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30 July 2014


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The Twisted Genius


I was wrong. It's three brigades, the 72d Airmobile, the 79th Airmobile from Nikolaev, and the 24th separate mechanized brigades. These are regular Ukrainian units that were all well equipped with tanks, AFVs and artillery. It started as 5,000 strong. That's probably why I thought it was five brigades. At the time, it comprised 25% of the effective Ukrainian fighting forces. Oh yes, two National Guard battalions (Pravy Sektor Nazguard militia units) were also in the cauldron.


Thanks, I'd been looking at wikipedia and saw the CEP and kill radius and didn't think it would be a game changer, especially as they could use their su-25's with 500lb bombs, but I can see that 4000lb hitting like a bolt from the blue with no warning could provide an opening for an attack. I had assumed they were targetting urban centers as that seems to be their MO. As usual, the simplest answers are the best, but the lack of real information is making for paranoia and conspiracy theories.


Thank TTG. I suspect that the Ukraine regulars don't have the heart in them to fight a civil war on behalf of the coup government and that the Nazguard (love that description) units are not very effective as a military formation.


It always sounded like a bullshit story to me. Making a nuke if you have highly enriched material and a nuclear infrastructure isn't hard. Ukraine had both.

William R. Cumming

Well almost 100 years since WWI started. For whom did Ukrainians fight during that war? At the Peace Conference in 1919 the Great Powers unanimously opposed an independent Ukraine! Why?


Oh, dear. Ukraine during World War I and afterwards...that's a convoluted topic! (Multiple books have been written on this matter. The best are the two books by Timothy Snyder. While he is hopelessly biased on today's events--and this does show through in his books, admittedly--his historical works are still first rate.)

Ukraine began World War I split between the west under Austro-Hungarian sovereignty (which was, in turn, split between Galicia, under Austrian crown, and Carpathian Ruthenia under Hungarian sovereignty) Galicia was the heart of heart of Ukrainian national movement in late 19th century, in part because it was the only place where it was allowed.

During the war itself, Ukrainian militias were raised by both sides, but Ukrainian nationalist militias were particularly encouraged by the Germans, after the Austrians were effectively knocked out of the war in 1916. There were additional militias of various ideological stripes that sprang up that opposed both sides, most notably Nestor Makhnor's "Black Army" raised from Ukrainian peasants.

After the war, pattern continued during the Russian Civil War, with at least 4-5 different militias fighting and allying with one another at different times, in addition to outside forces intervening (most notably the Poles, whose policy towards Ukraine was schizophrenic, between out-and-out nationalists who wanted to simply take over Galicia--which used to be Polish territory until 18th century--and so-called Promethians, who wanted to establish a docile government in Ukraine to act as an ally against Russia, whether in war or in peace.)

In many ways, these exact factions (including the Poles, if indirectly through the US government, since the Brzezinski clan comes from Galicia.) are at it again, 100 years hence.


TTG, it may be more than that according to Strelkov.

"Near Dolzhanskiy, the 24th Lvov Brigade is in a state of panic – they are requesting to be de-blockaded. I will remind you - the units of the 24th, 28th, 72nd, and 51st mechanized brigades, of the 79th Aeromobile, of the 3rd spetsnaz regiment, and of the combined border guard detachment have been blocked inside the “intestine”."

From Strelkov's press briefing, July 27th. Translation Gleb Bazov.


I'd like to know more about the cauldron.

From what I read in western media (reuters iirc) this morning the Ukies have the separatists on the retreat to their two last strongholds. The gem in the article was disgruntled separatists blaming Putin for not supplying **enough** arms (yes, Mr. Putin, and when did you stop beating your wife, heh?).

It was that assertion that made the story look somewhat suspicious to me, but anyway.


I wouldn't be surprised at all if the reporting in places like reuters is essentially the sort pro-Ukrainian propaganda of the sort put out by the Whitehouse.

If indeed the separatists have encircled and cut off three large Ukrainian army formations that would be a very big story and I'd like to know mmore about it.


I have a couple of questions if I may.

TTG says:

"A couple of SS-21 hits on the rebel strongpoint at Saur Mogila could have been a game changer."

It looks like the Rebels shot down two Su-25 warplanes near Saur Mogila.


That might explain why Ukraine cant attack the site from the air. But what is stopping them using heavy artillery? They have 155mm and 203mm units, wouldn't that be enough to wreck the position (and have the incidental bonus of demolishing the hated Soviet triumphalist Monument on the hill)?

Second question is, since when can anybody shoot down ballistic missiles? I always thought Reagan's 'Star Wars' and the Patriot missile system were a joke and completely ineffective. Does every major power now have the capability to target and shoot down (100% success rate!) ballistic missiles?

NB. I have an amateurish knowledge of military matters so any pointers or info would be appreciated.

William R. Cumming

Many thanks khc!


If Russia shot down the SS-21's, why isn't Kiev howling to the press about Russian interference?


Re: shooting down ballistic missiles

An SS-21 is a TACTICAL ballistic missile, which means it flies with a low apogee. Think of a small, very fast aircraft. They are not easy to hit though.

A WILD guess: The Russians may not have shot down the missiles at all (kill switch?) but prefered to keep quiet. They differentiate between normal and export versions; don't know what the Ukies have though.

After the Ukies tried and failed to crack the codes of the nukes they had, they probably weren't considered a trusted party by the Russians.

Even so: The Russians have really excellent air defence systems. Their S-300/S-400 complexes are formidable. The Russians have built the SS-21, and they are quite familiar with their characteristics, which must help in targeting them.

Capabilities against tactical ballistic missiles complement normal anti-air capabilities, since a beast like the SS-21 is simply an alternative to an air strike that is available on a shorter notice.


The reason why the US doesn't like the Russians to deliver S-300 to Iran is because the system is quite capable. Tt wouldn't prevent a US attack, but it would raise the cost or the US.

To the extent that these systems have an anti ICMV/MIRV capability, thank the morons in the Bush administration for cancelling the ABM treaty.


From the S-300VM Wiki entry:

"The 9M82M missile is intended to defeat tactical, theater and medium range ballistic missiles, as well as aerodynamic targets at a range of up to 200 km. ..."

I.e. the thing was made for stuff like SS-21.


"Second question is, since when can anybody shoot down ballistic missiles?"



SS-21 is tactical ballistic missile as oppose to a ICBM hence much slower. So it is possible to shoot it down using SA missile like S-300 variants/s-400 (which are capable of doing 3+ Km/s). There aren't any up-to-date information on the speeds of ballistic missiles (for obvious reasons) but it seems SS-21 does about 1.8 Km/s while a ICBM will at least do a (re-entry) speed over 7 Km/s.






I'm not really a expert on any of these things but it may be difficult to sympathize with a government which fires ballistic missiles on their own populace.

Also it may be difficult portray the guys who shot down that missile as bad guys.

The Twisted Genius


My take on it is that Kiev isn't howling about Russia shooting down their SS-21s because they are also not trumpeting their use of SS-21s. According to their news announcements, Ukrainian forces had already captured Saur Mogila, the MH17 crash site and completely surrounded Donetsk. They're making Baghdad Bob look like a piker.


pbj: Probably for the same reason that Assad did not squawk about that Israeli airstrike on his reactor.

The Twisted Genius


Others have already told you about the S-300 and S-400. As for your other question, heavy artillery could be used. However, that would call for accurate fire timed with effective maneuver. The Ukies have not demonstrated a capability for accurate artillery fire preferring to shoot at area targets like city centers. They have used artillery strikes at Saur Mogila, but those efforts have not been effective. Much of the Ukie military has been lacking in skills so far. Their generalship has been absolutely atrocious.


I think that Brezinski is a Promethean.


The Twisted Genius


Much of what is reported by our press about the situation in Ukraine comes directly from Kiev or from Kiev-based reporters. As I told pbj, the spokespeople for Kiev are making Baghdad Bob look like a piker.


Ok. this could be just stories to inflame public opinion, but:

DNR press conf. claims targets of SS-21 "Tochka" are large chlorine storage tanks at water treatment plants.

link (russian):


alternate (DNR PR feeds, if you're bored. They tend to report only rebel successes):


If you're reading machine translated Russian such as google translate... SS-21 "Tochka" is translated as "dot" or "point". "Strelkov", the rebel commander / military public figure is translated as "shooter" or "gunman". SU-25- Sukhoi = "dry", "drying", "dryers", names of cities often translated into dictionary words-- Snezhnoe = "snowy", Marinovka = "marinating", etc, grammar sometimes comes out backwards, for example "A attacked by B" sometimes means that "A attacked B" etc.



Were those Ukrainian nuclear weapons designers or Russian ones? Was the infracture for enrichment and processing in Ukraine or elsewhere?



Don't forget something as simple as doing the wrong maintenance or leaving weapons in 'test' mode afterwards. If memory serves something similar is why the Argentine submarines were unsuccessful in the Falklands war. Their torpedoes never armed.



“Kiev Karl” is being supported by the usual blogosphere BS. One of the liberal West Coast liberal's with a large following I occasionally read posted a puff piece from some fellow professor to wit: “Putin’s aggression against Ukraine..." and the usual 'it’s time for the international community (i.e. the US)..."

Sounds just like Syria all over again.

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