Reading, Watching 06.11
This is a regular feature for paid subscribers wherein I write a little bit about what I’ve been reading and watching in the past week. Hope you enjoy!
The long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive has begun, but it’s still very difficult to get accurate information about what’s happening. First of all, there’s just the general fog of war. Second, much of what’s coming out is propaganda and disinformation. As of this morning, it appears that Ukrainian armed forces have made some advances, but still have not reached the main line of Russian defenses. When this happens, then extremely difficult fighting will ensue. Even under the best of circumstances, with modern equipment and control of the skies, breaching enemy fortifications is hard work: the attacking force has to navigate minefields, trenches, and all sorts of other obstacles while under heavy fire. This map from Zaporizhzhia oblast, which I cannot vouch for being up to date or accurate, gives you some idea of the situation—each heavy red line represents a prepared Russian defense:
This video below made by the Department of the Army shows how much training, coordination, and specialized equipment is required to breach enemy fortifications—and this is with all of the assets of the U.S. military.
While we naturally tend to focus more on the horror of civilian casualties, I think it’s important to also keep in mind how costly the war has been in terms Ukraine’s young men of fighting age. The fighting thus far has already claimed some of that nation’s best trained and most experienced soldiers. On the offensive, armies expect to take a lot of casualties. So long as the offensive continues, we are looking at weeks and possibly months of very brutal fighting.