ADMIN: Jamie Peipon has contributed to VOU previously. He is on staff at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, MS, as the assistant minister of music and worship. Having formerly lived in Kyiv where he met his wife, Dasha, Jamie has also served as a volunteer with the MTW Ukraine Crisis Team in Kraków, Poland.
From Jamie Peipon: Day 154 – The picture above is one of the most significant targets of the HIMARS to date. This is the surface of the Antonivskyy bridge in the city of Kherson. I don’t know what the technical engineering guidelines are, but I think that if you can see the water through the road surface of a bridge, you’re probably ought not to be driving heavy machinery over it. This bridge has been a main supply route for Russia into the city and they are no longer able to use it. Many analysts saw the destruction of the bridge as a significant prerequisite for a successful counterattack by Ukrainian forces in the area. Supply and/or retreat routes just got longer for Russia and there are other reports of Ukrainian forces establishing a beachhead across the Inhulets river which is a tributary of the Dnipro river that runs straight through Kherson. British intelligence is also confirming that they believe the counteroffensive to be gaining momentum. Several weeks ago, a large concern was that Ukraine would overextend themselves in a counterattack in the same way that Russia did during their initial assault on Ukraine beginning on February 24th. It seems like they are making sure that they give themselves every chance for victory by wisely pacing themselves in order to match the tempo of their supply lines.
Russia’s celebrated wartime activities, as usual, are far more disturbing. A video was uploaded to Russian social media channels today featuring Russian soldiers castrating a Ukrainian prisoner of war. Of course, it is a war crime. Of course, as an intentional act of sterilization, it is ever further proof that this war is an act of genocide. Of course, it is yet another demonstration of the fact that this war isn’t the work of one crazy “gremlin in the Kremlin,” but it is perpetuated in all of its brutality by Russians en masse. And… it isn’t just “a couple bad actors” in their armed forces as you can observe the many comments on social media from regular Russian subjects praising the disgusting act.
Earlier this week I wrote about the number of Russian casualties eclipsing the 40,000 mark according to the Ukrainian count and mentioned that US estimated it closer to 15,000-25,000 casualties. Interestingly, Congressswoman Elissa Slotkin, who had just come out of a classified briefing with officials from the Biden administration, told CNN, “We were briefed that over 75,000 Russians have either been killed or wounded [in Ukraine], which is huge…over 80% of their land forces are bogged down, and they’re tired.” This is pretty stunning number considering the tendency to downplay these numbers that we’ve usually seen. In addition, she also mentioned that there is bipartisan support for sending the longer-range ATACMS ammo for the HIMARS equipment to Ukraine. Considering that our parties don’t tend to agree on much, that it is also pretty interesting. It seems like sending those ATACMS is now a judgment call that is left to the administration of the president.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced earlier this week that he was planning a meeting with Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov to discuss a prisoner exchange. If I may give you my own opinion, Lavrov probably only trails Putin as the most obnoxious person in Russia that we regularly hear from by necessity. Instead of confirming his agreement to those talks today, Lavrov instead said that he is very busy “with a schedule full of real things” and that he may agree to talk when he has more time.
“O LORD, let me not be put to shame,
for I call upon you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
let them go silently to Sheol.
Let the lying lips be mute,
which speak insolently against the righteous
in pride and contempt.”