If you’ve been appreciating our Ukraine coverage here at Daily Kos, here’s a chance to hear both me and Mark Sumner discuss that coverage on Daily Kos’ The Brief, our weekly podcast about politics. I truly believe we’ve offered some of the best war coverage in the biz, and this will be a chance to hear us expand on some of that coverage.
You can watch the show live right here on Tuesdays at 1:30 PM PT/4:30 PM ET, while the podcast version goes live Wednesday mornings at all the usual places, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. A full list of places to download the show is available here.
Meanwhile, let’s marvel at these maps. One week ago:
A week ago, Ukraine was on the defensive as Russia engaged in yet another “strategic pause” to refuel, rearm, and reconsolidate for “further offensive actions.” No one wanted to believe that Russia was simply just stuck in the mud. Five days ago Ukraine took the initiative, and we’re seeing the results: retaking territory around Kyiv and Mykolaiv. Comparing the two maps, we even see some movement around the eastern Donbas axis. Russia has consolidated some territory north of their pre-war Donbas borders, but one tendril attempting to encircle them from the north was rolled back by Ukraine. Russia has nothing else to brag about. They still can’t even claim Mariupol as their own.
Today’s action is mostly in that Ukrainian offense northwest of Kyiv:
If Ukraine liberates Borodyanka (that top-left arrow), Russia’s spearhead elements in Bucha, the Irpin front line, and Hostomel airport will be cut off. That white area on the map is assessed as “significant Russian military presence,” but at least one town in that zone, Moschun, was confirmed to be in Ukrainian hands today. Some reports claim the encirclement is complete, but there is no official confirmation, and by all accounts, fierce fighting is raging in that vicinity.
Still, Ukrainian success seems pretty inevitable at this point. So once Ukraine finishes the encirclement, what then? Hopefully negotiations ensue, such as this one in which a Russian solider turned in his tank for $10,000 and Ukrainian citizenship.
Russian troops in that pocket around Bucha are going to have a choice: surrender and collect a bounty for whatever equipment they turn over, or die for no good reason. If all goes well, Ukraine will have a few new battalions’ worth of armored vehicles to help dislodge Russians to the east and south of Kyiv.