Vladimir Putin is 70 today. The best gift that Putin could give to the world would be his retirement, either in the usual or the intelligence agency meaning of that word. However, that seems unlikely. So we’ll just have to hope that this is the last birthday Putin ever celebrates in a position of power, and check to see what presents the Russian army has brought to him this day. If we all keep Putin in mind today, maybe we can achieve a Scanners moment.
In any case, here is Russia’s big birthday victory for Putin: In the town of Pisky, which Russia has been attacking daily for months, they have achieved a breakthrough, allowing Russian forces to advance … two blocks. It’s a big deal for Russia. Pisky is, after all, a whole 2 kilometers from the city of Donetsk, where they started on Feb. 24.
But even if the gain is both trivial and minuscule, it’s worth looking at what Russia is doing now as it hopes to advance into the next town, another kilometer up the same road.
Russia is moving into each village by destroying every single home in that village. That’s their strategy. There’s no indication that there are Ukrainian troops in these buildings. There’s no sign of any military vehicles in the streets or yards. They don’t even pretend that there are. Russia is just going block by block and converting every house to rubble. Which sort of explains why they’re making such slow progress.
Ukraine is working to defeat the Russian army. Russia is working to erase the Ukrainian nation.
Meanwhile, Russian claims about still holding Makiivka in Luhansk Oblast turn out to be a lie. Both the town and the critical road junction to the east are under Ukrainian control. And, as always, Ukrainian troops know there is only one sure way to keep their boots clean during mud season.
When it comes to what’s happening in Kherson and Luhansk, I don’t have enough new information to update the maps right now. Though Ukraine relaxed operational security for the essentially contact-free stroll across northern Kherson, now that they are engaged with Russian forces in a genuine fight to advance, that op sec has come down again hard. You can see that the areas we’re seeing in videos today (Podoly, Makiivka, and Hlushkivka) are locations where sources had reported their liberation at least two or three days ago. So long as the battle is being conducted at close range and Ukraine is working their way past Russian positions, don’t expect to get the kind of moment-by-moment update we had until the last three days.
Down at Bakhmut, Russia seems to have possibly made a more significant advance that the one at Pisky. Some announced directions of attack and shelling positions from each side make it seem as if Russia has occupied the town of Odradivka. Russia had claimed this location two days ago, but this was one of a string of over a dozen times they’ve made this claim. However, this time it may be true. I’ll add a map of the Bakhmut area when I get the next update together.
Russians kidnapped whole villages, starved them, and ate their dogs
Euromaidan Press reports that Russian occupation forces in the villages of Chernihiv kidnapped and held hostage hundreds of civilians, including children and infants. At one location, they locked almost 400 people into the basement of a school, held them there for nearly a month, and gave them so little food that children were on the brink of starvation. Locals interviewed confirmed that Russia practiced torture on some of those they held, including some horrifying graphic details of the actions Russia took in trying to force people into giving up the location of Ukrainian forces. There were other things they did which has to be high on any list of war crimes.
“It was horrible that the [grand]child was starving, and you couldn’t give [him anything],” Tamara recalls. “They ate our meat, cheese… They gave us galettes from their dry food bags and a spoon of paste. That was for the whole day.”
While the people in the basement were starving, Russian occupiers ate the villagers’ chickens, pigs, “and even dogs,” Tamara recalls.
Russians would rather eat dogs than their own military rations.
Sanna Marin gives the only correct answer
Elon Musk should take notes.
incredible scrap pile of Russian armor at Lyman
Oryx is crying over all the stuff he’s had to catalog in the last few days.
This is Podoly, southeast of Kupyansk, and we’ve know that Ukraine liberated it for several days now. Still, I like this picture.
Hlushkivka was pretty much the last location along the east bank of the Oskil River to be confirmed as liberated, connecting the forces that came down from Kupyansk with those working north from Lyman and Borova.
By now you’ve likely encountered this, but just in case you haven’t seen the solution…
Holy shit, the Kerch bridge connecting Crimea to Russia got hit.
That’s a first for this war. Let the speculation begin: Did Ukraine get ATACMS long-range missiles for their HIMARS launchers.