Raining a bit this late-afternoon Saturday here in California’s Central Valley — after an overcast sky for most of the day, the soft showers finally came just a while ago. Although not supposed to last long right now, more rain is forecast for the middle of next week.
Despite the water falling, it’s still been a way-dry winter, which just adds fuel to the forest-fires of drought coming up starting in a couple of months –a tinderbox, summertime scorch.
Another singe-blister is a nasty, cruel loser getting bigger guns — Vlad Putin’s hugely-incompetent and murderous invasion of Ukraine has bogged down, stalled in the mud — via the Guardian‘s live blog this afternoon:
Ukrainian forces have defeated Russia in its initial campaign of the war, according to analysis from DC-based think tank Institute of the Study of War, ultimately leading to a stalemate between the two counties.
The institute describes Russia’s strategy as using “airborne and mechanized operations to seize Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa and other major Ukrainian cities”.
“Russian forces continue to make limited advances in some parts of the theater but are very unlikely to be able to seize their objectives in this way,” the analysis reads.
The fall of Mariupol is “unlikely” to change the outcome of the initial campaign dramatically.
The analysis notes that the Russia military continues to focus on localized fighting rather than launching large-scale operations.
It concludes that there is a stalemate throughout most of Ukraine that, if continued, will “likely be very violent and bloody.”
Mainly because the only plan Putin has in this position is to pound Ukraine into a pulp, and use horrible, “particularly nasty,” air-sucking weapon systems — in the clip below, notice the sweet-looking clear, blue sky in the beginning and how it turns into a hellscape way-way-fast. And it’s not only hard to imagine, but you really don’t want to think about what’s happening on the receiving end of this shit:
The first visual confirmation of the Russian TOS-1a thermobaric MLRS being fired in Ukraine.?pic.twitter.com/T8tlhsKPRn
— Jimmy (@JimmySecUK) March 19, 2022
The UK apparently has confirmed Russia has used this weapon — via ABC News last Wednesday:
“The Russian MoD has confirmed the use of the TOS-1A weapon system in Ukraine. The TOS-1A uses thermobaric rockets, creating incendiary and blast effects,” the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense said in a tweet that was accompanied by a video explaining the weapon’s devastating capabilities.
“We have seen the reports. If that were true, it would potentially be a war crime,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a Feb. 28 press briefing.
Thermobaric weapons pack a devastating one-two punch, according to experts. First, a detonation unleashes a foreboding vaporized cloud of fuel that can penetrate small crevices and even underground bunkers before a second ignition charge creates a very hot mid-air blast that depletes the surrounding air of oxygen, thus the nickname “vacuum bomb.”
Russia deployed the weapon in Chechnya in the 1990s and over the past decade in Syria.
The United States used the weapon in Vietnam in the 1960s and most recently in Afghanistan in 2017.
“It’s a particularly nasty weapon. It’s a terrible way to die. It has a really broad effect and is probably most useful against hardened facilities,” John Tierney, executive director at the Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation in Washington, D.C., told ABC News.
Tierney, a former Massachusetts congressman who served on the House Intelligence Committee, said that if Russia ever uses a thermobaric weapon in a Ukrainian city, “It’s going to be hard to miss civilians with it,” explaining the explosive vaporous fuel cloud settles on everything, including people.
Tierney said the purported use of the bomb by Russia could be a sign of how desperate Russian President Vladimir Putin is to break the will of the Ukrainian people.
“You can’t say what’s going on in his mind, but it would seem to indicate that he’s getting a little desperate, that things aren’t going the way he planned,” Tierney said.
The destruction radius of a thermobaric explosion is estimated to be about 1,000-feet-wide but can have a blast area of up to 6,500 feet, according to a 2018 report from the U.S. Army War College.
In 2017, the Pentagon announced U.S. forces targeting an ISIS cave complex in eastern Afghanistan used a 22,000-pound thermobaric bomb nicknamed “the mother of all bombs.”
Formally known as the GBU-43, or massive ordnance air blast (MOAB) bomb, it was developed in 2003.
“Accurate casualty totals were impossible to calculate because any living thing close to the blast area was vaporized,” a U.S. Army War College report said in describing the 2017 MOAB bomb drop in Afghanistan.
There’s no happy ending in this sad, terrible tale. Indications are Putin is just going to pulverize Ukraine into nothingness.
Despite it all, once again here we are…
(Illustration out front found here)