Home WarZone Ukraine War Sitrep: Operation Z April 14

Sitrep: Operation Z April 14

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HEADS-UP: Sourced from Russian State-Controlled Media

 

…by Nightvision for the Saker Blog

Let’s start with the biggest news today, the Black Sea Fleet flagship Moskva cruiser suffered some sort of major ‘incident’. I had an entire writeup planned to explain how Ukraine could (or could not) possibly have shot it, but now I won’t waste valuable analysis time because more and more it appears Ukraine either was not overtly involved, or if it was it was through some sort of asymmetric/sabotage methods, etc.

Even the Pentagon now reports there’s no data to confirm that Ukraine hit it with any missiles and all such claims come only from Ukrainian OSINT propagandists on twitter.

In fact they seemed to have cleverly combined several real life data points to try to weave their tale, i.e. using the fact that a Russian frigate shot down a TB2 drone a couple days ago as a means to “prove” that Ukrainian TB2’s are operating over the Black Sea and that their alleged strike on the Moskva consisted of a TB2 running a decoy/screen op to “distract” the ship’s crew, while Ukrainian Neptune missiles simultaneously were fired on it.

This is not very believable as these ships are capable of tracking dozens of objects, nor is the damage now being reported consistent with massive ship-killing missiles (based on the Soviet Kh-55) successfully hitting the ship.

“The nature of the damage to the cruiser is still unclear. According to the statement of the RF Ministry of Defense, the main caliber of the cruiser survived, which hints that either the artillery ammunition or the anti-aircraft gun detonated, which caused damage to the ship. There is not enough information yet to talk about the cause of the fire and explosion, whatever it was caused by.”

Anti-ship missiles like Neptune are sea-skimming and would have hit low on the hull and not on top where the ‘artillery/AA’ are stationed.

The latest reports state that the ship has reached Sevastopol on its own power and that the ammunition fires were contained. We have no info how accurate any of this is, so we have no choice but to standby for further updates. All photos/videos released by the Ukr side so far have been fake, various manipulations of photos of burning Iranian ships, fake Norwegian missile strike test videos, etc.

It seems logically that Ukraine was somehow involved but we simply don’t have any real data to even speculate as to what could have happened. All we know is Russian MOD claims they are ‘investigating the cause’ of the fires to the ammunition on board.

It could be negligence, to sabotage, to a number of other things. Very unlikely but, nothing is impossible. After all just last year the U.S. lost an entire modern amphibious assault ship, completely burned down via sabotage. U.S. is supposed to be the ‘greatest Navy on earth’, right?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/dec/14/sailor-charged-over-fire-that-destroyed-us-warship-disgruntled-prosecutors-say

“On 12 July 2020, a fire started on a lower vehicle-storage deck while the ship was undergoing maintenance at Naval Base San Diego. It took four days for firefighters to extinguish the fire, which injured at least 63 sailors and civilians and severely damaged the ship. After a long investigation into the cause of the fire, a sailor was charged with arson.3 Repairs to the ship were estimated to take up to seven years and cost up to $3.2 billion so the ship was decommissioned on 15 April 2021 and sold for scrap.”

Not to mention the general incompetence of the U.S. Navy – who remembers this incident https://youtu.be/SYwglnZ7Qyo?t=35

The damage was over $2 billion.

In fact it was a string of incidents: https://maritimecyprus.com/2017/08/25/why-do-u-s-navy-ships-keep-crashing/

The USS John Mccain only a year later had another collision with 10 dead sailors: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-navy-crash-singapore/u-s-destroyer-mccain-collision-which-killed-10-sailors-caused-by-sudden-turn-singapore-idUSKCN1GK0HU

And USS Champlain collided with a South Korean vessel in a display of “shoddy seamanship” according to the Navy: https://www.navytimes.com/news/your-navy/2017/11/07/shoddy-seamanship-to-blame-in-lake-champlain-collision/

Or the U.S.’s most expensive ship in history breaking down immediately after launch: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/most-expensive-destroyer-zumwalt-navy-history-breaks-down/

Or how about “the second breakdown in 2 years” for the Navy’s most advanced and expensive (13 billion) aircraft carrier https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/navy-ships/a20521726/americas-newest-aircraft-carrier-suffers-a-breakdown/

And the fact that tests of its anti-air/interception systems failed and there were doubts that the carrier could even ‘protect itself’ https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-25/navy-s-13-billion-carrier-sows-doubt-that-it-can-defend-itself

The Navy’s $13 billion supercarrier still can’t do the one thing it’s absolutely required to do

So in short, accidents do happen, things fail: in fact they happen much more in the U.S. Navy than any other navy on the planet. So before anyone raises too many questions on how the Russian navy can suffer an incident during high-stress wartime, then you should first investigate how the U.S. lost over $10-20 billion worth of warships in the past few years alone in peacetime.

And let’s not forget this thing from the infamous crash a few months ago belonged to the Navy as well, when it failed to land on the aircraft carrier:

Add another $100+ million down the drain.

With that said, in regard to the Moskva. It is still a terrible and huge loss, even if the loss is ‘temporary’ (as “temporary” in Naval parlance usually means years). This is not only the flagship but one of the most powerful ships in the entire Russian Navy, even modest damage will likely keep it out of action for years as repairs on these capital ships take a very long time.

This will reduce the firepower projection capabilities of the Black Sea fleet by as much as 10-15% alone, if not more. IF the loss is in fact confirmed to be from a Ukraine strike I’ll write up a separate analysis on it, but for now don’t want to waste valuable space on ‘hypotheticals’ as even the Pentagon refuses to say Ukraine did it.

As pertains to this specific conflict however, the loss is irrelevant as the ship was not doing anything in terms of abetting the military actions against Ukraine. The ship does NOT have Kaliber missiles or any ground-target cruise missiles so it was not really involved in the hostilities apart from adding an extra layer of S-300 and various air defense protection over the Black Sea.

The ship is basically a carrier killer and its most potent armament of P-500 missiles is specifically designed to kill other large warships. But since Ukraine has no real navy left the loss is only one of prestige, not of actual current combat capability. However it does weaken Russia against future/potential NATO intervention and makes Russia’s ‘deterrence’ in the Black/Mediterranean Sea areas much less effective.

But with all that said, the official reports from MOD indicate the main missile payloads on the ship are undamaged and so there is a small chance that the damage in general was such that it could be repaired in a semi-timely fashion. We’ll have to see.

Of course this all comes on the heels of a new wave of Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil, after days ago the order was reportedly given by Zelensky for the armed forces to begin attacks on Russian soil.

Afterwards, Russia released a statement that if Ukraine continues over-the-border strikes, Russia will begin targeting Ukrainian leadership in Kiev and elsewhere, something they have obviously refrained from doing previously. https://www.rt.com/russia/553830-kiev-strike-possible/

Not only did Ukraine initially strike the oil depot in Belgorod, but they then shelled some farms and settlements on the Russian side of the border. Then two days ago, after Zelensky’s order, a Ukrainian sabotage DRG group snuck over and blew up a Russian railway bridge in Nezhegol, Belgorod region.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/12/key-russian-railway-bridge-destroyed-in-belgorod-border-region-with-ukraine

Of course western sources inflate its importance to “key bridge” which it’s not, nor did the Ukrop forces manage to blow it up, in fact having failed and mostly ‘damaged it’.

“Apparently – the work of the Ukrainian DRG. There was not enough wearable mass of explosives or time for a serious undermining – but near the abutment they were able to blow up the RSHP, without visible damage to the power structure of the bridge spans. For a day or two of work for the restorers.”

Now today there is new additional attacks where Ukrainian helicopters have shot up a village/settlement in a Russian region north of Kiev. For the first time there are now wounded casualties (no killed), with one Russian person said to have their leg torn off in the attack. Now keep in mind the village of Kimovo that was attacked is 5km from the Ukrainian border. A Mi-24 would travel this distance in about 1 to 2 minutes or less, and the location can also be shelled from within Ukraine itself, so this is not a deep border breach.

And another village was reportedly shelled as well: https://www.rt.com/russia/553876-village-shelling-ukraine-belgorod/

In short, Ukraine has taken up Russia’s challenge and threat of attacks on its leadership. The question is why? There are several possible reasons:

1. Zelensky and co. are not really in charge of the nationalist forces and in fact the nationalists want to escalate as much as possible even at the expense of Ukrainian leadership being hit, because after all that would actually serve their purpose of escalation since they know such a hit on the leadership would create more international support.

2. Zelensky and the leadership believe themselves safe enough from these strikes as they’ve all bunkered up, and Zelensky mostly lives in Poland now anyway apart from when he has to make a photo-op appearance in Kiev (as for Boris Johnson, etc) and so is not worried about such ‘strikes against leadership’.

This brings us to the greater point of all this – the Moskva cruiser (let’s assume Ukraine had SOME hand in this), the cross-border strikes. All of these are ‘prestige’ incidents. Not a single one of them is actually aimed at crippling the Russian military nor are objectives for Ukrainian military victory. The new cross-border attacks were on civilian targets in villages. The Moskva I’ve already explained above has no real relevance to the actual Ukrainian conflict as Ukraine has no navy of their own, nor does the Moskva launch missiles at ground targets.

This underlines the thesis we’ve established in earlier SitReps, which is:

  • Ukraine’s chief strategy at this point has devolved into a ‘psychological war’ of prestige targets and sowing political controversy within Russia
  • Ukraine absolutely needs the ‘image’ and illusion of victory to keep the morale of its own diminishing armed forces afloat, after every single major Russian victory.

To the above point, we know that in the past two days, Russia has won a major victory in the mass-surrender that occurred in Mariupol. This was a huge psychological blow to the UAF and the UAF leadership clearly needed an immediate boost to its morale. They require “media victories” they can show to their soldiers to continue the illusion that the UAF is actually winning against Russia.

One of the key revelations of the past week was that some of the captured soldiers had a complete ignorance of other major important setbacks that occurred in the same time period. It is clear they are being kept completely in the dark by their own leadership. UAF soldiers in Lugansk had no clue Mariupol was surrendering and vice versa, POWs in Mariupol seemed to have little clue as to the condition of any other part of their forces apart from the fake psychological reinforcement that they are ‘winning’ or ‘help will arrive soon’, etc.

So let’s look again in a broader scope at the Ukrainian’s current objectives in general. They know they can’t win militarily, so what is it they’re really trying to accomplish lately?

I posit the following main objectives:

  • To prolong the conflict long enough that an accumulation of ‘tragedies’ (by way of falseflags) can mount political consensus against Russia more and more towards an eventual presumed goal of NATO intervention.
  • To psychologically affect Russia’s political class (the ones that lean westward, 5th columnists, etc) into putting increasing pressure on Russia’s leadership, thereby creating tension, disagreement/conflict, etc., with the eventual “ideal” goal of the complete rebellion of one side of Russia’s political class against Putin and his ‘siloviks’.
  • The presumed goal of also affecting Russia’s citizenry by demoralizing them to such a way that they would revolt against Russian leadership. However this goal by far is the least realistic as the West has greatly overcalculated in how much they can influence the Russian ‘narod’. The increasing confirmed atrocities from the Ukraine side, which now even openly target Russian civilians, is something that continues only to galvanize Russian solidarity for their troops and leadership. In fact the only anger Russian citizens are currently reporting is that Putin and the leadership are going too soft on Ukraine.
  • To slowly affect Russia’s allies into viewing Russia as weak, militarily incapable, etc, and demoralizing the allies (particularly the ones closer to being ‘on the fence’) into decreasing their support for Russia’s SMO and becoming gradually more critical of the SMO on the world stage (via supporting UN resolutions against Russia, etc). Also combine this with the first point – the hope that the prolongation of conflict can allow the accrual of enough tragedies (falseflags) for Russian allies to start reconsidering their support.
  • To keep afloat the morale of UAF troops under the illusion that Ukraine is winning, by amplifying militarily insignificant ‘achievements’ into a status of relevancy.

Like I said earlier, it’s no ‘coincidence’ that right after the single largest surrender not only of the current conflict but probably of modern history, there is suddenly all sorts of Ukrainian sabotage activity – maybe the Moskva hit – but at the least the cross-border attacks on Russian civilian / village targets. It’s obvious to anyone with a brain that Ukraine is desperate to go ‘tit-for-tat’ on Russian ‘psychological victories’ in order to keep morale afloat in its troops, which by the way are surrendering more and more all over the place. Not only was there an ADDITIONAL surrender in Mariupol today, but there was another large surrender in Lugansk as well (this is on TOP of the earlier Lugansk surrenders from 2-3 days ago).

In fact, their morale is so low, that some units have resorted to selling their tanks to Russia for Rubles.

“It is significant that the Ukrainian military is happy to accept Russian rubles as payment, obviously assuming that this currency will soon become their main one.”

The problem for them is, Russia continues to accrue actual battlefield victories, while Ukraine desperately fights to keep morale afloat with fake psychological ones. On the topic of real victories we have several in the new cycle.

Let’s start with the surrenders. We now have confirmation the British mercenary Aiden Aslin / Cossackgundi is apprehended, and the famed “warrior” is now claiming – “I did no actual fighting!”

https://twitter.com/MapsUkraine/status/1514612970050842626

His family, meanwhile, begs for him to be treated kindly (read: opposite to how Russian POWs are treated)

 

Unconfirmed reports from the DPR state that he will NOT be viewed as an official enemy combatant / POW adherent to Geneva codes, but as a mercenary.

Other videos of the mass surrenders that occurred that might not have been seen yet:

https://www.bitchute.com/video/GSxwz3BDD3cr/

https://www.bitchute.com/video/ocILorNO4pgj/

https://www.bitchute.com/video/VlaPo16Xwz84/

https://www.bitchute.com/video/pCx9sE4xLFHH/

https://www.bitchute.com/video/PFkTNt0jBLQ7/

LDPR now report they have around 3000 total POWs of the UAF. Presumably Russia itself has many more as well.

An American mercenary is also said to be caught: https://twitter.com/MapsUkraine/status/1514559272633384962

As for Mariupol, the map currently looks something like this:

A small swath of Primorski district by the captured port in SW. Then the Illych Factory (north area) and Azovstal factory (south) is all that’s left. During the breakout attempt where mass amounts of UAF marines were caught, some of them reportedly made it from the Illych to the Azovstal to consolidate there, while others attempted to scram north to freedom. They were hunted by drones/artillery and gunned down. https://www.bitchute.com/video/VQVnvgZX1b8H/

Azovstal is being saved for last, after they clean up the other two. Contradicting reports state that Illych factory is fully clear while some state there are still some stragglers hanging on in its bowels and are being cleared.

Some even have the map like this, with Illych gone: https://twitter.com/Suriyakmaps/status/1514397409723432960

Elsewhere:

A Russian strike completely obliterated a field camp of the AFU where many soldiers were sleeping, presumably many dead

https://twitter.com/200_zoka/status/1514003279365259276
(alt link https://ok.ru/video/3392651463296)

And the most important advances once again occurred in Izyum where Russian forces reportedly captured the village of Borova to secure Izyum’s eastern flank: https://twitter.com/michaelh992/status/1514589758554529798

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Surely there are pics of the Moskva previous to sinking. Someone, somewhere must. It will be the only way to judge whether it was hit by a missile or not. There is far too much speculation and very little (no) substance in any report so far. Strangely, it is assumed that the loss of this ship is equated to loss of the entire operation on some sites…sites that are supposedly pro-Russian no less. One says, in their primary article on this, that they doubted the official line that the ship sank due to heavy seas, that the weather was fair and as well, on the day of the event, was also calm. Then today, it is stated that the ‘attack was launched during stormy weather’. Apparently, they do not even read their own articles. But from the first reports, they claimed it was a missile attack. That the RF, as well as the US military, did not report it that way is not much use to certain outlets. IF they (NATO+) were involved, RF should advise all countries that any collusion in this war, including the use of airspace, will be taken as hostile actions and all deliveries of goods, including petro, will be sanctioned. I am mystified as to why the RF has not blocked delivery of everything to the US/UK/EU having to do with exotic or strategic metals/minerals already. I know it will impact their economy, but damn, it’s hard ball time and the impact on the west will be orders of magnitudes higher. While they are at it, a no-fly over all Ukr is now justified.

  2. Yes, there was an unpleasant story with the ship, but this is not critical. The Ministry of Defense does not issue any detailed information, given that the cruiser yesterday became a new home for crabs. In any case, in Russia, everyone is calm, and in Ukraine, warlike monkeys are jumping, as if they have just become world football champions.
    About the British prisoner: now he is participating in interrogations and trying to get out of it, he is talking nonsense. Of course, the traces on the Internet are the main witness of the prosecution against him. Especially when he was yelling that he was ready to kill the Russians to the end. Now he’s pretending to be an innocent virgin. Probably, when they beat his forehead harder, he will become more talkative. And now he speaks according to his prepared methodology.

    • If we take the statistics of the growth of the Russian surface fleet in terms of ships of the I and II ranks, then over the past 20 years it looks like this:
      – 2 frigates of project 22350, with a displacement of 4,500 tons, the cost of 450 million dollars;
      – 3 frigates of project 11356, displacement 4000 tons, cost 430 million dollars;
      – 7 corvettes of project 20380/20385, displacement 1800 tons, cost 250 million dollars;
      – 2 BDK of project 11711, displacement of 5000 tons, cost of 160 million dollars.

      At the same time, over the same 20 years, our “successful businessmen” have built their own fleet. True, from yachts, but let’s compare?
      – “Dilbar”, Usmanov’s yacht, displacement 15,000 tons, length 156 m (RKR “Moscow” was 186.5 m), cost 800 million dollars;
      – “Eclipse”, Abramovich’s yacht, displacement 13,000 tons, cost 430 million dollars;
      – “Sailing Yacht A”, Melnichenko’s yacht, displacement 12700 tons, cost 425 million dollars;
      – “Motor Yacht A”, Melnichenko’s second yacht, 8800 tons, cost 255 million dollars;
      – “Ocean Victory”, Rashnikov yacht, 10,800 tons, cost 400 million dollars;
      – “Ona”, Usmanov’s first yacht, displacement 10360 tons, sold by Usmanov for $ 250 million;
      – Prokhorov’s Palladium, displacement 7,900 tons, cost $200 million;
      – “Barbara” ($125 million), “Nirvana” ($100 million) and “Anastasia” (sold for $ 75 million) – Mr. Potanin’s yacht fleet.

  3. Actually as I said in an earlier comment these “delays” actually work in Russia’s favor. See April 11, 2022 What Does it Mean (dot) com
    Russia Makes Shock Declaration: “Goal Of Ukraine Operation Is To End US-Dominated World Order”

    The trap is set and now NATO the mouse has taken the cheese.