Zelensky epitomizes the nation he leads

Vladimir V. Putin and the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine: a forcible annexation of Ukraine by the Kremlin

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia signed decrees on Friday to declare four Ukrainian regions part of Russia as the Kremlin seeks to solidify its tenuous hold over Ukrainian territory through a widely denounced illegal annexation.

After failing to take Kyiv due to fierce Ukrainian resistance, Russia seized broad swaths of southern Ukraine at the start of the invasion and captured the key Sea of Azov port of Mariupol in May after a nearly three-month siege. In September, Putin illegally annexed four Ukrainian regions even though his forces didn’t completely control them: Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south, and Donetsk and Luhansk in the east. In 2014, he had illegally annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Putin, however, attempted to claim that the referendums reflected the will of “millions” of people, despite reports from the ground suggesting that voting took place essentially – and in some cases, literally – at gunpoint.

Mr. Zelensky said that they did not lose anything. “It was taken from us. Ukraine’s boys and daughters were taken away by murderers. Ukrainians did not lose their homes — they were destroyed by terrorists. The lands that we lost were occupied by invaders. The world did not lose peace because of Russia.

The Russian president thinks the annexation was meant to fix a mistake that happened after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Petraeus: The question gets at one of the ironies of the situation. Putin wanted to make Russia great again. NATO has been made great again, with a couple of capable historically neutral powers seeking NATO membership, with increased defense spending by NATO members, and augmentation of the NATO forces in the Baltic states and eastern Europe.

Russia plans to fly its flag over some 100,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian land, the biggest forcible annexation of land in Europe since 1945.

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.

As Russia reels from its military failure in Lyman, the Kremlin has sought to use its propaganda channels to amplify President Vladimir V. Putin’s core argument — emphasized in his bellicose speech on Friday — that in Ukraine, Russia is at war with the collective West, whom he calls “Anglo-Saxons.”

He reeled off a litany of Western military actions stretching over centuries — from the British Opium War in China in the 19th century to Allied firebombings of Germany and the Vietnam and Korean Wars.

The United States, he said, was the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war. “By the way, they created a precedent,” Mr. Putin added in an aside.

The Russian War on Nuclear Forces vs. Strategic Warheads: A Primer on the Status of the Kremlin’s Emergency Operation

As the Kremlin planned the elaborate ceremony, Russia launched a whirlwind of strikes against Ukrainian towns and cities overnight Thursday to Friday, including an attack on Zaporizhzhia that Ukrainian officials said killed 25 civilians — a reminder of its determination to continue fighting.

Red Square is the location for Friday’s events. The decree will be officially reviewed next week, according to the spokesman for the Kremlin.

The moves follow staged referendums held in occupied territory during a war in defiance of international law. Much of the provinces’ civilian populations has fled fighting since the war began in February, and people who did vote sometimes did so at gunpoint.

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.

Despite the fact that he has control over the war in Russia, Mr. Putin will have to contend with a number of obstacles including a recent draft of hundreds of thousands of civilians into military service in which there was opposition in Russia.

The spokesman for Mr. Putin said that Mr. Putin is expected to deliver a speech. He is likely to downplay his military’s struggles in Ukraine and rising domestic dissent. He will probably ignore worldwide denunciations of discredited referendums held in occupied Ukraine on joining Russia, where some were made to vote at gunpoint.

With his forces retreating in Ukraine, international allies expressing concern and citizens at home fleeing partial mobilization, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reached for the threat of nuclear weapons – and revived Western fears of atomic apocalypse.

How worried should we be? Here, former British army officer and former commander of the UK & NATO Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Forces, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, explains the crucial differences between “tactical” and “strategic” weapons and why all-out nuclear war probably isn’t on the cards anytime soon.

These warheads are fitted to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) which can travel thousands of miles and are aimed at key sites and cities in the US, UK, France and Russia.

Tactical nuclear weapons have a yield of up to 100 kilotons of dynamite and aren’t as powerful as strategic warheads.

Though blowing up these power stations would not create a nuclear explosion similar to a weapon detonation, it could spread radioactive debris and contaminate local water supplies.

Nuclear Warfare in Ukraine: Why Russian Air Defense Equipment is Needed in the First World War II: The Crisis in the Arms of the Russian Army

Russia has nuclear weapons in this conflict so if they are used they will cause NATO action. So degraded are Russian conventional forces, that they would likely be quickly overcome by NATO forces if it came to that, which even with Putin’s other failings, presumably he realizes.

But this is likely not the case for the tactical weapons. While the missiles and warheads are in good shape, the vehicles that are mounted on them are in poor condition. This assumption is justified because of the state of the Russian Army equipment that is on show in Ukraine.

There’s now a race between the Ukrainians’ ability to acquire new air defense hardware, train on it and deploy it – and the Russians’ ability to inflict massive damage on Ukrainian infrastructure (civilian and military) with their deep stocks of missiles, not all of which are precision weapons.

Russian production of hypersonic missiles has all but ceased “due to the lack of necessary semi-conductors,” said the report. Plants that make anti-aircraft systems have stopped production, and the aircraft industry is being cannibalized for spare parts. The Soviet era ended more than 30 years ago.

The Kremlin’s War on Syria: Why Russia is waging a global nuclear war in Ukraine? An Analysis of Russian Campaigns in Syria

attacking civilians instead of opposition forces is the heart of this move. It is possible to attack hospitals and schools with chemical plants, nuclear power stations and other hazardous infrastructure. If these are attacked, they can become improvised chemical or nuclear weapons.

The saying goes that truth is the first casualty in war. Nowhere is that more true than in Russia, where the Kremlin has engaged in a campaign of false advertising to sell its invasion of Ukraine to the public.

Meteorological conditions at the moment indicate that all this contamination would also head west across Europe. This could be seen as an attack on NATO and trigger Article 5 – where an attack on one ally is considered an attack on all allies – which would allow NATO to strike directly back at Russia.

De Bretton-Gordon: The use of strategic nuclear weapons is extremely unlikely in my opinion. This war can’t be won, and at this time it doesn’t appear that a global nuclear war could destroy the planet over many generations.

I am sure the checks and balances are in place in the Kremlin, as they are at the White House and 10 Downing Street to make sure we are not plunged into global nuclear conflict on a whim.

Analysts inside and outside the government who have tried to game out Mr. Putin’s threats have come to doubt how useful such arms — delivered in an artillery shell or thrown in the back of a truck — would be in advancing his objectives.

De Bretton-Gordon: I believe the Russians developed their unconventional warfare tactics in Syria. (Russian forces entered Syria’s long civil war in 2015, bolstering ally President Bashar al-Assad’s regime). Assad wouldn’t be in power had he not used chemical weapons.

The massive nerve agent attack on August 21, 2013 on Ghouta stopped the rebels overrunning Damascus. Multiple chlorine attacks ended the four-year siege of the city.

It’s hard to imagine any other country being permitted by the world to wage the kind of campaign Russia has in Ukraine (and in Syria before it); still less with an overt agenda of exterminating the Ukrainian people.

“Nuclear weapons are intended to counterbalance what they see as US and NATO conventional superiority, which is why Russia has them,” he says.

The attempted annexation of four districts through the current sham referendums makes the likelihood of tactical use very high, if these places are attacked. When it comes to pressing a red button, one still expects local commanders to defer to Putin first.

Putin is not only deepening military ties with these governments, he’s a key figure behind the Wagner Group helping to carry out their brutality. (A charge the Kremlin denies).

Even in an attack on a power station one assumes Putin would be involved, as the West would likely construe it as an improvised nuclear weapon and act accordingly.

The ability of international organizations to contain the crisis and prevent it is under unprecedented stress as a direct result of these events. As nuclear energy is deployed around the world, there is a chance that power plants in other places might be at risk of conflict.

The Ukrainian leadership refused to conduct negotiations and the sooner that they realize it, the better.

Andrey Kortunov, who runs the Kremlin-backed Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow, sees it, too. He told CNN that President Putin wants to end the situation quickly.

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’s numbers increased by more than 30% from the previous week.

Western analysts have noted that Moscow has complained about the deliveries but has been less aggressive in its response than it would’ve been had the crossing been considered a red line.

The milblogger discourse over the past week mirrored the current onslaught of criticism and reporting of military details by the Kremlin’s propagandists. The Kremlin narrative had focused on general statements of progress and avoided detailed discussions of current military operations. The Kremlin had never openly recognized a major failure in the war prior to its devastating loss in Kharkiv Oblast, which prompted the partial reserve mobilization.”

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.

What Putin is doing wrong now: Explosive Shock Waves in Lyman, Ukraine, and a Debacle in a Key City

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 and Germans sent warships to secure the area, and Norway increased security around its oil and gas facilities because of roiling patches of sea.

Hill believes that the sabotage of the natural gas conduit could be a last resort by Putin, so that he doesn’t have to deal with gas issues. And it’s not going to be possible for Europe to continue to build up its gas reserves for the winter. So what Putin is doing is throwing absolutely everything at this right now.”

Western intelligence sources have said Russian naval vessels were in the area a few days ago. NATO’s North Atlantic Council has described the damage as a “deliberate, reckless and irresponsible act of sabotage.”

As Europe raced to replenish gas reserves ahead of winter, and because of strained relations between Russia and the EU, Nord Stream 1 was throttled back by Putin.

Ending the war in Ukraine on terms acceptable to its President Volodymyr Zelensky will require the West to convince Russian leader Vladimir Putin he’s losing.

The territorial ambitions of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may be constrained by the fact that he will have to negotiate peace with Putin. The German chancellor has been at the forefront of wanting a quicker end to the war and a return to prosperity in Europe.

There is a stalemate at the moment with both sides building up forces for operations expected in the late winter/spring and the summer, while Russia makes costly attacks in several areas.

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces on Sunday hunted Russian stragglers in the key city of Lyman, which was taken back from Russia after its demoralized troops, according to a major Russian newspaper, fled with “empty eyes,” and despite Moscow’s baseless claim it had annexed the region surrounding the city.

Two days after President Vladimir V. Putin held a grandiose ceremony to commemorate the incorporation of four Ukrainian territories into Russia, the debacle in the city — Lyman, a strategic railway hub in the eastern region of Donbas — ratcheted up pressure on a Russian leadership already facing withering criticism at home for its handling of the war and its conscription of up to 300,000 men into military service.

In an unusually candid article published Sunday, the prominent Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that in the last few days of their occupation, Russian forces in Lyman had been plagued by desertion, poor planning and the delayed arrival of reserves.

It was worse than expected. Putin lost Lyman just as he was publicly declaring that the Donetsk region – in which Lyman sits – was now annexed by Russia.

War with the West: The Case against a Nuclear Pipeline, the Violation of the Fourth Amendment and the First Amendment Fundamental Principles in the United States

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

These aren’t toys anymore. The deputy commander of one Russian battalion told the war correspondent that they are part of a systematic and clear offensive by NATO and the army. The soldier insisted that his unit had been intercepting discussions by Romanian and Polish 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.

A far-right thinker who had a daughter killed by a car bomb told a interviewer that he believed Russia was fighting a broader campaign.

“We see it not just as a moral duty to help Ukraine to survive and win the war,” he said. “But also an opportunity to rethink the discussion about democracy and the values of freedom.” Ukrainians are demonstrating that these values are worth fighting for.

Mr. Dugin, like Mr. Putin, has accused Western countries of damaging the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which ruptured after underwater explosions last month in what both European and Russian leaders have called an act of sabotage.

He said that the West accused us of blowing up the gas line. “We must understand the geopolitical confrontation, the war, our war with the West on the scale and extent on which it is unfolding. In other words, we must join this battle with a mortal enemy who does not hesitate to use any means, including exploding gas pipelines.”

Russia will keep doing this because it works. And US President Joe Biden and other Western leaders consistently reassure Russia that it works by explicitly referring to the fear of escalation – precisely the fear Russia wants to stoke.

The United States and its allies have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, and their people have largely accepted the enormous cost. In the United States, there have been few voices of political resistance other than the far left and far right. As the war goes on, there will be more and more questions. The speaker of the House warned that there should be no blank check when it comes to anything.

Sept. 26: The first troops called up in Russia’s new mobilization in Ukraine arrived at military bases, many with no prior training and with few trainers on hand, according to British defense intelligence. “Mistakes” in the call-up should be fixed, said Putin.

The day after Sept. 28: The region of occupied part of Ukraine was urged to join the Russian Federation. Putin’s approval rating dropped by six points in a Levada Center poll. The U.S. Defense Department, meanwhile, announced $1.1 billion in additional security aid to Ukraine.

Oct. 2: Leaders of nine European countries made a joint statement in support of Ukraine joining NATO. Pope Francis made a strong plea for the end of the war.

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

The primary utility, many U.S. officials say, would be as part of a last-ditch effort by Mr. Putin to halt the Ukrainian counteroffensive, by threatening to make parts of Ukraine uninhabitable. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe some of the sensitive discussions.

The David vs. Goliath War in Ukraine: How Russian Repressed Democracy Changes the Status of the United States and its Relations with the Middle East

Current CNN producer and correspondent Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist. She is a columnist for World Politics Review and a columnist for The Washington Post. The views that she expresses in this commentary are her own. CNN has more opinion on it.

On Sunday, almost by accident, two groups of demonstrators came together in London. One was holding a Ukrainian flag; the other was holding an Iranian flag. When they met, they cheered each other, and chanted, “All together we will win.”

Ukraine’s brave resistance galvanized and unified the West. Even in polarized United States, significant majorities came together in support of Ukraine despite the best efforts of some.

These David vs. Goliath battles show bravery that is almost unbelievable to the rest of us, and is inspiring bravery in places like Afghanistan.

Last month a young woman died in Iran. She was killed in the custody of morality police who were looking for her because she broke rules that required women to dress modestly.

In scenes of exhilarated defiance, Iranian women have danced around fires in the night, shedding the hijab – the headcover mandated by the regime – and tossing it into the flames.

Women in Iran rose up against the theocracy, revolting against its repressive rules. The regime – not coincidentally now supplying arms to Russia – responded with more violence, killing hundreds, according to human rights organizations.

Russia, which has been in Syria for more than a year, still helps keep the government in power. The change could make Israel rethink it’s stance toward the Ukraine conflict, and could herald shifts in the balance of power in one of the world’s most complicated conflict zones.

The war also exposed Russia’s military as a paper tiger and led to unspeakable suffering in Ukraine and growing repression at home. Putin’s genius, it turns out, was a mirage.

There is a growing list of “non-desirable” organizations that are intended to hurt the reputation of the Russian public.

Iran acknowledged for the first time providing some drones to Russia months before the war in Ukraine but denied continuing to supply them, on Nov. 5. Zelenskyy claimed that Iran was lying because Ukrainian forces shoot down at least 10 Iranian drones a day.

The fall of Putin: from astrophysics to euclidean politics in a Russian-dominated dynamo regime

While very different in their ideologies, these regimes have in common many of the same things like their willingness to project power overseas and their suppression of dissent.

Many Putin critics have died of unknown causes. Many people fell from windows. According to democracy research and advocacy groups, Iran and Russia have become leaders in the field of poisoning and death of foreign critics.

For people in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, there’s more than passing interest in the admittedly low probability that the Iranian regime could fall. It would make a huge difference for their countries and their lives. After all, Iran’s constitution calls for spreading its Islamist revolution.

The world’s leading autocrats looked unstoppable even. The democracies were roiled by violent protests against Covid-19 restrictions. Putin was preparing for a victory. Xi was hosting the Olympics, basking in attention, and preparing to solidify his control of China.

The Ehrenkahn-Zlatev Plan for a U.S. Military Assistance Including the Deployment of a Missile Defense System

The city of Ehrenkahn, Mo. Martin Zlatev fell out with his partner at a limo company and decided to make a career out of selling rockets, grenade launchers and bullets to the Ukrainian military.

They recently wrote to the Ministry of Defense ofUkraine and said time is of the essence. They outlined a plan to sell American, Bulgarian and Bosnian arms to Ukraine.

The new military assistance from the Biden administration includes the first-ever deployment of a missile defense system. It’s one of the most advanced and expensive defense systems the U.S. has supplied.

WASHINGTON — United States intelligence agencies believe parts of the Ukrainian government authorized the car bomb attack near Moscow in August that killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist, an element of a covert campaign that U.S. officials fear could widen the conflict.

The United States took no part in the attack, either by providing intelligence or other assistance, officials said. American officials also said they were not aware of the operation ahead of time and would have opposed the killing had they been consulted. Afterward, American officials admonished Ukrainian officials over the assassination, they said.

The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World, Peter Bergen, writes about Russian President Putin’s Invasion of Afghanistan in 1979

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’s book is called The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World. The opinions that are expressed are of his own. View more opinion on CNN.

Russian President Putin had a plan to take over the country. The Russians failed to capture Kyiv during the first days of their invasion.

His revisionist account explains how he sees the war inUkraine, which he thinks has always been part of Russia even though the soviet union was overthrown more than three decades ago.

When the soviets invaded Afghanistan in December of 1979 they intended to install a puppet government and get out of the country as fast as possible, according to a recent book about the invasion.

The US was initially reluctant to escalate its support for the Afghan resistance, fearing a larger conflict with the Soviet Union. It took until 1986 for the CIA to arm the Afghans with highly effective anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, which ended the Soviets’ total air superiority, eventually forcing them to withdraw from Afghanistan three years later.

Petraeus: I think that we should realize that Ukraine doesn’t fit in with the future of warfare. In large measure, it is what we would have seen had the Cold War turned hot in the mid-1980s – with largely Cold War weapons systems (albeit with some modernization).

But all of these weapons are effective at soaking up Ukraine’s limited air defenses in the same way Russia has thrown untrained soldiers on the front line to soak up bullets and shells. The most cost-effective and capable countermeasure Russia could potentially exhaust with is the Patriot system, which is disproportionately expensive.

Russia’s Central Military District, Lapin’s Army, and the Solovyov-Kadyrov Debattle

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.

He must know that the Romanov monarchy was weakened from the loss of the Russian empire in 1905. Czar Nicholas II’s feckless leadership during the First World War then precipitated the Russian Revolution in 1917. Subsequently, much of the Romanov family was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad.

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.

The economic damage has already put an end to Putin’s two-decades strong reputation for providing “stability” — once a key basis for his support among Russians who remember the chaotic years that followed the collapse of the USSR.

In a recent interview with Russian arch-propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, the head of the defense committee in Russia’s State Duma demanded that officials cease lying and level with the Russian public.

The Ministry of Defense was hiding from the truth about the cross-border strikes in Russian regions.

Valuyki is in the Belgorod region. Kyiv has generally adopted a neither-confirm-nor-deny stance when it comes to striking Russian targets across the border.

“There is no need to somehow cast a shadow over the entire Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation because of some, I do not say traitors, but incompetent commanders, who did not bother, and were not accountable, for the processes and gaps that exist today,” Stremousov said. Many people claim that the Minister of Defense could shoot himself as an officer, even if he allowed this to happen. The word officer is an unfamiliar one for many.

Kadyrov has been a lot less reticent about naming Russian commanders when it comes to blaming them for the retreat from the strategic Ukrainian city of Lyman.

Writing on Telegram, Kadyrov personally blamed Colonel-General Aleksandr Lapin, the commander of Russia’s Central Military District, for the debacle, accusing him of moving his headquarters away from his subordinates and failing to adequately provide for his troops.

“The Russian information space has significantly deviated from the narratives preferred by the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) that things are generally under control,” ISW noted in its recent analysis.

Kadyrov, who recently announced that he had been promoted by Putin to the rank of colonelgeneral, has been one of the most outspoken voices against the past methods. He said in a Telegram post he would give the government extraordinary wartime powers in Russia if he had his way.

“We can use all weapon systems available to us in the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and also to defend Russia and our people,” he said. “This is not a way to bluff.”

His logic came right out of the Cuban Missile Crisis, to which Mr. Biden referred twice in his comments at a Democratic fund-raiser in New York, a good indication of what is on his mind. In that famous case — the closest the world came to a full nuclear exchange, 60 years ago this month — President John F. Kennedy struck a secret bargain with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier, to remove American missiles from Turkey.

With that deal, which came to light only later, a disaster that could have killed tens of millions of Americans and untold numbers of Soviet citizens was averted.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Putin, Energy Minister Zaporizhzhia, and the Internet of Things: The Air Raiders and Russian Attacks of Monday

Michael Bociurkiw is a global affairs analyst who in summer relocated from Canada to Ukraine. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

In some ways, Monday’s attacks were not a surprise – especially after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday accused Kyiv of attacking the Kerch bridge, calling it an “act of terrorism.”

The significance of the strikes on central Kyiv, and close to the government quarter, cannot be overstated. It is a red line being crossed on the 229th day of the war.

The area around my office in Odesa remained quiet after the air raid sirens went off, with no reports of missiles or drones being shot down. (Normally at this time of the day, nearby restaurants would be heaving with customers, and chatter of plans for 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 have died and dozens have been injured.

There is no question that this week’s missile attacks caused significant damage, beyond causing dozens of casualties. Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told CNN on Tuesday that around 30% of the country’s energy infrastructure had been hit by Russian missiles since Monday.

The sound of the air raid sirens and Russian attacks shattered the relative calm in Ukrainian cities far from the country’s battlefields.

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.

There is only one bridge that connects mainland Russia and the peninsula of Crimea. That the attack took place a day after his 70th birthday (the timing prompted creative social media denizens to create a split-screen video of Marilyn Monroe singing ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President”) can be taken as an added blow to an aging autocrat whose ability to withstand shame and humiliation is probably nil.

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. One of the first things that the president of China did after Beijing reclaimed Macau was to build the world’s longest sea crossing bridge. Two years of delays caused the opening of the road bridge.

The Response of Ukrainian Defense Minister Vladimir Putin to the Decay of the Petrovskii Volkov Explosion and the Security Situation in the Cold War

The reaction among Ukrainians to the explosion was instantaneous: humorous memes lit up social media channels like a Christmas tree. Text messages were used to share a sense of jubilation.

Sitting still was not an option for Putin, he was consumed by self-interest. He responded in the only way he knows how, by unleashing more death and destruction, with the force that probably comes natural to a former KGB operative.

Facing increasing criticism from home, as well as state-controlled television, has placed Putin on thin ice.

According to a report by Roman Kravets in August, the Chief of the Main Intelligence directorate at the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, Major General Krystylo Budanov, told him that by the end of the year at the least they had to enter the peninsula.

Washington and others should use urgent phone diplomacy to try to persuade China and India not to use more deadly weapons, because they still have some leverage over Putin.

The moral and ethical obligation of the democracies to help a nation with freedom threatened by an authoritarian power is the first reason that prompted an immediate response from the West. National self-determination is a guiding principle of American foreign policy. The US administrations have honored it imperfectly, as is the case with so many guiding principles. But it remains valuable in finding a way forward. Mr. Putin is threatening to return Europe to the instability of previous eras when nations frequently invaded each other and altered the continent’s borders by force.

Furthermore, high tech defense systems are needed to protect Kyiv and crucial energy infrastructure around the country. It’s crucial that the heating systems are protected with winter around the corner.

The attacks on Monday in Ukraine as a test of Russian military diplomacy: The U.S. response to Putin’s losing battlefield war

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 caused the city dwellers who had spent months in air raid shelters in the subways to lose their sense of safety and left them scared 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.

Two headline packages could have an impact on the war. Russia has the most serious threat now because of the constant bombardment of energy infrastructure. It is making winter colder and unbearable for some, plunging cities into darkness of up 12 hours a day and sometimes longer, in the hope of sapping high Ukrainian morale.

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.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has long sought more long-range missile systems from Washington and NATO allies. In a conversation with US President Joe Biden last Sunday, Zelensky thanked the US for its continued support and asked for more air defense help. He told Biden that Russian missiles had damaged half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure.

John Kirby, the head of strategic communication at the National Security Council, said that the United States was looking favorably on the requests of the government in Ukranian. “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. Now that’s not to say that the explosion on the Crimea bridge might have accelerated some of their planning,” Kirby said.

The attacks in Ukraine on Monday could lead to another pivot in the conflict, as expressed by the French President.

Retired Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, former director for European Affairs on the National Security Council, said that by attacking targets designed to hurt Ukrainian morale and energy infrastructure, Putin was sending a message about how he will prosecute the war in the coming months.

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

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’s Anderson Cooper live from her basement in Ukraine on Monday that she was angry at the return of fear and violence to the lives of Ukrainians from a new round of Russian “terror.”

She said he is still powerful and can set off fireworks to scare people in other countries.

Ukraine, Russia and the War on the Irregular Resources of the Russo Central Command: A View from the Last Ukrainian Invasion

Russia massed tens of thousands of troops in Belarus before its February invasion and used Belarusian territory as a staging ground for its initial, unsuccessful assault on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. The number of troops in Moscow is still hundreds, but now they are expected to increase sharply.

Mr. Lukashenko told military and security officials that there would be more than a thousand troops.

The announcement of a new joint force on Monday did not give any information about what it was going to do or whether it would help Russia. Some of the Russian soldiers that might enter his country might have been convicted of crimes and many of them are ill trained.

The strongman, who has resisted the pressure from the Russians to send in his own troops, accused Ukraine of planning attacks from the south without citing evidence.

Any further Belarusian involvement in the war could also have a psychological impact, Puri suggested. “Everyone’s mind in Ukraine and in the West has been oriented towards fighting one army,” he said. Putin believes that this war is about the reunification of the lands of ancient Rus states.

Mr. Lukashenko is dependent on Moscow for money, fuel and security aid to survive after 28 years in power.

State television broadcasted on Monday the suffering and flaunted it. It showed plumes of smoke and carnage in central Kyiv, along with empty store shelves and a long-range forecast promising months of freezing temperatures there.

Until more arrive, there is the risk – all too familiar to the government and people of Ukraine – that the Russian mix of missiles will wreak much greater havoc among the civilian population, especially if the Russians persist with the tactic of using swarms of missiles, inundating air defenses.

The Pentagon’s view at the time was that of its weapons stocks, Russia was “running the lowest on cruise missiles, particularly air-launched cruise missiles,” but that Moscow still had more than 50% of its pre-war inventory.

Russian inventory is being depleted, and it is unclear if they will use older, less accurate but equally powerful missiles.

We see how sophisticated fire andforget shoulder-launched anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles impact. The impact of use of medium-range anti-ship missiles has been seen. We’ve seen use of offensive cyber capabilities, but not great success by the Russians.

He said in his CNN interview that this was the first time in the war that Russia has targeted energy infrastructure.

A senior Defense Department official added that work was continuing on improving Ukrainian air defenses, including “finding Soviet-era capabilities to make sure that countries were ready (and) could donate them and help move those capabilities.”

The installation of a Yars intercontinental missile in the Kaluga region was seen by the Russian defense ministry, and it was shared with the Kozelsky missile formation commander.

The majority of missiles fired at Ukraine on Thursday were shot down, according to the preliminary data from the Ukrainian military. Klitschko said 16 missiles were destroyed by Ukraine’s air defenses over Kyiv.

It is uneconomic to waste advanced systems on taking out cheap drones. Russia has hundreds of attack drones that may have other answers. Russia has ordered a number of Shahed-136 drones from Iran.

European defense officials paint a bleak picture. No one wants publicly to say that supporting Ukraine has caused problems, but the ammo crunch is coming and it will take major intervention to put right.

Ukraine’s wish-list – circulated at Wednesday’s meeting – included missiles for their existing systems and a “transition to Western-origin layered air defense system” as well as “early warning capabilities.”

He said that the system would not control all the airspace over Ukranian, but it will control priority targets that the Ukranian needs to protect. It is a mix of all of the above, with short-range low- altitude systems and then medium-range medium altitude systems and then long-range and high altitude systems.

Western systems are beginning to trickle in. The first IRIS-T missile from Germany arrived at the Ukrainian air defense base Tuesday, and two units of the NASAM are expected in the near future.

Ukraine “badly needed” modern systems such as the IRIS-T that arrived this week from Germany and the NASAMS expected from the United States “Bronk”, he said.

Vladimir Putin’s legacy as Prime Minister: The case for an end to the gift-giving to Ukraine and toward the end of the crisis in Europe

Poland was given a thanks Tuesday by the general of Ukraine for training the air defense battalion that destroyed nine of the Shaheeds.

He said Poland had given Ukraine “systems” to help destroy the drones. Last month there were reports that the Polish government had bought advanced Israeli equipment (Israel has a policy of not selling “advanced defensive technology” to Kyiv) and was then transferring it to Ukraine.

The extreme right saw the Russian strongman as a role model over time because of the differences in Western democracies. Although he trained a lot of his venom against the US, Putin claimed to be motivated by a passion for preserving ultra-conservative values.

There have been images of bombed out schools and hospitals and the determined, so-far-largely- successful pushback by the Ukraine that have made many former fans reconsider their admiration.

As the leader of the post fascist Brothers of Italy, who is poised to become prime minister, she used to be warm towards Putin, but now she says she’ll keep sending weapons to help the Ukrainians. Likewise, Matteo Salvini, who once called Putin “the best statesman on Earth” and used to sport a shirt with Putin’s face on it, now insists he supports Ukraine.

The source of their reversal may have been discovered in a survey that showed favorable opinions of Putin and Russia had dropped among far-right members. Among Salvini’s Lega backers, confidence in Putin to do the right thing regarding world affairs collapsed, from 62% last year to 10% now.

The acting president of the RN threated to sue anyone who suggested there were financial ties between the party and Russia. (Le Pen’s presidential campaign was partly financed by a mysterious multimillion dollar loan from Russia in 2014. Le Pen said French banks refused to give her a loan.)

The leadership of the Alternative for Germany party has tried to tone it down while mobilizing opposition to Berlin’s policies on the basis that it creates hardships for Germans.

A couple of weeks ago, CPAC, the conservative political action group, tweeted a cringeworthy message that framed the conflict along Putin’s preferred lines, calling on Democrats to “end the gift-giving to Ukraine” and focus on the US. The group deleted the post, claiming that it didn’t go through proper vetting.

At the far-right America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) in February, days after Russian started bombing Ukraine, AFPAC founder and notorious White nationalist Nick Fuentes bellowed, “Can we get a round of applause for Russia!”

Trump held his ground, repeating his praise of the Russian dictator and claiming, “Putin is playing Biden like a drum, and it’s not pretty to watch.” (Trump hasn’t been praising Putin as much lately. More often, the war is used to praise himself.

Even the leaders of former Soviet Republics, including autocratic ones Putin protected in the past, are letting him down. Alexander Lukashenko is a dictator from the Republic of Belarus who has stood with the Kremlin.

In the US – where 73% of the people want continued support for Ukraine even after Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons – a few prominent far-right figures still defend him.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson is such a useful voice for Putin propaganda that clips from his nightly show are a mainstay in Russian state-controlled television. The host at Newsmax lambasted him because of the spectacle. Eric was referring to Carlson as an “alleged American” for defending Russia.

Russian retaliation – an onslaught of missile attacks – has expanded as Ukrainian forces have continued to push back Russian units and reclaim territory seized in the early days of the war.

The War in Ukraine has Been Alive and Well: The Status of the Russian Army, the Kremlin, and the Security Council

Not for the first time, the war is in a new phase. Keir Giles is a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House and he said that there have been at least three different wars.

As winter approaches, the stakes of the war have been raised once more. Giles said that Russia would like to keep it up. 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.

Oleksii Hromov, a senior Ukrainian military official, said last week that Kyiv’s forces have recaptured some 120 settlements since late September as they advance in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson regions. In its push in Kherson, the Ukrainians said that they had liberated five settlements.

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 announcement came shortly after the head of the Moscow-backed administration in Kherson appealed to the Kremlin for help moving residents out of harm’s way, in the latest indication that Russian forces were struggling in the face of Ukrainian advances.

The counter-offensives have made a difference, as they disproved the idea that Ukraine lacked the ability to seize ground.

The Russians would be very happy if they can get to Christmas with the frontline looking the same as it is.

Landing a major blow in Donbas would send another powerful signal, and Ukraine will be eager to improve on its gains before temperatures plummet on the battlefield, and the full impact of rising energy prices is felt around Europe.

The country’s economy continues to be crippled by the impact of war and missile attacks on critical power infrastructure. Millions of Ukrainians are without heat, electricity and water during the winter. (However, indicative of the resiliency that Ukrainians have displayed since the start of the war, many say they are prepared to endure such hardship for another two to five years if it means defeating Russia).

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 British spy chief said on Tuesday that the Russian military knew that their supplies were running out.

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.”

Petraeus: I will not stop. It could if he got everyone in Russia to work together. However, to date, the mobilizations have been partial, as Putin seems to fear how the country might respond to total mobilization. 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.

Giles said the reopening of a northern front is a challenge for Ukranian. 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.

Less than a year into his term as president of Ukraine, Volodomyr Zelensky’s skills as negotiator were put to the test in his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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.

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.”

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

Ukrainian officials have warned for some time of a renewed Russian offensive and have asked for more powerful weaponry from Western allies to counter the threat.

After eight months of war in Ukraine, and eight rounds of negotiations, the European Union has slapped sanctions on Russia that run hundreds of pages long.

Some goods and sectors are still exempt. A look at just a few items reveals the intense back-room bargaining and arm-twisting by some nations and by private industry to protect sectors they deem too valuable to give up — as well as the compromises the European Union has made to maintain consensus.

The Belgians have been protecting trade with Russia. The Greeks ship Russian oil. France and several other countries still import Russian nuclear material.

The Role of Nuclear Deterrence in the Dialogue of Iran and Russia in the Stability of World War II: The Case of the Russian-Iran Nuclear Arsenal

“This is a partnership of convenience between two embattled dictatorships,” said Karim Sadjadpour, an Iran expert at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Both countries are deep in crisis, struggling economically and politically. Iran and Russia both have their work cut out for them, as Iran is trying to quash street protests that pose the most serious challenge to the government and Russia is trying to manage rising dismusion over a faltering war effort.

The head of the nuclear information project at a Washington think tank says that Russia has the largest nuke arsenal in the world. The Russian arsenal is diverse and tactical nukes are not seen as smaller weapons by the public. He says they have a wide range of bomb yields, which can be as high as a hundred of kilotons, more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb.

The classic nuclear deterrence has been effective at containing the war in Ukraine says the director of Europe and Central Asia for the International Crisis Group.

Fink says that she still believes that Putin is unlikely to take the war nuclear. Russia has a lot of powerful conventional weapons it can use in the future to attack Ukraine.

For the use of a nuclear weapon to be shocking, “You really need to make it clear that you are willing to target civilians, and that means, to put it bluntly, killing a lot of people,” he says.

Russia and its supporters will present this as a huge and dangerous escalation. That’s nonsense, but it’s highly effective nonsense.

But Oliker points out that all of this still isn’t realistic. She hopes that the two sides will still find a way to begin de-escalating the conflict.

She says it takes a “whole bunch of jumps and jumps” to tell a story about how to get there. There are some leaps and bounds to the path to global thermonuclear war.

Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin and the Russian Invasion of Ukraine: The first time Moscow has declared martial law since World War II

The Mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, was taking pains to offer reassurances. Mr. Sobyanin said that no measures were introduced to limit the normal rhythm of the city’s life.

Despite the new power granted to them, the governors of the regional districts said they wouldn’t impose entry or exit restrictions.

But many Russians are sure to see a warning message in the martial law imposed in Ukraine, the first time that Moscow has declared martial law since World War II, analysts say.

“People are worried that they will soon close the borders, and the siloviki” — the strong men close to Mr. Putin in the Kremlin — “will do what they want,” Ms. Stanovaya said.

On Tuesday, the newly appointed commander of the Russian invasion, Gen. Sergei Surovikin, acknowledged that his army’s position in Kherson was “already quite difficult” and appeared to suggest that a tactical retreat might be necessary. The general said he would make difficult decisions about military deployment, but did not reveal what those might be.

According to senior officials based in the Middle East, Russia redeployed troops from Syria in a sign that their influence has waned as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

A 21-year-old aspiring social media influencer sitting on a park bench in Kontraktova Square is talking with two friends about the war. The safety of the people depends on United States support.

He says the upcoming U.S. elections are the top issue he sees on his social media channels.

The U.S. is Getting Closer to Home: Kevin McCarthy, Yevheniia Kravchuk, and Pavel Burkovskiy

Kevin McCarthy warned his party members this week not to write a blank check for Ukraine if they win control of the lower chamber next year.

“I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine,” he told Punchbowl News in an interview published Tuesday.

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.

A line of Ukrainian politicians, activists — even soldiers — have been traveling to Washington in advance of the midterms to keep up relations and lobby for more aid.

Yevheniia Kravchuk is a member of parliament with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Servant of the People party. Since the start of the war she has traveled to Washington to meet with both Democrats and Republicans.

It is not all on the fringes. McCarthy, who could become speaker of the House after the elections next week, thinks the GOP might take aid to Ukraine out of the equation. 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.”

A Pew Research Center poll last month found that 32% of Republican and Republican-leaning independents believe the United States is providing too much support for Ukraine in the war. It increased from less than 10% in March.

A majority of Americans said they were worried about Ukraine’s defeat, but that percentage fell to 38% in September.

Yes. A $45 billion aid package is in the works, and is part of a drumbeat from the Biden administration. Ukraine is getting as much aid from the US as they can give, but they will not stop.

Burkovskiy laments how Ukraine got sucked into Trump’s first impeachment, after Zelenskyy came close to submitting to Trump’s demand to announce an investigation into the family of then-candidate Joe Biden.

Another factor contributing to fears about the U.S. midterms is that many Ukrainians don’t understand U.S. politics, says Volodmyr Dubovyk, the director of international studies at Odesa Mechnikov University.

“Imagine if there was a member of the House, and they spoke about why we were spending money andUkraine was corrupt, and people in Ukraine heard that, and it meant, oh my God, that’s a new thing.”

The balance of power in Washington means that a few Republicans can’t change the direction of U.S. support for the war, he believes. And he emphasizes that Ukraine has much bigger problems than U.S. politics.

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, only to see Russia grind forward during the brutal fighting in the Donbas over the summer.

The anger of the Roma women during the anti-government protests: The Dean Obeidallah Show hosts SiriusXM and The Daily Beast

ROME — The retired women were shopping at the outdoor pasta counter in Rome and commiserated about how the price of things like tagliatelle and oranges had gone through the roof.

Simonetta Belardi, a 69-year-old socialist, said that inflation made her lose her savings, but also wore her out in her support of the rebels in the war against the Ukrainians. She was no fan of Russia, she said, but the time had long passed for an end to military support for Ukraine and a shift to diplomatic negotiations for peace. She said more and more people she knew, in need of economic relief, were losing their patience, too.

There is a sentiment of impatience and inchoate anger that can be found in the weekly protests in Germany, as well as the swelling ranks of French strikers. And it has leaders nervous.

Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. His own opinions are reflected in this commentary. CNN has more opinion on it.

The End of the Russian War: Do Ukrainians Stand Up for the United States Against Putin’s Invasion? A Red Line in the Sand, Politics and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen

In Ohio, a Republican Senate candidate initially said he wanted the Ukrainians to be successful. But as The Washington Post detailed on Sunday, Vance’s original remark is causing Ukrainian Americans who are lifelong Republicans to support his Democratic opponent, Tim Ryan, in that too-close-to-call Senate race.

In fact, around the same time that Russia was destroying Ukrainian power plants, McCarthy was suggesting that a GOP-led Congress might no longer provide robust funding to help Ukraine fight back against Putin’s illegal war — a position that Republican Rep. Liz Cheney called a “dangerous” move motivated by political self-interest.

“The notion that now Kevin McCarthy is going to make himself the leader of the pro-Putin wing of my party is just a stunning thing. Cheney said on Meet the Press that it is dangerous.

He knows better and is willing to sacrifice everything for his own political gain, I think, because he knows that America will no longer stand for freedom.

Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — who recently declared that if Republicans win the House in next month’s elections that she expects McCarthy “to give me a lot of power and a lot of leeway” — blamed Ukraine for the war shortly after Russia’s attack, saying that “Ukraine just kept poking the bear and poking the bear, which is Russia, and Russia invaded.”

Conservative Fox News stars have been working with the Republican base to prepare them for an end to US assistance for Ukraine.

And just last week, Ingraham derided former Vice President Mike Pence for referring to the United States as the “arsenal of democracy” and suggested our massive military is too depleted to help other countries such as Ukraine. Jim Banks of Indiana, a member of the GOP, agreed with McCarthy that aid for Ukraine couldn’t be given because America couldn’t put itself first.

As Biden suggested, McCarthy and some of his fellow Republicans may or may not get it. But there’s one person who fully gets it: Vladmir Putin. The GOP will win back control of the House and it will give everyone a reason to celebrate.

The author of the book “A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen” is a contributor to CNN, twice winner of the Deadline Club Award. He worked for The New York Times as a correspondent in Europe and Asia. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. CNN has more opinion.

The blindingly obvious is that he is losing badly on the battlefield and is failing to achieve even the scaled back objectives of his invasion.

Predictions for Europe’s next major oil and energy budget crisis: a cross-cutting battle between Europe and the Kremlin

This ability to keep going depends on a number of variables, including availability of critical and affordable energy supplies for the coming winter, to popular will across a broad range of nations with often conflicting priorities.

European Union powers agreed on a plan to control energy prices early Friday after Russia and other countries banned imports and the Kremlin cut 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.

The European Commission should start work on a gas cap mechanism since there was only a clear mandate, according to French President and President of the European Commission,Emmanuel Macron.

Germany is skeptical of any price caps. The ministers have to find out details with Germany, who are concerned that such caps could encourage higher consumption.

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. The conference call has been scheduled for Wednesday to try and reach some agreement.

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

Left and right: Italy’s new prime minister has given up fighting the post-Fascist in Italy, but it still has been ruled by the West

And now a new government has taken power in Italy. She is Italy’s first woman prime minister and has tried to downplay the post-fascist aura of her party. One of her far-right coalition partners meanwhile, has expressed deep appreciation for Putin.

At a gathering of his party loyalists, Berlusconi described the pleasure that Putin had brought him on his 86th birthday with 20 bottles of vodka and a very sweet letter.

The other leading member of the ruling Italian coalition, Matteo Salvini, named Saturday as deputy prime minister, said during the campaign, “I would not want the sanctions [on Russia] to harm those who impose them more than those who are hit by them.”

Hungary and Poland, two of the most ardently right-wing nations in the EU, have disagreed over the direction of the bloc and its policies. Poland took offence at Viktor Orban’s pro-Putin sentiment.

The Congressional progressive caucus, which consists of 30 members, called on Biden to open talks with Russia on ending the conflict, while it’s still happening and its missiles and drones are hitting deep into the interior.

Mia Jacob, the chair of the caucus, apologized for her comments in a statement to reporters. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to renew America’s support.

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

A day before this report, the US announced seizure of all property of a top Russian procurement agent Yury Orekhov and his agencies “responsible for procuring US-origin technologies for Russian end-users…including advanced semiconductors and microprocessors.”

The Justice Department has brought charges against individuals and companies that are trying to bring high tech equipment into Russia.

The Story of War and Inflation in the United States: Iran’s Role in the Middle East, NATO, and Other Continuum Goals

Weiss said Ukraine is now “mobilizing all of its citizens to make good on the things that people 100 years ago could only aspire to. That’s a country that will have an identity that’s largely founded in opposition to Russia, and in a national narrative of survival and overcoming.”

Iran’s rivals and foes in the Middle East, of NATO members, and of nations that still want to restore the nuclear deal with Iran are all paying attention to the strengthening relationship between Moscow and Tehran.

The direction of human history is at stake as a result of a Russia win, and it would reopen the door to wars of aggression as most nations had come to reject during the Second World War.

There are repercussions to what is happening far from the battlefields. 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).

Syria’s airspace, bordering Israel, is controlled by Russian forces, which have allowed Israel to strike Iranian weapon flows to Hezbollah, a militia sworn to Israel’s destruction. In exchange for assistance in developing defensive systems, and new military communication systems, but no missile shields, the company will provide other offerings, according to a report.

The effect of months of military aid. CNN reported last month that the US was running low on some weapons systems and equipment it provided to Ukraine. Look for that storyline to become part of the US aid debate after Republicans take control of the House of Representatives next month and promise more scrutiny of US aid for Ukraine.

In fact, the war in Ukraine is already affecting everyone, everywhere. Fuel prices have gone up because of the conflict, causing a global explosion of inflation.

Prices affect everyone, from family budgets to individual lives. When they come with such powerful momentum, they pack a political punch. Inflation, worsened by the war, has put incumbent political leaders on the defensive in countless countries.

Nuclear Safety in the Army: Seven Pillars of Security and Security in the Cold War. The U.S., the UN and the IAEA

Russian state TV has used that kind of apocalyptic language before. Neither are baseless allegations that Ukraine is preparing a dirty bomb. The language used by Russia’s propaganda organs hasn’t changed much.

A popular account with nearly 100,000 followers uploaded a video in February that showed a far-right Ukrainian organization constructing a bomb with a radiological meter on top of a barrel. The account warned that a bomb would be used against Russian troops in the event of an invasion.

The video was quickly discredited due to its spelling mistakes and the fact that it showed common industrial equipment. Nevertheless, the basic claim remained a constant reference for those pro-Kremlin Telegram accounts—appearing in hundreds of posts over the last eight months, being viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

The leaders of the UN and IAEA are discussing what needs to be done. Soon after the war in Ukraine began, the IAEA published ‘seven pillars’ of nuclear safety in armed conflict. These stress the need to do the following: secure the physical integrity of plants; maintain fully functional safety and security systems and equipment; ensure plant and safety staff can fulfil their duties without pressure; ensure a constant, secure off-site power supply from the grid; ensure uninterrupted logistical supply chains and transport to and from the site; maintain effective on-site and off-site radiation-monitoring systems, and emergency preparedness and response measures; and maintain reliable communications with the regulator and others1.

Next, the IAEA needs to get their seven pillars introduced into international law in a Security Council resolution and then in a new convention. There’s Additional Protocol. I should remove any right to attack a nuclear-power plant during a conflict. The threat to civilian life, ecosystems and economies from a large-scale radiation release is too grave.

The integrity of reactor cores and storage pools is the main concern. If fuel rods are exposed, a core meltdown and uncontrolled release of radiation is likely, as happened at Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 19792. Ukraine’s energy minister Herman Halushchenko warned that if there were one mine or one missile, then the generators would stop working, and he said that it would take at least 30 minutes before the reaction started.

Russian control of the plant also delayed the IAEA from conducting its required annual inspection, which is crucial for ensuring safety and verifying the secure disposal of nuclear fuel and preventing its diversion for military uses1.

Outside of Europe, there are 57 units to supply 60 gigawatts of new nuclear power under construction. China plans to quadruple nuclear power generation to 180 GW by 2035, adding 150 new reactors to its existing 47, at a cost of US$440 billion. India operates 22 reactors and is constructing 7 new ones; Bangladesh, Belarus, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates are each building their first.

Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Syria have been highly unstable, complicated further by persistent conflict with its Kurdish minority and the extremist Islamist movement Daesh. Since the 1999 Kargil war, relations between India and Pakistan have been more stable but border fighting still occurs. India-China relations are tense, but the Ukraine scenario seems unlikely. There are three civilian nuclear reactors in Taiwan and the deployment of troops from the mainland to Taiwan would be concerning.

Given the old designs of many nuclear plants and the large amounts of waste in above-ground storage, such concerns will persist for decades as the conflict landscape changes.

The five-yearly review conference of the treaty ended in a stand off after it was fractured by division. The draft outcome document that was blocked by Russia would have looked at the safety and security of nuclear-power plants in conflict zones for the first time.

Yet the protocol provides a get-out clause. It permits strikes on “other military objectives located at or in the vicinity of these works or installations only if they are used in regular, significant and direct support of military operations and if such attack is the only feasible way to terminate such support”.

The site would be demilation in the eyes of the UN Security Council. But how could such a situation be monitored and secured? There is a option for a small neutral international force to support the IAEA mission. If attacks continue they might have to suppress troop incursions or other attacks on the site. This would require rapid access to air power and entail significant risks.

War and Peace in the Cold War: Nuclear Security Issues in the 21st Century and the Role of the Russian Embassies

The reality is that there is little real value to any truce, whether or not linked to negotiations. The truce gives Russia some breathing space in the military, which is desperately needed.

Rosatom’s control of the plant and Russia’s annexation of the Zaporizhzhia region add unwelcome complications. Russia should remember the pragmatism of the cold war, when the superpowers collaborated to reduce the risks of nuclear war in the interest of global security. Today is another such time.

Scholars, non-governmental organizations, the civilian nuclear industry, and the IAEA also need to devote more resources to research into making nuclear plants safer5.

It is necessary that a new reactor, fuel-storage and site designs are built to resist terrorist attacks. In 2006 the US National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was commissioned by Congress to report on the consequences of the 9/11 Commission’s finding that al-Qaeda had considered crashing planes into US nuclear plants. It did not consider the danger of military attack. Industry resisted the recommendations because of their cost, and similar analysis for nuclear plants outside the United States is sparse.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-03580-0

The Birth of Peace: The Perfect Moment for America to Celebrate the End of the Cold War with Democracy, Peace, and Peace in Crimea

Russia, Ukraine and much of eastern Europe will be lucky if the Ukraine war ends without disaster at Zaporizhzhia. The world should be ashamed that, nearly 70 years after US President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed the era of ‘atoms for peace’, people are depending on luck. The world’s governments hold the power to prevent disaster. Will they act?

And Ukraine will be watching America’s midterm election results this week, especially after some Republicans warned that the party could limit funding for Ukraine if it wins control of the House of Representatives, as forecast.

Also Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will host Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. Before Sweden can join NATO, it must meet certain conditions.

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday is scheduled to discuss an International Atomic Energy Agency report, in which Ukraine is expected to be on the agenda.

Russia rejoined a U.N.-brokered deal to safely export grain and other agricultural goods from Ukraine, on Nov. 2. Moscow had suspended its part in the deal a few days prior after saying Ukraine had launched a drone attack on its Black Sea ships.

The Pentagon announced $400 million in additional security aid to Ukraine on Nov. 4.

It took two years after Joe Biden was elected US President before he spoke to the world, but on Monday when he met with the Chinese president, the timing couldn’t have been better.

The year begins with the forces of democracy, of liberal democracy, ascendant. The far right is in disarray in the US and much of the world. The leading autocracies are on the back foot.

That’s not the only reason, however, why this was the perfect moment — from the standpoint of the United States and for democracy — for this meeting to occur: There’s much more to this geopolitical moment than who controls the US House of Representatives and Senate.

After 10 Years of Power, Putin is the Only One. The Epochal Competition between Russia and the United States During the Kherson Crisis

As Biden and Xi were meeting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an emotional, triumphant return to the devastated, now liberated city of Kherson, the one provincial capital that Russian invaders had conquered.

Putin’s adventure turned to disaster as the Ukrainians defended their country with unexpected tenacity and as Biden rallied allies in a muscular push to support Ukraine.

By the time Xi and Putin met again in September, China had done little to support Russia militarily, and Putin admitted that Xi had “questions and concerns” about Ukraine. More recently, after the Russian President thinly threatened to use nuclear weapons, Xi rebuked him.

Putin has become a pariah on the global stage due to his lack of appearances at the G20 summit.

Biden is not the only leader with a strong hand. Xi has secured a third term as leader, which allows him to rule for as long as he wants. He doesn’t have to worry about elections, about a critical press or a vociferous opposition party. He is essentially the absolute ruler of a mighty country for many years to come.

There is a mountain of daunting problems that Xi faces. The economy has slowed down so much that China is reluctant to reveal economic data. The Covid-19 vaccine is a disappointment, once a tool of global diplomacy. And partly because of that, China is imposing draconian lockdowns as the rest of the world gradually returns to normalcy after the pandemic.

Also crucial in the epochal competition between the two systems is showing that democracy works, defeating efforts of autocratic countries such as China and Russia to discredit it and proving that unprovoked wars of aggression, aimed at suppressing democracy and conquering territory, will not succeed.

The Russian missile crisis in Ukraine, and the fate of the future combat air system: What a premature truce would let both countries re-arm

Poland is not the only country facing repercussions from these attacks. Russian rockets have also knocked out power across neighboring Moldova, which is not a NATO member, and therefore attracted considerably less attention than the Polish incident.

One thing’s clear, it’s the exact circumstances of the missile. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, said Wednesday that Russia bears ultimate responsibility as it continues its war against Ukraine.

The hotline and Telegram channel was launched as a Ukrainian military intelligence project, designed to assist Russian soldiers wishing to defect, and it has taken off with 3,500 calls booked in its first two months of activity.

After fleeing Russia in March, one leading Russian journalist, who now resides in Berlin, told me last week he is willing to accept the reality that he might never be able to return to his homeland.

Rumbling in the background is the West’s attempt to diversify away from Russian oil and natural gas in an effort to deprive the country of material resources to pursue this war. “We have understood and learnt our lesson that it was an unhealthy and unsustainable dependency, and we want reliable and forward-looking connections,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission told the G20 on Tuesday.

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.

Nine months in, Russian hopes of a swift seizure have been well and truly dashed, its army largely on the defensive across more than 600 miles of battle lines strung along the eastern and southern reaches of Ukraine.

In an opinion article, retired US General and former CIA Chief David Petraetta said that the conflict would end in a negotiated resolution when Putin realized the war is unsustainable on the home front.

“The only thing a premature truce does is it allows both parties to re-arm,” Michael Kofman, director of Russian studies at the CNA think tank and a leading expert on the Russian military, told me in an interview.

Already, Russia is beginning to rearm, experts say. One of the most important aspects of this war is the availability of projectiles. 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.

Kofman cited available information showing that the manufacture of munitions – which have been the staples of the exchanges so far along Ukrainian front lines – has gone from two, and in some factories to three, shifts a day in Russia. This suggests that “they have the component parts or otherwise they wouldn’t be going to double and triple shifts,” he said.

The Russian War on the Bose-Einstein Condensation: What Will the US Do? A U.S. Army Chancellor Tells Le Monde

When there is an opportunity to negotiate, seize it. Seize the moment,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff said recently.

Petro Poroshenko, a former Ukrainian president, told the Council on Foreign Relations how Ukrainians understand negotiations. There is a killer who kills his wife, rapes your daughter, takes the second floor and opens the door to the second floor and says “OK come here”. Let’s have a discussion. What would be your reaction?”

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. According to a senior US military official, the US now believes that there is political pressure on the Russian government to move before they are ready.

And the French newspaper Le Monde has undertaken a major analysis using on-the-ground video and satellite images showing “Russia’s arms and ammunition stockpiles have been severely dented by Ukrainian targeted attacks.”

He explained that they pulled back beyond the 80 kilometer range. And in many cases, just inside Russian territory – which Ukraine has given Washington assurances it would not target with rocket systems supplied by the US.

But at some point, they’ll also get tired of this war, he added. The Russian mindset could be that they may not have everything they wanted. We will have a chunk of the Donbas and we will annex it into Russia. I think they bet on that right now.

At the same time, a truce would also allow the West to rebuild rapidly depleting arsenals that have been drained by materiel sent to Ukraine, even upgrade what’s been supplied.

There is a question as to whether the US would be prepared to return to a conflict that many are starting to wish was over by the time it gets to this point.

Putin’s nuclear weapons comments on Moscow’s battles with Russia, and his comments on the wars in the region of Melitopol and Belgorod

The land gains were described by Putin as a significant result for Russia, and he also noted that the Sea of Azov had become Russia’s internal sea. He said that Peter the Great tried to get access to that body of water.

“If it doesn’t use it first under any circumstances, it means that it won’t be the second to use it, either, because the possibility of using it in case of a nuclear strike on our territory will be sharply limited,” he said.

Putin rejected Western criticism that his previous nuclear weapons comments amounted to saber-rattling, claiming they were “not a factor provoking an escalation of conflicts, but a factor of deterrence.”

“We haven’t gone mad. Putin said that they were fully aware of what nuclear weapons were. He said they are more advanced and state-of-the-art than anything other nuclear power has.

The Russian leader acknowledged that Russia has problems with supplies, treatment of wounded soldiers, and limited desertions but he didn’t address Russia’s battles or its attempts to cement control over the seized regions.

In the Kursk region bordering Ukraine, the governor posted photos of new concrete anti-tank barriers — known as “dragon’s teeth” — in open fields. On Tuesday, the governor had said a fire broke out at an airport in the region after a drone strike. In neighboring Belgorod, workers were expanding anti-tank barriers and officials were organizing “self-defense units.” Belgorod has seen numerous fires and explosions, apparently from cross-border attacks, and its governor reported Wednesday that Russia’s air defenses have shot down incoming rockets.

Ukraine hit targets in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, including a church reported to be used as a Russian military base. Officials said Ukrainian forces used long-range artillery to reach targets in the city in southeastern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region.

Moscow launched attacks on its own with missiles, tanks and mortars at civilian buildings and the power grid. 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).

He said that the strikes, using Iranian drones, had left many in the dark. Mr. Zelensky called the situation in the Odesa region “very difficult,” noting that only the most critical infrastructure there remained operational. Although the repair crews were busy, it would take days to reestablish power to civilians.

The repeated assaults on the plants and equipment that Ukrainians rely on for heat and light have drawn condemnation from world leaders, and thrust Ukraine into a grim cycle in which crews hurry to restore power only to have it knocked out again.

In his remarks Saturday night, Mr. Zelensky said that blackouts have persisted throughout various parts of Ukraine including in the capital, Kyiv. Some are what he classified as “emergency” outages resulting from attacks. He called them the things that are “stabilization”, or planned black outs.

He said the power system was far away from a normal state and urged people to cut their power use.

“It must be understood: Even if there are no heavy missile strikes, this does not mean that there are no problems,” he continued. “Almost every day, in different regions, there is shelling, there are missile attacks, drone attacks. Energy facilities are hit almost every day.”

Russian-Inspired Oil Taxes and the Return of the U.S. Basketball Player Volodymyr Zelenskyy

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.

France will co- host a conference with Ukraine in support of the Ukrainian people through the winter with an address by President Zelenskyy.

Fans, friends and family of the basketball player celebrate her return to the U.S. after a year in a Russian prison. Some Republican politicians are upset about a prisoner swap and other Americans being held by Russia.

New measures targeting Russian oil revenue took effect Dec. 5. They include a price cap and 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 the Russians. There has been intense fighting there as Russia attempts to enter the city.

President Zelenskyy had a conversation with President Biden on December 11th, and the leaders of France and Turkey as well.

Russian warnings against the sending of the Patriot air defense system to Ukraine are unprovoked: a comment by the Pentagon aided in resolving the tension between Ukraine and Russia

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.

Zakharova said that many experts overseas questioned the rationality of such a step which would lead to an escalating of the conflict and increased the risk of directly dragging the US army into combat.

Kyiv has repeatedly asked for the US Army’s Patriot – an acronym for Phased Array Tracking Radar for intercept on Target – system, as it is considered one of the most capable long-range air defense systems on the market.

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.

Striking a pessimistic tone on Russian state TV, the commander of the Russian militia said Russia would not be able to defeat the NATO alliance in a war.

Smaller air defense systems can hold a few personnel, whereas the larger Patriot missiles need more than one person to operate them. The training for Patriot missile batteries normally takes multiple months, a process the United States will now carry out under the pressure of near-daily aerial attacks from Russia.

Zelensky said in the interview with The Economist that he didn’t agree with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s suggestion that Ukraine only attempt to take back land wrested from Russia since February 2022, not areas under Russian control in recent years.

War of the Russian Revolution: The First Two Months of Independence in Kyiv’s House of Teachers as Revisited by a US Military Official

Old gun. The Russian forces have had to use 40-year-old mortars as their supplies of new weapons are waning, according to a US military official.

An official speaking to reporters said that if you load the explosives they are going to explode.

In the trenches. CNN broadcasted a video report from trenches and fortifications being built by the Ukrainian government along their border with Belarus, where there is concern about Russia putting troops back in the country. The sewing machine repairman is a tank driver.

The empire of Russia started to expand with Ukranian. In the mind of many Russians, their empire cannot exist without Ukraine. That’s why they keep coming back,” said Volodymyr Viatrovych, a member of Ukraine’s parliament and a prominent historian.

The Russians crushed the suburb of Bucha during the first days of the war. When the Russians invaded Ukraine before dawn on Feb. 24, Viatrovych says he immediately sent his wife and 6-year-old son to western Ukraine for their safety.

The emergency session of parliament in Kyiv declared martial law. He was given a rifle by 2 p.m. that day so he could join the security forces.

Ukraine first declared independence from Russia in 1918, doing so in an elegant, whitewashed building in the center of Kyiv that still stands and now serves as the offices for the Kyiv House of Teachers.

A reminder of that history came two months ago. That’s when a Russian missile slammed into the street outside the Kyiv House of Teachers.

The blast blew out the windows, as well as parts of the glass ceiling in the hall where independence was declared in 1918. There are windows boarded up. There are shards of glass on the floor.

“There are, of course, parallels to a century ago,” said Steshuk Oleh, the director of the House of Teachers. The building was damaged in fighting. And now it’s damaged again. But don’t worry. We will rebuild everything.”

“If you look at all the hardships that Ukraine experienced in the 20th century, and they’re vast, this is the moment where all the wrongs of the last hundred plus years need to be redressed,” he said.

He said that if he was losing a war, he wouldn’t survive. It’s possible the end of Putin’s era will be signaled by the outcome. It’s 21st century. It’s time for empires to go.”

15 years ago, Kasparov challenged Putin’s hold on power when he entered politics. When it became clear his safety was at risk, he left Russia, and now lives in New York.

Zelensky and the Russian War: The First Two Years after the Invasion of Russia in 1822 — The French Ambassador to the U.S.

Many military analysts think the war is not going to result in a clear decision on the battlefield. They say it’s likely to require negotiations and compromises.

Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s former ambassador to the United States, said the region would be more stable if Ukraine wins the war and joins NATO. This is what Ukraine’s government wants, though joining the alliance is highly unlikely in the near term.

“Being a buffer zone or gray zone is not good from a geopolitical point of view,” he said. “If you are a gray zone between two security blocs, two military blocs, everybody wants to make a step. This has happened with a country.

“I believe our generation has an opportunity to put an end to this. He claims that Ukrainians are more prepared to fight than they were in 1918.

In Paris at the time, I witnessed how Zelensky pulled up to the Élysée Palace in a modest Renault, while Putin motored in with an ostentatious armored limousine. (The host, French President Emmanuel Macron, hugged Putin but chose only to shake hands with Zelensky).

In the days leading up to the invasion of Russia, Zelensky was in a steep downward trajectory in popularity ratings from his first few days in office.

In a new book looking at the Ukrainian president’s speeches, the Economist’s Eastern European editor, Arkady Ostrovsky, describes Zelensky as “an ordinary man thrust into extraordinary circumstances.”

After he was surrounded by people like Putin he knew what he needed to do, and it was just his gut feeling.

As Russia launched a full-scale invasion, the leader of the US quipped: “I need ammunition, not a ride.”

Zelensky was a good player in the political game earlier in his career, fighting against Donald Trump who tried to bamboozle the first politician in the scandal.

It’s been a long time since Zelensky thanked his supporters at the campaign rally, and the fog of war still seems a long, long way away. Standing on stage, he looked in disbelief at having defeated his opponent.

The war appears to have turned his ratings around. Zelensky had his ratings approval jump to 90% just a few days after the invasion. Even Americans early in the war rated Zelensky highly for his handling of international affairs – 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.

As for his skills as comforter in chief, I remember well the solace his nightly televised addresses brought in the midst of air raid sirens and explosions in Lviv.

Zelensky’s International Influence During a White House Fashion Show: Why Do We Care About Putin and the Russian Economy?

“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.

She believes that he is more comfortable in front of the camera than he is in front of Putin. Zelensky is doing a better job balancing authority and accessibility, although I think both of them want to look like they are not really who they are.

Zelenska has shown herself to be an effective translator in international fora when she traveled to where her husband couldn’t. She met King Charles during a visit to the 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).

Despite the strong tailwinds at Zelensky’s back, there are subtle signs that his international influence could be dwindling. Zelensky pleaded with the G7 to set a price cap on Russian crude at $30 in order to cause more damage to the Kremlin, but they chose to impose a $60 a barrel price cap.

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

The European Union is set to impose a caps on natural gas prices, an attempt to tackle an energy crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Rishi Sunak Meets with the United States in the Russia-Russia War on Dec. 13, 1941: a Hero’s Welcome

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will make his first appearance as prime minister on Tuesday before the Commons Liaison Committee where the Ukraine war and other global issues are discussed. Sunak met on Monday with members of the U.K.-led European military force.

According to the Russian news reports, President Putin and President Xi of China will have virtual talks this month.

And Ukrainians and Russians are heading into their first Christmas or Hanukkah festivities since the Kremlin launched its full-on invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Dec. 13 it made an agreement with Ukraine’s government to send nuclear safety and security experts to each of the country’s nuclear power plants.

The American was freed in a prisoner exchange with the Russians. Suedi Murekezi told ABC News he spent weeks in a basement, where he was tortured, and months in a prison in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine.

EU lawmakers approved about $19 billion in financing for Ukraine, Dec. 14, and more sanctions on Russia. The aid package followed pledges earlier in the week from dozens of countries and global institutions to support more than $1 billion in winter relief funds for Ukraine, helping the country with power, heat, food and medical supplies.

President Zelensky will be visiting the White House on Wednesday, where he will send a strong rebuke to Russian President Putin and bolster the role of the US in the war for survival of Ukraine.

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. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t even confirm the early reports that she’d welcome Zelensky to the US Capitol in an unexpected coda to her speakership, saying on Tuesday evening, “We don’t know yet. We don’t know.

Zelensky is coming to Washington on a specific mission, according to Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, who was in 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.

Gen. Mark Milley stated that this is a critical moment. The battlefield is as bloody as can be, and is going to be a big factor in the calculations of both President Zelenskyy and President Putin.

The signal of heroic resistance sent to the US by Putin after he flew into Washington on an Air Force jet was meant to show Russians were now fighting a war that could 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. Some pro-Donald Trump members, who will have significant leverage in the thin GOP majority, have warned that billions of dollars in US cash that have been sent to Ukraine should instead be shoring up the US southern border with a surge of new migrants expected within days.

The War Between Spain, the Third World, and America: A Story from Zelensky’s First Year in Washington, D.C., 1943

That imagery encapsulated Zelensky’s mastery of historical allusion and public relations theater. He compared the war in Spain to the Battle of Saratoga in America’s revolutionary war, where an outgunned army was fighting off a powerful enemy. He evoked the heroism of US soldiers who died in the Battle of the Bulge during Christmas 1944, which prevented the final attempt by Nazi Germany to repel the allied liberation of Europe. And he cited wartime President Franklin Roosevelt to promise a certain, hard-won victory for freedom.

In the winter of 1941, after dodging U-boats in the Atlantic, the wartime British leader sailed to the United States aboard the ship HMS Duke of York and was met by President Franklin Roosevelt in Washington the next day.

In the days before the outbreak of the war, both leaders drank old brandy and sipped champagne as they worked on a plan to defeat Nazi Germany.

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 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.

In fact, repetition of the narrative that any one of a wide range of events that Russia would dislike will ensure “guaranteed escalation to the Third World War” has been highly effective in shaping US and Western behavior.

That sets a bad example to other aggressive powers. It says possession of nuclear weapons allows you to wage genocidal wars of destruction against your neighbors, because other nations won’t intervene.

If that’s not the message the US and the West want other aggressor states around the world to receive, then supply of Patriot should be followed by far more direct and assertive means of dissuading Moscow.

There are two key headline deliverables: first, the Patriot missile systems. They have been described as the US’s “gold standard” of air defense, and are complex, accurate, and expensive. NATO protects them and the personnel who operate them are trained to do so.

More precision weapons are vital: they ensure Ukraine hits its targets, and not any civilians remaining nearby. Ukraine does not go through the large quantities of shells Russia burns through as it bombards areas it wants to capture.

Moscow is running out of new cards to use, and is struggling to build up its conventional forces while at the same time trying to rally its nuclear forces. China and India have joined the West in open statements against the use of nuclear force, which has made that option even less likely.

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.

This is not easy. Kevin McCarthy, the likely speaker of the congress, warned the Biden administration not to expect a blank cheque from the new congress.

Zelensky, Russia, and the End of the War: When the United States Comes to an End in the Cold, Our Country Comes First

There are doubts about how much aid the United States should give to the edges of eastern Europe according to remnants of the Trumpist party.

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.

She said Zelensky’s historic address strengthened both Democrats and Republicans who know what’s at stake in the fight against Putin and Russian aggression and now with their ally, Iran.

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.

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.

The bodies of Russian conscripts will be thrown into the fight in Ukranian, according to Clinton.

This story was adapted from the December 22 edition of CNN’s Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.

The Ukrainian president spent on his first trip out of his country since the Russian invasion on Wednesday in Washington, DC, as he was forced to wear green military garb. 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 fate of millions of Ukrainians was put into the hands of American lawmakers, taxpayers and families by the comic actor-turned-wartime hero at a time when there is growing skepticism about the cost of US involvement.

At an emotional peak of his speech in the House chamber, Zelensky handed Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris a Ukrainian flag he retrieved from the hottest battle front at Bakhmut on Tuesday.

“Our heroes … asked me to bring this flag to you, to the US Congress, to members of the House of Representatives and senators whose decisions can save millions of people,” he said.

His broader message was that Ukraine’s fight was not just some flashpoint over an ancient grudge on the fringes of the old Soviet empire. It was that his fight is America’s and everyone’s – to hold back tyranny and save global democracy.

— To Americans, Zelensky professed deep thanks for tens of billions of dollars in weapons and aid offered and to come. He argued they could not abandon an independence hero without also suppressing something of their own patriotism.

The welcoming of the Ukrainian leader in the chamber suggested that some of the Republicans who want to stop aid would be shamed.

Zelensky and the War Between the United States and the Russian Spite of the Atomic Arms: A View from the White House

Zelensky showed the West is unified and that Biden means it when he said Wednesday that the conflict with Russia should end on Putin’s terms.

We may celebrate Christmas with candles. Not because it’s more romantic, no, but because there will be no electricity,” he said. If there is no electricity, we will celebrate Christmas and light will not go out in our homes.

But Zelensky’s inspirational rhetoric and heroic bearing couldn’t disguise the uncertainties and risks of a war in which the US is effectively now fighting a proxy battle with its nuclear superpower rival, Russia.

Zelensky repeatedly pointed out that even though the US gave the nation a lot of support and high tech weapons, it was still outmanned and outgunned.

The president has limited the potency of the weapons he sends into the battle, balancing the need to defend a European democracy with the desire not to trigger a disastrous direct clash with Russia and to avoid crossing often invisible red lines whose locations are known only to Putin.

“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.

However, given partisan fury that will erupt in a divided Washington next year, there is no guarantee that America’s lawmakers will even be able to fund their own government – let alone one fighting for its survival thousands of miles away.

The War in Ukraine: What the U.S. Has Done Recently About Kiev, and What the Ukrainian Media have Done About it, a Lawmaker in St. Petersburg

Following the visit of President Zelensky to Washington, the war in Ukraine is going to get worse, Moscow said.

US President Joe Biden promised further military support for Ukrainians during his meeting at the White House on Wednesday after Russia denounced what it claimed to be the monstrous crimes of the regime in Kyiv.

The leader of the country has said that the tasks set within the framework of the special military operation will be fulfilled, Zakharova said.

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

Peskov told journalists, however, that Wednesday’s meeting showed the US is waging a proxy war of “indirect fighting” against Russia down “to the last Ukrainian.”

The Kremlin has also been selling that line to the Russian public, who is largely buying it, says Sergey Radchenko, a Russian history professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Dismissing accusations of a proxy war, Sloat says Zelenskyy and Ukraine have made clear that they want a “just peace,” and all the U.S. has been doing is help the country defend itself against Russian aggression.

Following Danilov’s comments, a Ukrainian military spokesperson said Wednesday that there a signs Russia is preparing for a renewed offensive in southern Ukraine.

“Patriots are a defensive weapons system that will help Ukraine defend itself as Russia sends missile after missile and drone after drone to try and destroy Ukrainian infrastructure and kill Ukrainian civilians,” she said. “If Russia doesn’t want their missiles shot down, Russia should stop sending them into Ukraine.”

It was the first time that Putin deviated from his description of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a ” special military operation”, when he referred to the conflict as “war” on Thursday.

Putin said that the goal was not to spin the conflict but to end it. We will continue to strive for this.

Nikita Yuferev, a municipal lawmaker from St. Petersburg who fled Russia due to his antiwar stance, on Thursday said he had asked Russian authorities to prosecute Putin for “spreading fake information about the army.”

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

An US official told CNN that Putin was likely to have made a slip of the tongue with his comment. However, officials will be watching closely to see what figures inside the Kremlin say about it in the coming days.

Putin and Shoigu announced on Wednesday that the Kremlin would make investment in many areas of the military. Russia needs to increase its armed forces, accelerate its weapons programs, and deploy a new generation of hypersonic missiles to prepare for possible battles with its enemies, Putin said.

“It’s like the central nervous system of the human body: If you mess with it, you put all sorts of systems out of whack,” says Rajan Menon, a director of the Defense Priorities think tank who recently returned from a trip to the Ukrainian capital, speaking about Russia’s power grid attacks. “It’s not only an inconvenience but an enormous economic cost. It’s an effort to create pain for the civilian population, to show that the government can’t protect them adequately.”

Menon notes, however, that every one of his comments could just as easily apply to Russia’s earlier waves of cyberattacks on the country’s internet—such as the NotPetya malware released by Russia’s GRU hackers, which five years earlier destroyed the digital networks of hundreds of government agencies, banks, airports, hospitals, and even its radioactivity monitoring facility in Chernobyl. He says that they are different in some areas, but that the goal is the same. demoralizing and punishing civilians.

At least two people were killed in attacks on Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region. Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, said four rockets had hit the city — likely S300s — and that critical infrastructure was the intended target.

Russia was about to launch an attempt to crash the power grid, plunging the country into darkness as Ukrainians celebrate Christmas and the New Year in late January, according to authorities.

When the sirens sounded in the capital, Halyna Hladka made breakfast for her family so they would have something to eat. They heard the sounds of explosions after nearly two hours. “It seemed to me that they were really close to our area but it turned out to be air defense,” she told CNN. We will celebrate the New Year with the family, and that will not be disrupted by an attack.

After the sirens gave the all clear, life in the capital went back to normal, Hryn said: “In the elevator I met my neighbors with their child who were in hurry to get to the cinema for the new Avatar movie on time.” People went to work despite the holidays and parents took their children to school.

Crime against Human Rights in Ukraine During the First World War: The Violations of the Ukrainian Civil Liberation Laws and their Implications for Social Media, News and Media

There were three people injured and two people that were pulled from a damaged home on Thursday, he said. Homes, an industrial facility and a playground in the capital were damaged in attacks on Kyiv, according to the city military administration.

In western Ukraine, Lviv Mayor Andrii Sadovyi said 90% of the city was without power, cautioning that the city’s waterworks could also to stop working with electricity down.

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 has disrupted a post-Soviet period in which the country pursued reforms and financial integration with the west, and has upended Russian life.

The military or leadership have had their freedom of speech banned since February. Nearly 20,000 people have been detained for demonstrating against the war — 45% of them women — according to a leading independent monitoring group.

High profile opposition voices have been meted out with lengthy prison sentences for questioning the Russian army’s conduct or strategy.

Russia’s most prestigious human rights group, the Laureate Memorial, had to stop its activities because it was accused of violating the foreign agents law.

The state has vastly expanded Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, arguing that the war in Ukrainian reflects a broader attack on “traditional values.”

For now, repressions remain targeted. Some of the new laws are not enforced. The measures should crush dissent at the moment.

Some of the top independent media outlets were forced to shut down and relocate abroad because of new laws that made reporting fake news a crime.

Internet users are subject to the same restrictions. In March, American social media giants were banned. Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin’s internet regulator, has blocked more than 100,000 websites since the start of the conflict.

Technical workarounds such as VPNs and Telegram still offer access to Russians seeking independent sources of information. State media broadcasts propaganda in favor of older Russians, with angry TV talk shows spreading rumors.

War against Ukraine has Left Russia Isolated and Struturing with More Torturb Ahedral Growth: Why the Soviet Invasion Has Left Russia So Far

Many perceived government opponents left the war in the early days due to 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 banking and trading markets appeared to be shaky at the beginning of the invasion. Hundreds of global corporate brands, such as McDonald’s and ExxonMobil, reduced, suspended or closed their Russian operations entirely.

When it comes to Russia’s military campaign, there’s no outward change in the government’s tone. Russia’s Defense Ministry provides daily briefings recounting endless successes on the ground. Putin, too, repeatedly assures that everything is “going according to plan.”

Yet the sheer length of the war — with no immediate Russian victory in sight — suggests Russia vastly underestimated Ukrainians’ willingness 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.

Indeed, Russia’s invasion has — thus far — backfired in its primary aims: NATO looks set to expand towards Russia’s borders, with the addition of long-neutral states Finland and Sweden.

Longtime allies in Central Asia criticized Russia’s actions because they were concerned about their own sovereignty, which would have been a completely different experience 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.

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

Zelensky’s Year of Warfare at a Kiev Maternity Hospital: A Roaming New Year’s Eve Address

The state of the nation address was scheduled to take place in April, but was delayed several times. 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 Kremlin has not given a reason for the delays. It could be that after 10 months of war, the leader of Russia has run out of good news to share.

KYIV, Ukraine — President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine delivered a rousing New Year’s Eve address on Saturday night, recalling a year that he said truly “began on Feb. 24” with fear over Russia’s invasion but ended with his country hopeful for victory.

In a videotaped speech, Mr Zelensky said of the attack on a maternity hospital, “If there is a Russian baby, this is what they will make of it.”

“This year has struck our hearts,” he said, according to a translated transcript posted on his official website. “We’ve cried out all the tears. The prayers have been said. 311 days, that’s a lot. We have something to say about every minute.”

The Year 2022 is Coming: What Europe Does Now Know About Ukraine, and What We Can Do to Prevent It from Happening to Happen to Russia?

All Ukrainians — those working, attending schools or “just learning to walk” — are participating in Ukraine’s defense, Mr. Zelensky said. And although 2022 could be called a year of losses, he said that was not the right way to think of it.

The world has rallied around Ukraine, Mr. Zelensky said, from the main squares of foreign cities and their halls of government to the top of Google’s search results.

It was an oxymoron to think that you could not casually threaten people with nukes as the destruction they brought was complete, for everyone on the planet.

Europe is left with a set of unknowns as the year closes, even as recently as in January. To recap: a military once considered the world’s third most formidable has invaded its smaller neighbor, which a year ago excelled mostly in IT and agriculture.

Russia has also met a West that, far from being divided and reticent, was instead happy to send some of its munitions to its eastern border. Russia seems to be aware of the limited non-nuclear options it has and its red lines seem to shift constantly. This wasn’t supposed to happen. So, what does Europe do and prepare for, now that it has?

There are claims that Russia has lost the war. There are variables which could still lead to a stalemate in its favor, or even a reversal of fortune. NATO could lose patience or nerve over weapons shipments, and seek economic expediency over long-term security, pushing for a peace unfavorable to Kyiv. But that does, at this moment, seem unlikely.

The End of Democracy: The Story of the U.S. War with the Soviet Union During the Cuban Missile Crisis – An Overview from Freedom House

America has done this before. The soviet Union shifted its position in a matter of days, accepting an outcome that favored the West during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Had “red lines” been in place, America could have accepted a compromise that would have weakened its security and credibility.

Notice that it was an open question. Many people believed autocracy would prevail and be the better system. How many believe that today?

The open society with its challenges and quirks may not be a better model than Russia, China or Iran. How many people think that the US would benefit from a more authoritarian president?

In 2022. democracy fought back with tremendous strength and determination. The autocrats went to the defense. Even populism started to sputter. At the moment, many of the positive trends – forged with great effort and through enormous human suffering – look promising.

In the wake of a poor showing for election deniers in the US and an exodus of Russians from their own country, it’s vital that democratic leaders show they are able to navigate economic challenges. All the while, they will face the continuing efforts of ambitious autocrats such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping to regain the upper hand.

The autocracy brothers wanted the world to think their system was superior, a message that would preemptively quiet any doubts at home. For 16 consecutive years, according to the non-partisan democracy monitor Freedom House, democracy was losing ground. Authoritarian leaders and illiberal forces were on the rise; only about 20% of the world’s population lived in what it calls “Free countries”, the organization’s research showed.

The self-assured geniuses like Elon Musk, who once appeared to side with the autocrats, showed their own weaknesses and the oppression of the people demanded change.

The imperialist ploy to conquer neighboring Ukraine by Putin was the main credit. Freedom used to be a vague ideal. The battle for democracy was no longer a metaphor. This was a real war with missiles, carnage and death.

The invasion strengthened NATO, a democratic defense alliance, in a way nothing had in decades. Both Sweden and Finland enjoyed neutrality and wanted to join.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/06/opinions/democracy-china-russia-2023-ghitis/index.html

The “Woman, Life, Freedom” protests in China: the anti-de Sitter era in the early 1990s

The rules that had been put in place over the last three years were tossed aside. China didn’t use the time to stock up on drugs or push for more vaccinations. Reports say that hundreds of millions of people have been killed by the epidemic, with various models estimating more than a million deaths.

The activists of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” have resisted the regime and it’s brutality. How far will they go? How far will the regime go to snuff them out? How will the rest of the world respond?

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/06/opinions/democracy-china-russia-2023-ghitis/index.html

What Trump and Putin had to do in 2016 compared to other European countries: the tragic case of Russian repression after the 2016 Ukrainian Independence Day

Former President Donald Trump launched a new presidential campaign. It was what the British called a “damp squib,” a lead balloon. He’s becoming an increasingly isolated, rather pathetic figure after many of his top choices failed in the midterm elections and election deniers fared badly. Even his calls for Republicans to unite behind Kevin McCarthy as the new House Speaker seemed to do little to quell the rebellion this week. The speakership struggle seemed disorganized, but democracy was on display. And of course, Trump’s legal troubles seem endless.

Jair Bolsonandra lost his bid for reelection, and he is the same person as Trump. Like Trump, he refused to admit defeat or attend the inauguration of the man who defeated him, President Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. Bolsonaro went to Florida.

In the UK, the populist Boris Johnson lost the premiership and after an embarrassing interlude with the hapless Liz Truss, the decidedly non-populist centrist, Rishi Sunak, became prime minister. There were populists across Europe who wanted to have their own version of the British exit from the European Union. We don’t hear that anymore. Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front, had to run away from her close relationship to Putin, like other European populists, because she lost the election to PresidentMacron.

Regardless of whether Russia lost 400 men as Ukraine claims, or 89 as Moscow says, the result of the attack is the same: Russia’s highest single-incident death toll since the war began more than 10 months ago.

If the Russian account is accurate, it was the cell phones that the novice troops were using in violation of regulations that allowed Ukrainian forces to target them most accurately. TheUkraine has not said how the attack was executed. But the implications are broader and deeper, especially for how Russia is conducting its war now.

It is telling that days after the deadliest known attack on Russian servicemen, President Vladimir Putin called for a temporary ceasefire, citing the Orthodox Christmas holiday. The move was a waste of time and money given the terrible start to the year for Russian forces.

Russian officials said that four Ukrainian-launched rockets hit the school where the forces had been housed, and that they were adjacent to a large arms depot. (Another two HIMARS rockets were shot down by Russian air defenses).

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, has told me that Russia’s failure to break up or move large arms depots is largely a function of the reality that their forces cannot communicate adequately.

It’s a view shared by other experts. James Lewis, director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me in an email that the Russian Army practices bad security communications.

The troops killed in Makiivka seem to have been recent conscripts, part of a larger picture of Russian soldiers being shipped to the front lines with little training and deeply sub-standard equipment and weapons.

In the most recent arrivals to the war, inmates from Russian prisons have been freed and transferred to the Ukrainian front. One imagines how appealing the use of cell phones would be to prisoners accustomed to years of isolation and little or no outside contact.

Semyon Pegov was awarded the Order of Courage by President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin two weeks ago, but he took exception to the Ministry of Defense suggesting that the troops were to blame for using cell phones.

He questioned how the Ministry of Defense could be “so sure” that the location of soldiers lodging in a school building could not have been determined using drone surveillance or a local informant.

The defense ministry got a new defense minister and deputy defense minister in a month’s time. The location of the arms depot, adjacent to the Makiivka recruits, would likely have been on Mizintsev’s watch.

Still, Putin-favorite Sergei Shoigu remains defense minister — as recently as Saturday, before the Makiivka attack, telling his forces in a celebratory video: “Our victory, like the New Year, is inevitable.”

Just this week, the Biden administration announced the US was considering dispatching Bradley armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron also announced he would be sending light tanks, though Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was urging the dispatch of heavier battle tanks. The Chancellor of Germany is under increasing pressure to add its powerful Leopard 2 tanks to the mix.

Germany’s moral compass is not a problem for the Russians, but the problem can be easily resolved in a time like this

Russia wanted to show that the White House was in fact in charge of European power if it blocked the Navigators’ second voyage.

The United States didn’t want the new, high-capacity subsea supply to supplant old overland lines that transited Ukraine, providing vital revenue to the increasingly Westward-leaning leadership in Kyiv.

Europe hasn’t been quick to respond to the uncertainty and fissures in US politics that could be created by another Trumpian-style presidency. Decades of a reasonably unshakable reliance, if not complete trust, in the US, has been replaced by stubborn European pragmatism – and Germany leads the way.

Former Chancellor Merkel was Europe’s moral compass. As he flashed a rare moment of steely leadership in the German parliament on Wednesday, Scholz found unexpected metal in his ponderous, often stop/go/wait traffic-light governing coalition.

He said that they wouldn’t put you in danger. He spelled out how his government had already handled Russia’s aggression and how fears of a freezing winter and economic collapse were not realized. “The government dealt with the crisis,” he said, adding: “We are in a much better position.”

The applause at each step was louder than the words of his speech. Scholz made the perfect decision for Germany, bringing with him a population that is generally averse to war, as well as divided over how much aid they should give to the Ukrainians in killing Russians, and potentially angering the Kremlin.

How much Scholz is aware of Putin’s softening popularity or whether he believes it relevant at this moment is unclear, but his actions now, sending tanks, may help ease Putin’s iron grip on power.

Responding to Biden and Scholz’s decision on tanks, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it adds “tension to the continent, but it cannot prevent Russia from reaching our goals.”

Russia would use nuclear weapons if threatened, according to the former president and a deputy chairman of the national security council.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/30/europe/germany-russia-us-relations-intl-cmd/index.html

Putin’s Cold War in South Africa and the Status of the Cold War: An Analysis of the CNN World Affairs Network Spoken with Joyce M. Davis

CNN spoke with people in Moscow who were confused after the announcements by Biden and Scholz. A significant proportion of people were dismayed at the death toll of the war and frustrated that Putin ignored their concerns, even though he was told that Russia would win.

Zelensky may get the chance to see the next military moves for Ukraine coming and that weapons supplies will be more of a German leash and less led by the US.

Editor’s Note: Joyce M. Davis, outreach and opinion editor for PennLive and The Patriot-News, is the president and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She is a veteran journalist and author who has lived and worked around the globe, working for National Public Radio, Knight Ridder Newspapers in Washington, DC, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague. The opinions expressed here are her own. Read more opinion at CNN.

Russia seems to be outmaneuvering the United States in Africa. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pointed out the stark reality as he traveled through four African capitals.

The West is having to contend with the fact that many Africans seem to think of Russian President Vladimir Putin as a friend and not an enemy.

The Soviet Union stood by the ANC during the apartheid years and this is one of the reasons that South Africa has a strong relationship with Russia. It is possible that South Africans were reminded of that history during his visit.

In South Africa, Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor greeted Lavrov with open arms. She didn’t repeat her calls for Russia to stop killing Ukrainians at the meeting in Pretoria last Monday. She brushed off the criticism and said it would be foolish to do so.

To make matters worse, Pandor also announced South Africa will soon conduct joint naval drills with Russia and China, calling it “exercises with friends.” The US and Europe didn’t like it.

It was a significant – though just shy of a majority – portion of the continent. In total, 28 African nations – including Nigeria and Egypt – voted to condemn Russia.

One of four countries globally and the only one in Africa, is openly supporting Russia because of its history of military co-operation with undemocratic, authoritarian regimes.

Human Rights Watch believes that the Eritrean forces have carried out large-scale massacres, summary executions and widespread sexual violence.

He doesn’t care if Human Rights Watch says that Malian government security forces are responsible for torture, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings.

Russia is supporting authoritarian regimes throughout Africa, including in Sudan, Central African Republic, and Libya. Human rights organizations accuse the group of its own atrocities on the continent.

And Putin’s influence in Africa has had a dramatic impact on the world stage during a time of crisis when the US sought unified condemnation of the invasion of Ukraine. There is a vote at the United Nations.

America has been found guilty of helping authoritarian regimes and ignoring human rights abuses. We should not forget the American atrocities that took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other African countries.

The leaders of democracies can be held accountable. Human rights and rule of law are supposed to be the focus of Western democracies. Putin doesn’t. He is not held accountable for anything.

The Ukrainian War in Ukraine: Indications from the United States and United Kingdom on Economic, Health, and Security Issues in the Era of Cold War

President Biden’s pledge of $55 billion in economic, health, and security aid over three years not only helps counter Russia’s influence but China’s, as well.

Also in Africa last week, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin used her trip to promise even more money. She announced American plans to expand partnerships with Africa on conservation, climate change, and access to clean energy. She said the US will give $1 billion to Africa to fight climate change.

Russia is trying to control Africa’s dictators, and as a result the US should focus its attention on the African people. As they soon take over the seats of power, there are signs young people want more responsible and accountable governments.

The Ukrainian national security official says that Russia is about to intensify the war with a maximum increase in the next few weeks.

The National Security and Defense Council Secretary told Sky News in an interview that these would be the defining months of the war.

“We are on the edge of a very active phase of hostilities, February and March will be very active,” Andriy Yusov, representative of Ukraine’s Defense Intelligence, said on national television.

“During the week, military representatives from the two countries will practice joint planning of the use of troops based on the prior experience of armed conflicts in recent years,” the ministry said in a statement.

How did Zelenskyy and the Russians get their first air force? Is there a “mustache” in Ukraine?

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

The Ukrainian Ambassador to the US went to the State of the Union speech for a second year in a row, but the war in Ukraine received far less attention in the address this year.

According to the international team looking into the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight number 17 in 2014, there’s strong indication that Russian President Putin gave his approval to give anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels.

One of the biggest surprises since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the willingness with which western countries have provided increasingly sophisticated military equipment for Ukrainian use, especially considering the fact that European militaries’ stock cupboards have gone bare due to these donations.

How we got here: Decades of budget cuts across Europe have led to policy makers keeping a deliberately low stock on the assumption that there would not be a land war that could swallow up ammunition at similar levels to World War I or II, experts said.

Nick Witney, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, stated that there was a conspiracy to dress the shop window while letting the stockroom empty out.

The looming ammunition crisis has shown that policymaking is often based on assumptions of the best-case scenario. After all, taking no action, in the short-term at least, is often cheaper than taking action.

A senior British official told CNN that it was likely that Russian forces would not be better organized and would not be more successful.

A senior Ukrainian diplomat told CNN that they had amassed enough manpower to take just one or two small cities. The feeling of panic they were trying to build in Ukraine was overwhelming.

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.

Many battles have been lost by the Russians due to multiple failures of their military doctrine, training and equipement. While Petraeus says this is in many ways the first open-source war, other aspects are being fought with Cold War tactics and weapons – albeit with upgraded capabilities, drones and precision munitions.

The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency criticized the withdrawal of Afghanistan by the Biden administration. He says the President’s team has done a very impressive job of leading NATO and the West to counter the Russian invasion, though there have been times he would have liked to have seen decisions to provide certain weapons systems (such as western tanks and longer-range precision munitions) made sooner than they were.

It has lost what it had gained in Kharkiv province. It had to withdraw its forces west of the Dnipro River because the Ukrainians made the bridge links between those forces and the rest of the Russian elements in the east impossible.

Petraeus: There will be several new features this year, most significantly the additional capabilities on the Ukrainian side: Western tanks and infantry fighting vehicles; longer-range and larger precision munitions for the US-provided HIMARS (high mobility artillery rocket systems) that will enable precise strikes out to 150 kilometers (twice the range of the current precision munition); additional air defense systems of various types; augmented air defenses and additional wheeled armored vehicles, as well as enormous quantities of additional ammunition of all types.

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.

What Putin’s warning on Russia had to say about war and nuclear power, a country with enormous military capability, intelligence, military personnel, and military-industrial infrastructure (and more)

And there would incomparably greater numbers of vastly more capable unmanned systems (some remotely piloted, others operating according to algorithms) in every domain – not just in the air, but also at sea, sub-sea, on the ground, in outer space, and in cyberspace, and operating in swarms, not just individually!

Back in the Cold War days, an adage stated that if it can be seen, it can be hit and if 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. Unless there are substantial defenses andhardened assets, everything will be seen and susceptible to being hit and destroyed in the future.

Imagining all this underscores, of course, that we must take innumerable actions to transform our forces and systems. We must deter future conflict by ensuring that there are no questions about our capabilities or our willingness to employ them – and also by doing everything possible to ensure that competition among great powers does not turn into conflict among them.

NATO’s unity and staying power has confounded skeptics, largely due to Biden’s leadership. Political circumstances in Washington and allied nations could affect Putin’s thinking.

All of the following and more were spoken by Petraeus. 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.

Petra’s: not at all Russia still has enormous military capacity and is certainly still a nuclear superpower, as well as a country with enormous energy, mineral and agricultural blessings. It also has a population (about 145 million) that is nearly double that of the next largest European countries (Germany and Turkey, each just more than 80 million).

The Incredible United States in a Time-Varying World War II: How Ukraine Has Come Into Being an Inclusive Nation?

It is still led by a leader who embraces many grievances and has bad ideas that undermine his decision-making.

Bergen: You know the observation sometimes attributed to Stalin: “Quantity has a quality all its own.” Will Russia have a bigger population than Ukraine to make a difference in the war?

Nonetheless, it is estimated that as many as 300,000 new recruits and mobilized reservists are being sent to the frontlines, with up to 100,000-150,000 more on the way. And that is not trivial – because quantity does, indeed, matter.

Petraeus: All of those technologies have proven very important, and the Ukrainians have demonstrated enormous skill in adapting various technologies and commercial applications to enable intelligence gathering, targeting and other military tasks.

However, having sat around the Situation Room table in the West Wing of the White House, I know that it is far easier to second-guess from the outside than it is to make tough calls in office. I want to see we provide some of the additional capabilities sooner rather than later.

It is likely that Ukraine will eventually have to transition from eastern bloc aircraft to western ones. At the moment, there are more pilots than aircraft, and they don’t have any more MiGs to give them.

It will take a few months to train pilots and maintenance personnel, so we should begin the process of transition. 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 Can the Chinese Learn from the Near-Infrared Invasion of the Black Sea? The Case of the Quasi-Private Wagner Group

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

Russia has done what it does with mercenaries, which is somewhat innovative but also inhumane, as it entails throwing soldiers into battle as cannon fodder, and with little to worry about 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.

If the Chinese were to stage an invasion of Taiwan which would not require a land border but take place over a 100 miles of water, what lessons would they be learning from the Ukrainians? Does the sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea navy, reshape how the Chinese might 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: Yes, I believe it is. This is the first war in which smartphones and social media have been so widely available and also so widely 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

What Do We Expect to Learn from the Cold War? Indications from NATO: Implications for NATO, Russia, and the Middle East

That said, there does not seem to be a particularly innovative new plan, given the limitations of the professional capabilities of the Russian forces and their demonstrated inability to generate “combined arms effect” – to integrate the actions of tanks with infantry, artillery/mortars, engineers, explosive ordnance disposal, electronic warfare, fixed and rotary wing close air support, air defenses, effective command and control, drones, etc.

Beyond that, I believe we will see Ukrainian forces that are much more capable than the Russians at achieving the kind of combined arms effects that I described earlier and that thus enable much more effective offensive operations and can unhinge some of the Russian defenses. We may not see all this, however, until the spring or even summer, given the amount of time required for Ukrainian forces to receive and train on the new western tanks and other systems.

At the start of the Iraq War, you asked a rhetorical question: “tell me how this ends?” How does the conflict in Ukraine end?

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 Chairman of the Joint chiefs of staff Mark Milley said that Russia has lost strategically, operationally and tactically. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned on Wednesday thatPutin cannot win, as he explained the rationale for rushing arms and ammunition to Ukrainian forces. In an interview with CNN, the US Ambassador to NATO said Washington was doing everything it could to affect Putin.

Vice President Kamala Harris heads to the Munich Security Conference this week as the western rhetorical and diplomatic offensive is about to intensify. The visit by President Joe Biden to Poland and an ex-Poland pact state next week will give him the most effective leadership of the Western alliance since the end of the Cold War.

What do we really know about Russia and Putin during the 2022 February 23rd Russian-American War? An expert on Russia and the US-China relations

The outside world knows that Putin has no intention of leaving the war because he does not have a formal diplomatic framework for talks about 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 remote even before the lurch in US-China relations caused by the flight of a Chinese spy balloon across the US this month.

Sherman admitted at an event that the US was worried about a potential conflict between China and Russia at a time when it was locked into simultaneous battles with each power.

It’s the evening of February 23, 2022. The boss of a news site relaxes with a bath and candles. In Zaporizhzhia, a young woman goes to bed planning to celebrate her husband’s birthday in the morning. The journalist in Moscow was planning to go to Kyiv.

In the space of a year, the war has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more. It has wreaked havoc and tested the resolve of western alliances, by causing a global food and energy crisis.

I was born in Poland, but had no idea what I was doing in Poland – the beginnings of a war of history repeating itself

February 23, 2022, is Zaporizhia. I went to bed thinking that I would celebrate my husband’s birthday the next day. Our life was getting better. My husband ran a business of his own. Our daughter was starting school and making friends. We were lucky to have arranged support services and found a special needs nursery for our son. I finally had time to work. I felt like a happy person.

We are trying to live in the here and now. But the truth is, we are heartbroken. Our hearts are inUkraine while we are inPrague.

Thanks to the opportunities for Ukrainians provided by the Czech Republic, my husband got a job. I found special needs classes for my son. He now attends an adaptation group for Ukrainian children and has a learning support assistant. My daughter goes to a Czech school while studying in her Ukrainian school remotely.

That morning we woke up to learn that the invasion started. I wrote an open letter denouncing the war, which was co-signed by 12 Russian writers, directors and cultural figures. More than 100000 Russians added their signatures after it was published.

On the third day we, my husband and I, left Russia. I thought that it was a moral obligation. I could no longer stay on the territory of the state that has become a fascist one.

We moved to Berlin. Thousands of Ukrainians arrive every day at the main railway station, and my husband volunteered at the refugee camp next to it. I was writing a new book. It starts like this.

This book is a confession, that’s what it is. I am guilty for not reading the signs much earlier. I bear some responsibility for the war between Russia and Ukrainians. As are my contemporaries and our forebears. Regrettably, Russian culture is also to blame for making all these horrors possible.”

As I write, Russia has just fired dozens of Kalibr missiles towards several cities in Ukraine, including my adopted city of Odesa. Air raid sirens blare as we bolt for shelter into enclosed hallways. My landlady will give me a pot of borscht to help me feel normal.

If anything, for me, the son of Ukrainian immigrants in Canada, this has been a war of history repeating itself – from the forced deportation of upwards of 2.5 million Ukrainians, including 38,000 children, to the stealing of Ukrainian grain to the wanton destruction of Ukrainians museums, libraries, churches and monuments.

Time and again since the Russian invasion started, I’m haunted by the darkness in my father’s eyes during the re-telling of chilling dinnertime stories of relatives shipped off to the Soviet gulag, never to return. Millions of Ukrainians perished in Stalin’s famine of 1932-33.

My passport is a novel in stamps a year after the invasion began. I live in London where I teachUkrainian literature, while in Ukranian where I get my lessons in courage.

My former classmates from Zaporizhzhia whom, based on our teenage habits, I expected to perish from addictions a long time ago, have volunteered to fight. My hairdresser, whom I expected to be happy and healthy this summer, ran away with her mom, grandmother, and five dogs from Russia’s occupied town of the same name through the forest.

The Kremlin and the West expected the capital of my country to fall in three days, but it didn’t. One can see a lot of stars over Kyiv, but the Russians are only able to bring them closer to eternity.

Andrei Kolesnikov is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has written books on political and social history of Russia. Russian Modernization and Egor Gaidar’s Legacy are from the past.

It seems we have experienced several eras over the last two years. The first was euphoric, when Putin suddenly, after a significant time of stagnant ratings, received more than 80% approval from the population.

He canceled the future by removing the past. It is easy to live this way when your superiors decide everything for you, and you take for granted everything you are told by propaganda.

It is impossible to adapt to disasters like this, which for me personally and my family was a catastrophe. I was labeled as a foreign agent by the authorities when I was an active commentator, which made me feel like I was living in an Orwellian anti-utopia.

On February 23, I washed my dog, cleaned the house, and lit candles. I have a one-bedroom apartment in the northern district of Kyiv. I loved taking care of it. I loved the life I had. The struggles and the small routines, all of it. That night was the last time my life mattered.

The next morning my phone was buzzing from all the messages and missed calls. A red headline in all caps on the Kyiv Independent website read: “PUTIN DECLARES WAR ON UKRAINE.”

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/18/opinions/one-year-anniversary-putin-war-ukraine-russia-wrap-opinions-ctpr/index.html

The Battle of Zaragoza: How a Human Rights Lawyer Will Have to Document the Serious Crimes of the First Day of World War II. When the First American Soldiers Returned to Life

I remember talking to colleagues, trying to assemble and coordinate a small army of volunteers to strengthen the newsroom. I asked my parents to organize the buying of supplies.

The life I knew started falling apart soon after, starting with the small things. It no longer mattered whether I drank a cup or not as long as I didn’t take a shower. Life was no longer important, only the battle was.

Just a few weeks into the full-scale invasion it was already hard to remember the struggles, sorrows and joyful moments of the pre-war era. I remember being upset, but I can’t relate to it now. My life didn’t change on February 24, it was stolen from me on that day.

I was no longer concerned with my own goals. To raise the flag was the most important goal, as it shows that we are fighting even in these circumstances.

I couldn’t imagine winning on a track. They were possible because of how many defenders had died. There were messages from soldiers on the frontline. They were so happy to follow our achievements, and it was my primary motivation to continue my career.

Life values have changed. Like never before, I enjoy every opportunity to see or talk to relatives and friends. I believe in the victory and that we will all return to our beloved country. We need the world to help.

“This is something that leads me to the question – for whom do we document all these crimes?” The head of the Center for Civil Liberties told us. “Because I am a human rights lawyer, I document pain in order to bring these Russians to justice sooner or later.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu: Learning lessons from Ukraine’s war and maintaining a wary eye on China, with an eye to NPR’s Leila Fadel

Speaking to NPR’s Leila Fadel, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said his country is learning lessons from the war in Ukraine and keeping a wary eye on China.

“They have expansionist motivation. They want to keep growing their sphere of influence. They want to continue to expand their power. And if they are not stopped, then they will continue to march on,” Wu told us.

They tried to flee in the first days of the war, but the family car was shelled, Natalia believes, by Russian forces. Her husband was killed, along with her 6-year-old nephew, Maxim. Vova had seven bullet wounds in his body and had been hospitalized for months.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/18/1157820509/ukraine-russia-war-anniversary

The Electroweak Theory of the Omega-Meson’s Closed String Field: An Audio-Assisted Treatment Of The Black Hole Candidate

The audio for this story was produced by Danny Hajek; edited by Barrie Hardymon and Natalie Winston. Additional editing and production help from Carol Klinger, Denise Couture and Nina Kravinsky. Hanna Palamarenko and Tanya Ustova provided reporting and translation help.

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