Saturday, 8 October 2022 — Moon of Alabama
Yesterday saw two significant developments or incidents with regard to the conflict in Ukraine.
The Kerch bridges which connect Crimea with Russia, one for cars and one for trains, were sabotaged. At least one of the two road spans has fallen down while tanker rail cars on the parallel train bridge caught fire.
As the pillars of the bridge seem unaffected a repair of the broken road span is possible but will take some time. The more sturdy railway bridge may have some superficial fire damage but Russia is one of the few countries that has designated railroad troops specialized in and equipped for railway repairs. The railway traffic is likely to be back within a few day or weeks.
This is a severe handicap for Russian logistics to the frontlines in south Ukraine but not a catastrophe as alternative rail and road routes, as well as ferries, are available. Military logistics is designed to work even under significant constrains. It will find ways to work around the problem.
Meanwhile the Ukrainian side of the conflict experiences a communication failure that is likely way more consequential.
Adam Kinzinger🇺🇦🇺🇸✌️@AdamKinzinger – 16:26 UTC · Oct 7, 2022
Evidently the Starlink system is down over the front lines of Ukraine. @elonmusk should make a statement about this, or, this should be investigated. This is a national security issue.
Tore @potifar66 – 21:55 UTC · Oct 7, 2022
Some of the outages led to a “catastrophic” loss of communication in recent weeks, said one senior Ukrainian government official with direct knowledge of the issue.
ft.com: Ukrainian forces report Starlink outages during push against Russia
Some of Elon Musk’s SpaceX devices stopped working when Ukrainian soldiers liberated territory, Kyiv officials say
The Russian army is leading globally in its abilities to wage electronic warfare. It can disable ground based radio traffic on any frequency. It has now found ways to also disable ground to satellite connections as used by the Starlink constellation.
At the beginning of the war the Ukrainian military was supplied with thousands of Starlink ground terminals that can connect to the swarms of small Starlink satellites, which were financed by the Pentagon, but managed by Elon Musk’s companies. They allowed for communication between Ukrainian ground units as well as for general command and control of larger operations. Without Starlink the Ukrainian command will depend on cable based field telephone, runners and couriers. All of which are extremely vulnerable in an artillery rich environment.
Since 2001 Russia developed the Tirada 2 electromagnetic system which can disable ground to satellite traffic in specific areas.
Russian military in the near future can get into service systems that can disable enemy communication satellites, an informed Interfax interlocutor in the military-industrial complex said 05 January 2018. “One of the projects is Tirada 2. Development work was started back in 2001,” he said. According to him, this complex will be able to disable communication satellites from the ground. “He acts by electronic suppression. This is a multi-million dollar project,” he said. The fact that the Russian Federation is working on the creation of weapons to suppress satellites was announced on November 30 last year by Oleg Achasov, deputy head of the Federal State Budgetary Institution “46 Central Scientific Research Institute”.
In November 2018, the FSB called the “threat to national security” a project to cover the globe with high-speed satellite Internet.
In 2019 an OSCE observer drone took pictures of a Tirada complex in the Donbas region.
The disablement of the Starlink communication traffic was only a question of time. The traffic had to be analyzed to identify the frequencies and algorithms used by the transmitter and receiver. Software had to be written to implement a matching radio jamming pattern. The hardware of the Tirada system was likely already sufficient to emit the appropriate patterns on the identified frequencies.
As this system has now been proven to be effective in the field it will likely be made available on a wider scale. Russian electronic warfare equipment can already disable all ground radio traffic in specific areas. Soon all frontline communications of the Ukrainian forces will be disabled.
This is catastrophic for Ukrainian operations. Forward observers will no longer be able to correct artillery missions. Platoons and companies at the front will have no way to call for support. Higher command will have no way to coordinate larger operations in real time.
One Dr. Jay Tharappel has found language likely to comfort the woke U.S. and Ukrainian leaders and functionaries who are concerned about the four Oblast that have joined the Russian Federation.
“These four provinces are Russian, but they were assigned ‘Ukrainian’ at birth. Recently the have come out as trans. They are border-fluid regions and their sovereignty is non-binary. They are Russians trapped in a ‘Ukrainian’ body, and have made their decision to transition. Their pronouns are now DPR/LPR. We Indians as allies support this transition and condemn the transphobic attitudes of westerners.”
Something tells me that soon more ‘Ukrainian’ oblasts will come out and recognize their real being.
Boris Rozhin, aka Colonel Cassad, reported on Telegraph (machine translation):
Today there was a sortie of foreign mercenaries in the Zaporozhye direction, which included, among other things, American special forces soldiers. They were so self-confident that they decided to carry out reconnaissance in battle with this stellar squadron. However, they did not take into account the presence of our units in this zone, which are able to maintain secrecy on the air, and suffered losses. However, some of these bastards still managed to escape. The presented photos are screenshots of the video from the go-pro camera of one of the dead mercenaries, who literally lost his head. I’ll probably post the video tomorrow.
I have no way to verify those claims but a recent Intercept report stated that there are significant U.S. forces on the ground in Ukraine:
One U.S. official insisted that the CIA only conducted a partial withdrawal of its assets when the war began, and that the agency “never completely left.”
Yet clandestine American operations inside Ukraine are now far more extensive than they were early in the war, when U.S. intelligence officials were fearful that Russia would steamroll over the Ukrainian army. There is a much larger presence of both CIA and U.S. special operations personnel and resources in Ukraine than there were at the time of the Russian invasion in February, several current and former intelligence officials told The Intercept.
Secret U.S. operations inside Ukraine are being conducted under a presidential covert action finding, current and former officials said. The finding indicates that the president has quietly notified certain congressional leaders about the administration’s decision to conduct a broad program of clandestine operations inside the country.
These will not be the only U.S. casualties in Ukraine. When more such reports come out the issue is likely to explode in Biden’s face.