11/20/2022 – War update and commentary: Looting in retreat

From Jamie Peipon: In the picture you can see a current picture of a museum in Kherson. As russian troops were forced to retreat from the city, they looted all that they could carry. You can see that this, and all the other rooms in this museum, have been completely emptied. This is not just basic thievery (although they are absolutely doing that too… russian soldiers also have a nasty habit of robbing banks as they flee). Robbing museums is another way in which russia is trying to erase Ukrainian culture. Stolen artifacts are either destroyed, or taken to russian museums where they “magically” represent russian history instead of Ukrainian history.

It isn’t just Ukrainian museums that russia has been emptying. Since the beginning of September, the number of prisoners in russia’s correctional facilities has decreased by 23,000. The explanation for this, of course, is that they are being “freed” so that they can go fight in Ukraine. It seems likely that these undertrained men are being sent mostly to the Bakhmut front in Ukraine’s eastern territory. There have been countless videos released over the past several days showing the countryside around Bakhmut littered with the bodies of russian soldiers. Many have reported that the amount of time between being mobilized in russia and being killed in Ukraine is sometimes as short as two weeks.

As the front line in the south moved up to the Dnipro River, Ukraine has obviously moved up their artillery. There have been long-range artillery strikes as far south as in northern Crimea. Over the past four days, Ukrainian forces have hit at least 11 russian ammunition dumps. This bodes well for Ukraine as there are less and less corners of occupied territory in which russia can stash their supplies outside of Ukraine’s reach. Every major counteroffensive that Ukraine has launched began with attacking ammunition depots (Kherson and the eastern front) and/or supply lines (Kyiv and Chernihiv regions).

The US is continuing to be creative in how they can support Ukraine. Initially, the US declined sending Ukraine their Gray Eagle unmanned combat drones. Now, there are reports that it might be possible to remove elements containing classified technology and then send them to Ukraine. This would open up significant new targeting opportunities for Ukraine. These combat drones can fly up to 400 km which is less than the distance from Odesa to the southern-most point of Crimea. They can also carry 4 Hellfire Missiles (which generally are used for targeting armor and high-value targets) and they can fly for up to 30 hours.

The last bit of major news today is that the UK’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a surprise visit to Kyiv today. This is a welcome sight to Ukrainians who may have wondered about how supportive the new PM would be compared to the major support they received from Boris Johnson before his resignation. In Ukraine, Mr. Sunak promised new anti-aircraft equipment along with other support.

“In God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”

One response to “11/20/2022 – War update and commentary: Looting in retreat”

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