From Jamie Peipon: As the sham referenda continue in eastern Ukraine, russia’s air force has had another pretty miserable day. What you’re seeing in the picture above is the result of a russian Su-30 being shot out of the sky. And, as you can see here, the danger of falling out of the sky is only eclipsed by running into the ground at full speed. Today, Ukraine shot down 2 of these jets, plus a Su-25, a Su-34, an Mi-8 helicopter, 6 drones, and a cruise missile. The tab on those losses rings up to at least $90 million. That’s an awful lot for a country where the average salary is less than $1,000 per month and the total GDP is $1.5 trillion. To put that in perspective, the market cap of one US company (Apple) is 1.6 times the entire GDP of russia at $2.5 trillion. These losses for russia are just not sustainable.
I’ve never served in the military, but one thing I’ve learned over the past seven months is how important air superiority is. Ukraine is STILL doing shockingly well in this record. They’ve been effective in taking out so many russian planes that fly over their controlled territory. In addition, Ukraine has been running extremely effective SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) sorties all over Kherson in the south. There are reports that russian generals have said they should abandon Kherson and consolidate further south. However, it appears that putin has taken a more direct approach to commanding the armed forces and is not listening to them. This explains part of why there were reports about Ukraine being ready to take Kherson back a week ago. It would have looked that way until the Russians received orders from putin that they must stay. The area is still very active and it appears that Ukraine is acting wisely (as far as this armchair quarterback with no professional military expertise can tell) by just waiting for those soldiers to completely run out of supplies.
You may not know the name Mykhailo Dianov, but he was one of the more famous defenders of Mariupol’ at Azovstal’. You have likely seen his picture leaving the metallurgical plant with a long beard and a broken arm. He was one of the prisoners exchanged this week and is now a case study for what kind of medical attention russia provides for POWs. The answer, apparently, is no medical attention at all. There are new pictures circulating that show him to be severely malnourished and with a strangely deformed right arm. Apparently, the bone was never set and there is a compound fracture that’s never come back together inside his arm. His family set up a crowd funding initiative with the goal of raising 5 million Ukrainian Hryvni (about $13,400) to treat his arm. The support was so great, that the family had to end the campaign within 24 hours. In less than 24 hours, they raised 5 million UAH ($134,000) from donations that came in from all over the globe.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian armed forces seem poised for another significant gain in eastern Ukraine. There have been incremental gains with several small Ukrainian towns being liberated. Today, however, it seems that Ukrainian forces have made a push through russian lines and now surround the city of Lyman on three sides. Some russian sources are saying that the entire defense along the Luhansk oblast border could collapse. This next week will be interesting as Ukraine balances keeping their own forces supplied with the desire to take advantage of the fact that russia’s newly mobilized forces have not yet arrived.
“Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!”