Source: Hot Air
The fog of war surrounding the new counteroffensive is still thick this afternoon and is likely to stay thick. Explosions are being heard across Kherson but Zelensky warned in a televised address last night not to expect details about the progress of the advance.
So how about a lighter-side item that may or may not shed light on whether Russia thinks it can hold the province or not?
Kirill Stremousov is a Ukrainian politician and longtime Russian sympathizer who’s run for election several times and lost. He’s also a quisling. When the Russians took over Kherson this spring, they installed him as the deputy puppet administrator of the new military-run local government. He’s wanted for treason by Ukraine and will presumably hang if they ever catch up to him, as collaborators should.
At a moment when Ukrainian troops are threatening Russian control of the province, one might expect him to follow the Zelensky model of leadership by staying put and rallying his supporters for the fight. If Zelensky had abandoned Kiev at the start of the war, as some in the west wanted him to do, it’s anyone’s guess what would have happened to Ukrainian military morale. The new counteroffensive is Stremousov’s chance to display the same courage on Russia’s behalf. And he has — sort of. He’s put out several videos insisting that Kherson belongs to Russia.
But where were those videos recorded? In the heart of Kherson?
Ukrainian sympathizers have been scrutinizing the videos for clues and finally found one. The traitor has turned tail and fled.
Russian-appointed deputy gauleiter for #Kherson region, local collaborator Stremousov, issued videos in which he reiterated that “Kherson is forever Russian”.
— Alex Kokcharov (@AlexKokcharov) August 30, 2022
Kherson is 735 km away from Voronezh by direct line, and double the distance via Crimea and Russia.
Russian collaborators are fleeing from Kherson, as it has been verified.
— Alex Kokcharov (@AlexKokcharov) August 30, 2022
“Nothing says ‘Kherson is Russia forever’ more than running for your life at the first sign of trouble,” said one Twitter pal.
Stremousov isn’t the only Russian ally who suddenly fears for his own safety. This was allegedly the scene last night in Belgorod — a Russian city, not a Ukrainian one. It’s close enough to the border that the Ukrainians have managed to destroy several fuel and ammo depots there. I don’t know why locals would suddenly be scrambling to leave unless they’re so spooked by Ukrainian operations elsewhere that they fear they too might now be in harm’s way.
Something is happening in Belgorod, Russia 🇷🇺 (30 KM to 🇺🇦 border & 75 KM to Kharkov 🇺🇦).
Despite the late hour, TONS of locals are trying to catch the midnight train to Moscow.
Belgorod’s been used by 🇷🇺 to shell 🇺🇦.
Guess locals sense that payback is coming to visit 🇷🇺 soon. pic.twitter.com/hzXdKuXfMh
— Jason Jay Smart (@officejjsmart) August 29, 2022
If Ukraine can wreck a Russian air base in Crimea and threaten Russian control of Kherson, a resident of Belgorod might decide that they’re better safe than sorry by relocating somewhere deeper inside Russia. Which would be a strong signal of how little confidence Russian citizens have in their own military at this point to repel Ukrainian attacks and protect their territory.
There’s another enjoyable lighter-side story about the war floating around today, one in which nothing dies except the Russian defense budget. The Ukrainians have spent the past month or two depleting Russia’s ammunition stockpiles with artillery…
Berislav, Kherson. Ammo depot has joined the choir invisible. pic.twitter.com/1qe4UxTrxy
— Michael Weiss 🌻🇺🇸🇮🇪 (@michaeldweiss) August 30, 2022
…but what if I told you there’s also a way for Ukraine to do that without blowing anything up? WaPo has details on The Great HIMARS Fake-out of 2022:
Ukraine may be outgunned but in the latest sign it is not yet outfoxed, a fleet of decoys resembling advanced U.S. rocket systems has tricked Russian forces into wasting expensive long-range cruise missiles on dummy targets, according to interviews with senior U.S. and Ukrainian officials and photographs of the replicas reviewed by The Washington Post.
The Ukrainian decoys are made out of wood but can be indistinguishable from an artillery battery through the lens of Russian drones, which transmit their locations to naval cruise missile carriers in the Black Sea…
After a few weeks in the field, the decoys drew at least 10 Kalibr cruise missiles, an initial success that led Ukraine to expand the production of the replicas for broader use, said the senior Ukrainian official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive military matters.
Russia’s stockpile of guided missiles is already running low, according to the Pentagon, especially now that the U.S. is limiting Russian access to microchips. For the price of some timber, nails, and paint, the Ukrainians are getting them to waste millions of dollars in high-tech weaponry they can’t easily replace.
Or is that just U.S./Ukrainian propaganda to get in the Russians’ heads? The Kremlin claims to have destroyed multiple HIMARS systems over the past month. Maybe the report of decoys being used is a tall tale designed to get in their heads and convince them that the threat from HIMARS attacks remains as high as it ever was.
In lieu of an exit question, here’s one last offbeat story about the conflict. I wouldn’t say it’s from the lighter side but a few of you might laugh.