The The Washington Post There’s an in-depth, gripping story on the battle for Kyiv, as told from the perspectives of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to his top advisers, to the military brass, to the men in the trenches. The detail is amazing, giving us new insight into the battle we were tracking 2-3 times a day for 36 days. Here’s the president’s office, hours after the unprovoked attack by Russia:
Inside the government complex in central Kyiv, Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andriy Yermak, looked down at his ringing cellphone. It was the Kremlin.
The former entertainment lawyer, a permanent fixture at Zelensky’s side, couldn’t bring himself to pick up at first, he said. The phone rang once, again. He replied. He heard the solemn voice of Dmitry Kozak, the Kremlin’s deputy chief of staff, who was born in Ukraine but long ago entered Putin’s inner circle. Kozak said the time has come for the Ukrainian people to surrender.
Yermak swears the Kozak oath and hangs.
We needed a proper reference there. Wouldn’t it be cool if it was something like “Russian orc, fuck yourself”?
In the first 24-48 hours, we kept hearing “Western assessments” that Russia would be in Kyiv within days. remember? This is why the US tried to expel Zelensky on the first night. Turns out, there was a reason for that pessimism.
The Ukrainians mostly kept their preparations to themselves. A senior US defense official said Washington knew more about Russia’s plan to invade Ukraine than it did about its plan to defend Ukraine, raising doubts about how Kyiv would proceed.
The Ukrainian military kept its plans close to its structure, leading the Pentagon (or the CIA, whichever led here) to believe that there might be. No The planning story speculates that Ukraine’s military was wary of communicating its war plans to Washington while its civilian leadership downplayed the possibility of an attack.
As an aside—it was only last week that Zelensky faced the first flurry of wartime criticism for refusing to heed Washington’s warnings that Russia had put its invasion plans in motion. That criticism was downplayed, as it does little good at this point. But expect a real fire after the war. Zelensky’s refusal to deploy troops, establish defensive lines further north of Kyiv, and order civilian evacuations from the east of the country cost thousands of lives. Kherson would still be in Ukrainian hands if they blew up the same bridge (Antonovsky) that HIMARS is using. Along with the costly defense of Severodonetsk, these are Zelensky’s costliest mistakes to date.
Anyway, back to the story.
The group was led by Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters, firing at their targets below – Antonov Airport, a cargo and testing facility with a main runway. CIA was Putin’s chosen bridgehead for the attack on Kyiv. Director William J. Burns warned Ukrainians during a visit to Kyiv on January 12 that Russia would try to take over.
Turns out, Russia had recruited spies at Hostomel, getting information about the state of the base’s air defenses. Russia took out those defenses. Meanwhile, the soldiers of the base were sent to Donbass. Ukraine was convinced that any war would be concentrated in the east of the country, as it was clear that whatever forces Russia had north of the city of Belarus would never be enough to conquer it. The small Ukrainian force left behind at Hostomel, mostly draftees, rallied in their fight against Russia’s elite airborne VDV forces after a shoulder-fired anti-air missile brought down the attacker’s attack helicopter, although they were eventually driven back. Forced to withdraw.
The airport would fall, but Ukrainian artillery rendered it unusable for aircraft. Russia won’t use this to relaunch their attack on Kyiv, forcing them to rely on long supply lines that we soon learned were not Russia’s particular strong suit.
This story is interesting, but more than that, just notice how good our intelligence was. The CIA knew Absolutely What Russia planned, and British intelligence supported them. The problem was, all the European intelligence services on the mainland were telling Zelensky the opposite: that Russia was not going to pull the trigger. The head of French intelligence was fired for that catastrophic failure. US intelligence may struggle in places like Afghanistan, but they’ve killed Russia for rights.
Early in the war there was much discussion about how much Russian soldiers knew when they invaded Ukraine. Some claimed they had no idea what was going on, that they were told they were doing exercises and so on. But it … suggests more, when Russian soldiers enter a bunker full of civilians:
He recalled that the first Russian soldier who walked in had blond hair and dark eyes with large pupils. “Why are you looking at me like I’m a fascist?” Maas said remembering him. “I am not a fascist. It is your Ukrainian soldiers who are fascists.
Back to Zelenskyy, we get a look inside the presidential bunker at the start of the attack:
The head of the National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov, held the position for the president. “The simple issue is that all of our partners are telling us that it’s going to be very difficult for us, that we have almost zero chance of succeeding,” Danilov told him.
“We will not get much support in the first days, because they will see how we are able to defend the country,” he added. “Maybe they don’t want a large amount of weapons to get into the hands of the Russians.”
It was some pure realism. It wasn’t just about the Russians losing a large number of weapons. The US and NATO had to make a humiliating and desperate retreat from Kabul in Afghanistan as the national army disbanded in days without US support. No one was willing to refinance without being sure that any investment would have a chance of success.
Ukraine already had enough weapons to last a few days – artillery and javelins (the same javelins that Donald Trump tried to leverage to blackmail Zelensky into announcing the bogus investigation of Hunter Biden). The question was whether the Ukrainian military could withstand the shock and fear of a Russian attack.
Interestingly, in the debate over whether Zelensky should accept the US withdrawal offer (including his security detail, supported by many in his government), there was an assumption that Russia had seized government buildings in Ukraine. will target to date, It still hasn’t done so. Even Russia’s state TV is down about it. No one has explained why Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is so adamantly opposed to bombing the Ukrainian seat of government. There’s a story, we just don’t have it.
We all know Oleksiy Arestovich, the presidential adviser who does a regular podcast. we Refer to that A lot of things In these updates. A few weeks ago a whole “he is not as a matter of fact A presidential adviser” argument makes its way through Twitter. I dug in, felt confident that he really was the one, and we could keep calling him. Well, he was there with Zelensky on the first day of the attack.
As the day wore on, Arestovich became convinced that the Ukrainian army would not be able to defend the capital and told the president as much. “People who understood the military stuff went to them and said, ‘We’re not going to keep,'” Erstovich said.
Zelensky finally cracked. He was living.
“This is the last time I’m going to hear this,” Arstovich recalled him saying. “I don’t want to hear it again.”
Remember all those pictures of ordinary Ukrainians rushing to buy or issue rifles as they prepared for a desperate defense of Kyiv? Turns out, giving guns to untrained people—even in war—is a bad idea. The program led to friendly fire incidents.
You can read the story for yourself. It’s comprehensive, a long read, but also an outline of those 36 days of hell. The Battle of Chernihiv gets a few paragraphs, yet the impossible defense of the city, only 20 miles from Russia, contributed to Russia’s failure. Russia did not need logistical power to capture the city, and yet it was unable to do so. This story is yet to be fully told.
Finally, the article suggests that the long Russian line from the Sumy region to eastern Kyiv was a single attack. It wasn’t This was a more sustained effort, giving Ukrainian partisans the ability to feast on those 200+ km-long supply lines. Remember this map?
(Looking at the map and talking about Sumi, it’s surprising that Russia was never able to take it, as well as Kharkiv. Russia couldn’t blame logistics for those failures.)
Yesterday, the Antonovsky bridge was dug up again. Despite Ukrainian efforts, Russian forces in the Kherson region have enough artillery to stop any Ukrainian advance. They have also practiced some offensive tactics. Sure, they were unsuccessful, but an army worried about resupply isn’t coming out of its trenches to attack.
The attack took place in broad daylight, indicating a possible change in strategy, and also the first time we’ve seen video of a HIMARS barrage.
I shouldn’t be so fair—this is the first time i Watched video of HIMARS barrage. Maybe there’s something I’ve missed. You could try Russian air defenses taking out incoming rockets with flak shells—detonating them in the air in the hopes that a rocket randomly flies into a cloud of debris to put it out of commission. can go
This is a reminder of how accurate HIMARS is – all rockets hit the target. It’s also a reminder that bridges are designed to last, and a million-dollar rocket has yet to bring down a single span. Russia digests them and eventually gets the truck back on them. (And trucks are most important for supply purposes.) This attack, however, is coming close to collapsing that time:
Look at those holes! There is also Russia Building a pontoon bridge Actually next to the main. However… there is the pontoon bridge away More vulnerable to HIMAR rockets. Once the bridge is gone, and that seems likely right now, that pontoon bridge won’t last long.