First, the biggest news of the day: the city of Izium fell to the Russian forces. Here is a map with Izium (Изюм) on the top and then two sets of arrows: the red ones show how the operational cauldron in the east of the Ukraine can be locked along the Lozovaia-Pavlograd while the black one shows the same option, but much closer to the surrounded Ukronazi forces along an Izium-Pokrovsk axis.
Which of the two happens first does not matter because the outcome is the same: Izium was the linchpin of the entire Ukie disposition and the last city to create not just a free fire zone in the slowly shrinking bottleneck for the Ukies to escape, but also the city which was defended by the best Ukrainian forces (the 81st UAF brigade).
Boris Rozhin (from whom I took the 2nd map) had this to say about what this means:
In the evening, reports came that our forces kicked the AFU out of Izyum (although there are reports that there is still some resistance in the southern districts of the city), where a part of the 81st brigade of the AFU defended in the city, which retreated from the city and is now covering it with artillery and mortars. The positions of the AFU were actively covered by aviation. Izyum is of decisive importance for the entire northern part of the AFU grouping in the Donbas. The highway has been cut (now with ends) Kharkiv-Izyum. Control over Izyum creates prerequisites for an offensive towards Slavyansk from the northwest. In addition, controlling Izyum, there are opportunities to attack Pavlograd and Barvenkovo, with further cutting of the Donetsk-Pavlograd highway, control over which will lead to a full operational encirclement of all AFU forces in the Donbas.
I full concur with this analysis. For all practical purposes that cauldron was about 80% closed “by fire” for a few days already, this time it will be closed by Russian/LDNR forces meeting each other somewhere in that big no mans land between Pavlograd and Donetsk.
There is also major combat actions happening along the south front, again, I will begin with a map:
The black line is the shape of the cauldron which the Russians apparently intend to lock around the Odessa region. I did not color the entire Ukie coastline in black, because I assume that it is currently under fire from the Russian Aerospace forces and the Black Sea Fleet. According to at least one video I saw yesterday, it looks like the Black Sea Fleet’s Large Amphibious Assault ships are now within visual range of Odessa. At the end of that envelopment Russia will have full control of the entire coastline from Dniester еstuary (or even from the Romanian border) to the Russian region of Rostov-on-the-Don!
Banderastan will now become a landlocked “country”!
This western region is where all the western weapons and the international Nazi brigades are being concentrated right now. Some estimates say that the force levels defending this territory might be as high as 100’000 soldiers. Keep in mind that the highway between Kiev and Zhitomir has been cut off by Russian forces and that except for small roads Kiev is slowly being encircled.
Whether Russia will bother with this region or not will largely depend on the West.
Right now the West has declared total informational and economic war on Russia. Furthermore, the USA has a long experience in creating “special pockets” from which to attack a country.
Finally, I would not exclude a NATO movement into the western Ukraine to “protect” the “innocent civilians” and “refugees fleeing the Russian massacres” being “murdered en masse” by the “indiscriminate bombing” by “Putin’s hordes”.
The rather pathetic zig-zags about “yes we will deliver fighters to the Ukraine” and “no we won’t deliver fighters to the Ukraine” seems to suggest that there are still a few folks left at Mons and the Pentagon who understand the risks of such a trick. They also must realize the futility of the entire concept (militarily speaking, this entire plan is absolutely ridiculous, do you need me to explain why?).
God willing, Lavrov will be able to get Kuleba to see the situation as it is and that Kuleba will be smart enough to understand that if these negotiations fail, there will be more negotiations in the future, only in even worse circumstances for the Ukies than today’s.
Next, political news. The Russians have now officially declared all the following countries as “hostile”:
What does this mean?
At the time of writing (14:00 EST) all the Russians are saying is that there will be “financial and diplomatic consequences”. If you find out more details, please post them in the comments section!
I expect both diplomatic and economic sanctions to be announced in the coming days. And they will hurt like hell.
According to Maria Zakharova, Sergei Lavrov will meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitrii Kuleba, in Turkey under the auspices of the Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu. According to the Turks, the topics will include “a ceasefire and a political solution”. This will happen “in the near future”. This was agreed between President Putin and President Erdogan, at the request of the latter. This will happen during the Antalya Diplomatic Forum.
While I was writing this I got the info that a Polish helicopter brought an Ukronazi delegation for talks in Belarus. According to the latest from Russian negotiators, it was yet another wasted day. But these negotiations will resume as soon as the Ukies get their latest orders from UncleShmuel.
The obvious problem is that the Ukie delegation has no authority, so all they do is show up, make some general statements of good will, then take all the (written) Russian proposals and say they need to retire for “consultations”. Obviously, these consultations are not with anybody in Kiev, but with the US and its EU colonies and the latter must at all costs get as many people dead (on both sides) as possible.
And yet, in spite of that, and while I don’t have much hope about any such talks, I will always welcome them: many thousands of lives could be saved if the Ukies capitulate. So even if the possibility to achieve anything is tiny, it is worth trying, even if just a few lives are saved.
However, in the mean time, there are numerous reports from many towns and cities under Nazi occupation of the local municipal authorities warning that anybody using a humanitarian corridor leading to the “occupier force” will be shot on sight and with no warning. There are many confirmed instances of such fleeing refugees being executed by the Ukronazis. The western presstitutes are blaming it all on Russia, what else is new?
From the point of view of Russian combat operations, today has been most successful and tomorrow promises an even quicker domino effect on the Ukrainian defenses pretty much everywhere except the far west (what I now call the mini-Banderastan).
Politically, the only important news is that Lavrov and Kuleba are supposed to meet soon.
And yet, I will end with an area of great concern to me.
Here is how I see it and PLEASE tell me I am wrong!
- The Ukraine has lost the war, she will be disarmed and denazified
- The West is waging total informational and economic war against Russia and believing much of its own propaganda (which is fantastically dangerous!)
- The western public has been sold nonsense about the Ukies being at the gates of Moscow and Russia being ready to surrender. Which means that when the reality will become undeniable there will be A LOT of VERY butthurt folks out there pointing fingers.
- Economically speaking, Zerohedge put it best: “Carnage everywhere“!
- Even much worse will be the folks who will try to still overturn this outcome. I am talking about the true nutcases in NATO (and in some sections of the USA ruling elites) which simply cannot even *imagine* that Russia holds all the cards, including the military one.
- I can easily imagine, say, a Polish column with weapons and mercenaries crossing into the Ukraine and being wiped out by Russian missiles. I ask you this: what will NATO do next?
In fact, let me rephrase my question this way: is it at all possible that this war can end without a direct military confrontation between NATO and Russia, keeping in mind that NATO cannot win and NATO cannot accept defeat?
Sadly, I don’t think so anymore, that kind of folly is a direct consequence of the Western PSYOPs which have convinced the folks in the West of two crucial things: 1) Russia cannot win and 2) Putin is bluffing.
I think that the folks in the Pentagon are smart enough to know that this is all bull, but the Eurorodents inside NATO and the EU?
Wouldn’t a military/political defeat of NATO in Banderastan not risk bringing down NATO as an organization?
Again, please tell me that I am wrong, but I don’t see how this war can stop before Russia shows NATO that nobody in Russia is bluffing and that any NATO country dumb enough to test that will be the target of missile strikes.
So, militarily, this war is pretty much over.
The future of a min-Banderastan is impossible for me to guess.
But I am seriously concerned that this war might expand and directly involve NATO/EU countries.
And it might involve nuclear strikes by either/both sides.
So, please tell me I am wrong and that the West does still have enough brains to step back from this abyss?
UPDATE: for the first time Russian TV has shown the Donbass operational cauldron. I added the contours of this cauldron in the making with the think black line: