"Ukraine - Railway Hits, U.S. War Aims, Ops Report - updated"
by b
Moon of Alabama (March 25, 2022)

Updated below at 17:45 UTC

Last Thursday the first destruction of bridges along Ukrainian railway routes in eastern Ukraine took place. These were important for Ukraine's war effort and especially for the resupplies flowing from west towards the eastern front:

I have estimated that the Ukraine does not have enough trucks to replace railway logistics and those logistics are now falling apart:

The attacks have been confirmed:

The 'substations' Russia destroyed are the electric ones which supply the electrified long range train routes.

The substations transform higher voltage to whatever the rail network needs. Without the substations, which are not easy to replace, most of Ukraine's locomotives will not run.

Some traffic will continue by using diesel locomotives. However, those are relatively rare as the Wikipedia entry for Ukrainian railways explains:

Diesel locomotives are slower than electrified ones. They also need a lot of diesel which has become rare in Ukraine and must be imported by rail(!) from Slovenia.

Supplying additional diesel locomotives from other countries in eastern Europe will not be possible. The Ukraine has, like Russia, wide gauge tracks of 1,524 mm (5 ft). Most other European countries use a normal gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in).

Meanwhile the U.S. announced a vague new aim for its proxy war against Russia:

All the diapers, weapons and munitions the U.S. and other countries supply to Ukraine will now mostly be stuck in west Ukraine where they will rot until some clever Ukrainian oligarch manages to sell them off to some third country.

The fall out from the railway attacks will also hit civilian supplies in Ukraine. It will hinder civilian passenger traffic especially for people who have fled towards the west and now have less transport available to return home.

Since the war started Russia has intentionally avoided hitting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine. Electricity and communication networks as well as water supplies have all stayed intact. (In recent U.S. wars those were the first things it destroyed.) The attacks on the Ukrainian railway became only necessary after the U.S. and others provided more and more war materials to the Ukraine. Russia will not allow its troops to come under fire from those newly delivered weapons.

Despite warnings from Russia to Ukraine to not attack on Russian ground Ukrainian sabotage groups seem to have some success with destroying Russian infrastructure:

This is the second large oil storage facility that in recent weeks suffered from such an accident or potential attack. However it is unlikely that this will hinder any Russian operation. Unlike Ukraine Russia has many refineries, very significant reserves and it can move large amounts of diesel by train throughout its country.

Next to its attacks on the Ukraine's traffic infrastructure to impede 'western' resupplies the Russian military continues to soften up the Ukrainian defense lines along the Donbas front. From this mornings 'clobber list' as published by the Russian Defense Ministry:

Since phase two of the war started last week there have been no larger battles. What we have seen so far from the Russian side does not amount to more than armored reconnaissance.

The nearly 1,000 artillery missions in the last 24 hours and on the days before speak of intense preparations for upcoming attacks by Russian mechanized forces. Over all artillery will do the most damage to the Ukrainian troops. In World War II and other modern mechanized wars some 65% of all casualties were caused by artillery strikes. The recent rate on the Ukrainian side will likely be higher.

I have said several weeks ago that the Ukraine has not chance to win in this war. It is losing more and more people and its economy has nearly ceased to exist.

But the U.S. wants to 'weaken' Russia by fighting it to the last Ukrainian. Ukraine's president Zelensky is obviously willing to go with that program. He should instead agree to Russia's reasonable peace conditions. He is destroying the Ukraine by not doing that.

Update 17:45 UTC

A Politico piece about the situation in Ukraine confirms my above take:

Heavy weaponry pours into Ukraine as commanders become more desperate

Here is a realistic view of how the war feels on the ground:

I feel very sorry for these soldiers and curse their leaders who pushed them into this. Alastair Crooke warns that the 'west' might escalate when it finally recognizes that its proxy war against Russia is lost.

I hope that Biden is still competent enough to recognize that any escalation will lead to a much larger war and, in the end, to a much bigger defeat of 'western' forces than the one that will come in Ukraine [emphasis added].