Dear Friends! So far Putin is losing! But the war is just beginning.
The expected (by many, including western journalists) Russian blitzkrieg has failed. Putin wanted a “short victorious war”. He’s getting something very different.
Someday someone will have to write a book on the sources of Ukraine’s intelligence just before the start of Putin’s invasion. Clearly the Ukrainian military knew this morning’s attack was coming.
Just before the missiles exploded on the country’s airports, all military aircraft were scrambled and were safely in the air by 5am. Not a single Ukrainian fighter jet was lost in the first salvo.
The town of Brovary near Kyiv hosts several army bases. Several hours before the attack, all military personnel and dependants were evacuated. In the end only one of the three Russian cruise missiles launched on the base got through (two were destroyed by anti-aircraft fire), but casualties were minimal. Clearly the attack was expected. Somehow commanders had received prior warning.
If Putin’s first wave of rockets was supposed to “shock and awe” it did neither. Tanks and armored vehicles that entered Ukraine this morning from the north from Belarus into Zhytomyr oblast and from Russia via Chernihiv oblast were stopped by NLAWs and Javelins; tanks on the Kharkiv ringroad were destroyed by Ukrainian anti-tank weapons; a shortlived breakthrough of the border in Sumy oblast was also stopped in its tracks. The paratrooper assault on Hostomel airport (northwest of Kyiv) has just ended in the destruction of both the airport and the Russian invaders, with three attack helicopters shot down.
Unfortunately, things are currently not going well in the south. Russian troops from Crimea have occupied the town of Kakhovka in Kherson oblast, taking control of the viaduct that once supplied water to the drought stricken peninsula. Watching video of tanks with Russian flags rolling into that region hurts. But this may well turn out to be a temporary victory for the Russians.
The city of Mariupol in the southeast corner of the country stands. Its residents peacefully demonstrated their loyalty to Ukraine in the city’s central square despite the obvious risk.
Tonight, air-raid sirens have sounded in Kyiv and residents are huddled in the subway and in bombshelters. Ukrainians are calm and angry. Our country has been blatantly invaded by people who claim to be our “brothers”. Some brothers…
We are motivated. We are calm.
We are on our land. This is our home.
Our army is strong. The invader will be repelled.
We appreciate the messages of support that have been pouring in from all corners of the world. Yes, we need help. Sanctions are much needed, but only force will deter Putin.
Russia enjoys air superiority over Ukraine’s forces. We need NATO to enforce a No-fly zone over Ukraine. Please call your local politician and demand it.
God help us!
* Thoughts from Kyiv is a series of flash essays by Mychailo Wynnyckyj from February 2022