Day 371 of the Invasion of Ukraine: New Explosions in the Russian Rear, Drone hit the Airport in Yeysk
Day 371 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:
- New explosions in the Russian rear, a drone hit the airport in Yeysk
- The Russians are stepping up their attack on Bakhmut
- "I don't understand your language. I'm from Russia": pro-Russian protesters stormed the government building in Chisinau
- Internal trouble in Russia. The “Wagner” circle exposed Putin's general as a lover of young
- "This isn't an era of war": India reaffirms position on Russia-Ukraine conflict
New explosions in the Russian rear, a drone hit the airport in Yeysk
Two explosions were reported on Tuesday at the Yeysk military airfield on Russia's Azov Sea coast, reported Russian and Ukrainian military bloggers. The authorities tried to refute the information by claiming that the explosions were the result of pre-planned exercises. However, the reliable Russian analytical team of the Rybar Telegram channel confirmed the incident and claimed that the airport was reached by an unmanned Tu-141 Strizh jet.
The explosions took place around 19:00 p.m. local time on Tuesday at the base, which serves as the starting point for Russian airstrikes against Ukraine. The event was documented with photos and video recordings from the city, on some of the footage sirens of the rescue services' specialized machines can also be heard.
⚡️In Russia, unknown drones attacked the airfield in the city of Yeisk! pic.twitter.com/XLs3O3LiVP— ???????? странная птица (@far_sharly) February 28, 2023
"Military tactical exercises are taking place on the territory of the region, I ask everyone to remain calm, I appeal not to give in to provocations," announced the head of the regional administration, Roman Bublik. However, the official's propaganda is at odds with the version of "Rybar", which is supported by former intelligence officers of the Russian Ministry of Defense. The channel links explosive activity at Russian military facilities in the rear to the presence and activity in the Black Sea region of reconnaissance aircraft of Kyiv’s Western allies.
According to military bloggers, during the last attack on Yeysk on February 28, several aircraft of the US Air Force and the NATO Joint Air Force were simultaneously in the air over the central Black Sea
On Tuesday, the following were located over the waters of the Black Sea at the same time:
- American drone RQ-4B
- A British RC-135 accompanied by two Typhoon tactical aircraft
- French E-3F Long Range Radar Control Aircraft (DRLO).
- Italian DRLLO G-550 aircraft
All the above-mentioned planes, according to "Rybary", regularly make flights to the Black Sea region. Never before, however, have they operated simultaneously in the same area south of Crimea (with the exception of G-550, which was located in eastern Romania).
Escorting the RC-135 by a pair of "typhoons" to the central part of the Black Sea is at all a rare event in itself and cannot pass under the cover of a strategic aircraft from the conditional radars of the enemy - in this case, the Russian aviation.
"Rybary" discovers a curious regularity with the French E-3F: after each of its activities in the Black Sea area, a Ukrainian drone attack appears in Crimea.
On this basis, the channel's experts believe that the flights of so many different reconnaissance vehicles to the south of the Crimean peninsula and off the coast of Romania confirm the preparations for the next launch of Ukrainian drones.
At the same time, the American WLA RQ-4B is still in the airspace over the Black Sea. According to statistics, Ukrainian forces most often carry out their strikes between 8 p.m. and midnight and 4 a.m. and 8 a.m.
In this context, "Rybary" also points to the strike against the Yeysk airport. According to the data of the team, the blow came from a Tu-141 Strizh jet, but aviation equipment at the air base was not damaged. "However, this attack is unlikely to be the only one. With a high degree of probability, the attacks will continue," the channel predicted.
Russian military bloggers: What are we waiting for?
On Wednesday, a high-ranking official of the Russian Aerospace Forces, quoted by the “Krimsky” Telegram channel, announced that the Russians would shoot down the American Global Hawk reconnaissance drone "if it seriously violates the border of Russia's territorial waters." Today it became known that, according to the Russian side, the MQ-9 REAPER had twice violated the borders of the no-fly zone near Crimea. Twice on the day of massive attacks by Ukrainian drones against Russian regions, a Boeing E-3F radar reconnaissance and combat control aircraft was also registered.
"Dear High-ranking officer of the Russian Air Force referred to by ‘Krimsky’, we have a question for you. Is the fact that American drones regularly violate the airspace of the Russian Federation because they do not recognize Russian jurisdiction over Crimea insufficient grounds for making a decision to strike?", the "Rybar" team asked on this occasion.
"It's rather strange to listen to constant promises in the spirit of ‘if one more time... we'll surely strike them.’ Well, that night there was an air attack from Odesa against Crimea, 15 drones shot down over Tarkhankut, Yevpatoria and Kransnoperekopsk. And quite by chance, 24 hours before that, an American drone breached the border. So what are we waiting for?" Russian military bloggers are outraged.
The Russians are stepping up their attack on Bakhmut
Russian forces have launched several attacks on the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in a bid to make a breakthrough in the year-long war, although one US official predicted few short-term territorial gains for Russia.
Ukrainian aircraft carried out three strikes on areas of concentration of Russian forces, the Ukrainian military said in a statement.
Before the war, Bakhmut had a population of around 70,000 people, but during the months of fighting it was destroyed as a center of Russian attacks and determined Ukrainian defense.
"The most difficult part, as before, is Bakhmut and the fighting, which is essential for the defense of the city," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his overnight video address.
"Russia in general does not consider people and sends them in constant waves against our positions, the intensity of the fighting is only increasing," Zelensky said.
Russia's capture of Bakhmut would pave the way for the capture of the last remaining urban centers in the industrial Donetsk region.
Although most of the Russian attacks have targeted Bakhmut and other towns and villages in Donetsk, the Ukrainian military said Russian forces shelled more than 20 settlements in the northern regions of Chernihiv, Sumy and Kharkiv.
Russia's state news agency RIA released a video it said showed Russian Su-25 fighter jets attacking Bakhmut.
"We're glad they're ours," says a man in the video, identified as a fighter from the Wagner mercenary group, adding that the planes have helped them "psychologically."
Ukrainian military analyst Oleh Zhdanov said Russian forces had managed to wedge themselves between two villages north of Bakhmut, Berkhivka and Yahidne, in an effort to encircle the town.
"This breach on the northern flank of Bakhmut represents a clear threat to us," he said in a comment posted on social media.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the intensity of fighting is "only increasing" near the frontline town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where heavy fighting has been going on between Russian and Ukrainian forces for months, AFP reported.
"The most difficult, as before, is in Bakhmut ... Russia does not count the people at all, sending them to constantly attack our positions. The intensity of the battles is only increasing," Zelensky said in his evening address to the nation.
"I don't understand your language. I'm from Russia": pro-Russian protesters stormed the government building in Chisinau
"I don't understand your language. I'm from Russia".
This was announced by a 21-year-old man at anti-government protests in Chisinau on February 28, during which there were clashes between the demonstrators and the law enforcement authorities, "Gordon" reported.
???????? There are many russians among the detained 'protesters' in Moldova:— Intermarium 24 (@intermarium24) February 28, 2023
- Reporter asks for something in Moldovan
- I am not from here. I don't understand your language. I come from Russia.
#Moldova #RussiaIsLosing #Russia #Russian #eu #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/MyDy658n0y
The rally was organized by representatives of the Russophile party "SOR". Protesters tried to break through a police cordon on their way to the government building, which led to physical clashes with law enforcement officers.
After realizing that they could not reach their destination, the organizers set up outside the Chisinau City Hall, and SOR representative Dina Tsurkan spoke to the protesters. During her speech, she read "Our Father", reports "Gordon".
Moldova...— MAKS 22???????? (@Maks_NAFO_FELLA) February 28, 2023
The same as Donetsk 2014... pic.twitter.com/yvyl5zsi4l
Some of the protesters were from the capital. "Nordnews" indicates that dozens of residents of the town of Kupchin, located in the northwestern part of the country, were taken to Chisinau by bus.
When asked by journalists, it turned out that many of those present spoke only Russian. Among them was the mentioned man, who frankly admitted that he came from Russia.
Another protester explained that a woman named Marina organized the trip and did not deny participating in the "performance" for money. He failed to explain what exactly he was protesting against.
Marina herself did not want to talk to reporters and denied that she was the organizer of the trip.
This is the second such pro-Russian event in Moldova - the previous one took place on February 19.
This is the pro-Russian Moldovan Shor party.— NOËL ???????? ???????? (@NOELreports) February 19, 2023
Today they held an anti-government protest. The participants demanded that the authorities fully pay utility bills. Moldovan President Maia Sandu said earlier that the Russian Federation plans to carry out a coup d'état in Moldova. pic.twitter.com/3JjuOBzc9W
The press secretary of the Party of Action and Solidarity (whose founder is the pro-European president Maia Sandu) noted to the media that the protests were an attempt to destabilize the situation in Moldova.
On February 13, Sandu announced that Moscow was planning to stage a coup in Moldova through the opposition protests. She added that Russia is relying in part on the SOR party, some veterans, former law enforcement officers and people known for their ties to the former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova, businessman Vladimir Plahotniuc.
russian covert operation in Moldova.— ????A n n a (@tweet4anna) February 28, 2023
A staged coup to grab the power.
russia must be humiliated, defeated and Balkanized if you don’t want January 6th in each country that doesn’t yield to russian interests. pic.twitter.com/9kprBF7VIH
According to Sandu, the purpose of the protest actions is to ascend an illegitimate, pro-Russian power, "so that Russia stops the process of European integration of the republic and uses Moldova in the war against Ukraine."
On February 9, 2023, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced at a special meeting of the European Council that Ukrainian intelligence had obtained Russian documents proving Russia's plans to destabilize Moldova. On February 10, the Moldovan intelligence services confirmed that they were reading the information of their Ukrainian counterparts.
In 2022, after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recognized Transnistria as occupied Russian territory.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced on February 24, 2023 that Ukraine was preparing a military provocation against the separatist territory of Moldova.
With its statement, Moscow created the conditions to stage an attack by "Ukrainian" troops, which would become a cause for opening a new front line - in Transnistria. The question of whether the Russian offensive is going according to plan and whether now is the time to redeploy troops to another territory is a separate question.
Internal trouble in Russia. The “Wagner” circle exposed Putin's general as a lover of young boys
The Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Ground Forces of the Russian Federation, Lieutenant General Alexander Matovnikov, found himself at the epicenter of a heated sex scandal after the ВЧК-ОГПУ and Gray Zone Telegram channels close to PMC Wagner published on Monday a cryptic video in which the senior officer striptease with voluptuous faces. Matovnikov is currently the commander of Russian troops in Belarus, and in the past was a member of the Security Council of Russia and plenipotentiary representative of the President of Russia in the North Caucasus Federal District.
В сети появилось видео, на котором заместитель главнокомандуюшего Сухопутными войсками ВС РФ, старший оперативной группы Сухопутных войск РФ в Беларуси генерал Александр Матовников танцует стриптиз. pic.twitter.com/jFJSRFYpYH— Anatol Minsk ????????⚪????⚪ (@n_ma_pag) February 27, 2023
The scandal started like a little snowball on Monday night. Then the ВЧК-ОГПУ shared a video with filtered erotic details, in which the general dances wrapped in a towel, occasionally mischievously removing it and waving something that is not clearly visible because of the filter.
"A picky lover of Minsk restaurants and ladies, General Matovnikov likes to shift the responsibility for the decisions made by his subordinate officers. The general is more engrossed in the creation of such video content," the ВЧК-ОГПУ wrote. The timing of the publication coincided with echoes of the explosion at the Machulishchy military airport in Belarus, where Russian aviation equipment is based, and where, according to leaked information, a Russian A-50 AWACS was destroyed.
The word "ladies" in the scathing publication of the ВЧК-ОГПУ gave reason to assume that Putin's general sent the erotic video to his beloved. Analysts from the Telegram channel "Rybar" were the first to rush to the general's rescue, announcing that the intimate video was intended for Matovnikov’s wife.
"In addition to the Star‘Hero of Russia’, General Matovnikov has many other military and state awards. He has the respect of his subordinates, and he has a purpose. And that is more than enough for a general in a fighting army. Even if sometimes he thought of his family and filmed a spicy video for his wife. Everyone has the right to privacy and privacy of correspondence," Rybar tried to downplay the damage.
The public did not have to wait long for a refutation of the defense by "Rybar" and for a continuation of the spicy scandal. On Tuesday, screenshots of the general's correspondence accompanying the hot video footage also emerged. It turned out that the "lady of his heart" was a so far unidentified young man with whom the top general was in a relationship and to whom the video was sent. One of the pictures also shows a selfie of the slender young man without a face.
"Hello, I'm free now," the young man wrote in one of the messages.
"Hello, call me later, I have another meeting to report to ‘the first’ (Putin)". The interlocutor responds with a shirtless selfie.
"Mmm, that's enough, I still have work to do!" the general retorts sullenly. Judging by the published documents, the correspondence was on Valentine's Day, February 14.
Russian propagandists are trying to bury the scandal by dividing it into two - the clip with the dance in and without a towel is considered the original, while the correspondence with the young man was declared a fake and a targeted mass attack. The case is particularly delicate since the fight against the "sexually different" has become one of the ideological elements to justify the war that Russia is waging against Ukraine, accusing the Western world of moral decay. The case study made it to the Media Literacy for Kids Roundtable organized by the Safer Internet League. There, what happened was presented as hacking the general's personal archive and presenting its contents to the public "in an unfavorable light" using Deep fake technology.
The mischievous general was born in 1965 in Moscow and is a member of the KGB - from 1986 he served in the "Alpha" group (the special task force), later he performed tasks for the KGB in Afghanistan, and in 1987 he participated in the security of the general secretary of The Central Committee of the CPSU Mikhail Gorbachev during his trip to Washington, a year later provided security for Margaret Thatcher during her visit to the earthquake-damaged areas in Armenia, participated in the two Chechen wars, as well as in the Nord Ost operations in Dubrovka and the hospital in Budenovsk, as well as in the investigation of the school in Beslan. His nickname in Chechen circles is "Chekista". A close friend of Ramzan Kadyrov, at the time when he was the Caucasian plenipotentiary, he lived in the home of the Chechen leader. As an officer for special orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he was one of the leaders of secret operations abroad, including in Ukraine, during the annexation of Crimea, he coordinated the actions of the staff. He was married twice, has three children.
"This isn't an era of war": India reaffirms position on Russia-Ukraine conflict
India on Wednesday cleared its stand on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, reaffirming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement that "this isn't an era of war".
Speaking at a special briefing on G20 Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said, "India's position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict is that 'This isn't an era of war'. Dialogue and diplomacy are the way forward. The agenda is for the foreign ministers to discuss in the meet." He said the Russia-Ukraine conflict will be an important point of discussion when the foreign ministers from around the world meet during Thursday's Group of 20 (G20) gathering in New Delhi.
"Given the developing situation of Russia-Ukraine, naturally, it'll be an important point of discussion during the Foreign Ministers' meeting. Foreign ministers will be focusing on the Russia-Ukraine situation, it'll be important to what they come out with, what understanding is developed," said Kwatra.
He further added, "Issues of the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on the world, including economic impact and impact on development, will also be focused upon in the meeting."
Kwatra said that G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting under India's G20 presidency will be held tomorrow.
"This would be the second ministerial meeting held under our presidency. The venue will be Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Center. 40 delegations expected to participate," he said.
The G20 foreign ministers meeting is taking place days after a gathering of finance ministers and the Central Bank Governors of the G20 member countries in Bengaluru failed to come out with a joint communique over sharp differences between the Western powers and Russia-China combine over the Ukraine conflict.
On whether a joint statement will be issued after the G20 Foreign Ministers meet, Foreign Secretary Kwatra said, "Can't prejudge the outcomes."
"Ask the Russians, Chinese if they stand by Bali consensus, we stand by the declaration," said the Mninistry of External Affairs spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi.
He said Russia and China opposed some para of Bali declaration, which was in the India chair statement/outcome after finance ministers' meet.
Meanwhile, Kwatra further stated that sessions will "capture" issues of the global south, when asked how India will be the voice of global south at the G20 FMs meet.
The foreign ministers are also likely to discuss ways to deal with falling economic growth, increasing inflation, lower demands for goods and services as well as increasing prices of food, fuel and fertilizers.
During the Foreign Ministers meeting on Thursday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will be chairing two sessions of the foreign ministries meeting.
"First session will focus on multilateralism, and issues related to food and energy while the second session will focus on four or five key issues including new and emerging threats including counter-terrorism and narcotics, global skill mapping, focus on global talent pools," said the Foreign Secretary.
Responding to a meeting between Jaishankar and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Kwatra said, "The External Affairs minister is expected to be meeting all foreign ministers. Details to be shared once all the meetings are concluded."
The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM) is scheduled to take place in physical format from 1-2 March, 2023 in New Delhi under India's presidency. Representatives of 40 countries, including non-G20 members invited by India, and multilateral organizations will attend.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the foreign ministers of the member countries of G20 and he will talk about India's growing influence globally.
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