From east to west. From the besieged steel mills Mariupolwhere is the Ukrainians Develop a plan to free the fighters from itAzovHotels bombed by the Russians with hypersonic missiles Odessa. Even a black hole full of uncertainty from Transnistria And the threat from the north Lukashenko Who mobilized Belarusian troops on the border. The war in Ukraine is developing with outbreaks of various diseases. They all define a unique picture, as summarized by US intelligence: none of the contenders can say at the moment that they are close to victory, there is a long and exhausting struggle that hides many pitfalls.
Putin between martial law and Transnistria, US intelligence: “The Tsar’s Long War”
One above all: Vladimir Putin is bogged down in the quagmire, but he cannot afford to lose this war, and his future is at stake. Faced with this scenario, it could raise the level of conflict, which also includes Transnistria.
A new alarm bell is what happened last night in Odessa, a historic city and port of fundamental importance on the Black Sea, not far from the western border with Romania (and thus with the European Union) and with Moldova. (Hence with Moldova). with Transnistria, where there is an outpost of Russian soldiers). Three advanced hypersonic missiles, Kinzhals, were launched from an airplane into a hotel. Seven more missiles destroyed a shopping center. According to CNN, the attack, which occurred around 10:30 pm on Sunday, was fortunately when the curfew was already in effect and there were no people on the street, and submarines and ships were also involved. In total, five buildings were destroyed, there was talk of five wounded and one killed. The attack on Odessa is increasingly raging for several reasons: the initial plan, which envisioned reaching the city by land from the east, was stranded by Ukrainian resistance in Mykolaiv. The Russian fleet suffered heavy losses (starting with the sinking of the main ship Moskva) and a counterattack is now being pursued to cancel the humiliation; Destroying the port of Odessa means isolating Ukraine, cutting off supplies and destroying the economy.
Finally, signs of tension coming from nearby Transnistria (the self-declared republic at the far end of Moldova), where an important arms depot is located, raise concerns that Putin is aiming for a big goal: occupying the entire southern region. To go up again.In the eastern Moldavian strip, remove all seascapes from Ukraine. American intelligence confirms this: there are indications that Putin wants to extend the land bridge to Transnistria, and thus control the entire Black Sea coast. Faced with a threat from that region, from the northwest, the Odessa region is training another 2,000 volunteers willing to reinforce the defense of the region.
Meanwhile, for Putin’s army, the Mariupol operation still awaited completion (always in the south, but in the eastern part): the city was captured, but the thousands of soldiers trapped in the steel mills have not yet surrendered. This presents a problem for the Russians, both in terms of image and operation, as it requires the use of military forces that might be useful elsewhere. According to reports leaked by the Azov regiment, there are still a hundred civilians inside. Not only that: among the thousands who do not surrender, there are many wounded and yesterday Azov published photos of these soldiers. Raw images: People with amputations or injuries treated abnormally for lack of medication. Kyiv is moving in two directions to liberate a thousand soldiers, because Zelensky, in any case, also risks damaging his image if the message passes that he abandons the images of Azov, that is, the men who refused to surrender. According to Maxim Zorin, the former commander of the regiment, in an interview with Kanal 24, “the Kyiv army is working on a military plan to rescue the fighters of the steel plant”, “they do not have much time yet, so they also follow the diplomatic line to get them out ».
Secrecy, of course, about what kind of intervention is possible, but one thinks that the only way to intervene is a blunder attack by sea, even if the Azov Sea is entirely under the control of the Russians. The Ukrainian government also wants to try a different path, a settlement with Moscow: selling the steel mills, but with the obligation to let the Azov soldiers go, in a third country that guarantees their safety. Last night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made this analysis: “His defenders are still in Mariupol. They continued the resistance on the territory of the Azovstal plant. We are using all possible diplomatic tools to organize their relief operations. But Russia did not accept any of the proposed options. We asked our partners for the weapons needed to open the situation and save everyone. At the moment, we do not have the weapons and forces to intervene.” “We are experiencing huge losses,” Azov lieutenant Ilya Samuelenko said in an interview with Sky News. The situation is heartbreaking. For us, every day may be our last.”
Tensions also affect the north: Belarus has brought special forces to the border (an estimated 20,000 men) for exercises (“This is a defensive mobilization”), Minsk said. Belarus is Moscow’s main ally, and the conquest of Ukraine also began from that region thanks to the subjugation of Minsk to Moscow. “Our army is capable of inflicting unbearable damage to its enemies,” Lukashenko warned. In Izyum, 44 bodies were found under the rubble of a building destroyed by the Russians about two months ago. And yesterday evening, anti-aircraft alarms again sounded throughout Ukraine.