Posted by Curt on 19 July, 2023 at 10:28 am. 1 comment.



So, what are the consequences of the second Kerch attack?

Apart from the fact that two civilians died in the terrorist attack, with a fourteen year-old Russian girl named Angelina from the Belgorod region now orphaned after losing her parents. Russian troops are already writing her name on shells in her honor:

🇷🇺🚀🇺🇦 Angelina, the girl who survived the terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge!

Today, Russian artillery is taking revenge for you. And tomorrow, we won’t be surprised if your name is written on our “Daggers” and “Kalibr”.

The enemy will be punished and defeated!

The other biggest consequence is the apparent final termination of the grain deal:

The humanitarian corridor though the northern Black Sea has been terminated. The joint coordination center in Istanbul will be closed. Russia no longer guarantees safety of navigation in the region.

Peskov claims it is permanent, and that the coordination task force with Turkey has even been closed on this account. Personally, I’m doubtful, but we’ll see. There are always high emotions after such an event and rash decisions are made to either grandstand or give the appearance of strength, but ultimately more negotiations will likely happen down the line, the only question of how soon.

The below live ship traffic map shows no traffic at all coming to or from Odessa anymore as of today:

Russia needs to save face and show strength first, for instance some reprisal attacks, afterwards it can slow-walk back towards the deal—but we’ll see.

US insists grain deal be extended as soon as possible, Blinken The West and Kiev will consider options for exporting food from Ukraine to world markets in connection with the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the grain deal, he added. World markets = the West.

Many Russian officials are hardlining it, for instance Alexei Zhuravlev:

🇷🇺❌🇺🇦 After the terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge, Russia should stop “any trade relations with Ukraine, including pumping gas,” as well as cut off from the sea, Alexei Zhuravlev, the first deputy chairman of the defense committee of the State Duma.

And Medvedev, who released this message:

The most important thing to note, though, is that the timing of this attack happened on exactly July 17th, which was the long awaited grain deal expiration date, if you’ll recall. That is not by coincidence.

It means this attack was specifically done to try to stymy Russia as much as possible in terms of putting it between rock and hard place in making its decisions. In essence, it’s designed to erode Russia’s stature with its allies, particularly Turkey.

Russia wants to give the appearance of interest in grain deal talks for the sake of its allies. This puts Russia in a position of two weak moves. Either they continue talks and look doubly weak because now it shows that even large-scale terror attacks on their infrastructure have no effect on their red lines; or: they completely discard the grain deal but now take a big prestige hit with their allies like Turkey and even China which recently signaled it greatly favors the grain deal extension.

The ultimate question though will be who stands to gain the most from the actual practical realpolitik effects of this, rather than the ‘appearance’ of having gained something. For instance, we know that Ukraine loses upwards of $500 million per month:


The corruption of the grain deal explained:

– 🇺🇦 transferred 63,000,000t agricultural products to 🇪🇺

– 🇺🇦 received $26 billion from the 🇪🇺

– 🇪🇺 has sent 23,000,000t back to 🇺🇦 in solidarity

– 🇺🇦 has paid $48 billion to the 🇪🇺 for the solidarity

-> Ukraine has lost $22 billion!

Russia has nothing really to lose as far as I understand, and everything to gain, to the extent that not allowing Ukrainian grain to flood the markets only means that Russia’s own grain becomes far more valuable all over the world.

Of course, the West is now expectedly screaming bloody murder. UN Secretary General Guterres made the alarmist statement that “millions” of starving people will pay the price now that the grain deal is off. They are predictably shifting the blame onto Russia, completely ignoring the mass terrorist attack their own security services in conjunction with Ukraine just carried out.

For instance, this new Politico article accuses Russia of pulling out of the grain deal on monday, and incredibly doesn’t mention the word bridge even once:

Russia on Monday pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a U.N.-brokered accord that has made it possible for Ukraine to export tens of millions of tons of grains and oilseeds over the past year even as the war rages on.

The deal was vital to keeping food flowing from Ukraine — a major breadbasket — to the wider world. But Russia, claiming that its own food and fertilizer exports were being hurt by “hidden” Western sanctions, had already effectively strangled the deal before finally killing it off. 

Hours later, the Kremlin warned that it could no longer guarantee the safety of shipping in the northwestern Black Sea.

Note how they attempt to reframe the pull out as revolving around Russia’s complaints of its own grain exports being ‘hurt’ by Western sanctions. It’s incredible that a day after such a large terrorist attack which blew up two civilians and sent a young girl into a coma is now completely ignored with the standard yellow press lies by omission.

Typically such articles are filled with ‘contextualizing’ fodder; they didn’t think it even remotely contextually relevant to add in the bridge attack?

Of course, we know that only a measly 3% of the grain actually went to Africa or ‘countries in need’, the lion’s share gobbled up by greedy Europe. Even the above Politico article’s attempt to contradict this falls flat on its face, as their “proof” lies in a URL to some claimed study which doesn’t work, and leads to a log in screen. What a ‘professional’ outfit.

Here are some more graphics about the breakdown of the grain distribution by crop:

🇷🇺❌🇺🇦🌾 Nothing but outright fraud came out of this – Deputy Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Dmitry Polyanskiy about the grain deal and “efforts” to comply with it on the part of the international community

The bigger thing to watch for will be what Russia does with the Black Sea corridor in that region. Will they really attempt to retake Snake Island as rumors suggested earlier, or beef up their naval presence there in some way as I had reported last time?

Ukraine for their part claim that ending the grain deal means that the Kerch Bridge will be targeted. For instance, Kiev Independent’s Ponomarenko:

This appears to imply that not attacking the bridge was part of the grain deal, and that Kiev attacked it on the exact day of the deal’s expiration as a ‘message’ to Moscow.

If you’ll recall, there were previous rumors that Turkey or even the U.S. would strong-arm the deal back into place by escorting the grain ships through the Black Sea, even without Russia’s permission. However, two new statements from both appear to suggest the opposite, for now at least:

The US is not considering the possibility of a military blockade of the Black Sea due to the suspension of the grain agreement, according to the coordinator of strategic communications of the White House, John Kirby. They are not even considering easing sanctions on Russia for its return to the agreement. He pointed out that Washington does not see that the terrorist attack on the Crimean bridge affected Russia’s military capabilities. At the same time, the US is not ready to attribute responsibility for the attack on the Crimean bridge to any party to the conflict in Ukraine.

And reportedly from Turkey:

🇹🇷🇺🇦🇷🇺 – Turkish source told GIW that Turkey and NATO would NOT confront a possible Russian blockade on Ukraine with its own warships, explaining that WW3 wasn’t the goal.

Now, Zelensky is desperately begging Erdogan to militarily intervene, which seems to effectively give away his plan all along, which is to drive a wedge between Turkey and Russia:


Where does that leave us then? Likely, Russia will await the West to ‘crawl back on its knees’ with some concessions in hand. Putin had already made the statement last week, if you’ll recall, in light of the upcoming grain deal’s expiration, that Russia will no longer make the initiative themselves but will wait for the West to ‘come bearing gifts’ in the form of their own concessions first. There is the possibility perhaps that Putin will now take a fully ‘hard line’ and refuse to renew the deal in the future under any circumstances in light of the Kerch attack. Perhaps Russia has gamed out the scenarios and with the upcoming fall and winter seasons, plans to again bring Ukraine to its knees with full-on economic-infrastructure multi-vector attacks, which will include destroying Ukraine’s economy and renewed missile attacks on the power infrastructure.

This is likely because I believe that next year will be the year we all expected 2023 to be, in terms of big Russian offensives. I don’t say that in a wishful thinking manner, simply moving the goalposts of this year to next. I’ve already been building up a volume of theory-crafting over the course of the past few months comprised of reports about how Russia is slowly building up its offensive potential this year, in terms of the ongoing stealth mobilization, Shoigu’s huge new expansions of the armed forces into two new military districts compromising one new army and one new corps. Now that we finally have good data on Ukraine’s own massive losses and attrition over the course of the last few months, it’s more obvious than ever that next year will be the year for Russia to truly put the pressure on to collapse the AFU, while the remainder of this year will be the continuation of the preparatory work.

One of the reasons, by the way, which I failed to explain in my earlier exegeses on the matter, is that all these new ‘stealth mobilized troops’ Shoigu is putting together likely require a much longer amount of training time. The ‘official mobilization’ from last fall was for reservists who already had their compulsory year’s worth of training. But the new volunteers, we have no real data on what they are. If some of them are just outright ‘enlistments’ straight off the street, these are people that would require training from scratch before they’re even combat ready. A minimum of one year training would be required for such people, though they could do “basic” training in 3-5 months and then be processed to the ‘rear’ of some combat zone for further onsite MOS training. I assume though that many of these new ‘volunteers’ are reservists who weren’t on the roll-call of last year’s mobilization, so they would be re-trained and re-certified in 3+ months give or take.

But make no mistake, the biggest difference by far will be the simple fact of the huge expected drop-off of Western support. If Western support continued on in the same way as it was at its peak, then admittedly I think Ukraine can last potentially several more years. But at the current attrition rates, they can’t even make it past the end of this year without enormous changes to their battle doctrine, which are already underway—but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Now, you’re probably wondering: well, what if the West does continue to support Ukraine with maximum force? The problem is, that’s not really conceivable or possible. They don’t have the stockpiles to do so.

Even if the monetary support were to continue in the same way (and even that is heavily dropping off), they simply don’t have the ammunition and armor stockpiles left to continue giving at the same frequency.

Rezident channel reports the following:


Our source in the OP said that the Office of the President received a draft from the Biden Administration on the future funding of the Ukraine. Military assistance will be reduced by 7 times, and financial assistance by 5, but the Americans assured us that the EU will continue to support the Armed Forces of the Ukraine in the same volumes. Meetings are already being held at Bankovaya to discuss how to reduce budget spending and find funds to continue the war in 2024.


Now, even the emergency injection of German Leopard 1A5s which were meant to backfill the losses of the past month are mysteriously ‘delayed’, as per new rumors. Recall that this was meant to be the most expedited of the deliveries, with a new large round of tanks meant to arrive by the end of July at the latest. One report claimed the delay is until “August” but the tenor of it seemed overly hopeful.

Meanwhile, Russia continues to heavily attrit these arrivals even in the rear, like this new report:

As ukrainian_guide ( has learned, two echelons with military equipment were hit by two Iskander missiles last night in Kharkov on the territory of the depot of the Osnova railway station

The echelons were carrying German Leopard tanks and American M113 armoured personnel carriers. There is information that three Leopards were seriously damaged as a result of the strike.

For the information, the sources asked to thank the AFU men from the 32nd brigade, who were discussing the news in one of the closed chat rooms.


Apparently these were tanks that were being re-positioned to other fronts.

And reportedly many mercenaries were once again hit in the attack as well:

🚨Foreign mercenaries hit in Kharkiv. That explains the unusual airplane activity today.


“Last night in Kharkiv, two missiles hit the dormitory of the Law Academy of Yaroslav the Wise (Dinamovskaya St., 4).”

The facility was a temporary accommodation for foreign mercenaries. Immediately after the strikes, several ambulances arrived on the territory of the building.

It is claimed that up to 30 mercenaries were killed or wounded.”

— source Ukraine guide

Flighttracker showed a plane flying back and forth from Rzeszow to Ukraine under a decoy transponder, which was likely transporting dead and wounded.

The high effectiveness of yesterday’s strikes on Kharkiv, during which Western mercenaries were also killed and wounded, is confirmed: an unknown flight has just arrived in Rzeszow from Ukraine, and an Airbus A330-243MRTT transport plane has been brought to them from Berlin. A flying ambulance of the specialized airline ASL FLY MED arrived in Rzeszow today and spent an hour there.

More and more, the absolute intractability of the situation is percolating on down through the various Western think-tanks and intel agencies. For instance, here’s US Defense Intelligence Agency Chief of Staff John Kirchhofer:

And even Arestovich was forced to admit that Ukraine taking the 80% of land it currently controls as a consolation for being given a NATO membership/pathway is a ‘good deal’:

This is owing to the fact that he believes trying to retake Crimea without the type of air power and amenities that the U.S. military enjoys would result in 200,000 Ukrainian casualties:

This of course is telling; after all, if just retaking Crimea would cost 200k Ukrainian deaths then how many deaths did they suffer thus far in the entire war?

And now, Russia is putting its pedal to the floor in the north, ramping up a large offensive there that is starting to really worry the Ukrainian command:

Ukrainians are very worried about the Kupyansk direction. They write that we have gathered a powerful fist and are moving forward.


Now a very powerful group is concentrated in the Limano-Kupyansk direction. More than 100 thousand personnel, more than 900 tanks, and 370 MLRS. They say that with these forces we plan to defeat their battle formations and go deeper.

crests have interesting thoughts, but I think this is not the last unpleasant surprise for them. More to come soon…

From a very worried Ukrainian source:


Last time, I reported that Russia had pushed the AFU out of the town of Novoselovske, near Svatove. Now—though it may not be fully confirmed yet—as of this writing reports claim that Russia has in fact seized the entire town.

❗️The RF Armed Forces have taken control of the settlement of Novoselovka in the Lugansk People’s Republic, our sources from the field report. This village already passed under the control of Russian units in November of this year, but then they were driven out.

Also, our subscribers from the scene specify that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are urgently transferring reserves to the recently taken Novoselovka in order to counterattack. This information is also confirmed by Ukrainian officials, casually mentioning the difficult situation for the enemy army in this region.

“War Informant”

If Ukrainian reports are accurate that Russia has a fist of 900 tanks in that area, then that is more tanks in that one sector alone than Ukraine has in total on every front.

Seymour Hersh also claims the following from his own sources:

⚡️⚡️⚡️The Russian army will easily “face” the Ukrainian forces and launch its “large-scale offensive” probably in August, Pulitzer-winning journalist Hersh (USA) said, citing his source.

According to his interlocutor, an American “official”, it will be then that the Ukrainian Armed Forces will have to face the “real problem”. Cluster bullets, the source said, “have no chance” to change the course of the conflict, and the White House “wrong” with its assessment of the situation, writes RIA Novosti.

Americans can judge the unsuccessful course of the “counterattack” for Ukraine by the fact that stories from the war zone have disappeared from the front pages of major newspapers, Hersh said

I do think a larger Russian counter-offensive is possible in August, but it won’t be the end-all-be-all big arrow thing some expected this year, like a new major vector opening up from the north, in Kharkov or Sumy, etc. I think it will be more of a gradual pressure on the current fronts, including renewed strength attacks in Avdeevka, Marinka, etc.

In short, right now Russia doesn’t have to rush. Time is for the moment on their side as we’ve gone over the ‘hump’ of the major milestone events like the Vilnius summit, and they have yielded nothing. The U.S. now has an all-important presidential election on their plate soon and attention will have to shift away from Ukraine. So all the cards are in Russia’s favor for the next half year and more. As long as they keep grinding Ukraine down as they’re doing now, Russia will be laying the correct groundwork for next year where Ukraine’s situation will turn critical.

To cap this section off, I’ll post this Russian analyst’s take which sums up a lot of my points and extrapolates what will happen next based on the current battlefield calculus, with which I fully agree:

Ramzai (Vladislav Shurygin, @Ramzayiegokomanda) writes about the transitional nature of the current situation at the front in the Ukrainian war:

The Ukrainian offensive has obviously run out of steam without achieving any results. Almost forty days of continuous fighting did not lead even to the breakthrough of the screening line.

At the same time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces put into battle up to 60% of the reserves at their disposal, losing up to 25% of their personnel, up to 30% of their tanks, 20% of their artillery, and up to 20% of their armoured vehicles. Further attempts to attack in all strategic directions, using the remaining reserves, have been accepted by the AFU command as futile, both from a military point of view and from a propaganda and political point of view. The success of the “offensive” planned for the NATO summit in Vilnius could not be achieved, and now the AFU command intends to focus on local offensive operations to improve their positions on different parts of the front and to wear down the Russian troops.

The AFU command retains up to eight “fresh” brigades (brigades that have not participated in the offensive) at its disposal. The combat capability of another eight brigades can be restored within three to four weeks. U.S. handlers have already become actively engaged in the process of remedying the losses by sending battalion-sized sets of Bradley IFVs and Stryker APCs, as well as artillery systems and ammunition from their forces in Europe. But it is not possible to recover losses in tanks. There is simply no place to get new tanks now.

The process of reviving the German Leopard 1 tanks from Rheinmetall warehouses is being delayed, and the first batches may arrive in Ukraine no sooner than the second half of August. In addition, the replenishment of the “worn down” brigades with personnel by means of urgent recruitment through yet-another mobilisation does not restore their combat capability. The mobilised men are nearly universally untrained, untested, and have zero motivation. They are joining companies and battalions that have suffered heavy losses, lost a large part of their most experienced fighters and, in turn, are equally demoralised. To consider such brigades “rebuilt” is a big mistake.

As a consequence, the strategic initiative is gradually shifting to the Russian side. The Russian command is increasingly moving from hard defence to offensive actions and has managed to squeeze the AFU in a number of directions.

There is every reason to believe that, after the AFU’s final loss of offensive capabilities, the Russian forces may launch an offensive in several directions. It can hardly be expected to have strategic goals—the Russian Armed Forces still do not have enough forces for that—but we can conduct at least two offensive operations at an army scale.

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