From Jamie Peipon: There have been several interesting developments today within Ukraine; some bizarre, some unexpected, some difficult to verify. One bit that is easy to verify comes right from the Pentagon. A DoD official has said that on a scale from zero to ten, he would rate the effectiveness of Ukraine’s armed forces a twelve “just based on how impressive they’ve been to us in so many different ways. … They have found ways to do things that we might not have thought were possible.” Anyone who has spent time in Ukraine knows that Ukrainians in many areas are often under resourced, yet are still creative enough to come up with elegant solutions for difficult problems. This has been their modus operandi by necessity at least since they became independent after the fall of the Soviet Union. It seems like a remarkable skill to the Pentagon (and it is), but there is a sense in which this kind of problem solving is something they’ve been training for for decades.
In a bizarre twist, Russia apparently arrested one of their own former FSB agents in Crimea. Igor Girkin is a warlord who has been a major player in eastern Ukraine since 2014. He was a key participant in the invasion. He is also accused of downing the flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. Recently, he has started speaking negatively in public about Putin and his mishandling of the war. Girkin shaved off his signature moustache (so as not to be recognized) and left for Crimea where he intended to join the fighting forces when he was arrested. It is an interesting twist that Russia cannot find enough people to fight, and ones that are more than willing are being arrested.
Another report has come in about Kherson. Ukraine has successfully taken out all the bridges leading in and out of the city, making it very difficult for Russia to supply their troops with needed supplies. In spite of that, many reports have also said that Russian forces have been digging in and will attempt to mount a defense. Vitaliy Kim, the governor of the Mykolaiv Oblast, said today that the Russian army command has been making their way across the river out of Kherson. This would be a significant change and a major victory if true.
Lastly for today, there has been talk all week about Russia’s activity in and around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant which is located in Enerhodar, Ukraine. Russia has seized control of it and has threatened to disconnect it from Ukraine’s grid and tie it into their own. They’ve also claimed that they’ve mined it in case so that they can destroy it if Ukraine takes it back. Some of that could be empty threats, but there is no doubt that Russia is using it for cover and is firing at Ukrainians from the plant’s shadow. This is particularly frustrating to witness in light of Amnesty International’s inexplicable article accusing Ukraine of endangering its own people because their equipment is often seen near civilian locations (which, of course, Ukrainian armed forces are working to defend). Russia has not only used the plant for protection, but has also used it for blackmail. None of that is good and things could change, but at this point the International Atomic Energy Agency says that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety.
“You have seen, O LORD; be not silent!
O Lord, be not far from me!
Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication,
for my cause, my God and my Lord!”