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.”

America’s ‘God of War’ is now many decades old. The US Army can’t replace it

“Forget the tank, the fighter jet and even the drone. Artillery is the most important weapon on the modern battlefield, just as it was 100, 200 or even 300 years ago. It was not for nothing that Stalin dubbed artillery the ‘God of War’.

So it’s extremely problematic that the world’s leading army, the US Army, can’t manage to develop a new howitzer. Trying and failing three times in a generation to acquire new heavy artillery, the Army is stuck with upgraded versions of the same howitzers it’s been using for 61 years.”

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.”

The wild-looking Russian ‘turtle tanks’ that keep showing up may not be as crazy as they seem

The wild-looking Russian ‘turtle tanks’ that keep showing up may not be as crazy as they seem

New American Military Aid for Ukraine – What’s in the package and what impact will it have?

New American Military Aid for Ukraine – What’s in the package and what impact will it have?

Russian weapons and trainers arrive in Niger weeks after US military agreement ends

“Since seizing power in a coup last year, Niger’s junta has been strengthening military ties with Russia while turning away from the US and France.
Last month, the junta said it was ending an accord with the US that allowed military personnel and civilian staff from the US Department of Defense to operate in Niger.

France, Niger’s former colonial ruler, withdrew its troops from the African nation at the end of 2023.

Niger’s junta-controlled neighbors Mali and Burkina Faso have also turned to Russia for military support, deepening Western concerns about Russia’s expanding influence in Africa’s troubled Sahel region that has battled a spate of coups and Islamist insurgents for years.”