Ship sail

D Today’s Brief: New explosions rock Russian-occupied Crimea; A grain ship sails to Africa; Rise of pro-Trump extremism, warns DHS; F-35s are flying again; And a little more.

A series of explosions erupted in Russian-occupied northern Crimea on Tuesday, suspend rail traffic and burn down an electrical substation in an apparent attack that could hamper Moscow’s ability to resupply some of its invading forces. Russian officials say an ammunition depot was struck around 6:15 a.m. local time, injuring two civilians and causing the evacuation of some 2,000 people.

Location: Near the Ukrainian town of Dzhankoi, according Mykhailo Podoliak, who is an adviser to the President of Kyiv, Volodymir Zelenskyy. Tuesday morning around Dzhankoi “started with explosions,” Podolyak tweeted, and added this derisive reminder: “Crimea of ​​a normal country is about the Black Sea, mountains, recreation and tourism, but occupied Crimea by the Russians is about warehouse explosions and the high risk of death. for invaders and thieves. Then, appropriating a line of Kremlin propaganda, he added that the explosions can be seen as “demilitarization in action”.

Another of Zelenskyy’s advisors, Andriy Yermaktook on a similar tone, tweeting, “Ukrainian Armed Forces are continuing the watermark ‘demilitarization’ operation to completely rid our land of Russian invaders. Our soldiers are the best sponsors of good humor.

The Russian Army said the attacks were “sabotage” and not accidents, unlike Moscow alleged after the series of explosions last week rocked Saki air base in occupied Crimea, destroying at least eight Russian planes. “Power lines, power stations, railways and residential buildings” were destroyed in Tuesday’s explosions, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

In the waters near Crimea, the surface ships of the Russian Black Sea Naval Fleet adopted “an extremely defensive posture, with patrols generally limited to waters within sight of the Crimean coast”, the British Army said in its latest Ukrainian assessment. “This contrasts with increased Russian naval activity in other seas, as is typical at this time of year,” said the country whose navy once helped it earn the nickname “empire on which the sun never sets”. But that was another era.

Why is Russia’s allegedly altered naval posture important now? “The currently limited effectiveness of the Dark Fleet undermines Russia’s overall invasion strategy, in part because the amphibious threat against Odessa has now been largely neutralized,” according to the British. “This means that Ukraine can divert resources to put pressure on Russian ground forces elsewhere”, for example around the city of Kherson, as The Economist reported on Sunday – extending several counteroffensive glimpses of the the wall street journal in the last month (see July 20, 24, 31and august 1 reports, for example).

Developing: Russia’s proxy forces appear to be losing enthusiasm for a broader invasion, according to the Institute for the Study of War, noting a recent alleged protest by troops from the occupied Luhansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine. Other units “have already registered similar calls when operating in Luhansk, Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts,” writes ISW, and notes: “This trend is particularly dangerous for Russian forces seeking to recruit even more new troops in Luhansk Oblast to make up for recent losses. A greater division within the Russian-led forces also threatens to further hamper the effectiveness of the Russian war effort. here.

New: the first Ukrainian ship of humanitarian supplies is heading for Africa, which could help mitigate what the World Food Program calls a “global food crisis”, but which is particularly acute in Africa. On Tuesday, the airline flying the Lebanese flag brave commander and its approximately 23,000 tons of wheat cargo have left Ukraine and are expected to arrive in Djibouti in about nine days.

Only three Ukrainian Black Sea ports now export goods, mainly cereals, under the terms of a July agreement between the United Nations, Russia, Ukraine and Turkey, which hosts an inspection terminal for these vessels. These ports are in Odessa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi.

Overview: “Ukraine’s grain exports are down 46%” compared to last year, Reuters reported on Monday. And officials in Kyiv predict that at best their farmers will be able to harvest “at least 50 million tons of grain this year, up from a record 86 million tons in 2021, due to land loss to Russian forces.” and the drop in cereals”. yields. After here.

Flashback: US intelligence officials knew in October 2021 that Russia would invade, the Washington Post reports in a #LongRead tracing the “road to war” in Ukraine, which was published on Tuesday. And the American spies knew this because they allege that they “penetrated multiple points of the Russian political leadership, spy apparatus and military, from higher levels to the front lines”, said American officials. Job. This fall analysis – including satellite imagery, communications intercepts and human intelligence – was presented to White House officials, who reportedly dispatched CIA Director William Burns to Moscow to confront the Russians and warn that the consequences of an actual invasion would result.

When told about NATO allies, Germany and France thought it was wrong, and cited sloppy intelligence justifying the US invasion of Iraq two decades ago. However, the British and their allies in the Baltic countries were convinced, according to the Job. Even Ukrainian officials were deeply skeptical at first, including Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

An extremely delicate question, then and still today: “How do you guarantee and enforce the rules-based international order… without going through World War III? This is how Army Chairman General Mark Milley reportedly framed the dilemma in his own memos just a few months ago. Read the rest, here.

  • And don’t miss the Jobis separated interview with Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskyy, who wants Ukraine’s allies to close their borders to all citizens of the Russian Federation. “Just close the borders for a year and you will see the result,” he said.

Defense One

You don’t have to be a spy to break the Espionage Act // Tom Durkin and Joseph Ferguson, The Conversation: Two law professors explain how the law has been used in the past and what it could mean for former President Trump.

A year after the fall of Kabul, the Taliban’s bogus pledges are on full display // Amira Jadoon and Andrew Mines, The Conversation: But the United States has few good options for counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan.

Welcome to this Tuesday edition of The D Brief, presented by Ben Watson and Jennifer Hlad. If you haven’t already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do so here. And discover the others defense one newsletters here.

There has been a disturbing spike in domestic extremism over the past week in America, with at least two men reacting violently to the FBI’s raid on former President Donald Trump’s golf resort and residence just north of Miami after investigators learned he allegedly stored classified information in violation of federal law. The last apparent episode post hoc ergo propter hoc (i.e. “afterwards because of”) is about a 46-year-old man from Pennsylvania who now faces federal charges after he threatened to kill FBI employees, but under a different name on the far-right social media site Gab. He thought this name change would protect him from investigation and prosecution; but Gab, questioned by federal officials, leaked his IP address, which contributed to his arrest. It is according to Pittsburgh Post Gazettewho reported the story on Monday afternoon.
A 43-year-old Navy veteran from Ohio raided an FBI office in Cincinnati late last week before dying after retreating to a cornfield during a police chase. He had posted on another far-right social media site, Truth Social by former President Donald Trump, that he thought he could punch through bulletproof glass in the FBI office using a bullet gun. nails; Fortunately, he was wrong in his assumption and fled the scene while armed before being killed by police in this cornfield after refusing to surrender. Learn more about Cincinnati 5’s new WLWTs, here.
And a 29-year-old white man from Delaware killed himself Sunday in Washington, DC, after ramming his car into the Capitol complex. However, this episode appears to be markedly different from the two above, as the deceased “suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, commonly known as CTE or traumatic brain injury, from high school football,” according to the Delaware Newspaper.
Related reading:

All US Air Force F-35s are now back in the air after most aircraft ejection seat inspections have been completed, Air Force Magazine reported Monday. The service’s Air Combat Command grounded its jets on July 29 to expedite the inspection process; Other USAF F-35s were not included in the withdrawal, and the Navy and Marine Corps did not ground their versions of the jet.
And the Air Force just successfully tested an unarmed ICBM early Tuesday morning, days after delaying the test so as not to anger China as it held military drills after Pelosi’s tour around Taiwan last week. The Minuteman III ICBM traveled approximately 4,200 miles from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California to the Marshall Islands. More details, here.

And finally today: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has COVID againhe announcement Monday, and is experiencing “mild symptoms”. He plans to maintain his regular work schedule since quarantine at home, he said.
Also newly positive: First Lady Jill Biden. Biden “began to develop cold symptoms” on Monday after testing negative for COVID earlier in the day, his communications director, Elizabeth Alexander, said in a statement. She has since tested positive and is experiencing ‘mild symptoms’; she plans to stay in South Carolina, where she and President Joe Biden had traveled for a vacation, until she tests back-to-back negative, Alexander said. President Biden recently recovered from his own bout of COVID.