Putin threatens more attacks as Russia strikes other cities

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Crimean peninsula: The annexation of the Ukraine by the Kremlin, and the frustration of the West

The annexation of eastern and southern Ukraine will be announced by Putin on Friday, which will also signal an increase in the seriousness of the war.

The Russian leader spoke in the chandeliered St. George’s Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace — the same place where he declared in March 2014 that the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea was part of Russia.

Hundreds of Russian members of Parliament and regional governors sat in the audience for Mr. Putin’s speech, as well as many of his cabinet ministers and the four Russian-imposed leaders of the occupied Ukrainian regions.

US President Joe Biden said Moscow’s actions have “no legitimacy,” adding that Washington will continue to “always honor Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.” The European Union said it will never recognise the annexation of Ukraine by the Kremlin and described it as a further violation of the country’s independence.

This pressure from the West may finally be delivering results. Putin’s announced martial law in Ukrainian territories Russia now only partly controls, attacks on civilian targets deep in Ukraine’s interior, and a new, hardline commander in Ukraine, General Sergei Shurokin, nicknamed “General Armageddon” by colleagues, all suggest a growing frustration bordering on fear that the Russian people may begin noticing what has long been blindingly obvious: Putin is losing.

He presented a variety of military actions taken in the West over the centuries, from the British Opium War in China in the 19th century to Allied firebombings of Germany and the Vietnam and Korean Wars.

American officials suspected years ago that small nuclear weapons were difficult to control and a better weapon of terror than the nuclear weapons that had been fired at Ukrainian targets.

The attacks that took place on Monday were a sign that Russian President Putin was angry after a series of setbacks in the war.

Putin’s victory in the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces of Ukraine, as determined by the annexation of the Donbas

The moves are part of a carefully orchestrated process designed to provide a veneer of legality for the annexation of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in eastern Ukraine and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Provinces in the south.

“Russia will be sovereign if Ukraine is either allied to it or is part of it,” Mr. Dugin told the host, Dmitri Kiselyov, who has been under sanctions from the European Union and Britain since 2014. This is necessary for our sovereignty. This is when we are going to be in trouble. Russia must win and win in all respects in order to respond symmetrically to the terrorist attack.

A celebration is taking place on Red Square. The official approval of the decree will take place next week, says the Kremlin’s spokesman.

In defiance of international law, the referendums were held in occupied territory. Many of the civilians in the provinces have fled the fighting, and people who did vote were sometimes held at gun point.

Cementing Russia’s hold over the two eastern regions, an area collectively known as the Donbas that Mr. Putin considers his primary prize, could allow the Kremlin to declare a victory at a time when hawks in Russia have criticized Russian forces for not doing enough to prevent recent breakneck gains by Ukrainian forces in the south and northeast of the country.

This possibility that Putin could be heralding a bloody new twist in a war that has gone through multiple strategic phases since the invasion in February was weighing heavy on the minds of political and military leaders in Washington Monday. Putin was unleashing callous warfare against civilians that were reminiscent of Europe’s 20th century horrors.

With even his allies expressing concern, and hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing partial mobilization, an increasingly isolated Putin has once again taken to making rambling speeches offering his distorted view of history.

Kurt Volker, who was US ambassador to NATO and US special representative to Ukraine under former President Donald Trump, believes Putin maybe gearing up for peace. “I think what he must be striving for, is to brandish the nuclear weapons, make all kinds of threats to Europe, and then say, okay, so let’s negotiate a settlement. And let me keep what I have already taken.”

The Cold War and the Russian-Putin’s Cold War: What Have We Learned During Putin’s Last Russian War?

The Russian media said it was even higher after quoting Russia’s rejuvenated KGB. More military age men have left the country than have been fought in the war so far, with an estimated 160,000 to 190,000 leaving.

Traffic tailbacks at the border with Georgia, as well as the long lines at multiple border crossings into the Soviet Union and Nordic countries speak to the growing belief that Putin is losing touch with the Russian people.

Kortunov says he doesn’t know what goes on in the Kremlin but that he understands the public mood over the huge costs and loss of life in the war. Why did we get into this mess? Why, you know, we lost so many people.

It has been over a month since Russia invaded Ukraine, and in the last couple of weeks it has become more difficult to listen to the threat of nuclear war. Putin said that if Western troops endanger the integrity of Russian territory, we will use all the means at our disposal. He said that this is not a bluff.

U.S. officials maintain that the risk remains low, having detected no evidence of a nuclear mobilization. But they are far more worried about the possibility than they were at the outset of the conflict, The Times reported, and have begun gaming out post-strike scenarios. If Putin does break the 77-year-old nuclear taboo, how should the world respond? Here is what people are saying.

The Russian Nord Stream pipeline sabotage as a last roll of the dice for Putin: a signal to Europe that Russia is ready to reach beyond Ukraine

Both Danish and Swedish seismologists recorded explosive shockwaves from close to the seabed: the first, at around 2 a.m. local time, hitting 2.3 magnitude, then again, at around 7 p.m., registering 2.1.

The Danes, Germans, and Norway sent warships to secure the area within hours after roiling patches of sea were discovered.

The Nord Stream pipeline sabotage could, according to Hill, be a last roll of the dice by Putin, so that “there’s no kind of turning back on the gas issues. Europe is going to be unable to build up its gas reserves for the winter. So what Putin is doing is throwing absolutely everything at this right now.”

Brennan’s analysis is that Russia is the most likely culprit for the sabotage, and that Putin is likely trying to send a message: “It’s a signal to Europe that Russia can reach beyond Ukraine’s borders. So who knows what he might be planning next.”

Europe had raced to replenish gas reserves ahead of winter and had to scale back on gas demands from Russia, while searching for replacement suppliers, butNord Stream 2 was never operational andNord Stream 1 had been shut down by Putin.

That said, in the short term, having failed to take control of Kyiv and replace President Zelensky with a pro-Russian figure, Putin is seeking to expand the area of Ukraine controlled by Russian forces. Particularly in the southeastern part of Russia, and to solidify Russian control over the provinces that connect Russia with Crimea in the so-called land bridge, so that Russia does not have to rely solely on the Kerch Strait Bridge for connection with Crimea.

The Kremlin is unlikely to see peace negotiations as a genuine path out of war in the near future – but it may bode well for Putin if Russia is able to get the West talking about that topic, experts say.

Putin is expected to start selling France and Germany on ending the war, protection of territories and pressure on the Ukrainians to come to an agreement.

Putin is in a corner and doesn’t seem to realize how small the space is, so that’s worrying, would he be good at his nuclear threats?

Putin is Fighting the Cold War: The Snowballs Are Coming: The Cold War in Ukraine Becomes an Engine of Far-Right Influence

After more than an hour of laudatory coverage of Russia’s growth from 85 to 89 regions in an annexation most of the world views as illegal, there was only one mention of the fall of Lyman on Russia’s flagship Sunday political show.

A day before, two powerful Putin supporters railed against the Kremlin and called for harsher fighting methods because of the way Moscow treated the illegally annexed region.

The soldiers interviewed on the Sunday broadcast said that they were forced to retreat because they were fighting with NATO soldiers.

“These are no longer toys here. They are part of a systematic and clear offensive by the army and NATO forces,” the unnamed deputy commander of one Russian battalion told the show’s war correspondent, Evgeny Poddubny. A soldier in his unit insisted that he was intercepting talks by other soldiers, not Ukrainians, on their radios.

The broadcast seemed intended to convince Russians who have doubts about the war or feel anger over plans to call up as many as 300,000 civilians that any hardships they bear are to be blamed on a West that is bent on destroying Russia at all costs.

The idea that Russia is fighting a broader campaign was repeated in an interview with Aleksandr Dugin, a far-right thinker whose daughter, also a prominent nationalist commentator, was killed by a car bomb in August.

Mr. Putin has accused the Western countries of attacking theNord Stream gas pipelines, which were damaged in underwater explosions last month.

“The West already accuses us of blowing up the gas pipeline ourselves,” he said. We must comprehend the war on the scale and extent that it is unfolding. We have to join this battle with a mortal enemy who will use every means possible to destroy us.

The nonstop messaging campaign may be working, at least for now. The senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said many Russians are scared by the West.

The war in Ukraine is becoming an engine that fuels a far-right push for more influence; a symbiotic relationship between Putin and his fans in the West. Just as a political action committee linked to the former Trump aide Stephen Miller is arguing against spending on Ukraine, somehow linking it to poverty and crime in the US, like-minded figures in Europe are trying to promote their views by pointing to their country’s hardships as the cost of helping Ukraine. For now, support for Ukraine remains strong in Europe and the US, although flagging among Republicans.

Ukrainian troops are focused primarily on pushing Russian forces eastwards, having crossed the Oskil River in late September, with Moscow likely preparing to defend the cities of Starobilsk and Svatove in the Luhansk region, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

The Kremlin reflected the disarray of its forces on the ground, where territory was rapidly changing hands, acknowledging that it did not yet know what new borders Russia would claim in southern Ukraine. Mr. Peskov said that Mr. Putin would continue to consult with the population of the regions.

The I SW said that the use of its limited supply of precision weapons could affect Putin’s ability to disrupt Ukrainian counter-offensives.

Many officials in the U.S. say the primary utility is part of Mr. Putin’s attempt to stop the Ukrainian counteroffensive. Some of the most sensitive conversations in the administration were described by the officials on the condition of anonymity.

The Kremlin could attempt to disrupt or deter the assistance of foreign military to Ukrainian troops. Attack on NATO satellites, jamming them or blinding them may be part of an effort to render them permanently or temporarily useless. To inflict domestic costs on Kyiv’s supporters, Russia could also conduct cyberattacks against Europe or the United States, targeting critical infrastructure like energy, transportation and communications systems. The war would no longer be restricted to the borders of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian government seems to be taking his word for it. A top adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the country’s intelligence agencies believe there is a very high risk that Russia would use tactical nuclear weapons, which are less powerful than conventional nuclear weapons.

Vladimir Putin: From Soviet Revolution to Cold War. A Traged Example of the Delusions of the Dark Side of the Universe, Revisited

Peter Bergen is a professor atArizona State University, a national security analyst at CNN, and a vice president at New America. View more opinion on CNN.

“There are many things Russia can do to make the war personal, not just for people of Ukraine but around Europe, to try to force pressure on governments to remove their support for Ukraine,” Giles said.

The book “Afghan Crucible” explains how the Soviets intended to install a puppet government and leave Afghanistan as soon as feasible after they invaded the country in 1979.

The US was hesitant to escalate its support for the Afghan resistance because of fear of a conflict with the Soviet Union. After the Afghans got missiles from the CIA, the soviets pulled out of Afghanistan three years later.

If they fail to demonstrate progress on the battlefield with the billions of dollars in military equipment, they could cause unease within their supporters. A political death sentence is what capitulation to Russia would be.

The problem is that the Russians have figured it out. “The Russians have seemingly adapted to the presence of HIMARs [American-supplied artillery] on the battlefield by pulling their big ammo depots back outside of the range,” Chris Dougherty, a senior fellow for the Defense Program and co-head of the Gaming Lab at the Center for New American Security in Washington, told me in an interview.

Putin is also surely aware that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was hastened by the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan two years earlier.

The Russian loss in the Russo-Japanese war weakened the Romanov monarchy, and he knows that from the history books. Czar Nicholas II was responsible for sparking the Russian Revolution in 1917. The Romanov family was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was never a run-of-the-mill border dispute. The importance of stopping Russia’s autocratic regime from gaining control of its neighbor with its incipible democracy, was clear before the start of the war.

In Putin’s bid to revive a Russian empire thousands of innocent Ukrainians have died. A disastrous system with which to wage wars has been exposed by authoritarianism.

Freedman writes that Putin is “a tragic example of how the delusions and illusions of one individual can be allowed to shape events without any critical challenge. There are autocrats who control the media and are able to make their subordinates follow foolish orders.

Putin’s support among Russians who remember the chaotic years after the demise of the USSR has been in tatters because of the economic damage.

The assault appears to be the heaviest bombardment of missile and rocket attacks seen in most of Ukraine since February, targeting power plants, bridges, civilian infrastructure and other locations.

Russian retaliation has gotten more intense as Ukrainian forces have continued to push back Russian units, and seized territory from them in the early days of the war.

To add to Putin’s sense of humiliation, the bridge explosion came amid a surging Ukrainian counteroffensive that has seized key pockets of Russian-controlled territory, including in regions Putin recently annexed.

“It is simply impossible to leave such crimes unanswered,” Putin said in a brief television appearance on Monday. “If attempts to carry out terrorist attacks on our territory continue, responses from Russia will be tough and will correspond in scale to the level of threats to the Russian Federation.”

The Kiev subway explosion and the failure of Russia’s Special Forces in Ukraine during the first ten months of NATO support in Kyiv

The subway system in Kyiv was suspended for several hours on Monday. But the air raid alert in the city was lifted at midday, as rescue workers sought to pull people from the rubble caused by the strikes.

The Prime Minister said Monday a total of 11 “crucial infrastructure facilities” in eight regions had been damaged.

As of Monday afternoon, the electricity supply had been cut in Lviv, Poltava, Sumy, and Ternopil, said the Ukrainian State Emergency Services. Electricity was “partially disrupted” in the rest of the country.

On Monday, Putin chaired an operational meeting of his Security Council, a day after he called the explosion on the bridge a terrorist attack and said that the people behind it were Ukrainian special services.

The Russian-appointed head of annexed Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, said he had “good news” Monday, claiming that Russia’s approaches to what it calls its special military operation in Ukraine “have changed.”

I have been saying since the first day of the special military operation, that if the actions to destroy the enemy infrastructure were taken daily, we would have finished the situation in May and the regime in Kyiv would have been defeated.

Through the first ten months of war, NATO has stayed largely united in supporting Ukraine’s resistance, with Western nations dispatching billions of dollars worth of weapons and other aid to Kyiv.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the attacks “another unacceptable escalation of the war and, as always, civilians are paying the highest price.”

According to the office of the German Chancellor, there will be an emergency meeting of the G7 group of nations on Tuesday and Zelensky will address that meeting.

The Attacks on Kyiv and the City of Zaporizhhia on Monday: Security and Economic Impact on Ukrainian Business Confidence

Editor’s Note: Michael Bociurkiw (@WorldAffairsPro) is a global affairs analyst. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and used to speak for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He’s a contributor to CNN Opinion. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. CNN has more opinion.

The significance of the strikes on central Kyiv, and close to the government quarter, cannot be overstated. Western governments should see it as a red line being crossed on this 229th day of the war.

As of midday local time, the area around my office in Odesa remained quiet with reports of missiles and drones being shot down. At this time of the day nearby restaurants would be crowded with customers, and people discussing upcoming weddings and parties.

Monday’s attacks also came just a few hours after Zaporizhzhia, a southeastern city close to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, was hit by multiple strikes on apartment buildings, mostly while people slept. At least 17 people were killed and several dozens injured.

In a video filmed outside his office, the President said that many of the strikes in Ukraine seemed to be aimed at the country’s energy infrastructure. At least 11 important infrastructure facilities in eight regions and the capital have been damaged; some provinces are without power, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said.

In scenes reminiscent of the early days of the war when Russian forces neared the capital, some Kyiv media outlets temporarily moved their operations to underground bomb shelters. In one metro station serving as a shelter, large numbers of people took cover on platforms as a small group sang patriotic Ukrainian songs.

Most of the day in bomb shelters will be spent in cities across Ukraine, at the urging of officials, while businesses were asked to shift work online as much as possible.

Just as many regions of Ukraine were starting to roar back to life, and with countless asylum seekers returning home, the attacks risk causing another blow to business confidence.

The 20th anniversary of the opening of the Kerch bridge: The message to the world from the king of the longest sea crossing bridge in history

Hardwiring newly claimed territory with expensive, record-breaking infrastructure projects seems to be a penchant of dictators. In 2018, Putin personally opened the Kerch bridge – Europe’s longest – by driving a truck across it. That same year, one of the first things Chinese President Xi Jinping did after Beijing reclaimed Macau and Hong Kong was to connect the former Portuguese and British territories with the world’s longest sea crossing bridge. The road bridge had been delayed for two years.

The explosion caused a lot of laughing on social media channels. Text messages were used to share their sense of jubilation.

The message was obvious for the world to see. Putin isn’t going to be humiliated. He won’t admit defeat. And he is quite prepared to inflict civilian carnage and indiscriminate terror in response to his string of battlefield reversals.

It was also an act of selfish desperation: facing increasing criticism at home, including on state-controlled television, has placed Putin on unusually thin ice.

Before Monday’s strikes, the chief of the Main Intelligence agency of the defense ministry had told a Ukrainian journalist that it was necessary to enter peninsula by the end of the year.

The fact that China and India still have some leverage over Putin means that Washington and allies should use urgent telephone diplomacy to try to convince them not to use more deadly weapons.

Against a man who probes for weakness and tends to exploit divisions, the most important thing for the West right now is to show unity and resolve. Western governments also need to realize that rhetoric and sanctions have little if no impact on Putin’s actions. They need to continue to arm Ukrainians and provide urgent training, even if it means sending military experts closer to the battlefield to speed up the integration of high technology weapons.

Furthermore, high tech defense systems are needed to protect Kyiv and crucial energy infrastructure around the country. With the cold just around the corner, it’s important to protect heating systems.

The Russian attack on Kiev during the February 24 attack on Ukraine reminded Biden about the urgency of “rebuilding a new home” in Ukraine

The time has also come for the West to further isolate Russia with trade and travel restrictions – but for that to have sufficient impact, Turkey and Gulf states, which receive many Russian tourists, need to be pressured to come on board.

The attacks snatched away the semblance of normality that city dwellers, who spent months earlier in the war in subways turned into air raid shelters, have managed to restore to their lives and raised fears of new strikes.

But the targets on Monday also had little military value and, if anything, served to reflect Putin’s need to find new targets because of his inability to inflict defeats on Ukraine on the battlefield.

He proved that Ukrainians were not alone when Russian attacks on their power plants made it hard for them to stay warm.

Thousands have been killed, entire villages wiped out and billions of dollars of infrastructure destroyed since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

During his visit, US President Joe Biden unveiled a $1.8 billion package of assistance for Ukraine that includes a Patriot missile defense system – a longstanding request of Kyiv’s to counter Russian air attacks.

John Kirby suggested that Washington was looking favorably on Ukraine’s requests and was in touch with the government in Kyiv almost every day. We do the best that we can to meet these needs in subsequent packages, he said.

Kirby was unable to say whether or not Putin was moving his strategy from a losing battlefield war towards a campaign to destroy Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, while he suggested it had already been in the works.

It was something that they had been planning for a long time. Kirby said that the explosion on the bridge might have caused some planning to be stepped up.

The resume of the new Russian general in charge of the war, who served in Syria and Chechnya, would be consistent with an onslaught on civilians. In both places, Russia indiscriminately bombarded civilian areas and razed built-up districts and infrastructure and is accused of committing serious human rights violations.

Western concerns about the possibility of a second pivot in the conflict were heightened by the rush-hour attacks in Ukraine.

“He was telegraphing about where he is going to go as we get into the winter. He is going to try to force the Ukrainian population to compromise, to give up territory, by going after this infrastructure,” Vindman said on CNN’s “New Day.”

“So imagine if we had modern equipment, we probably could raise the number of those drones and missiles downed and not kill innocent civilians or wound and injure Ukrainians,” Zhovkva said.

If a campaign by Putin against civilians were to last for a long time, it would cause a domino effect in which a new wave of refugees into Western Europe would be set off by NATO allies that are supporting Ukraine.

The lesson of this horrible war is that everything Putin has done to fracture a nation he doesn’t believe has the right to exist has only strengthened and unified it.

Olena Gnes, a mother of three who is documenting the war on YouTube, told CNN that she was angry at the return of fear and violence to Ukrainians from a new round of Russian terror.

She said that this was just another example of the man being a tyrant and that he was still powerful, which was why she wanted us to arrange fireworks.

Striking Donetsk: The latest war that we’ve been seeing in Ukraine, and the chance to find a solution to the crisis in Europe

Striking Donetsk. Ukraine has launched a serious attack in the Donetsk region, the area controlled by Russian-backed separatists since 2014, according to a Russian-installed mayor there.

Not for the first time, the war is teetering towards an unpredictable new phase. “This is now the third, fourth, possibly fifth different war that we’ve been observing,” said Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Programme.

It means that the stakes are higher now that winter is approaching. “There’s no doubt Russia would like to keep it up,” Giles said. But the Ukrainian successes of recent weeks have sent a direct message to the Kremlin, too. “They are able to do things that take us by surprise, so let’s get used to it,” Giles said.

The head of the Ukrainian military, Oleksii Hromov, claimed last week that his forces had regained around 120 settlements in the last few months. Ukraine said on Wednesday that it had freed more settlements in Kherson.

Russian troops have been withdrawn from all areas of the country, not just from the area around the country’s biggest city, Kharkiv. Another problem for Putin are attacks this week against air force bases deep inside Russia. Fresh signs that Russian officials are strengthened border defensive positions were emerging on Wednesday, after a security alert was put much of the country.

After these counter-offensives, the war has shifted into higher gear and shown that Ukraine couldn’t have defended the territory without being able to seize ground.

The Russians hope to avoid a collapse in their frontline before the winter sets in, according to the author of Russia’s Road to War with Ukraine.

The Russians would be happy to have Christmas with the frontline looking the same as it is.

A major victory for the Ukrainians would send a powerful signal, and as temperatures plummet, Ukraine will be eager to improve on its gains, as well as the impact of rising energy prices in Europe.

“There are so many reasons why there is an incentive for Ukraine to get things done quickly,” Giles said. “The winter energy crisis in Europe, and energy infrastructure and power being destroyed in Ukraine itself, is always going to be a test of resilience for Ukraine and its Western backers.”

Recent days have showed that the current theater of ground fighting is not immune to attacks. It remains unclear exactly how the Kerch bridge bombing was carried out – and Kyiv has not claimed responsibility – but the fact that a target so deep in Russian-held territory could be successfully hit hinted at a serious Ukrainian threat towards key Russian assets.

Ukraine’s national electricity company, Ukrenergo, says it has stabilized the power supply to Kyiv and central regions of Ukraine after much of the country’s electricity supply was disrupted by Russian missile attacks on Monday and Tuesday. Ukrainians were urged to reduce their energy usage during peak hours after the Prime Minister warned of the need to repair damaged equipment.

As Russia begins a new offensive in eastern Ukraine, the US and its allies are skeptical Moscow has amassed the manpower and resources to make significant gains, US, UK and Ukrainian officials tell CNN. “It’s likely more aspirational than realistic,” said a senior US military official.

Matters for the Russians didn’t improve after that. On Monday, the British Defense Ministry, which provides some of the most up-to-date and accurate intelligence on the Russian military in Ukraine, reported that, “Both Russian defensive and offensive capability continues to be hampered by severe shortages of munitions and skilled personnel.”

That conclusion was also reached by the ISW, which said in its daily update on the conflict Monday that the strikes “wasted some of Russia’s dwindling precision weapons against civilian targets, as opposed to militarily significant targets.”

Justin Bronk, a military expert with the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), agreed with that assessment, telling CNN that, “Ukrainian interception success rates against Russian cruise missiles have risen significantly since the start of the invasion in February.”

“The barrage of missile strikes is going to be an occasional feature reserved for shows of extreme outrage, because the Russians don’t have the stocks of precision munitions to maintain that kind of high-tempo missile assault into the future,” Puri said.

The psychological impact could be a result of further Belarusian involvement in the war. He said that the West and the people of Ukraine have focused on fighting one army. The war in Russia would involve the reunification of the lands of ancient Rus states and would be played into Putin’s narrative.

“The reopening of a northern front would be another new challenge for Ukraine,” Giles said. It would provide Russia a new route into the Kharkiv oblast (region), which has been recaptured by Ukraine, should Putin prioritize an effort to reclaim that territory, he said.

Zelensky’s pre-Christmas trip promises to be the greatest public relations coup yet for the media savvy comic actor-turned-president, who has cleverly tapped into the history and patriotic mythology of Western nations in a series of video addresses to lawmakers from war-torn Kyiv. Often, while grateful for outside support, he has seemed to be trying to shame the West to do more and to create a deeper understanding among voters for the trials facing Ukraine.

The War in Ukraine: How It’s Going: Putin, Kolbe, and Petraeus, and What the World Wants from the Cold War

Ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Belgium, the NATO Secretary General said Ukraine needed more systems to stop missile attacks.

Ukraine “badly needed” modern systems such as the IRIS-T that arrived this week from Germany and the NASAMS expected from the United States “That’s correct,” Bronk said.

Petraeus is mentioned. If all of Russia was brought up successfully, it could happen. The partial mobilizes have been a concern for Putin, as he fears how the country might respond to full mobilize. In fact, reportedly, more Russian men left the country than reported to the mobilization stations in response to the latest partial call-up of reserves.

The annual conference in Sea Island, Ga., hosted by The Cipher Brief brings together members of the national security community to look at their big picture of global security.

A year ago the conference focused on China. The people who were talking about Russia were silent about the invasion of Ukraine. But this time the theme was the war in Ukraine — where it’s headed, and how it might end.

The chief of staff to Zelenskyy told the conference the conflict needed to end with a victory on the battlefield.

The Russian leader is not interested in finding a way out of the conflict, according to a former CIA officer who runs the intelligence project. He says it’s the opposite. “Putin’s muscle memory when he runs into an obstacle is to escalate,” said Kolbe. There’s a lot of tricks he can pull out to try to undermine the West’s faith in him.

There are 300,000 more troops being called up by Putin and he also annexed a large swath of Ukrainian territory in the south and east.

“That is essentially a metaphorical burning of bridges,” said Alperovitch. It means that this war is likely to be ongoing for many months, if not years, as long as he has money and power to fight.

Although the winter will slow the pace of the war, it will not stop the fighting. David Petraeus believes the weather favors the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians can knock on the door, and be brought in and given a bowl of soup from their fellow citizens. They’re welcomed as liberators even though the Ukrainians are trying to kill them.

It’s not very clear, but that may be all. Kremlin watchers like to parse the latest statements from the Russian President Vladimir Putin each time US weapons deliveries improve Ukraine’s position. The Kremlin spokesman said the latest bout of fighting was not good for the Ukranian people.

At the Georgia conference, in a ballroom filled with experienced national security types, no one suggested the war was near an end. “Negotiating an end to a war is something most wars end with, but I don’t think there is any chance of talks in the near term”, said Kolbe, the former CIA official.

He noted that this war began with a Russian invasion and is now as intense as it has ever been. Greg Myre is a correspondent for NPR. You can follow him through his account.

The side that produces the most well-equipped and capable forces by then is the one that will make the biggest gains. My bet is onUkraine, that’s correct.

David A. Andelman is a reporter for CNN and author of the book “A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars that Might Still Happen.” He formerly was a correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Europe and Asia. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN.

First, he’s seeking to distract his nation from the blindingly obvious, namely that he is losing badly on the battlefield and utterly failing to achieve even the vastly scaled back objectives of his invasion.

Macron, Scholz, and the European Union: a warning on the long war in Europe and the prospects for the epoch of stability

This ability to keep going depends on a variety of variables, from the availability of affordable energy for the coming winter to popular will across a broad range of nations.

The EuropeanUnion agreed to a plan to control energy prices that have been on the rise because of the embargoes on Russian imports and Kremlin’s cutting natural gas supplies.

These include an emergency cap on the benchmark European gas trading hub – the Dutch Title Transfer Facility – and permission for EU gas companies to create a cartel to buy gas on the international market.

While French President Emmanuel Macron waxed euphoric leaving the summit, which he described as having “maintained European unity,” he conceded that there was only a “clear mandate” for the European Commission to start working on a gas cap mechanism.

Still, divisions remain, with Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, skeptical of any price caps. Now energy ministers must work out details with a Germany concerned such caps would encourage higher consumption – a further burden on restricted supplies.

These divisions are all part of Putin’s fondest dream. Manifold forces in Europe could prove central to achieving success from the Kremlin’s viewpoint, which amounts to the continent failing to agree on essentials.

Germany and France are already at loggerheads on many of these issues. Though in an effort to reach some accommodation, Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have scheduled a conference call for Wednesday.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/10/25/opinions/putin-prolonge-war-ukraine-winter-andelman/index.html

Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi and the U.S. War on Crime: The First Lady’s Battle with Putin and the Struggled Defense of Ukraine

A new government has taken power in Italy. Italy’s first woman prime minister tried to wipe away the post-fascist aura of her party after she was sworn in. One of her far-right coalition partners meanwhile, has expressed deep appreciation for Putin.

Berlusconi, in a secretly recorded audio tape, said he’d returned Putin’s gesture with bottles of Lambrusco wine, adding that “I knew him as a peaceful and sensible person,” in the LaPresse audio clip.

Matteo Salvini was named the deputy prime minister and said during the campaign he wouldn’t want the sanctions on Russia to harm those who impose them more than people hit by them.

At the same time, Poland and Hungary, longtime ultra-right-wing soulmates united against liberal policies of the EU that seemed calculated to reduce their influence, have now disagreed over Ukraine. Poland is upset with Hungary’s Orban for his pro-Putin stance.

This is difficult. Congress’s likely new Speaker, Republican Kevin McCarthy, has warned the Biden administration cannot expect a “blank cheque” from the new GOP-led House of Representatives.

Meanwhile on Monday, the influential 30-member Congressional progressive caucus called on Biden to open talks with Russia on ending the conflict while its troops are still occupying vast stretches of the country and its missiles and drones are striking deep into the interior.

Mia Jacob, chair of the caucus, sent a statement to the reporters clarifying their statement in support of Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Dmytro Kuleba to thank him for renewing America’s support.

Indeed, while the US has proffered more than $60 billion in aid since Biden took office, when Congress authorized $40 billion for Ukraine last May, only Republicans voted against the latest aid package.

Russia’s energy profits have been curbed by limiting amount of countries that will pay for Russian oil and limiting seaborne oil imports. There are indications the efforts are reducing profits.

Russian production of hypersonic missiles has all but ceased “due to the lack of necessary semi-conductors,” said the report. Aircraft are being cannibalized for spare parts, plants producing anti-aircraft systems have shut down, and “Russia has reverted to Soviet-era defense stocks” for replenishment. The Soviet era ended more than 30 years ago.

A day before the report came out, the US announced that it was seizing property of a Russian procurement agent who was responsible for procuring US-origin technologies for Russian end- users.

The Justice Department also announced charges against individuals and companies seeking to smuggle high-tech equipment into Russia in violation of sanctions.

Iran’s Nuclear War with Russia: News from the Middle East, NATO, and the Western (Re)conciling Europe and the West

A former CNN producer and correspondent named Fridaghitis is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN as well as a columnist for The Washington Post. Her views are her own, in this commentary. There is more opinion on CNN.

According to CNN, Iran is about to send more weaponry to Russia for the fight against the Ukrainians.

The Iran nuclear deal has been the subject of attention for Iran’s rivals and foes in the Middle East, of NATO members and of nations that are still interested in restoring the deal, which was intended to delay Iran’s ability to build an atomic bomb.

The historian Yuval Noah Harari has argued that no less than the direction of human history is at stake, because a victory by Russia would reopen the door to wars of aggression, to invasions of one country by another, something that since the Second World War most nations had come to reject as categorically unacceptable.

For that reason, Ukraine received massive support from the West, led by the United States. New applications for NATO membership from countries that were committed to neutrality after the war in Ukraine revived the organization. It also helped reaffirm the interest of many in eastern European states – former Soviet satellites – of orienting their future toward Europe and the West.

Much of what happens today far from the battlefields still has repercussions there. When oil-producing nations, led by Saudi Arabia, decided last month to slash production, the US accused the Saudis of helping Russia fund the war by boosting its oil revenues. (An accusation the Saudis deny).

The Israeli War in Ukraine and the Changing Faces of Political Correctness: How Presidents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and the Government of the United States are affected by the War

As others have noted, Israel is reluctant to let go of its defensive systems partly because it could need them for its own defense. Hamas has rockets in the south while Hezbollah has missiles in the north.

Russia’s assault on Ukrainian ports and its patrols of Black Sea halted Ukraine’s grain exports just after the war started, causing food prices to skyrocket. The head of the World Food Program warned that the world would end up with no food if something wasn’t done.

Everyone is being affected by the war in Ukraine. Fuel prices have gone up due to the conflict, contributing to a global explosion of inflation.

Families and individual lives are affected by higher prices. They pack a political punch when they have the power. Inflation, worsened by the war, has put incumbent political leaders on the defensive in countless countries.

The War in Ukraine isn’t Here: The Pentagon’s Closer Look at the State Department, the Pentagon, and the Kremlin

It’s not all on the fringes. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader who could become speaker of the House after next week’s US elections, suggested the GOP might choose to reduce aid to Ukraine. Progressive Democrats released and withdrew a letter calling for negotiations. Evelyn Farkas, a former Pentagon official in the Obama administration, said they were bringing a smile to Putin’s face.

According to 2 administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity, Milley is not supported by President Joe Biden’s national security team and they do not believe it is time to talk about the situation in Ukraine.

The result is a growing debate in the administration over whether recent gains on the battlefield by Ukraine may spark a renewed effort to try and end the fighting.

The comments left administration officials unsurprised – given Milley’s advocacy for the position internally – but also raised concerned among some about the administration appearing divided in the eyes of the Kremlin.

CNN has been told by sources that most of the top diplomatic and national security officials are against giving Putin any kind of leverage at the negotiating table and want Ukrainians to make the final decision on when to hold talks.

The officials said that Milley tried to make it clear that he wasn’t urging a capitulation in the war, but rather that he wanted to end it before it drags on and leads to more death and destruction.

That view isn’t always held across the administration. One official explained that the State Department is on the opposite side of the pole from Milley. That dynamic has led to a unique situation where military brass are more fervently pushing for diplomacy than US diplomats.

Milley’s position comes as the US military has dug deep into US weapons stockpiles to support the Ukrainians and is currently scouring the globe for materials to support Ukraine heading into winter – such as heaters and generators – which has raised concerns about how long this war can be sustained, officials said.

The US intends to buy 100,000 rounds of artillery ammunition from South Korean arms manufacturers to provide to Ukraine, a US official said, part of a broader effort to find available weaponry for the high-intensity battles unfolding in Ukraine. As part of the deal, the US will purchase 100,000 rounds of 155mm howitzer ammunition, which will then be transferred to Ukraine through the US.

The U.S. is not ready to leave Ukraine: what happened at the Kiev missile landing site in Poland and what happened there in Ukraine?

State Department spokesmen were not sure if the State Department agrees with Milley. Instead, Price deflected to a position that US officials have often made in recent months: the US sides with Zelensky who has said that a diplomatic solution is needed.

Sullivan said in a recent visit that the US will be with Ukraine for as long as it takes. “There will be no wavering, no flagging, no flinching in our support as we go forward.”

The missile landing in Poland on Tuesday is suspected to have been a Ukrainian anti-aircraft rocket intercepting a Russian missile a short distance from one of the largest cities in Ukraine. President Zelensky has said the missile was not Ukrainian.

One thing is obvious, even though it’s not certain what happened with the missile. NATO Secretary GeneralJens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that Russia bears ultimate responsibility for it’s illegal war against Ukraine.

His forces have planted mines in vast stretches of territory in Kherson from which they’ve recently withdrawn – much as the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia stretching back to the 1970s. Cambodian experts have been called in to help with the Ukrainian problem of de-mining in the near future. The evidence of atrocities and torture left by the Russian armies is similar to that of the Khmer Rouge.

That said, a growing number of Russian soldiers have rebelled at what they have been asked to do and refused to fight. Russia may be willing to shoot retreating soldiers, according to the UK’s Defense Ministry.

Indeed a hotline and Telegram channel, launched as a Ukrainian military intelligence project called “I want to live,” designed to assist Russian soldiers eager to defect, has taken off, reportedly booking some 3,500 calls in its first two months of activity.

Putin is increasingly isolated on the world stage. He was the only head of state to stay away from a session of the G20, which Zelensky dubbed the “G19.” Though he once wanted to return to the G7 after his ousting, it seems like a distant dream now. Russia’s sudden ban on 100 Canadians, including Canadian-American Jim Carrey, from entering the country only made the comparison with North Korea more striking.

A leading Russian journalist, who has settled in Berlin after fleeing in March, has told me he is prepared to accept that he will never be allowed to return to his homeland.

Yet some good has come from this debacle. Europe knows it must get off its dependence on Russian gas immediately, and hydrocarbons in general in the longer term, as economic dependence on the fossil fuels of dictators cannot bring longer-term stability.

Moreover, Putin’s dream that this conflict, along with the enormous burden it has proven to be on Western countries, would only drive further wedges into the Western alliance are proving unfulfilled. On Monday, word began circulating in aerospace circles that the long-stalled joint French-German project for a next-generation jet fighter at the heart of the Future Combat Air System – Europe’s largest weapons program – was beginning to move forward.

At the moment, the only path for the Russian leader is a truce or negotiations because his manpower is exhausted and weapons supplies are running low.

“And because Russia is the most disadvantaged now, it will benefit Russia the most and then renew the war. All truces buys are a continuation of war. It would not resolve some of the underlying issues of the war.

Already, Russia is beginning to rearm, experts say. “Ammunition availability” was one of the “most determinative aspects of this war,” said Kofman. You cannot make them in a month if you burn through 9 million rounds. So the issue is what is the ammunition production rate and what can be mobilized?” he added.

According to Kofman, the manufacture of bombs in some factories in Russia has gone from two to three a day, and that’s happened along the Ukrainian front lines. He said it suggested that they wouldn’t double and triple shifts if they had component parts.

The Institute for the Study of War believes that Putin has focused on talks with the west rather than with Ukraine, though he does still believe that it is a Western pawn.

The Russian military was assessed by the US military to take up to May to replenish their power for an offensive. The US now sees it as likely that Russian forces are moving before they are ready due to political pressure from the Kremlin, the senior US military official told CNN.

He said that it was “basically any big command post or ammo dump they pulled back beyond the 80 kilometer range.” Ukraine has given assurances to the US that it won’t target American rocket systems in Russian territory.

Any hypothetical momentum towards a deal could result in a reduction of Western military aid to Kyiv. And it would present a possible face-saving exit route for Putin, whose reputation would be severely diminished at home if he returned from a costly war without meaningful territorial gains.

But at some point, they’ll also get tired of this war, he added. The Russian mindset may become that it doesn’t have everything it wanted. But we’ll have a big chunk of the Donbas and will annex that into Russia and we’ll hold onto Crimea. And I think that’s kind of their bet right now.”

With a truce, the West can rebuild rapidly deplete inventories that have been taken by materiel sent to Ukrainian.

But were the war to resume months or years from now, there’s a real question as to whether the US and its allies would be prepared to return to a conflict that many are beginning to wish was already over.

Ukraine’s Special Military Operation: Successes, Challenges and Efforts in Seizing a New Territories

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Wednesday that his “special military operation” in Ukraine is taking longer than expected but said it has succeeded in seizing new territory and added that his country’s nuclear weapons are deterring escalation of the conflict.

Speaking in a televised meeting in Russia with members of his Human Rights Council, Putin described the land gains as “a significant result for Russia,” noting that the Sea of Azov “has become Russia’s internal sea.” He said that Peter the Great fought to get access to that body of water in one of his references to a Russian leader.

Russian troops have proven unable to conquer Ukraine’s capital Kyiv or the second city of Kharkiv. Kherson was abandoned by Russia in November in the face of a Ukrainian counteroffensive. The city has been shelled by Russian forces.

He said that if it doesn’t use it first, it won’t be the second that uses it because the possibility of a nuclear strike on our territory will be very limited.

Western critics claimed that the previous nuclear weapons comments by Putin were a factor of provoking an escalation of conflicts, but a factor of deterrence.

“We haven’t gone mad. We are fully aware of what nuclear weapons are,” Putin said. He added, without elaborating: “We have them, and they are more advanced and state-of-the-art than what any other nuclear power has.”

In his televised remarks, the Russian leader didn’t address Russia’s battlefield setbacks or its attempts to cement control over the seized regions but acknowledged problems with supplies, treatment of wounded soldiers and limited desertions.

The governor of the Kursk region posted pictures of the new concrete anti-tank barriers in open fields. On Tuesday, the governor said a fire broke out at an airport in the region after adrone strike. Anti-tank barriers were being enlarged and officials were planning self-defense units in Belgorod. Belgorod has seen many fires and explosions, and the governor reported Wednesday that Russia’s air defenses had shot down some incoming rockets.

The power grid was damaged and Moscow responded with strikes by tank, missiles, and rockets at civilian and residential infrastructure. Private Ukrainian power utility Ukrenergo said temperatures in eastern areas where it was making repairs had dropped to as low as minus 17 degrees Celsius (near zero Fahrenheit).

In September, Putin ordered the deployment of hundreds of thousands of reserve troops to strengthen forces in Ukraine. He said only about 150,000 of them have been deployed so far and the rest are still learning how to fight. Addressing speculation that the Kremlin could be preparing another mobilization, Putin said: “There is no need for the Defense Ministry and the country to do that.”

It requires a relatively large number of personnel to be trained, according to CNN’s Barbara Starr and Oren Liebermann, who were first to report the US is close to sending the system to Ukraine.

“Earlier, many experts, including those overseas, questioned the rationality of such a step which would lead to an escalation of the conflict and increase the risk of directly dragging the US army into combat,” Zakharova said at a briefing in Moscow.

The Patriot system is expensive and complicated and requires intensive training for the multiple people it takes to operate it, but could help the country guard against Russian attacks that have left millions without power.

Asked Thursday about Russian warnings that the Patriot system would be “provocative,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said those comments would not influence US aid to Ukraine.

“I find it ironic and very telling that officials from a country that brutally attacked its neighbor in an illegal and unprovoked invasion … that they would choose to use words like provocative to describe defensive systems that are meant to save lives and protect civilians,” Ryder told reporters.

In what may be a no less subtle message than calling the Patriot deployments provocative, Russia’s defense ministry shared video of the installation of a “Yars” intercontinental ballistic missile into a silo launcher in the Kaluga region for what Alexei Sokolov, commander of the Kozelsky missile formation, called “combat duty as planned.”

The commander of a Russian militia appeared this week on Russian state TV and suggested that Russia could not defeat the NATO alliance in a conventional war.

What do European Patriot missile batteries have in common with the Russian air defense system? A French official tells France 24 that Russia is willing to stand up to Russian attacks

Unlike smaller air defense systems, Patriot missile batteries need much larger crews, requiring dozens of personnel to properly operate them. Under the pressure of Russian aerial attacks, the United States will now have to train Patriot missile batteries in a shorter period of time.

The system is widely considered one of the most capable long-range weapons to defend airspace against incoming ballistic and cruise missiles as well as some aircraft. Because of its high altitude capability, it is able to shoot down missiles far from their intended targets.

Zelensky did not accept the idea that Ukraine should only try to get control of land seized by Russia since February 2nd, 2022, and not areas such as Donbas or Sevastopol, which are currently under Russian control.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the French news outlet France 24 this week, before the Patriot missile development, that the alliance still has two main objectives: provide aid to Ukraine and also make sure that NATO forces don’t become directly involved and escalate the war.

Old gun. CNN’s Ellie Kaufman and Liebermann reported earlier this week on a US military official who says Russian forces have had to resort to 40-year-old artillery ammunition as their supplies of new ammo are “rapidly dwindling.”

“You load the ammunition and you cross your fingers and hope it’s gonna fire or when it lands that it’s gonna explode,” said the official, speaking to reporters.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/15/politics/russia-patriot-missiles-what-matters/index.html

The War Between Russia and the West: The Story of Vladimir Zelensky and his War with Putin, and how he became the hero of Ukraine

In the trenches. There is growing concern that Russia is assembling troops again, as shown by the construction of trenches and fortifications on the border between the two countries. Ripley talks to a sewing machine repairman turned tank driver.

How unified the West has been is key. Despite being split over Iraq, fractured over Syria, and partially unwilling to spend the 2% of GDP on security the United States long demanded of NATO members, Europe and the US have been speaking from the same script on Ukraine. At times, Washington may have seemed warier, and there have been autocratic outliers like Hungary. The shift is towards unity, not disparity. That is a bit of a surprise.

Something else that has gone well from the Kremlin’s point of view is the country’s propaganda machine. It helped convince many Russians that the war was not going disastrously wrong, and that it was the West that was forcing Russia to fight. In addition, sanctions haven’t derailed the Russian economy the way the West had hoped, and much of the world hasn’t turned its back on Russia they way some expected.

It was a very high-level reporting effort. I was interested in getting to some of the nuances about Putin’s decision to go to war and what role he played in it. It is really hard, because it’s something that so few people know for sure. It took a long time and a lot of conversations.

In Paris, I watched as Zelensky pulled up to the lysée Palace with a modest car, while Putin drove in with a limo. The host hugged Putin but did not shake his hand.

Zelensky’s physical appearance in Washington is surely designed to remind Republicans of the urgency of Ukraine’s fight and how a defeat for Kyiv would lead Moscow’s nuclear-backed brutality right to the doorstep of NATO, and then likely drag the US into a boots-on-the ground war with Russia.

He is an inspiring rhetorician, and – as a former reality TV star turned unexpected president – the embodiment of how Putin’s war of choice has turned ordinary Ukrainians into wartime heroes.

He knew exactly what he wanted to do once he got into a position of being bullied by Putin, according to the founder of the Kyiv-based think.

The leader of the US who was offered an escape during the Russian invasion quipped: “I need ammunition, not a ride.”

Zelensky stood up to another bully, Donald Trump, earlier in his career, who tried to bamboozle a young politician in the quid pro quo scandal.

It’s been a long time since Zelensky thanked his supporters in a converted Kyiv nightclub where he held a campaign celebration in the midst of war. He looked in disbelief when he stood on stage among the confetti and found out that he had defeated the veteran politician.

His ratings seem to have been turned around by the war. Zelensky’s approval soared after the invasion, and remain high to this day. Zelensky was seen as a leader by Americans early in the war, ahead of US President Joe Biden.

His bubble includes many people from his previous professional life as a TV comedian in the theatrical group Kvartal 95. Even in the midst of the war, a press conference held on the platform of a Kyiv metro station in April featured perfect lighting and curated camera angles to emphasize a wartime setting.

I remember the solace he brought as comforter in chief because of his nightly televised addresses which caused the air raid sirens and blasts in Lviv.

Zelensky: From an actor to a digital native and what we are trying to say about the geopolitics of the United States

Zelensky is projecting himself as a competent and confident individual in a modern way, by wearing T-shirts and hoodies, the youthful, egalitarian uniform of Silicon Valley, instead of suits, said Chrisman-Campbell.

She said he is probably more comfortable than Putin on camera both as an actor and as a digital native. “I believe both of them want to come across as relatable, not aloof or untouchable, although Zelensky is definitely doing a better job balancing authority with accessibility.”

Journeying to where her husband can’t, Zelenska has shown herself to be an effective communicator in international fora – projecting empathy, style and smarts. She met with King Charles when he visited a refugee assistance center at the Holy Family Cathedral in London. (Curiously, TIME magazine did not include Zelenska on the cover montage and gave only a passing reference in the supporting text).

Zelensky has been able to retain his international influence despite the strong tailwinds at his back. In an important moment in geopolitics, last week the G7 imposed a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian crude despite pleas from Zelensky that it should have been set at $30 in order to further hurt the Kremlin.

Zelensky said in a recent nightly video address: “When the world is truly united, it is the world that determines how events develop.”

His trip to the United States will highlight Joe Biden’s role in reviving the Western alliance that kept the Soviet Union at bay and is now counterng new expansionism by Moscow in an effective proxy war.

Zelensky is sure to get that kind of hero’s welcome and will hope that extra US support will mean that Washington has truly “drawn the sword for freedom and cast away the scabbard,” as Churchill said of the Roosevelt administration in his address to Congress on December 26, 1941.

His visit is unfolding amid extraordinary security. Pelosi wouldn’t confirm the earlier reports that she would welcome Zelensky to the US Capitol in an unforeseen coda to her speakership. We just don’t know.”

Zelensky was coming to Washington on a specific mission according to Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, who visited Ukraine earlier this month. “What he is trying to do is draw a direct correlation between our support and the survival and support and future victory of Ukraine,” Gallego, a member of the Armed Services Committee, said.

The decision on Patriots, which would satisfy a long-standing Ukrainian request, reflects a US process of matching its aid to the shifting strategy of Russia’s assault. The system would help Kyiv better counter Russia’s brutal missile attacks on cities and electricity installations, which it has mounted in an effective attempt to weaponize bitter winter weather to break the will of Ukrainian civilians.

Zelensky’s trip points to a crucial moment when the fate of the war between Russia and Ukraine could be decided before Russia regroups.

— To Putin, who thought he would topple Zelensky and his nation in a February blitzkrieg, he sent a signal of heroic resistance embraced by the US – after flying to Washington on an US Air Force jet, seeking to show Russians are now fighting a war that can never be won.

His visit to Congress will also play into an increasingly important debate on Capitol Hill over Ukraine aid with Republicans set to take over the House majority in the new year. A group of pro-Donald Trump members who have a lot of power in the GOP have warned against sending billions of dollars to Ukraine because there is a surge of new migrants that will arrive in the US within days.

Zelensky: Two Days of Infamy in Modern History, 1945–1941, and the Ukrainian Premier John F. Churchill

Zelensky evoked two of the most famous speeches of the 20th century in a virtual address to Congress in March. He also referred to two days of infamy in modern history when Americans directly experienced the fear of aerial bombardment.

The morning of December 7, 1941, was terrible when your sky was black from the planes attacking you. Just remember it,” Zelensky said. “Remember September 11, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, into battlefields. It was impossible to stop the innocent people from being attacked. Our country is the same every day.

On December 22, 1941, the British leader sailed to the U.S. aboard the naval vessel, HMS Duke of York, and was met by President Franklin Roosevelt at the White House just hours before their press conference.

Over days of meetings fueled by booze and breakfast, the leaders plotted the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and laid the foundation of the Western.

Churchill, who had pined for US involvement in World War II for months and knew it was the key to defeating Adolf Hitler, said during his visit, “I spend this anniversary and festival far from my country, far from my family, and yet I cannot truthfully say that I feel far from home.”

The Ukrainian leader is most likely to appreciate the historical parallels. He paraphrased one of Churchill’s most famous wartime speeches in an emotional address to British members of parliament in March.

The U.S. air defense system, missiles, and missiles for the Russian revolution: what will they tell us when Ukraine invades Ukraine?

There are two key headline deliverables: first, the Patriot missile systems. Complex, accurate, and expensive, they have been described as the US’s “gold standard” of air defense. NATO guards them closely, and they need the personnel who operate them to be properly trained.

The precision-guided weapons are used for Ukrainian jets. Russia and Ukraine have a lot of dumb weapons that are fired towards a target. Western standard precision cannon and missiles, like Howitzers, have been provided to the Ukrainians.

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday it would provide an additional $1.85 billion in military assistance to Ukraine, including, for the first time, a Patriot Air Defense System. It’s one of the most advanced and expensive defense systems the U.S. has supplied since the start of the war.

Biden wants to make the Russian President aware of the billions of dollars of aid and push the Europeans to provide more help so he won’t be able to resist.

The remnants of the Trumpist “America First” elements of that party have echoed doubts about how much aid the US should really be sending to the edges of eastern Europe.

Washington’s defense budget is well over $1 trillion a year, which makes the bill for the long and slow defeat of Russia fairly light.

Clinton said the fight against Russian aggression in the country has proved to be a good investment for the United States.

The speech connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to our own revolution, to our own feelings that we want to be warm in our homes at Christmas and to get us to think about all the families in Ukraine that will be huddled in the cold.

She hoped that they would send more than one. She noted there’s “been some reluctance in the past” by the US and NATO to provide advanced equipment, but added “We’ve seen with our own eyes how effective Ukrainian military is.”

Clinton, who previously met Russian President Vladimir Putin as US secretary of state, said the leader was “probably impossible to actually predict,” as the war turns in Ukraine’s favor and his popularity fades at home.

“I think around now, what [Putin] is considering is how to throw more bodies, and that’s what they will be – bodies of Russian conscripts – into the fight in Ukraine,” Clinton said.

The story was adapted from CNN’s Meanwhile in America, a daily email about US politics. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.

Unbroken, defiant, a civilian forced to don green military garb, the Ukrainian president spent Wednesday in Washington, DC, on his daring first trip out of his country since Russia’s brutal, unprovoked invasion in February. He expressed heartfelt gratitude for America’s multi-billion dollar weapons and ammunition lifeline – but made clear he’d never stop asking for more.

The comic actor-turned-wartime hero effectively put the fate of millions of Ukrainians in the hands of American lawmakers, taxpayers and families at a time when there is growing skepticism among the incoming Republican House majority about the cost of US involvement.

Zelensky handed the Speaker and Vice President a flag he retrieved from the battle on Tuesday during his speech in the House chamber.

He said that members of the House of Representatives and senators who make the right decisions can save millions of people.

His comment addressed a rare point of contention amid the ceremony. There is more that Biden has to consider, including the fate of Ukraine, which is desperate for weapons to take the fight to Russia.

— To Americans, Zelensky professed deep thanks for tens of billions of dollars in weapons and aid offered and to come. Implicitly, he argued they couldn’t abandon this gritty, independence hero without also suppressing something of their own patriotic national identify.

The welcoming of the Ukrainian leader to the chamber by some House Republicans who want to stop aid was meant to be a signal that they would be shamed if they abandoned him.

Vladimir Zelensky in Kiev: Why the U.S. is Fighting a War with Russia and Why the West Is Uniting

Zelensky showed that the West is united and that Biden means it when he said Wednesday that the conflict with Russia may have to be ended on Putin’s terms.

We will celebrate Christmas, and maybe have a candle. He said that it won’t be romantic because there won’t be electricity. Even if there is no electricity we will still celebrate Christmas and the light of our faith will not be put out.

He said there had been no calls for peace or signs of willingness to “listen to Russia’s concerns” during Zelenskyy’s visit, which he said proves that the U.S. is fighting a proxy war with Russia “to the last Ukrainian,” Reuters reports.

Zelensky repeatedly pointed out that despite the largesse of US artillery support and the imminent arrival of high-tech weapons like a Patriot missile battery that Biden unveiled Wednesday, his nation was still outmanned and outgunned.

To balance the need to defend a European Democracy with the desire to avoid a disastrous direct clash with Russia, the president has limited the potency of the weapons he sends into the battle.

“Now you say, why don’t we just give Ukraine everything there is to give?” Biden said at the White House, explaining that pushing overwhelming force into Ukraine would risk fracturing the transatlantic consensus needed to support the war.

It is not certain that America’s lawmakers will be able to fund their own government in a dividedWashington next year, because there is no guarantee that one will survive.

Zelensky, the U.S., and the Ukraine: The Russian War against the Kremlin and the Russia-Brazil War

Several Republican members who have expressed reservations about aid to Ukraine – like Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Matt Gaetz of Florida – did not stand to applaud when Zelensky was introduced.

According to a Russian history professor, the Kremlin is attempting to sell that line to the Russian public.

Zelenskyy and Ukraine have made clear they want a “just peace” and the United States has been helping the country defend itself against Russian aggression.

Moscow had warned last week that it would see the reported delivery of Patriot missiles to Ukraine as “another provocative move by the U.S.” Does Sloat worry this could provoke a Russian escalation?

Putin’s critics say that using the word “war” to describe the Ukraine conflict has effectively been illegal in Russia since March, when the Russian leader signed a censorship law that makes it a crime to disseminate “fake” information about the invasion, with a penalty of up to 15 years in prison for anyone convicted.

“Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war,” Putin told reporters in Moscow, after attending a State Council meeting on youth policy. We will continue to strive for this.

Nikita Yuferev, a municipal lawmaker who fled Russia due to his stance on war, said on Thursday he had requested that Russians prosecute Putin for spreading fake information about the army.

Yuferev said there was no decree to end the special military operation. “Several thousand people have already been condemned for such words about the war.”

A US official told CNN their initial assessment was that Putin’s remark was not intentional and likely a slip of the tongue. The officials are interested to see what figures in the Kremlin say about it.

Zelensky told Congress that he told Biden about a 10-point peace formula and summit during a meeting at the White House. The Ukrainian leader claimed Biden supported the peace initiatives.

The United Nations will be the best broker for peace negotiations in the region of the new territories, according to the Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba

Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday declared the Kremlin would make a substantial investment in many areas of the military. The initiatives include boosting the size of the armed forces, ramping up weapons programs, and using a new generation of hypersonic missiles to prepare Russia for potential conflicts with its enemies.

That doesn’t mean Ukraine is not open to peace talks. UN-brokered discussions are only possible after Russia faces a war crimes tribunal, according to Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Even though Russian leader’s willingness to negotiate was implied on Sunday, he refused to mention that he was defending Russia with a special military operation and instead used the pretext that it was Moscow who was defending itself.

The conciliatory tone from Putin was quickly reversed by a heavy-handed message from one of his key officials.

Lavrov also called for “the elimination of threats to Russian security from there, including our new territories” – a reference to four occupied regions of Ukraine which Russia claimed to annex illegally following sham referendums – or else the Russian military would take action, according to TASS.

Alexander Rodnyansky, an economic adviser to President Zelensky, told CNN that the comments of Putin were likely to buy time in the conflict.

The world should not send more military aid to Ukraine, as it would make the country worse off, due to the bad experience of the air campaign, Rodnyansky said. “We must not fall into that trap.”

It makes no sense for the West to consider a deal that would give Russia control of the land of the nation that it had invaded.

But Zelensky and his officials have said throughout that they will continue to sound out the possibility of negotiations, without raising any hopes that they would achieve a truce.

Kuleba told the AP that every war ends in a diplomatic way. Every war ends when the actions that were taken on the battlefield are taken at the negotiating table.

The UN would be the natural broker for those talks, according to the Foreign Minister. “The United Nations could be the best venue for holding this summit, because this is not about making a favor to a certain country,” he said. “This is really about bringing everyone on board.”

The steps include food security, a tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes and a peace treaty with Moscow. He also urged G20 leaders to use all their power to “make Russia abandon nuclear threats” and implement a price cap on energy imported from Moscow.

The War in Ukraine Has Left Russia: What have we learnt from the Cold War? And what do we need to Know to stop what might happen next?

A decisive swing on the battlefield in the New Year could force a change in the calculus, but both sides are dug into what will many observers believe could become a long and grinding conflict.

At the time, Putin insisted his forces were embarking on a “special military operation” — a term suggesting a limited campaign that would be over in a matter of weeks.

Yet the war has also fundamentally upended Russian life — rupturing a post-Soviet period in which the country pursued, if not always democratic reforms, then at least financial integration and dialogue with the West.

Draconian laws passed since February have outlawed criticism of the military or leadership. Nearly 20,000 people have been arrested for being against the war, 45% of them are women, according to a leading independent monitoring group.

Lengthy prison sentences are meted out to opposition voices that question the conduct or strategy of the Russian army.

The repressions extend elsewhere: organizations and individuals are added weekly to a growing list of “foreign agents” and “non-desirable” organizations intended to damage their reputation among the Russian public.

The most revered human rights group in Russia was forced to stop their activities due to alleged violations of the foreign agents law.

The state argues the war in Ukraine is an attack on “traditional values.” It has vastly expanded Russia’s already restrictive anti-LGBT laws.

For now, repressions remain targeted. Some of the new laws are still unenforced. But few doubt the measures are intended to crush wider dissent — should the moment arise.

When new fake news laws were put in place, some of the most important independent media outlets had to relocate or shut down.

Internet users are also subject to restrictions. American social media giants were banned in March. Since the beginning of the conflict, the Kremlin’s internet regulator has blocked more than 100,000 websites.

Russian’s still have access to independent sources of information through technical workarounds such as VPNs and Telegram. But state media propaganda now blankets the airwaves favored by older Russians, with angry TV talk shows spreading conspiracies.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2022/12/31/1145981036/war-against-ukraine-has-left-russia-isolated-and-struggling-with-more-tumult-ahe

Russian relaunched: The economic crisis of the Cold War prompted by Russian actions in the Pentagon, Central Asia and the United States

Thousands of perceived government opponents — many of them political activists, civil society workers and journalists — left in the war’s early days amid concerns of persecution.

Some countries that have absorbed the exodus of Russian people expect their economies to grow even as Russians remain a sensitive issue for former Soviet republics.

The ruble regained value after being helped by Russian price controls. McDonald’s and several other brands ultimately relaunched under new names and Russian ownership. By year’s end, the government reported the economy had declined by 2.5%, far less than most economists predicted.

Ultimately, President Putin is betting that when it comes to sanctions, Europe will blink first — pulling back on its support to Ukraine as Europeans grow angry over soaring energy costs at home. The ban on oil exports to countries that abide by the price cap was announced and is expected to cause more pain in Europe.

There’s no change in the tone of the government when it comes to Russia’s military campaign. Russia’s Defense Ministry gives daily briefings about their successes. Putin said everything is going according to plan.

The length of the war suggests that Russia underestimated the willingness of Ukrainians to resist.

The true number of Russian losses – officially at just under 6,000 men – remains a highly taboo subject at home. Western estimates place those figures much higher.

NATO looks set to expand towards Russia’s borders with the addition of long-neutral states, with the backfired of Russia’s invasion.

Longtime allies in Central Asia have criticized Russia’s actions out of concern for their own sovereignty, an affront that would have been unthinkable in Soviet times. India and China have eagerly purchased discounted Russian oil, but have stopped short of full-throated support for Russia’s military campaign.

Russia’s State of the Nation Address is Staggered: Why the Kremlin Cannot be Delayed? Why Russia Needs Red Lines?

A state of the nation address, originally scheduled for April, was repeatedly delayed and won’t happen until next year. Putin canceled his annual direct line media event in which he fields questions from ordinary Russians.

The December big press conference that allows the Russian leader to handle questions from pro-Kremlin media was tabled until 2023.

The Kremlin has given no reason for the delays. Many think it could be that after 10 months of war with no sign of victory, the leader of Russia has run out of good news to share.

Nuclear-rattling in 2022 was not a good idea, because you could not threaten people with nukes as the destruction they brought was complete.

Europe is not welcoming in an era of greater security despite Russian decline. Even if Russia is revealing itself to be less threatening at a time when calls for increased defense spending are louder, it’s still hard to ignore them.

The west was happy to accept some of Russia’s weaponry to its eastern border, in contrast to the fact that it was divided and reticent. Western officials might also be surprised that Russia’s red lines appear to shift constantly, as Moscow realizes how limited its non-nuclear options are. None of this was supposed to happen. Europe now has, so what do it do to prepare?

So, the situation is essentially a stalemate at present, albeit with Russia making costly attacks in several areas, and with both sides building up forces for offensive operations expected in the late winter (likely the Russians) and spring/summer (the Ukrainians).

And finally, Moscow is left with a question nobody ever wants to learn the answer to: if its supply chains for diesel fuel for tanks 40 miles from its border do not function, then how can they be sure The Button will work, if Putin reaches madly to press it? Nuclear power is in no greater danger than to reveal it has strategic missiles and retaliatory capabilities that do not work.

America has done this before. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the most dangerous nuclear confrontation to date, and the Soviet Union was ready to accept a West-preferred outcome. America would have accepted an inferior compromise if Red lines had been in place.

The State of Ukraine: What Do Ukrainians Really Want to Know About Russia, Their Military Families, and Their Armed Forces? A NPR Perspective

Russia is likely to launch a maximum escalation of the war in Ukraine as soon as the next few weeks according to a top Ukrainian national security official.

“These will be defining months in the war,” Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Sky News in an interview broadcast Tuesday.

The representative of Ukrainian Defense Intelligence said on national television that February and March will be very active.

Military representatives from the two countries will practice using troops together based on experience in recent wars, the ministry said in a statement.

Zelenskyy met leaders in Europe and reiterated his call for allied jets to bolster the air force in his country.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova attended President Biden’s State of the Union speech, for the second year in a row, but the war in Ukraine received far less attention in the address this time.

You can read past recaps here. Here you can find NPR’s coverage for context and more in-depth stories. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

“It’s unlikely Russian forces will be particularly better organized and so unlikely they’ll be particularly more successful, though they do seem willing to send more troops into the meat grinder,” a senior British official told CNN.

Though Ukrainian officials have been sounding the alarm about new Russian attacks in the East, there is also skepticism on the Ukrainian side about Russian capabilities as those forces currently stand.

“They amassed enough manpower to take one or two small cities in Donbas, but that’s it,” a senior Ukrainian diplomat told CNN. “Underwhelming, compared to the sense of panic they were trying to build in Ukraine.”

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday in Brussels that the US is not seeing Russia “massing its aircraft” ahead of an aerial operation against Ukraine.

Is this the first open-source war? The war in Ukraine is being fought in part on social media by Zelensky; commercial overhead satellites capture Russian battle groups moving around in real-time, and the social media accounts of Russian mercenaries in the Wagner Group document what they are doing.

Petraeus. The developments in Ukranian have to be a cautionary tale for any country considering a very challenging military operation in the future if it has not engaged in major combat operations in many decades.

Petraudens: It’s not Russia. Russia has, after all, lost the Battles of Kyiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv; failed to take the rest of Ukraine’s southern coast (not even getting through Mykolaiv, much less to the major port at Odesa).

It has lost what it had gained in Kharkiv province. And it has had to withdraw its only forces west of the Dnipro River in Kherson province because the Ukrainians made the vital bridge connections to those forces impassable, took out the headquarters and logistics sites supporting those forces, and isolated them from the rest of the Russian elements east of the river.

What the Future of War between Advanced Powers would be: What we can do to deter it, and how we can make our forces stronger and better

But, again, these are just hints of what the future of war between advanced powers would be. In a conflict like this, the intelligence, surveillance and relaying systems would be more capable, and precision munitions would have greater range and speed.

Perhaps most notably, of course, we see a war taking place, for the first time, in a context that includes the widespread presence of smart phones, internet connectivity, and social media and other internet sites.

In every domain, there would be much more capable mooches, from the air, to the ground, to the sea, and in cyberspace.

The Cold War adage states “if it can be seen, it can be hit; if it can be hit, it can be killed.” In truth, we didn’t have the surveillance assets, precision munitions and other capabilities needed to truly “operationalize” that adage in those days. In the future, it is certain that every platform, base and headquarters will be susceptible to being hit and destroyed, unless there are substantial shields and armoring of those assets.

We must take many actions to transform our forces and systems. We must do all we can to deter future conflict by ensuring that there aren’t questions about our capabilities or willingness to use them, and then by doing everything we can to prevent competition among great powers from turning into conflict.

Thanks to Putin, the description of NATO as suffering from “brain death” by French President Macron in late 2019 has turned out to be more than a bit premature.

All of the above and more are what Petraeus has to say. The list is long, including poor campaign design; wholly inadequate training (what were they doing for all those months they were deployed on the northern, eastern, and southern borders of Ukraine?); poor command, control, and communications; inadequate discipline (and a culture that condones war crimes and abuse of local populations); poor equipment (exemplified by turrets blowing off of tanks when fires ignite in them); insufficient logistic capabilities; inability to achieve combined arms effects (to employ all ground and air capabilities effectively together); inadequate organizational architecture; lack of a professional noncommissioned officer corps; a top-down command system that does not promote initiative at lower levels and pervasive corruption that undermines every aspect of their military – and the supporting military-industrial complex.

Petraeus: Not at all. Russia still has enormous military capacity and is still a nuclear superpower, as well as a country with energy, mineral and agricultural blessings. It has a population that is more than double the next largest European country (Germany and Turkey) and it’s also home to many foreign workers.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/14/opinions/petraeus-how-ukraine-war-ends-bergen-ctpr/index.html

The Ukraine War: How far can the United States go without destroying our democracy? An Observation from the Kremler-Stalin-Like era

And it is still led by a kleptocratic dictator who embraces innumerable grievances and extreme revanchist views that severely undermine his decision-making.

Stalin was quoted as saying: “Quantity has a quality all its own.” Russia has a far bigger population than Ukraine: Will that make a critical difference to the Ukraine war over the long term?

It is believed that up to 300,000 new recruits are being sent to the frontline, with tens of thousands more on the way. Because quantity does matter, that is not trivial.

There is not much that can be said of the situation of Russian soldiers when they are mostly from ethnic and sectarian minorities in the Russian Federation.

The Ukrainians have demonstrated that they are able to learn how to use new weapons systems and vehicles quickly, and get back to the fight, more quickly than anyone anticipated.

I know that it’s easier to second-guess from the outside than to make tough decisions in office, even though I sat at the West Wing’s Situation Room table. I’d like to see us provide more capabilities, such as advanced drones, fighter planes, and air defense and counter-drone capabilities, sooner rather than later.

Ukraine will have to transition from Eastern bloc aircraft to western ones eventually. There just aren’t any more MiGs to provide to them, and they reportedly have more pilots than aircraft at this point.

So, we might as well begin the process of transition, noting that it will take a number of months, regardless, to train pilots and maintenance personnel. All that said, again, I think the Administration has done a very impressive job and proven to be the indispensable nation in this particular situation – with important ramifications for other situations around the world.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/14/opinions/petraeus-how-ukraine-war-ends-bergen-ctpr/index.html

What Russia can do with mercenaries in war? The case of the Moskva, a giant black hole invasion by the Chinese

The force that Putin sends into the toughest battles is the quasi-private one called the Wagner Group. Any thoughts on using mercenaries, many of whom are convicts, as a tactic?

Petraeus: What Russia has done with what are, in essence, mercenaries, as you note, is somewhat innovative – but also essentially inhumane, as it entails throwing soldiers (many of them former convicts) into battle as cannon fodder, and with little, if any, concern for their survival.

These are not the tactics or practices that, at the end of the day, foster development of well-trained, disciplined, capable, and cohesive units that have trust in their leaders and soldiers on their left and right.

Bergen: What are the lessons of Ukraine for the Chinese if they were to stage an invasion of Taiwan, which would not be over a neighboring land border but over a 100-mile body of water? The Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea navy, was sunk. Does it affect how the Chinese think about this question?

And especially if the target of such an operation has a population willing to fight fiercely for its survival and be supported by major powers – not just militarily but with substantial economic, financial, and personal sanctions and export controls.

Petraeus: I think it is. This is the first war in which social media and phones have been widely available, and employed. The result is unprecedented transparency and an extraordinary amount of information available – all through so-called “open sources.”

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/14/opinions/petraeus-how-ukraine-war-ends-bergen-ctpr/index.html

How Does The War in Ukraine End? (Revisited version of Bergen’s “The Battle for the Cold War” by Rob Biden and Kamala Harris)

Despite the limitations of the professional capabilities of the Russian forces and their demonstrated inability to generate “combined arms effect”, there does not seem to be a particularly innovative new plan.

Bergen: In 2003, at the beginning of the Iraq War, you famously asked a rhetorical question: “Tell me how this ends?” How does the war in Ukraine end?

Also when Ukraine has reached the limits of its ability to resist missiles and drones, getting a Marshall-like plan developed by the US and G7 to help reconstruct the country, and getting an ironclad security guarantee from either NATO or a US-led alliance.

Ahead of next week’s anniversary of the Russian invasion, US and Western leaders are gearing up for a show of unity and strength designed to establish once and for all that NATO is in the conflict for the long haul and until Moscow’s defeat.

The Western rhetorical and diplomatic offensive will ratchet up further as Vice President Kamala Harris heads to the Munich Security Conference this week. President Joe Biden will meanwhile visit Poland and a frontline NATO and ex-Warsaw pact state next week, bolstering his legacy of offering the most effective leadership of the Western alliance since the end of the Cold War.

How likely is China to agree to an end to the US-Russia war? A leading expert on Russia and the prospects for a new president

In the US House for instance, some members of the new Republican majority are skittish. Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz last week demanded an end to aid to Ukraine and for the US to demand all combatants “reach a peace agreement immediately.” A bipartisan majority for saving Ukraine still exists in the House and the Senate. It is not certain whether Biden can guarantee aid packages for Ukraine for a long time. And US aid might be in serious doubt if ex-President Donald Trump or another Republican wins the 2024 election.

The outside world knows that Putin is not thinking of a defeat or exit from the war because there is no way to start a negotiation for a ceasefire.

Fiona Hill, a leading expert on Russia and Putin, who worked in Trump’s White House, said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday that there were few signs Putin’s determination is waning.

The prospect of China leaning on Putin for an end to the war was a far less likely scenario prior to the flight of a Chinese spy balloon across the US.

“You’re going to end up with an albatross around your neck,” Sherman said at an event at the Brookings Institution, though admitted the US was concerned about tightening ties between China and Russia at a time when it is locked in simultaneous showdowns with each power.

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