Catching up on Ukraine- Sergej Sumlenny & Josh Manning
ICYMI- Scott and I were joined by security and intelligence experts Sergej Sumlenny and Josh Manning on EuroFile@6 on October 12, 2022. I’ve added some context with that day’s news below. Livia Ponzio, disinformation expert, weighed in on the discussion.
What was happening?
ISW: Russian forces conducted massive, coordinated missile strikes on over 20 Ukrainian cities. Putin claimed the strikes were in retaliation for the explosion on the Kerch Strait Bridge, likely in part to curry favor with “pro-war” factions.
Russian attacks on the Ukrainian energy grid will not likely break Ukraine’s will to fight, but Russia’s use of its limited supply of precision weapons in this role may deprive Putin of options to disrupt ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensives in Kherson and Luhansk Oblasts.
Ukraine downs 4 Russian helicopters in 18 minutes. Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile units shot down at least four Russian attack helicopters (presumably Ka-52) in southern Ukraine from 8:40 a.m. to 8:58 a.m. on Oct. 12, Ukraine’s Air Force reported.
White House: Russia planned for Oct. 10 large-scale attacks before Crimean Bridge explosion. "It likely was something they had been planning for quite some time. Now that's not to say that the explosion on the Crimean bridge might have accelerated some of their planning," John Kirby, White House national security spokesman, told CNN.
Around 30% of energy infrastructure in Ukraine has been hit by Russian missiles since Monday, Ukraine's Energy Minister Halushchenko said. The minister told CNN that this was the “first time from the beginning of the war” that Russia has “dramatically targeted” energy infrastructure.
Ukrainian PM Denys Shmyhal has appealed to citizens and businesses to reduce their electricity consumption by 25% during peak hours to avoid blackouts and stabilize the power system.
The Russian Defense Ministry has begun to recruit new soldiers from among the inmates of Russia’s so-called “red” penal colonies. This is a class of penal institutions where some of the inmates are former law-enforcement and state-security servicemen. Military recruitment among convicts used to be something only done by Evgeny Prigozhin.
General Staff: Belarus sends 20 T-72 tanks to Russia. Belarus has sent the first batch of 20 T-72 tanks to the Belgorod region, Ukraine's General Staff reported on Oct. 12.
A recent investigation from Mediazona, however, found that the Russian authorities feel threatened by Russian-language news outlets abroad as well — and not only outlets that publish media for Russian audiences, like Meduza, but also Kazakh and Kyrgyz outlets writing primarily for Kazakh and Kyrgyz readers. Roskomnadzor has been sending warning letters to Central Asian news outlets demanding they remove articles on the war in Ukraine — and threatening to block them in Russia.