Summary of the semi-daily livestream with Oleksiy Arestovych, former Ukraine’s Presidential Head of Office advisor, Day 346, February 4. Kindly brought to you by Stepan: https://twitter.com/childsacrifice1
⚡️ Life in Ukraine: In the last 4 days, 16 civilians were killed and 42 were wounded from Russian shelling. These are only publicly released reports.
⚡️Front line update: Reports of a Ukrainian counterattack in Vuhledar. Around 4 Russian BTGs originally attacked Vuhledar, with 4 more in held in reserve. Their goal was to try to encircle Vuhledar but they were halted and took heavy casualties. The Russians are currently deploying more forces to Vuhledar. The Russian overall goal for this operation is to push the Ukrainian artillery out of range of the supply hub in Volnovakha. The stability of the southern front depends on this area.
⚡️A similar situation is north of Tokmak, where the Russians are also trying to push the Ukrainian artillery out of range. This attack was stopped by Ukrainian reserves but the Russians are redeploying more forces.
⚡️Bakhmut is being stormed from the north and south in order to cut off The Bakhmut-Konstantinovka road. According to some sources, part of this road is under Russian fire control. The Bakhmut-Sloviansk road remains fully under the control of the AFU. the Russians also intend to attack Siversk. The Russians want to cut off the Ukrainian Siversk salient north of Bakhmut which would shorten the front. The 2 main Russian objectives are to cut off the roads into Bakhmut and to cut off this salient.
⚡️On the Kremina direction the Russians attempt to counterattack and according to some reports, they have pushed the AFU back from Kremina.
The Russians currently have 2 operation groupings, one aimed at Lyman and one at Bakhmut. the Russians made unsuccessful attacks in other areas of the front. The most difficult locations for the AFU are in Bakhmut and Siversk.
Arestovych believes that the final goal of the Russian offensive is Pokrovsk-Kramatorsk-Sloviansk. He thinks they will not succeed but setbacks are to be expected as a large grouping is being assembled which outmatches the AFU in the area in both manpower and capabilities. The next 2 months will be similar to May-June during the Summer when the AFU inflicted heavy casualties but had to give up ground.
⚡️ New Brigades: Ukraine announced the formation of 8 new police assault brigades, 2 belonging to the police and 6 to the National Guard. These assault brigades will attempt to replicate Azov, consisting of well-motivated assault infantry to be used for both attack and defense. In this war, well-motivated assault infantry is more valuable than anything else. Azov is currently fighting in the 3rd assault brigade, and has formulated a unique training system that has shown itself very well. All of these brigades will total 24,000 troops and 2,500 applications have already been received.
⚡️ Georgia: The Georgian president discussed the liberation of occupied Georgian territories as part of a future Ukraine-Russia peace deal. The protests to free Saakashvili ruffled some feathers in Tbilisi. The liberation of Saakashvili will be a condition in any Georgia-EU negotiations.
⚡️ Diplomacy: Lavrov made some incoherent statements about Moldova being the west’s next Ukraine. Lukashenko also visited Zimbabwe. These events are a mockery of diplomacy that accomplishes nothing. Netanyahu has given a directive to reconsider the policy of supplying arms to Ukraine. This does not mean that they will be supplied, just that the option will be considered.
⚡️ Germany/Dutch army: Plans have been announced to combine the 2 armies in order to increase the capabilities of the Bundeswehr. This has come about as a result of the lessons learned in Ukraine, which prove that land forces are still the most important element.
⚡️ Leopard 1: Germany has confirmed the supply of 88 Leopard 1 tanks to Ukraine. Modern fire control systems and other western modifications will enable these tanks to outperform even modern Russian tanks. This is a war of attrition and therefore older tank models will keep appearing on both sides. Fully equipping a Ukrainian army of 1 million men would take at least a year.
⚡️ American aid package: The USA announced a new aid package worth 2.2 Billion dollars. Notably, it includes long-range missiles for the HIMARS. These missiles can strike for 160km with pinpoint accuracy which covers nearly all of the occupied territories, including a third of Crimea. This will stop the flow of supplies from Crimea. This will be very bad for Russia. Other types of conventional ammunition, MRAPs, Javelins, and air defense systems are also included in the package.
⚡️ EU and sanctions: from the 5th of February a price cap of $45 will be placed on Russian oil instead of the previous $60. On top of this, the price cap will be reconsidered every 2 months. They want Russia to no longer be able to finance the war. The EU is also implementing the 10th tranche of sanctions on the 24th of February. The G7 and President Zelensky will also meet that day. The Euro parliament has passed a resolution that calls on the EU to begin negotiations on the Ukrainian entry into the EU. 5 million dollars of seized assets were transferred to Ukraine, from an oligarch who in 2014 supported the illegitimate LDPR and the seizure of Crimea. This is a good precedent to set.
⚡️ SAMPT AA: The Italian MOD has announced that the system will be operational in Ukraine in 6-7 weeks. This system is able to shoot down ballistic missiles.
⚡️ Russian internal politics: Russia is set to have a multi-billion dollar deficit as a result of a lack of hydrocarbon exports. This is critical because the stability of Russia depends on money being sent to the regions of which there is now less, and the internal “siloviki”, who are now dying on the front in Ukraine.
⚡️ Germany and Russian PSYOPs: According to a recent poll, 60% of germans fear that Russia may attack them. This explains why it took so long to supply Leopards. The best way to prevent a Russian attack is to destroy the means with which it would be carried out in Ukraine. This can be accomplished by giving Ukraine more weapons. Kremlin psyops are working overtime to convince westerners not to supply weapons. The Russians also attempted to spread misinformation that Kharkhiv was about to be encircled to sow panic. There may be provocations on the northern border in an attempt to give credibility to these rumors. There will be no large-scale invasion of the north in the foreseeable future. The Northern border is well-defended.
⚡️ Alleged negotiations: Swiss Newspaper NZZ claimed that the Americans tried to offer the Russians 20% of Ukraine in exchange for peace. Both sides, even Peskov, denied that this had occurred. This is another PYSOP to try to hold onto the occupied territories. Russia needs a Minsk 3 to prevent the public overthrowing Putin and to use the resources of the occupied territories to finish off Ukraine later. The outcome of the war depends on the amount of military aid the west gives Ukraine. Any challenge is solvable if given enough resources. Overall, the west has quite an aggressive mindset towards Russia and will not force Ukraine into Minsk 3.
⚡️ Anti-corruption actions: President Zelensky said that there are 2 fronts: external and internal. Just as there is fighting on the external front, the internal front is now also being handled properly. As to why these arrests seem slow, Ukraine is a democratic country, they cannot just grab people off the street, and evidence needs to be gathered first. Corruption in Ukraine consists of the mishandling of money, not western weapons, which always reach the front. However, a lot of systems, such as procurement, need to be changed.
⚡️ Russian propaganda: Putin made a visit to Volgograd commemorating the anniversary of the end of the battle of Stalingrad. Russian propaganda uses simple, emotion-triggering Stalinist themes such as “German tanks with crosses are attacking us again” because they know these press the buttons of the Russian audience. So far, Russian propaganda is doing its job in keeping the population ideologically in line.
⚡️ Saakashvili: There will be a demonstration in support of Saakashvilli on the 20th of February. The last such action on the 4th of January generated positive results as pressure was put on Georgia through the Ukrainian Government and others. The probability of success is higher this time. Appealing to the Georgian government Arestovych says that your future personal prospects and the European prospects of Georgia will be extremely grim as you will be held responsible for his death.
⚡️ Streams: The streams will now be on a weekly basis. The streams may become more frequent if the rate of events at the front intensifies. Arestovych says that he wants the streams to become more analytical in nature, covering the big picture as opposed to every minute event and saying the same thing about the situation at the front several days in a row.