Tag Archives: ukraine

Paging Clarie Chennault, Ukraine edition

Draken International’s No.574 Mirage F-1M fresh out of the paint barn, Nov 2019. The company recently picked up a ton of retired supersonic fighter bombers (20 single-seat Mirage F1Ms and two two-seat F1Bs) from Spain and has been busy putting them back together and getting them flightworthy, as part of the growing “Red Air” business.

LT Taylor Buck (USNA 2016), currently a screwtop driver with VAW-125, has an interesting take in this month’s Proceedings, on rebooting the Flying Tigers but instead of Curtiss P-40s and Claire Chennault’s 100 volunteer flyboys, it would be more of a shell corporation with privately-owned high-performance jets and fighter jocks looking for a challenge as a military contractor.

With all of the second-hand Mirages, MiGs, F-16s and F-18s owned by the assorted commercial aggressor firms, it’s not a terrible idea.

From the piece:

Just as the original volunteers flew U.S.-designed P-40 Warhawks sold under foreign license, assembled in the CAMCO factory in Rangoon, Burma, modern diplomatic interests would be best served if the AVG did not fly aircraft supplied directly from the active U.S. government inventory. Fortunately, red air contractors already possess a carefully curated treasure-trove of warbirds from which an AVG could be assembled.

ATAC owns a fleet of more than 90 aircraft, including the Mirage F1, F-21 Kfir, Mk 58 Hawker Hunter, and L-39 Albatross. The JTAC/FAC focused contractor “Blue Air Training” possesses seven OV-10D+/G Broncos, eight A-90 Raiders, six PC-9A/F Pilatuses, and a fleet of BAC 167 Strikemasters and IAR 823 Brasovs. Tac-Air operates the Embraer EMB 312F Tucano (A-27), Canadair CF-5D, Siai-Marchetti SF-260TP, Su-27, and A-29 Super Tucano. Draken owns a “dozen ex-South African Atlas Cheetahs, and 22 ex-Spanish Air Force Mirage F1Ms plus assorted other subsonic jets . . . A-4 Skyhawks, L-159 Honey Badgers, L-39s, and MB339s . . . as well as a deep backstock of MiG-21s.” Top Aces operates the Bombardier Learjet 35A, Dornier Alpha Jet, and the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk.

Draken, Top Aces, Air USA, and Tac-Air boast the best potential for fourth-generation fighters that could help establish an AVG-enforced no-fly zone. Draken owns 24 former Norwegian and Dutch F-16s. Top Aces operates 29 ex-Israeli F-16A/Bs. Air USA recently acquired 46 Australian F/A-18A/B Hornets that supplement its healthy attack and command-and-control fleet, which includes the L-39, BAE Hawk Mk.67, Cessna 0-2/C-337 Skymaster.

Tac-Air flies an unspecified number of F-16Cs as well as 25 F-5 Advanced Tigers upgraded with heads-up displays and hands-on-throttle-and-stick controls, “open architecture mission computers and tailored operational flight programs that enable integration of advanced radar and [radar-warning receiver] systems, [infrared search-and-track systems], [electronic attack], datalinks,” and so on. It refers to the Advanced Tigers as a “4th generation adversary platform with 3rd generation economy.”

More here.

And in related news, the Ukraine Air Force is trying to crowd-source new fighters. Because this is 2022.

Mines of Curious Origin Popping Up Around the Black Sea

Besides reports of assorted recent mine warfare in the Ukraine littoral— a pastime that goes back to 1877 in the region– random floating sea mines are being found by NATO navies in their home waters. Russian state media says 420 Ukrainian sea mines had somehow gone adrift in a recent storm and were loose in the Black Sea, meanwhile, the Ukrainians have denied this, thus leaving the origin a bit hazier.

On Saturday, the Turkish Navy discovered an “old type” Russian-made mine that had been found by fishermen in the upper Bosphorus strait and their EOD types from the Aydin-class mine-hunting vessel TCG Akcay blew it in place off the coastal village of Rumelifeneri.

On Monday the Turks intercepted a second mine detected off Igneada near the Bulgarian border. 

Romanian sweeps

Between Istanbul and Odessa, the Romanians have also picked up a mine of their own. On Monday, the Cosar-class minelayer Viceamiral Constantin Bălescu (F274) put divers in the water to tackle a mine 39 miles off Capu Midia.

The device, according to the interwebs, is a small Soviet M1943 MyaM-type shallow water (inshore/river) contact mine of the type licensed to both Iran and Iraq back in the 1980s with very fresh Ukrainian naval markings.

Mine marked to the 4th brigade of underwater mine enclosures of the Ukrainian Navy, based in Koblevo.

As the horns are still covered, it would seem the mine was unarmed, pointing to the fact it could have A) been in storage and accidentally hit the water somehow, or B) is a little false flag bluster to make the Ukrainians look bad while shutting down commercial traffic in the Black Sea.

SUB2000s in Ukraine?

Florida-based firearms maker KelTec made the most of a sudden surplus of 9mm carbines and donated them to Ukraine. 

Adrian Kellgren, director of industrial production at KelTec– and son of the company’s legendary founder, George Kellgren– told local media the company was recently left with a $200,000 order for SUB2000 carbines. The original order, to a longtime vendor in the Black Sea Ukrainian port city of Odesa, was unpaid for, and the vendor was unable to be contacted.

The 400 9mm carbines had been ordered last year, but by the time the red tape cleared the client was unable to accept them and Ukraine is now fighting off a Russian invasion– with enemy troops closing in on Odesa. The solution hit on by Kellgren was to donate the guns to the Ukrainian government to aid in the resistance to the invasion. 

Introduced in 2001, the KelTec SUB2000 9mm pistol-caliber carbine is now in its second generation. Lightweight at just 4-pounds while still retaining a 16.1-inch barrel, it folds in half for easy storage and transport, able to be carried in a pack.

The SUB2000, while not a frontline weapon by any means, can for example fill a role with static defense/home guard-style units posted at local infrastructure to keep an eye out for sabotage, or in guarding POWs, of which there seems to be an increasing amount.

NSSF on Industry Sending Hardware to Ukraine

FYA, as we have some gun makers, dealers, etc that read the page, this via the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade industry for the American firearms industry:

How The Firearm Industry Manufacturers and Distributors Can Assist

NSSF® has spoken with the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., to learn of what material needs exist and how firearm industry manufacturers and distributors can assist. Ukraine is requesting assistance from the U.S. firearm and ammunition industry in the form of donations of the following rifles, pistols, and ammunition:

  • 7.62х39 mm
  • 7.62×51 mm
  • .308 WIN
  • 5.45х39 mm
  • 5.56х45 mm
  • Sniper rifles chambered in .308 WIN or 7.62х51 mm and ammunition (including bipod and scope)
    • If donating a non-.308 “sniper type” rifle, e.g., .338 Lapua or similar, Ukraine requests that manufacturers provide ammunition with the rifle.
  • Pistols and ammunition chambered in 9х19 mm
  • Extra magazines
  • Spare parts

The information to put on the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), -U.S. Department of Commerce export license applications is:

Intermediate Consignee
Vadym REMIZOV, Ukrainian Military Attaché in Poland
Jasionka 942 (Street Address)
Jasionka, Polska. (Poland) (city, country)
36-002 (postal code)
+48 691 846 921 (Phone number)

Ultimate consignee/end user Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
Povitroflotskyi pr.,
6 Kyiv, Ukraine
03168
+38(044) 226-20-15

The end use is: “for use by Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces of Ukraine.” Since the ultimate consignee/end user is the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, no import certificate is required from Ukraine before shipping.

For questions, please contact:
Steven Clagett
Director, Nuclear Missile and Firearms Technology
Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
Department of Commerce
steven.clagett@bis.doc.gov
W: (202) 482-1641

Or
Jeff Bond
Engineer, Missile and Nuclear Technology Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS)
Department of Commerce
Jeff.Bond@bis.doc.gov
W: (202) 482-0716

For any questions about the export BIS cannot answer, please contact:

Volodymyr Muzylov
First Secretary Embassy of Ukraine to the United States
Tel: 1-202-349-2949 Cell: 1-703-309-3847 volodymyr.muzylov@mfa.gov.ua or v.muzylov@gmail.com in the event the official Ukrainian email is not working www.usa.mfa.gov.ua.


NSSF will alert industry if Ukraine’s small arms and ammunition requirements change going forward.

The Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the NSSF and industry for offering to assist Ukraine as it fights for its freedom.

Throwback Thursday: Hedgehogs!

The likely landing beaches on Normandy in 1944, after Rommel took over, were filled with obstacles, element “C,” tetrahedrons, barbed wire, mines, and so-called Czech hedgehogs. These were arranged to direct landing forces down natural beach exits that would be blocked with overlooking and self-supporting pillboxes. You know, the first 10 minutes of Saving Private Ryan.

“Detailing Information On Normandy Beach Defenses Was Obtained From ‘Dicing’ Shots Like This. Every Type Of Anti-Landing Obstacle Appears In This Photo, Including Most Formidable, Steel-Concrete Hedgehogs, (Left Center) And Tetrahedra In Left Foreground.” (U.S. Air Force Number 57359AC)

“Operation Overlord (the Normandy Landings)- D-day 6 June 1944. The British 2nd Army: Royal Navy Commandos at La Riviere preparing to demolish two of the many beach obstacles designed to hinder the advance of an invading army.” IWM A 23992

“A small landing craft holed in the bows by obstacles without serious damage completes this study of obstacles and hedgehogs piled against the groin of one of the beaches.” IWM A 24033

When talking of the Czech hedgehogs, the trope is that the name came from the extensive border defenses erected along the German-Czech border in the late 1930s, essentially a steel version of the ancient Cheval de frise, which had been used to defeat cavalry charges and break up the momentum of attacks going back for centuries. Made simply of cut I-beams riveted together (during the 1930s and 40s), and enhanced with concertina and land mines, they could be effective if used in conjunction with the right tactics (i.e. channeling incoming attackers into an ambush or enfilade.)

While famous at Normandy, they were also used extensively on land, as seen by this October 1940 shot from the Western Desert.

Original wartime caption: Patrolling anti-tank defenses of “hedgehogs” and “Dragon’s Teeth” at Mesa Makul Fortress, 1st Bn South Staffordshire Regt. IWM E 831

While the hedgehog became scarce in Europe after 1945, with wartime examples soon cut up for scrap metal, they made a return along the Iron Curtain in the 1960s then promptly went extinct once again when the Berlin Wall fell. They became so rare, in fact, that in Western Europe and the U.S. it became a cottage industry for folks to make reproductions for film, paintball fields, and battlefield museum use.

Looks legit, eh? This is a repro hedgehog made by Brutal Rust, who says, ” Get yourself a few hedgehogs for your next family get-together or maybe even for your next business venture. We will happily build as many as you need.”

Well, in the past couple of weeks, hedgehogs have made a big comeback!

Hedgehogs on beach reportedly near Odessa, Ukraine Feb 2022

Ukraine’s Odessa opera theater with anti-tank hedgehogs, 1941 and 2022.

 

Nick Gunar, Ukraine edition

The most current map, via the British MOD:

Tea leaves?

The minutes after the Russian offensive into Ukraine kicked off, RIA Novosti, which is owned and operated by the Russian federal government and is basically just a descendant of the old Sovinformburo, released a fairly wild piece by commentator Petr Akopov that, while it has been zapped from RIA’s website proper, still exists in web archives. 

So interesting, and mechanically translated, excerpts (with commentary added), basically painting the conflict as a civil war that is correcting the wrongs of 1918, when the old Russian Empire fell apart, and 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed:

A new world is being born before our eyes. Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has ushered in a new era – and in three dimensions at once. And of course, in the fourth, internal Russian.

Russia is restoring its unity – the tragedy of 1991, this terrible catastrophe in our history, its unnatural dislocation, has been overcome. Yes, at a great cost, yes, through the tragic events of a virtual civil war, because now brothers, separated by belonging to the Russian and Ukrainian armies, are still shooting at each other, but there will be no more Ukraine as anti-Russia. Russia is restoring its historical fullness, gathering the Russian world, the Russian people together – in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians and Little Russians (Ukrainians). If we had abandoned this, if we had allowed the temporary division to take hold for centuries, then we would not only betray the memory of our ancestors, but would also be cursed by our descendants for allowing the disintegration of the Russian land.

Vladimir Putin has assumed, without a drop of exaggeration, a historic responsibility by deciding not to leave the solution of the Ukrainian question to future generations.

Now this problem is gone – Ukraine has returned to Russia.

Did someone in the old European capitals, in Paris and Berlin, seriously believe that Moscow would give up Kiev?

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry has set up a Telegram channel with videos that it says show captured Russian soldiers– which the country says they have over 200– and in public statements say they were tricked or otherwise threatened to take part in the operation. These statements were replayed on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which is of course paid for by the U.S. government.

These kinds of videos are extremely distasteful, no matter who puts them out, as EPOWs should never be made to release public statements while in enemy custody.

However, it does kind of point to the fact that the Russians seem to have pushed into Ukraine with their “B Team” of second-line units and recalled reservists outfitted with old equipment– the better to soak up Ukraine’s limited supply of expensive donated MANPADS and ATGMs (NLAW, Javelin, Stinger, Panzerfaust 3, etc).

Notably, when you see Russian vehicles and aircraft in videos and images from the conflict they are older models with none of the cutting edge types (e.g. Su-57 strike aircraft and T-14 Armata tanks) seen. Further, there are few divisional- or even brigade-size maneuvers, with the Russians sticking to battalion-sized elements, as well as a lack of significant night-time operations, another indicator of lower-trained, under-equipped troops. 

Now a half-week in motion, Russian troops seem to be facing growing morale and logistics issues, with videos circulating widely of tanks and AFVs parks on roadways out of fuel and with poor (no) perimeter security. As anyone who has been around tracks can vouch, armor is the Great White shark of the battlefield, always hungry, always looking to top off every day, whether on the move or not.

The Pentagon on Sunday acknowledged, “We believe that their advance was slowed both by resistance from the Ukrainians, who have been quite creative in finding ways to attack columns and, number two, by the fuel shortages and the sustainment issues that they have had.”

The British MOD had the same take on Saturday:

With the Russian lines of communications being very porous, and growing longer every day, the current Ukrainian bywords seem to be “Ласкаво просимо до пекла!,” or “Welcome to hell” with roadway signs defaced with the warning and official government ministries signing off their social media posts with the catchphrase.

Ironically, as far as I know, the most popular pop culture reference to this is in the tragically underrated popcorn action film Men of War (1994) in which Swedish strongman Dolph Lundgren, portraying former SF weaponsman Ameri-Swede Nick Gunar, uses it when taking on a group of mercs looking to carve off a random South Pacific island for its value in guano. Welding a CG-84, he also delivers a great “Spring, era jävlar” line, which is funny if you know Swedish.

The Ukrainians say the current tally (as with all “body counts” issued during war should be taken with a grain of salt) 60 hours into the war is:

Aircraft – 14 (including an Il-76 reportedly full of VDS)
Helicopters – 8
Tanks – 102
Combat armored vehicles – 536
Guns and howitzers – 15
SAM (Buk-М2) – 1

The war is also getting very asymmetric, with reported “Russian saboteur teams” engaging in wild gun battles in Kyiv and elsewhere. These units, dressed in Ukrainian police and military uniforms, and in Ukrainian-marked vehicles, are a throwback to Skorzeny’s Battle of the Bulge Operation Greif and need lots of pre-planning.

At the same time, the Western Europeans are getting more muscular with their support of Ukraine, mirroring roughly what was seen with the Finns and the Soviets in 1939.

As noted by the ISW:

The European Union announced direct military aid to Ukraine for the first time in EU history (€500 million worth) on February 27 while Germany announced a dramatic reorientation of its foreign policy to mitigate the threat that Russia poses to Germany and its allies. Germany will prioritize military spending and energy independence despite short-term economic costs.

Unexpected new allies such as Belgium, Sweden, and Germany are all sending Ukraine anti-armor weapons directly from their war stocks while France and Denmark have announced they will allow volunteers– including furloughed military personnel– to head to join a new “foreign legion” set up by Kyiv and recruited through the country’s embassies and consulates abroad. 

A number of Americans have been war tourists in Ukraine since 2014, sometimes paying for it with their lives, and I am 100 percent sure this next wave will be high and deep. I can vouch that some of my own acquaintances have messaged they will be taking an extended vacation in Eastern Europe starting as early as next week, a sticky proposition if captured, as they are on the Retired Reserve rolls.

While peace talks are reportedly on the horizon, there seems to be little hope of them yielding any results in the near future. I hate to say it is WWIII by proxy, so maybe let’s just call it the Winter War Part II. 

Z-Day, Ukraine…

I grew up reading books like WWIII: August 1985, Red Storm Rising, and Team Yankee as a kid. After all, I was a military brat growing up in a coastal town that was mass-producing destroyers, cruisers, and LHAs as fast as they could hit the water because the Russians– led by Ivan Drago— Were Coming.

Now we have this conflict in Ukraine, the closest thing to a modern near-peer war since 1982, and while it is many things, it is not entertaining.

I don’t have the space, intestinal fortitude, and energy to detail what is already being termed the Russo-Ukrainian War, encompassing an estimated 180,000 Russian ground troops against a mobilized 240,000 Ukrainian army and paramilitary forces.

But I do have some interesting notes that I have noticed while watching a war unfold on my phone in real-time. 

While “official” losses in terms of human life are slim compared to World War daily figures– the Ukrainians claim to have inflicted 800 casualties while suffering under 450 of their own, the images and video coming from the region would seem to belay that as a gross underestimation on both accounts.

According to the Pentagon: 

The assault started in darkness this morning, Ukrainian time, with a Russian missile barrage of around 100 intermediate-range, short-range, and cruise missiles, the official said. Missiles came from land, sea and air platforms.

The Russians used roughly 75 fixed-wing, heavy and medium bombers as a part of their assault. The targets were primarily military bases and air defense nodes.

The British MOD said:

In the early hours of the morning, President Putin launched a major unprovoked assault on Ukraine, firing missiles on cities and military targets. The invasion came despite weeks of Russian claims that they had no intention of invading.

Then later in a day-end update, remarked that “It is unlikely that Russia has achieved its planned Day 1 military objectives. Ukrainian forces have presented fierce resistance across all axis of Russia’s advance.”

The Ukrainians claim to have knocked out 30 much more modern Russian tanks, 130 assorted military vehicles, and 14 aircraft as well as capturing a handful of Russkis, while the Russians claim to have totally neutralized the Ukraine air defense net, made in-roads into the country from at least five points, and have shot down nine aircraft that managed to get off the ground.

A couple of key takeaways, though, is that the Ukrainian T-64BVs, ancient tanks that were obsolete as far back as Team Yankee, have taken a severe beating.

In another, it looks like the Western NLAWs and Javelins rushed to the country by NATO have taken their toll on Russia’s most advanced combat vehicles, defeating stand-off cages and other countermeasures, leaving lots of broken armor and blunted convoys in their wake. Their recently-withdrawn British, Canadian, and American (Florida National Guard’s Task Force Gator) training cadres are no doubt nodding into their whisky as they watch the footage. 

Ukraine troops have shown off lots of Western-supplied Stinger MANPADS, M141 BDM (SMAW-D), the NLAW, and the Javelin ATGM, seen above their transit cases.

While the Russian VDV and Spets guys are fanatical, a lot of these Russian troops, especially those driving trucks and recovery vehicles without adequate top cover, are likely conscripts. Cannon fodder. I almost feel bad for them. 

Regardless, depictions of Ukraine’s two newest patrons, of our ladies of the top attack, St. Javelin and St. NLAW, are circulating widely.

Further, while the Russians have steamrolled Ukraine’s airfields and at least one (some reports say damaged) SU-27 made an emergency diversion to Romania, there does seem to be a Fulcrum driver that is– and this could be wild propaganda– been holding his own around Kyiv, downing a reported six Russians. The feat would make him the first attributed European air ace since Korea.

They call him the “Ghost of Kyiv,” and there is a ton of buzz and memes floating around about him even if he doesn’t exist.

I can vouch that there is a stirring video purporting to be a low-flying Ukrainian MiG-29 dogfighting with a Russian Sukhoi Su-35 (but looks to me just like two Fulcrums working high-low).

The David and Goliath struggle has been exemplified by the reported lop-sided stand on Snake Island by 13 Ukrainian border guards against the Russian cruiser Moskova, with the words “Russkiy voyennyy korabl’, idi na khuy” now ringing around the globe.

Finally, in a return to low-tech, with both sides fielding much the same kit– after all, Ukrain inherited most of its equipment from the old Soviet Union– the Russians are using an “Invasion Stripe” recognition stripe in the form of a painted-on “Z” despite the fact there is no such letter in the Cyrillic alphabet, something that had been noticed by reporters in Belarus as far back as the 19th.

Either way, if you’re the praying sort, the Ukrainian people could use some.

The Kyiv Drum Beat

Some quick takes on the situation in Ukraine, for those with an interested eye.

Western open-source intel stress there are now 130,000 Russian servicemen deployed around Ukraine, with Kyiv saying the actual figure is closer to 150,000. That doesn’t account for additional forces mustered in Belarus for Union Courage 2022. Russian artillery has reportedly moved into a firing position along the border. Russian units seem to also be moving toward potential jump-off points, with tanks seen as close as 30km from the Donbas.

The take from D.C. 

The U.S. State Department says they see no sign of Russia de-escalating what they feel is a looming invasion. As a sign they believe it, they are shifting the embassy “due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces” from Kyiv to Lviv in Western Ukraine– the old town of Lemberg in Galacia in Great War terms, or Lwów in Poland to use WWII framing.

At the Pentagon, the announcement came that another 3,000 troops from the 82nd Airborne would be sent to Eastern Europe, while the 160-member Florida National Guard unit that has been in Ukraine on a training mission will be “temporarily repositioned” out of the country. Surely the folks they were training had a moment of gravity when they saw the Americans packing up and waving goodbye. 

Even though the GIs are pulling out, U.S. and NATO weapons are flooding in, with no less than 14 flights of arms being received in Boryspil alone in the past couple of weeks. This includes pallets of 7.62 NATO link ammo, 40mm link grenades for the MK19, Javelin anti-tank missiles, surplus Hummers, and Stinger MANPADS.

So many Javelins have arrived that the popular Zaporozhian Cossack emblem has gotten a modern makeover.

Russia says…

Russia is publicly saying, through its English language media organs at Ruptly et. al, that it “won’t allow endless negotiations.”

At the same time, the Russian Ministry of Defense is busy releasing video of troops on winter maneuvers, complete with tube artillery and snowsuit. It should be noted that, rather than troops near Ukraine, the video is of Northern Fleet Naval Infantry at play in the Kola Peninsula near Murmansk. 

Notably, however, the Russian Ministry of Defense is also taking some of the oxygen out of the situation, announcing some of its troops are entraining back to their normal garrisons as they finish exercises with Belarus, with some leaving as early as Tuesday. 

As the combat training measures are completed, the troops, as always, will make marches in a combined way to the points of permanent deployment. The units of the Southern and Western military districts, having completed their tasks, have already begun loading onto rail and road transport and will begin moving to their military garrisons today. Separate units will march on their own as part of military columns.

This news quickly got pushed out through Ruptly and RT, for those in the West. 

As for Kyiv…

Meanwhile, the expected “Day of Attack,” February 16, has been declared a national “Day of Unity” by Ukrainian leader Zelensky. There is calm in the streets and a flavor that the country won’t allow another slice of territory to be gobbled up, as with Crimea and the Donbas area. But overall, it seems the folks on the ground there, who would be most impacted, are not worried, giving one the feeling that Washington is running a “sky is falling” narrative and the clouds are not as dark as it would seem. 

Even Radio Free Europe, which arguably is the American version of RT/Ruptly, is running news that the Ukrainians are calm. 

At the same time, Ukrainian nationalist groups are eagerly backing the impression that everyone from 8 to 80 is training and ready to fight, in spirit, if not in deed.

Added to this are a reported 17,000 foreign fighters from 27 countries assembled in the country, eager to fight the Russians, with the Georgian Legion spearheading the effort. 

From India’s Gravitas News: 

Should this all go sour, Eastern Europe and Israel is bracing for up to a million displaced Ukrainian refugees. 

This has been a very long, played-out scenario, as the Russians– keep in mind– first added 90K troops to the Ukraine border region as far ago as last March to see what the West would do.

However, as the drumbeat of war is growing louder, my thought is that the West will pull some sort of 1938 style appeasement that allows Russia to save face without, literally, pulling the trigger. 

I’m not saying that it is right or wrong, just giving my take.

The Ukrainians are getting more and more NATO everyday

Moves are underway in the Ukraine to become less-Moscow and more NATO as the country is shedding its old school Warsaw Pact garb and ranks and trying very hard to look more Berlin and Brussels than Minsk and Pskov. They are replacing thier rank system, inherited from the Soviet Red Army (and the Tsarist Imperial Army before them), with standard NATO ranks and a new series of uniforms looks very Western European indeed.

The AK-mama…Olga Kulygina

These shots have circulated around social media and gun sites in recent months, showing a dress wearing, sandal clad female lurking around an unidentified Ukrainian street complete with her trusty AK last summer.

TD, SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

On closer look, you note excellent trigger discipline, muzzle control and apparent situational awareness, hallmarks more commonly found in those who have received at least a little tactical training.

TD, SITUATIONAL AWARENESS 2

The images originated from a Russian news source with the article, “Slavyansk mothers take guns to replace their sons killed by Ukrainian nationalists.”

Well, it appears the humble freedom fighter may actually be one Olga Kulygina and it seems she may actually be a high ranking member of the FSB, Russia’s secret squirrel and dirty tricks guys.

So at least now you know…

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