Overview:

  • After meeting with the Ukraine Contact Group, US defense chief says more weapons on the way
  • Washington downplays “serious” threat of Russian nukes in space
  • “Cucumbers, carrots and tea bags”: deciphering Russian radio messages
  • Russian troops make gains around Bakhmut and Donetsk city
  • AFU seems to lose momentum on the left bank of Dnipro

Chaired by recovering US Defense Secretary, the 40-member bloc assures Kyiv help is on the way

Minister of Defense Rustem Umerov reported that more drone deliveries, more artillery production and long-awaited F-16 fighters are all on schedule as per his meeting with the Ukraine Contact Group (aka Ramstein), a 40-member-state bloc of allies committed to Kyiv’s military supply lines and strategic help.

On his Facebook account, Umerov said that progress has already been made on the joint production of artillery systems and shells and that the transfer of F-16s is on schedule.

Drones. There will be more,” Umerov wrote. “We are strengthening our cooperation with partners in the area of unmanned systems. Today, we have officially launched the Drone Coalition. Eight countries have already joined: Sweden, the UK, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Estonia, the Netherlands, and Latvia.”

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He added that the Coalition for Integrated Air and Missile Defense has started its work, with 15 of the countries working together to strengthen Ukraine’s supply of anti-aircraft missiles and other air defense systems.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who was released from the hospital just yesterday after an operation, led the meeting virtually from his home in the Washington DC area.

‘Serious national security threat’ reportedly a Kremlin plan to put nuclear warheads in space

Quoting anonymous legislators on Capitol Hill, ABC News reported that Russia was clandestinely attempting to put a nuclear-powered weapon into space.

Ukraine Regains Position Near Chasiv Yar as Russia Intensifies Offensive
Other Topics of Interest

Ukraine Regains Position Near Chasiv Yar as Russia Intensifies Offensive

The capture of Chasiv Yar could be both a strategic and symbolic victory for Moscow ahead of the May 9 Victory Day, but Ukraine stands defiant in its defense before Western supplies arrive.

According to officials quoted in the New York Times, Russia has not yet finalized the technology and has deployed no such weapon into orbit yet.

Tensions were high in the US capital on Wednesday as House Intelligence Committee leaders spoke about an unspecified “serious national security threat.”

US House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH), first disclosed the danger without identifying the nuclear aspect, and then called on US President Joe Biden to “declassify all information relating to this threat so that Congress, the administration and our allies can openly discuss the actions necessary to respond to this threat.”

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The ranking member on the committee, Rep. Jim Hines (D-CT), said the disclosure was “not a cause for panic.”

“As to whether more can be declassified about this issue, that is a worthwhile discussion but it is not a discussion to be had in public,” Hines said.

AP reports on how Ukrainian soldiers decode Russian messages

An intriguing feature story by the Associated Press on Wednesday, reported from a secret location in the Serebryansky Forest in the Luhansk region, broke down some of the coding used by the Kremlin’s troops.

“Brew 5 Chinese tea bags on 38 orange,” for example, means “Prepare 5 Beijing-made artillery shells and fire them on a specific Ukrainian position,” the article described, relying on the interpretation of a soldier sitting in a basement just seven miles away from the Russian relaying the instructions. The Ukrainian soldier has time to alert his comrades awaiting enemy fire in those crosshairs.

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Mortars are “cucumbers” and grenade launchers are “carrots,” the decoder said.

While deciphering enemy messages has been part of warfare for centuries, with limited reserves of ammunition and missiles, Ukraine’s Armed Forces (AFU) are particularly reliant on such radio intercepts and intelligence gathering from units such as these (named “the Bunnies of Cherkess,” inspired by famous Chinese war strategist Sun Tzu), the AP wrote, and on electronic warfare in general.

Operations: Dnipro River

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), Moscow’s troops on Wednesday found themselves within the limits of the fishing village of Krynky, closing in on Ukrainian troops who have held that left-bank location on the Dnipro for months, citing geolocated videos posted to Telegram.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian military observers cited by the ISW stated that defending forces recaptured positions within Krynky, although ISW said it has not observed confirmation of these reported Ukrainian gains.

The General Staff of the AFU reported that its troops this week repelled at least seven Russian assaults along the east bank of the Dnipro River: taking on elements of the Russian 70th Motorized Rifle Division‘s (18th CAA) 17th Tank Regiment and 26th Motorized Infantry Regiment, the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade (Black Sea Fleet), the 104th Airborne (VDV) Division’s 337th and 328th VDV regiments, the 28th Motorized Infantry Regiment (18th CAA), and the 144th Motorized Infantry Brigade (40th Army Corps, 18th CAA).

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Operations: Donetsk region

Invading troops also made confirmed advances west of the occupied city of Donetsk, according to confirmed footage published on Tuesday. The images seem to indicate that Russian forces advanced west of Maryinka (west of Donetsk.)

Russian bloggers also said that invading troops advanced near Novomykhailivka and Heorhiivka, but ISW said it has not observed visual confirmation of these claims.

Meanwhile, near Bakhmut, Moscow recently made confirmed gains around the Moscow-held city, the ISW said, pointing to geolocated footage published this week that seems to show Russian advances near Ivanivske, by the T0504 Kostyantynivka-Bakhmut highway (west of Bakhmut).

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