Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Battle of Odessa Starting?

For obvious reasons, the navalists amongst us (guilty) have an ear out for Odessa.

Not only is it the last significant port on the Black Sea under the control of Ukraine, it has a history from the dawn of time as the key to any conflict in this area.

The Russians must take it during this campaign.

As such, this got my attention today;

The Ukrainian military is reporting Russian warships in the Black Sea are shelling villages near the coast close to the nearby port city of Odesa.

These attacks specifically targeted the settlements of Lebedivka, Sanzheika, Zatoka, and Bilenke, according to a Wednesday Facebook post from Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces. These villages are approximately 18 miles south of Ukraine’s third-largest city.

Why these small towns to the southwest of Odessa, on the other side of the main drive to invest that critical city?

Could be a few things. On the low end, it could just be the Russian Navy doing something to appear to be part of helping this operation, but when you look at the map - which you always must do - something else comes to mind;

The Ukraine-Romanian border is in the southwest corner of the map. The four towns shelled by the Russian Navy are the triangles. That large bay/lake looking body of water is the bay and estuary the Dniester River empties to. That small road at the top of the estuary is the border to Moldova. There is a small road across the estuary, well within range of the Russian forces in the Transnistria.

I have no idea why they shelled poor, isolated, sleepy village of Lebedivka (that would be like attacking Namskaket, MA) but if you need to move supplies in to Odessa from Romania, you would need to use the roads that go through the other three towns. Zatoka also has the rail line go through it.

Does that mean a move on Odessa is imminent? I don't think so...but would shelling those towns be a preparation for one? Probably. 

Then again, I can see the Russian General Staff looking at the Russian Navy senior member and asking, "Exactly what use are you? What have you done today?"

It could be that.

First map credit to ISW Second is mine.

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