Putin’s Desperate Measures will not get him what he wants

The Russian Army’s Way of Warfare: Why It Has Been Derived and What Has It Learned since Putin’s March to War

Russia is funneling newly drafted conscripts to the front line in Ukraine’s east, but so far it has proven ineffectual and there are expected to be high Russian casualties.

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

The disarray of its forces on the ground indicated that it did not know what new borders Russia would claim in southern Ukraine. “In terms of the borders, we’re going to continue to consult with the population of these regions,” Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters on Monday.

The military conscription Mr. Putin ordered on Sept. 21 to bolster his battered forces has set off nationwide turmoil and protest, bringing the war home to many Russians who had felt untouched by it. Many men have been drafted who were supposed to be ineligible based on factors like age or disability.

One video shows a tank running into a minefield and exploding, followed almost obliviously by an infantry fighting vehicle that suffers the same fate. There are drones dropping charges on tanks in open country and a graveyard of abandoned armor.

The commander said that they dropped personal care and helmets. It was probably a special unit, but they were panicked. They dropped everything when the road was terrible and it was raining very hard.

The assessment said that seeking a quick advance, the Russian Army was “wasting the fresh supply of mobilized personnel on marginal gains” by attacking before massing sufficient soldiers to ensure success. The attacks have been directed at several towns and villages, including Bakhmut and Avdiivka.

The symptoms of the problem, not the cause, are addressed by increasing air defense support. Responding in this manner is telling Russia that its way of warfare is accepted by the West.

Some of this criticism is not new, as Stremousov may be aware of the fact that troublesome leaders of Russian-backed separatist entities have a habit of dying violently. Chechnya strongman Ramzan Kadyrov urged the Russian military to intensify their campaign after Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The head of the defense committee in the State Duma demanded that officials stop lying when speaking to the Russian public in a recent interview.

Kartapolov complained that the Ministry of Defense was evading the truth about incidents such as Ukrainian cross-border strikes in Russian regions neighboring Ukraine.

Valuyki is in Russia’s Belgorod region, near the border with Ukraine. When it comes to attacking Russian targets across the border, Kyiv generally adopts a neither-confirm-nor-deny stance.

Serhiy Hrabskiy, who is a retired colonel and commentator on the war for Ukrainian news media, said that the Ukrainian military has not shied away from hitting legitimate military targets. Targeting sites in Crimea and cross-border artillery duels have become routine as the war has moved closer to Russia and the occupied peninsula.

“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. “Indeed, many say that the Minister of Defense [Sergei Shoigu], who allowed this situation to happen, could, as an officer, shoot himself. Officer is a word that is unfamiliar to many.

Kadyrov has been less reticent about blaming Russian commanders after the retreat from the 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 narrative preferred by the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Kremlin about things being under control has been significantly deviated from by the Russian information space.

The Great Patriotic War is one of the features of Putinism. The way the Red Army fought Hitler was praised by those in Russia’s party of war as well as the use of punishment battalions and desertions.

The leader of the Chechnya Republic, Kadyrov, recently announced that he had been promoted by Putin to the rank of colonel general. He recently said in another Telegram post that, if he had his way, he would give the government extraordinary wartime powers in Russia.

Russia has a no-first use doctrine for its nuclear weapons, but Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested it could abandon it if the threat of a nuclear war increased. After the drone strikes hit military infrastructure deep inside Russia, Putin commented on it. Russia blamed Ukraine for the strikes.

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

Ukraine’s largest-scale invasion of Ukraine since November 24, 1993: A glimpse into the day after his 70th birthday as a citizen of Crimea

The fear of reprisal by the Moscow Kremlin was never far away despite the jubilation here in Ukranian after the huge explosion that hit the bridge over the weekend.

On Nov. 24, the 10-month anniversary of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, here’s a look ahead and a rundown ofkey developments from the past week.

Unverified video on social media showed hits near the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and close to Maidan Square, just a short stroll from the Presidential Office Building. Five people were killed as a result of strikes on the capital, according to Ukrainian officials.

The area around my office in Odesa remained quiet as of midday local time despite reports that several missiles and drones were 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).

The mayor reported that an explosion occurred in one city district as a result of the attack on energy infrastructure facilities. It wasn’t immediately clear whether that was caused by drones or other munitions. Emergency power outages were underway in the capital after a 19-year-old man was wounded.

Now, Ukraine is trying to defend a power grid that reaches every part of the country. The analyst at CNAS said there are more sites to protect.

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

Many people in the Ukrainian cities will be in bomb shelters most of the day, at the urging of officials, while businesses are 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.

For Putin, the symbolism of the only bridge linking mainland Russia and Crimea cannot be overstated. It can be seen that the attack took place a day after his 70th birthday, and that it adds to his embarrassment since he is an aging autocrat.

Hardwiring newly claimed territory with expensive, record-breaking infrastructure projects seems to be a penchant of dictators. Putin opened the bridge by driving a truck across it. That same year, one of the first things Chinese President Xi Jinping did after Beijing reclaimed Macau and Hong Kong was to connect the former Portuguese and British territories with the world’s longest sea crossing bridge. The $20 billion, 34-mile road bridge opened after about two years of delays.

What Do Ukrainians Really Want to Know About Russia? And How Do They Need to Stop Sitting Down? The Case of Vladimir Petraeus

There was a quick reaction to the explosion in Ukrainians, with funny social media posts lit up. Many shared their sense of jubilation via text messages.

For Putin, consumed by pride and self-interest, sitting still was never an option. 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.

Putin was put on thin ice because of the increased criticism at home, and it was also an act of desperation.

Petraeus: Well, Putin recently made General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff, the commander of the war in Ukraine, presumably to ensure that the Russian Military and Ministry of Defense are doing all that they can to generate additional forces for the battlefield in Ukraine. And Russia has been seeking additional arms, ammunition, and weapons systems from other countries – such as Iran and North Korea – to make up for the shortfalls in production of Russia’s military industries that are constrained by export controls.

What is crucially important now is for Washington and other allies to use urgent telephone diplomacy to urge China and India – which presumably still have some leverage over Putin – to resist the urge to use even more deadly weapons.

We should not underestimate Putin. He still believes that Russia can “out-suffer” the Ukrainians, Europeans, and Americans in the same way that Russians out-suffered Napoleon’s army and Hitler’s Nazis. And the US and our NATO and western allies and partners need to do all that we can, as quickly as we can, to enable Ukraine and prove Putin wrong.

Furthermore, high tech defense systems are needed to protect Kyiv and crucial energy infrastructure around the country. The need to protect heating systems is more important than ever.

The Cold War in Ukraine and Russia’s Cold War with the West – A Key Warning for the Russian Defense Mission and for the Security of the Middle East –

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.

Jeremy Fleming, director of Government Communications Headquarters said Russia was running short of friends.

Russia is not currently massing its aircraft for a massive aerial attack. We know that Russia has lots of aircraft and a lot of capability left. “That’s why we’ve emphasized that we need to do everything that we can to get Ukraine as much air defense capability as we possibly can.”

Russia’s practice of carrying out missile and artillery strikes on civilian targets has already become notorious, from the Mariupol theater airstrike in May that killed 600 people to the bombings of multiple sites in central Kyiv that Russia carried out in October in retaliation for the destruction of the Kerch bridge linking the Crimean peninsula to Russia. The Kremlin’s preference for softer, nonmilitary targets has been amplified by the numerous failures of the Russian military to take or hold territory in the face of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. “We are fighting against a terrorist state,” Reznikov wrote.

The violent strikes follow Putin’s announcement of immediate military escalation in September, in which he threatened the possibility of nuclear retaliation.

“I think any talk of nuclear weapons is very dangerous and we need to be very careful about how we’re talking about that,” Fleming said when asked about Putin’s nuclear threats.

“I would hope that we would see indicators if they started to go down that path. But let’s be really clear about that, if they are considering that, that would be a catastrophe in the way that many people have talked about,” he added.

Fleming will say in a speech later Tuesday that Russians are more and more counting the cost of the invasion of Ukraine and see how badly Putin has underestimated the situation.

“With little effective internal challenge, his decision-making has proved flawed. It’s a high stakes strategy that is leading to strategic errors in judgement. Fleming will make a speech at theRUSI annual security lecture in London where he will say their gains are being reversed.

Their access to modern technologies and external influences will be restricted. He will say that they were aware of the human cost of his war of choice.

Russian Air Defense Missions in Ukraine during the First First Year of the War: What Do They Tell Us About the Security Status of the Russian Armed Forces?

The two countries are fighting in the sky. Russia is unleashing drones and missiles. In the past,Ukraine has shot them down with its own missiles.

The government and people of Ukraine are quite familiar with the risk of Russian missiles wreaking havoc on the population if they persist with their tactic of using swarms of missiles.

Experts believe it remains unlikely that Russia’s aerial bombardment will form a recurrent pattern; while estimating the military reserves of either army is a murky endeavor, Western assessments suggest Moscow may not have the capacity to keep it up.

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.

We see the impact of sophisticated, western-provided fire-and-forget shoulder-launched anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. We’ve seen the impact of anti-ship missiles being used. And we have seen use of offensive cyber capabilities, though not with enormous success, by the Russians.

He told CNN’s Richard Quest that this was the “first time from the beginning of the war” that Russia has “dramatically targeted” energy infrastructure.

“These air defense systems are making a difference because many of the incoming missiles [this week] were actually shot down by the Ukrainian air defense systems provided by NATO Allies,” he said.

At least three parts of the city were damaged by debris after 16 missiles were fired at Kyiv. Three people were injured in Kyiv when Russian missiles shot out of the sky.

It doesn’t make sense to take out cheap drones with advanced systems. But there may be other answers for the hundreds of attack drones Russia is now deploying. Russia has ordered 2,400 Shahed-136 drones from Iran.

The US will approve sending its most advanced ground based air defense system to Ukraine in the coming days, in order to help defend against Russian missile and drones attacks, officials said on Tuesday.

Ukraine’s shopping list, in order to prevail, might be divided into the now (shells, more air defenses, and longer-range missiles and rockets) and the next (tanks, Patriot batteries, and ground-launched small diameter bombs known as GLSDB with a nearly 100-mile (160-kilometer) range that have been promised by the US.)

He said that the system wouldn’t control all of the airspace over Ukranian, but would control priority targets that are important to the country. What you’re looking at really is short-range low-altitude systems and then medium-range medium altitude and then long-range and high altitude systems, and it’s a mix of all of these.”

Western systems are beginning to trickle in. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Tuesday that a “new era of air defense has begun” with the arrival of the first IRIS-T from Germany, and two units of the US National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAM) expected soon.

These are not off-the-shelf items. The IRIS-T had to be made in Ukranian. Western governments have limited inventory of such systems. And Ukraine is a very large country under missile attack from three directions.

The Russian Army in Kiev: Implications of the Cold War on the Near-Infrared Light and the First Moonshine

Ukraine’s senior military commander, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, tweeted Tuesday his thanks to Poland as “brothers in arms” for training an air defense battalion that had destroyed nine of 11 Shaheeds.

He said Poland had provided equipment for the destruction of 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 war is evolving into a new phase, not for the first time. Keir Giles, senior consulting fellow at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Programme, said this is the third,fourth, or fifth war they have been observing.

Though wary of making precise predictions, American and Ukrainian officials say the fighting is likely to continue for months more despite the fact that the war has favored Ukraine recently. It is possible that the war could be more difficult in December and that President Vladimir V. Putin will decide to escalate the fight.

With the sense widespread in Kyiv among officials and civilians that, short of nuclear intensification, Russia cannot do much more to Ukraine that it is not already doing, the allure of curtailing Moscow’s missile capabilities at home outweighs any escalatory concern.

In the southern Kherson region, the flag of the country was hoisted over a building last month. Ukrainian officials say they have liberated hundreds of settlements since their counter-offensive began.

Russia said it would help evacuated residents of Kherson to other areas as the offensive by the Ukrainian navy continued to make gains. 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 shifted the war’s focus and dispelled an idea that came from the West and Russia that the Ukrainian army was not able to seize ground.

The Russians are hoping to avoid a collapse in their frontline before the winter sets in, according to a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Russians will be very happy if the frontline looks like it is at Christmas.

The impact of rising energy prices is felt throughout Europe, and the Ukrainians will be eager to improve upon their gains if they have a major blow in Donbas.

“There are so many reasons why there is an incentive for Ukraine to get things done quickly,” Giles said. The winter energy crisis in Europe and the destruction of power infrastructure in Ukraine, is a test of resilience for the Ukrainians and their Western backers.

And there seems to be little suggestion that the West will be letting up on its support for Ukraine. The US and Europe, which recently pledged to raise their funding by $2 billion, appear determined to seeUkraine through this winter and beyond.

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.

ISW War Fighters in Ukraine – What Do They Tell Us About Their Warfights and Their Interactions With Russia? Vladimir Zelensky and NATO

The I SW said in its update on Monday that the strikes had lost some of Russia’s dwindling precision weaponry against civilian targets, as opposed to militarily significant targets.

Any more involvement in the war by the regime would have a psychological impact. “Everyone’s mind in Ukraine and in the West has been oriented towards fighting one army,” he said. There is a story about the war between Russia and the ancient Rus states that would be played into the narrative of Putin.

The reopening of a northern front would be a new challenge for Ukraine according to Giles. 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.

Now Zelensky will hope for more supplies in the short-term as he seeks to drive home those gains. More than half of the missiles and drones that were launched at Ukraine in a second wave of strikes on Tuesday were brought down, according to the leader.

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

The success rate against Russian cruise missiles has doubled since February, according to an analysis by a military expert with the London-based Royal United Services Institute.

That doesn’t mean mobilized forces won’t be used. If used in support roles, like drivers or refuelers, they might ease the burden on the remaining parts of Russia’s exhausted professional army. They could also lay out units along the lines of contact and cordon some areas. They are probably not capable of becoming a fighting force. There are signs of problems among soldiers in Russian garrisons.

Were Russia to capture the part of Donetsk still in Ukrainian hands, that would require demolishing an area the size of Connecticut. There are already issues with the supply of munitions to the Russian front lines, according to Ukrainian and Western officials.

NATO will hold nuclear deterrence exercises starting Monday. NATO has warned Russia that it should not use nuclear weapons on Ukraine, but the “Steadfast Noon” drills are a yearly activity.

Ukrainian Warfare against the Kremlin: State of Ukraine and the Emergency Preparedness of the Crime against Crimea in Kyiv

A group of Russians, Ukrainians, and Armenias are being held by Russian agents for their suspected roles in carrying out an explosion on a bridge.

It’s very unlikely that any other nation would wage a similar campaign as Russia has in Ukraine and in Syria, with the overt agenda of exterminating the Ukrainian people.

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces fired rockets at a facility in the eastern Donetsk region where Russian soldiers were stationed, killing 63 of them, Russia’s defense ministry said Monday, in one of the deadliest attacks on the Kremlin’s forces since the war began more than 10 months ago.

Past recaps can be found here. There are more in-depth stories on NPR’s website. There will be updates on the NPR’s StateofUkraine podcast throughout the day.

Some regional officials — including the mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin — appeared to be taking pains to offer reassurances. No measures are currently being introduced to stop the normal flow of life in the city, according to Mr. Sobyanin.

And despite the new power granted them by Mr. Putin, the regional governors of Kursk, Krasnodar and Voronezh said no entry or exit restrictions would be imposed.

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.

Ms. Stanovaya said that people are worried that the borders will be closed and the siloviki will do what they want.

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. General Surovikin said he could make difficult decisions when it came to military deployment, but he didn’t say what those might be.

Russia, which has been a dominant military force in Syria since 2015 and helps maintain the government’s grip on power, still keeps a sizable presence there. But the change could herald shifts in the balance of power in one of the world’s most complicated conflict zones, and may lead Israel — Syria’s enemy — to rethink its stance toward the Ukraine conflict.

The author of “A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still HAPPEN” is David A. Andelman, a contributor to CNN twice and winner of the Deadline Club Award. He previously worked as a correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News. His views are his own, not reflected in this commentary. There is more opinion at CNN.

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

Putin hopes that the political clock and the beginning of winter in Europe will make the Western powers want to stay away from Russia, which they have eviscerated his military-industrial machine.

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

In the early hours of Friday in Brussels, European Union powers agreed a plan to control energy prices that have been climbing on the heels of embargoes on Russian imports.

An emergency cap on the benchmark European gas trading hub, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, and permission for EU gas companies to set up a group that buys gas on the international market are included.

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

Still, divisions remain, with Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, skeptical of any price caps. It is important that ministers work out details with Germany so they do not encourage higher consumption.

These divisions are part of the dream of Putin. 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.

Many of the issues are at odds between Germany and France. The conference call was scheduled for Wednesday in an effort to reach some agreement.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the U.S. Secretary of State Declared in support of Ukraine: a drumbeat from the Biden administration

And now a new government has taken power in Italy. The first woman to be prime minister in Italy has tried to distance her party from the fascist past. One of her far-right coalition partners is very fond of Putin.

Silvio Berlusconi, himself a four-time prime minister of Italy, was recorded at a gathering of his party loyalists, describing with glee the 20 bottles of vodka Putin sent to him together with “a very sweet letter” on his 86th birthday.

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.”

At the same time, Poland and Hungary, longtime ultra-right-wing soulmates united against liberal policies of the EU that seemed calculated to reduce their influence, have now disagreed over Ukraine. Poland has taken deep offense at the pro-Putin sentiments of Hungary’s populist leader Viktor Orban.

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

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

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

Yes. A $45 billion aid package is in the works and is part of a consistent drumbeat from the Biden administration. It’s simple,Ukraine is receiving as much aid as the US can give, short of boots on the ground, and aid will not stop.

In its counteroffensive in the northeast and the south the Ukrainian military has been able to cut supply lines and destroy Russian fuel depots with long-range rockets.

The west attempts to reduce the amount of Russian oil it pays for by capping how much countries pay and limiting seaborne oil imports. There are signs the efforts are already cutting into profits.

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

Kim Jong-un has used black market networks abroad to find food and fuel for his war machine, just as Putin has tried to do. The United States has already found shadow companies and people in various countries that were putting together a plan to source high-tech goods for Russia.

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

The Iran-Ukraine War and the Middle East, the United States, and the United Nations: CNN’s Arianna Ghitis

A former producer and correspondent for CNN, Ghitis is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN, columnist for The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. The views that she says are hers. View more opinion on CNN.

Now, CNN has reported Iran is about to start sending even more – and more powerful – weapons to Russia for the fight against Ukraine, according to a western country closely monitoring Iran’s weapons program.

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

One example is the intersection of the conflicts in Iran and Ukraine, which has become a center for many of the world’s tensions.

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

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

Israel has been able to destroy Iranian weapons in Syria thanks to the control of Syria’s airspace by Russian forces. It will give new military communications systems, but not missile shields, after it was offered to help Ukraine build defensive systems.

Russia’s assault on Ukrainian ports and its patrols of Black Sea halted Ukraine’s grain exports just after the war started, causing food prices to skyrocket. The head of the World Food Program, David Beasley, warned in May that the world was “marching toward starvation.”

The impacts of high prices on family budgets are not limited to individual lives. When they come with that powerful power, they unleash a political punch. Political leaders in many countries are under fire because of inflation worsened by the war.

The Russian-Russian War on Crime and Foreign Agents: Implications for the State of the Art and for the Future of the Cold War

And it’s not all on the fringes. Kevin McCarthy suggested the Republicans could reduce aid to Ukraine if they were speaker of the House. Progressive Democrats released and withdrew a letter calling for negotiations. Evelyn Farkas, who was a former Pentagon official during the Obama administration, said they are all bringing a smile to Putin.

Grisly videos filmed by Ukrainian drones showing Russian infantry being struck by artillery in poorly prepared positions have partly supported those assertions, as has reporting in Russian news media of mobilized soldiers telling relatives about high casualty rates. The videos have not been independently verified and their exact location on the front line could not be determined.

Russian forces are staging 80 assaults per day, and a phone conversation between a Russian general and an American general is included in the statement.

An assessment from the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based analytical group, also said that the increase in infantry in the Donbas region in the east had not resulted in Russia’s gaining new ground.

If Russian forces had waited until enough personnel had arrived, they would have had more success with offensive operations, according to the institute.

In the south, where Ukrainian troops are advancing toward the Russian-occupied city of Kherson, the Ukrainian military said Friday morning that its artillery battalions had fired more than 160 times at Russian positions over the past 24 hours, but it also reported Russian return fire into Ukrainian positions.

With Russian and Ukrainian forces apparently preparing for battle in Kherson, and conflicting signals over what may be coming, the remaining residents of the city have been stocking up on food and fuel to survive combat.

The first missile to have landed in Poland – a NATO member – on Tuesday may well have been a Ukrainian anti-aircraft rocket intercepting an incoming Russian missile a short distance from one of Ukraine’s largest cities, Lviv, as suspected by Polish and NATO leaders. President Zelensky had insisted that the missile wasn’t Ukrainian.

One thing is certain, regardless of the circumstances of the missile. “Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Wednesday.

The growing list of foreign agents and non-desirable organizations meant to damage their reputations in the Russian public is the result of the repressions elsewhere.

That said, a growing number of Russian soldiers have rebelled at what they have been asked to do and refused to fight. The UK’s Defense Ministry claims Russian troops may be prepared to shoot retreating or deserting soldiers.

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

Putin is increasingly isolated on the world stage. Zelensky dubbed the meeting of the G20 the “G19” because the only head of state to stay away was him. Although Putin lusted for a return to the G7 after being ousted from it, inclusion now seems like a distant dream. The banning of 100 Canadians including Canadian-American Jim Carrey from entering Russia only made the comparison with North Korea more striking.

Putin argued it was good riddance, part of a “self-cleansing” of Russian society from traitors and spies. Russian officials have suggested stripping those who left the country of their passports. Yet there are questions whether Russia can thrive without many of its best and brightest.

Last week, I talked to a leading Russian journalist who fled in March and now lives in Berlin, who said he is prepared to accept that he may never be able to return to his homeland.

The French-German Future Combat Air System (FAIRS) Project: Status and Prospects for a Next-Generation Jet Fighter

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. The long-stalled joint French-German project for a next-generation jet fighter at the heart of the Future Combat Air System began moving forward on Monday, after word began circulating that it was beginning to move forward.

It seems that Putin doesn’t know how to act on or off the battlefield and is most likely going to be isolated and weaken Russia in the final analysis.

He said that despite Russia threatening nuclear weapons, there has not been a change in Russia’s nuclear posture.

The officials said the Defense Secretary could approve a directive as soon as this week to transfer one of the batteries overseas to Ukraine. Final approval would be granted by President Biden.

The White House, Pentagon and State Department did not comment on the transfer of a Patriot battery, which would be one of the most sophisticated weapons the US has provided.

CNN stated that the system was likely to be in Germany, but many questions still remain about where the systems would be and how long it’d take to train Ukrainian soldiers.

In a speech to the Group of 7 nations on Monday, Mr. Zelensky thanked the countries for their continued support but listed financing for weapons first among his requests.

How Do We Describe the Latest Russian Warfare? The Kremlin and the Pentagon Worried about the U.S.-Russia War on Ukraine

CSIS recently said in a report that the missile rounds for the Patriot come in at roughly $4 million each. Rounds that expensive likely won’t be used to shoot down every missile Russia launches toward Ukraine, Hertling said.

But news, first reported by CNN, that the US is finalizing plans to send the system to Ukraine triggered a cryptic warning from Russia’s US embassy Wednesday of “unpredictable consequences.”

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

It is not possible to protect against Russian attacks that have left millions without power, but the country could use the skills of multiple people who are trained to operate the system.

The Pentagon press secretary was asked if the Russian warnings wereprovocative. The comments would not have an impact on the aid the US gives to Ukranian.

It is ironic that officials from a country that had brutally attacked its neighbor in an illegal and unprovoked invasion would choose to use provocative words to describe their defensive systems.

Noisily, but that may be all. Kremlin watchers like to parse the latest statements from the Russian President Vladimir Putin each time US weapons deliveries improve Ukraine’s position. The latest release of the conflict leads to an increase of the conflict and does not bode well for Ukraine, according to the Kremlin spokesman.

The video of the installation of the intercontinental missile in the Kaluga region was shared by the defense ministry in Russia in what may be a subtle message to the United States.

Appearing this week on Russian state TV, Commander Alexander Khodakovsky of the Russian militia in the Donetsk region suggested Russia could not defeat the NATO alliance in a conventional war.

Old weapons, new weapons and the problem of resolving Ukraine’s crisis: a case study of the fortifications along the Ukrainian border with Belarus

Perhaps the biggest obstacle was the question of manpower. There are about 90 people assigned to operate one missile battery. And the training needed is substantial; course lengths range from 13 weeks for a launching station operator to 53 weeks for a maintenance role, according to Army recruitment materials.

In an interview with The Economist published Thursday, Zelensky also rejected the idea recently suggested by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Ukraine seek to reclaim only land seized by Russia since February 2022 and not areas like Donbas and Crimea, which have been under Russian control since 2014.

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

Old weapons. Earlier this week, CNN reported on a US military official who said that the Russians had to use 40-year-old shells since their supplies of new mortars were running out.

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

In the trenches. CNN’s Will Ripley filed a video report from trenches and fortifications being built along Ukraine’s border with Belarus, where there is growing concern about Russia once again assembling troops. Ripley talked to a man who was turned into a tank driver.

An official announcement is expected on a European Union cap on natural gas prices, the latest measure to tackle an energy crisis largely spurred by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The UK Prime Minister, Prime Minister Sunak, and the First Russian-Ukrainian Nuclear Collisions since the Ukraine Invasion

On Tuesday, the prime minister of Britain will appear before a Commons committee to discuss the Ukraine war and other global issues. Sunak had a meeting with members of the U.K. led European military force on Monday.

Russian news reports state that Russian President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will have virtual talks sometime 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.

An American was freed from Russian-controlled territory as part of a 65-person prisoner exchange. 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 $19 billion for Ukraine, and more sanctions on Russia. Dozens of countries and global institutions have pledged funds to helpUkraine with power, heat, food and medical supplies after the country was damaged by a winter storm.

The War on Everybody: What Does It Mean for You? A Comment on the Russia and Eurasia Programme by Keir Giles

Keir Giles is working at the Russia and Eurasia Programme of Chatham House in the UK. He is the author of “Russia’s War on Everybody: What does it mean for you? The views expressed in this commentary are his own. You can have an opinion on CNN.

Russia is preparing for a very heavy increase in violence. It’s doing drills and training. As of right now, I don’t think we’re going to exclude any scenarios from the next two to three weeks.

And yet, Russia’s UN Security Council veto and the fear it has instilled through nuclear propaganda have given it a free pass to behave as it wishes, without fear of interference from a global community looking on in either ambivalence or helpless paralysis.

And it is critical that the leaders of the US and other western nations – and of China and India, as well – convey clearly and repeatedly to Putin that the consequences of the use of nuclear weapons for Russia would, indeed, be “catastrophic,” to quote US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

That is a bad example for other 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.

The first and foremost deliverables are the Patriot missile systems. They have been described as the US’s “gold standard” of air defense. NATO protects them and requires the personnel that operate them to be trained to use the weapons in a proper way.

It is possible to fire precision-guided munitions for Ukrainian jets. Russia and Ukraine are capable of firing dumb weapons, which is roughly towards a target. Ukraine has been provided with more and more Western standard precision artillery and missiles, like Howitzers and HIMARS respectively.

Since the war began, the Pentagon has sent large quantities of military equipment to Ukraine. As the weather warms, theUkrainian army prepares for fighting in the spring.

Western analysts have noted Russia has grumbled consistently about these deliveries, but been relatively muted in its practical response to the crossing of what, as recently as January, might have been considered “red lines.”

Regardless of the truth of the situation, Biden wants Putin to hear that headline figures are in the billions and that the European nations will help more and make the resources of the country seem unlimited.

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

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

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

He is an inspiring rhetorician, and he is the embodiment of how Putin’s war of choice has turned ordinary Ukrainians into wartime heroes.

The Patriot Radar System: Defense, Interactions and Operational Training for the Army and the Defense Forces in Syria and the Middle East

The system does what it is meant to do, protect the ground on very specific targets, according to James “Spider” Marks.

The Patriot’s radar system combines “surveillance, tracking, and engagement functions in one unit,” a description from the Center for Strategic International Studies (CSIS) says, which makes it stand out among other air defense systems. The system’s engagements with incoming aerial threats are “nearly autonomous” aside from needing a “final launch decision” from the humans operating it.

Hertling said that the systems do not pick up and move around the battlefield. “You put them in place somewhere that defends your most strategic target, like a city, like Kyiv. If anyone thinks this is going to be a system that is spread across a 500-mile border between Ukraine and Russia, they just don’t know how the system operates.”

The Army says that the battery has up to eight launchers and includes computers, a phased array radar, power generating equipment and 90 soldiers.

In this case, Hertling says offensive operations are more important than the system. CNN first reported last month that the US was considering a dramatic increase in the training provided to Ukrainian forces by instructing as many as 2,500 troops a month at a US base in Germany. The Pentagon said this month that combined arms training of battalion-sized elements, which will include infantry maneuvers and live fire exercises, would begin in January.

“The Patriots are a defensive, anti-ballistic and anti-aircraft weapon system, with the emphasis on defensive,” Hertling said. “You don’t win wars with defensive capabilities. You win wars with offensive capabilities.

The Ukrain Patriot Missile System in the Light of a High-Energy Planned Campaign for Intervention by the Kremlov Organization

“It becomes a real humanitarian issue when you’re trying to deprive an entire country of its electrical grid and water and everything else,” said Jeffrey Edmonds, a 22-year Army veteran who now works as a Russia analyst at the Center for a New American Security. I think that is necessary to help the Ukrainians stay in the fight.

It would be a good idea to defend one city, like Kyiv, against some threats. But it’s not putting a bubble over Ukraine,” said Mark Cancian, a retired Marine Corps colonel and senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Even on a compressed schedule, the training requirements mean that the Patriot system is unlikely to be operational until late winter or early spring, perhaps in February or March.

Cancian says hasty training might hamper the system’s effectiveness and cause Ukrainians to be unable to stop Russians from destroying it. He said that it could cause damage to the political will to send future assistance to Ukraine.

“If the Ukrainians had a year or two to assimilate the system, that wouldn’t be any problem. The problem is they don’t have a year or two. Cancian said that they want to do this in a couple weeks.

Zelenskyy had renewed those calls in recent weeks ahead of Wednesday’s visit to Washington, including in a phone call to Biden earlier this month. The G7 promised to give Ukrainian air defense systems and capabilities in a statement after the Ukrainian leader pressed for more assistance.

The aid package announced Wednesday also includes more than 100,000 GRAD rockets, and thousands of tank bullets, as well as additional bomb-making materials such as HIMARS.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2022/12/21/1144662505/us-ukraine-patriot-missile-system

U.S. Air Defense and Strategic Bombing in the Mid-Atlantic City of Engels, Ukraine, during the October 8 – 10 Attack

Kelly Greico, a defense analyst at the Stimson Center, called the announcement “a sign that there is a real deep concern” among U.S. officials about Ukraine’s air defense capability.

The prices of missiles that accompany the Patriot are more expensive than missiles that are used in the war in Iraq. Analysts believe that Ukrainians must be careful with how they use them. “You can’t just let these things fly,” said Cancian.

Prior to October, the Ukrainian air defense focused on protecting frontline troops in the east and south, as well as key government buildings and military sites.

“That’s a horrible choice to make, between trying to ensure that you have long-term military capacity to continue to resist the Russian war effort and trying to protect your civilians from these brutal attacks,” Greico said.

Russia’s foreign ministry condemned what it called the “monstrous crimes” of the “regime in Kyiv,” after US President Joe Biden promised more military support to Ukraine during Zelensky’s summit at the White House on Wednesday.

Maria Zakharova said, “No matter how much military support the West provides to the Ukrainian government, they will achieve nothing.”

The tasks set within the framework of the special military operation will be fulfilled, as the leadership of our country stated, taking into account the situation on the ground and the actual realities.

Zelensky spoke from the US Capitol, thanking American aid in fighting Russian aggression since the war began and asking for more.

Peskovitch said there were no real calls for peace. Zelensky stressed that “we need peace” during his address to the US Congress on Wednesday.

The US is in a proxy war of indirect fighting against Russia against the last Ukrainian, according to Peskov.

Outlays in Russia’s heartland have not been damaged by Ukrainian long-range attacks. The latest, on Monday, killed three servicemen, Russia’s Defense Ministry said, after air defenses shot down a Ukrainian drone approaching Engels air base, near the city of Saratov.

The incident took place in the western port city of Engels, some 500 miles (more than 800 kilometers) southeast of Moscow, located on the Volga River. It is the second such attempted attack on the city, which houses the Engels-2 military airfield, a strategic bomber airbase, this month.

Busargin said law enforcement agencies are looking into the incident at the airfield. He made the comments after reports of an explosion in the city.

Moscow Rejoinder on Russia’s Cyber Attacks on the Internet and “NotPetya’s” Cybersecurity: “Are cyberattacks targeting civilians? “

He added that there were “no emergencies in the residential areas of the city,” and that no civilian infrastructure had been damaged. He said the government would provide assistance to the families of the servicemen.

“This reminds of the events of December 5, so there may be some deja vu, some repetition of this situation, after which [the Russians] launched a massive missile strike,” the spokesperson said. “Therefore, we should be prepared for this, take it into account in our plans and do not forget to proceed to the shelter.”

The explosion was caught on camera by a set of security cameras and appears to show up in the sky. Gov. Busargin reassured residents that there was no civilian infrastructure damaged and that information about incidents at military facilities was being checked by law enforcement agencies.

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

When the first Ukrainian long-range strike on Russian military targets hit their targets, a former Ukrainian defense minister said that they should fight back.

The most sophisticated missile in Russia’s arsenal, the Kinzhal, a hypersonic weapon that can reach targets in minutes and is all but impossible to shoot down, is in even shorter supply, Mr. Budanov said.

Menon thinks every one of his comments can be applied to Russia’s earlier waves of cyberattacks on the country’s internet, including the NotPetya software that destroyed hundreds of digital networks five years ago. He says that the goal is the same despite the differences in the details. “Demoralizing and punishing civilians.”

Emergency Evacuation in Kyiv Revisited: Three Minutes After the Sirens Sensitive Call for Action in Ukraine

Several residential buildings in the capital Kyiv were destroyed, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the lead for disaster response in the Ukrainian presidential office.

An explosion near a playground rattled the windows of nearby homes. Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko urged residents to charge their electronic devices and fill water containers in case of shortages.

The Mayor of Lviv warned that the waterworks could stop working if electricity were to be cut off.

In separate comments to Russian media Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted Moscow would continue to pursue its objectives in Ukraine with “perseverance” and “patience.”

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

Halyna Hladka stocked up on water as soon as the sirens went off and made breakfast for her family so they’d have something to eat. After nearly two hours, they heard the sounds of explosions. She told CNN that it looked like they were close to her area, but it was actually air defense. “Not a single attack will cancel the fact that we will celebrate the new year with the family.”

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, while parents took their children to school, as others continued holiday plans in defiance.

Kiev isn’t going to negotiate: Russia’s highest single-incident death toll since the war began 10 months ago and Moscow’s response to Kiev

As the war looks set to stretch into another year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that Moscow will not negotiate with Kyiv on the basis of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s proposed 10-point peace formula, which includes Russia’s withdrawal from all Ukrainian territory, a path to nuclear safety, food security, a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes, and a final peace treaty with Moscow.

Still, he stressed Russia was open for diplomatic solutions, echoing comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent days that he wanted an end to the war. Putin’s claim that he is open to negotiating was roundly dismissed by Kyiv and the West as a ruse.

At least three people were injured, two of them were extricated from a damaged home on Thursday, and the 14-year-old was the only one who wasn’t dead. Homes, an industrial facility and a playground in the capital were damaged in attacks on Kyiv, according to the city military administration.

Authorities in Odesa, in southern Ukraine, said that emergency power outages had been rolled out amid the missile attacks. DTEK said they were introduced because of the threat of missile attacks to prevent significant damage.

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.

“Senseless barbarism.” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said those were the only words that came to mind watching Moscow launch a fresh wave of attacks on Ukrainian cities ahead of the New Year, adding there could be “no neutrality” in the face of such aggression.

At that time, Putin thought his campaign would be over in a few weeks.

War against Ukraine: Left Russia Isolated and Stuck with More Tortuttle Ahedrahedral Power in the Light of Russia’s Cold War

The war ended a period of prosperity for the country, as well asrupturing a post-Soviet period in which they tried to promote democracy.

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

Lengthy prison sentences have been meted out to high profile opposition voices on charges of “discrediting” the Russian army by questioning its conduct or strategy.

The human rights group, which was due to be honored with a second prize in 2022, was forced to stop its activities because of violations of the foreign agents law.

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

For the time being, repressive measures remain in place. Some of the new laws are still unenforced. The measures are designed to crush dissent should the moment arise.

When new “fake news” laws made it hard to tell the true story, leading independent media outlets were forced to shut down or relocate abroad.

The restrictions are for internet users as well. In March, American social media giants were banned. Since the beginning of the war, more than 100,000 websites have been blocked by the Kremlin’s internet regulator.

Technical workarounds such as VPNs and Telegram still offer access to Russians seeking independent sources of information. But state media propaganda now blankets the airwaves favored by older Russians, with angry TV talk shows spreading conspiracies.

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

Russia’s Exodus During Putin’s First Year in the Office of Foreign Direct Investment: State and External Relations with the Russian Economy

Thousands of perceived government opponents left in the early days of the war due to concerns of persecution.

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

In the initial days of the invasion, Russia’s ruble currency cratered and its banking and trading markets looked shaky. More than a hundred global brands, including McDonald’s and ExxonMobil, reduced or suspended their operations in Russia.

Ultimately, President Putin is betting that when it comes to sanctions, Europe will blink first — pulling back on its support to Ukraine as Europeans grow angry over soaring energy costs at home. He announced a five-month ban on oil exports to countries that abide by the price cap, a move likely to make the pain more acute in Europe.

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.

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

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

Russia’s illegal annexation of four territories of Ukraine following unrecognized referendums in September has only underscored Moscow’s problems: it hasn’t been able to establish full control over the lands it now claims as its own.

The number of Russian losses is officially listed at over 6,000 men, but it’s a topic that’s difficult to discuss 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 have criticized Russia’s actions out of concern for their own sovereignty, an affront that would have been unthinkable in Soviet times. India and China have purchased discounted Russian oil, but they did not give full support to the Russian military campaign.

Russian troops killed by rocket-launched HIMARS attack on a vocational school in the Makiivka area: Moscow’s military says 63 servicemen were killed

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

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

The Kremlin has given no reason for the delays. Many suspect it might be that, after 10 months of war and no sign of victory in sight, the Russian leader has finally run out of good news to share.

The Russian soldiers were killed and many others were injured in a Vocational school building in the Makiivka area according to the Strategic Communications directorate of Ukraine’s military. It was not possible to independently verify that claim. The Russian statement said the strike happened in a specific area but did not mention the school.

Russian officials said that four Ukrainian-launched HIMARS rockets hit the vocational school where its forces were housed, apparently adjacent to a large arms depot. Two other rockets were shot down by Russian air defenses.

It was claimed on Monday that 63 Russian servicemen died in the attack, making it one of the worst episodes in the war for Moscow’s forces.

Russian senator Grigory Karasin said that those responsible for the killing of Russian servicemen in Makiivka must be found, Russian state news agency TASS reported Monday.

The Makiivka Strike in the Intl: a rebukening by the Ukrainian military for their actions in the HIMARS conflict

Video reportedly from the scene of the attack circulated widely on Telegram, including on an official Ukrainian military channel. It shows a pile of smoking rubble, in which almost no part of the building appears to be standing.

The Strategic Communications directorate of the Chief Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Ukraine had a message for those who were brought to occupied the Makiivka and crammed into the building of the Vocational school. Santa packed corpses of Russian soldiers in bags.

The high command is still unaware of the capabilities of the weapon, according to a former official.

“I hope that those responsible for the decision to use this facility will be reprimanded,” Bezsonov said. There are plenty of abandoned facilities in the area with strong buildings and well-stocked basements.

The building was nearly destroyed by secondary detonation of ammunition stores, claims the Russian propagandist who writes about the war effort on Telegram.

The military equipment that stood near the building without a sign of camouflage was destroyed. “There are still no final figures on the number of casualties, as many people are still missing.”

The Russian generals who were decried by Girkin for directing the war effort far from the frontline did not listen to warnings about putting equipment and personnel so close together in the HIMARS range. Girkin was previously minister of defense of the self-proclaimed, Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic, and was found guilty by a Dutch court of mass murder for his involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014.

“As you can see, despite several months of war, some conclusions are not made, hence the unnecessary losses, which, if the elementary precautions relating to the dispersal and concealment of personnel were taken, might have not happened.”

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/01/02/europe/ukraine-makiivka-strike-intl/index.html

Yanushevich: “Weak Arms are Strong” and “Necessary” for Moscow’s Invasion of Bakhmut

Russian forces lost 760 people killed yesterday, and continue to attempt offensive actions on Bakhmut, the military stated on Sunday.

Russian units have been pressed into action by Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut for months, but have suffered heavy losses while they are fighting in an open rural area.

The use of a U.S. supplied precision weapon in the strike gave Russia a serious blow and put an end to the counteroffensive by the Ukrainians.

Russian President Putin has had to contend with Moscow’s failed invasion on Feb. 24, as his ground forces struggle to hold ground. He said in his New Year’s address to the nation that 2022 was “a year of difficult, necessary decisions.”

Five people were wounded in the Monday morning shelling of a Ukraine-controlled area of the southern Kherson region, its Ukrainian Gov. Yaroslav Yanushevich said on Telegram.

Moscow’s renewed assault came after Russian forces targeted the residential neighborhood with an Iskander-K missile Wednesday, killing at least three civilians and wounding another eight, according to local police. Two of the wounded are in critical condition, Honcharenko said.

A blistering New Year’s Eve assault killed at least four civilians across the country, Ukrainian authorities reported, and wounded dozens. The fourth victim, a 46-year-old male resident of Kyiv, died in a hospital on Monday.

What Happens when the Russian Army Doesn’t Respond to Ukraine’s Demands for Large Arms Depots? Comment on “Russia’s Cold War with Ukraine”

The US may dispatch Bradley armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was urging the dispatch of heavier battle tanks, though French PresidentEmmanuel Macarone announced he would be sending light tanks. The German Chancellor is under increasing pressure to add the Leopard 2 tanks to the mix.

On their phone call, Biden and Scholz “expressed their common determination to continue to provide the necessary financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine for as long as needed,” a joint statement read.

Those systems had been at the top of Zelensky’s wish list because it will allow his military to target Russian missiles flying at a higher altitude than they were able to target previously.

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. The attack was executed by the Ukrainians. The implications are much bigger and deeper for the war being waged by Russia.

It’s clear that President Putin called for a truce due to the Orthodox Christmas holiday. The move was rightly dismissed by Ukraine and the US as a cynical attempt to seek breathing space amid a very bad start to the year for Russian forces.

The range of the satellite-guided high mobility arms system is currently 80 kilometers. Ukrainians had been pushing for a longer-Range 300- kilometer HIMARS to be authorized. (The Biden administration has worried that the longer-range system could expand the war beyond Ukraine’s frontiers and lead to an escalation of hostilities.)

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. “Bad communications security seems to be standard practice in the Russian Army,” James Lewis, director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told me in an e-mail exchange.

He is not the only Russian war Bloggers casting doubt. The Telegram channel “Grey Zone” linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of theWagner Group of mercenaries, said that the troops’ fault was being placed on them. “In this case, it is to 99% a lie and an attempt to throw off the blame.”

Indeed, a number of the most recent arrivals to the war are inmates from Russian prisons, freed and transferred immediately to the Ukrainian front. One can only imagine how appealing cell phones can be to prisoners who are accustomed to years of isolation with little or no contact with the outside world.

Semyon Pegov, who won the Order of Courage by President Putin at the Kremlin two weeks ago, attacked the ministry of defense for suggesting it was the troops use of 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.

One month earlier, a new deputy defense minister was named who was known to Western officials as the butcher of Mariupol. The location of the arms depot is close to the recruits.

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.”

Ukraine’s first airborne attack on the Kramatorsk neighborhood of Ukraine was triggered by a fresh onslaught of missiles

A top Ukrainian national security official said that Russia was likely to intensify its war in eastern Ukraine as soon as the next few weeks.

The secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council told Sky News in an interview Tuesday that there will be defining months in the war.

“Not just on land, but on the sea and in air as well,” Natalia Humeniuk, head of the United Coordinating Press Center of Security and Defense Forces of the South of Ukraine, said on national television.

The ministry said that the military representatives from the two countries will use the previous experience of armed conflict to plan the use of troops.

After months of obfuscation the scramble to provide tanks is the latest iteration of this gap. Leopard 2s, Challengers and Abrams M-1s have been earmarked for Ukraine and are vastly superior to the Russian main battle tanks. The numbers are uncertain and even with a following wind, first units wont be in the field until April, when they can be integrated into the battle groups ready to fight the enemy.

On January 30, US President Joe Biden reiterated that Washington would not send its F16 fighter jets to Ukraine, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has also said that he does not envisage providing warplanes to Kyiv.

A fresh onslaught of missiles ripped through the city of Kramatorsk in easternUkraine thursday, sending flames and thick plumes into the air as screaming civilians scrambled to find shelter

The CNN team heard the first attack on Kramatorsk. CNN watched two impacts in one minute after the first attack. Two women jumped from their car and ran yelling while other civilians took shelter wherever they could. Shrapnel bounced off the blastproof glass of one CNN vehicle.

Paramedics rushed to the scene to treat at least one wounded civilian. Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko also confirmed that there had been a strike on the city, and urged residents to stay in bomb shelters.

A school, a children’s clinic, and a garage were all damaged by them. Every day, Russians confirm their status as terrorists.

Rescue workers searched through piles of rubble to find survivors after the attack on the apartment buildings. Authorities also evacuated people to a local school for shelter.

The Top Gun: Maverick Air War: Relics of a High-Area War and Their Impact on U.S. Forces

A country that is beyond evil. To reduce to zero the likelihood of tragedies happening again, a country has to overcome it. We will definitely find and punish all the perpetrators. They do not deserve mercy.”

This battle is unlike any other air wars of the past century, because pilots are rare. And this goes very much against the traditional perception of air combat.

“Top Gun: Maverick is Oscar-nominated this year for Best Picture. And here we are, watching an air war happening. “It looks very different than what we see in Top Gun” said Kelly Grieco with the Stimson Center.

There are at least a few aircraft that are still flying. Grieco said that there were a very small number of sorties compared to past wars.

He knows what they stand for. As a F-16 pilot, Gersten flew combat missions early in his career and later commanded U.S. drones in the Middle East. He saw drones play a big part in the air campaign in Iraq. The US alone dominated the skies and piloted warplanes played a significant role in those conflicts.

He noted that the Draganfly drones can carry pharmaceuticals. That’s how we started over there. It’s expanded so much that it’s just expanded even more. Draganfly drones are sent to various organizations inUkraine for a wide variety of missions. They perform search and rescue operations, detect mines from the air and deliver critical supplies to frontline areas. Chell thinks that this war is demonstrating how a smaller country can use drones to battle an enemy using a more powerful air force. “Before, you needed massive systems, you needed manned aircraft. Now you’ve got $10,000, $20,000 and $50,000, even $2,000 systems that have an impact,” he said.

“We were contacted by an American (aid group) that couldn’t get their ambulances into besieged cities and asked if it could use our drones,” said Chell, who’s based in Vancouver.

“When I ask about F-16, I never heard about a problem with the spare parts or the supply chain. The answer was normally, ‘Oleksii, you know, it’s a very long period of training courses for your pilots.'” But President Biden has been clear. The U.S. is sending air defenses, but not fighter jets — which would put more vulnerable pilots and expensive planes in the sky.

The crisis of Vuhledar: Russian forces, tanks, infantry and troops in a Russian-backed Donetsk people’s republic

The Russian tanks are chaotic, with some of the men on fire and the bodies of the soldiers caught in tank tracks.

At least two dozen Russian tanks and infantry vehicles have been disabled or destroyed in a matter of days, according to the videos, which were released by the Ukrainian military and analyzed by CNN and military experts. Satellite images show tree lines where Russian tanks tried to advance.

The 155th Marines are involved in the assault on Vuhledar, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. In remarks recorded for a Sunday television show, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the “marine infantry is working as it should. Right now. Fighting heroically.”

But the leader of the self-declared, Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, acknowledged Friday that the area was “hot” and said “the enemy continues to transfer reserves in large quantities, and this slowed down the liberation of this settlement.”

The name of the coal mine where it was constructed was dubbed “Velukedar,” which means “gift of coal” and it sits above the plains. Its high-rise buildings give its defenders – principally the Ukrainian 72nd Mechanized – a significant advantage, as well as hardened underground cover.

But attacks launched in the last week of January were fatally flawed, he said. Cooper said on his post that Ukrainian observers were posted atop of high buildings in the town, and now face 500 meters of empty terrain on the eastern side of the town.

Strelkov was quoted on Telegram as saying that there was a lot of good T 72B3/T 80BVM tanks and the best paratroopers and marines killed.

In a post on Telegram, he said that only morons can attack at the same place, which is heavily fortified and inconvenient for the attackers.

MoscowCalling stated at the weekend that the movement of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles in “slender columns” was asking for trouble. He alleged that Russian units in the area lack information because commanders have failed to integrate intelligence-gathering into battlefield decisions.

What are tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry supposed to do without columns? How are you going to coordinate any actions if there is no communication? he wrote.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Vlasov, the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade, and the Russian Defense Minister Vladimir Putin, during the European tour of Ukraine

Russian commentators called for Rustam Muradov, the commander of the eastern group of forces, to be dismissed. The men of the 155th protested that their tactics had caused disastrous losses, and that the man in charge at the time was Muradov.

The Grey Zone, which is part of theWagner Telegram channel, said of the man in a post that he is lying down at the control point until the commander of one of the brigades involved is dead on the contact line.

But the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says that poor leadership is only part of the problem: the “highly dysfunctional tactics are far more indicative of the fact that the 155th Naval Infantry Brigade is likely comprised of poorly trained mobilized personnel than of poor command.”

There are a number of Russian forces, including professional units, the recently mobilized militia of the DPR and the infantry of a private military company, close to the Russian Defense Ministry in the Vuhledar area.

The key to success on the battlefield is effective fire damage, said the commander of Ukrainian forces who spoke on Saturday.

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 war in Ukraine received less attention in the speech that the Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. attended, but for the second year in a row.

There’s “strong indication” Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead to supply anti-aircraft weapons to separatists in Ukraine, according to the international team investigating the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014.

Colonel Serhiy Cherevaty, spokesman for the armed forces said on Ukrainian television that soldiers need to keep building defensive lines. But he also said that part of the reason for the order a day earlier barring civilians, including aid workers, from entering the city was to keep military operations secret.

As a prize, Bakhmut offers little in the way of strategic value for either Moscow or Kyiv. The amount of blood spilled in order to claim it is more important than its significance.

“Even if Bakhmut were to fall, it would not have a strategic impact on the overall war,” said the National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby. It won’t have a strategic impact on fighting in that part of the country.

Ukranian Warfare: What Will the United States Say About Its Assassination? An Analysis by CNN’s Peter Bergen

As Western officials dodged questions about whether or not Ukraine’s campaign to secure more powerful weapons would win, the topic of whether the campaign would succeed was raised.

Asked in Brussels on Tuesday whether fighter jets had been discussed, Mr. Austin, the American defense secretary, said, “I don’t have any announcement to make today.”

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

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

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

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

Petraeus: I think we should recognize that, with a few exceptions, Ukraine is not 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).

Petraeus: The developments in Ukraine are a cautionary tale for any country that is considering a very challenging military operation because of the fact that the country has not had a lot of combat operations in the past.

Petraeus is a person. It’s not Russia. Russia has lost a lot of battles in the past, but it failed to take the rest of the southern coast of Ukranian.

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

The side that generates the most capable, well-trained and well-equipped forces by then will make the most significant gains. And my bet is on Ukraine in that regard.

What Do We Need to Know Before Going into War? An Empirical Report on the Russian Anti-Bisn-Baseline Crisis

A war is taking place for the first time, in a context that includes the widespread presence of internet and smart phones.

These are only some of the hints of what war would look like between advanced powers. In such a conflict, the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems would be incomparably more capable; precision munitions would have vastly greater range, speed and explosive power.

There would be more capable RQ-23s, RQ-26s, and RQ-22s operating in every domain, not just in the air.

If it can be seen, it can be hit, which means it can be killed, according to an old adage that was used in the Cold War. In truth, we didn’t have the surveillance assets, precision munitions and other capabilities needed to truly “operationalize” that adage in those days. The future will see just about everything being susceptible to being hit and destroyed, unless there are substantial defenses and a hardening of those assets.

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 abilities or willingness to use them and also by doing everything we can to prevent competition among great powers from turning into conflict.

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

All of the above and more is what Petraeus said. They had a long list, including bad campaign design, poor training, and a culture that condones war crimes and abuse.

Not at all. Russia has enormous military capability and is still a nuclear power, as well as a country with lots of minerals and agricultural wealth. It has a population that is nearly double that of the second largest country, Germany, with 80 million.

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

How Ukraine War Ends: How Do Ukrainian Soldiers and Soldiers Live and Learn in the Army? Petraeus: How Ukraine is going to End its Bergen

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

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

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.

Ukrainians know what they are fighting for and so do many of the Russian soldiers, although it is not clear if that is the case.

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.

In fact, the Ukrainians have also shown exceptional abilities to “McGyver” solutions for a variety of problems – whether adapting Western missiles for use on MiG-29 fighter aircraft, repairing battle-damaged armored vehicles left on the battlefield by the Russians (remember the Ukrainians’ “tractor army”), or jamming Russian communications.

I know that it’s easier to make tough decisions in the West Wing of the White House than it is in the Situation Room. I want to see us give more capabilities sooner rather than later, for example, advanced drones, fighter aircraft, and additional air defense and counter-drone capabilities.

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

We should start the process of transition since it will take a number of months to train pilots and maintenance personnel. The administration has done an impressive job, proving to be the indispensable nation in this situation, and having a significant impact for other situations around the world.

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

How Putin wants to invade Taiwan? What does the Black Sea navy have to say about the Petraeus crisis? Is this the case for China?

The force that Putin sends into the toughest battles is the quasi-private Wagner Group. I’m wondering if using mercenaries is a good way to use them as a tactic.

As you mention, what Russia has done with mercenaries is innovative but also inhumane, as it entails throwing soldiers into battle as cannon fodder, and not much concern for their survival.

What are the lessons for the Chinese if they invaded Taiwan over a 100 mile body of water instead of over a land border? 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. I believe that is the case. The war is the first where social media has been widely employed and that is because it is so widely available. The result is unprecedented transparency and an extraordinary amount of information available – all through so-called “open sources.”

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

How does the Ukrainian Army Operate as a Cold War? And what does it take for the United States to intervene in war crimes?

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 beginning of the Iraq War, you asked a rhetorical question: “How this ends?” For the war in Ukraine: How does this end?

Also when Ukraine reaches the limits of its ability to withstand missile and drone strikes, getting a Marshall-like plan (developed by the US and G7) to help rebuild the country, and gaining an ironclad security guarantee (either NATO membership or, if that is not possible, a US-led coalition guarantee).

According to The Post, the administration is even qualifying the meaning of President Biden’s State of the Union pledge to support Ukraine “as long as it takes.” It quotes an administration official saying, “‘As long as it takes’ pertains to the amount of conflict,” but “it doesn’t pertain to the amount of assistance.”

This is a dangerous notion. The military performance of the Ukrainians has been great, but pushing them to mount an offensive too soon could have disastrous results. It will take time for Ukraine to receive the deliveries of advanced Western tanks, for example. The deployment of the tanks before Ukrainian soldiers are fully trained and ready to work could result in wasted resources and unacceptable losses.

The administration and congressional allies need to impress upon the American public the high stakes of a war fought so far away from our shores.

Perhaps one of the most impressive examples of Ukrainian agility came on the first day of the invasion, when a large Russian helicopter assault force seized an airfield on the outskirts of the capital, threatening to turn it into a bridge to surge further reinforcements.

The following night, Ukrainian special forces, supported by accurate artillery, penetrated the base, killed dozens of Russian paratroopers and disabled the runway. The Russian concept of operations, so confidently rehearsed on table tops, was crumbling in its first phase.

The actions underscored Zelensky’s determination, as well as the defiance of a small group of people on Snake Island, which retorted to a Russian ship with a slogan that became a national symbol.

The Ukrainians have more pressing needs on this first anniversary of the Russian invasion. One of the themes of CNN’s two-week tour of frontline positions was “We need shells.”

The Russians have learned that it’s important to place warehouses beyond the reach of strikes in order to defeat mass with precision.

The Foundation for the Defence of Democracies expects that the first GLSDBs won’t arrive until this fall because of Russian and Ukrainian offensives that will determine the war’s future trajectory.

The Russian air force is missing in action thus far, so it is expected to be an important component of the battle plan. The Secretary of Defense said last week that there was a lot of capability left in Russia.

“It’s likely more aspirational than realistic,” said a senior US military official last week, with Russian forces moving before they are ready, due to political pressure from the Kremlin.

The only way the Russians have succeeded in this conflict is to waste what is in front of them and leave nothing to defend. We have seen it in Mariupol and many other places.

A successful counter-attack by Ukrainian forces, especially with a thrust southwards through Zaporizhzhia towards Melitopol, would raise the stakes for the Kremlin still higher.

But Ukraine will need time to assimilate tanks, fighting vehicles and other hardware to break through Russian lines, which are deeper and denser than they were a few months ago.

It is possible, perhaps even likely, that after a burst of fury this spring the conflict will settle into a violent stasis, with little ground changing hands amid relentless attrition and high casualties.

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