Day 41, Phase 2
ATN's Smart Optics Arrive , Ruska Lozova Op Begins
I read though Graeme’s article quickly. Yes, volunteer fighters here are loud and annoying and, at times, unhelpful and rude, but, overall, they are good eggs. I haven’t chatted up Malcom yet (I think he’s memorizing the cyrilic alphabet and doing undercover stuff in Lviv), but I’ve bumped into several un-kitted up legionnaires and offered tips on everything from procuring night vision goggles, to tipping etiquette at Tootsie’s, running routes, jujitsu holds and local ibogaine treatment centers. Graeme’s expertise on anything Ukraine is obvi not ideal, but it would be churlish for me to hold that against him. If we can forgive Sabrina and Keith, we can forgive Graeme, too1.
The same goes for Katie, who, along with dozens of foreign journalists, filed profoundly confusing and kooky reports from Donetsk basements when Russia-occupation forces invaded eastern Ukraine in 2014. Her article in appearing on April 30, 2022 in The Atlantic, titled “Putin Isn’t the Only Autocrat Misusing History,” jogged memories of jingoism-free reportages from Donbas at the start of the war, including her own for Sky News in 2014, which completely misrepresented the conflict. Tavernise syndrome, slightly adulterated no-Kremlin-fingerprint bullshit2.
Back to the battlefield.
As we noted yesterday3, we are transitioning to Phase 3 of the war, which will last through the summer. Russia failed in Phase 1 to decapitate the government in Kyiv, and Russia failed in Phase 2 to achieve its stated goal of “denazifying” and “liberating” Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Lots of failure during the first two phases, unspeakable tragedy and needless death.
Looking on the positive side, fewer opinion leaders and decision makers in the collective West — with the possible exception of Graeme and Katie at The Atlantic — are paying much, if any, attention to what Putin says and will say during his last military parade on Red Square in Moscow celebrating Victory Day.
We never celebrated that holiday publicly during the 1990s, but Putin revived the May 9 public dog-and-pony show during the 00s to promote himself and national self-esteem.
My favorite Soviet holiday marks the anniversary of the Socialist Revolution. Shots of vodka before and after the march raised our spirits. I’m not sure if the holiday is celebrated anywhere in the 21st century, except in Belarus.
In other news, we have located at least part of the historic shipment of tactical optical gear to help Ukrainian troops see and shoot better on the battlefield.
All my 7,024 paying Substack subscribers know that I’ve been following the “Lighting up the Battlefield” saga since before 1984, when Detachment A was disbanded, and at least as doggedly for the now deactivated Asymmetrical Warfare Group. It’s all been hush, hush, hush, but that’s why the story remains so interesting and relevant, now with crypto twists and beer from Lida.
Using terms like rebels, separatists, breakaway regions and insurrection to describe the crisis serves no purpose of diplomacy or journalistic balance. It is a failure to serve the public interest. Russia’s war against Ukraine should be described as what it is: an armed conflict instigated and sustained by Russia’s armed intervention. Day 30. Mass Deportation (March 25, 2022)
The key to sleeping safely in Russia-occupied areas during May will be snoozing in small groups at night. On the contact line, those at greater risk of being blown to smithereens nap less, on average, unless they can see in the dark, a capability Uncle Joe has promised to help provide. Day 40, Phase 2. Finding FLOTS, Green IR Lasers (May 4, 2022)