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From Medellin to Kharkiv

    Ternopil 18th of May 2024 in Kharkiv, the mood in the city was schizophrenic. Some people did their best to grit on with their normal way of life. Young women eating in a fancy restaurant and elderly tending for their small gardens. Despite the occasional Russian bombing and Ukrainian ATACMS overflight. On the other hand many of the residents were heading west by any means necessary and the Ukrainian armed forces digging fortifications on the outskirts of the city. Many of the defenders coming from the north to rest, pickup supplies or build fortifications had the all too familiar 1000 yard stare or the compulsive humour to keep their mind intact. Kharkiv Comparing Kharkiv to Lviv in the west a few days earlier, Lviv was like a ray of sunshine. A casual observer could not have told that the country was in the middle of the bloodiest war in Europe since fall of Berlin. After travelling to the southern city of Ternopil, you still couldn't immediately tell that a war was going on.
Recent posts

T-55 Returns to the Russian frontlines

 The Russian army has suffered tremendous tank losses during its invasion of Ukraine. To replace the losses it has been forced to field older, obsolete, tank models like T-72B, T-72A and T-62M(V). Some of these have been slightly upgraded with ERA and new thermal sights and most have at least seen limited refurbishment by the Russian tank depots. T-55 in a Russian frontline unit in Ukraine. Now Russia has sen at least a battalions worth of ancient T-55 tanks straight from their long term storage dumps to the Zaporozhye front in Ukraine. These are essentially 1940's technology medium tanks that should have no place in the modern battlefield. Seems that the Russian high command is seriously worried about the coming Ukrainian spring offensive and is using all means available to reinforce the units that are lacking main battle tanks. Here is my video about the T-55: Identification of the T-55: The older and smaller T-55 and T-62 have five roadwheels in their suspensions, the later mode

Russian response to Finnish NATO-membership

Turkish parliament ratified the Finnish NATO-membership yesterday. Before the process began, many pundits, myself included, expected Russia to try to interfere with the process.  This article is also available add-free in my Patreon . The wide scale destruction of the Russian army in Ukraine is an obvious reason that military force hasn't been used to tie down Finland into a frozen conflict to prevent its ascension to the alliance. In the current situation an attack against Finland would severely risk Finland seizing a buffer zone from Russia as Russia is unable to mass the required forces to overmatch the 300 000 men Finnish war time army. But the Russian commitment in to Ukraine doesn't explain the silence in the political and unconventional fields. Russia still has its intelligence services and illegal operatives. It seems that the Russian assessment of Finland is quite realistic at the moment. The sentiment within Finland is strongly against Russia and the Finnish public vo

Sting for the Ukrainian Air-Force

  The pressure to send western fighter aircraft to Ukraine has mounted for months. Even from the evasive answers of the politicians and officials in the know, we can deduce that some decisions have been made and at least the US and UK are training Ukrainian pilots for undisclosed aircraft types. The most often talked about fighter models are the Swedish Gripen, American F-16 and European Tornadoes and Typhoons, with an honorary mention going for the French Mirage 2000.  Spanish Air-Force EF-18M (Photo by :TOMAS DEL CORO) All of the aforementioned planes in all of their versions would be more capable than the current Ukrainian air force inventory that is rapidly reaching the end of their service life. But there is one additional option that is available in decent numbers and is very well suited for Ukrainian use: F-18 Hornet. While the US Navy and parts of the USMC have already phased out their legacy Hornets in favor of the more capable and especially longer ranged Super Hornet, there

Russian Tanks 2022: Thicker and Blinder

  Since the all out invasion of Ukraine the Russian army has lost at least 1700 tanks. This has caused the Russian army some supply problems, when they are re-forming their mauled units. Fighting has also revealed the need for upgrades on most of the Russian tank designs. The most obvious issues with the existing Russian tank fleet are the insufficient armor protection, the lack of reverse mobility and the vulnerability of the automatic loaders and their ammunition carousels. Although the last one has gifted us the sport of Turret Throwing. T-72B obr 2022 tanks Very little can be done for the mobility with the limitations of the existing transmissions and the autoloaders can’t really be replaced with better designs or human loaders either. The armor part on the other hand can be improved during the activation and refurbishment of the deep stored Soviet-era tanks. The first new design that appeared in the battlefield was an upgraded T-72B3 with additional armo,r mimicking the T-90M layo

Redut: Russian Mercenaries Controlled by a Finnish Citizen

  The recent conflicts where Russia has been directly or indirectly involved, like the invasion of Ukraine and the civil wars in Syria, Libya and Central African Republic have introduced the public to the Russian quasi-private military contractors. The most famous of these “private military contractors”  is undoubtedly the notorious Wagner-group that is presently waging an army corps level assault on the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut after engaging in various war crimes across Ukraine. The group leader Evgeniy Prigozhin has used his close connections to the Kremlin to expand his private army with convicted criminals. But the Wagner isn’t the only such formation operating under the Kremlin's umbrella. Several rumors have been floating around about the increased friction between the Russian military and Wagner. Elements within the Kremlin and the Russian general staff are trying to elevate another private security company called Redut, Russian for a redoubt, to balance the growing power

Russian Spring offensive 2023: Kyiv Take Two

Russian T-80U tanks stuck and abandoned in Ukraine in spring 2022   The spectacular Ukrainian victories during the 2022 forced the Russian army to the defensive. With the Russian retreat from Kharkiv and the areas north of the river Dnipro in Kherson, the focus of the fighting has returned to the Donbass. The Russian forces, with Wagner mercenaries and penal battalions doing the bulk of the fighting and dying, are trying to take Bakhmut in a battle that invokes parallels to the meat grinders of the Great war. The Ukrainian armed forces on the other hand are slowly making progress towards Kreminna. Despite the continuous rumors about a new massive round of mobilizations, the Russian army cannot sustain the present level of attrition indefinitely. By throwing enough men and material against the prepared Ukrainian positions manned by experienced and highly motivated defenders, Russians may be able to gain some localized breakthroughs. But even if the Russian mechanized forces are able to