Observations on politics and world events:
The Russian Invasion of Ukraine
A wise person should probably steer clear of commenting on politics.
Putin's plan A seems to have been for a lightning strike to take the capital Kiev and install a puppet government. That has failed due to the stubborn resistance of the Ukrainian military unlike those in Afghanistan who chose not to fight the Taliban. Plan B was to pound towns and cities into rubble in order to break the will of the Ukrainian people.
It now looks like plan C is to capture as much of east Ukraine as possible and establish at minimum a land corridor between the Russian border and The Crimea taking in the ports of Mariupol, Berdyansk, on the Sea of Azov, the city of Melitopol, and Kherson up to the east side of the river Dnieper.
Apart from supplying defensive weapons, NATO has been keen not to get directly involved and so far has ruled out boots on the ground and a 'no-fly' zone in order to avoid WWIII and the possibility of nuclear oblivion. This has made it possible for Putin to secure Kherson and the east of Ukraine and claim a victory. However Putin appears greedy and seems intent on either capturing or destroying the whole of Ukraine.
As the conflict has gone on and Ukraine has shown it's will and ability to fight, NATO has become bolder and is now quietly supplying arms to Ukraine through Poland on a massive scale - but more needs to be done.
Putin was initially either badly advised or was over-confident and miscalculated the resistance of the Ukrainian people. Putin assumed Ukraine would crumble in a matter of weeks, just as Hitler's blitzkrieg succeeded in capturing large parts of Europe. He was wrong in that.
The war can only be ended by either a negotiated settlement, or a cease-fire.
Putin will be expecting an assurance that Ukraine would never join NATO and is planning to absorb the territory captured from Ukraine in the east and south east into the Russian Federation.
The mood in Ukraine is for now to hold the line, and when strong enough, perhaps in the autumn, begin pushing the Russians back in order to obtain a stronger negotiating position.
This will be difficult and costly as the Russians have been digging in and preparing fortified positions.
Here is a diary (or timeline) of events as they appear to us.
6th August (day 164)
On the face of it front-lines are little changed. Russia is pouring reinforcements into Kherson to defend against the rumoured Ukrainian summer counter-offensive. Some pundits wonder if Ukraine can now make much headway while others speculate Russia could make a counter-push towards Mikolaiv.
Others wonder whether talk of an offensive in Kherson is a deception to draw Russian forces away from the east and north-east.
Meanwhile small groups of Ukrainian soldiers are said to be harrying Russian troops and attacking lines of communication, and ammunition dumps in Kherson, for example using HIMARS.
There is speculation the war is about to enter a new phase with the heaviest fighting shifting to a 350km front line stretching from Zaporizhzhya to Kherson, following the course of the Dnieper River.
Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, called for patience with regard to the counteroffensive by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, saying it is the military, headed by the Commander-in-Chief, and not 'armchair' experts, who will determine the timing.
So we are very much left in the dark as to what exactly is going on, and can only wait and see how the situation develops in coming weeks.
There are rumours of a small explosion on a Russian patrol boat near Sebastopol.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
The Bulk Carrier Razoni made it to Turkey and should dock in the Lebanon in a day or two. Three more bulk carriers either have left or are about to leave the ports of Odessa and Chornomorsk (which lies 10 Km south of Odessa).
According to the Belfast Telegraph, the Turkish-flagged Polarnet, carrying 12,000 tons of corn, left the port of Chornomorsk bound for Karasu, Turkey. The Panama-flagged Navi Star left Odessa for Ireland with 33,000 tons of corn. The Maltese-flagged Rojen left Chornomorsk for the UK carrying over 13,000 tons of corn.
The Barbados-flagged Fulmar S was inspected in Istanbul and is inward bound for the port of Chornomorsk.
Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant
There are grave concerns about safety at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, near Enerhodar, which is occupied by Russian forces. From there Russian artillery is said to have been shelling Nikopol across the Dnieper river.
Putin has been laying waste to Ukraine. There are rumours the Russians have mined the power plant and might destroy it if forced to retire thus denying heat to swathes of the population during the coming winter or even worse causing radioctive contamination over a large area.
1st August (day 159)
The Daily Kos website seems to be a useful source of information about the war in Ukraine, though some of its sources may be painting a slightly rosy picture of events.
Click for Daily Kos update -
Belarus President Lukashenko is Putin's puppet, but he is not generally well liked in Belarus. If Ukraine survives Putin's war, Belarus could well begin looking to the West, and Putin would not like that.
The MilitaryLand website talks about the Russians attacking with overwhelming force near Bakhmut. Quote:
Maybe that's a bit strong, but perhaps it's true.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
Today the Bulk Carrier Razoni left Odessa with 26,000 tons of corn bound for Lebanon. Ukraine says 16 more vessels with 600,000 tons of grain are waiting to depart, should the first shipment be successful.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said the vessel would anchor off Istanbul on Tuesday afternoon and be inspected by a joint team of Russian, Ukrainian, United Nations and Turkish representatives; it will then continue as long as no problems arise.
Making parallels with WWII one might say:
The point being - Ukraine needs a significant victory to show the West it can push the Russians back in order to guarantee further aid during the forthcoming winter which is likely to be economically difficult for European nations. It ideally needs an 'El Alamein' moment before the end of September.
31st July (day 158)
It's Sunday once again and another week has gone by. It would seem from media reports that there has been little change in front lines. Russia is said to have advanced a little in the Donetsk region and systematically continues to destroy Ukrainian cities with missile attacks. The BBC reports a particularly heavy bombardment of Mikolaiv this morning; during which one of Ukraine's richest men, grain tycoon Oleksiy Vadatursky aged 74 years, perished along with his wife after a missile struck their home.
The war is said to be in a transitional phase while both sides regroup.
For more information see Daily Kos report below.
Both sides signed an agreement on 22nd July to export grain and fertiliser, which the Washington Post says runs for 120 days and could be renewed for further periods of 120 days.
The Russians presumably want to sell the grain they have stolen from Ukraine and export their fertiliser; once that's done the agreement could well lapse.
Ukrainian ships loaded with grain are said to be ready to leave port and one wonders how far they will get without hitting a mine.
We imagine the Russians will be monitoring safe routes for their amphibious forces, and considering the use of returning empty cargo ships as Trojan Horses in order to attack the port of Odessa.
Letters from Ukraine
These letters by Lyndsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News, describe what it was like to have been in Kiev between March and May 2022.
Ukraine once again speculates whether Putin will launch another attack from Belarus. Certainly missiles continue to be fired from there, but perhaps forces in this region are reserves supplying the campaign around Kharkiv and Izium?
President Zelensky orders the withdrawal of civilians from the Donetsk region, where there is heavy fighting, to minimise loss of life. Russian forces capturing power stations and cutting off supplies of gas could also have something to do with this decision.
Putin continues to restrict the supply of gas to the West, which has resulted in energy prices shooting up to unaffordable levels. No doubt he thinks, once winter comes, support for Ukraine will shrink as people shiver in their homes.
Little is being said in the British press about the escalating costs of energy on businesses. We could be entering desperate times. Boris Johnson may yet thank his lucky stars that MPs removed him when they did.
Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are still vying to become Prime Minister, with Liz Truss looking most likely to win at the moment.
There have been reports of the bombing of a warehouse in Olehnivka where Ukrainian POWs were being held, with each side blaming the other.
There are allegations of a Ukrainian POW being tortured, castrated and killed. For example see this article in the New York Post:-
An update on the situation in Ukraine can be found on the Daily Cos website:-
For weeks pundits have been suggesting a Ukrainian offensive to isolate the Russian 49th Combined Arms Army and capture Kherson up to the West bank of the Dnieper river.
To counter this Russia has been moving battle groups from the Donbas to defend Kherson. Convoys have been seen crossing the Kerch Bridge from Russia into Crimea. One would think a tempting target, but it's about 400Km and Ukraine would need appropriate missiles.
Ukraine has been interdicting Russian lines of supply nearer home, for example using HIMARS.
Russia is attempting to repair the damaged Antonivskyi bridge across the Dnieper and has put in place a ferry service.
Pundits are suggesting it is the time for the Ukrainian offensive in Kherson to begin in earnest, before:
The question people are asking is - does Ukraine have enough experienced soldiers and the command and control necessary for coordinating a large scale assault in Kherson after losses in the Donbas?
29th July (day 156)
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
27th July (day 154)
The Antonivskyi bridge in Kherson is further damaged. The Daily Kos website has an article suggesting Russia won't be able to advance much further towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk, and that Russian troops in Kherson west of the Dnieper river will soon find themselves in a tight spot, cut off from supplies and in range of Ukrainian artillery.
26th July (day 153)
Russia is reported to be intensifying its attacks and making small gains in the Donbas region.
Ukraine continues the news embargo on fighting near Kherson on the west side of the river Dnieper in the south; the Russians are rumoured to be bringing in more artillery on the east side of the river.
It's possible Ukraine may capture the city of Kherson, but do they have the capability to push further east across the river towards Melitopol and Crimea?
Actually no idea what is going on. The Twitter-sphere is alive with Western pundits suggesting things will now turn in Ukraine's favour, but that could be wishful thinking.
Jack Detsch has published an interesting article on the Foreign Policy website, an American news publication. This suggests that, unless stopped, Putin could be back next year to capture Odessa and the Black Sea coastline thus linking up Russia with the enclave of Transnistria which supports Russia within neutral Moldova.
25th July (day 152)
ISW report that recent Ukrainian strikes on Russian warehouses, communication hubs, and rear bases are having a devastating and potentially irreversible impact on the development of future Russian offensives.
Russian missile attacks continue but shelling is lighter.
Ukraine continues to nibble away at Russian forces in Kherson west of the Dnieper river. Attacks on bridges across the river Dnieper and it's tributary the Ingulet (Inhulet) are aimed at cutting their supply lines. If large numbers of Russian troops are forced to surrender what will Ukraine do with them?
What would Putin do faced with defeat; would he for example withdraw his forces or double down by resorting to tactical nuclear weapons?
Read some views on The Atlantic website:-
A look at the grim scenarios—and the US playbook for each by Eric Schlosser 20th June 2022.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
24th July (day 151)
It's Sunday marking 5 months since the start of the war when Kiev was expected to be captured within days. Many then thought Ukraine was doomed, but its people have held out and one wonders if the tide has begun to turn against the Russian invaders.
23rd July (day150)
Russia fires four missiles into the port of Odessa hitting a cargo ship.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
22nd July (day 149)
Ukraine and Russia separately sign a deal with the UN and Turkey to allow the export of grain and fertiliser.
21st July (day 148)
Today's Daily Kos optimistically speculates on Ukraine's strategy in the Kherson region.
Russian forces are said to be creeping towards the Vuhlehirska coal-fired power station north of the city of Donetsk on the edge of the battlefront.
The CIA say there is no evidence Putin is in poor health.
It is rumoured the US might (in time) supply A-10 'tank-killer' aircraft to Ukraine.
Here's a transcript of a press statement from the US Department of Defense yesterday:
20th July (day 147)
For the time being the UK media has largely forgotten about the war in Ukraine with the Tory party leadership election, the heat-wave and sport grabbing the headlines.
Not much seems to have happening in the last week other than both sides firing missiles at each other, the Russians mostly hitting apartment blocks and killing civilians, and Ukrainians hitting ammunition depots, radars and bridges.
There may be a lot of fighting but little shift in front-lines.
There is talk in the media of Russia annexing the captured territories but that won't happen if Ukraine recaptures them; but will Ukraine want to recapture districts in the Donbas largely occupied by the separatists?
Russia talks a lot of bullshit such as attacking annexed territory will be attacking Moscow.
An article on the Daily Kos website suggests the Russian campaign could 'fall apart' in August but who knows. This may be wishful thinking but it's worth a read:-
The Defence Industry of Ukraine claims the destruction of a Russian mobile radar station near the village of Lazurne, on the south coast of the Kherson region east of the Dnieper river. That's quite a long way from the front-line so we wonder how that was achieved
Grain exports through the Black sea could be opened up but Putin will want a quid pro quo, so that's unlikely to happen.
Zelensky is said to be attempting to weed out Putin supporters from Ukrainian security bodies.
19th July (day 146)
On 14th December 1939 the USSR was expelled from the League of Nations for invading Finland. Its a pity that no-one has found the means to expel the Russian Federation from the United Nations.
Wonder what is happening in Belarus on the northern border of Ukraine where troops have been exercising near the border and from where Russians continue to fire missiles into Ukraine.
Opinion seems to be that Lukashenka will continue to sit on the fence.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
18th July (day 145)
Putin is said to have instructed his forces to focus on destroying US long-range artillery in Ukraine such as HIMARS. General Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defence minister, gave the order shortly after US HIMARS were reported to have blown up another ammunition depot in Russian-occupied Kherson.
Well war is a partly a question of who has the greater industrial capacity so if the West continues to maintain its resolve and resupply Ukraine Putin should eventually be ground down.
One wonder wonders if Partisans and Guerilla warfare will play a significant part in those regions where the Russians are not wanted. Perhaps not in the Donbas were separatists want to become part of the Russian Federation; but could disrupting actions by Partisans significantly hinder the Russians in the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia prior to Ukraine mounting an Autumn counter-offensive in the south east?
As usual we will just have to wait and see.
17th July (day 144)
It's Sunday once again, and we are reminded it's the eighth anniversary of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flight MH17 over Donetsk in 2014 by a Russian surface to air missile, which killed all 298 men, women and children onboard.
It's another in a long list of crimes for which Putin denies responsibility.
There is chat on Twitter suggesting the Russians would like to capture Sloviansk and Kramatorsk next, whilst Ukraine might be planning to retake the Kherson region west of the river Dnieper. It's uncertain whether Ukraine could mount a major counter-offensive as that would depend on delivery of more tanks, APCs and HIMARS from the West. Pundits suggest a counter-offensive is unlikely before September/October 2022; until then Ukraine would attempt to hold the line and cut off Russian lines off communication.
A Daily Kos article suggests the Russians have not taken Siversk and Bilohorivka could still be contested.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
16th July (day 143)
Have been missing situation reports from Jomini of the West - apparently he has had a bad bout of COVID but hopes to be reporting again soon.
On 7th July the media reported Putin as saying the war has barely begun in Ukraine. Putin's policy seems to be to destroy the morale of the population, destroy Ukraine's infrastructure and steal as much land as possible.
Presumably he is going to carry on until he runs out of soldiers and weapons.
Spies could be playing a significant role in this war, on both sides. Russia is said to recruiting agents to report the movement of materials from the West.
HIMARS artillery has been destroying Russian ammunition depots and command posts so Putin's men will be looking for them.
Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu is said to have ordered units to step up operations to prevent strikes on Russian-controlled areas. See the two links below:
A missile attack on Dnipro destroyed a Space Rocket facility.
There were also missile attacks on Nikopol which lies on the opposite side of the Dnipro river to the nuclear power plant where Russia is said to have emplaced artillery.
15th July (day 142)
Hard to know what is happening. Shelling by Russians may have dipped a little but missile attacks on residential areas and factories are increasing. Possibly Russia has ended its operational pause.
British aid worker Paul Urey, who suffered from Diabetes, has died in Russian captivity.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
14th July (day 141)
Fighting goes on with the Russians continuing to fire missiles into residential areas of cities causing civilian casualties. No significant changes in position have been reported in recent days.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
There is a danger of this turning into a long drawn out conflict. It sounds like more heavy weapons will be needed if Ukrainian forces are to dislodge the Russians from well defended positions and bring the war to a conclusion before the end of the year.
There are rumours the Turks have negogiated an agreement to allow the export of Ukrainian grain by sea.
The media reports Putin is trying to secure the delivery of more drones from Iran.
9th July (day 136)
Attacks on Russian ammunition depots have increased in recent days. For example see this report from Daily Kos:-
A Russian warehouse in Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region has been attacked.
The HIMARS Multiple Rocket Launcher System is said to be playing a part. The US is to increase the number to be supplied to 12..
More important is getting sufficient missiles. These are very expensive, around £100,000 per shot.
Russia says they have destroyed 2 HIMARS launchers, but that has not been confirmed.
Newspapers say Ukraine is having increasing difficulty flying drones due to jamming, and the danger of being shot down following detection by Russian radars.
Communications on the battlefield is said to remain a problem. Not sure how it works but Elon Musk's Starlink is said to be making a useful contribution.
8th July (day 135)
Apart from continuing missile strikes there seems to have been a lull in the fighting in recent days. The Russians are said to be regrouping and bringing in reinforcements in elderly MT-LB Armoured Personnel Carriers drawn from reserves.
Lavrov was largely shunned at the G20 meeting in Bali, but in the sidelines had bilateral meetings with the foreign ministers of non-aligned countries Brazil, China, Indonesia, India, Turkey, South Africa, Argentina and others.
See New York Post article:
Also Guardian report:
Putin and Lavrov dare NATO to fight in Ukraine.
7th July (day 134)
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
6th July (day 133)
We wait to see what happens next; will Ukraine be able to hold Sloviansk and then turn the tables on Putin?
A disturbing Sky News report from Alex Crawford suggests many Ukrainian solders still lack modern weapons despite aid from the West.
5th July (day 132)
It is rumoured Ukkraine has withdrawn to a defensive line roughly running from Sloviansk to Bakhmut.
A Daily Kos article speculates about the high cost and likely role of HIMARS multiple rocket launchers.
4th July (day 131)
Russia has taken the city of Lysychansk but Sky News reports Putin has ordered his troops to continue pushing forwards; clearly Putin's ambition is to take as much of Ukraine as he can.
A Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kherson region could be underway.
A Daily Kos article highlights the importance of liberating the cities of Berdiansk, Kherson, Mariupol, and Melitopol, and reopening ports to merchant shipping.
The industrial Donbas, largely occupied by separatists, is now a pile of rubble and of lesser value.
Ukrainian Pravda reports on the current fighting:
A Russian ammunition depot has exploded in occupied Snizhne which lies 50 miles east of the city of Donetsk near the Russian border.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
The next MilitaryLand update is expected on 7th July.
3rd July (day 130)
Both sides now think they can win this war. The West can't afford to let Putin win and Putin can't afford to lose. Whatever happens it's possible by the time Putin is finished much of Ukraine could be little more than a pile of rubble with a significant part of its infrastructure destroyed.
Ukraine confirms withdrawal from Lysychansk; most of the city has been pounded into rubble. Now MLRS attacks and heavy shelling of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk and Bakhmut which are presumably Russia's next objective.
There is a Ukrainian missile attack on a Russian base near Melitopol. Little is being reported about Ukrainian operations in the Kherson region for security reasons.
2nd July (day 129)
Russian soldiers reported in the centre of the city of Lysychansk.
Russian ammunition depot in Popasna destroyed.
Australian Prime Minister visits Ukraine.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
The next MilitaryLand update is expected on 7th July.
1st July (day 128)
Pundits seem to think that Ukraine may soon be able to halt the Russian advance but are doubtful it will be possible to push the Russians back to the 24th February start line this year, if ever.
30th June (day 127)
Russia withdraws from Snake Island which has been repeatedly attacked by Ukraine.
Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden hold news' conferences following the NATO Summit in Madrid expressing support for Ukraine and describing how NATO will adapt to meet new threats.
Starts at 33 minutes
Starts at 44 minutes.
29th June (day 126)
Alex Crawford, Sky News, reports from the front line in Lysychansk.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton was interviewed by ITV News political editor Robert Peston (Series 8 Episode 22).
While most Western Observers on Twitter suggest Russia is losing, John Bolton said, in terms of gaining territory, Putin is clearly winning, despite heavy losses of men and equipment.
In a similar fashion in 1982 Margaret Thatcher had claimed a great victory in the Falklands despite considerable damage to and loss of warships.
Rhetoric has been ramped up; delivery of weapon systems has yet to meet expectations.
28th June (day 125)
There is talk of the US buying the Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System NASAMS for Ukraine in order to better protect cities. This is a short to medium range networked air defence system rumoured to be used to defend the White House.
Lithuania hit by Cyber attacks.
27th June (day 124)
There have been several successful attacks on Russian ammunition dumps in recent days which might be reflected in reduced shelling. Nevertheless many long range rockets and cruise missiles continue to be fired from outside Ukraine, only a few of which are brought down by air defences.
Russian troops continue to advance and are beginning to encircle Lysychansk, so Ukrainian soldiers may be forced to withdraw. In the north fighting continues near Kharkhiv. In the South Ukrainian forces press the Russians back a little.
Russian Kh-22 anti-ship missile hits a shopping centre in Kremenchuck which burnt to the ground. The strike killed at least 18 people, 59 more are wounded and 36 missing. It's possible the target was a factory nearby.
President Zelensky says he hopes the war will be over before the winter when fighting conditions will become difficult for both sides.
The G7 meeting in Bavaria expressed continued support for Ukraine.
NATO is to increase its Rapid Reaction Force from 40,000 to 300,000 to counter the new threat from the Russian Federation.
A NATO meeting starts in Spain tomorrow.
The UK Defence Secretary to discuss increasing the Defence budget with the PM.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
26th June (day 123)
It's Sunday and another week has rolled by with the Russians continuing to make advances around Severodonetsk. Putin continues to utter threats and Lukashenko says restricting access to Kaliningrad is akin to declaring war.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
Ukraine seems to have had some success attacking supply hubs and probing in Kherson. For example see Daily Kos update:-
Radio 5 interview
The Radio 5 Sunday Breakfast programme included an interview with Ukrainian MP Kyra Rudyk who is currently in Lithuania:-
Four missiles are reported to have hit Kiev today; others were brough down by air-defences. Many missiles have been fired at Ukraine recently which are likely Putin's revenge for the EC considering Ukraine's application to join the EU.
Following missiles being fired from Belarus, Belarus is no longer considered a friendly neighbour.
In Kyra's view EU sanctions won't be effective until 2023 and only then if the EU places an embargo on Russian gas. The EU will likely continue to fund Russia and therefore the war in Ukraine for the remainder of 2022.
The turning point in the war will only come when the West supplies Ukraine with enough heavy weapons, which could be many months away. Currently only 10% of weapons requested have been supplied.
Ukraine will also need financial assistance.
25th June (day 122)
Russians fire about 48 missiles into Ukraine hitting military facilities; some missiles are fired from Belarus, others from the Baltic Sea. Targets hit include not only areas in the east but also Lviv, Zhytomyr and Khmelnytskyi in the west.
Ukraine Intelligence suspects Putin wants to bring Belarus into the war. On the other hand there are reports of large stocks of shells being transferred from Belarus' arsenals to Russia.
Ukrainian troops have withdrawn from Severodonetsk across the Siversky Donets river using small boats.
It's unclear whether the Ukranian troops which were in danger of being encircled have withdrawn from the Zolote pocket a little to the south.
These troops may now be redeploying to defend Lysychansk.
and look for Key Takeaways.
We came across some atmospheric snaps of scenes and soldiers by Australian war photographer Bryce Wilson:-
24th June (day 121)
Talk of Ukraine troops withdrawing from Severodonetsk and Lysychansk due to creeping Russian advance.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
The arrival of a few HIMARS Multiple Rocket Launcher Systems may help Ukraine a little providing they can keep them safe.
In the east Russian air defences are said to be making it hard for Ukraine to fly drones and thus direct artillery fire.
Support from the UK could be diminished if Conservative Party rebels unseat Boris Johnson.
Russia has been cutting off gas to NATO countries, and we have yet to see what the implications will be, for example next winter.
Lithuania is blockading the railway to (Russian) Kaliningrad; the EU is waiting to see if Putin escalates.
Belarus forces are exercising on the border of north Ukraine. Putin is allegedly sending in units to cause trouble and then blame Ukraine. The President of Belarus is in a difficult position - he wants to support Putin but the population does not.
Russia is still blocking access to the Black Sea and cereal exports. Shortages of sunflower oil, wheat, animal feeds and fertilizers are pushing up prices and consequently food prices in the shops. Shortages are likely to cause famine in third world countries.
Russia may soon capture Severodonetsk and Lysychansk which some thought Putin wanted achieved by the G7 meeting on 26th June. The question then will be - what will Putin do next; will he consolidate his gains and stick or try to gain further territory.
One of Putin's aims had been to secure the water supply to Crimea from Ukraine.
Russia has also captured valuable agricultural land, coal and iron, and ports. Ukraine doesn't seem to be in the mood to negotiate. Their position appears to be to weaken the Russian military and then hopefully push them back. There could be a lot more bloodshed before this war ends.
23rd June (day 120)
Ukraine reports first High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) in operation. It will be interesting to see how long these survive. Pundits suggest artillery has to move within minutes to avoid counter-fire.
Russian forces said to be concentrated around Severodonetsk, leaving other areas less well defended.
22nd June (day 119)
Russian troops have captured Toshkivka and are advancing north alongside the west bank of the Siversky Donets river towards Bila Hora and Lysychansk.
The city of Lysychansk is being progressively destroyed by Russian shelling and attempts are being made to evacuate 8,000 or so remaining civilians.
Ukrainian troops are withdrawing to prevent encirclement.
In the south, Ukraine mounts attacks on Snake Island destroying a SAM system and other equipment.
A Ukrainian drone is reported to have damaged the Russian Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery in the Rostov region bordering Ukraine.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
21st June (day 118)
Lithuania implements EU restrictions on goods headed for Russia affecting the rail link between Belarus and Kaliningrad.
Kaliningrad is a small region sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, which provides an operating base for the Russian Navy in the Baltic.
Putin threatens retaliatory measures.
20th June (day 117)
19th June (day 116)
It is both Sunday and Fathers' Day in the UK and one wonders how many children in Ukraine have sadly lost their fathers as a result of Putin's invasion.
Stories about the war in Ukraine can be found on the DAILY KOS website; for example see this article about the supply of logistics to Ukraine:-
The article says aid is getting through - it just takes time.
For maps and a situational update click the link below:-
The BBC reports NATO's Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, speaking after a meeting with the alliance's defence ministers on 16 June, saying 'the West must prepare to continue supporting Ukraine in a war lasting for years'.
Boris Johnson says supplies of weapons, equipment, ammunition, and training needed to outpace Moscow's efforts to rearm itself and that we should steel ourselves for a long war; but let's hope the war is over by Christmas.
It must be remembered Putin started his invasion of Ukraine in 2014 when he invaded Crimea and the Donbas. This is an extension of a war that started 8 years ago.
Any cease-fire now would just give Putin the opportunity to re-arm before pressing on towards Poland and the Baltic states.
A Ukrainian spokesman suggests there will no negotiations before the end of August, and one assumes Ukraine is hoping by then to have counter-attacked and recaptured enough territory to put them in a much stronger bargaining position.
The new Chief of the Defence Staff is reported to have told soldiers in a leaked private communication they must be ready to fight the Russian army, should the situation escalate.
General Sir Patrick Sanders says our forces must prepare to fight in Europe once again as Russia's invasion of Ukraine has led to a new era of insecurity.
Other pundits are suggesting NATO must increase its arsenal and readiness of troops. This would no doubt come at a cost when inflation is already causing hardship.
18th June (day 115)
There is talk of the Eurovision Song Contest being held in the safety of Glasgow next year, but Boris Johnson says, in order to boost morale in Kiev, it should be held in Ukraine.
There are Russian missile attacks on Kremencheck and Kyri Riv to the west of the Dnipro river and Mikolayiv; plus continued fighting in Severodonetsk and shelling of Lysychansk.
17th June (day 114)
Boris Johnson meets President Zelensky in Kiev to discuss military and humanitarian aid.
Russian naval tug Vasily Bekh sunk while on a mission to bring ammunition, weapons, and personnel to Snake Island.
For days it has been difficult to know what the situation is in the east of Ukraine. Russian forces are said to be making only small gains at great cost. One day it seems the Ukrainians are about to be overwhelmed and the next there are reports Ukraine is counter attacking.
Whatever the situation, Russia is still lobbing over a considerable number of shells and missiles causing widespread damage.
That said if Ukraine is to win, we should shortly see Ukraine begin to push back the Russians in some areas.
That will to a large extent depend on the supply of Western arms and the training of sufficient numbers of Ukrainian soldiers in their use which will take many weeks.
Today Ukraine will at least feel bolstered by declarations of continued support from the UK and EU.
16th June (day 113)
BBC interview with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. He says, with a straight face, Russia has not invaded Ukraine!
Leaders of France, Germany, and Italy visit Kiev.
The EC recommends Kiev be accepted as a candidate for joining the EU; meeting the requirements will probably take many years, but the news is a boost for Ukraine.
Two US citizens fighting for Ukraine get lost and are captured.
Russians pushing towards Sloviansk; it's not clear whether any progress is being made.
Large Russian ammunition depot in Khrustalnyi, Luhansk region, was reported destroyed.
15th June (day 112)
14th June (day 111)
A rocket hits a military facility in Russia near the town of Klintsy. Klintsy lies close to both the eastern border of Belarus and the northern border of Ukraine.
The last bridge from Severodonetsk across the Siversky Donets river is reported to have been destroyed. This will make it difficult for Ukrainian troops to withdraw, but also for the Russians to cross. The Russians could however be planning to encircle Ukrainian forces from the west, for example by moving battle groups south from Izium and north from Popasna.
13th June (day 110)
It was reported on Saturday evening cruise missile fired from the Black Sea hit a military depot near the town of Chortkiv in west Ukraine where the Russians claim arms from the west were in transit. 22 people were hospitalised.
12th June (day 109)
It's Sunday and we are reminded to love others as ourselves.
Putin, on the other hand, in the last 100 days has caused the deaths of roughly 50,000 Russian and Ukrainian soldiers, maiming and wounding about 150,000 more; killed and wounded almost as many civilians many of whom are still buried in the rubble of their homes; and caused around 10 million people to be displaced from their homes. Wherever Putin is going it won't be to heaven.
Sadly Jordan Gatley a former British soldier who joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine in March has been killed during the fighting for Severodonetsk.
A huge fire is reported at the Azot Chemical Works in Severodonetsk where Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are located.
The BBC reports land-mines are a serious problem for farmers wanting to plough fields and sow crops.
It is rumoured presidents Macron (France), Scholz (Germany) and Draghi (Italy) could visit Kiev before the next G7 meeting in Bavaria on 26th June. Purpose unknown but could be concerning either Ukraine's application to join the EU, the supply of weapons, or to suggest Ukraine cedes territory to Russia in order to end hostilities.
Russia captured Svyatohirsk a few days ago and is rumoured to have crossed the Siverski Donets river with a view to pushing on towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
Ukraine continues counter-attacks in Kherson.
11th June (day 108)
Reports on Twitter increasingly suggest the tide is turning in favour of Russia.
10th June (day 107)
Pundits say the fighting in Severodonetsk is fierce, Russian troops have advanced a short distance around Izium, Ukrainian artillery is outnumbered 10:1 and supplies of Soviet calibre ammunition are almost exhausted.
Russian rocket launchers have been moved into Belarus and Putin's ally Lushenka has Belarus forces exercising near the northern border of Ukraine.
Within the occupied terroritories of Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson Putin is putting in Russian administrations as a first step to incorporating the regions into the Russian Federation.
Added to this Ukrainian troops are tired and suffering extreme casualties, the World's media is turning its attention to other matters and support from some Western governments, for example Hungary and Germany, appears weak.
Without a lot more continued support from the West Putin is going to win this war. The drip feed of arms from its allies seems barely enough for Ukraine to halt the further advance of Russian forces.
There are rumours Russia thinks their Military Operation might be over by Christmas, but the war could go on a lot longer if Ukraine decides to try and push Russia back to its 24th February start line.
9th June (day 106)
Ukraine is just about holding on in the Donbas but the situation is reported to be critical.
Two Britons Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, who were captured by Russian forces while fighting for Ukraine in Mariupol have been sentenced to death, state-owned Russian news agency RIA Novosti has said. A third POW, Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim, has also reportedly been sentenced to death.
This may be a negotiating ploy.
President Zelensky says the fate of Donbas region is being decided in Severodonetsk. This will be partly a call for the West to speed up delivery of MLRS and munitions.
The outcome of the battle for Severodonetsk hangs in the balance. Russia seems to be throwing in all it has, and pundits suggest Ukraine may yet have to withdraw to defend Sloviansk and Kramatorsk.
Talks between Russia and Turkey about exporting Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea are continuing, but as clearing mines would make it easier for Russia to attack Odessa, and the talks have not included a representative from Ukraine it's hard to see progress being made.
8th June (day 105)
Russian tanks, artillery and lorries being moved by rail from Irkutz to replace losses in Ukraine.
Russian reinforcements gathering at a staging post near town of Valuyki SE of Belgorod.
Missiles fired at Kharkiv from Russia.
There are Russian missile launchers in Belarus, and Belarus forces are exercising near the Ukrainian border. Possibly a diversion.
Russian forces have advanced some miles from Izium, and fierce fighting continues in Severodonetsk where both sides have suffered many casualties.
Putin's aim is now likely to be to annex the Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson regions and as much of Zaporizhzhia as he can. In the captured territory Russian families are being moved in, Russian currency introduced, the street signs renamed and so on. Russian troops are building defences against counter-attacks. They don't plan on going home. On the other hand partisans are beginning to fight back in the occupied zone.
7th June (day 104)
Fighting continues with no major gains or losses in the last few days.
Sky News reports Ukraine counter-attacking the Russians around Kharkhiv in the north and Kherson in the south, while fierce fighting continues in the city of Severodonetsk where Russia is throwing in everything they have in an attempt to capture the city. President Zelensky says better to fight now than take more casualties trying to recapture the city later.
Pundits suggest support from Germany is all talk but little action regarding the supply of heavy weapons - likely for fear of upsetting Putin.
6th June (day 103)
Russians counter-attacking in Severodonetsk; President Zelensky, visiting Lysychansk, says Ukrainian forces are greatly outnumbered.
Third largest grain silo in Ukraine attacked. Russia blocking export of grain through the black sea, and sending it instead to Russia. This may cause famine in third world countries.
5th June (day 102)
Four Russian missiles hit railway wagon repair facility on the west side of the city of Kiev. Possibly another attempt to disrupt the rail network.
Ukraine counter attacks in the city of Severodonetsk.
Russian Major General Roman Kutuzov was reported killed in Mykolaivka near Popasna leading separatist troops.
4th June (day 101)
Ukraine counter offensive in Severodonetsk. About 20% of the city reported to be recaptured.
Journalist Caleb Larson of the New York Sun newspaper talks on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme at 08:36 hours about the situation in Severodonetsk which he had just left. Catch up on BBC Sounds.
Some pundits suggest what Putin wants is not to capture Ukrainian territory but to keep NATO out of Ukraine.
3rd June (day 100)
Russians reported to have captured most of Severodonetsk. MODUK Twitter reports Russia is winning the war in the Donbas. Ukraine complains of not having enough weapons to counter Russian forces.
Russia claims to have shot down a Ukrainian military aircraft carrying western arms near Odessa.
2nd June (day 99)
Railway network attacked near Lviv; no doubt part of Russian plan to slow aid from the West.
Journalist Neil Hauer, who has been providing useful updates on the situation around Severodonetsk from close to the front line for several weeks, has left Ukraine. Today he says he is back home in Yerevan.
It seems likely that in recent days Ukrainian forces have been gradually withdrawing from Severodonetsk across the river Siversky Donets which could form a new front line in the east.
A few miles to the west Russian forces are advancing SW from Staryi Karavan towards Sloviansk.
Russian tactics are now to pound an area with artillery before occupying it which is leading to many Ukrainian casualties.
Troops on both sides are getting very tired.
Found a new website roughly showing front lines:-
The UK may send M270 MLRS to Ukraine; no statement of how many or when.
Yesterday two Russian amphibious boats were reported destroyed in the Dnipro-Buh estuary (Kherson area).
A war of attrition has developed and pundits think it could go on for months.
1st June (day 98)
Russians reported to have infiltrated 70% of the city of Severodonetsk spearheaded by Chechnyan troops.
US agrees to send HIMAR Multiple Launch Rocket Systems MLRS) to Ukraine on condition they are not used to fire into Russia.
A report in the Washington post suggests only four launchers are going to be sent. Assuming they won't all make it to the front line and they will be number one target for Putin, one suspects such a small quantity will make little or no difference.
31st May (day 97)
Ukraine gaining a little ground in Kherson province.
30th May (day 96)
BBC journalist Jeremy Bowen reports Bahkmut is under threat and Russians only 5 miles away.
Many news outlets are reporting that The United States will not send Ukraine rocket systems that can reach into Russia according to President Joe Biden.
For example see this headline in the Daily Mail:-
That's all rather vague but probably means missiles that could reach Moscow if fired from within Ukraine.
It's a strange situation - Russia can fire long range missiles at cities in Ukraine but Ukraine is not allowed to fire back! It's a bit like the US not permitting Bombers from Britain to attack German cities during WWII for fear of upsetting Hitler.
Clearly the Biden administration does not want to overly upset Putin.
Likewise some say Israel will not supply arms to Ukraine for fear of upsetting Russia and the situation in Syria.
On the other hand the BBC is suggesting the US could supply MLRS systems with shorter range projectiles.
Speculation on Twitter, Sky and BBC news suggests the Russians may try to cross river Siversky Donets from Sviatohirsk to Bohorodychne SE of Izium and proceed south towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk on the west side of the river.
The Russians are already in Lyman on the east side of the river and are rumoured to be moving south to Staryi Karavan and Dibrova possibly through or around Ukrainian troops in the National Forest.
They could then move west across the river using the road and rail bridges towards Sloviansk and Kramatorsk; possibly linking up with Russian units driving west to Bahkmut from Popasna and then towards Kramatorsk in order to surround the Ukrainian brigades defending Severodonetsk and surrounds.
Ukrainian forces would of course be doing their best to stop them!
29th May (day 95)
For the past few days the world has been watching the ebb and flow of fighting around Severodonetsk. Reports appear confused by the fog of war. Will this be a turning point for one side or the other or will the bloody stalemate continue for weeks if not months - we'll have to wait a little longer to find out.
Western pundits optimistically think Russia could be running out of its best weapon systems, while Ukraine may soon be supplied with longer range artillery allowing them to attack lines of supply more effectively and possibly dislodge some of Putin's troops..
Ukrainian leaders are concerned that some politicians in France, Italy and the USA are thinking Ukrainian land should be gifted to Putin to stop the war. Also that little support is being provided by Germany, while other European countries are being slow to cut off Russian gas. On the other-hand Ukraine is hoping the USA will provide long range MLRS artillery, which could make a big difference.
This morning the BBC TV Sunday Morning programme on current affairs ran an interview between journalist Clive Myrie and the Russian Ambassador in London.
The ambassador said the Russian Federation would not use either strategic or tactical nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war.
This evening Sky News ran a programme; Putin's obsession - The Fight for Ukraine. It says Putin has turned Russia into a Dictatorship and needs Ukraine in his sphere of influence to survive.
Putin appears an existential threat to Ukraine - the West may be getting bored with the war, but it cannot afford to let Putin win.
Around Kramatorsk electricity has been cut off due to a downed power line.
Ukraine rumoured to be counter attacking in the Kherson region and holding up around Severodonetsk.
Do Russians have sufficient capability to push on to Sloviansk or are they running out of steam?
Putin will no doubt want his troops to press on and take as much of Ukraine as possible, if they can.
28th May (day 94)
Russians in control of Lyman a key transport hub.
Soon the Ukraine military will need to decide whether to fight the Russians in the city of Severodonetsk or withdraw to fight another day.
The next Russian objectives could be Sloviansk, Bakhmut and Kramatorsk.
27th May (day 93)
Report from Alex Crawford Sky News on the desperate situation in Severodonetsk.
26th May (day 92)
25th May (day 91)
Report from Jeremy Bowen BBC News in Dnipro which sums up situation near Severodonetsk.
24th May (day 90)
Russian forces are making progress to encircle Ukrainian defenders near Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. Ukraine appears to be on the backfoot.
Russian forces have pushed forward to the Bakhmut Lysychansk highway, and captured Svitlodarsk, and Lyman. The village of Vidrodzhennya has been captured. Avdiivka, Soledar, Bakhmut, Toretsk, and New York residents are being evacuated to Dnipro. The Azot chemical plant has been shelled in Severodonetsk. Vasylivka NE of Bakhmut is said to be under Russian control. Russia rumoured to be setting up Iskander missile systems in Belarus and generally strengthening positions.
Russia is bedding in for a long war in Ukraine. Putin hopes to secure and expand his gains in the eastern Donbas region and south.
President Zelensky warns the coming weeks of the war will be difficult.
Alex Crawford bravely reports from Severodonetsk for Sky News.
23rd May (day 89)
According to Sky News the Russians have blown a bridge across the Siversky Donets river across which defenders in Severodonetsk have been receiving supplies. Ukrainian troops may therefore have to leave most of their equipment behind if they are forced to retreat from the city.
Rumours Russian troop are planning to advance on Yampil, then cross the Siversky Donets river to Seversk and join up with troops from Popasna in order to surround Ukrainian forces and capture the remainder of Luhansk province.
22nd May (day 88)
President Zelensky says only diplomacy will end the war, but rules out a ceasefire and concessions to Russia. He says there are many Ukrainian casualties in the east; possibly between 50 and 100 dying every day.
Pundits suggest the war could soon deteriorate into long range artillery duels. Russia rumoured to be running out of drones for target spotting.
If the Russians dig in to defend captured territory they could in turn become easy targets if Ukraine can deploy longer range artillery.
Ukraine claims to have attacked a Russian supply convoy near Komyshuvakha, in the Luhansk region, some 40 kilometres from Severodonetsk.
Russia claims to have hit a supply area containing western weapons in NW Ukraine.
Claims Russia has transported up to 1M Ukrainians to 'camps' in Russia.
More rumours Putin is ill and could be sent to a sanitorium.
21st May (day 87)
Fierce fighting as Russians attempt to capture Severodonetsk.
Mikolayiv continues to be shelled. Much of the population has left as the water supply was cut off weeks ago.
20th May (day 86)
Russia to cut off gas and electricity supplies to Finland. Supplies to Poland and Bulgaria already cut off.
Lithuania to stop importing Russian gas, oil and electricity.
Ukraine claims to have destroyed Russian armored vehicles attempting to cross the Seversky Donets River near Dronivka to the west of other failed attempts near Belogorovka.
19th May (day 85)
The BBC reports more than 900 Ukrainian fighters from the Mariupol steel-works have been taken to a former prison colony in Russian-controlled Donetsk; 1,730 fighters from Azovstal have surrendered since 16 May, and there may be another 1,000 fighters trapped at the plant.
18th May (day 84)
Azov garrison surrenders
It appears the Ukrainian forces trapped in the Azov steel-works have capitulated. Russia reports 700 soldiers have surrendered in the last 24 hours, making 1,000 in all.
The Western media speculates the Azov POW might be swapped for Russian POW, while there are calls in Russia for the men to be interrogated and tried for war crimes.
Putin's patience has paid off and he can claim a victory. There is talk of plans to clear a sunken ship and mines so Putin can bring reinforcements into the port of Mariupol by sea.
Further north Ukrainian forces are being hard pressed near Severodonetsk.
17th May (day 83)
About 264 wounded defenders are evacuated from the Azov steel plant in Mariupol. It seems as if some deal has been worked out in conjunction with the UN and Red Cross.
16th May (day 82)
Russia is said to be quietly mobilising and dribbling new troops into Ukraine.
Only 10% of the Luhansk region is now said to be under Ukrainian control compared to 30% at the beginning of March and the Russians want to capture the remainder including Severodonetsk and Lysychansk.
Russian forces are said to be pressing forward to the Bakhmut Severodonetsk highway from Popasna in an attempt to surround the defenders.
Ukrainian SF have blown bridges between Rubizhne and Severodonetsk to slow the Russian advance from the Izium direction.
Germany, France and Italy are proposing Putin calls a cease fire - that would reward him with a lot of captured territory, so if Ukraine is on the front foot they might not play ball.
15th May (day 81)
It's Sunday and in church we were reminded to Love our neighbour. Sadly Putin just brings death and misery to mankind, including Russian children who will have no fathers, Ukrainians who will have no homes, and those in the 'third world' who will die of starvation because supplies of food have been interrupted.
There are more reports of the depravity and brutality of Russian troops.
We wondered what it is like living in the occupied cities such as Melitopol, Kherson and Mariupol, and in villages where there are tales of rape and murder.
Finland and Sweden announce intent to join NATO.
MODUK says Russia has lost a third of their forces deployed in Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accuses the West of declaring all out hybrid war against Russia.
14th May (day 80)
A few days ago it sounded like Ukraine was slowly losing ground, whilst today after some successful attacks it appears as though Ukraine could be winning, but the reality is probably stalemate, with both sides taking a severe battering.
Ukraine says 23% of its rail network has been destroyed.
Commentators on Twitter suggest Putin's tired forces are digging in with a view to retaining territory captured in the Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson regions and replacing the civil administrations. Further north Russian troops could attempt to push on towards Barinkove to the SW of Izium, and to Severodonetsk if lines of supply between Belgorod and Izium are not interrupted.
In the Kherson region Russian forces could try pressing on towards Mikolayiv in order to reach Odessa, and to the city of Zaporizhzyha.
At the moment it looks as though Ukraine has just enough assets to defend the current line, but not enough to mount a counter-offensive and push the Russians out.
13th May (day 79)
Ukrainians think they may get the upper hand by August and the war could be over by Christmas.
Russians suffer heavy losses attempting to cross the Siverskyi-Donets river.
Speculation Russia has given up trying to take Kharkiv.
Rumours that Putin has cancer and there may already be moves to replace him.
Speculation Putin has sacked his top General Valery Gerasimov.
ISW consider it possible Russia might announce annexation of the territory they have captured into the Russian Federation; then might threaten use of tactical nuclear missiles if any attempt were made to take the territory back.
Turkey says it does not feel favourable to Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
12th May (day 78)
Russia said to be moving troops from Syria to Ukraine
11th May (day 77)
The PM signs bilateral treaties of mutual support with Sweden and Finland.
Fighting continues over Snake Island which lies off the coast of Ukraine, SW of Odessa. Russia has been attempting to fortify the island with Air Defence Systems and Coastal Defence Missiles, which could aid the blockade of the port of Odessa and any attempt to establish a land corridor to Transnistria (see below).
The Ukrainian counter attack continues to push Russian forces away from Kharkiv in the north and could threaten Russian supplies coming from Belgorod to Izium. However the Russians have reserves on their side of the border which could be moved to protect supply routes which have been forced eastwards, and reinforcements could be brought up from the Donbas.
Prof Michael Clarke speaking on Sky News expressed the opinion that Ukraine would likely not be capable of a larger offensives until the Summer or Autumn.
Russia continues to consolidate its positions and make small gains in the east.
Pounding attacks continue on the Azov steel plant in Mariupol where there will probably be a fight to the death.
Attacks have resumed on Odessa and the Dniester bridge in recent days. There is again some concern Russian troops in the break away district of Transnistria in Moldova might cause trouble. Russia has an estimated 1,500 soldiers in Transnistria, which Moscow refers to as a 'peace-keeping' force, and they have access to a large ammunition depot at Cobasna. Moldova has a very limited military capability but borders Romania which is a member of NATO.
There are rumours Belarus troops are on manouvre near the Ukrainian border in the north. President Lukashenka is a supporter of Moscow, but the people are less so and pundits think it unlikely Belarus troops would get directly involved in the war in Ukraine.
10th May (day 76)
Missile attacks on Odessa hit a warehouse and shopping mall.
The overall situation appears to be 'stalemate' with the Russians being able to make little progress westwards and Ukraine not having the military capability to retake the captured areas. If Putin had sense he would dig in and call a ceasefire.
9th May (day 75)
May Day parade in Moscow.
Putin does not escalate the war in Ukraine by announcing general mobilization, but of course he could always do that later if he felt the war was not going his way. He explained he was forced into taking military action by the risk of NATO encroachment into Ukraine. Pundits think Putin is preparing for a long war in Ukraine - peace talks seem unlikely while both sides think they can win.
Click below for Radio Free Europe report from Mariupol:-
8th May (day 74)
Yesterday a school where 90 civilians were sheltering was bombed by the Russians at Bilohorivka 40 KM east of Kramatorsk. 60 civilians are feared dead in the rubble.
Reports suggest the Russians have been consolidating their hold and edging forward making small gains in the east such as at Popasna and in the south east, but with significant loss of men and equipment. In the north east Ukrainian counter attacks are pushing the Russians away from Kharkiv.
A summary of events can be found on the Ukrainian Pravda website:-
For other situation reports for example by ISW and 'Jomini of the West' see Twitter links at the end.
Civilians are said to have evacuated the Azov steel plant, where the remaining 2,000 defenders in Mariupol seem prepared to fight to the death.
Tomorrow Moscow will celebrate victory over the Nazis in 1945. ABC News (owned by the Walt Disney Company) reports on what to expect:-
No-one knows what Putin's war aims are so it's uncertain what he will do next; possibly he will make an announcement at tomorrow's May Day victory celebrations.
It is concerning that Putin's survival depends on winning and he does not appear to have a 'reverse gear'. The war could therefore grind on until either Putin captures the whole of Ukraine or begins to run out of soldiers and ammunition when he would no doubt restart peace negotiations intending to keep as much of the Ukrainian territory his forces have captured as possible.
7th May (day 73)
The last civilians are said to have been evacuated from the Azov steel plant in Mariupol.
The Ukrainian Pravda newspaper carries an update on the operational situation:-
The place names are unfamiliar, but here is a stab at the situation as reported.
Polissia front: marshy ground to the north. Russian troops near border; quiet.
Siverskyi front: possibly relates to Donets river running past Kharkiv and Donetsk. Russians reinforcing positions on Russian Kursk side of border; quiet.
Slobozanzkyi front: Russians shelling Kharkiv and flying drones over Izium. Russians blow 3 road bridges north east of Kharkiv to delay Ukrainian counter attacks - possibly suggesting the Russians do not plan to come back.
Donetsk and Tavriia front: probably refers to the area in the SE between Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya, Kherson and the Black Sea, which includes Melitopol. Ukrainian troops being attacked along the line of contact.
Pivdennyi Buh front possibly referring to Southern Bug river which passes Mykolaiv: Ukrainian positions attacked with intent to deploy artillery and shell the city of Mykolaiv which halts progress to Odessa.
Ukrainians destroy Russian ammunition depot near Ivano-Kepyne about 60 Km to the east of the city of Mykolaiv.
Russian missiles hit the port of Odessa and surrounds.
There appear to have been no events of major importance during the previous two days.
Evacuations from the Azov steel plan, the port of Mariupol, and surrounds have continued; numbers of around 500 have been mentioned but not clear how many civilians have escaped from the bunkers of the Azov steel plant.
Attacks have continued on the defenders cornered in the Azov steel plant. Russia appears to be planning a victory parade in Mariupol on 9th May.
There were unconfirmed reports the Russian missile frigate Admiral Makarov commissioned in 2017 may have been damaged by a Neptune missile and is on fire in the Black Sea. Though reports were widely circulated this appears to be fake news.
Ukraine has been on the offensive and retaken towns to the north east of Kharkiv. Ostensibly this is to reduce shelling, but the city can still be hit by Russian missiles fired from further away.
The Ukrainian government website www.kmu.gov.ua/en which had been carrying a daily operational summary of events no longer works and is marked forbidden, but there is a new webpage www.war.ukraine.ua and if you click FOR MEDIA on the menu you will find links to some 'sanitised' key messages. For example:-
The website Ukrainian Crisis Media Centre relays a similar timeline.
6th May (day 72)
No diary entry
5th May (day 71)
Missile attacks on Kramatorsk where Russians claim an ammunition depot was destroyed.
Now too dangerous to evacuate civilians from Popasna.
Bridge and railway network attacked in Dnipro:-
The Amur bridge which carries road and rail traffic across the Dnieper river was damaged as Russia continues to attack lines of supply from the West.
4th May (day 70)
Attacks reported on 3 electricity substations and 6 railway stations near Lviv in the far west; this is presumably to disrupt the transport of arms from western nations. It also disrupts the water supply to Lviv.
Bus station hit in Avdiivka north of Donetsk killing and injuring civilians.
Oil facility on fire at Makeyevka north east of Donetsk; this may be a Russian asset.
Russian forces are thought to be preparing another push from Izium towards Kramatorsk and Severodonetsk in order to secure a firmer hold on the Donbas.
Civilians from Tokmak and Vasylika are to be evacuated to Zaporizhzhya which suggests Russia is gaining some ground in the region of Kherson.
Pundits say it would be very difficult for Ukraine to retake the land corridor to Crimea were Russians to blow the bridges across the Dnieper river, immediately to the east of the city of Kherson.
That might be viewed as bad news in Ukraine, but on the plus side it could signal Russia did not intend to press on to Odessa and a possible end to hostilities, giving Putin a way out. Russia might then hold onto its gains in the Donbas and the land corridor to Crimea including the port of Mariupol.
That said, the latest news from the government of Ukraine suggests Putin is pressing on to capture as much of Ukraine as he can:-
The operational update regarding the Russian invasion at 18:00 hours on May 4th 2022 link no longer works
3rd May (day 69)
Sounds like the Russians are bringing in reinforcements and consolidating their positions with a view to holding present ground, while possibly pressing further west.
Russians shell and bomb Avdiivka (Avdeyevka) and Vuhledar (Ugledar) near Donetsk in the east, and Lyman on the outskirts of Odessa in the south.
Ukraine retakes Staryi Saltiv NE of Kharkiv.
Russian submarines, which are firing missiles into Ukraine and being supplied from the port of Sevastopol, Crimea, could become vulnerable if Ukraine ia able to procure state of the art missiles.
Click for Ukraine government operational update link no longer works
Boris Johnson addresses the Ukrainian parliament via a video link.
In the evening it is reported 127 civilians evacuated from Mariupol reach Ukrainian controlled Zaporizhzyha.
An example of war crimes and barbarism
The Guardian newspaper carried a report on Saturday 30th April:-
Broadcaster John Simpson says on Twitter 'this is enough to show the appalling reality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. These things will never be forgotten by Russia’s neighbours'.
You must read the report and make up your own mind, but it seems clear to us amongst the Russian conscripts there are thieves, rapists and murderers committing cruel and brutal acts - people who in the normal world should be in prison.
At the Azov steel works
Russia steps up attacks on the defenders in the Azov steel works immediately after some civilians are evacuated. The defenders are in bunkers and tunnels so will be hard to dislodge, as the British found after they shelled German positions before the Battle of the Somme.
It's interesting the way nations respond to war. In Afghanistan the men chose not to fight and surrendered themselves to Taliban rule, which has set women's rights back 100 years. The Kurds fiercely fought the Islamic State and likewise Ukrainians are fighting Putin's forces.
We must all be concerned whether or not this war will escalate into a conflict involving the whole of Europe.
Well in a way that is already happening in terms of sanctions, military aid, inflation, and fuel and food shortages in the pipeline; military action has already spread outside the borders of Ukraine, with military targets being attacked inside Russia.
The only question left is will Russia attack NATO? Putin has already lost a lot of men and equipment, so he would be unwise to escalate, but who knows what an irrational Dictator will do.
Putin is essentially playing a game of Poker with the West, for very high stakes; one suspects logic has flown out the window.
2nd May (day 68)
Ukraine retakes Ruska Lozova to stop the shelling of Kharkiv; it's possible logistics from Belgorod could be interrupted if Ukraine makes further gains in the north.
Ukrainian drones drop 'missiles' and damage two Russian Raptor patrol boats near Snake Island in the Black Sea.
UEFA bans Russia from international football tournaments.
More reporting on civilians being evacuated from Mariupol. Seems they have not yet reached Zaporizhzyha and it's not clear how many, but a figure of just 100 or so has been mentioned.
The Russians have been transporting military equipment and supplies from Belgorod to Izium then trying to break out SW to Barvenkovo and SE to Slovyansk, but with little success.
There is a Russian build up in Kherson, but not clear whether this is consolidation, diversion or heralds an attempt to try for Odessa.
There is a missile strike on Odessa, and a further attack on the bridge across the Dienester estuary.
Russian missiles strike grain warehouses and a silo in the Dnipro region.
There are fears Putin could announce a general mobilisation at Russia's May Day parade in Moscow which would ratchet up the threat of a full blown European war.
European support for Ukraine is not all it might be. Turkey, a member of NATO, plans to ignore the ban on air travel and fly in Russian holidaymakers. Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia are highly dependent on Russian oil and gas and continue to finance Russia's war machine. Many Germans are fearful of antagonising Putin. As one might expect, business and fear largely trump morality.
Click for Ukraine government operational update link no longer works
1st May (day 67)
It's Sunday the first of May 2022. Reporting from Ukraine is limited and it's too dangerous for journalists to be on the front line, but here is a summary of what seems to be going on gleaned from Twitter; it's largely conjecture on our part:-
Russia has captured a large part of the Donbas in the east and Kherson in the south, and seems to be strengthening its grip on the territory it holds.
Russian troops continue to press forward aggressively, so Putin can claim a political victory for Russia's May Day parade on the 9th of the month. The Russian army has gained a little ground, but has met fierce resistance, lost a lot of armoured vehicles, and the tempo of fighting could be slowing
Russia is still attempting to take more territory in the east, for example around Severodonetsk and could be planning a breakout from Zaporizhzyha to Kryvyi Rih from where troops would either have the option to head north for Kiev or continue west to meet up with dissidents in Transnistria, Moldova.
A further assault to attempt to take or bypass Mikolayiv in order to capture Odessa and join up with Russian troops posing as freedom fighters in the break away region of Transnistria in Moldova cannot be ruled out.
In counter-attacks Ukraine claims to have retaken the villages of Verkhnia Rohanka, Ruska Lozova, and Slobidske to the north and east of Kharkhiv, and could make further gains in other areas once more arms flow in from the West and troops are trained how to use them. That could be a month away and in the meantime Ukraine needs to hold the line as best it can.
There seem to be elements in Germany who are supportive of Russia, and Germany has made alternative arrangements to continue buying oil and gas in Roubles, thus funding Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This is because Germany is so dependant on Russian gas, but were purchases to stop Putin would be brought to his knees.
Following the UN Secretary General's visit to Moscow and Kiev about 50 women and children have been evacuated from Mariupol by UN coaches; but there are possibly 1,000 more needing to be rescued.
Russia has cut fibre optic cables interrupting communications to Kherson and Zaporizhzhya, and is introducing the Rouble as currency in captured areas.
Ukraine accuses Russia of deporting Ukrainians to Russia and bringing Russians into Ukraine. Russia is said to be transporting stolen Ukrainian tractors, harvesters and grain to Russia.
There are reports of a Ukrainian attack on a Russian 2nd Army Command Post near Izium where a Russian general was killed and others injured. It is reported that Putin’s Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov was one of the injured and evacuated to Belgorod by helicopter. A military warehouse in Belgorod is reported on fire.
Russia ought soon to be happy with their gains so may propose a cease fire - perhaps planning to nibble away more Ukrainian territory at a later date.
Ukraine may want to fight on in the hope of reclaiming captured territory, once armed with weapons from the West, in which case some think that the war could go on for months or even years.
30th April (day 66)
Fierce fighting is reported in east Donbas where Russia has edged forwards, and heavy losses - the Battle of the Donbas is turning into a battle of attrition. Some think the Russian attack may peter out in a week or so, after Putin's May Day parade on 9th May. Others worry if Putin suffers too severe a setback he may declare war on Ukraine and mobilise reserves increasing the possibility of war with NATO.
Missile attacks put the runway at Odessa airport out of action. There is violence nearby in the Transnistria region of Moldova, where a Russian garrison is maintained, which could be 'False Flag' operations by Russia hoping to open up another front and take more of the coastline around Odessa.
An unconfirmed report suggests a small Russian sabotage group may have been planning to attack the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant at Pivdennoukrainsk which lies about 150Km north of Odessa and 300 Km west of Zaporizhzhya near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk.
There was mention yesterday of British volunteers captured by the Russian military:
Sky News reports Paul Urey and Dylan Healy were captured at a Russian checkpoint in Zaporizhzysa attempting to rescue a Ukrainian family.
The BBC reports Aidan Aslin and Shaun Pinner surrendered near Mariupol.
Sky News reports Andrew Hill surrendered near Mykolayiv.
Sky News reports Scott Sibley was killed nearby.
The latter had possibly joined the Ukraine Foreign Legion.
29th April (day 65)
The Russians fired 5 missiles into the city of Kiev while the UN Secretary General was there. One draws the conclusion Putin was 'sticking up a finger' at the UN.
Two British voluntary workers evacuating civilians were reported captured at a Russian checkpoint in Zaporizhzhya.
On BBC Newsnight pundits said the immediate aim was to stop the Russian advance in Ukraine. Then there must be a discussion within NATO to agree how far to push the Russians back and bring an end to the conflict.
28th April (day 64)
Putin says any country that intervenes in his special military operation will face a lightning-fast response.
Not only that Putin claims if necessary he’s prepared to use all the tools no-one can boast of which is presumably a threat to use nuclear weapons to deter the West from providing aid to Ukraine.
Lavrov tells the West their personnel and weapon systems in Ukraine will be considered legitimate targets.
The UN Secretary General is now in Ukraine and will be meeting with President Zelensky later today. The UN chief has visited Borodyanka to view the destroyed city and was appalled by what he saw.
The UN would ideally like to evacuate 1,000 civilians from the Azov steel plant area tomorrow.
One wonders what has happened to the remainder of the 400,000 population of Mariupol as a result of Putin's siege and pounding the city into rubble; surely the final tally of civilian casualties will be horrendous.
Click for Washington Post commentary on recent events:-
27th April (day 63)
Comment - the march to war
The drumbeats are getting louder as Western nations gradually realise they have to stop Putin. The period of sitting on the fence is over and Russia knows it. NATO countries are now supplying tanks and artillery seemingly having decided the threat of nuclear war is unlikely - provided the conflict can be contained within Ukraine.
With the Russians now making small gains in the Donbas and likely to make a pincer movement to surround the Ukrainian defenders before pushing further west, and the possibility of Russia capturing Mykolaiv and then pushing towards Odessa, Russia could yet claim a huge victory.
If the Russians are stopped roughly where they are Putin could still claim a Victory in taking the east Donbas and establishing a land corridor to Crimea.
Either way Putin will be able to claim a victory, unless Ukraine can push the Russian army back to it's start line and that is looking unlikely at the moment.
We are picking up most news from Twitter, the BBC and Sky News which mostly present a Western viewpoint and it's all broad brush stuff.
Explosions are reported at a Russian ammunition depot near the settlement of Irmino which is situated east of Popasna (also known as Popasnaya) and 30 miles west of Luhansk.
A few days ago there were reports of explosions at fuel and ammunition depots near Belgorod in Russia north of Kharkiv and Twitter reports suggest there may have been many other acts of sabotage in Russia and Belarus.
Pundits say the longer range artillery given to Ukraine should help the defenders.
Russians are reported to be in Kupyansk in the north of the city of Kharkiv, in Svatove close to the city of Luhansk, and Zavody south west of Izium.
Concerningly, Russians are said to be on the outskirts of Kamyshevakha which looks to be well on the way to Dnipro. The Russians have been on the outskirts of Zaporizhzhya for some time and occupied the large Nuclear Power Plant, which has six reactors, last month.
Bing maps seem a good place to find these locations:
Sky News reports from Kramatorsk that Russia is making small gains and there have been fierce artillery duels.
Twitter reports the attrition of Russian armour has increasing significantly in recent days - suggesting Russia's operational pause is over and its troops are now pressing forward.
US spokesmen say they want to see Russia seriously weakened.
Putin is angry and threatens 'severe action' against those who interfere with his military operation. As far as we know Russia has not declared war on Ukraine - Putin has just invaded it.
Radio 5 this morning
At 7:10 am on the Breakfast show Dr Samuel Ramani of Oxford University spoke about the situation in Ukraine. He was followed at 8:20 am by Rear Admiral Chris Parry who thought that Russia would attempt to take Odessa and Moldova by the 9th May.
General Lord Donnatt followed at 9:49 am on the Nicky Campbel show. He thought a ceasefire, negotiation, and compromise would be needed to end the war and that realistically Ukraine would have to give up 15% of its territory, leaving the Donbas and Crimean corridor in Russian hands.
In the evening UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss made a speech at the Manor House saying Russian forces must be pushed out of the whole of Ukraine.
26th April (day 62)
Russians continue to make small gains in the Donbas. Novotoshkivske near Popasna taken, Kreminna confirmed taken. Long column of Russian tanks heading for Slovyansk. Ukrainian soldiers say they are taking a hammering.
In the south the bridge across the Dniester estuary connecting Odessa to the tip of Ukraine, Moldova and carrying the only rail link to Romania is badly damaged by missile attacks.
Two radio masts near Mayak in the breakaway region on Transnistria which broadcast Russian radio were badly damaged. Transnistria is part of Moldova but leans towards Russia and has Russian troops stationed there. Some pundits suspect Russia will attempt to capture Odessa and establish a land corridor with Transnistria.
Some Western politicians are beginning to say that 'Russia cannot be allowed to win' without declaring what that means.
UK Defence Minister James Heappey speaking on TV backed Ukraine's right to attack lines of supply inside Russia with British weapons.
Russia says it will cut off the supply of Natural Gas to Poland and Bulgaria because they won't pay in Roubles. Possibly a warning to Germany who rely on Russian gas.
The UN Secretary General visited Russia to discuss evacuation of Mariupol with Putin and Lavrov. Little reported so we assume Putin was not interested; his priority seeemed to be handing medals to Olympic gymnasts.
25th April (day 61)
Fires at civil and military oil storage depots at Bryansk in Russia north of Kharkiv. Cause unknown but pundits have suggested possibly Bayraktar TB2 drones or Tochka-U ballistic missiles.
Railway line in Russia bringing material into Ukraine blown up; possibly by Ukrainian SF
Grenade attack on a ministry building in Transnistria a Russian backed break away region in Moldova.
Red Cross aid to Krvyi Rih which lies to the north of Kherson and west of Zaporizhzia.
Russians strike 5 railway stations, junctions, and electricity substations in an attempt to slow the flow of weapons from the West.
Missiles attacks on the city of Kremenchuk which lies to the west of Dnipro.
Russian build up near Huliaipole to the east of Zaporizhzia.
Unexplained explosion in Kreminna occupied by Russians.
In the north of the Donbas Lysachansk, Severodonetsk, Rubhizne, Bakhmut, Kreminna and Popasna are being fought over. Further to the north Kharkiv and Saltivka continue to be shelled.
US Secretary of State and Secretary of Defence meet with Zelensky in Kiev and promise more aid.
Russia tells the United States to stop sending more arms to Ukraine.
The Russians have continued to make small gains in east Donbas and Putin could stop now and claim a victory, but he shows no sign of doing so.
24th April (day 60)
It's Easter Sunday in the Orthodox church.
Not much to report. Russians are said to have made small gains for heavy losses; two more Russian generals reported killed.
23rd May (day 59)
President Zelensky holds a large press conference in an underground metro station in Kiev. Exhorts parents to protect their children. Says US Secretary of State and Secretary for Defence will visit Kiev tomorrow.
Defenders in Azov steel plant bombed; no evacuation from Mariupol.
Cruise missiles probably launched from aircraft hit military facilities and apartments in Odessa.
22nd April (day 58)
In Ukraine it is Holy Friday of Easter in the Orthodox Church.
There is a Russian missile attack on a hospital in Bashtanka a small town to the north of Mykolayiv. It's not clear why the Russians would do that unless planning to skirt round Mykolayiv either in order to capture Odessa or head north for Kiev.
Russian General Rustan Minnekayev provides a clue in saying Russia wants to sieze South Ukraine and open a route to Transnistria a break away district in Moldova.
Russia is said to have taken 42 villages but not advanced very far.
Heavy shelling continues in Kharkhiv
Russia is pressing south from Izium, fighting in Rubizhne and hopes eventually to take Kramatorsk.
Putin's Special Military Operation is renamed Operation Defend Donbas.
PM Boris Johnson says the war in Ukraine could go on till the end of next year.
Either not a great deal is happening or there is an enveloping cloak of secrecy, as the media has little to report.
21st April (day 57)
The Battle of the Donbas may be just warming up. Ukraine rumoured to have more T72 tanks from neighbouring countries possibly creating parity with the Russian force.
Russians occupying Popasna in the Sievierodonetsk region but Ukraine claims to hold Rubizhne.
So far Ukraine seems to be largely holding the line roughly running north south from Izium to Mariupol.
Russia holds most of Mariupol and plans to seal off defenders in the Azov steel plant. Ukraine has been talking about evacuating the defenders and civilians so it's likely Putin will be able to announce capturing Mariupol and the success of his specialised military operation at Moscow's May Day parade.
20th April (day 56)
Ukraine claims to have retaken Marinka which lies to the north of Mariupol in the Donetsk region.
The Ukrainian commander of the defending force trapped within the Azov steel plant in Mariupol says he is outnumbered and running out of supplies and this may be his last broadcast. It sounds as though only days or hours remain.
19th April (day 55)
Russia says 1,260 attacks were launched last night, and there is said to be activity across the 300 mile long eastern front. Ukraine confirms Russia now has control of Kreminna.
Bonker busting bombs are dropped on the defenders in Mariupol. The defenders are once again invited to surrender between 2 pm and 4 pm Moscow time.
Ukraine counter attacks around Kharkiv and Kherson.
What people are saying
Finland and Sweden may apply for NATO membership around 10th July 2022.
Putin has triggered Cold War 2. NATO forces will be strengthened and there will be tension in countries adjoining Russia for decades.
China , Brazil and Africa are not interested in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and simply waiting to see what happens.
Ukraine needs more heavy weapons such as tracked Howitzers and SU24 ground attack aircraft.
Defence Committee hearing
The Defence Committee chaired by Tobias Ellwood interviewed retired General Richard Barrons.
Barrons suggested that weapons were being supplied to Ukraine as a delaying action to give time for NATO to reset; Ukraine might possibly halt the Russian advance, but unlikely to roll it back.
The best scenario was likely to be a military stalemate by late spring; then possibly an insurgency while Ukraine rearmed with the intention of throwing Russia out.
Ukraine is using up weapons faster than they can be supplied.
Should Russia begin to win, NATO would have to decide whether or not to commit air power and naval forces with boots on the ground as a last resort.
NATO would have to respond if there was a Russian incursion into NATO territory, but if this was a minor incursion it might be met by just a minor response.
Use of Chemical Weapons could be met by cutting all financial links with Russia and an attack on the source.
Most countries expected to cut ties with Russia were tactical nuclear weapons to be used.
18th April (day 54)
Comment - the march to war
This year Holy Week in the Orthodox Church in Ukraine falls a week later than in the UK, and it looks like Putin has chosen this week to lauch his military offensive in the Donbas.
The drumbeats are getting louder as NATO finds itself getting dragged into the war in Ukraine. The West cannot afford to let Putin win; likewise Putin cannot afford to lose face.
Putin has 'thrown down the gauntlet' and challenged the US and its allies to stop supplying arms; given Russian atrocities in Ukraine the West should now assume that a negotiated peace is unlikely; this means Putin will have to be stopped by force of arms. Can the US and NATO help Ukraine achieve this while containing the conflict within Ukraine so as to avoid a third world war?
One wonders if:
Phase 2 of the invasion - the expected Russian offensive in the east of Ukraine appears to have started.
There are reports on the BBC of aircraft launching missiles with hits on military warehouses in Lviv; missiles also hit other areas including Kramatorsk and Luhansk.
Russians are reported to be entering Kreminna but could they be halted if their lines of supply are interrupted?
Pictures appear of the sinking Russian missile cruiser Moskva eg:
17th April (day 53)
Easter Sunday in UK.
Russia offers defenders in Mariupol a last chance to surrender, else there will be No Quarter implying combatants are likely to be slaughtered rather than being taken prisoner. No surrender so a fight to the death looks likely, as at the Alamo.
There have been air attacks over 3 nights which Russia says is in response to Ukrainian helicopter attacks on Russian villages but this is more likely retaliation after the sinking of the Moskva (for pictures see above).
16th April (day 52)
Russia bans visits by PM Boris Johnson and other politicians
Russia is reported to have cut off the water supply to the strategic city of Mykolaiv which protects Odessa.
More missile strikes near Kiev and Lviv.
Russians accused of digging up bodies in Mariupol and burning corpses in truck mounted mobile Crematoria to destroy evidence of war crimes.
Putin says any attack on Russian soil would have grave consequences - which is pretty cheeky as Russia has attacked and devastated cities in Ukraine such as Mariupol.
Putin warns US and allies to stop sending arms to Ukraine.
15th April (day 51)
Clive Myrie talks on BBC Radio 5 about interview with President Zelensky. He says he looks tired and needs tanks and artillery NOW.
Russian missile attack on factory producing NEPTUNE anti-ship missiles near Kiev.
Russia warns Finland and Sweden not to join NATO.
Russia accuses Ukraine of attacks by helipcopters on Russian villages.
14th April 2022 (day 50)
Radio 5 breakfast news reports that the Russian Missile Cruiser Moskva is on fire in the Black Sea. Ukraine claims to have hit the ship with Neptune Cruise Missiles.
Later in the day the Moskva sinks while being towed back to port.
At 7:42 am Frank Gardner said on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast that there had been an operational pause in the fighting while Russia licked its wounds and regrouped ready for the expected big battle in the Donbas; the result of which may decide the outcome of the war. What has Russia achieved so far?
Russia continues to attack key points with missiles, with special focus on taking Mariupol.
USA approves $800M aid package for Ukraine.
The three main areas of support for Ukraine are:
Russia says vehicles carrying US and NATO military aid within Ukraine will be legitimate targets.
13th April 2022 (day 49)
President Biden says Putin's invasion of Ukraine amounts to genocide, after seeing reports from Bucha and surrounds. It can therefore be assumed Biden now supports the ramping up of weaponry, such as MIG29s.
Professor Gwythian Prins speaking on Radio Hereford and Worcester at 08:42 this morning said he did not disagree with Biden, but Putin could certainly be accused of the crime of aggression. The West now needs to be prepared for war with Russia, should it come to that.
Putin is aiming for a five to one force advantage so he can take the Donbas, but Gwythian Prins seems to think that the smaller but better trained Ukrainian army still has a chance of halting and possibly defeating the Russian army in the east. That's difficult to imagine seeing videos of large convoys being brought into theatre by the Russians, but who knows what armaments are on their way from the West?
12th April 2022 (day 48)
The governor of Belgorod (in Russia to the north of Kharkiv) said that train tracks in the Shebekinsky district were damaged - possibly by Ukrainian forces attempting to delay Russian reinforcements on their way to Izium.
Reports of Russian soldiers raping Ukrainian women may be investigated by the UN.
Unconfirmed reports of the use of chemical weapons in Mariupol, after articles in Pravda suggesting the defenders need to be 'smoked out'. Ukrainian marines in Mariupol said to be running low on supplies. Therefore a good chance Putin will be able to declare the seizure of Mariupol at his May Day Victory parade.
Kharkiv continues to be shelled and was hit by cluster munitions yesterday. The towns of Rubizhne and Papasna nearer Luhansk are also being shelled
The BBC reported Russian tanks advancing towards the front-line near Luhansk this morning.
Putin says he will continue until his all his goals are achieved - but pundits are unsure what Putin's goals are. Will he settle for taking more of the Donbas and Mariupol or will he attempt to push further out to Dnipro and Odessa. No doubt that will very much depend on the resistance he meets and only time will tell.
11th April 2022 (day 47)
Large Russian convoy of lorries and armoured personnel carriers seen passing through Matveev Kurgan presumably on its way to reinforce Donetsk.
10th April 2022 (day 46)
More Russian atrocities reported at Makariv near Bucha.
Russian rocket attacks destroy Dnipro airport.
A large 8 mile Russian armoured convoy was seen near Velkyi Burku 2 days ago believed to be headed for Izium, where a possible attack on Sloviansk is likely - part of a move to gain more ground around Donetsk and Luhansk.
Many Russians still believe Putin's propaganda and don't see the damage he is doing or believe srories of atrocities.
The situation has been relatively quiet for a few days while the Russians withdraw from the north of Ukraine and bring in reinforcements in the east. A new general Alexander Dvornikov has been brought in to coordinate the invasion of Ukraine.
The terrain in east Ukraine is flat so there is bound to be a lot of bloodshed on both sides if Russia seeks to gain further territory, as no doubt it will in pursuance of Putin's desire for a 'May Day' victory.
Military aid from Western nations has a long way to go the reach the frontline in the east, so there is now likely to be a race on both sides to see who can get the upper hand.
9th April 2022 (day45)
The media reports PM Boris Johnson's visit to meet President Zelensky in Ukraine.
Britain promises more military aid; the media speculates this may include 120 armoured vehicles and HARPOON anti-ship missiles to see off the Russian Navy blockading Odessa.
8th April 2022 (day 44)
Rocket attack on Kramatorsk railway station where several thousand people were waiting to be evacuated; 52 killed and 100 wounded.
Britain to provide more military aid to Ukraine
7th April 2022 (day 43)
The UN votes by a narrow margin to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council. 58 countries abstained, including Syria and many African countries receiving aid from Russia.
More Russian atrocities reported in Borodyanka.
Pundits think it will take at least a week for Russia to bring in reinforcements in the east, and that Putin may want a big victory to announce at the May Day parade on the 9th May.
Others suggest that the West should think carefully about the outcome of the war. Would a crushing defeat of Russian forces in Ukraine be a good outcome, or should Putin be allowed a way out that he can claim as a victory for his Special Operation. This may influence the type and number of heavy weapons supplied to Ukraine which they need now to repel the expected Russian attack in the Donbas.
Looking at a map of Ukraine the towns likely to come under attack in April include,
6th April 2022 (day 42)
A Red Cross team leads a convoy of buses and private cars with between 500 and 1,000 people from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia.
Civilians are urged to leave the Donbas region while they can as a renewed Russian assault is expected.
The UN is to vote on suspending Russia from the Human Rights Council tomorrow.
The Czech Republic has offered to supply Ukraine with some T72 tanks and other vehicles.
5th April 2022 (day 41)
President Zelenky briefs the UN about Russian atrocities and asks if the UN should dissolve itself should it be powerless to act. He suggests Russia is expelled from the Security Council.
The media is full of stories about Russian atrocities.
Street fighting continues in the area of Rubizhne and Popasna (Luhansk region) in east Ukraine, and Mariupol continues to be bombarded.
The Daily Express thinks the story of the surrender of 267 Ukrainian marines to Russian forces in Mariupol is Fake News.
4th April 2022 (day 40)
Many media stories about Russian atrocities in Hostomel, Bucha and Irpen; for example the murder of civilians with their hands bound behind their backs.
Russia says the killing of civilians is fake news and they have instead brought aid; few believe it.
US senators are strongly united in saying Putin must be dealt with. President Biden praises Boris Johnson for taking the lead in supporting Ukraine.
Civilians being evacuated from the city of Kramatorsk north of Donetsk in expectation of a Russian attack.
Shelling of civilian areas of Kharkiv continues.
A concise summary of the military situation can be found on The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) website:
3rd April 2022 (day 39)
The media leads with stories of Russian atrocities in Bucha to the NW of Kiev.
Missiles hit oil refineries and depots in Odessa.
The newspapers remind us that the Black Sea is mined and that the Russian is preventing goods coming into Ukraine by sea.
Russia says it is too soon for Putin to meet Zelensky for peace talks. Putin obviously hope to steal more territory, including Mariupol.
Russia still preventing Red Cross access to Mariupol.
President Zelensky raises issue of rebuilding after the war.
2nd April 2022 (day 38)
Russian troops are now either retreating or pulling back north of Kiev, and President Zelensky is expecting a more concerted attack in the east once Russia has regrouped. Russia is alleged to have hired ruthless Wagner mercenaries to join the fight.
Pundits are thinking Ukraine must obtain a decisive victory in order to bring the Russians to the negotiating table and for this to happen the West will have to increase the supply of heavy weaponry to Ukraine.
The port of Mariupol remains a key objective for the Russians.
Putin is maintaining his grip on the outskirts of Mariupol, planning to bombard and starve out the Ukrainian Azov Brigade. They are reputed to be fearsome fighters and obviously the Russians are not prepared to take them on in hand-to-hand fighting in order to secure the port.
The Red Cross is eager to bring in humanitarian aid from Zaporizhzhia for the starving population of Mariupol but we think Putin will have none of that until either the city falls or Ukraine sends in a relief column.
There has been a prisoner swap with 86 Ukranian soldiers returned.
Civilians murdered by the retreating Russian army have been found lying by the roadside in Bucha to the west of Kiev.
The Ukrainian Red Cross has delivered humanitarian aid to Okhtyrka in Sumy province to the north. Aid was also delivered to Severodetsk and Lysychansk in the east of Ukraine not far from occupied Luhansk.
Red Cross was prevented from entering Mariupol for a third time.
Maks Levin's body is found near Kiev; he is the sixth journalist to have died in Ukraine and it is suspected he was murdered by the Russians.
1st April 2022 (day 37)
Red Cross prevented from entering Mariupol by Russians.
Russian troops occupying the former nuclear power plant at Chernobyl have left, the plant's staff say.
A Russian official says two Ukrainian army helicopters attacked a Russian fuel depot on April 1 in the Russian city of Belgorod, located north of Kharkiv.
On 29 March explosions had been reported at an ammunition depot near Belgorod.
31st March 2022 (day 36)
A day marked by outspoken briefings suggesting Russia could lose this war.
Sir Jeremy Fleming, Director of GCHQ the United Kingdom’s intelligence, cyber and security agency spoke to the Australian National University (ANU) National Security College on 31 March 2022
To quote a piece that has appeared in news reports:
Minister of Defence Ben Wallace said 'Russia's ambitions to take Kyiv and the whole of the country quickly have fallen apart and in many ways Vladimir Putin has already lost'.
The Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radikin addressed the Institute for Government and also said 'in many ways Putin has already lost'.
Beth Rigby interviews:-
Ex boxer Vitali Klitschko doesn't want to see Ukrainian land gifted to Russia as a 'compromise' after so many Ukranians have given their lives in defence of their country. What compromise he says, Russia takes, and gives nothing.
An Australian website carried two articles the first of which says Putin has made a big mistake, and the second that Ukraine must be prepared to compromise.
Ukraine is reported to have retaken the towns of Sloboda and Luhashivka south of Chernihiv.
A Red Cross convoy planned to enter Mariupol with supplies and lead civilians out, but has been blocked; will try again tomorrow. The Russians will oppose supplies being taken in - they are trying to starve out the defenders.
Putin decrees gas must be paid for in Roubles, but EU says no.
Britain sanctions 'Butcher of Mariupol' Russian general Mikhail Mizintsev accused of massacring 300 civilians in theatre attack; the head of Russia Today, and 12 more Kremlin allies as Liz Truss blasts Putin's 'torrent of lies' about the invasion of Ukraine.
30th March 2022 (day 35)
Russia said it would reduce military combat operations around the capital Kyiv and northern city of Chernihiv. This may simply be acceptance of the fact the Russian advance has been stopped by Ukrainian forces.
There has been speculation in recent days that Russia will start a pincer movement bringing troops down from near Kharkiv and up from Kherson in an attempt to surround Ukraine troops in the east and capture as much of the Donbas and Ukrainian territory alongside the Back Sea as possible, including the port of Mariupol in order to provide a land corridor between The Crimea and the west Russian border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that shelling of the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol will only end when Ukrainian troops surrender.
The BBC reports shelling close to the rural town of Orikhiv which lies to the east of Zaporizhzia and north of Melitopol. Presumably from Russian forces from Crimea which have taken Kherson and Melitopol in the SE and now hope to advance northwards.
Estimates of how much longer the war will go on for range from one to several months. Some pundits think sanctions will not work and that Russia will find alternative markets for example in China and India. Others suggest that there could be a finite limit to the military aid given to Ukraine.
It is likely Putin will keep the war going for as long as it takes for him to capture a large chunk of east Ukraine. He is gradually destroying cities, military facilities and fuel depots. Russia has suffered losses of men and equipment but has more and its factories and military facilities are intact. It's therefore difficult to see how Ukraine can 'win' without the West giving Ukraine enough firepower to dislodge the Russians from Mariupol and Kherson.
Their are reports the Kiev Regional Military Administration's official website is currently being targeted by a Cyber-attack.
29th March 2022 (day 34)
Peace talks hosted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were held in Istanbul on the opposite side of the Black sea to Ukraine and Russia. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and owner of Chelsea Football Club appeared possibly as a mediator; his exact role is not known.
We found a good map on the Reddit website showing the location of Ukrainian towns and cities:
It seems to us that Putin could emerge as the victor from this conflict by capturing a land corridor from Russia to the Crimea taking in the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk, and gaining an assurance that Ukraine would never join NATO.
By way of doing this he will have killed tens of thousands counting both Russian and Ukrainian dead, injured and maimed perhaps 3 times as many, destroyed homes, cities, factories and military facilities, caused 4 million refugees to flee Ukraine and perhaps another 6 million to move within Ukraine. After causing all that murder and mayhem we wonder whether or not he will get off 'Scot free' and die of old age before being brought to account.
28th March 2022 (day 33)
The stalemate continues.
Ukraine claims to have liberated Trostyanets and Borovlya between Sumy and Kharkiv in the north; the Russians are being pressed at Brovary which lies 12 miles NE of Kiev (16 miles by road). Ukraine also claims to have recaptured Irpin which lies 13 miles to the west of Kiev (17 miles by road).
The siege of Mariupol continues. Zelensky says he is prepared for Ukraine to become a neutral country, not join NATO, not have nuclear weapons, and the future of the Donbas region to be discussed.
Pundits suggest the Ukrainian situation can only get worse as Putin has a bigger army, and that Putin unlikely to negotiate until he has captured more territory eg the Donbas and SE, including the port of Mariupol.
A lone pundit suggests Ukraine could still 'win', though that has a hollow ring when homes, factories and cities are being destroyed by Putin.
President Biden is quoted as saying Putin is a butcher and 'for God's sake this man cannot remain in power'. For that he is heavily criticised by the press, including Freddy Gray of The Spectator, who may be scared of Putin, but Biden reflects what the public thinks.
Click below for report on recent events in the Spanish newspaper El Pais:-
27th March 2022 (day 32)
No significant events.
26th March 2022 (day 31)
'The stalemate continues, while we wait for Putin's next move'. That statement suggests Putin is 'pulling the levers' whereas better Ukraine and the West now control events and Putin is kept on the back-foot.
The West is firmly united against Putin, while other countries such as India and China are sitting on the sidelines.
Will Putin have one last push to try to take Kiev and Odessa before a ceasefire has to be declared?
The PM thinks Putin is doubling down and can't afford to lose face - so it's difficult to predict where this is going to go.
Russian missiles hit fuel depot and fighter jet repair facility in outskirts of Lviv.
25th March 2022 (day 30)
Russia says the first phase of the war is over and it will now focus on the 'complete liberation' of the eastern Donbas region.
No doubt Putin will want to grab as much land as he can including the Ukrainian coast line from the Sea of Azov to Odessa.
However The Pentagon has said Ukrainian forces could re-take the southern city of Kherson, which was one of the first cities Russian forces took in the early days of the war.
Dramatic footage from Alex Crawford on late night Sky News as news-team attempted to reach the city of Chernihiv but had to withdraw due to shelling.
Russian cruise missiles hit airforce command post at Vinnytsia a town where in 1937 Stalin instigated the execution of 10,000 Ukrainians, Poles and dissidents in the Great Purge.
24th March 2022 (day 29)
President Biden in Brussels for NATO, G7 and European Council Summits about the war in Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces sank the Russian landing craft Orsk which had arrived in the occupied port of Berdyansk 3 days ago.
Ukrainian forces are trying to push the Russians out of Irpin which is 13 miles west of Kiev (17 miles by car).
The cities of Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkiv to the north are surrounded by Russian forces.
The port of Berdyansk in the south east with access to the Sea of Azov was taken early in the war. The city port of Mariupol is surrounded and partly taken over by Russian forces who have installed a puppet mayor. The Russians are attempting to starve out the remaining population and defenders.
It looks as though Putin's chief aim is to cut off Ukraine from the Sea of Azov, and Black Sea, including the port of Odessa if he can.
Mykolaiv is a key town blocking the Russian advance to Odessa.
Slightly to the north of Mikolaiv Russians headed to Kiev from the south were stopped at Vozenensk where the Ukrainian defenders saw off a small armoured column and blew the road-bridge.
23rd March 2022 (day 28)
Opinion amongst pundits is that sadly this war could reach stalemate and grind on for a long time. That's not going to benefit anybody except possibly the companies producing weapons and arms dealers.
Note: an article about 'Ukraine’s tragedy and its implications' by Percy Allan who explains his observations (and worries) about the escalating war in Europe’s biggest breadbasket and largest country by area (after Russia).
It has been reported that Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons if confronted with an existential threat. This has always been the case and smacks of mischievous newspaper reporters unnecessarily 'stirring things up'.
Moscow geography teacher Kamran Manafly has been sacked after refusing to toe the Kremlin’s line on Ukraine. A reminder that in Russia under Putin free speech is not allowed. Elderly Russians mostly believe Putin's propaganda, while younger people with access to the Internet have a more open mind; some disgusted by gagging of the press are leaving Russia.
It is reported one of Putin's chums Russian climate change envoy Anatoly Chubais has stood down from his post and fled Russia.
Poland expels 45 Russian diplomats.
President Biden arrives in Brussels for NATO conference.
It is rumoured the US has suggested Russia should be expelled from the G20 but China is likely to oppose such a move. We wonder if Putin would venture to G20 meetings outside Russia this year given the possibility of either being arrested and charged with war crimes, or facing assassination.
22nd March 2022 (day 27)
Biden warns Russia may use Biological or Chemical weapons.
Biden says US must prepare for Cyber attacks.
Fighting around Kiev continues. Ukraine takes back the town of Makariv, but residents are advised to leave Boryspil and its airport where fighting is expected.
Russians increase air activity.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Russia to end its 'absurd war' in Ukraine, warning that the conflict is 'going nowhere fast' and that the Ukrainian people are 'enduring a living hell'.
Ukrainian forces rout Russian probe and blows bridge at Vozenensk.
21st March 2022 (day 26)
Mariupol refuses a Russian invitation to surrender, so we could soon be witnessing a re-enactment of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836 but on a much larger scale; the difference is there are many civilians in Mariupol. However further attacks on the port will likely only stiffen Ukrainian resolve.
The situation can also be likened to the battle for Singapore in 1942.
The hit and run tactics of the Ukrainian forces mirror early tactics during the American War of Independence when it was the French Navy that assisted the Americans ultimately defeat the British. However the Ukrainians may need more arms and a step up in capability if they are to harry lines of supply enough to cause surrounded Russian battle groups to surrender.
It's just possible unrest in the Russian military caused by high casualties in Ukraine allied to civilian unrest linked to rising prices and sanctions might then lead to another 'Russian Revolution', Putin being toppled and truly democratic elections in Russia.
On a Sky News TV clip last night it was reported Russians near Kharkiv had been invited to collect their dead, but the Russians callously said 'they had no further need for them'.
Ammonia plant near Sumy in NE Ukraine attacked.
Russian warships shell residential buildings on the outskirts of Odesa according to Serhiy Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odesa Oblast Military Administration.
The Jerusalem Post reports landing ships bringing in supplies at the Ukrainian port of Berdyansk. Quote:
20th March 2022 (day 25)
It's Sunday, the Russian advance has slowed but air attacks continue both on key facilities and civilians; Russian forces look set to capture the strategic port of Mariupol.
It's likely Putin's forces are pausing to regroup while waiting for reinforcements; so there could be worse bloodshed to come.
The Ukrainians had been asking and hoping for other nations to join them in the fight against Putin but they are beginning to realise NATO nations are extremely reluctant to join in.
On the other hand, the public in many countries are putting increasing pressure on politicians to adopt a tougher line with Putin.
Ukrainian forces are said to be close to losing the key Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol where fierce fighting continues; the mayor says thousands of captured civilians are being taken to Russia and dispersed. Rescue of several hundred people trapped in the basement of the bombed theatre is proving difficult due to the fighting.
An art school which was sheltering 400 civilians in Mariupol was destroyed by a series of Russian strikes.
Yesterday, it was confirmed a Russian missile struck a military barracks in the southern city of Mykolaiv, where 200 soldiers were sleeping causing heavy casualties.
Ukrainian officials say 56 people were killed during an attack on an old folks home in Kreminna, eastern Ukraine.
It was reported that Russia used the Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missile to destroy a Ukrainian fuel depot in Kostiantynivka near the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv.
The previous day, the Russian military said the Kinzhal had been used for the first time in combat to destroy an underground ammunition depot in Diliatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk in the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine (to the south of Lviv)
Russia says cruise missiles were launched from waters of the Black Sea against the Nizhyn plant (north east of Kiev) that repairs Ukrainian armoured vehicles damaged in fighting.
Air-launched missiles hit a facility in Ovruch in the northern Zhytomyr region where foreign fighters and Ukrainian special forces were located.
Elsewhere Ukrainian forces are hitting back.
In Belarus, to conceal the death toll, the Russians are putting the bodies of casualties onto trains, during the hours of darkness, for return to Russia.
19th March 2022 (day 24)
President Zelensky has offered concessions but we are not aware of any yet offered by the Russians.
It appears for the time being Ukraine has lost control of the port of Mariupol.
18th March 2022 (day 23)
Small gains by Russian forces, which remain largely stalled.
Fierce fighting continues over the town of Izyum near Kharkiv. BBC Radio 5 reported this morning Izyum had been taken by the Russians but we don't know whether that is true or speculation.
Russia increases its stranglehold on the port of Mariupol planning to starve the defenders into submission, having already destroyed most of the city. Clearly Russia wants to capture the whole of the south east blocking Ukraine from the sea, land which if taken Russia would probably never give back.
The battle between Ukrainian and Russian forces for control of Mariupol has now reached the city center, according to the Mayor Vadym Boichenko. Russian troops have besieged the port along the Sea of Azov for weeks and have isolated it from the rest of Ukrainian-controlled areas in the southern part of the country. Getting control of Mariupol is a top priority for Russia since it would complete a land-bridge between the Russian-backed separatist states in the Donbas region and Crimea.
Some survivors from the basement of the bombed theatre in Mariupol have been found but more rubble needs to be cleared; shelling is making the rescue difficult.
Russian cruise missiles destroyed an aircraft repair facility near Lviv airport.
Biden talks to the President of China amid concerns China might give Russia military aid.
Peace talks continue but we think this could be a smokescreen. Likely Putin is bringing in reinforcements and planning his next move. He is proud and over-confident; he will not stop until he is stopped by others.
Today, copying Hitler, Putin held a packed Rally and Concert in Moscow to celebrate the anniversary of illegally taking The Crimea. State workers were bussed in to help fill the seats.
India Today carries 'jazzed-up' reports on the invasion. Google India Today YouTube videos to find them. For example:
17th March 2022 (day 22)
The morning news led with the joyous arrival of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashoori reunited with their families after years being held hostage in Iran.
The Kremlin appears incensed by President Biden calling Vladimir Putin a 'war criminal' yesterday.
Aljazeera also carries an update on the invasion:
The BBC mulls over what Putin wants in this article:
One wonders whether in the meantime Putin will attempt an amphibious landing to block Ukraine's access to ports on the Black Sea, and then attempt to keep the captured territory.
Putin must be very angry: his invasion of Ukraine is not going to plan, he is called a war criminal, and sanctions are beginning to hurt Russia. Much of the world has turned against him and NATO seems likely to increase defence spending in view of his unprovoked attack.
Perhaps it is time for Putin to go and for a new leader to introduce democratic reforms; perhaps developing friendly relations with neighbouring countries, rather than restoring the Iron Curtain and Cold War.
16th March 2022 (day 21)
Not so much about Ukraine on early morning Radio 5 news. President Zelensky thinks some progress is being made with the peace talks. He says he accepts the door has now been shut on joining NATO, but that other bilateral allegiances might be set up (eg JEF see link below).
The Ukrainian side suggests Kiev is now a fortress and Russia cannot take Ukraine - but Russia appears to have taken firm control of areas close to the border with Russia and pundits think Ukraine may have to give up some territory so Putin can claim a victory before withdrawing his troops.
It could be Putin is not interested in negotiations and is just biding his time before his next atrocity. We'll just have to hope moral and financial pressure from other countries can bring this invasion to a halt without further bloodshed.
Later in the day President Zelensky addresses the US Congress, and at the end a video is shown portraying towns and cities before and after Russian attacks.
Zelensky still says he needs to protect the sky, but this may have to be achieved using surface to air missiles rather than NATO aircraft.
President Biden makes a speech branding Putin a war criminal, and authorises more weapons and aid for Ukraine.
A third Mayor is arrested by the Russians, but another, Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov, has been exchanged for nine captured Russian soldiers.
A theatre in Mariupol, where hundreds of civilians were sheltering in a basement, was bombed and destroyed, despite large lettering painted on the ground saying CHILDREN in Russian.
10 people standing in line for bread in Chernihiv were either shot or killed by a missile strike on an adjacent building. Click for a video being shared on Twitter. Later the death toll was updated to 13.
The evening news briefly reported attacks on shipping in the Black Sea; this may have been referring to an article in the Guardian reporting seamen stranded by a Russian Navy blockade of Ukrainian ports.
Claimed Russian losses
Losses of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine, March 15, as claimed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; try this Twitter link
15th March 2022 (day 20)
The Russian advance seems to have stalled in the last couple of days. A possible explanation is that Russian troops are running low on supplies.
Ukraine's Ministry of Defence has claimed 150 Russian troops were killed after trying to take control of the port city of Mariupol.
The breaking news last night, and being discussed this morning, is about a very brave Russian TV editor, Marina Ovsyannikova, who held up a placard during the News.
BBC Radio 5 reports another Russian TV presenter has left the country and resigned as a result of Putin gagging news media.
Hanna Liubakova a journalist from Minsk, Belarus has begun broadcasting about the Ukraine war on Twitter.
We don't know whether there is anti-Russian sentiment in Belarus, but the president Aleksandr Lukashenko is one of Putin's henchmen. He was elected to the post in 1994 and is now serving his sixth term; perhaps it is time for democratic elections.
There were reports yesterday of a long queue of lorries in Poland held up by demonstrators at the Belarus border who are attempting to stop cargo trucks they say are headed for Ukraine via Belarus with supplies for the Russian army.
One hopes the cargos are being checked and if appropriate the lorries are diverted to Ukraine to provide aid for civilians and the military.
Perhaps sanctions should be imposed on Belarus as well as Russia?
China appears to be distancing itself from the conflict adopting a neutral position until it sees 'which way the land lies'.
It sounds like the Chinese media is censored and ordinary people see little of what is going on.
The BBC reports 2 journalists working for Fox News have been killed by Russian troops.
Fox News had said on Tuesday that cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski was killed near Kiev while covering the war in Ukraine. Pierre Zakrzewski was accompanying journalist Benjamin Hall, who was wounded when their vehicle came under fire Monday in Horenka, near Kiev.
Mention on BBC news today of the PM attending a Joint Expeditionary Force, London 2022 event. Below is a link to a government press statement explaining what is going on:
See also EuroNews report, quote:
The BBC reports more than 100,000 people have offered rooms for Ukranian refugees.
14th March 2022 (day 19)
More shelling, but otherwise nothing new to report.
Professor Gwthian Prins said on Radio 5 that Putin would likely lose, and he thought a no-fly zone or similar could be achieved by the UN enacting Article 45 allowing creation, in an emergency, of a UN airforce.
Rumours Russian forces are running low on ammunition and don't have enough troops fully to encircle the Ukranian army on all fronts.
There will be a race to see who can get resupplied most quickly, if there is no ceasefire.
Zelensky claims negotiations could result in a ceasefire in the next few days; others say Putin wants to press on with his war and is using negotiations as a delaying tactic while he brings in reinforcements.
About 160 cars are able to exit Mariupol population 400,000 while the remainder are being starved to death by the beseiging Russian forces. Without water people will die from dehydration in a little over a week; and with no food inhabitants will increasingly starve to death after 40 days. Like Hitler, evil Putin is pursuing a policy of mass murder. The Jewish population was wiped out by Hitler in WWII.
The UK media mainly discusses plans for householders to put up refugees in spare rooms, for which the government will pay £350 per month. 20,000 offers to date and 4,000 refugees have been granted asylum.
13th March 2022 (18)
Despite strong words of support, and the misery Putin is causing to millions of civilians in Ukraine, President Biden sadly is still not prepared to intervene directly to protect civilians. Quote:
Just the words Putin wants to hear. Biden has given Putin the green light. However Biden goes on to say, quote:
While Biden says this, it looks as though he is not prepared to support donation of MIG-29 aircraft from Poland; and as regards food aid, there seems little prospect at present of getting that to towns such as Mariupol that badly need it and which are besieged by the Russia army; especially bearing in mind the problems already encountered by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Further, Putin is threatening to attack Western convoys taking weapons into Ukraine, so Biden may find either NATO or the USA in direct confrontation with Russia whether he likes it or not (remember Pearl Harbour).
Biden says 'Russia would pay a severe price if they used chemical weapons'. But that is likely all bluster and an empty threat. Obama used similar words about events in Syria and did nothing when his red line was crossed.
Click below for full White House briefing on 11th March 2022:
In our opinion President Biden and NATO have to be prepared to intervene more directly in order to force Putin to the negotiating table. But what do we know.....
Yavoriv training facility near Lviv and Polish border hit by about 30 cruise missiles launched by bombers in Russian territory.
US journalist Brent Renaud is shot dead by Russian troops near Irpin.
Town of Valnovakha reported destroyed.
Another mayor abducted - this time it's Yevhen Matveyev from the southern city of Dniprorudne.
Mayor Ivan Fedorov was abducted by Russian troops on 10 March. He has since been replaced by a new mayor - Halyna Danilchenko - who appears to be a Russian puppet. She appeared on local TV to urge Melitopol’s citizens to not take part in "extremist actions", introduced a curfew and banned protests.
12th March 2022 (day 17)
Many wars are a close run thing and it's not obvious Putin can win if Ukrainian forces can continue to hamper the Russians with hit and run tactics and cut off resupply of food, fuel and ammunition at their rear.
Ambushing Russian convoys is probably the best tactic as losses could be high defending fixed positions. It is doubtful Ukraine has the firepower to push Russia out, but possibly Ukraine can make life so uncomfortable that some of the Russian troops will either become POWs or mutiny and go home; more likely the situation will reach stalemate and there will ultimately have to be a peace settlement.
President Macron of France phoned Mr Putin today proposing a ceasefire but it is reported Putin showed no willingness to end the war.
We wonder what Putin's henchmen are thinking. Firstly the Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu and second Chief of Staff General Valery Gerasimov. Did they promise Putin a quick win and if so are their heads now on the block for not delivering? What of the elite such as the heads of the FSB and GRU; are they thinking it's time for Putin to be removed, for example by imprisonment for illegally invading another country.
An article in the Guardian which is several days old questions the effectiveness of the Russian forces:
while another asks whether it is time for NATO to stand up to Putin and tell him to cease what he is doing or face the consequences:
Putin is now threatening Finland and Sweden, and to attack Western convoys taking weapons into Ukraine.
Then there is concern Putin may use chemical weapons such as chlorine gas or Novichock nerve agents, which have already been used by assassins in Salisbury, to finish cities quickly, which would result in massive civilian loss of life.
Given the atrocities that Putin has committed to date it is time for Biden to tell Putin that either he orders a cease fire or NATO will put a 'peace keeping' force into Ukraine to protect civilians and render humanitarian aid.
The mayor of Melitopol has been abducted by the Russians for speaking out.
The airbase at Vasylkiv south of Kiev has been attacked.
Ukraine’s foreign minister says Russia plans to stage a 'sham referendum' in the Russian-occupied southern city of Kherson in an effort to show that people there want to break away from Ukraine.
President Zelensky said talks with Moscow show signs of becoming more substantive and the Kremlin 'is moving away from ultimatums'.
11th March 2022 (day 16)
There are missile attacks on airfields at Lutsk and Ivano-Frankivsk far to the west, and on residential buildings in the strategically important city of Dnipro, which sits on the Dnieper River towards the east.
Russian state media reported that the Ukrainian city of Volnovakha to the north of the port of Mariupol had been captured by Russian-backed separatist forces.
The Russian convoy to the NW of Kiev appears to be fanning out in preparation for an attack on the capital.
10th March 2022 (day 15)
When we were children in the 1950s, and gosh that's about 70 years ago, we saw a lot of black and white film footage of WWII on TV; this was repackaged as 'The World at War' in 1973. We knew all about Hitler, appeasement and the murder of 6 million Jews. We saw cine film of towns in France being 'liberated' by the allies, and often all that was left was smoking ruins. We thought about the futility of war, structures destroyed and lives lost.
About 1975 there was a civil war in Lebanon leading to much destruction in Beirut; and more recently fighting in Syria with a similar outcome, abetted by Russia. Once more we wondered what it is that leads men to destroy homes, slaughter innocents and cause misery, when there is enough to do combatting natural disasters such as earthquakes, famines, floods, and epidemics.
And now it is Putin who has unleashed 'the dogs of war' - shelling cities, destroying homes and killing innocent Ukrainian citizens, simply because they wouldn't do what he told them to.
It seems history is repeating itself - the visits of politicians such as President Macron valiantly attempting to dissuade Putin from invasion, as did Neville Chamberlain try to dissuade Hitler; appeasement over the invasion of Crimea, mirroring Hitler's invasion of Austria and other regions; and now the reluctance of NATO nations to confront Putin directly.
In 1939 Britain's red line was it's treaty with Poland. Now the red line is any NATO country being attacked; then NATO could be forced to act, possibly quite soon, but in the meantime the position seems to be NATO forces will not operate in Ukraine whatever the bloodshed and use of poison gas, for fear of Putin using nuclear weapons.
Reluctance to act is nothing new.
In 1884 Major-General Charles George Gordon had sought help from British Prime Minister Gladstone to relieve Khartoum. Gladstone was having none of it and refused help until eventually swayed by public opinion and Queen Victoria, but by then it was too late, Khartoum fell and Gordon was killed.
In WWII the USA reluctantly supplied arms to the UK but it was not until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour that the USA was forced into the war.
Now the Russians are putting Ukrainian cities under siege bombarding the population with artillery shells and rockets, causing shortages of food and water, and cutting off electricity and gas making it almost impossible for people to cook, keep warm and obtain medical treatment. Schools and hospitals have been hit and possibly especially targeted. This evening the use of poison gas to kill troops in the open and civilians in basements and the underground is being discussed in the media.
There is a moral case to act but David Lammy (Labour) and Bob Seely (Conservative) flagged to Putin on Newsnight that NATO would not intervene militarily if Russia were to use poison gas in Ukraine.
You might have hoped the General Assembly of the UN would vote to suspend Russia from the UN and send in a heavily armed humanitarian peace keeping force to stop the conflict and render aid, but no sign of that. And were that to fail you might have expected NATO to send in a 'peace keeping' force as they did in Bosnia, but no sign of that either.
President Zelensky has invited help from the EU and NATO. The EU is imposing sanctions, adjoining countries are taking in more than a million refugees and some countries are providing humanitarian aid and in some cases defensive weapons to help Ukrainians fight the powerful Russian army. In contrast to Afghanistan, Ukrainians are putting up a strong defence.
That said NATO and the US have been timid in their response to Russia. NATO has said it will not put boots on the ground and will not impose a no-fly zone. Putin seems to have been given the green light to do whatever he wants including deployment of Chemical and Thermobaric weapons to finish off Ukraine.
We can see that imposition of a no-fly zone might be impractical at the present time but there are many other things that can be done. For example General McMaster has suggested:-
Ukraine needs such weapons now if the tide is to be turned otherwise we could be seeing a parallel with the fall of Khartoum and the death of Gordon; (subsitute the city of Kiev and President Zelensky).
The Foreign Affairs ministers of Russia and Ukraine met in Turkey. No progress at all. Eventually the war will have to be concluded by fruitful peace talk but who knows if that will be in weeks or months.
Russia falsely accuses the USA and Ukraine of secretly developing chemical weapons; inviting speculation Russia itself plans to use Chemical weapons.
Russians prevent Red Cross aid being delivered to Mariupol.
In an interview Lavrov says Russia willl not attack other countries just as it is no attacking Ukraine.
UK visa requirement relaxed for Ukrainian refugees with passports.
9th March 2022 (day 14)
Zelensky wants more aircraft. Unclear why or what he is doing with the ones he has got. Poles seem willing to donate 28 MIG-29s but suggest these are sent via the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany presumably so all three nations involved should Putin feel inclined to retaliate. Biden and Germany having none of it, so the ball is back with the Poles. Ben Wallace says the UK will support Poland whatever decision they make.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace makes statement in UK Parliament. UK will send more Next generation Light Anti-tank Weapons (NLAW) and is considering sending Starstreak man-portable surface to air missiles.
Russians continue to strike more civilian targets.
Rumours it will be Russian mothers who out Putin as more and more discover their sons have died in the unlawful invasion of Ukraine.
Note: the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances of 1992 was a memorandum prohibiting the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States from threatening or using military force or economic coercion against Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. As a result of other agreements and the memorandum, between 1993 and 1996, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine had given up their nuclear weapons.
The Russian Foreign Ministry accuses Ukraine of having some involvement with Chemical Weapons, which they may have invented as pretext for Russian use of chemical weapons, as in Syria.
A huge bomb is dropped in Mariupol devastating a maternity hospital.
Zelensky claims he will eventually get his no-fly zone even if a million Ukrainians have to die first.
8th March 2022 (day 13)
The situation appears critical. Russian forces could soon complete the encirclement of Kiev. The key port of Mariupol in the south is under siege and heavy bombardment, and the important port of Odessa in the south could soon come under attack. Many cities are being repeatedly pulverised by Russian artillery and missiles. Refugees are streaming into Poland and adjacent friendly countries.
Despite these setbacks Ukrainian forces are slowing the advance and inflicting serious losses on the larger invading force.
We assume Ukraine needs more weapons to take out artillery pieces and multiple rocket launchers, destroy the convoy to the north of Kiev, and make life difficult for the Russian Navy preparing for an attack on Odessa.
Others suggest peace talks are the way to go:-
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace MP was on Sky News this morning.
Another Sky News quote:
There has been talk in the media of Poland gifting MIG29 fighters to Ukraine to be backfilled by US jets, but it appears nothing has been decided because bureaucrats are 'arguing' over who should take such an important decision.
General McMaster's interview yesterday seems to have been moved from the Sky News website but it can still be found on YouTube. A similar video in which McMaster adopts a slightly softer tone can be found here:-
Zelensky's address to the UK parliament at 5:00 pm contained nothing new but he briefly asked for the continuation of sanctions and 'protection from the air'. The fact the convoy north of Kiev has not been destroyed suggests Ukraine may need more Drones, Medium range SAM, for example from France, and aircraft from Poland - not forgetting food and water for besieged cities.
The media reports the deaths of three senior Russian officers:
7th March 2022 (day 12)
Shelling of civilians continues.
More discussion of safe corridors with Russia proposing exit routes to Russia and Belarus. Few will want to go that way so that Putin can claim he is liberating Ukrainian citizens.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab appeared on the BBC Sunday Morning programme. He seems prepared to let the Russo/Ukraine war drift on for months if not years likely resulting in tens of thousands of innocent people being murdered by Putin - Dominic does not come across as a man Putin will be scared of.
The British Embassy, which had retreated to Lviv, finally leaves Ukraine. The government obviously has little confidence in Ukrainian soldiers 'holding the line'.
No announcement but it looks like BBC reporter Clive Myrie who had been in Kiev is safely back in UK.
Home Secretary Pretty Patel gets some bad publicity about reacting slowly to the refugee crisis.
Punchy interview with retired American Lieutenant General HD McMaster on Sky News in the evening. He seems to think politicians need more backbone and resolve, and that a military solution will be required if Putin is to be stopped.
It was announced President Zelensky would address parliament by video link tomorrow at 5:00 pm.
6th March 2022 (day 11)
#Pray for Ukraine
The safe corridors opened yesterday to evacuate civilians were tested again but few got away.
Putin continues to pursue the shelling and bombing of cities following his illegal invasion of Ukraine. He said he had no plans to invade; he lied. He calls the invasion a 'Specialised Military Operation' but it is full scale war; he lied again.
He is now continuously shelling cities turning them into rubble, killing civilians and destroying their homes.
Putin is a war criminal and needs to be stopped, but NATO seems not prepared to use its military power to protect civilians despite a desperate plea from President Zelensky for help. As a result, we can expect thousands if not tens of thousands to die in coming weeks.
NATO must be betting that is the least worst outcome compared to a possible European war.
Without help, Kiev might be taken by the end of March and its leadership either captured or murdered, assuming Putin is prepared to turn Kiev into a pile of rubble. But that might be difficult for Putin to explain to voters.
Putin is scared stiff ordinary Russians will find out what he is doing. Police are arresting demonstrators, and the press has been muzzled. Putin is increasingly shelling civilians hoping to break morale and cause Ukrainians to lay down their arms before this turns into a long term conflict and the Russian public discovers the truth about what he has been doing.
President Zelensky keeps asking for a no-fly zone and US, UK, and NATO officials are telling Putin they are not going to create one, possibly weakening Ukraine's position; but for the moment that's perhaps a reasonable position while most of the damage is being inflicted by Russian artillery.
Propaganda, morale, the supply of material to Ukraine, and the harrying of Russian supply lines will influence the outcome, and there is no certainty that the larger Russian force will prevail.
Boris Johnson is meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Prime Minister of the Netherlands tomorrow and it will be interesting to see what they have to say; click below for CBC report.
Boris Johnson allegedly has a six point plan:-
We'll have to wait and see what more practical steps can be taken to help Ukraine in the shorter term.
Mastercard, Visa and American Express are reducing their exposure in Russia, while others firms such as Coca Cola have yet to decide.
The circulation in Russia of video footage of what is happening in the Ukraine could possibly turn the public against Putin; everyone can help by broadcasting accounts as widely as possible on social media and the world wide web.
Many Russian Orthodox priests and deacons from around the world have signed an open letter expressing their opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, challenging the Russian government and breaking with the tacit support of the military action by church leadership in Moscow. Perhaps churches will somehow affect the outcome. Pray for Ukraine.
5th March 2022 (day 10)
It's like a disaster movie; then you realise it's real and Vladimir Putin is the reincarnation of Nazi Dictator Adolf Hitler. It is his troops that should be leaving Ukraine, not refugees who are having to flee for their lives leaving pulverised homes, and cities under siege behind.
And we can't just blame Putin. His generals, and tens of thousands of squaddies who have pulled the trigger unleashing shells and missiles are equally to blame. They obviously have no conscience about killing innocent men, women and children and destroying their homes; let's hope they are brought to justice in due course as at the Nuremberg trials.
Boris Johnson says many Russians are our friends, but many are not. It would appear many older Russians have been brainwashed and believe Putin's propaganda, while the younger generation cannot demonstrate without fear of being arrested by the police. They do not yet have the courage to rise up against the leadership as their ancestors did in 1917, but as sanctions bite who knows what will happen.
Some Russians unhappy with Putin have already started leaving Russia for Finland.
Putin has warned Sweden and Finland not to join NATO, but a consequence of his invasion of the Ukraine is that these countries may now join the alliance.
Safe corridors were to be set up today to allow refugees to leave the seaport of Mariupol and town of Volnovakha to the north, but it sounds as though evacuation was postponed due to continued shelling.
President Zelensky asked once again for a no-fly zone, but Western leaders reiterated he could not have one. The Ukrainian leadership appearing on TV is looking increasingly stressed, and one wonders how long the cities will be able to hold out.
The invasion of Singapore was a very close run thing, with the British surrendering only days before Japanese might have had to give up. So it's possible Ukraine might yet survive as an independent state if logistic supplies from the West can be maintained and the Russian logistics disrupted.
Someone phoning on the Radio 4 programme 'Any Answers' today said Putin wanted to capture the Bread Basket of Europe and Ukrainian Hi-Tech companies to complement Russia's waning petroleum business, but many are leaving and the countryside will likely be defended by guerilla fighters.
Given his brutality, Vladimir Putin's name is likely to go down in history alongside those of Adolf Hitler and Vlad the impaler. From now on he won't be able to travel outside the Russian Federation.
4th March 2022 (day 9)
Refugees continue to stream to the West.
Putin working very hard to prevent the Russian population finding out what he is doing. Facebook, Twitter and Independent News agencies closed down. Fifteen year prison sentence introduced for circulating 'fake news'.
Report emerges of Sky News team narrowly surviving an attack while returning to Kiev.
Zaporizhzhia Nuclear power station captured by Russians. Damage to nearby buildings but not the six reactors.
3rd March 2022 (day 8)
The aggressive Russian attack on Ukraine, continues into an 8th day. After making limited progress Russia has increased shelling and bombing of cities causing widespread damage and loss of life. Residential areas, schools and hospitals are said to have been hit.
It beggars believe that in the 21st century one man can be responsible for so much death and destruction.
The southern the port of Kherson with a population of 280,000 is reported to have fallen to the 'Nazi' invaders, while Kharkov has come under very heavy fire.
Last night we wondered if Ukraine was doomed, but this morning we are less sure. Perhaps it is Putin who is doomed, though in the short term he may need to be able to claim some sort of victory in order to stop the war.
Professor Gwythian Prins who is a member of the Chief of the Defence Staff's Strategy Advisory Panel spoke for ten minutes on Radio 5 this morning.
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Gywthian Prins makes a number of interesting assertions.
Under article 353 of the Criminal Code Of The Russian Federation, quote:
It would seem the Russian leadership should rapidly remove President Putin and put him on trial.
Other governments are planning to hold Putin personally responsible for war crimes and those in his chain of command, including officers and men.
In his 10 minute briefing Gwythian Prins made the following points.
Should street fighting develop, history suggests 5 attackers could be killed for every defender.
Professor Gwythian Prins goes on to say that were the Russian forces initially victorious, keeping the country under control might require 600,000 troops to subdue guerilla fighters which Russia does not have.
There were talks between Russia and Ukraine in Belarus. Another meeting is planned.
Meanwhile it seems likely Putin will press home his attacks killing innocent men, women and children and turning more cities and towns into rubble.
The International Paralympic Committee did a U turn and banned Belarus and Russia from the Winter Paralympics in China.
2nd March 2022 (day 7)
The news on the radio this morning is grim. Attacks are increasing on Kharkiv where a lot of damage was caused yesterday and paratroopers are now probing the defences, while a large armoured column is continuing its movement towards Kiev, with the likely aim of surrounding the city and putting it under siege.
The PM and other commentators have all ruled out a 'no fly zone' for fear of starting a war with Russia. Consequently Ukraine is likely to be devastated and President Kelensky either killed or taken prisoner to stand trial in Moscow on trumped up charges.
Putin may well then turn his attention to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania which are surrounded by Belarus and Russia. Will NATO be prepared to defend these Baltic countries despite threats of nuclear war, or will Western leaders back down once again?
Click this link to view a simple map of Europe showing the location of the Baltic States.
Stockholm, March 2 (Reuters) - Four Russian fighter jets briefly entered Swedish territory over the Baltic Sea on Wednesday, the Swedish Armed Forces said, sparking a swift condemnation from Sweden's defence minister. On Sunday Sweden said it would send military aid, including 5,000 anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, the first time since 1939 that Sweden has sent weapons to a country at war.
The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution demanding that Russia immediately end its military operations in Ukraine.
A total of 141 (out of 193) countries voted in favour of the resolution, which reaffirms Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
To quote from the UN website:
The question is will the UN do anything about it.
The International Criminal Court is opening an investigation into war crimes in Ukraine. It is satisfied that there is a reasonable basis to believe that both alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed. Given the expansion of the conflict in recent days, it is the intention that this investigation will also encompass any new alleged crimes that are committed by any party to the conflict on any part of the territory of Ukraine.
1st March 2022 (day 6)
We wake up thinking the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the misery inflicted on the innocent population was a nightmare, but it's real and it sounds as though things are going to get a lot worse.
President Zelensky of Ukraine addresses the European Parliament and asks for fast track membership of the EU. This normally takes years; meanwhile Putin will likely task his forces to destroy Kiev and then send Special Forces into the rubble to get Kelensky, should he survive the artillery barrage.
Boris Johnson visits Poland and Estonia to show support for NATO allies.
At a news conference with the Estonian prime minister and the Nato secretary-general in the Estonian capital Tallinn he said the international community must do everything it can to support Ukrainians, but said 'we will not fight Russian forces in Ukraine'. He ruled out a no-fly zone over the country which Ukraine had sought to protect civilians. Boris and Biden are either scared of Putin or biding their time.
28th February 2022 (day 5)
FIFA suspends Russia from Football tournaments.
Start of UN General Assembly debate involving all 193 members. This may go on for several days. Ukrainian speaker asks if members ever voted to elect the Russian Federation to the Security Council after break up of the USSR - no one put their hand up. Could it be there will be a voted to suspend Russia from the Security Council?
Talks held between Ukraine and Russia and they agree to meet again. Worryingly during the talks Russia steps up indiscriminate shelling and missile attacks. Rumoured use of thermo-baric and cluster bombs.
An armoured column 40 miles long and 3 vehicles abreast is seen 17 miles to the north of Kiev.
27th February 2022 (day 4)
The time has clearly come for Russian men and women of goodwill to step up and retire President Putin to his Dacha. He is clearly mentally unstable and has become unfit to govern.
This week the evil tyrant has the blood of ten thousand men, women and children on his hands and he is a clear and present danger not only to Russia but the whole of civilisation.
Russian missiles destroyed an oil terminal south of Kiev and a natural gas pipeline, but contrary to expectations troops have not entered Kiev.
Ukrainian forces say they have repelled an attack on the country's second city Kharkiv after fierce clashes with Russian forces.
About 3 pm Sky News broadcast a news conference by the Ukraine Foreign Affairs minister Dmytro Kuleba. He cited a lot of damage to the Russian invasion force and said there could soon be talks with Russia on the border between Ukraine and Belarus.
This twitter link may carry the news conference:
Clearly worried about financial sanctions, resulting from his invasion of Ukraine, Putin has ordered his generals and Nuclear Deterrent to a high state of alert. Putin is paranoid and must be stopped.
26th February 2022 (day 3)
Russians forces began surrounding Kiev. Looking back this had been forecast by 'The Times' on 15th February 2022. To quote:
There were anti Putin demonstrations in cities around the world, but in Russia these demonstrators were quickly arrested. Russian newspapers have been told not to refer to the invasion as a war. Russia is attempting to block Facebook and Twitter in order to prevent the Russian public learning what is going on.
Germany has offered to supply Ukraine with 1,000 ant-tank missiles and 500 Javelin surface to air shoulder launch weapons.
The EU is now talking about blocking some Russian banks from the SWIFT banking system.
25th February 2022 (day 2)
The Russian Federation, which has the presidency, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Friday that would have demanded that Moscow immediately stop its attack on Ukraine and withdraw all troops. China, India and the UAE abstained. The UN continues to be a 'toothless' organisation.
UK Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace admits on Radio 5 that NATO has no plans to put troops into Ukraine or create a No Fly zone because politicians are fearful about starting WWIII.
The PM is asking for Russia to be removed from the SWIFT banking system but so far the EU is not keen.
Today, it seems very much as though the appeasement of Adolf Hitler by Neville Chamberlain is being repeated in a modern setting.
Nevertheless Ukraine is mounting a fierce defence and there is talk of fighting to the death.
24th February 2022 (day 1)
Russian forces cross border into Ukraine
On the 24th February 2022 Russian troops launched an invasion of Ukraine which President Vladimir Putin described as a 'Specialised Military Operation'.
Putin clearly wants to 'decapitate' the leadership and impose a puppet government under the control of Moscow.
Let's be clear it is war and probably tens if not hundreds of thousands of innocent people are going to die, and many more are going to be crippled.
Putin follows in the footsteps of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis some 85 years ago and some fear history will repeat itself if Putin is not stopped.
Stalin was the last Russian leader to tread a similar path when he connived with Hitler and the Nazis to invade Eastern Poland in 1939 starting the Second World War. Russia was responsible for the mass execution of Polish Officers in 1940 dubbed the Katyn massacre - it is doubtful the Poles will want to see Russians back on their border.
When Hitler marched into Austria help was sought from the British government but non was forthcoming. Now Ukraine is calling for help and it will be interesting to see how NATO and its politicians respond other than by ineffective words and paper rustling.
The UN is a paper tiger and little can be done there unless rapid action is taken to change its constitution and expel the Russia Federation.
The evil Putin is 69 years old and in 2020 effectively elected himself president for life but the Russians know how to deal with troublesome people, for example by putting radioactive Polonium in their tea, and nerve agents on door handles - if this war goes wrong perhaps Putin too will be quickly removed by those who had once supported him.
22nd February 2022
Prior to the invasion of Ukraine
It had been almost two years since the attention of the world was first drawn to the COVID-19 virus which originated in Wuhan China and rapidly spread around the world, inducing pneumonia, and killing millions of people. The development of the Astrazeneca and Pfizer vaccines provided a way out of the pandemic and on 21st February 2022 the PM announced the removal of all legal restrictions in England.
We had 'tracked' events with our blog Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic weekly update for Malvern Seniors but now the usefulness of that is declining we will be returning to our blog on Politics and World events.
Four topics have hit the headlines in recent months:-
An attempt by the left wing to destabilise the Tory government and to get Prime Minister Boris Johnson to resign. Photos of social gatherings at Downing Street a year ago, possibly in contravention of COVID legal restrictions were drip fed by the press. Some speculate that ex Tory adviser Dominic Cummings might be behind the leaks, seeking revenge for being sacked by the PM in November 2021.
On 8th December 2021 the PM asked the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the allegations and report back, but as he himself had been involved Civil Servant Sue Gray took over the investigation. She in turn passed information to the Police who have issued questionnaires to some 50 or so individuals; who could face a fine if they clearly broke the COVID lockdown rules.
Sue Gray has published an update on her investigation but the final report may be delayed until the Police investigation is complete.
The media is waiting with bated breath to see if the PM is fined for breaking his own rules!
National insurance increase
National Insurance payments are increasing in April 2022, to fund social care in England and help the NHS recover after the pandemic.
The government hope the tax will bring in £12Bn but its not clear exactly how the money will be spent. Read this BBC report and see if you are any the wiser.
The Labour party say the tax will hit 'hard pressed' working families.
Successive governments have failed to come to grips with the problem of care for the elderly who can no longer look after themselves. There is little time left for this government to make much headway so if Sir Kier Starmer wins the next election he could inherit the challenge of creating a National Care Service.
In February 2020 at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic petrol was £1.23 a litre. Very few vehicles were on the road that year and prices fell to £1.11 a litre in the following November.
During 2021 as COVID restrictions began to relax, and traffic increased, the price of petrol rose to £1.48 a litre.
The increasing possibility of war between Russia and Ukraine is forcing up the price of oil and pundits are suggesting petrol could soon rise to £1.70 a litre.
The media has heralded a steep increase in energy prices for some weeks, but the reality was brought home to us by Scottish and Southern Energy raising our direct debits by 45% for electricity and 65% for gas. Despite government plans to soften the burden for some, for example by averaging prices over 5 years, such increases will be a severe burden for those on tight budgets.
War between Russia and the Ukraine will only make matters worse; we could be in for a very difficult year.
After WWI and the establishment of Communism in Russia, Ukraine became one of the Soviet Socialist Republics. In broad terms, in the 1950s Kruschev gave Ukraine a degree of independence. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine became a truly independent state.
Ukraine remained aligned to Russia but began to look increasingly westwards. In 2014 Putin was unhappy with the pro-western leadership and invaded the Crimea, also supporting rebels in the Russian speaking eastern Donbass region of Ukraine where fighting has continued ever since.
Russian troops started building up near Ukraine's eastern border once again in April 2021 raising concerns and peace keeping talks.
In October 2021, Russia began moving more troops and military equipment near the border with Ukraine, reigniting concerns over a potential invasion.
Russian troops then moved into Belarus along Ukraine's northern border further raising concerns of an invasion.
Russian troops and equipment are now being inserted into the rebel held areas of eastern Ukraine, after women and children were bussed out, so it would appear Putin has given the green light for the invasion to begin.
Click for Channel News Asia:-
President Biden has said the USA will not put boots on the ground and to date only financial sanctions are being floated by world leaders. Putin will see this as being given the green light.
The situation sadly mirrors the rise of Hitler leading to WWII.
Only the threat of a NATO imposed no fly zone and air attacks on Russian forces in Ukraine will cause Putin to back down.
Summary of Links
What do others think
Here are some links to what other people have been saying on Twitter, particularly at the start of the conflict:
Lawrence Freedman Emeritus Professor of War Studies King's College London
Ben Wallace MP Secretary of State for Defence
Tobias Ellwood MP Chair of Defence Select Committee
Tom Tugendhat MP Chair of Foreign Affairs Select Committee
Hanna Liubakova Journalist in Minsk Belarus
Dymitro Kuleba Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
Sitreps on Twitter
These sources, particularly the first two, provide an insight into what may be going on, adding to the somewhat limited reports from the BBC and Sky News.
Institute for the Study of War a policy research organization in Washington
Jomini of the West Unsure who he is, but produces interesting summaries
Philips P OBrien Professor of Strategic Studies, University St Andrew
Mick Ryan retired Australian military
Note: some maps included in situation reports on Twitter show very little detail, while others are very detailed but have so few pixels the information can't be read.
Photos of damaged equipment on Twitter
Amazing to see damage caused to tanks and AFV.
About offering rooms to refugees
A picture of the war on Wikipedia
Where on earth are these Ukrainian (and Russian places) with strange sounding names. Do let us know if you have found better maps.
View a simple map of Europe showing the location of the Baltic States:
More detailed information about towns and cities in Ukraine can be found on this map:
Bing maps are an excellent place to find locations in Ukraine:
Maps combined with situation reports
Some new map resources linked to situation reports:-
Zoomable maps of Ukraine war by @War_Mapper and hosted by https://soar.earth. Click link to choose from most recent maps:-
On the MILITARY LAND website homepage you will find links to Invasion Day summaries which have detailed maps that can either be enlarged or viewed through a magnifier feature:-
Washington Post website war in Ukraine section
Foreign Policy website the Ukraine Russia border crisis
Associated Press website Russia Ukraine war
The interpretations and opinions expressed are our own
Last updated 6th August 2022