A Ukrainian commander had Russian troops in his sights but couldn’t attack. He says a US rule is to blame.

“A Ukrainian commander operating near the Russian border described how his unit watched as Russia amassed a huge force but had to wait for the troops to cross the border to hit them.
“There were a lot of Russians gathering, and we could have destroyed them on the way in, but we don’t have many ATACMS, and we have a ban on using them over there,” he told The Times of London.

Drago, a special forces commander with Ukraine’s Kraken detachment, was redeployed, along with his unit and other special forces troops, in April from the eastern Donbas region to Kharkiv to strengthen Ukraine’s forces there, per the Times.

But instead of hitting the Russians, he and his unit were forced to watch as the troops gathered on their side of the border, according to the outlet.

“We had to wait for them to cross,” he said, referring to a US policy that bans Ukrainian forces from using US-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia.”


Ukraine reports no artillery shortages for first time in war, says Zelenskyy

“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier this week that Ukraine’s forces had reported no shortages of artillery shells for the first time since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022, the Kyiv Independent reported.
“For the first time during the war, none of the brigades complained that there were no artillery shells,” Zelenskyy said on May 16.

According to reports, the refreshed artillery is now helping to blunt Russian advances around Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city.

In sharp contrast to battles in January-April, during which the US halted all military assistance to Ukraine, Ukrainian soldier and milblogger Stanislav Osman, author of the popular Hovoryat Snaiper channel, observed that Russian forces attacking in the Kharkiv sector have been facing punishing artillery fire and even attack helicopter strikes, The Kyiv Post reported.”

“Despite this, Russian artillery will likely outmatch Ukraine’s for most of 2024, officials and analysts told Foreign Policy.”


US aid to Ukraine is arriving too late to stop major advances by Russia, says ex-US military official

“The delay by the US Congress in approving a vital aid bill means Ukraine is now struggling to fight back Russian advances, a former US military official said.
In an interview with CNN, retired US Air Force Col. and military analyst Cedric Leighton discussed Ukraine’s increasingly desperate attempts to hold back Russian advances near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second biggest city.

He said that the delay in passing the $61 billion US aid bill, which was approved in April after being blocked for months by Republicans, had placed Ukraine at a disadvantage.

“The delay in aid was, frankly an inexcusable pause in the ability of the Ukrainians to fend off Russian advances. And right now what it means is that the Ukrainians are on the backfoot,” said Leighton.”


Turtle Tanks, “Cope Cages” & Modified Vehicles in Ukraine – Purpose, Evolution & Effectiveness

Turtle Tanks, “Cope Cages” & Modified Vehicles in Ukraine – Purpose, Evolution & Effectiveness


Russia is raising a stink about F-16s in Ukraine by saying they’re nuclear-capable, even though the types of warplanes already deployed there can carry nukes

“Russia said Monday it would treat F-16s in Ukraine as an escalation because they’re nuclear-capable.
Its foreign ministry said it would consider the delivery of the jets as a “purposeful provocation.”

Meanwhile, the warplanes already used by Ukraine can be fitted to deploy nukes, too.”


Ukraine was in trouble already — now it openly admits it’s on track to lose

“Ukraine’s chances of victory in its two-year battle to repel Russia’s brutal invasion appear to be fading.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukraine’s president, is warning with increasing urgency that his country could lose the war if it doesn’t get $60 billion in US aid that Republicans in Congress are refusing to release.

“Can we hold our ground? No,” Zelenskyy recently told PBS of Ukraine’s prospects should it not get the funding.

Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, was just as blunt in a recent interview.

“Give us the damn Patriots,” he told Politico in March, referring to the US-made air defense systems used to defend Russian missiles, which are pummelling Ukrainian cities and infrastructure.

On the front line in east and south Ukraine, reports say the situation is increasingly desperate, with Russia outfiring Ukraine at a rate of three to one. Parts of the front line are also dangerously close to collapse.

Senior Ukrainian military officials, talking to Politico, said that Russia could break through wherever it focuses its anticipated summer offensive.

Russia will likely be able to “penetrate the front line and to crash it in some parts,” they told the outlet.

“I would say the conditions now are probably more favorable for a Russian breakthrough than at any time since the opening stages of the war,” Bryden Spurling, an analyst with the RAND Corporation, told Business Insider.

The aid block is also making it increasingly difficult for Ukraine to defend its cities and critical infrastructure, such as power stations, from waves of Russian missile and drone attacks.”


Johnson Needs Democrats on Ukraine, Handing Them Power to Shape Aid Plan

“For more than two decades, the “rule,” a bit of congressional arcana that few who work outside of Capitol Hill ever pay attention to, was treated as a foregone conclusion and a straight party-line vote. Even if lawmakers planned to break with the party on a bill, they would stay in line on the rule to bring it up, voting “yes” if they were in the majority and “no” for the minority.
But that quaint tradition has fallen by the wayside during this Congress, as rebellious House Republicans have routinely tanked rule votes to exert their leverage and win concessions in a slim majority where they hold outsize power.

“It’s the only tool they have in the toolbox,” said Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn. “It’s legal; it’s in the rules.”

When the procedural resistance of the hard right has threatened to scuttle legislation that Democrats consider existential — a bill to defuse the threat of catastrophic debt default, for one, or one to arm a democratic ally facing an invading dictator — they, too, have shown a willingness to break with convention on the rule.

Last year, 52 Democrats voted in favor of the rule to bring up the debt ceiling bill negotiated by the speaker at the time, Kevin McCarthy, and President Joe Biden, helping the hamstrung GOP leader push through the measure. In the end, 29 Republicans voted against the rule.

Far-right Republicans have been enraged by the results. After McCarthy struck the debt deal, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said, “We’re going to force him into a monogamous relationship with one or the other,” referring to his cohort of right-wing Republicans or Democrats. “What we’re not going to do is hang out with him for five months and then watch him go jump in the back seat with Hakeem Jeffries and sell the nation out.”

Ultimately, McCarthy ended up in a relationship with no one; Democrats did not vote to save him when Gaetz called a snap vote to oust him and was joined by seven Republicans in voting for him to go.

Johnson is also walking a delicate line. He has to tend to the politics of his own fractured conference without alienating the Democrats whom he will need to pass the security package — and, potentially, to save his job.”


Russian advances could give it a shot at Ukraine’s eastern ‘fortress belt,’ war analysts warn

Russian advances could give it a shot at Ukraine’s eastern ‘fortress belt,’ war analysts warn