With the clock constantly moving, Putin has his back to the wall

The Kremlin’s Tab: Why Vladimir Putin Is Running a Damned Politico in the War on Crimea

Putin claimed on Friday that Luhansk and other Ukrainian territories will become part of Russia forever. He is rushing to claim a victory, cement slender gains and fight for peace despite the fanfare in Moscow, and he is running a dangerous political tab.

It is obviously not okay, 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. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday the latest tranche “leads to an aggravation of the conflict and does not bode well for Ukraine.”

Kortunov runs the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow. “President Putin wants to end this whole thing as fast as possible,” he told CNN.

Putin is unpopular at home and his recent drive to recruit 300,000 troops won’t help his war effort in the long run.

According to official data from the EU, Georgia and Kazakhstan, around 220,000 Russians have fled across their borders since the “partial mobilization” was announced. The EU said its numbers – nearly 66,000 – represented a more than 30% increase from the previous week.

The backlash and the perception that Putin is losing his touch at reading Russia’s mood are some of the reasons why CNN isn’t able to verify the Russian figures.

Kortunov understands the mood of the public over the huge costs and loss of life in the war, despite no knowledge of the Kremlin. Why did we get into this mess? Why, you know, we lost so many people.”

He used the same playbook annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and now, like then, threatens potential nuclear strikes should Ukraine, backed by its Western allies, try to take the annexed territories back.

Western leaders are in a battle of wills with Putin. Last Sunday US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Washington would respond decisively if Russia deployed nuclear weapons against Ukraine and has made clear to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” it would face.

Putin’s Cold War and the Cold War with the West: How Putin and the West will fight for his country’s prestige in the Cold Winter

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.

Within hours, roiling patches of sea were discovered, the Danes and the Germans sent warships to secure the area, and Norway increased security around its oil and gas facilities.

So far, at least four leaks in Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines 1 and 2 have been discovered, each at the surface resembling a boiling cauldron, the largest one kilometer across, and together spewing industrial quantities of toxic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Western intelligence sources said that European security officials seen Russian naval vessels in the area in the days prior. NATO’s North Atlantic Council has described the damage as a “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible act of sabotage.”

Nord Stream 2 was never operational, and Nord Stream 1 had been throttled back by Putin as Europe raced to replenish gas reserves ahead of winter, while dialling back demands for Russian supplies and searching for replacement providers.

There is almost no chance that Putin will allow these forces in the West to kick in, even if there was some incentive to prolong the conflict. The pressure on leaders to dial back financial and military support is likely to intensify if the long cold winter in Europe leads to high inflation and higher interest rates.

A frozen conflict that lasts for many more years and prevents Ukraine becoming whole may be a sustainable position for him. He’s already shown he’s indifferent to massive human losses. He says he is locked into a titanic struggle with NATO that is vital for Russia’s prestige. It’s not clear if the West has the same appetite for the long haul.

Putin is said to want to end the war first, then use any means necessary, and then put some pressure on the Ukrainians to come to an agreement.

As Russia’s conventional military has lost credibility, Putin has hinted at the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons, a move that President Biden has said would be a “serious mistake.”

The Cost of Chaos: CNN’s Peter Bergen, Secretary of the Fox News Investigative Network, and a Teaser of the Putin Effort

Editor’s Note: Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America, and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. Bergen is the author of “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” His views are expressed in this commentary. View more opinion on CNN.

The timing couldn’t have been worse. Putin lost Lyman just as he was publicly declaring that the Donetsk region – in which Lyman sits – was now annexed by Russia.

The attacks on Monday were evidence of Russian President Putin being angry after several setbacks in the war.

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

Shurokin appeared on Moscow television last week to suggest the Kremlin’s new objective – that actually dates back decades – is to force Ukraine into Russia’s orbit and keep it from joining the EU and especially NATO. Shurokin wanted Ukraine to be independent from the West and NATO, and friendly to the Russian state.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, they planned to install a puppet government and get out of the country as soon as it was feasible, as explained in a recent, authoritative book about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, “Afghan Crucible” by historian Elisabeth Leake.

During the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US was initially reluctant to escalate its support for the Afghan resistance, fearing a wider conflict with the Soviet Union. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan three years after the CIA gave them anti-aircraft weapons, which ended their total air superiority.

Failure to demonstrate further progress on the battlefield with billions of dollars worth of military kit could stir unease among Western backers. But capitulation to Russia would be a political death sentence.

Patriot air defense systems could intercept a large number of Russia’s missiles and attack drones – although Ukraine already claims a high success rate; on Monday, for example, it said 30 out of 35 missiles had been stopped. The Patriot is also a sign NATO’s best technology is on the table to help Ukraine win the war, or at least hold Russia back.

The Russian Revolution to the End of the Cold War and the Birth of the Second World Order: The Perspectives for the Future of Security and Cooperation

The collapse of the Soviet Union was accelerated by the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan two years before, according to Putin.

Looking further back into the history books, he must also know that the Russian loss in the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 weakened the Romanov monarchy. The Russian Revolution took place during the First World War due to Czar Nicholas II’s poor leadership. The Bolshevik firing squad killed a lot of the Romanov family.

The border dispute between Russia and Ukraine was never a cause for concern. Even before it started, as Putin initiated – and continuously denied – his march to war, the importance of preventing Russia’s autocratic regime from gaining control of its neighbor, with its incipient democracy, was clear.

Lawrence Freedman, the emeritus professor of war studies at King’s College London explains in his just-published book “Command: The Politics of Military Operations from Korea to Ukraine” how Putin plunged his countrymen into the Ukrainian morass.

If Russia is allowed to win, Putin’s war would mark the beginning of a new era of global instability, with less freedom, less peace and less prosperity for the world.

Bociurkiw is a global affairs analyst. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He is a regular contributor to CNN Opinion. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN.

Ukraine’s problems in the last few days of the second Ukrainian war: attacks on central Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia

A series of explosions, including along a key bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, have put into question Russia’s ability to defend its own strategic infrastructure.

The attacks on civilians, which killed at least 14 people, also drove new attention to what next steps the US and its allies must take to respond, after already sending billions of dollars of arms and kits to Ukraine in an effective proxy war with Moscow.

The strikes on central Kyiv and close to the government quarter can not be overstated. The red line should be seen as being crossed by Western governments this 229th day of the war.

As of noon local time, the area around my office in Odesa was completely silent, with reports that three missiles and five drones were shot down. At this time of the day, nearby restaurants would be filled with customers and there would be chatter about 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.

Ukraine’s long-range strikes have coincided with a depletion of Russian cruise and tactical ballistic missiles. The Ukrainian military intelligence chief said Russia has enough missiles for two or three waves of strikes on theUkrainian electrical grid in the fall and early winter.

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. A small group of people singing patriotic Ukrainian songs on the platforms of a metro station that is a shelter as large numbers of people took cover.

Indeed, millions of people in cities across Ukraine will be spending most of the day in bomb shelters, at the urging of officials, while businesses have been 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.

Russia is struggling on the ground and has failed to achieve supremacy in the air, but Monday’s attacks may have achieved one goal – sending a signal of strength towards the growing list of Putin’s internal critics.

It seems that dictators prefer to hardwire newly claimed territory with expensive infrastructure projects. 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 $20 billion, 34-mile road bridge opened after about two years of delays.

Putin’s response to the Kiev attack on December 8, 2001: The U.S. needs to stop letting Ukraine win the war, said Yermak

The reaction among Ukrainians to the explosion was instantaneous: humorous memes lit up social media channels like a Christmas tree. Many shared their sense of jubilation via text messages.

For Putin, consumed by pride and self-interest, sitting still was never an option. The only way he knows how to respond is to unleash even more death and destruction.

Putin was placed on thin ice because of the increasing criticism at home and on state-controlled television.

Russia should not win the war, that’s been said many times. The phrase needs to be changed. Ukraine must win the war,” said Yermack. On a day when Russian airplanes bombarded the city, he spoke via teleconference. “Their goal is to entail humanitarian catastrophe in Ukrainian towns and cities,” said Yermak. “They want to make living conditions too harsh to survive this winter. They want to make people emigrate and make Ukraine less attractive to people.

The US and its allies should use quick phone diplomacy to urge China and India to resist the urge to use even more deadly weapons.

The bombing of power infrastructure in Ukraine on Monday night: a signal of Russian-Armed Security Assistance from a Cold War?

Furthermore, high tech defense systems are needed to protect Kyiv and crucial energy infrastructure around the country. The heating systems need to be protected during the winter.

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 humanitarian crisis in Europe will only be worsened by the fact that these measures do not cover Putin’s violence. The Kremlin can continue to weaponize energy, migration and food if the response is weak.

The city dwellers who spent months in air raid shelters have been able to return to their normal lives, but the attacks have made them afraid of new strikes.

It is believed that the targets on Monday were meant to be symbolic of Putin’s need to find new targets because of his inability to cause a victory on the battlefield.

The bombing of power installations, in particular, Monday appeared to be an unsubtle hint of the misery the Russian President could inflict as winter sets in, even as his forces retreat in the face of Ukrainian troops using Western arms.

US President Joe Biden is expected to announce an additional $1.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine during President Volodymyr Zelensky’s expected visit to the White House. The US official told CNN that there was a significant boost in aid because of the missile defense systems in the package.

John Kirby suggested that Washington was in touch with the government of Ukraine almost daily because Washington was looking favorably on the requests. “We do the best we can in subsequent packages to meet those needs,” he told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.

Kirby was also unable to say whether Putin was definitively shifting his strategy from a losing battlefield war to a campaign to pummel civilian morale and inflict devastating damage on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, though he suggested it was a trend developing in recent days and had already been in the works.

“It likely was something that they had been planning for quite some time. Kirby said that the explosion on the Crimea bridge might have made some of their planning more effective.

The commander of the Russian forces in Syria spoke to the Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow.

The lessons of the Ukraine crisis: how Putin has broken a broken country, and how it may go beyond a victory message for the Russian people

But French President Emmanuel Macron underscored Western concerns that Monday’s rush-hour attacks in Ukraine could be the prelude to another pivot in the conflict.

Retired officer. Alexander Vindman, a former director for European Affairs on the National Security Council, claims that Putin is sending a message by attacking targets that are meant to hurt the Ukrainian people.

Serhiy Hrabskiy, a retired colonel and commentator on the war for Ukrainian news media, said that Ukraine’s military has not hesitated to hit airfields, fuel tanks and ammunition depots that are legitimate military targets. The war has moved closer to Russia, and so the war has become routine intargeting sites outside of the peninsula.

If we had modern equipment, we could raise the number of drones and missiles downed and not kill innocent civilians, Zhovkva said.

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 and a woman documenting the war on her website, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday that she was horrified by the resurgence of fear and violence among Ukrainians.

She said this is another terror to provoke panic, to scare you guys in other countries or to show to his own people that he is still a bloody tyrant.

The war is about to enter an unpredictable new phase. Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at the Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia programme, said that this is the third, fourth and possibly fifth war they have been observing.

With the cold months nearing and likely bringing a slowdown in ground combat, experts say the next weeks of the war are now expected to be vital, and another potential spike in intensity looms over Ukraine as each side seeks to strike another blow.

“What seemed a distant prospect for anything that could be convincingly described as a Ukraine victory is now very much more plausible,” Giles said. “The response from Russia is likely to escalate further.”

Ukrainian troops hoist the country’s flag above a building in Vysokopillya, in the southern Kherson region, last month. Ukrainian officials say they have liberated hundreds of settlements since their counter-offensive began.

Russia said Thursday its forces would help evacuate residents of occupied Kherson to other areas, as Ukraine’s offensive continued to make gains in the region. The head of the Kherson administration appealed to the Kremlin for help in moving his people out of harms way, a sign that Russian forces were struggling in the face of Ukrainian advances.

These counter-offensives have shifted the momentum of the war and disproved a suggestion, built up in the West and in Russia during the summer, that while Ukraine could stoutly defend territory, it lacked the ability to seize ground.

“The Russians are playing for the whistle – (hoping to) avoid a collapse in their frontline before the winter sets in,” Samir Puri, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the author of “Russia’s Road to War with Ukraine,” told CNN.

“If they can get to Christmas with the frontline looking roughly as it is, that’s a huge success for the Russians given how botched this has been since February.”

According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russian forces have crossed the Oskil River in late September and are likely to defend the city of Starobilsk and the Luhansk region.

A major blow in Donbas would send a powerful signal and Ukrainians will be eager to improve on the gains they have made before the cold weather sets in.

“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, the destruction of energy infrastructure in Ukraine, and the willingness of the Western backers of the country to support it is going to be a test of resilience.

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. There are people in Europe who would like to point out the cost of helping Ukraine is the same as linking poverty and crime in the US. There is still strong support for Ukraine in both Europe and the US.

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. But Ukrainian Prime Minister has warned that “there is a lot of work to do” to fix damaged equipment, and asked Ukrainians to reduce their energy usage during peak hours.

“The West’s ability and willingness to sustain Ukraine’s economy and military are up against Russia’s capacity, willingness and ability to continue to sustain its operation,” he says. “It’s very difficult to predict how long that will last.”

“We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and munitions are running out,” Jeremy Fleming, a UK’s spy chief, said in a rare speech on Tuesday.

The use of limited supply of precision weapons by Russia may deprive Putin of options to disrupt ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensives.

Exactly how much weaponry and manpower each side has left in reserve will be crucial to determining how the momentum will shift in the coming weeks. Ukraine said it intercepted 18 cruise missiles on Tuesday and dozens more on Monday, but it is urging its Western allies for more equipment to repel any future attacks.

“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.

Any further involvement in the war could have a psychological impact. “Everyone’s mind in Ukraine and in the West has been oriented towards fighting one army,” he said. Inside Russia, Belarus joining the invasion “would play into Putin’s narrative that this war is about reuniting the lands of ancient Rus states.”

“The reopening of a northern front would be another new challenge for Ukraine,” Giles said. He said the new route would provide Russia with a chance to regain control of the region, which was wrested from Ukranian control.

Meanwhile, neither Russian leader Vladimir Putin nor Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy shows any signs of backing down and abandoning one of the largest military conflicts since the end of World War II. The war has brought bloodshed and suffering to the civilians that have been caught in the crossfire.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that Ukraine needed “more” systems to better halt missile attacks, ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

The IRIS-T arrived in Ukraine this week from Germany and the NASAMS is expected from the United States. , Bronk said.

Sergei Surovikin: A real commander and an experienced commander in Russia’s actions in Syria, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022

I’ve known Sergei for almost 15 years. I can definitely say he is a real general and warrior, experienced, headstrong and foresighted commander who always takes patriotism, honor and respect above all,” Kadyrov posted on social media, following news of Surovikin’s appointment last Saturday. “The united army group is now in safe hands,” he added.

He played a crucial role in Russia’s operations in Syria, where Russian combat aircraft causedWidespread devastation in rebel-held areas.

The reports of cruise missiles being among the weapons deployed by Russia in this latest surge of attacks suggest that the man in question is more familiar with them.

Sergey surovikin, a Russian military service personnel who served in Syria, met with President Putin at the Kremlin.

He said that he personally signed the resignation papers. What impact the general will or can have in Putin’s war in Ukraine is not yet certain.

“Everything changed” on February 24, 2022, when Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began and TASS received orders from the FSB security service and defense ministry “that everyone will be prosecuted if they don’t execute the propaganda scheme,” Irisov said.

From the beginning, I knew it was obvious. The war will cause the collapse of Russia, and I want people to be aware of that.

Surovikin: A General in Syria and a Leader in the Operation of the War on the Idlib Offensive in Syria

A man who served in Syria for a couple of years says he worked at aviation safety and air traffic control. He said he talked to top officers under him during some missions.

“He made a lot of people very angry – they hated him,” Irisov said, describing how the “direct” and “straight” general was disliked at headquarters because of the way he tried to implement his infantry experience into the air force.

Irisov says he understands Surovikin had strong connections with Kremlin-approved private military company the Wagner group​, which has operated in Syria.

In 2004, according to Russian media accounts and at least two think tanks, he berated a subordinate so severely that the subordinate took his own life.

A book written by the Washington DC-based Jamestown Foundation claims that during the unsuccessful coup attempt against former Soviet President Mehmet Gorbachev in August 1991, soldiers under his command killed three protesters and he spent at least six months in prison.

In a 2020 report, Human Rights Watch named him as “someone who may bear ​command responsibility” for the dozens of air and ground attacks on civilian objects and infrastructure in violation of the laws of war​” during the 2019-2020 Idlib offensive in Syria. ​The attacks killed at least 1,600 ​civilians and forced the displacement of an estimated 1.4 million people, according to HRW​​, which cites UN figures.

The Prime Minister and the President toast after a ceremony to give state awards to military personnel who served in Syria.

The European Union imposed sanctions on him in February this year, in order to help undermine and threaten the territories of Ukraine as well as the stability or security in that country.

But Clark, from the ISW, suggests the general’s promotion is “more of a framing thing to inject new blood into the Russian command system” and “put on this tough nationalist face.”

His appointment has received praise from various Russian military bloggers, as well as Yevgeny, the financier of theWagner Group, according to Clark.

He believes what’s happening now is a reflection of what happened in April, when another commander, Alexander Dvornikov, was appointed overall commander of the operations in Ukraine.

“Similarly, he before then was a commander of one of the groupings of Russian forces and had sort of a master reputation in Syria much like Surovikin for brutality, earning this sort of name of the ‘butcher of Aleppo,’” Clark said.

If Putin decides that he isn’t up to the task, there is not a good Kremlin option. The Russian war effort is going to be degraded by the lack of other senior Russian officers.

That’s not to say mobilized forces will be of no use. The support roles like drivers or refuelers would ease the burden on the exhausted professional army of Russia. They could also fill out depleted units along the line of contact, cordon some areas and man checkpoints in the rear. They are unlikely to become a capable fighting force. Already there are signs of discipline problems among mobilized soldiers in Russian garrisons.

If Ukraine mounts a serious threat to Crimea, however, it could harden the resolve of Russians, according to Charap of the Rand Corp. He says that a fight over the peninsula is likely to be bitter and Ukraine’s inability to capture it is highly unlikely.

“Even if President (Volodymyr) Zelenskyy reached some conclusion that maybe we should, to stop the punishment, we should negotiate. I don’t think he can do that anymore because of the conviction of the Ukrainian people.”

The Cipher Brief: Why Do Ukrainians Run into an Obstacle? A Ukrainian Official Says Putin Doesn’t Want to Win

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

A top Ukrainian official, Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff to President Zelenskyy, told the conference the conflict needs to end with a Ukrainian victory on the battlefield.

Paul Konrad, a former CIA officer and the Director of the Intelligence Project at Harvard’s Kennedy School, says that the Russian leader is not seeking a way out of the conflict. He says that it’s the opposite. “Putin’s muscles store information in his brain to escalate when he runs into an obstacle,” said Kolbe. “There’s a lot of tricks he can still pull out to try to undermine morale in Ukraine and in the West.”

According to Charap, the conflict could drag on indefinitely. He says that the war is not done in a short-term time frame. “A conflict that goes on for years and years.”

Ukrainians are extremely vulnerable in the face of Russian air strikes. The blackmail of energy involves cutting off gas supplies, shutting off electricity, and bombing electric substations. He said that Putin’s strategy will cause pain. He said, “You’re going to keep fighting even if you can’t heat your house, even if your economy is in dire straits.” And I think he’s miscalculated on this front.”

A red line in the sand: diplomacy, strategy, and the history of wars that might still happen, wrote David A. Andelman

At the Georgia conference, no one thought the war was close to an end. ” Most wars end with some kind of negotiated solution, whether that comes out of stalemate or defeat, but I don’t think there’s a chance of talks in the near term”, said Paul Kolbe, the former CIA official.

The war began with a Russian invasion in the year of 2014, and is now as intense as ever. Greg Myre is an NPR journalist. Follow him @gregmyre1.

Part of the difficulty of making wartime assessments is that the war has gone through different phases, with one side and then the other having an advantage. The Ukrainians defeated the Russians in the battle for Kyiv, but then Russia fought hard in the eastern part of the country.

A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars that Might Still Happen is the book by David A. Andelman, a contributor to CNN and two time winner of the Deadline Club Award. He was a correspondent for CBS News in Europe and Asia. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. CNN has more opinion.

He seeks to distract his nation from the blindingly obvious fact that he is losing badly on the battlefield while failing to achieve the scaled back objectives of his invasion.

Towards a sustainable European Union: Wall-to-Round and the Cold War at a Continuum Collider

This ability to keep going depends on a number of variables, not the least of which being the availability of critical and affordable energy supplies for the coming winter.

In the early hours of Friday in Brussels, European Union powers agreed a roadmap to control energy prices that have been surging on the heels of embargoes on Russian imports and the Kremlin cutting natural gas supplies at a whim.

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.

The French President, who said after the summit that it had maintained European unity, conceded that only a clear mandate for the European Commission to start work on a gas cap mechanism was needed.

The biggest economy of Europe, Germany, is skeptical of price caps. Now energy ministers have to work out details with Germany that will make it easier to restrict supplies.

These divisions are all part of Putin’s fondest dream. Manifold forces are central to achieving success, as they could prove to be the main cause of 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

Ubiquitous Governing Power: Analytical Tests of the Biden-Berlusconi – Putin-Russia Correspondence

A new government has taken over Italy. Giorgia Meloni was sworn in Saturday as Italy’s first woman prime minister and has attempted to brush aside the post-fascist aura of her party. One of her far-right coalition partners meanwhile, has expressed deep appreciation for Putin.

Berlusconi, in a secretly recorded audio tape, said that he had returned Putin’s gesture with bottles of Lambrusco wine and that he was a peaceful and sensible person.

During the campaign, Matteo Sligni said he wouldn’t want the sanctions on Russia to harm people who imposed them than those who were 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 was offended by the pro-Putin sentiment of Hungarys populist leader Viktor Orban.

Similar forces seem to be at work in Washington where House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, poised to become Speaker of the House if Republicans take control after next month’s elections, told an interviewer he thinks people will be sitting in a recession. They just won’t do it.”

The influential Congressional progressive caucus wants Biden to talk to Russia about ending the conflict while it still occupies vast expanses of the country and its missiles and drones are striking deep into the interior.

Hours later, caucus chair Mia Jacob, facing a firestorm of criticism, emailed reporters with a statement “clarifying” their remarks in support of Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to renew America’s support.

Yes. An enormous aid package is in the works and is part of a constant drumbeat from the Biden administration. The message is simple: Ukraine is receiving as much aid as Washington can provide, short of boots on the ground, and that aid will not stop.

The pressure on Russia is being brought on by the West. Last Thursday, the State Department released a detailed report on the impact of sanctions and export controls strangling the Russian military-industrial complex.

The report said that the Russian hypersonic missile production had halted due to the lack of necessary semi-conductors. Russia has reverted to Soviet-era defense stocks for replenishment, as some plants producing anti-aircraft systems have shut down. The Soviet era ended more than 30 years ago.

On the day of this report, the US announced that it was seizing the property of a top Russian procurement agent, who had been 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.

The War Between Russia and Ukraine: What Has Happened in the World Since the Second World War? – CNN’s Frida Ghitis

Still, there remain hardliners like Pavel Gubarev, Russia’s puppet leader in Donetsk, who voiced his real intention toward Ukrainians: “We aren’t coming to kill you, but to convince you. If you do not want to be convinced, we will kill you. We can either kill 1 million, 5 million or all of you.

Editor’s Note: Frida Ghitis, (@fridaghitis) a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.

Iran has supplied Russia with many deadly drones, which were used in the attacks on the lives of Ukrainians.

The strengthening relationship between Moscow and Tehran has drawn the attention of Iran’s rivals and foes in the Middle East, of NATO members and of nations that are still – at least in theory – interested in restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which aimed to delay Iran’s ability to build an atomic bomb.

The conflicts surrounding Iran are just one example of how Ukraine has become the key hub for many of the world’s tensions.

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.

Much of what happens today far from the battlefields still has repercussions there. The United States accused Saudi Arabia of helping fund the war by boosting its oil revenues, when it was decided last month to slash production. The Saudis deny the accusation.

Separately, weapons supplies to Ukraine have become a point of tension with Israel, which has developed highly effective defense systems against incoming missiles. Israel refuses to provide the Iron Dome and David’s Sling despite being asked by the Ukrainians.

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 in May that the world was on the verge of starvation.

Families and individuals pay higher prices for things. They pack a political punch when they come with the power that they have. Inflation, worsened by the war, has put incumbent political leaders on the defensive in countless countries.

From the Clinton Era to the War in Ukraine: How Do High-Intensity Battles Become More Diverse in the White House?

And 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 during the Obama administration, said they’re all bringing “a big smile to Putin’s face.”

During internal conversations about the war in Ukraine, America’s top general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, has in recent weeks led a strong push to seek a diplomatic solution as fighting heads toward a winter lull.

Nearly a year since Russian forces rolled into Ukraine, there are no real signs of a way out of the conflict. Progress at the negotiating table is not likely and neither side seems ready for a military victory.

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.

While some Biden officials are more open to exploring what diplomacy may look like, sources tell CNN most of the top diplomatic and national security officials are wary of giving Russian President Vladimir Putin any sort of leverage at the negotiating table and believe Ukrainians must determine when to hold talks, not the US.

In internal deliberations, officials said Milley had made it clear that he is not advocating a capitulation by the Ukrainians, but rather that he believes now is an optimal time to drive towards an end to the war before it drags into spring or beyond.

But that view is not widely 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.

The US military has dug in its weapons inventory to support the Ukrainians and is currently busy with supplies to support them as winter approaches, raising questions about how long this war can last, officials said.

The US is looking for weapons that can be provided to Ukraine to fight the high-intensity battles that are unfolding there, a US official said. 100,000 155mm howitzer rounds will be purchased by the US, and will be transferred toUkraine through the US.

The Latest On Ukrainian Raine A Week Ahead And Look Ahead At Russias War Dec-12: What Do U.S. PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW?

State Department spokesperson Ned Price would not say Thursday whether the State Department agrees with Milley’s position. In recent months, US officials have made a case that a diplomatic solution is needed, and Price seemed to side with them.

Ukrainian authorities have been stepping up raids on churches accused of links with Moscow, and many are watching to see if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy follows through on his threat of a ban on the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron hosts European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store for a working dinner Monday in Paris.

On Tuesday, France and Ukraine will co- host a conference in support of Ukrainians in the winter, with a video address by Zelenskyy.

Fans, friends and family of the basketball player celebrated her return to the US after being released from a Russian prison. Meanwhile, some Republican politicians have been complaining about the prisoner swap and other U.S. citizens still held by Russia.

The new measures against Russian oil revenue took effect. There is a European Union embargo on most Russian oil imports and a Russian oil price cap.

Zelenskyy said that the city of Bakhmut was turned into burned ruins by Russian forces. The city is in the eastern Donbas region and fighting is going on there as Russia tries to take it.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2022/12/12/1141827823/latest-on-ukraine-a-weekly-recap-and-look-ahead-at-russias-war-dec-12

A Conversation with Vladimir Zelensky over the First Month of World War II: A Brief History of the Pre-Russian Invasion

President Zelenskyy made a phone call with the president of the US on December 11, in which he appeared to step up diplomacy over the 9 1/2 month long Russian invasion.

Past recaps can be found here. For more in-depth stories, you can find them here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

I saw Zelensky pull up to the lysée Palace in a small car, while Putin drove in with an armored limo. The host hugged Putin but only shook hands with Zelensky.

In the days leading up to Russia’s full-scale invasion, Zelensky was in a steep, downward trajectory in popularity ratings from the all-time high in the first days of his administration.

The editor of the Economist’s Eastern European division describes Zelensky as “an ordinary man thrust into extraordinary circumstances.”

This, after all, is the leader who when offered evacuation by the US as Russia launched its full-scale invasion, quipped: “I need ammunition, not a ride.”

Zelensky used his political muscles to stand up to Donald Trump, who tried to ruin the career of a novice politician in the quid pro quo scandal.

It has been nearly a year since Zelensky spoke at the campaign celebration in a converted Kyiv nightclub where he thanked his supporters for his election victory. He looked in disbelief while standing on stage as the confetti rained down.

The war has turned his ratings around. Just days after the invasion, Zelensky’s ratings approval surged to 90%, and remain high to this day. Even Americans early in the war rated Zelensky highly for his handling of international affairs – ahead of US President Joe Biden.

Many people from his former life as a TV comedian in the theatrical group Kvartal 95 are in his bubble. A press conference held on the platform of a metro station in April was used to emphasize a wartime setting, even in the midst of the war.

I remember well the solace his nightly televised addresses brought him, especially when air raid sirens and explosions were occurring in Lviv.

The Viable Zelensky: Projecting Confidence and Competence in the 21st Century to the World, including Ukraine’s missile systems

“By wearing T-shirts and hoodies, the youthful, egalitarian uniform of Silicon Valley, rather than suits, Zelensky is projecting confidence and competence in a modern way, to a younger, global audience that recognizes it as such,” Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, a fashion historian and author of “Red, White, and Blue on the Runway: The 1968 White House Fashion Show and the Politics of American Style,” told NPR.

“He is probably more comfortable than Putin on camera, too, both as an actor and as a digital native,” she added. “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.”

Zelenska has shown herself to be a great ambassador for the country as she journeys to where her husband can’t. Most recently, she met with King Charles during a visit to a refugee assistance center at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in London. Zelenska was not on the cover of TIME magazine, but there was a passing reference in the supporting text.

Zelensky has a strong international influence and there are signs that could be waning. For example, last week, in what analysts called a pivotal moment in geopolitics, 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 inflict more pain on the Kremlin.

Zelensky said in a recent nightly address that when the world is truly united, it is the world that decides how events develop.

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

Ukraine needs precision weapons so it doesn’t have to deal with civilians remaining nearby. And it means Ukraine does not go through the hundreds or thousands of shells Russia appears to burn through as it blanket bombards areas it wants to capture.

The new deal will likely include the supply of guidance kits which can be used to launch missiles or bombs. This will increase their accuracy and the amount of time they burn through bullets. A lot of the $1.8 billion is expected to fund munitions replacements and stocks.

Whatever the eventual truth of the matter – and military aid is opaque at the best of times – Biden wants Putin to hear nothing but headline figures in the billions, to sap Russian resolve, push European partners to help more, and make Ukraine’s resources seem limitless.

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.

Realistically, the bill for the slow defeat of Russia in this dark and lengthy conflict is relatively light for Washington, given its near trillion-dollar annual defense budget.

“I also think no one is asking for a blank check,” Clinton added. “I believe that the Ukrainians have proven that they are a really good investment for the United States. They are not asking us to be there to fight their war. They are fighting their own battles. They’re asking us and our allies for the means to not only defend themselves but to actually win.”

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 to celebrate Christmas and to get us to think about all the families in Ukraine that will be huddled in the cold and to know that they are on the front lines of freedom right now,” Clinton said on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” Wednesday.

I hope they 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.

Clinton said that bodies of Russian conscripts could be thrown into the fight in Ukraine.

Since some cruise missiles are launched from bombers that fly from the airfields hit in the attacks, the strikes could potentially destroy the missiles on the ground at the Russian airfields before they can be deployed.

He said that a person will attack you because you are fighting back, even though he could not confirm the strikes. There is absolutely no strategic reason not to try to do this.”

The Foreign Minister of Poland hoped that a peace summit could be held at the United Nations around Russia’s anniversary of its war-anniversary

Mr. Budanov said that the Kinzhal, a hypersonic weapon that can reach targets in mere minutes and is almost impossible to shoot down, is in short supply.

The foreign minister of Poland said on Monday that he hoped a peace summit could be held at the United Nations around Russia’s war anniversary.

Russia could only be invited to a summit if the country faced a commission of war crimes, according to the Foreign Minister.

Kuleba also said he was “absolutely satisfied” with the results of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S. last week, and he revealed that the U.S. government had made a special plan to get the Patriot missile battery ready to be operational in the country in less than six months. The training can take up to a year.

Kuleba said that diplomacy always plays an important role, adding that the war in Germany will be won by the Ukrainians.

The UN could be the best place to hold the summit since it isn’t about favouring one country over another. Everyone is brought on board.

Zelenskyy presented a 10-point peace formula to the Group of 20 summit in November that included the restoration of Ukrainian territorial integrity and the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2022/12/26/1145539638/ukraine-russia-peace-summit-foreign-minister

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has asked for Russia’s exclusion from the UN Security Council despite the fact that Russia was not allowed on the battlefield

About Guterres’ role, Kuleba said: “He has proven himself to be an efficient mediator and an efficient negotiator, and most importantly, as a man of principle and integrity. So we would welcome his active participation.”

“They claim to be ready for negotiations, but everything they do on the battlefield proves the opposite, so that is not true,” he said.

Zelenskyy traveled to the US for the first time since the start of the war. Kuleba underscored the significance of the visit and praised Washington’s efforts.

Kuleba, who was part of the delegation that went to the U.S., said that the visit shows how important the US is to both Ukrainians and Americans.

He said that the missile battery would be trained faster by the U.S. government than it has in the past.

While Kuleba didn’t mention a specific time frame, he said only that it will be “very much less than six months.” And he added that the training will be done “outside” Ukraine.

Kuleba was second to Zelenskyy in carrying Ukraine’s message, even though it came from Russia, and needed to be seen by an international audience.

On Monday, the Ukrainian foreign ministry called for Russia’s exclusion from the UN Security Council. Kuleba has prepared for this step to uncover fraud and prevent Russia’s status.

The Foreign Ministry states that Russian did not go through the legal procedure for membership in the UN Security Council after the fall of the Soviet Union.

War against Ukraine Has Left Russia Isolated and Struggling with More Tumult Ahelion: View from the Viewpoint of the Internet, Social Media and Investigative Media

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.

The war changed the course of Russian life and broke a post-Soviet period in which the country pursued democracy and dialogue with the West.

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

The Russian army has been accused by some opposition voices of discrediting itself by questioning its conduct or strategy which has led to lengthy prison sentences for them.

Foreign agents and non-desirable organizations are added weekly to a growing list of organizations meant to hurt their reputation among the Russian public.

The human rights group, which became a co-recipient of the prestigious peace prize in 2022, had to stop its activities after being accused of violating the foreign agents law.

The state has also vastly expanded Russia’s already restrictive anti-LGBT laws, arguing the war in Ukraine reflects a wider attack on “traditional values.”

For now, repressions remain targeted. The new laws are still not enforced. But few doubt the measures are intended to crush wider dissent — should the moment arise.

Leading independent media outlets and a handful of vibrant, online investigative startups were forced to shut down or relocate abroad when confronted with new “fake news” laws that criminalized contradicting the official government line.

Restrictions extend to internet users as well. American social media giants were banned in March. Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin’s internet regulator, has blocked more than 100,000 websites since the start of the conflict.

Russian are still able to get to independent sources of information through technical workarounds such as 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

The Russian Exodus During the First Seventy Years: The Russian War on Crimea and the Unstable Status of 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.

Meanwhile, some countries that have absorbed the Russian exodus predict their economies will grow, even as the swelling presence of Russians remains a sensitive issue to former Soviet republics in particular.

Russia’s price controls helped regain the value of the ruble. 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.

President Putin is betting that Europe will blink first when sanctions are imposed, as Europeans get angry over soaring energy costs at home. He announced a five-month ban on oil exports to countries that abide by the price cap, a move likely to make the pain more acute in Europe.

There’s no change in the government’s tone in relation to Russia’s military campaign. Russia’s Defense Ministry provides daily briefings recounting endless successes on the ground. Putin assures everyone that everything is going according to plan.

Russia vastly underestimated the willingness of the Ukrainians to resist according to the length of the war.

Russian troops have proven unable to conquer Ukraine’s capital Kyiv or the second city of Kharkiv. Kherson, the sole major city seized by Russia, was abandoned amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive in November. Russian forces have been shelling the city.

Moscow has not been able to establish full control over the lands it has now claimed as its own, as a result of Russia’s illegal annexation of 4 territories of Ukraine in September.

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

NATO looks set to expand to Russia’s borders with the addition of long-neutral states, with the backfiring 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 purchased discounted Russian oil, but have stopped supporting the military campaign of Russia.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin and in Kiev during the Lunar Colliders: How Russian forces are launching a war on Ukraine

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

An annual December “big press conference” – a semi-staged affair that allows the Russian leader to handle fawning questions from mostly pro-Kremlin media – was similarly tabled until 2023.

The US military had assessed it would take as long as until May for the Russian military to regenerate enough power for a sustained offensive, but Russian leaders wanted action sooner. 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.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “following the devil” and waging a war to ensure that its President Vladimir Putin remains in power “until the end of his life.”

Zelensky switched to speaking Russian in his nightly address on Saturday to send a message to the Kremlin and Russian citizens, as Moscow launched a series of deadly strikes that swept several regions of Ukraine ahead of New Year.

Shmyhal said that Moscow intends to cause damage to infrastructure by leaving them in the dark for the new year.

There are attacks on civilians in our country. A shop, a building and a hotel were damaged. There are dead and injured,” he wrote.

Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine “Yes” Tymoshenko and the enemy struck on civilian infrastructure in the Donetsk region

Three people died and three more were wounded in the Donetsk region, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine “Yes”, Tymoshenko said on Telegram.

One person was wounded in the Zaporizhzhia region. Two were killed and one wounded in the Kharkiv region. Two people died and one was wounded in the Kherson region.

The enemy struck 26 on civilian infrastructure. 10 Shahed-136 drones were used by the people but all of them were shot down. In addition, the enemy made 80 attacks from multiple rocket launchers, civilian settlements were also hit,” the General Staff said in its latest operational update.

It said that Russia “continues to conduct offensive actions at the Lyman and Bakhmut directions and is trying to improve the tactical situation at the Kupiansk and Avdiivka directions.”

The Municipal Life Support System of Ukraine and the Arrival of the Russian Missiles on New Year’s Eve, according to the report by Ivan Klitschko

The municipal life support system of the capital is up and running. 30% of consumers are without electricity. Due to emergency shutdowns,” he said on Telegram.

Klitschko also reported that the restrictions were applied to check the open section of the red metro line in the city “for the presence of remnants of missile debris.”

“From 2023 I really want to win, and also to have more bright impressions and new emotions. I miss it a lot. I would like to travel and open borders. I think about growth in my professional and personal lives. I have to develop and work for the benefit of the country,” said Alyona Bogulska, a 29-year-old financier.

“This year, it’s a symbol, not that it’s a small victory, but a symbol that we survived the year,” said Tatiana Tkachuk, a 43-year-old pharmacy employee.

“And I want to thank everyone who helps Ukraine. We have made a lot of friends. And in order to understand that we have a lot of good things, unfortunately, we had to go through terrible things. But so many people are doing real miracles for Ukraine.”

“On New Year’s Eve, cities should be covered by wave of celebration, joy and hope. Zelenska said that Ukrainian cities were again covered by missile wave from Russia.

How Cold is the War? The Ukrain Defense Minister Oleksiy Danilov says the Russian Embassy is Preparing for a Possible Definite Month of the War in Ukraine

America has done this before. The Soviet Union changed its position in a matter of days after the Cuban Missile Crisis, eventually agreeing to a outcome that favored the West. Had “red lines” thinking been in vogue, America might well have accepted an inferior compromise that weakened its security and credibility.

Third, the West should make clear to a wide range of Russian audiences that it is safe to end the war by leaving Ukraine. An orderly withdrawal is not likely to lead to regime change or the break up of Russia. Both outcome are not an official goal of western policy, and talk of them is very counter productive. Some in the West will resist the idea of any such reassurance. If Russia concludes that leaving Ukraine will be more dangerous than staying, they won’t press for an end to the war. Reassurance does not mean compromise.

Russia is preparing for a maximum escalation of the war in Ukrainian, potentially 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.

Military representatives from the two countries will practice joint planning of the use of troops based on their previous experience of armed conflicts, according to the ministry.

The War in Ukraine, the United States, and the War on the Balkans – a Primer for a Cold War?

Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise Europe tour, meeting leaders in London, Paris andBrussels, and reiterated his call for allies to send fighter jets to Ukraine.

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.

“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.

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

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Tuesday in the Belgian capital that the US is not seeing Russia massing its aircraft ahead of an aerial operation.

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.

Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that Russia has lost in many ways. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned that Putin must realize he cannot win when he explained the rationale for rushing arms and armor to Ukrainian forces. Washington was applying pressure on Moscow in order to affect Putin’s strategic calculus, according to the US ambassador to NATO.

In an opinion article by Peter Bergen, a retired US General and former CIA Chief said the conflict would be ended in a negotiated resolution when Putin realized the war is not sustainable on the battlefield.

The Russian War on the Warfront and the Prospect for a Peace Agreement Between the United States and Russia, After the 2016 Ukrainian Inspiral

Vice President Harris will head to the Security Conference this week, which will further increase the rhetorical offensive of the Western world. President Joe Biden’s visit to Poland and a NATO and ex-Poland Pact state next week will bolster his legacy of offering the most effective leadership of the Western alliance since the end of the Cold War.

Some members of the new Republican majority in the US House are hesitant. 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.” There is a bipartisan majority in both the House and the Senate. But it’s not certain Biden can guarantee massive multi-billion dollar aid packages for Ukraine in perpetuity. And US aid might be in serious doubt if ex-President Donald Trump or another Republican wins the 2024 election.

The world knows that Putin is not thinking of quitting the war because he does not have a diplomatic framework for ceasefire talks.

An expert on Russia and Putin, who worked for Donald Trump in the White House, said at a Senate hearing that there were few signs that Putin’s determination is waning.

The prospect of China leaning on Putin for an end to the war was remote even before the lurch in US-China relations caused by the flight of a Chinese spy balloon across the US this month.

“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.

The people of the US and its major allies have largely accepted the enormous cost of supporting the Ukrainians in their fight. In the United States, the political resistance has been limited largely to a few voices on the far right and far left. But questions will become only more common as the war drags on. Kevin McCarthy is the Speaker of the House, a Republican, and he has warned that there should be no blank check.

Neither side has released figures lately, but analysts estimate that about 200,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded in the war so far. By comparison, Ukraine has seen some 100,000 killed or wounded in action, and 30,000 civilian deaths.

Russia’s assault moved to the south, where it took control of the city of Mariupol after a devastating siege in an effort to gain access to the corridor along the Black Sea coast.

For Zelenskyy, the stakes are at least as high. A survey shows that Ukrainians are firm in their opposition to territorial concessions to Russia. “Any sort of cease-fire without Russian military defeat basically means regrouping,” says Mikhail Alexseev, a political science professor at San Diego State University whose research is currently focused on the war in Ukraine. That would result in “further attacks down the line,” he says.

Serhii has been a professor at Harvard University for thirty years and says it is difficult for the Ukrainians to adopt a position that would harm the country’s integrity.

If Putin was going to sign a deal he could not afford to give up any territory, says a history professor.

A military solution looks just as unlikely, despite seemingly spectacular gains by Ukraine on the battlefield resulting in heavy losses of Russian soldiers and armor.

Zelenskyy has publicly said that his country’s forces will retake Crimea, a move the Ukrainian leadership believes would precipitate a coup against Putin and ultimately secure Ukraine’s borders. Most analysts agree.

They believe that “not only Putin would go down, but some kind of second collapse would happen similar to the Soviet collapse” in 1991, Zubok says. “I’d say it’s a hell of a game. A very dangerous game.

But while the nightmarish threat is real, Harvard’s Plokhy doesn’t think Putin would ever follow through, given the likelihood of a full military response from the West.

Russia’s heavy losses of military equipment and ammunition have been widely reported, and the Kremlin has been forced to turn to North Korea for rockets and artillery and to Iran for drones.

“Russia is significantly diminished,” says Plokhy, the author of several books, including The Russo-Ukrainian War: The Return of History, due for release in May.

Alexseev says that the idea that Russia is simply running out of money is mostly “wishful thinking.” In Russia, defense factories work three or four shifts.

Despite sanctions, the Kremlin’s forces still pack a punch, as he says.

He says that Russia has adjusted their strategy and learned from their losses, and now has a fresh influx of 300,000 troops.

“They are burning through ammunition very quickly, faster than we’re manufacturing it,” Watling recently told NPR. During an address at the annual Munich Security Conference in Germany on Friday, Zelenskyy expressed the possibility of “fatigue” among his Western military aid donors.

Observational evidence of discontent in Russia: Mariupol 2.o vs. Amir Hussein’s ultimatum

Still, there are signs of growing discontent inside Russia. The Levada-Center conducted a survey in November. It showed a slight increase in support for Russia’s military operations in Ukraine, but at the same time a majority of those surveyed (53%) said it was time to start negotiations.

No one seems to be most likely to see an outcome that would satisfy them. The siege of the city in the early months of the war is what Alexseev refers to as Mariupol 2.o. He says it on the scale of the whole of the Ukraine.

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