south front

US To Pay More For Ukrainian Victories
South Front, Aug 10 2022

The most active combat zone in Ukraine remains the northern and central fronts of the DPR. On the outskirts of Soledar, the 6th Cossack Regiment of the LPR People’s Militia with the support of Russian forces took control of the territory of the Knauf plant. The fighting has already reached the streets adjacent to the plant. Russian control over the enterprise complicates the situation of the AFU defending in the village of Bakhmutsky, which is stormed by the Wagner group. Fierce clashes continue on the outskirts of the city of Bakhmut. The AFRF took control of the territory of the champagne wine factory “Artvin.” Russian artillery hits Ukrainian positions near the substation in Vesela Dolyna on the southeastern approaches to the settlement.

On the Donetsk front lines, the pace of advance of the DPR units has slowed down again. After the successes of Russian-led forces in Peske, fighting continues on the western outskirts of the town. DPR units are slowly advancing in Marinka and Spartak. Despite the $1b-worth of military aid from Kiev’s western allies, the AFU are yet to launch any successful offensive operations. On Aug 8, the US announced the allocation of the largest package of military assistance to Ukraine in recent times, worth $1b. US military assistance to Ukraine has grown to $11.8b since 2014. However, that was not all. On Aug 9 the US State Dept announced its intention to provide $89m of FY 2022 funding for assistance to the Government of Ukraine in mine clearance on the territory of the country. The money will be used to train 100 groups of sappers, as well as to purchase the necessary technical means. According to the estimates of the Government of Ukraine, cited by the State Dept, 160k sq km of the country’s territory remain mined.

However, not all aid to Ukraine is officially declared by Washington. After the media revealed that the US-made AGM-88 HARM missiles are used by Ukrainian forces, the Pentagon was forced to confirm the transfer of anti-radar missiles to Ukraine. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed to CNN that the missiles in question are AGM-88 without specifying their number. He stated that the missiles can be launched from Ukrainian aircraft. The Kiev regime has recently declared a major counter-offensive. A large operation is expected to take place in the eastern regions of Ukraine in mid-August. Kiev’s allies who are paying the AFU are likely also waiting for any gains by the Ukrainian side. At the same time, the AFU is yet to strengthening their military positions in the south as after losses near Donetsk, they were reportedly forced to send the reinforcements back to the Donbass.

More Weapons For Kiev’s Terrorist Attacks On Civilians
South Front, Aug 9 2022

On Aug 9, Russian-led forces claimed a new victory on the south-eastern outskirts of the city of Soledar. After counter-attacks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were repelled, allied units managed to establish a stronghold on the territory of the KNAUF plant. The commanders of the 6th Cossack Regiment of the LPR and the Akhmat unit of the Chechen special forces of the Russian Guards who took part in the offensive confirmed the gains. To the south of Soledar, units of Russian-led forces are advancing towards Kodema. Fighting is ongoing on the eastern outskirts of the village. In the Seversk region, positional battles continue in the villages of Serebryanka, Ivano-Dariivka and Verkhnekamensk. After allied forces entered Bakhmut, fighting is ongoing on the eastern outskirts of the city. Amid reports on the upcoming counter-offensive of Ukrainian forces in the southern regions, Ukrainian defenses in the Donbas cracked. DPR forces advanced in Peski. Ukrainian units were repelled in the north-western outskirts of the town. The Ukrainian military command is forced to prepare a new line of defense in Vodiane and Pervomaisky. Ukrainian forces sent to the southern regions for the declared offensive are reportedly coming back to the Donetsk region due to heavy losses in Peski, Maryinka and Avdiivka.

In response to the gains of allied forces, Ukrainian forces continue shelling civilians in Donetsk and areas nearby. The People’s Militia of the DPR reported that over the past day 420 shells were fired at ten different settlements of the republic from multiple rocket launchers, including HIMARS, Hurricane and Grad systems. As a result of the shelling, four civilians were killed and 17 others were injured. The headquarters of the territorial defense of the DPR warned about the new attacks with PFM-1 mines on the civilian areas by the Ukrainian side. So far, at least 32 civilians were wounded by Ukrainian mines, one of which died of his wounds. In turn, the US DoD declared another military aid package to Ukraine. The 18th presidential drawdown is the largest one to date and it is worth $1b. The package includes ammunition for both the high mobility rocket artillery and howitzer systems which are used for attacks on civilians. Among the items included in the latest package are additional ammunition for the HIMARS; 75k rounds of 155 mm artillery ammunition; twenty 120 mm mortar systems and 20k rounds of 120 mm mortar ammunition; munitions for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems, or NASAMS; and 1k Javelin and hundreds of AT4 anti-armor systems.

CBS Removes Documentary On Ukraine Military Aid After Pressure From Ukrainian Government
South Front, Aug 10 2022 (Story originally from AntiWar.com)

CBS News retracted a documentary it briefly released on Sunday after pressure from the Ukrainian government. The original documentary (watch it above or here) CBS put out examined the flow of military aid to Ukraine and quoted someone familiar with the process who said in April that only 30% of the arms were making it to the frontline. Jonas Ohman, the founder of Blue-Yellow, a Lithuania-based organization that CBS said has been meeting with and supplying frontline units with aid in Ukraine since the start of the war in the Donbas in 2014:

All of this stuff goes across the border, and then something happens, kind of like 30% of it reaches its final destination. 30-40%, that’s my estimation.

After the documentary sparked outrage from the Ukrainian government, it was removed from the internet by CBS. In an editor’s note, CBS said it changed the article that was published with the documentary and that the documentary itself was being ‘updated.’ The editor’s note also insisted that Ohman has said the delivery of weapons in Ukraine has ‘significantly improved’ since he filmed with CBS back in April, although he didn’t offer a new estimate on the percentage of arms being delivered. The editor’s note also said that the Ukrainian government noted US defense attaché Brig-Gen Garrick M Harmon arrived in Kyiv in August for ‘arms control and monitoring.’ Defense attachés are military officers stationed at US embassies that represent the Pentagon’s interests in the country. Previously, it was unclear if there was any sort of military presence at the US embassy in Kyiv after it reopened in May. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the retraction by CBS was not enough and called for an investigation into the documentary. He wrote on Twitter:

In the documentary, Ohman described the corruption and bureaucracy that he has to work around to deliver aid to Ukraine, saying:

There are like power lords, oligarchs, political players. The system itself, it’s like, “We are the armed forces of Ukraine. If security forces want it, well, the Americans gave it to us.” It’s kind of like power games all day long, and so eventually people need the stuff, and they go to us.

Other reporting has shown that there is virtually no oversight for the billions of dollars in weapons that the US and its allies are pouring into Ukraine. CNN reported in April that the US has ‘almost zero’ ability to track the weapons it is sending once they enter Ukraine. One source briefed on US intelligence described it as dropping the arms into a “big black hole.’

The video report is above. Here is the CBS text, with additions in italics and subtractions crossed out:

Why military aid to Ukraine doesn’t always get to the front lines: “Like 30% of it reaches its final destination”
Adam Yamaguchi, Alex Pena, CBS News, Aug 7 2022 – original Aug 4 version archived here

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect changes since the CBS Reports documentary “Arming Ukraine” was filmed, and the documentary is also being updated. Jonas Ohman says the delivery has significantly improved since filming with CBS in late April. The government of Ukraine notes that US defense attaché Brig-Gen Garrick M Harmon arrived in Kyiv in Aug 2022 for arms control and monitoring.

In a war being fought largely in WW2-era trenches, with Soviet ammunition, the vast influx of modern NATO weapons and military supplies from the West into Ukraine has proven to be among the largest determinants of whether territory is lost, or gained, along Ukraine’s embattled border region with Russia. The bulk of these weapons and military supplies make their way to the border of Poland, where US and NATO allies quickly ferry it across the border and into the hands of Ukrainian officials. That’s where US oversight ends. Jonas Ohman is founder and CEO of Blue-Yellow, a Lithuania-based organization that has been meeting with and supplying frontline units with military aid in Ukraine since the start of the conflict with Russia-backed separatists in 2014.

(He) said in April of this year: “All of this stuff goes across the border, and then something happens, kind of like 30% of it reaches its final destination. 30-40%, that’s my estimation.” Back in April, he estimated that just “30-40%” of the supplies coming across the border reached its final destination. But he says the situation has significantly improved since then and a much larger quantity now gets where it’s supposed to go. The government of Ukraine notes that US defense attaché Brig-Gen Garrick M Harmon arrived in Kyiv in Aug 2022 for arms control and monitoring. CBS News has reached out to Harmon for an interview.

The US has committed over $23b in military aid to Ukraine since the start of the war at the end of February, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, which has been tracking global commitments of aid to Ukraine. The UK has committed $3.7b, Germany $1.4b, and Poland $1.8b, with multiple other countries following suit. A combination of Ukraine’s constantly shifting front lines with its largely volunteer and paramilitary forces has made delivery of the military aid difficult for those attempting to navigate the dangerous supply lines to their destination. Some have raised concerns about weapons falling into Ukraine’s black market, which has thrived on corruption since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ohman relies largely on unofficial channels to deliver his supplies, which can include anything from night-vision scopes and radios to Kevlar vests, ballistic helmets and modern drones, which have proven to be essential eyes in the sky for breaking through stalemates on the battlefield. His group’s status as an NGO does not permit him to deliver “lethal weapons.” Ohman said in April, describing the corruption and bureaucracy he has to work around:

There are like power lords, oligarchs, political players. The system itself, it’s like: “We are the armed forces of Ukraine. If security forces want it, well, the Americans gave it to us.” It’s kind of like power games all day long, and so eventually people need the stuff, and they go to us.

Andy Millburn is a retired US Marine colonel who served in Iraq and Somalia and recently founded the Mozart Group, a company dedicated to training frontline Ukrainian soldiers. He traveled to Ukraine after the Russian invasion and set up a base in the capital Kyiv. Millburn said:

If you provide supplies, or a logistics pipeline, there has got to be some organization to it, right? If the ability to which you’re willing to be involved in that stops at the Ukrainian border, the surprise isn’t that, oh, all this stuff isn’t getting to where it needs to go, the surprise is that people actually expected it to. If US policy is to support Ukraine in the defense of its country against the Russian Federation, you can’t go halfway with that. You can’t create artificial lines. I understand that means that US troops are not fighting Russians. I understand even US troops are not crossing the border. But why not at least put people in place to supervise the country? They can be civilians to ensure that the right things are happening.

In July, Ambassador Bonnie Denise Jenkins, Under-Sec for Arms Control and International Security at the US State Dept, said:

The potential for illicit diversion of weapons is among a host of political-military and human rights considerations. We are confident in the Ukrainian Government’s commitment to appropriately safeguard and account for the US-origin defense equipment.

Ukraine has created a temporary special commission to track the flow of weapons inside the country. But still, weapons experts say they have seen situations like this before. Donatella Rovera, a senior crisis adviser for Amnesty International who has been monitoring human rights violations in Ukraine, said:

Every country and every situation is very different, but certainly if I look back, Iraq is another country where there have been cyclical deliveries. We saw a lot of weapons come in 2003 with the US-led invasion of Iraq, and then 2014 happened when ISIS took over large parts of the country and took over large stocks of weapons that had been meant for Iraqi forces. More recently, we saw the same situation occur in Afghanistan. Oversight mechanisms should be in place to avoid that.

Ohman said:

That’s one of the reasons we have to win the war. If we lose the war, if we have this kind of gray zone, semi-failed state scenario or something like that, if you do this, you funnel lots of lethal resources into a place and you lose, then you will have to face the consequences.

Dymtro Vlasov contributed to this report.

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