Monday, February 27, 2023

Putin is Still Wrong: Ukraine is a Nation; Drones Are Giving Ukraine a Wartime Edge; How Ukraine’s Growing Military Has Changed Over One Year of War; General Staff: As Russia Counts Losses in Thousands at Bakhmut, Wounded ‘Wagnerites’ are Left to Die, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Sputnik/Sergei Savostyanov/Pool via Reuters
Putin Is Still Wrong: Ukraine Is a Nation:
The Russian strongman began his invasion refusing to accept the legitimacy of Ukrainian nationhood and identity. The past year has proven how wrong he was.
After a year’s wait and just hours before a speech by President Joe Biden in Poland, Vladimir Putin gave his first “State of the Nation” speech since the invasion of Ukraine. In the nearly two-hour address, the Russian autocrat promised to press on in Ukraine, calling the “existential” conflict a “war” for the first time and asserting that the West had started it. He attacked the leaders of the Ukrainian government as “neo-Nazis,” and addressed the West directly, mocking its economic sanctions as a failure and accusing it of normalizing pedophilia, among other social ills. He also made news by officially withdrawing from the New START nuclear-weapons treaty, although Russia had not been in compliance with the treaty for some time.
Subtly referenced in the speech, and undergirding the whole thing, was a message that the Kremlin and its supporters have reiterated again and again over the last year: the notion that Ukraine is a fundamental and historic part of Russia. Putin stated that the invasion was meant “to protect the people in our historical lands, to ensure the security of our country,” and presented Russian forces as “defending human lives and our common home” (emphasis added). He praised the denizens of the Ukrainian regions Russia has attempted to annex, saying “there has been nothing stronger than your intent to be with Russia, with your Motherland.” This view of Ukraine as a territory of Russia, the prime justification for the invasion, was most directly apparent when Putin addressed the Ukrainian people:
We are together again, which means that we have become even stronger, and we will do everything in our power to bring back the long-awaited peace to our land and ensure the safety of our people. Our soldiers, our heroes are fighting for this, for their ancestors, for the future of their children and grandchildren, for uniting our people.
In this respect, the “State of the Nation” address echoed the profoundly ideological speech Putin gave a year ago, in which he attempted to establish a casus belli for the invasion. --->READ MORE HERE
Photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
WSJ: Drones Are Giving Ukraine a Wartime Edge:
A $2,000 vehicle made in China destroys a Russian tank worth millions. They call it ‘delivering pizza.’
Discussion about the war in Ukraine has focused recently on whether the West will supply Kyiv with tanks and jets. But consider the humble drone. Even as Russia has used Iranian-made drones to attack Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Ukraine has repurposed cheap commercial drones for use on the battlefield.
Jury-rigged commercial drones typically carry small payloads over short distances, but they’re cheap and can take out heavy enemy equipment. Ukrainian fighters call it “delivering pizza.” In September in the northern region of Kharkiv, Stanislav Zorin, a 36-year-old drone operator for Ukraine’s 80th Airborne Assault Brigade, used a Chinese-made DJI Mavic 3 drone that costs a little more than $2,000 to destroy a Russian tank worth millions. Mr. Zorin describes it as “my ideal sortie.”
Ukraine also has used drones to improve the accuracy of low-precision artillery. “When the first shot goes in, you say, ‘Well, it’s 10 meters left, it’s 10 meters right,’ until you make it in. It makes a huge difference,” says Timur Khromaev, 47, company commander of the Territorial Defense’s 112 Brigade, who spent the summer flying drones over Russian positions in the southern region of Kherson. Russia has had vastly more artillery and missile systems than Ukraine. “Every shot counts,” Mr. Khromaev says.
“Drones are fundamentally a platform that lets you do one of two things,” says Fred Kagan, director of the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project. “It lets you look at stuff, and it lets you shoot stuff.”
The West has helped Ukraine with intelligence, but Kyiv has also relied on drones to peer into Russian-occupied territory. Drones “let poor countries do stuff that otherwise only rich countries used to be able to do,” Mr. Kagan says. “The Ukrainians have used drones to offset their own gaps in capability at a much lower price tag than they would have had to pay if they were going to do it in the more conventional military way.”
Drones can also be used in psychological warfare. Samuel Bendett, a member of the Russia Studies Program at the nonprofit Center for Naval Analyses, says a pro-Kremlin account on Telegram recently featured a post by a Russian soldier who described how Ukrainians had used commercial drones to surveil his unit and attack its men when they tried to move between shelters. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++WSJ: How Ukraine’s Growing Military Has Changed Over One Year of War+++++

+++++As Russia counts losses in thousands at Bakhmut, wounded ‘Wagnerites’ are left to die – General Staff+++++

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