Russia. Is. At. War.
04/01/2024 // News Editors // Views

Due to a flurry of western support for Ukraine, now escalating to ground troop insertions, Russia had to move its special military operation in Ukraine into the bigger scope of a full fledged war.

(Article republished from

Over the last month the Ukrainian military intelligence directorate GUR and its civilian secret service SBU have attempted to disturb the recent presidential election in Russia. They did this by:

  1. sending forces, with U.S. made equipment (Bradleys), to attack Russian border villages in the direction of Belgorod (Belgograd),
  2. by launching missiles from Czech Vampire (RM-70) multiple launch rocket systems towards Belgorod,
  3. by launching somewhat successful drone strike against Russian oil refineries.

The election in Russia saw a record turnout. As expected President Putin did win by a very large margin. His legitimacy is a geopolitical reality:

If Nato expansion is about the perpetuation of US hegemony and de-dollarisation is about the burial of the western financial system that underpins that hegemony, Putin is playing a pivotal role in that historical process. If Putin remains in power till 2030 and fulfils even one half of the ambitious blueprint of social and economic programme for Russia that he outlined in his landmark speech at the Federal Assembly of the parliament, the global strategic balance will have shifted irrevocably and cemented a multipolar world order as the anchor sheet of 21st century politics.

The West knows it, the Russian people know it, the vast majority of nations realise it. That said, it must be understood as well that this is not only Putin’s victory personally but also a consolidation of Russian society around him. And that accounts for the last week’s election turning into such a high-stakes affair.

With the election out of the way Russia was free to hit back.

Moon of Alabama @MoonofA - 13:24 UTC · Mar 20, 2024Ru Ministry of Defense claims 1725 Ukrainian casualties over the last day (650 in Belgograd direction alone)

Over the last six days the Russian MoD reports claimed no less than nine hits on the Czech Vampire systems which targeted Belgorod.

The Ukrainian incursion towards Belgorod has thus been defeated.

On Wednesday Jake Sullivan, the U.S. National Security Advisor, had visited Kiev. He was noticed for what he did not say:

Jake Sullivan, US National Security Adviser, has said that Ukraine will win if it comes out of the war as a sovereign, democratic and free country. At the same time, he did not mention restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity among the conditions of victory.

It is believed that Sullivan delivered a warning to Kiev. As the Financial Times reported (archived):

The US has urged Ukraine to halt attacks on Russia’s energy infrastructure, warning the drone strikes risk driving up global oil prices and provoking retaliation, according to three people familiar with the discussions.The repeated warnings from Washington were delivered to senior officials at Ukraine’s state security service, the SBU, and its military intelligence directorate, known as the GUR, the people told the Financial Times.

Both intelligence units have steadily expanded their own drone programmes to strike Russian targets on land, sea and in the air since the start of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The U.S. concern is not about Ukraine but about Biden's chance for reelection:

Russia remains one of the world’s most important energy exporters despite western sanctions on its oil and gas sector. Oil prices have risen about 15 per cent this year, to $85 a barrel, pushing up fuel costs just as US President Joe Biden begins his campaign for re-election.


The US objections come as Biden faces a tough re-election battle this year with petrol prices on the rise, increasing almost 15 per cent this year to around $3.50 a gallon.“Nothing terrifies a sitting American president more than a surge in pump prices during an election year,” said Bob McNally, president of consultancy Rapidan Energy and a former White House energy adviser.

The Ukrainian government denied and confirmed the FT report (machine translation):

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Stefanashina actually confirmed the information to the Financial Times , saying that "we understand the calls of American partners," but Ukraine responded to such calls by "achieving its goals" and "very successful operations" on the territory of the Russian Federation.

Sullivan's warning about provoking retaliation was too late.

Yesterday, for the first time in 44 day, Russia launched a missile attack against Kiev (archived):

The Ukrainian Air Force said that air defense systems had intercepted all 31 of the Russian missiles that targeted Kyiv. Still, debris from the downed missiles fell in various parts of the city, causing the injuries and damage. No deaths have been reported so far.


In the Podilskyi district, which is home to industrial facilities that Russia has targeted in the past, a plume of black smoke was rising early in the morning, suggesting a hit. Mr. Klitschko said a fire had broken out at a power substation in the area. Ukrainian officials rarely confirm strikes on strategic industrial and military targets.


Thursday’s attack on Kyiv echoed a strategy used by Russia during air assaults in late December that consisted of overwhelming Ukraine’s air defenses with multiple launches of various types of missiles, including ballistic and hypersonic ones.Russia has launched relatively few large-scale missile attacks in recent months, despite a capacity to produce more than 115 long-range missiles per month, according to Ukrainian officials.

Yesterday's Russian MoD report said:

Last night, the Russian Aerospace Forces delivered a strike by long-range precision weaponry including Kinzhal hypersonic missiles at AFU decision-making centres, logistic bases, temporary deployment areas of special operations forces and foreign mercenaries.The goal of the strike has been achieved. All the targets have been engaged.

Such Russian strikes are complex. Drones are send first to reveal Ukrainian air defense systems. Then follows a wave of attacks against those system. A third strike is then launched against the real targets of the attack. In this case those were a drone factory in Kiev as well as a headquarter of the military intelligence service GUR.

Another large scale strike followed today. The primary targets were elements of the electricity infrastructure:

Large areas of Ukraine are suffering blackouts after Russian missiles targeted energy infrastructure.There is no electricity in the second-largest city of Kharkiv, says regional head Oleg Synehubov.

Fifteen blasts were reported in Kharkiv, while more than 53,000 households in Odesa were without power.

Ukraine's energy minister, German Galushchenko, accused Russia of trying to provoke "a large-scale failure of the country's energy system".

A power line feeding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant had been cut, he added.

Regional head Ivan Fedorov said the power station was "on the verge of a blackout", adding that seven buildings in the region had been destroyed and 35 others damaged.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia had launched more than 60 Shahed drones and about 90 missiles into Ukraine during the wave of overnight attacks.

Internet access in Ukraine has dropped significantly.

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