A Blog by Jonathan Low


Oct 1, 2023

Ukraine Prepares For 2nd War Winter With Better Air Defenses, Resilient Energy Grid

Ukraine is prepared for second winter of war with significantly enhanced air defenses, a far more resilient energy grid - and the knowledge that it has degraded Russian military capabilities beyond the point at which they can be restored in the short term. JL 

Tim Lister reports in CNN:

Ukraine will soon face its second winter at war, and they are adapting. They’ve returned to a style of warfare they know best, using small groups of infantry to test entrenched Russians. It’s also appropriate to the circumstances now, because Russian drones spot any concentration of forces and direct artillery fire against them. Small and nimble is the answer. Russian units have suffered at the hands of extended-range artillery and cluster munitions. “Our air defense system has become even more comprehensive and experienced and the Ukrainian energy grid is more resilient than it was a year ago.

Google Antitrust Trial Reveals Search "Economics Only Cigarettes or Drugs Rival"

Google has been criticized for its insistence on keeping much of the evidence in the trial and its proceedings under wraps. And now we know why they wanted that. 

Testimony from one of its executives reveals that Google believes its search advertising is one of the greatest business models ever created, with "economics that only illicit businesses selling cigarettes or drugs could rival." Which probably does not make for sympathetic court room. JL 

Ashley Belanger reports in ars technica:

The US Department of Justice has finally posted what judge Amit Mehta described at the Google search antitrust trial as an "embarrassing" exhibit that Google tried to hide from the public. The document in question contains meeting notes that Google’s vice president for finance, Michael Roszak, "created for a course on communications."  In his notes, Roszak wrote that Google's search advertising "is one of the world's greatest business models ever created" with economics that only certain "illicit businesses" selling "cigarettes or drugs" "could rival."

Russian EW Station In Crimea Destroyed By Ukrainian Frogmen on Jet Skis

The Ukrainians' creativity in adapting civilian technology to military ends continues to impress. 

The Russian EW (electronic warfare) system they destroyed is quite literally irreplacable because of its expense, sophistication and technology. JL 

Alia Shoiab reports in Business Insider:

A unit of Ukrainian commandos traveled covertly across the Black Sea on jet skis in a raid on a Russian electronic warfare station in Crimea. The electronic warfare station had thwarted drone strikes and tracked British Storm Shadow missiles. Each jet ski carried two Ukrainian frogmen and traveled 125 miles to reach the peninsula. The special forces spent two weeks practicing the journey on a jet ski before their mission. The original plan was to place explosives at the site, but they were spotted and had to resort to their backup plan, striking it with anti-tank weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.

Ukraine's Growing Artillery and Troop Combat Ability Now Dwarfs Russia's

Through its systematic focus on eliminating Russian artillery, air defenses and elite troops, Ukraine has now established a strategic advantage in warfighting capability that Russia is unlikely to be able to reverse. 

From shortages of ammunition and artillery barrels (which require special steel-making processes Russia can no longer manage due to sanctions), the destruction of its most sophisticated air defense systems and the ongoing degradation of once elite units, Ukraine is creating long term advantages that make it unlikely - and perhaps impossible - for Russia to prevail. While media like the New York Times focus on unsophisticated and outdated measures like territory gained - maybe relevant during the US Civil War 150+years ago - current military experts see a sustainable, growing advantage for Ukraine. JL 

RO 37 reports in Daily Kos:

In a battle of attrition, the attacker’s short-term objective is to minimize losses while inflicting maximal losses upon the enemy. Ukraine now owns a firepower advantage that dwarfs (Russia's). Ukraine’s systematic destruction of Russian artillery and ammunition will (continue). Russian losses in personnel have led to a degradation in troop quality. It has stopped rotating units due to lack of reserves. Its officer corps has been decimated. Russia put five of its most advanced S-400 air defense systems in Crimea to ensure air superiority over southern Ukraine and the Black Sea. In two weeks, Ukraine destroyed two of them. Russia has not been able to replace either. Territorial gains are poor measures of attritional success.

4 Seconds To Kill: Ukraine's Long Range Snipers Aim For Priority Targets

Marksmen, in the Ukrainian army, are good shots who are stationed with troops on the front lines. 

Scout snipers are of a different caliber, able to kill an enemy over a mile away. The Ukrainians consider these soldiers so valuable that they ordered only shoot at high priority targets like Russian officers, anti-tank missile operators - and enemy snipers. JL 

Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Natalia Yermak report in the New York Times:

Scout snipers, known among the snipers as “long-range shooters” are the few who can shoot accurately from a mile away and beyond, able to read the wind, temperature and barometric pressure. The reward has to outweigh the risk. So taking a shot increases if that soldier is a “priority target” like a machine-gunner, an officer, an anti-tank guided missile crew member or a Russian sniper. In the age of drones and thermal sights, no matter how well snipers are camouflaged, their body heat is likely to expose them. The dust, smoke and the flash discharged by a large caliber round as it exits the barrel can also be seen easily.

Sep 30, 2023

1,200 Russians Killed Near Bahkmut, Ukraine "Better Armed, 10X More Men"

Russian soldiers captured after Ukrainian troops captured Klishchiivka, outside Bakhmut, report that as many as 1,200 of their comrades were killed. 

The also said that the Ukrainians were better armed and outnumbered them significantly.  JL

Andrew Stanton reports in Newsweek:

As many 1,200 troops were killed in the battle for Klishchiivka. "Since the start of the invasion, Russia has only rarely maintained an uncommitted army-size grouping which could form the basis of a major new offensive thrust. With 25 CAA being deployed piecemeal to reinforce the over-stretched line, a concerted new Russian offensive is less likely over the coming weeks. "Russian soldiers warned that Ukrainian troops were "better armed" while fighting for control of the key village retaken by Kyiv this month.  "Enemy manpower superiority is 10-fold. They're better armed. We have no magazines, nothing. Machine guns are rotten. We use whatever there is."

Ukraine's Counteroffensive Has Distracted Russia, Weakening It In North and East

Russia's attempted offensives in Ukraine's north and east were designed to siphon Ukrainian troops away from the increasingly successful thrust towards Tokmak and Melitopol. 

Instead, the opposite has happened, as Ukraine's troops continue to push south, Russia has been forced to take troops from the north and east in an attempt to bolster its depleted forces in front of Tokmak. JL 

The Kyiv Independent reports:

Russia failed to advance near Donetsk Oblast’s Avdiivka, Marinka, Urozhaine, and Nevelske, as well as near Chervone in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Rhat Russian and Ukrainian officials have reported fewer Russian ground attacks in the Kupiansk and Lyman directions means that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has distracted Russian forces from the Kupiansk-Svatove-Kreminna line and significantly weakened the Russian offensive effort along that line. Ukraine’s military continues counteroffensive operations toward the Russian-occupied southern cities of Melitopol and Berdiansk.