Welcome to the show! In this episode, we’ll be discussing several topics, which you probably haven’t seen in the news. As I always say, our media does a terrible job covering our military and potential hotspots, so I’m hoping to fill this void.
But, in addition to ending the podcast with some awesome motivation and wisdom, we’ll cover:
Timestamp: 1:27. Erdogan wins endorsement for Turkish election runoff from third-place candidate Ogan.
Timestamp: 3:31. U.S. will help train Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.
Timestamp: 5:26. Russia warns giving Ukraine F-16's is a “colossal risk." President Biden has an epic reply.
Timestamp: 6:52. F-16s Would Make No ‘Fundamental Change’ in Ukraine’s War Effort, USAF Secretary Says
Timestamp: 11:22. Russia TV celebrates as it reports the capture of Bakhmut, comparing it to Berlin in 1945.
Timestamp: 13:02. Zelenskyy denies Ukrainian city of Bakhmut occupied by Russian forces.
Timestamp: 14:44. Russia controls Bakhmut, for now, but holding it will be difficult.
Timestamp: 18:01. Could Bakhmut be Russia’s Stalingrad?
Timestamp: 23:57. Could the land bridge be Ukraine’s big spring offensive target?
Timestamp: 29:49. Russia alleges border incursion by Ukrainian saboteurs; Kyiv claims they are disgruntled Russians.
Timestamp: 33:37. Fresh From Attack on Russian Soil, Raiders Taunt the Kremlin.
Timestamp: 35:39. Biden Administration announces new $375 million aid package.
Timestamp: 37:43. Japan to provide Ukraine with 100 vehicles, 30,000 dry rations. In addition, Japan will receive wounded Ukrainian soldiers for the first time at the Central Self-Defense Hospital.
Timestamp: 39:14. An Iranian nuclear facility is so deep underground that US airstrikes likely couldn’t reach it.
Timestamp: 43:40. The Taliban laughs at Iran’s threats about water demands from a shared river.
Timestamp: 49:02. The best part of the show. The motivation and wisdom part.
Welcome to the View from the Front podcast. If you just happened to stumble by, let me say a quick word about what we’re doing here.
For those who don’t know, my name is Stan R. Mitchell, and I’m a prior Marine and journalist.
Every week, I primarily do three things with my podcast:
Cover emerging hotspots and foreign policy news that you absolutely should know. (Why I focus on foreign policy...)
Work to unite our country and remind us of how lucky we are to live in America. (My thoughts on the division in this country...)
And finally, I always share plenty of motivation and wisdom at the end of each episode.
In this episode, we’ll be discussing several topics, that I think will really interest you, and that I almost guarantee you haven’t seen in the news!
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Enough of the sales pitch, I hope you enjoy today’s edition. Again, you should listen to it from the player above.
Turkey election news:
The third-placed contender in the Turkish presidential elections formally endorsed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday for the second-round runoff vote to be held on May 28.
The nationalist presidential candidate Sinan Ogan, 55, has emerged as a potential kingmaker after neither Erdogan nor his main challenger, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, secured the majority needed for a first-round victory on May 14.
Ogan, a former academic who was backed by a far-right anti-migrant party, won 5.17% in the May 14 vote and could hold the key to victory in the runoff now that he’s out of the race.
I mentioned this in the last podcast. Check out this image below:
Russia and Ukraine news:
F-16s to Ukraine are now definitely one closer step forward.
The Biden administration will approve European allies providing American made F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. The U.S. will also support a joint effort to train Ukrainian pilots. Ukraine has been asking for those jets since early in the war with Russia, but until now, the U.S. has refused
In a press gaggle, a reporter told Biden: that the Russians are saying giving Ukraine F-16's is a “colossal risk."
Biden replied: “It is. For them.”
Sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine would make no “fundamental change” to the war, the U.S. Air Force secretary said.
“It will give Ukrainians an increment of capability that they don't have right now, but it's not going to be a dramatic game-changer, as far as I'm concerned, for their total military capabilities,” Frank Kendall told reporters Monday during a Defense Writers Group event.
While manned and unmanned aircraft are flying above Ukraine every day, Kendall said airpower has not been a decisive factor since Russia’s invasion because neither side has been able to gain control of the skies.
“Both sides have most generally used aircraft for fairly limited operations. And part of that has been the efficacy of ground-based air defenses, on both sides, so with small numbers of aircraft and with not a full suite of capabilities, more modern capabilities, it's hard to overcome those systems. And that's one of the fundamental limitations here,” he said.
Russian TV went into a full frenzy of celebration as it reported Moscow’s capture of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. There were comparisons to the Red Army liberating Berlin in 1945, congratulations relayed from President Vladimir Putin and announcers emphasizing the victory by using the city’s nearly century-old Soviet name of Artyomovsk.
“The myth that Artyomovsk is an unassailable fortress has been crushed,” an anchor said Sunday night on Channel One, Russia’s most popular state broadcaster. “Those are historic events.”
A report from the smoldering city in eastern Ukraine followed, showing Russian fighters yelling “Victory!” and placing two flags -- the Russian tricolor and the black flag of the private military contractor Wagner -- atop a tall, partly destroyed building.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that Russian forces weren’t occupying Bakhmut, casting doubt on Moscow’s insistence that the eastern Ukrainian city had fallen.
Responding to a reporter’s question about the status of the city at the Group of Seven summit in Japan, Zelenskyy said: “Bakhmut is not occupied by the Russian Federation as of today.”
“We are not throwing people (away) to die,” Zelenskyy said in Ukrainian through an interpreter. “People are the treasure. I clearly understand what is happening in Bakhmut. I cannot share with you the technical details of what is happening with our warriors.”
Oleksandr Syrskyi, a spokesman for the military’s eastern command, said Ukrainian forces control the outskirts of the city, and “defense forces continue offensive actions on the flanks near Bakhmut.”
Russia now effectively controls Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, where thousands of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers died in the war’s longest and bloodiest battle. But it is unclear that Moscow’s disjointed forces will be able to hold the decimated city amid a Ukrainian counterattack that has already begun.
Russia’s victory celebration may be brief, military analysts said, with Bakhmut potentially following the fate of Izyum, Lyman, Kherson and other cities occupied by Russia only to be retaken by Ukraine. Moscow’s fighting forces are stretched thin after months of significant losses and riven by internal rivalries.
“The story of Bakhmut is not yet finished. There are a lot of Ukrainian forces that are still on the outskirts, and Russia’s position in Ukraine is not particularly stable right now,” said Dara Massicot, a senior researcher at the Rand Corp.
Yep, I think all that Russia has done is lose a ton of men and left the rest in a hot barrel, where they’ll soon be encircled and captured.
“The Russians don’t exactly know where the counteroffensive is going to start, and based on where the majority of their forces are, they seem particularly concerned about Zaporizhzhia and the land bridge being cut,” Massicot said, referring to the land bridge Russia established earlier in the war to link Crimea, illegally annexed in 2014, to mainland Russia.
Russian officials claimed that Ukrainian military saboteurs launched an attack across the border Monday, wounding eight people in a small town. Kyiv officials denied any link with the group and blamed the fighting on a revolt by disgruntled Russians against the Kremlin.
Neither version of events could be independently verified in an area that has witnessed sporadic spillover from the almost 15-month war in Ukraine.
The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, said that a Ukrainian Armed Forces saboteur group entered the town of Graivoron, about five kilometers (three miles) from the border. The town also came under Ukrainian artillery fire, he said.
Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov said eight people were wounded and most residents had left the area, but the situation remained “tense.”
Russian officials said Tuesday that a counterterrorism operation has expelled saboteurs from the Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, after militias made up of Russians fighting on Ukraine’s side in the war mounted an attack on a border post and targeted a building of the Federal Security Service, or FSB.
The governor of Belgorod, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said Tuesday that one woman died while being evacuated during the attack and eight others were injured.
One of the militia groups, the Legion of Free Russia, insisted on Tuesday evening that its fighters had not been expelled and were still in control of some Russian territory. Russia’s Defense Ministry said Tuesday afternoon that security forces killed 70 fighters and destroyed four infantry vehicles and five pickup trucks.
The initial incursion involved two tanks, an armored personnel carrier, and nine other armored vehicles.
Groups dispute casualties and losses
Who are the armed groups that 'penetrated Russia?'
Two goals seem to be to divert Russian troops and embarrass Putin
Fresh from leading a military incursion into Russian territory, commanders of anti-Kremlin armed groups on Wednesday taunted the Russian Army for its slow response and threatened Moscow with more raids to come.
Russia, they told reporters at a news conference in a forest clearing in northern Ukraine near the border, should now understand that any section of the long frontier may become a new place that Moscow will be compelled to defend.
Military analysts suggested that the cross-border attack in the region of Belgorod on Monday and Tuesday had twin goals, military and political.
It appeared aimed at forcing Russia to divert badly needed troops from the front in eastern and southern Ukraine, even as Ukraine prepares a counteroffensive. And it threatened to embarrass President Vladimir V. Putin’s government by showing Russia’s vulnerability.
It includes additional ammunition for U.S.-provided HIMARS, artillery rounds, anti-armor capabilities, and critical enablers valued at up to $375 million that Ukraine is using on the battlefield to push back against Russia's unprovoked war of aggression.
The capabilities in this package include:
• Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS);
• 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds;
• Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles;
• Javelin and AT-4 anti-armor systems;
• Laser-guided rocket system munitions;
• Demolition munitions;
• Armored bridging systems;
• Armored medical treatment vehicles;
• Trucks and trailers to transport heavy equipment;
• Logistics support equipment;
• Thermal imagery systems;
• Spare parts and other field equipment.
Middle East news:
Near a peak of the Zagros Mountains in central Iran, workers are building a nuclear facility so deep in the earth that it is likely beyond the range of a last-ditch U.S. weapon designed to destroy such sites, according to experts and satellite imagery analyzed by The Associated Press.
The photos and videos from Planet Labs PBC show Iran has been digging tunnels in the mountain near the Natanz nuclear site, which has come under repeated sabotage attacks amid Tehran’s standoff with the West over its atomic program.
With Iran now producing uranium close to weapons-grade levels after the collapse of its nuclear deal with world powers, the installation complicates the West’s efforts to halt Tehran from potentially developing an atomic bomb as diplomacy over its nuclear program remains stalled.
Completion of such a facility “would be a nightmare scenario that risks igniting a new escalatory spiral,” warned Kelsey Davenport, the director of nonproliferation policy at the Washington-based Arms Control Association. “Given how close Iran is to a bomb, it has very little room to ratchet up its program without tripping U.S. and Israeli red lines. So at this point, any further escalation increases the risk of conflict.”
World news briefs:
Motivation and Wisdom:
Let’s end this edition with plenty of motivation and wisdom.
Guys, you need to hear this. At least one of you out there needs to hear this.
Life is passing you by. You only get one shot at life, and you’re letting it slip through your fingers, day by day. Life has beaten you down, kicked you in the face, ignored you, punished you, rained on you, assailed you with illnesses and injuries, burdened you with debts and levels of despair that I know are breaking your spirit.
But you have to get up? Do you hear me? You have to get up.
You’re going to get up, get up now, and start fighting back. Do not let despair win. Get up and take a step to confront those things facing you now.
Do it now.
And let these following items lift your spirit and take you to a higher level. You can do this.
You’re meant to do this.
And you have to do this. For yourself. For your family. For your creator.
With all of that being said, I truly hope these help pick up your spirits, revive your hopes, and make you a better person.
That’s it for this edition.
As a reminder, please be kind and try your best to love your fellow Americans.
So many men and women have sacrificed, fought, and died to keep this country together the past 240-plus years. Please work daily to unite our country again. The vast majority of Americans are decent, loving, great people.
Also, please try to be a better person each and every day. Try to be kinder on social media and how you interact with others with whom you disagree.
Please join me again in our next episode, and please stay safe until then.
And with that, I’m out.
Love and peace,
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I’ve written a CIA/Marine sniper series, a detective series, a private investigator series, an action-packed Western, a motivational self-help book about President Obama, and two realistic war novels: one about World War II and one about Afghanistan. You can find all of these books on Amazon.