Despite the MMC's recommendation that both mergers should be prevented, Heseltine let them proceed, resulting in a bidding war for VSEL between BAe and GEC. In the end, not many years later, all the defence interests of both GEC and VSEL ended up owned by BAe.

The Nottingham factory closed in 2001, and I guess that was when Britain stopped making gun barrels.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Martin Y » Wed Aug 09, 2023 10:05 am

EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2023 9:02 am
Massive explosion at the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical plant a few dozen kilometres from Moscow.

Some reporting suggests that this plant is involved in making sighting systems for armoured vehicles, but I've not been able to confirm anything yet.
I see the plant's just-updated Wikipedia page already had it on its list of "mystery fires" in Russia since the war began.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Aug 09, 2023 10:35 am

Martin Y wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2023 10:05 am
EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2023 9:02 am
Massive explosion at the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical plant a few dozen kilometres from Moscow.

Some reporting suggests that this plant is involved in making sighting systems for armoured vehicles, but I've not been able to confirm anything yet.
I see the plant's just-updated Wikipedia page already had it on its list of "mystery fires" in Russia since the war began.
The quality of a tank's optics are more important for its function on the battlefield than the potency of its gun, toughness of its armour or its speed over rough ground. A tank's a metal box - metal and ceramic for a modern one - without optics, the crew cannot see out, cannot fight. With good modern optics, they can see in the dark, see infantry and vehicles lit brightly by the heat they emit. Optics are really damn important. This is especially the case as Russia has thousands of hulls in storage. They may be able to make them drive - that's not very difficult with the simple engines of the older models - and even a T-55 or T-62 with good optics is exceptionally dangerous. Shutting down the supply of optics = shutting down the supply of functional tanks or radically degrading the quality of them. A plant making such optics is always going to be a priority target.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Martin Y » Wed Aug 09, 2023 10:41 am

Indeed, I recall from early in the war that one of the main reasons Russia couldn't easily reactivate thousands of its stored tanks was that valuable parts, such the optics, had simply been nicked over the years, and that older models were really only fit for use if retrofitted with more modern parts to give them a chance in night fighting.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Aug 09, 2023 3:01 pm

As well as apparently holding ground around the left pier of the destroyed Antonivsky Bridge and possibly even a bridgehead over the Konka river west of Oleshky, Ukrainian forces raided across the Dnipro further east around Kozachi Laheri causing considerable Russian panic, though what exactly happened is still very unclear.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Wed Aug 09, 2023 6:37 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2023 10:05 am
EACLucifer wrote:
Wed Aug 09, 2023 9:02 am
Massive explosion at the Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical plant a few dozen kilometres from Moscow.

Some reporting suggests that this plant is involved in making sighting systems for armoured vehicles, but I've not been able to confirm anything yet.
I see the plant's just-updated Wikipedia page already had it on its list of "mystery fires" in Russia since the war began.
A rundown of the relationship between the blast, Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical, and a firm that specialised in fireworks whose head has now been arrested

The fireworks firm was formed out of military companies in the 90s, and shells were found in the wreckage so it could be they retooled back into making ammunition, or it could be something weirder like reclaiming explosives from old shells. Either way, it's blown up now and spectacularly so. Also the fireworks firm is going through bankruptcy, and I'm pretty sure a number of the mystery fires are insurance jobs due to the sanctions hit state of the economy.

The thread says no secondaries, but I've seen other footage that did seem to have secondaries. Either way, the size of the blast suggests it was explosives stored on site, unless someone used a massive truck bomb, as it was too big for any known drone that can reach Moscow.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Fri Aug 11, 2023 10:23 am

Ukrainian troops have entered Robotyne, meaning they've also got through the first line of Russian defences, albeit in an area where the defences are roughly three lines deep. The summer offensive isn't making the kind of lightning progress the Second Kharkiv Offensive did, but it is making progress, with Ukrainian troops also entering Urozhaine somewhat further east.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Fri Aug 11, 2023 6:23 pm

Cross-Dnipro raiding continues upstream of Kherson, with Ukrainian special forces apparently operating relatively freely. No idea if it's a diversion, means of inflicting attrition or might be preparation for something bigger, but worth keeping an eye on

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Aug 11, 2023 6:49 pm

A first group of six Ukrainian pilots is not expected to complete training on the U.S.-made F-16 before next summer, senior Ukrainian government and military officials said, following a series of delays in the West’s instruction program for the sophisticated fighter jet.

[…]

Now, the Biden administration is for the first time signaling its willingness to conduct the F-16 training on American soil. A U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid, said Washington would be prepared to bring the aviators to the United States, where the Air Force trains some 400 F-16 pilots a year, if European capacity proves insufficient to meet Ukrainian demand.

[…]

U.S. officials describe a training effort, rather than hobbled by Western foot-dragging as Ukrainian officials charge, that is only slowly getting off the ground because of the complexities of standing up a new international initiative and the challenges Ukraine must face in identifying aviators with the right skills in the midst of an existential fight.

[…]

Just six pilots, about half a squadron, will go through the first round of training, according to two Ukrainian officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to address a sensitive matter. Two other pilots have been identified as reserve candidates.

Though the pilots are already fluent in English, the officials said, they must first attend four months of English lessons in Britain to learn terminology associated with the jets. That instruction will occur along with ground staff who may be less proficient in English because, according to Ukrainian officials, Denmark requested to train entire crews together rather than just the pilots first. Denmark’s ministry of defense declined to comment.

That pushes back the start of combat training, which is expected to take six months, to January, the Ukrainian officials said. A second group of about the same size would be ready six months after that, or roughly the end of next year.
“This is called dragging it out,” one Ukrainian official said. Both Ukrainian officials said they were reluctant to be too critical of their U.S. and European benefactors for fear of appearing ungrateful. The small number of pilots being trained at one time is because there aren’t enough trainers available in the participating European nations for a bigger group, they contend.

Though the pilots are already fluent in English, the officials said, they must first attend four months of English lessons in Britain to learn terminology associated with the jets. That instruction will occur along with ground staff who may be less proficient in English because, according to Ukrainian officials, Denmark requested to train entire crews together rather than just the pilots first. Denmark’s ministry of defense declined to comment.

That pushes back the start of combat training, which is expected to take six months, to January, the Ukrainian officials said. A second group of about the same size would be ready six months after that, or roughly the end of next year.
“This is called dragging it out,” one Ukrainian official said. Both Ukrainian officials said they were reluctant to be too critical of their U.S. and European benefactors for fear of appearing ungrateful. The small number of pilots being trained at one time is because there aren’t enough trainers available in the participating European nations for a bigger group, they contend.

“Additional specialized training will be provided to flight and ground personnel on the terminology required for the F-16 training,” Holubtsov said. “It was not possible to train pilots and other personnel in Ukraine in this terminology due to the lack of experience in working with such terminology.”

He said that because the selected pilots already have a high level of basic English, learning the additional terminology “will not take much time.”

[…]

The Danish Ministry of Defense declined to comment on how long the program would take, or respond to questions about potential delays. The Dutch government is working with Romania on setting up a training center in Romania, but U.S. officials said that will take time.

A spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Defense, Lt. Col. Mark van de Beek, said details were still being fleshed out. A key challenge, he said, is the shortage of F-16 trainers in Europe. The Netherlands, for instance, is in the process of transitioning to the more advanced F-35 and has switched the focus of its training away from F-16s.

“To train a fighter pilot you also need fighter pilots,” Van de Beek said. “That is expensive and a capability that smaller countries don’t have much anymore.” He stressed that training someone to fly an F-16 in combat is a complex task that must proceed step by step.

[…]

It now appears the Biden administration would commit to hosting training at Luke or other American facilities if, once the program is up and running, European nation’s training capacity cannot match the flow of Ukrainian pilots. “We’re willing to train Ukrainian pilots in the United States if needed and if the number of pilots surpasses what Europe is able to do,” the U.S. official said.

U.S. officials also said the administration has said it will move quickly to approve partner nations’ transfer of the jets to Ukraine once those deals are ready, as required under U.S. law.

The U.K, which does not fly F-16s, is planning to provide ground training and elementary flight training for Ukrainian pilots, laying the groundwork for the more specialized training spearheaded by the Dutch and Danish governments.

[…]

Like the United States, the British government sees the F-16s as part of a longer-term effort to develop Ukraine’s military might.

Though the combat training for Ukraine’s most experienced pilots is expected to take six months, Western allies have proposed a separate track for novices that would require more than two years of training, including English lessons.,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/20 ... ng-delays/

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Aug 12, 2023 6:34 pm

Article on deficiencies with NATO training: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/odr/uk ... -military/

tl;dr Ukrainians know far more about fighting Russia anyway, western training is inhibited by health and safety.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Sun Aug 13, 2023 6:58 am

Over the last few days there's been S-200s and - allegedly - drones sent against the Crimean Bridge. I don't think this is an attempt to destroy it, I think it might be an attempt to size up the air defences around it, especially with the S-200s conducted in broad daylight so things like tourist photographs will reveal air defence launching sites.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Sun Aug 13, 2023 10:55 am

Video has been released of Russians fleeing Urozhaine on foot after the battle for that settlement. I will not link it for obvious reasons, as they don't get clean away, but are hit with cluster-shells as they flee.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Aug 14, 2023 3:01 am

In an urgent appeal to allies, Oleksii Reznikov told the Guardian his soldiers were unearthing five mines for every square metre in places, laid by Russian troops to try to thwart Ukraine’s counteroffensive.


He said the vast minefields could be traversed, but that it was critically important that allies “expand and expedite” the training already being provided by some nations, including Britain.

The number of sappers in the Ukrainian armed forces was nowhere near enough to get through the complex Russian defences on the vast 600-mile (1,000km) front, with mine clearing units targeted with heavy fire.

Defence ministry officials in Kyiv suggested there was an opportunity for countries such as Japan that do not want to provide lethal aid to offer support in the form of mine clearing equipment and training.

[…]

Ukraine has five engineering battalions, divided into 200 brigades, which as of May, before the start of this year’s counteroffensive, were each 30 strong.

According to testimony from the front, the numbers of active mine clearers is now significantly lower. The killing of sappers and officers is said to be the most highly prized by the Russian forces.

One brigade active around Staromaiorske, a recently liberated village in the Donetsk region, said it was 30-strong on paper but that it had 13 men in reality, of whom only five were active as a result of injury. Two members of the unit lost limbs in the last fortnight.

[…]

At a meeting in July in Ramstein in Germany of the alliance of 54 countries supporting Ukraine, Lithuania, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark agreed train and equip Ukrainian mine clearing units. Other countries were invited to join.

Reznikov said the initiative had unlocked donations, but that more was desperately needed from a wider range of partners.

“At this stage of our de-occupation campaign we critically need more mine clearance equipment, from minesweeping trawls to Bangalore torpedoes,” he said.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/ ... e-minister

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by EACLucifer » Mon Aug 14, 2023 12:25 pm

Russian counter-attack against Ukrainian advances south of Bakhmut didn't go very well...

I wouldn't be surprised to see footage of drones finishing off those abandoned T-90Ms soon. Whether or not they are recovered by the Russians (unlikely, on past form), finished off by drones or recovered by the Ukrainians will tell us a lot about who is controlling that area.

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by jimbob » Wed Aug 16, 2023 5:09 pm

CNN has shown footage released by the Ukrainian SBU showing a surface drone attack on the Kerch bridge. The footage includes CCTV footage presumably from the Russians.

It exploded just as a train was passing

https://youtu.be/u7STLTtOEOM
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Blyatskrieg

Post by Woodchopper » Sat Aug 19, 2023 9:57 am


The head of the Security Service, Vasyl Malyuk, told how in October 2022, Ukrainians blew up the Crimean Bridge for the first time. In order to inconspicuously transport 21 tons of hexane to the bridge, the SBU employees wrapped the explosives with packing film. SBU employees specially selected such a thickness of the film that the scanners at the checkpoints would not notice the explosives.

In addition, the Security Service of Ukraine bypassed special Russian jammers on the Crimean bridge that confuse GPS coordinates.
https://x.com/noelreports/status/169279 ... 1zY-PW4R9w

If it was GPS activated then they got lucky with the train. But also possible that they don’t want to reveal how it was detonated.

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