Above photo: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walk along a street after a meeting, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine April 9, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via Reuters.
On August 24 the British prime minister Boris Johnson visited Kiev:
In comments made next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Mariyinsky Palace, Johnson said Ukraine “can and will win this war.”
Johnson’s visit was the start signal for the long announced Ukrainian ‘counteroffensive’ towards Kherson.
In early April Johnson had called on and visited Kiev to stop well developed peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine:
“Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the outlines of a negotiated interim settlement,” wrote Fiona Hill and Angela Stent. “Russia would withdraw to its position on February 23, when it controlled part of the Donbas region and all of Crimea, and in exchange, Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries. ”The news highlights the impact of former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s efforts to stop negotiations, as journalist Branko Marcetic noted on Twitter. The decision to scuttle the deal coincided with Johnson’s April visit to Kyiv, during which he reportedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to break off talks with Russia for two key reasons: Putin cannot be negotiated with, and the West isn’t ready for the war to end.
Over the last months Britain has trained several thousands of Ukrainian troops and their officers. Together with Ukrainian special forces Britain’s MI-6 secret service planned a special operation for Ukraine to regain control over the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on the south side of the Kakhovka Dnieper reservoir. This was designed to coincide with a visit of IAEA inspectors, long held up by Ukraine, to visit the ZNPP.
The Kherson offensive started on August 30 on five axes. It was destined to fail. Three of these attempts to gain ground held by Russian troops failed. One axis was stopped after taking a few small villages of no strategic value. The only ‘successful’ attack was across the Inhulet river near Andriivka in the direction of the dam and river crossing that closes off the Kakhovka Dnieper reservoir.
The plan was crazy to begin with. The whole area is flat open steppe. The troops would have had to created a 50 kilometer (30 miles) long corridor through open hostile land. The towns on the way are mostly one or two street agricultural mini-villages with one story homes that offer little protection. The Ukrainian forces have no air defense or air attack capability to cover advancing troops. Its artillery capabilities are a tenth of what the Russian military can provide in the area. It was obvious from the beginning that this was a suicide mission.
Reportedly the Ukrainian military command was against this mission. But the Ukrainian political leadership, the Zelenski regime, ordered it to proceed. It was under political pressure from its foreign supporters to show at least some success.
The attack was launched on August 30. The Ukrainian military created three river crossings over the Inhulet near Andriivka. This already smelled bad. Why didn’t the Russian airforce or artillery immediately destroy those crossings?
It was obvious that this was a trap.
In a CNN piece, co-written by the notorious ‘intelligence’ stenographer Natasha Bertrand, the U.S. military distanced itself from the upcoming catastrophe:
In the buildup to the current Ukrainian counteroffensive, the US urged Kyiv to keep the operation limited in both its objectives and its geography to avoid getting overextended and bogged down on multiple fronts, multiple US and western officials and Ukrainian sources tell CNN. Those discussions involved engaging in “war-gaming” with Kyiv, the sources said — analytical exercises that were intended to help the Ukrainian forces understand what force levels they would need to muster to be successful in different scenarios.
The Ukrainians were initially considering a broader counteroffensive, but narrowed their mission to the south, in the Kherson region, in recent weeks, US and Ukrainian officials said.
Officials say they believe there is now increased parity between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries. But western officials have been hesitant to label the nascent Ukrainian operation — which appeared to begin on Monday in the southern province of Kherson — a true “counteroffensive.”
How successful Ukraine is likely to be in regaining lost territory remains an open question, sources familiar with the latest intelligence tell CNN.
For three days the Ukrainian military sent battalion after battalion into the salient. These were good professional troops trained by Britain. They were equipped with modernized Polish T-72 tanks and up-armored Dutch Infantry Fighting Vehicles (YPR-765 IFV). But while these force were able to create a deeper salient it would soon become their grave.
As I wrote on September 1.
The Ukrainian Kherson offensive continues despite extremely heavy losses. The Rybar map shows one of the axes where the Ukrainian army still tries to press forward after having been rooted from Bruskyns’ke.
The area is flat open steppe with no coverage for troops to hide. The Russian side is by far superior in artillery and has air supremacy. Whoever ordered the Ukrainians to press this suicidal campaign under these circumstance is guilty of murder and should go to prison for the rest of his life.
On September 1, the very day the IAEA delegation was to arrive, the Ukrainian side made a daring attack to seize the ZNPP. But the Russian side had been warned. The two waves of Ukrainian special forces, also trained by Britain, were killed while crossing the reservoir or were running into ambushes as soon as they had landed. They ended up dead. The IAEA inspection proceeded as planned.
Jeffrey Kaye @jeff_kaye – 21:18 UTC · Sep 2, 2022UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday:
“We are glad that the Russian Federation did all to keep our inspectors safe”!
I expect mainstream press to not report this.
Link to Interfax report
On the third day of the offensive the bridges across the Inhulet river where still intact. The Russian tactic was obvious. A scheme that it had used previously on the Karkiv front:
Will Schryver @imetatronink – 22:28 UTC · Sep 2, 2022The truth of the Kherson “offensive” is written on the maps for all to see: AFU attacks; Ru hits ’em hard, then pulls back; AFU advances; Ru hits ’em again, but pulls back more; AFU adds forces to salient; Ru flanks them in force & cuts off their rear; trap closed; turkey shoot.
Late yesterday the Russian air force made its first real showing in this ‘counteroffensive’ affair. It attacked Ukrainian forces at the front of the salient in the tiny village of Bezimene with some 24 ‘dumb’ 500 kilogram bombs. This ended the existence of the village and of all Ukrainian forces in it.
The Russian airforce then proceeded to destroy all river crossings over the Inhulet.
The Ukrainian forces are trapped:
Here is the current Rybar overview of the larger Kherson region. All Ukrainian attempts in this ‘counteroffensive’ have failed to make any significant progress.
The 128th mountain assault brigade from the Ukrainian Transcarpatia region was involved in the general attack and got destroyed. (Why use ‘mountain assault’ specialists in the open steppe?) The governor of the region reportedly ordered a day of mourning.
The Russian side has now launched some attacks of its own to gain areas and towns the Ukrainians had held for some time. The Ukrainians are scrambling to mobilize local reserves in Nikolaev to counter these moves.
In ‘western’ media, complicit with the Zelenski regime, neither the bloody defeat of the ‘counteroffensive’ in Kherson nor the attempted raid on the ZNPP ever happened.
The only mention of it I found in the New York Times is this:
In a statement, the [Russian defense] ministry claimed that Russian forces had intercepted two groups of Ukrainian commandos, up to 60 troops combined, who crossed the Dnipro River in boats to sabotage or seize the plant.
In total the ‘counterattack’ on Kherson was a complete failure that predictably ended up destroying Ukraine’s main military reserves and a major part of the stock of heavy vehicles it had received from the ‘west’.
The ZNPP, which was the main ‘public relation’ target of the whole affair, is still in Russian hands and now secured by the presence of a permanent IAEA delegation.
bruno bertez @BrunoBertez – 7:27 UTC · 3 Sep 2022“The IAEA is there to stay for as long as it is needed. We are not leaving.” [IAEA director] Grossi said. “For those who may have intentions on the plant, knowing that international inspectors are there, witnessing and informing immediately what is happening, has an important stabilising effect.”
Heads in Kiev should and will likely roll over this. But that is not enough. Those in London who came up with this lunatic idea should be removed from their positions.
Meanwhile U.S. President Joe Biden has asked for $13.7 billion in additional money for Ukraine.
He wants to fight Russia down to the very last Ukrainian. A fight Russia does not want but is assured to win.
Can Biden be held to account for this?