There is a scene in the movie Lawrence of Arabia In which the title character and Bedouin Sheriff Ali are walking through the hills at night. Below them in a valley, an army force is under heavy bombardment by artillery. There is an interruption in the darkness which seems to be an unbroken line of flashes. The ground resounds with the force of impacts miles away. Looking at the scene, Ali says, “God helps the men who are under him.” Lawrence denied that the men were Turks, enemies of both the British and Arab armies. “God help them,” Ali repeats.
Looking at that NASA FIRMS data in Ukraine today, it’s hard not to remember that scene. I’m not going to fill this update with shot after shot from NASA’s site (which is available here), because I did it yesterday. I’m going to toss in a reminder that while FIRMS devices have recently gotten a second job as unauthorized artillery fire monitors, this is not what they were designed to do. The two FIRMS devices were intended to track and characterize forest fires, and their sensitivity to this work means that what is visible in Ukraine today is probably a fire started by an explosion of weapons. , Not the explosion itself. Also, most of the hotspots on Friday are in areas known to be under Russian occupation. Yet … what seems to be happening is a terrible level of violence on both sides of the line. May God help the people who are under it. May God help them all.
These satellite images from Maxer capture, at least in part, the level of artillery fire in Ukraine. They are a good reminder that what is happening in Ukraine cannot be allowed to continue, it is rarely widespread.
Ukrainian forces have launched a major offensive against Liptsi, north of Kharkiv. The site has been a constant source of pain and destruction for the city as Russia has used it for weeks to fire random artillery at schools, stores and homes. Liptsi was the first Ukrainian border in the region and is one of Russia’s largest strongholds in the Kharkiv region. Earlier this week, there were reports that Ukrainian forces had advanced north of Liptsi, on the outskirts of Haliboke, with another possible angle for an attack on the town. Now a serious push is reportedly underway. Taking lipstick will be a big victory for Ukraine.
Meanwhile, FIRMS is showing two large hot spots on the east bank of the river, indicating that Ukrainian forces are in the area. What is happening seems to be an extension of the fact that there has been heavy shelling throughout the week. In any case, this suggests that one step towards Vovchansk is not off the table.
In these updates, we have written about the village many times Dovhenke, south of Izyum. Dowenke is one of the places where Ukrainian forces deployed themselves and countered the post-Russian wave of progress. It is such a small, unfortunate, unprepared place that Russia was often too open to list it as an immediate target. He also announced that he had been captured several times, only to find out that whatever force he had sent into the village had been destroyed or expelled. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
On Friday, Russia finally captured Dowenke. This is Dovhenke.
France, missiles and Ukrainian grain
At this point, it appears that dozens of attempts have been made to get food out of Ukrainian ports and to reach an agreement that does not involve either fully opening up Ukrainian ports, or Russian ships have not included the sinking of cargo ships at sea. On Friday, according to another AFP, France has stepped in to help move food out of Odessa. Will this effort actually go much further than previous attempts … we’ll see.
One thing that can help: Deployment of US Harpoon anti-ship missiles. According to the US Naval Institute, the missiles were originally supplied to Ukraine by Denmark, with some auxiliary ground-based launchers not found in US weapons. These missiles have already been deployed on the shores of the Black Sea.
Recent articles indicate that the Russian Black Sea Fleet is standing well off the coast to avoid these and similar systems. This should make it possible for Ukraine to mine the port of Odessa as an opportunity to launch an attack and de-mine with a very small Russian threat. At the same time, Russia has zero experience in naval strikes. Given their skill in crossing the river, it almost makes you want to try.
Russia’s efforts to bring back time have caused a great deal of controversy
Last week, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin made it clear that his aspirations were beyond Ukraine. In fact, driven by an impression that his army is winning in Donbass, Putin is threatening in every direction. He has threatened to rescind treaties with Japan and rename disputed islands in the Japanese archipelago “Russia Islands”. He has threatened to withdraw treaties with several countries in Europe, declaring that a country like Russia “cannot be fenced off.”
Because the Duma is nothing but a favorable seal to Putin, he has put a series of bills on the docket by which he would unilaterally bring back Russian treaties of the last half-century or more. This includes moving away from the 1991 treaty recognizing Lithuania as an independent nation.
It has at least two interesting answers. First, the Member of the Lithuanian Parliament:
But Smolensk alone is not enough for Kyiv City Council!
Russian material blowing up the theater (or captured)
There is one that I am particularly happy to leave the field
A great way to end this war
A good example of what drone-enhanced artillery looks like in action. You don’t need to understand what they are saying to know what they are saying:
I haven’t seen the translation, but you know it’s “Right! Right!”