Good afternoon. At this moment, events and actions taking place in Ukraine continue to be at least partially blanketed by the fog of war. This has been the case since the first shots were fired early Thursday morning and will likely continue for some time. However, the fog is gradually starting to lift, and at this point the amount of hard information available will allow some conclusions to be reached and questions answered….
-Russia’s offensive is behind schedule and continues to face significant delays. Whether this is because of Ukrainian resistance or the fact that no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy, is unclear. It could be a combination of the two factors that have slowed the Russians down. On social media there have been a number of videos posted purportedly showing Russian supply convoys destroyed on roadways, victims of Ukrainian ambushes or air attack. Russia’s overall progress on the battlefield over the first two days of the war has been marked by success in some sectors and a lack thereof in others. It’s overall success, though, will be measured by how quickly it can capture Kiev.
-US DoD officials are estimating half of the Russian forces that had been massed alongside the Ukrainian border have entered the country. This leaves a considerable number of troops, vehicles and equipment uncommitted and available as reinforcements or replacements if required.
-Turkey does not intend to close the Bosphorus off to Russian warships, despite the flurry of claims that followed a tweet by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy this morning. Ankara is bound by the Montreaux Treaty to allow Russian warships access to their Black Sea homeports.
-Ground based Ukrainian air defenses appear to be active still, if reports about the destruction of two Russian Il-78 cargo planes south of Kiev are accurate. The air picture remains convoluted, to say the least. Many reports and claims are going around, with little substantial information to back them up.
Next update will come in the early evening and with luck, I’ll focus it on preparations in Kiev for another upcoming night of heavy fighting.