The Western Mainstream media finally may ease off forcing the ChatGPT story to distract the public from important issues, after a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and Syria. Between the two, another news coverage running amok is the Balloon Panic.
The Pentagon released some additional info regarding the shot-down Chinese spy balloon. First off, they admitted US has no means to reliably detect such balloons. Second, they gave some specifications – the balloon is 60 feet (20 meters) in height, and carries a payload of a “few thousand pounds”, i.e. its mass is about one ton. This is quite significant, since one ton payload is very impressive. For reference, most commercially available optical reconnaissance satellites weight tens or hundreds of kilograms at most. Which might imply a very powerful optics or signal intelligence equipment.
To delude this debacle and try and take some blame of the current administration, it was also announced that during the Trump administration three Chinese balloons crossed into US airspace. But questions about their specifications or their path were ignored, meaning those were most probably stray meteorological balloons, and not spy balloons similar to the current ones, as government officials are trying to spin it.
Russian MoD continues to keep the appearance of “everything is just fine”. During the most embarrassing situation of soldiers sometimes lacking even the most basic equipment, the MoD decided to do what it does best — to simulate development and progress. Namely, it decided to improve the current Russian ground troops uniforms. Which would be disruptive to any attempts by the industry to produce the uniforms and wearable equipment. Currently Russian soldiers can be seen wearing all kind of uniforms and protective equipment of foreign origin, due to the absence of Russian standard military equipment.
Another initiative coming from the Russian MoD is to allow the participation of conscript (non-professional) soldiers in peacekeeping missions. This demonstrates that UA army is not the only one low on manpower. Not only Russian military uses conscripts in the “Special Military Operation” (while nominally keeping them fighting on the Russian side of Ukrainian border), but now it also wants conscripts to be used outside of Russia.
Evgeniy Prigozhin has tasted the fame. Currently being the most productive and socially active than any other Russian military commander. His latest lunacy involved taking a back-seat in the Su-24 frontline bomber flight over Artemovsk (Bakhmut). During the flight Prigozhin challenged UA’s president to fighter jet combat in the air. If the latter would win, he would be given Artemovsk as a price. And if Prigozhin will win, he wants UA troops to get behind Dnepr River, or something like that. While simple but foxy Rasputin (who is nominally still the Supreme Commander of the Russian Army) keeps his hands clean from any involvement in military planning thus leaving the blame for all the failures to his stooges, Prigozhin is obviously has no idea what he is doing. Many see his behavior as a proof he intends to run for President. Even if he has such plans, this behavior shows he is out of his depths. It is possible that from Rasputin’s point of view, having another clown around (in addition to Medved’ev), only strengthens Rasputin’s hand at the next election and in internal power struggles.
After the cartel-style execution with a sledgehammer and attempts to publicly humiliate Strelkov, Prigozhin has shown he should be kept far away from any public position of power or influence.
After some activation of Russian Military that for the last half a year only concerned itself with holding its positions, there is some initiative been taken by the Russian troops. Positional defense now replaced by positional offense. Some progress is finally made in Artemovsk area, after Wagner and Russian military started to cut off supply lines instead of smashing their heads on the frontal assault of the most defended and hardened positions. It only took the most senior Russian military strategist, the Chief of the General Staff, to be put in direct command of the troops fighting in UA, to see a change of painfully obviously faulty tactics. On the other hand, it is possible Prigozhin was the one that pushed for his forces to take the most idiotic approach (as the most “glorious” one), given that his forces are not formally under direct command of the Russian General Staff.
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