Another large wave of Russian airstrikes pummeled Ukrainian energy infrastructure on Thursday, in what’s widely being seen as the most immediate response to the day prior announcement from the US and Germany that Abrams and Leopard main battle tanks will be supplied to Ukrainian forces. Ukraine’s emergency services have said at least 11 people were killed, and 11 more wounded.
Thursday’s fresh areal assault included at least two dozen drones, allegedly Iranian-made, launched on southern Ukraine. Ukraine’s military said its anti-air defenses intercepted the drones. In the wake of the attack, Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko charged that Russia is seeking to “create a systemic failure in Ukraine’s energy system.”
“Emergency shutdowns have been introduced. The most difficult situation is currently in the regions of Kyiv, Odesa and Vinnytsia,” Galushchenko added. The energy ministry indicated that in the south, in the area of Odesa, “such a situation may last for several days until the damaged power facilities are restored.”
Moscow said that it will consider the Western tank deliveries as confirming the Western allies’ “direct involvement in the conflict.”
Additionally, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday in response to President Biden’s pledge to send 31 M1 Abrams to Ukraine that the US-made tanks will “burn”.
Putin weighed in on Germany taking a lead role in convincing Washington to provide tanks…
🇺🇸🇩🇪🇷🇺Putin: “Strictly speaking, formally, legally, there are American occupation troops on the territory of the Federal Republic[Germany],but in fact there are, there are a lot of them there. pic.twitter.com/DBu1m1bLIy
— AZ 🛰🌏🌍🌎 (@AZgeopolitics) January 25, 2023
“I am certain that many experts understand the absurdity of this idea. The plan is disastrous in terms of technology,” Peskov said.
“But above all, it overestimates the potential it will add to the Ukrainian army. These tanks burn just like all the others.”
All of this comes as the fighting in Donetsk and the south has intensified, with Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ganna Malyar acknowledging the ratcheting pressure on Ukrainian front line positions. This week Kiev belatedly acknowledged a complete withdrawal of forces from Soledar.
“Priority number one is air defense systems. We have to close our sky, because Russia is still terrorizing our cities,” Ukraine’s Defense Minister @oleksiireznikov tells me. “We have people, but we need weaponry… Give us the tools, we’ll finish the job.” pic.twitter.com/w2QZ10YY8I
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) January 25, 2023
Now the focus is on the fight for nearby Bakhmut. “The enemy is throwing a significant number of personnel, weapons and military equipment into the battle, trying to break through our defenses,” Malyar said.
The Institute for the Study of War has explained that Russia is currently implementing “spoiling attacks across most of the frontline in Ukraine in order to disperse and distract Ukrainian forces.”
* * *
Alongside the impending tank deliveries, the other big Ukraine development this week concerns dwindling artillery ammo supplies, which interestingly enough directly impacts ‘Pentagon readiness’ in the South China Sea region, according to US defense planners. Rabobank writes the following…
The New York Times tweets: “To keep Ukraine’s howitzers firing, the Pentagon will increase its production of 155-mm shells six-fold, to 90,000 rounds per month – raising ammunition production in the US to the highest levels since the Korean War.” Moreover, the Washington Post has an editorial about the $858bn Pentagon budget, and how it adopts wartime purchasing practices. In particular, a provision allows the US military to sign “emergency” multiyear, non-competitive agreements to produce munitions, missiles, rockets, and mortars, aimed at cost-saving via bulk buying, two things the Pentagon has failed badly at for years.
The Post also notes the budget proposal does far more than that: “It lays the foundation for a vastly revitalised defence industrial base – and does so with one eye on the People’s Republic of China.” 25 new mass-assembly lines will soon roll out weapons quantities “far in excess of what is required to replenish Ukraine.” 700 HIMARS systems are ordered vs. the 20 sent to aid Kyiv, and 3,600 of two kinds of anti-ship missile, more appropriate for the South China than the Black Sea.
BY TYLER DURDEN
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