Summary of the livestream with Oleksiy Arestovych, former Ukraine’s Presidential Head of Office advisor, Day 369, February 27th. Kindly brought to you by Stepan: https://twitter.com/childsacrifice1
⚡️ Belarus: Belarusian Partisans blew up a very expensive Russian aircraft at the Machulyschi airbase. They damaged with drones a plane which costs $350 million Russia has 10 of these planes, only 6 of which are believed to be in operational condition. It acts as an airborne command post and can also discover locations of Ukrainian AA defenses during missile attacks. This platform is crucial during large-scale missile strikes. Ukraine does not and will not strike Belarusian territory so as not to kill a single Belarusian because future relations between the two countries are very important. Lukashenko has also managed to keep Belarus out of the war despite all rhetoric and so there is no need to provoke Belarus. There has not been a single missile strike on Ukraine from the territory of Belarus in the last few months. Some Shaheed strikes were alleged to have been launched from Belarus but these actually originated in Russian territory.
⚡️ Overall frontline situation: Bakhmut remains the most intense section of the front. Russian assaults in the Kremina/Kupyiansk area failed. Russian attacks near Vuhledar were also repulsed. Artillery duels continue in Kherson. Over the last couple of days, there was also a series of unsuccessful Russian attacks in Mariinka and Avdiivka.
⚡️ Bakhmut: The situation has deteriorated north of the city and the Russians have advanced. There are dozens of attacks every day. However, the AFU continues to perform counterattacks and the situation is prone to change. The situation is very difficult but under control. The supply and rotation of Ukrainian Units continue as does intense street fighting. Even if Bakhmut was abandoned, this would not be the end of the world as it would simply mean that Ukrainian forces chose to retreat to more defensible positions. This does not have long-term implications, as the AFU also retreated from Izyum and Kherson after defending them, and who do those cities belong to now? The main objective of defending is to exhaust the enemy and drain his offensive capabilities. An adversary that retains offensive capabilities cannot be attacked, and Ukraine cannot launch its offensive while Russia is still able to attack. Bakhmut and Soledar are doing just that, exhausting Russian offensive capability. The ratio of losses there is roughly 1:7 in Ukraine’s favor. The Russians do not have enough artillery and tanks, and shells for these platforms.
⚡️ State of the Russian army: Russian losses increased significantly in October when they switched from vehicle-centered operations to manpower-centered as a result of vehicle losses. In order to advance in Bakhmut, the Russian army has had to reduce operations along the rest of the front. The ‘world’s second army’ can barely sustain offensive operations on a 40km sector of a nearly 1500km front with massive casualties. Even if the Russians manage to take Bakhmut, they will face the exact same situation again and again, in Chasiv Yar and beyond. Do they think that Ukraine and the west will sit idly by while they slowly advance? Where is the much-discussed upcoming Russian offensive? It was a myth inflated by Russian propaganda.
⚡️ Russian force structure: Currently 1/4 to 1/2 of all Russian Forces at the front are composed of mobilised light infantry with no heavy weapons and only sometimes motorized in trucks, along with minimal infantry equipment. Another 1/3 is composed of Russian army units replenished with mobilized personnel (40-60% mobilized). These units are more or less equipped with weapons and vehicles, but to a lesser extent than at the beginning of the war. The remaining 1/4 to 1/3 is made up of PMC Wagner. Their objectives vary from sector to sector. The unequipped light infantry is often used to draw fire during an assault.
⚡️ Diplomacy: The Saudi Arabian foreign minister arrived in Kyiv and announced a $400 million aid package of which $100 million is humanitarian aid and $300 million is oil products which are very important. This is a political rebalancing as a result of Russia’s alliance with Iran. China’s so-called peace plan was also released. It is an unacceptable document because it does not differentiate the aggressor and the victim countries.
⚡️ Finances: According to Forbes, Russia spent $114.4 billion or a third of its entire budget on, as Arestovich calls it, “the war of the strip-teasing generals”. The US secretary of the treasury visited Kyiv and announced a $10 billion+ aid package to Ukraine’s budget, as well as $1.5 billion for Ukraine’s reconstruction and $1.1 billion for the Ukrainian and Moldovan energy grids.
⚡️ The Collapse of Russia: Medvedev and Putin both discussed the collapse of Russia. This indicates that this scenario is considered to be plausible by them and that it has already been discussed for 3-4 months. In addition, the fact that the president himself voiced this concern indicates that this is an issue of the highest level. Russia is racing towards the abyss. Arestovych believes that the war has entered its final phase, the last third.
⚡️ Wizzair flights to Moldova: Wizzair is stopping all flights to Moldova from the 14th of March due to security concerns. This does not necessarily indicate an imminent invasion, just that Wizzair decided that it would be easier to pull out now and resume flights later than to risk it.
⚡️ Arestovych urges Ukrainians in Europe to not be afraid to cooperate with western prosecutors in regard to Russian war crimes. Punishing Russian war criminals is essential to prevent a second Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Next stream on Wednesday.