The US warned allies that China could increase support for Russia

Why does Putin want to end the war in Ukraine? Security and Security Issues in the Era of the End of the Cold War and the Russian War on the Baluchi Sea

According to senior US and European officials, Putin’s aims have not changed since he launched his invasion a year ago. Despite humiliating setbacks for his military and the apparent power struggle between him and the Russian defense ministry Russia has recently made gains in the east. The city of Bakhmut is likely to be the first significant Russian military victory in months.

The longer the war goes on, the greater the worry is about Putin trying to change the equation by reaching for his nuclear arsenal. While some strategists think that he is either bluffing or that there are no real strategic advantages to breaking the nuclear taboo – an act that would leave Russia even more ostracized in the world – there is real concern in Western governments about Putin’s state of mind. All of his previous tactical assumptions and decisions in Ukraine have backfired and don’t show the kind of strategic caution and clear thinking that is critical when the question becomes whether or not to use nuclear weapons.

The Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow is run by Andrey Kortunov. He told CNN that the president wanted to end it as quickly as possible.

Putin doesn’t want to go the way of either the Romanovs or the Soviets. It could be that his recent desperate moves are related to the fact that he had long sought to avoid the deployment of 300,000 additional troops.

According to official data from the EU, Georgia and Kazakhstan, around 220,000 Russians have fled across their borders since the “partial mobilization” was announced. More than 66,000 were provided by the EU, representing a more than 30% increase from the previous week.

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.”

Kortunov says he doesn’t know what goes on in the Kremlin but that he understands the public mood over the huge costs and loss of life in the war. People would start questioning why we were in this mess. Why, you know, we lost so many people.”

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

“This nuclear saber rattling is reckless and irresponsible,” Pentagon spokesperson Brig. The General said earlier Thursday. At this time, we do not know what President Putin might do at this point, and we don’t assess that he has made a decision to use nuclear weapons.

Probing the Russian Warfare in Crimea with Shock Waves and Nuclear Explosions: The Case of Zelensky During the 2019 Ukrainian War

Both Nordic seismologists recorded shock waves from within at around 2 a.m. and 7 p.m., with the first hitting 2.3 magnitude and the second 2.1.

The Danes and Germans sent warships to secure the area after it was discovered that patches of sea were roiling.

Russia denies it is responsible, and says it is doing its own investigation. But former CIA chief John Brennan said Russia has the expertise to inflict this type of damage “all the signs point to some type of sabotage that these pipelines are only in about 200 feet or so of water and Russia does have an undersea capability to that will easily lay explosive devices by those pipelines.”

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

Europe raced to replenish gas reserves ahead of winter, and was cut off from Russian supplies due to an increase in demand, while searching for replacements.

“President Putin shows no sign that he is preparing for peace. He is not only launching new offensives that are targeting civilians, but also attacking critical infrastructure.

It was 2019. The president traveled to Paris for a summit to negotiate a peace deal with Putin. Despite the doubts of many, Zelensky managed to walk away giving few concessions.

With Scholz shouldering his way to the diplomatic helm, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may find his territorial ambitions to restore the entirety of Ukraine’s sovereignty including Crimea, before peace talks with Putin, constrained. The German chancellor has been at the forefront of friendly leaders wanting a speedy end to the war and the restoration of economic stability to Europe.

The threat of Putin using nuclear weapons is certainly “elevated” compared to earlier in the year, multiple sources told CNN late last month. But multiple officials familiar with the latest intelligence said that the likelihood Putin will use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine is still not probable. The intelligence community is watching out for signs that the Russian leader’s mind-set has changed.

He referred to Russia as amortal enemy when he said that victory in Ukraine was essential to the survival of the country.

The timing could not have been worse. Putin lost Lyman as he publicly said that the Donetsk region was now annexed by Russia.

Two powerful Putin supporters called for using harsher fighting methods when they railed against the Kremlin a day previously because they believed that the illegally annexed region would be remembered as Russian forever.

The soldiers were forced to retreat because they were fighting with NATO soldiers, as stated by the soldiers in the Sunday broadcast.

These aren’t toys anymore. They are part of a systematic and clear offensive by the army and NATO forces,” the unnamed deputy commander of one Russian battalion told the show’s war correspondent, Evgeny Poddubny. The soldier insisted that his unit had been intercepting discussions by Romanian and Polish soldiers, not Ukrainians, on their radios.

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

There is an idea that Russia is fighting a broader campaign after the death of the daughter of a nationalist commentator, according to an interview with the father.

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

“The West already accuses us of blowing up the gas pipeline ourselves,” he said. The war with the west is taking place on a scale and extent that we must understand. We need to join this battle with the enemy who is able to use any method to hurt us, including exploding gas lines.

The campaign is going well, at least for now. According to a senior fellow of the Carnegie Endowment forInternational Peace, many Russians are afraid of the West.

There is growing opposition at home against Putin from Russians on the left and the right, because they can face steep fines and even prison time for speaking out against his military operation in Ukraine.

The threats and potential for use of nuclear weapons have been wrestled with since the first days of the war by US officials and several pointed out that Putin’s saber rattling isn’t new.

The primary utility, many U.S. officials say, would be as part of a last-ditch effort by Mr. Putin to halt the Ukrainian counteroffensive, by threatening to make parts of Ukraine uninhabitable. The officials spoke on the condition that they not be quoted in any of the reports.

Last October, Russian missiles and drones destroyed nearly a third of Ukrainian power stations, plunging millions of Ukrainians into darkness and signaling a significant Russian tactical shift to target civilian infrastructure.

The Crimes of Crime against Humanity in the London and Tehran Repressed Regimes: The Case of the Urugrug-Assisted Crimes in Ukraine

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

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

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

The David v. Goliath battles show bravery that is almost unbelievable to the rest of us, inspiring equally brave support in places like Afghanistan.

In Iran, the spark was the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month. She died in the hands of morality police who arrested her for disobeying the rules requiring women to dress modestly.

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

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

The Russian President entered Syria less than a decade ago to aid the Assad family in their war against the Palestinians.

“In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence, we know the legal standards, and there is no doubt: These are crimes against humanity,” Harris said in a speech at the Munich Security Conference. She said those who have been responsible for the crimes will be held to account.

The repressive regimes in Moscow and Tehran are no longer wanted by the international community because of their support by autocrats.

Tehran has become a rare ally of the Kremlin, providing both weapons and international support, according to the proof that Russia sent on Monday to divebomb Ukraine’s capital.

These are two regimes that have a lot in common and are willing to project power abroad because of their similar tactics of oppression.

Iran’s prisons are filled with regime critics and courageous journalists – including Niloofar Hamedi, first to report what happened to Mahsa Amini. In Russia as well, journalism is a deadly profession. So is saying bad things about Putin. After trying and failing to kill opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Putin’s people manufactured charges to keep him in a penal colony indefinitely.

There is more interest in the idea of the Iranian regime falling than in the low chance of that happening. It would have a huge impact on their countries and their lives. Iran’s constitution calls for spreading the revolution.

The U.S. arms supply to Ukraine since the July 24 August assassination by the Daria Dugina degenerate

Instead, the war has given the world an unending series of surprises. Russia’s army turned out to be less competent than people thought, and Putin wasn’t the best at it.

Mr. Zlatev and his new partner had a chance to try out international arms dealing. Contract documents and other records obtained by The New York Times show that the deal relied on layers of middlemen and transit across seven countries. And it exists in a legal gray area, designed to skirt the arms-export rules of other countries.

The process of Ukraine requesting weapons from the US has come a long way since the harried first days of Russia’s invasion, when Ukraine’s government was pleading for anything they could get their hands on and the US worried about the prospect of Russia occupying the whole country – and hauling off valuable US equipment. Multiple regular channels can be found and all are relayed through the Pentagon.

Biden has sent billions of dollars of weapons and economic aid to Kyiv and united other countries around economic sanctions meant to punish Moscow for the invasion. Defense, economic and humanitarian aid was appropriated by the U.S. Congress last year.

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

The US provided intelligence or assistance in the attack, officials said. American officials said they would oppose the killing if they’d been briefed on the operation. The American officials admonished the Ukranian officials over the assassination.

How far is Putin from the nuclear age? A senior administration official warned against using nuclear weapons in the U.S. after the Cuban Missile Crisis

A senior administration official said Biden spoke candidly in his remarks at the Democratic meeting in New York, reflecting on Putin’s recent nuclear threats.

He talks about potential use of nuclear weapons, biological weapons and chemical weapons because his military is far from average.

“I’m trying to figure out what is Putin’s off ramp,” Biden said. Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself in a position that he does not not only lose face but significant power within Russia?” Biden said.

Biden’s reference to the Cuban Missile Crisis was notable, both because it was the last time a US president spoke so overtly about the risks of a potentially impending catastrophe, but also because it’s 60th anniversary is just a few days away.

Nuclear powers must not allow confrontations to bring an adversary to either a retreat or a nuclear war in order to defend our own vital interests.

“To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy – or of a collective death-wish for the world.”

Nuclear weapons are too terrible to use and any nation that did would be writing their own death warrant.

“I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon,” Biden said at the fundraiser.

The US Response to Russia’s Invasion: A Commentary on the U.S. Response to the Kremlin and the Cold War

In the last few weeks there have been direct communications between Moscow and the US, detailing the scale of the US response should Putin go down that path. Officials say that the details won’t change soon.

As recently as Thursday, officials told the public that there were no plans for a nuclear strike in the US. However, experts view them as potential options the US must prepare for as Russia’s invasion falters and as Moscow annexes more Ukrainian territory.

“Nothing was detected today that reflected an escalation,” the official said, who went on to defend Biden’s remarks because of the ongoing gravity of the matter.

Last Friday, at a ceremony in which he announced the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions, Putin said Russia would use “all available means” to defend the areas, adding that the US had “created a precedent” for nuclear attacks in the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

Peter Bergen is a professor at Arizona State University, a vice president at New America and a CNN national security analyst. Bergen is the author of a book. The views he expresses in this commentary are his own. More opinions on CNN are available.

In Tuesday’s address to the Kremlin, he held that attempts by some countries to rewrite and change world history were becoming increasingly aggressive, ultimately and obviously trying to divide our society, take away our guiding lines and eventually weaken Russia.

His revisionist account defines his rationale for the war in Ukraine, which he asserts has historically been part of Russia even though it was not a part of the Soviet Union at the time.

In a recently released book, historian Elisabeth Leake explains how the Soviets planned to install a puppet government in Afghanistan and leave the country as soon as possible.

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

Russia is weak, but will be stronger. This is a period where the United States needs to provide support. President Zelensky knows if he defeats US support, the Russian aggression in Ukranian will befall him.

The US announced a new $1.8 billion aid package to Ukraine, which included the “first-ever transfer to Ukraine of the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System, capable of bringing down cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles, and aircraft at a significantly higher ceiling than previously provided air defense systems.”

The Kremlin’s Special Military Operation: A Legacy of the Soviet Union and Moscow’s First Year in Invasion of Ukraine

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

The Romanov monarchy was weakened in 1905 due to the Russian loss in the Japanese war. Czar Nicholas II was feckless during the First World War, which led to the Russian Revolution. Subsequently, much of the Romanov family was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad.

Putin delivered his remarks days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor. The assembled audience included uniformed soldiers the Kremlin said had come directly from the frontlines of Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Russia is digging in on the eastern side of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine, and has the advantage that the Donetsk and Luhansk frontlines in Ukraine’s east are nearer its border. 77,000 of it’s frontline troops are poor trained, forcibly conscripted personnel and that’s according to the glossy assessment voiced by Putin. It is struggling for munitions, and seeing regular open, internal criticism of its winter supply chain.

The economic damage has caused a drop in Putin’s reputation for providing stability in Russians, who remember the chaos after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Biden’s unguarded moment at an off-camera fundraiser: A reappraisal of the US response to the recent nuclear Armageddon crisis

Biden’s blunt assessment caught several senior US officials by surprise, largely due to that lack of any new intelligence to drive them and the grim language Biden deployed.

Biden’s remarks serve as a window into a very real, very ongoing discussion inside his administration as the seek to calibrate the response to that environment.

The comments were also the latest unguarded moment from Biden during an off-camera fundraiser, where the President has repeatedly deployed more candor and colorful rhetoric he might in scripted remarks. Officials say his off-the-cuff remarks at fundraisers tend to be a brief and unvarnished window into real concerns or debates Biden is grappling with at the moment.

His remarks are usually only slotted for 10 minutes but in the past he has stretched to half an hour or more, expounding on various topics. After the remarks, reporters are ushered out while Biden takes a few questions from the donors.

Biden made a remark about the risk of nuclear Armageddon, which aides in Washington first learned of through the news reports and dispatches from the press pool.

There is no ladder for the escalation of nuclear weapons, tactical or otherwise. Any move in that direction causes a cascading response with one outcome.

The speech was characterized as “insane” and “shattered the US view of Russian weakness and isolation.” It also raised concerns about Putin’s willingness to escalate beyond the level of a rational actor.

The White House decided not to talk about the comments publicly Thursday night, and there are no plans to address the remarks in any detail on Friday morning. When Biden leaves for his event later in the morning, it will be clear if he wants to address it on his own.

The most important thing for US officials is that they don’t have a change in posture that raises the threat level above where it has been.

The aftermath of a heavy bombing attack on the Ukrainian capital, Zaporizhzhia, in the first 24 hours of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

It was only later that the deal that averted the disaster came to light.

Editor’s Note: Michael Bociurkiw (@WorldAffairsPro) is a global affairs analyst. He is an associate at the Atlantic Council and a formerspokeswoman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He contributes to CNN Opinion. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN.

After the Russian President on Sunday accused the Ukranian government of attacking the Kerch bridge,Mondays attacks were not a surprise.

The carpet bombing of the Ukrainian infrastructure was the reason for this action. This is all part of Putin’s misguided, and likely futile, effort to hammer the nation into submission – a hail of rockets designed to knock out electricity, water, and other critical civilian infrastructure as winter looms.

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

As of midday local time, the area around my office in Odesa remained eerily quiet in between air raid sirens, with reports that three missiles and five kamikaze drones were shot down. Normally at this time of the day nearby restaurants would be crowded with customers and people were talking about weddings and parties.

A few hours later, Zaporizhzhia, a southeastern city close to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, was hit by multiple strikes on apartment buildings. At least 17 people were killed and several dozens injured.

Russian missiles destroyed a glass-bottomed footbridge that is a popular tourist site, tore into intersection at rush hour and crashed down next to a children’s playground on Monday. There were power failures in places that cut off water supplies and transport in strikes that recalled the terror inflicted on civilians when the invasion was still going on, but that had largely waned in recent months.

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.

Millions of people in cities acrossUkraine will spend most of the day in bomb shelters, at the request of officials, while businesses have been asked to shift work online.

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

The symbolism of the only bridge linking mainland Russia and Sevastopol can be overstated for Putin. An attack on an old autocrat just one day after his 70th birthday, can be seen as a blow to the aging autocrat’s ability to survive.

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

The Ukashviliexplosion as a test of the Post-war order: How Putin got his kicks and what the rest he had to do

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

Sitting still is never an option for Putin, who is consumed by pride and self-interest. He responded in the only way he knows how, by unleashing more death and destruction, with the force that probably comes natural to a former KGB operative.

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

Officials told CNN the plan is not a starting point in negotiations with Russia. It is a sign of the ideal post-war order that can hopefully convinceUkraine’s allies to maintain their support for as long as it takes to get there.

The strategic play of China is also a part of the brouhaha. It sent its diplomat Wang Yi to Moscow for high-level talks despite warnings from the US that it would use arms to fight in Ukranian.

How is it that Russia is not being helped by sanctions when it has suffered a massive loss of face in nearby Ukranian? Is a weak Russia something to fear, or just weak? The West has an unknown to wrestle with. But it is no longer such a terrifying question.

Joe Biden and his aides in Kiev: a close-door conversation about security and the future of the Ukrainian border wall, as revealed by the Pentagon

Furthermore, high tech defense systems are needed to protect Kyiv and crucial energy infrastructure around the country. There’s a need to protect heating systems with winter just around the corner.

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.

In their closed-door conversation in Kyiv on Monday, Biden and Zelensky “spent time talking about the coming months, in terms of the battlefield, and what Ukraine will need in terms of capabilities to be able to succeed on the battlefield,” according to US national security adviser Jake Sullivan, one of the tiny number of aides who accompanied the president on his covert visit to Ukraine.

President Joe Biden has played a big role in reestablishing the Western alliance that kept the Soviet Union at bay and he will be highlighting this on his first trip outside Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February.

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

The US has yet to deliver NASAMS to Ukraine according to the Department of Defense. At the time, Brig. Two systems will be delivered in the next couple of months, with the others arriving in the foreseeable future, said the general.

Russia launched a total of 84 cruise missiles against targets across Ukraine on Monday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in a Facebook post.

The Zelensky War is Coming: Towards a Long-Term Solution to the Putin-Biden Puzzle with the U.K. Crisis

Zelensky faces a new dilemma as the war grinds into a new year. How to balance growing pressure from outside for a ceasefire and negotiations with Russia, and expectations within Ukraine for a full Russian withdrawal to pre-2014 lines.

Yes. The Biden administration has been pushing for a huge aid package for some time, and one that is not all military. The message is simple: Ukraine is receiving as much aid as Washington can provide, short of boots on the ground, and that aid will not stop.

“It’s clear that he’s feeling the pressure both at home and overseas, and how he reacts to that only he can say,” Kirby told CNN’s Kate Bolduan on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

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

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

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

Kirby couldn’t say if Putin was moving his strategies from a losing battlefield war to a campaign to damage civilian confidence and wreak havoc on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, which he suggested had already been in the works.

“It likely was something that they had been planning for quite some time. Now that’s not to say that the explosion on the Crimea bridge might have accelerated some of their planning,” Kirby said.

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

Retired Lt. Alexander Vindman, who was director of European Affairs on the National Security Council, said that Putin was Sending a message about how he would prosecute the war when he attacked targets designed to hurt Ukrainian people.

Russia has suffered its highest single-incident death toll since the war began more than a month ago, regardless of which country claims that it lost 400 men.

Zhovkva said, “Imagine if we had modern equipment, we could increase the number of drones downed and not kill innocent civilians or wounds.”

Any prolonged campaign by Putin against civilians would be aimed at breaking Ukrainian morale and possibly unleashing a new flood of refugees into Western Europe that might open divisions among NATO allies that are supporting Ukraine.

It seems as though Putin doesn’t seem to have learned that revenge isn’t an appropriate way of acting on or off the battlefield, and in the final analysis it’s most likely to be detrimental to Russia.

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Why we need a cease-fire and why Putin is going to make a big mistake in our invasion of Ukraine

Olena Gnes is a mother of three who is documenting the war on the internet and told Anderson Cooper on Monday that she was angry at the return of fear and violence to the lives of Ukrainians.

“This is just another terror to provoke maybe panic, to scare you guys in other countries or to show to his own people that he is still a bloody tyrant, he is still powerful and look what fireworks we can arrange,” she said.

The knee-jerk reaction to these attacks — “strike back at the barbarian Russians” — must be held in check. If there is renewed pressure for a cease-fire now is the time.

In the age of nuclear weapons, all accepted modes of just war — self-defense, justice and punishment for wrongdoers, recovery of international borders; in essence, all notions of right and wrong — are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter who was the one who started the fight, who committed crimes against civilians or who acted in self-defense.

It does not really matter who was right or wrong in an asymmetrical exchange of nuclear missiles that could kill hundreds of millions. Historians won’t tell the story.

President Biden should publicly muse about alternatives and dispatch his diplomats immediately to Russia to give Vladimir Putin off ramps. An immediate cease-fire must occur, and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine must be pressured to agree.

MOSCOW — For months, Russia’s state media has insisted that the country was hitting only military targets in Ukraine, leaving out the suffering that the invasion has brought to millions of civilians.

On Monday, state television reported the suffering but also flaunted it. The picture showed a scene of smoke and carnage, along with empty shelves and a long-range forecast promising months of freezing temperatures.

Biden-Xi Summit: Rebuilding the World, Avoiding a Cold War and Avoiding Direct and Indirect Control, and a Counterattack on Iran and Russia

The Biden-Xi summit came at a good time for the West and not a moment too soon. China remains a major violator of human rights, a threat to Taiwan and a key rival of the United States. But avoiding a Cold War or a direct, especially an accidental conflict, is crucial.

The document, required by Congress, comes 21 months into Biden’s term. Over the course of the President’s time in office, there have been signs of the broad outlines of the strategy, including a focus on rebuilding global partnerships and confronting China and Russia.

Speaking to reporters, Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the strategy made clear the White House wasn’t viewing the world “solely through the prism of strategic competition.”

“We will not leave our future vulnerable to the whims of those who do not share our vision for a world that is free, open, prosperous, and secure,” he goes on. “As the world continues to navigate the lingering impacts of the pandemic and global economic uncertainty, there is no nation better positioned to lead with strength and purpose than the United States of America.”

The issue is that no one wants a cold war. What we want is a China that is not going to be an aggressor state, that’s not going to be building up its military and threatening the United States, and certainly not making the negative comments that it’s making instead of just openly apologizing for sending a spy balloon over our most sensitive military sites,” Turner said.

“This decisive decade is critical both for defining the terms of competition, particular with the (People’s Republic of China), and for getting ahead of massive challenges that if we lose the time this decade we will not be able to keep pace with,” he said.

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

Both countries are struggling in different ways. Iran is trying to quell street protests that pose the most serious challenge in years to the government and Russia is trying to manage dissension over a faltering war effort and an unpopular draft.

The Dean Obeidallah Show: Putting America First with Blank Checks if Republicans Win the House Minority Leader’s Electoral Campaign

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

Vance’s initial reaction was callous and inflammatory, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s recent comments were even more alarming. McCarthy said that if Republicans win the House in November, Ukraine can no longer expect that US assistance would be a “blank check.”

“I support Ukraine but I never support a blank check,” McCarthy said after the speech. We want to make sure there is some degree of accountability for the money that we spend.

It’s amazing how Kevin McCarthy is going to be the leader of the pro-Putin wing of my party. It’s dangerous,” Cheney said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

If McCarthy becomes the Speaker, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene would like to get a lot of power and a lot of latitude.

Conservative Fox News stars, including Laura Ingraham and especially Tucker Carlson, have been laying the groundwork with members of the Republican base, readying them for the possibility of an end to US assistance for Ukraine.

Carlson — who declared on his show in 2019 when there was a potential conflict between the neighboring countries that he was “root(ing) for Russia” — did his best in the months before Putin’s attack to paint Ukraine in a negative light. Carlson made a number of false claims about Ukrainian leader Zelensky and the Biden administration.

And just last week, Ingraham derided former Vice President Mike Pence for referring to the United States as the “arsenal of democracy” and suggested our massive military is too depleted to help other countries such as Ukraine. During that same episode, Ingraham welcomed GOP Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, who echoed McCarthy’s comments about aid for Ukraine, saying, “We can’t put America first by giving blank checks to those around the world to solve their problems.”

Some Republicans may or may not get it, as Biden suggested. But there’s one person who fully gets it: Vladmir Putin. If the GOP is able to regain control of the House, there will be a lot of joy.

David A. Andelman, who is a CNN contributor and winner of the Deadline Club Award twice, is the author of “A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the history of Wars That Might Still Happen.” He formerly was a correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Europe and Asia. His views are what he says in this commentary. View more opinion at CNN.

He is trying to distract his nation from the fact that he is losing badly and failing to achieve his objectives in the invasion.

Energy Market Caps and the Macron-Cremlin War in the Light of European Union Predictions for the New Euro 2020 Conference

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 roadmap to control energy prices that have been surging on the heels of embargoes on Russian imports and the Kremlin cutting natural gas supplies at a whim.

An emergency cap on the benchmark European gas trading hub, the Dutch Title Transfer Facility, and permission for EU gas companies to create a Cartel to buy gas on the international market 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.

Germany, a Europe’s biggest economy, is skeptical of price caps. Energy ministers have to work out details with Germany about how caps on consumption will affect restricted supplies.

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

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

Italy’s First Prime Minister and Prime Minister: The Case for a Resolution to the Post-Fascist Anomalies of Italy

And now a new government has taken power in Italy. The first woman prime minister in Italy attempts to forget the post-fascist aura of her party. She has a far-right coalition partner who has a deep appreciation for 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.”

Hungary and Poland, two of the most ardently right-wing countries in Europe, have joined forces against the policies of the EU that seemed to reduce their influence. Poland has taken deep offense at the pro-Putin sentiments of Hungary’s populist leader Viktor Orban.

House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy said in an interview that he thought people were going to be sitting in a recession and they wouldn’t write a blank check. They will not do it.

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.

Ukrainians have found that they are more powerful than they thought. Have those who underestimated us learned from our mistakes? Military aid has been enough for Ukraine to survive but not to crush the enemy.

The West continues to try and crimp Russian energy profits, by capping the amount countries will pay for Russian oil and limiting seaborne oil imports. There are signs the efforts are already cutting into profits.

The report said that the Russian production of hypersonic missiles had stopped because of a lack of necessary semi-conductors. Plants producing anti-aircraft systems have shut down, and as a result aircraft are being cannibalized for spare parts. More than 30 years ago the Soviet era ended.

Putin has also tried, though he has been stymied at most turns, to establish black market networks abroad to source what he needs to fuel his war machine – much as Kim Jong-un has done in North Korea. There are currently many shadow companies and individuals in hubs like Taiwan and Luxembourg, which are being investigated by the United States because of their connections to Russia.

The Justice Department is charging companies and individuals for trying to smuggle equipment into Russia that is in violation of sanctions.

The Russian War in Ukraine: A Tale of Two Arms and One Arm: The Last Wars Between Israel and Ukraine, and Implications for American Security and Foreign Policy

Russian puppet leader in DONETSK, Gubarev, said he wanted to convince Ukrainians that he was coming to kill them. We will kill you if you don’t want to be convinced. We will either kill 1 million, 5 million, or all of you.

The alliance between Russia and Tehran has attracted the interest of Iran’s enemies, as well as NATO members and nations that are interested in getting Iran to stick to the 2015 nuclear deal.

The historian Yuval Noah Harari believes that a victory by Russia would open the door to invasions of one country by another, something that has been rejected by most nations since the Second World War.

The US and western countries provided massive support toUkraine. The war in Ukraine reinvigorated NATO, even bringing new applications for membership from countries that had been committed to neutrality. It also helped reaffirm the interest of many in eastern European states – former Soviet satellites – of orienting their future toward Europe and the West.

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

The tension between Israel and Ukraine stems from the fact that Israel has developed effective defense systems against incoming missiles. Ukraine has asked Israel to provide those systems, including the Iron Dome and David’s Sling, but Israel refuses, citing its own strategic concerns.

The effect of months of military aid. It’s a completely different scale, but CNN reported last month the US is running low on some weapons systems and munitions it provides to Ukraine. Republicans will take control of the House of Representatives next month and promise to review US aid for Ukraine, which will make that storyline part of the US aid debate.

In fact, the war in Ukraine is already affecting everyone, everywhere. The conflict has also sent fuel prices higher, contributing to a global explosion of inflation.

Higher prices not only affect family budgets and individual lives. When they come with such powerful momentum, they pack a political punch. Political leaders in many countries have been put on the defensive because of the inflation caused by the war.

The Far Side of the Operation: On The Effort of the Milley Military for Talking with the Kremlin and the White House

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

But Milley’s position is not widely backed by President Joe Biden’s national security team, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, neither of whom believe it’s time to make a serious push for talks over Ukraine, according to two administration officials familiar with the discussion.

There is a growing debate within the administration about whether recent gains on the battlefield by Ukrainians should be used to try to get a negotiated end to the fighting.

Milley has been pushing for peace in recent days, as Ukraine has reclaimed the city of Kherson. In New York, Milley said that a military victory is out of reach despite applauding the Ukrainian army for fighting Russia.

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

Foreign diplomats are worried about what the House speaker negotiations could mean for the future of US support for Ukraine.

In internal deliberations, officials said Milley has sought to make it clear that he is not urging a Ukrainian capitulation, but rather that he believes now is an optimal time to drive toward an end to the war before it drags into spring or beyond, leading to more death and destruction without changing the front lines.

But that view is not widely held across the administration. The State Department is located on the opposite side of the pole from Milley. That dynamic has led to a unique situation where military brass are more fervently pushing for diplomacy than US diplomats.

A Call to Vice President Biden in Cambodia after the Ukraine Reionization Deceleration and the First US Military Arms Arrival

“This has become a grinding war of attrition and therefore it’s also a battle of logistics,” Stoltenberg said. The war in Ukrainian is taking a huge toll on allies and their ability to replenish their supplies. Our current rate of production is about the same as the one we have in Ukraine.

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

State Department spokesperson Ned Price would not say Thursday whether the State Department agrees with Milley’s position. Instead, Price deflected to a position that US officials have often made in recent months: the US sides with Zelensky who has said that a diplomatic solution is needed.

Now, a year later, “Kyiv stands, and Ukraine stands. He said, “You have democracy, and the world has democracy, and they both stand with you.”

An aide to the president handed him the phone after the conclusion of a late-night dinner with Asian leaders.

David Trone is a millionaire wine retailer from Maryland who just got re-elected to the House and is thousands of miles away.

The call wasn’t long, a person familiar with it said, but reflected the warmth and enthusiasm Biden had deployed dozens of times in calls to winning candidates over the last week – each one further solidifying a midterm election that dramatically reshaped the prevailing view of his presidency.

Vice President Biden told reporters in Cambodia that anyone who wasn’t running on the Democrats’ accomplishments was out of step. “So I feel good, and I’m looking forward to the next couple of years.”

On the other side of the world, Biden’s advisers said there was a potential to undermine his standing because of the election results that were not in line with historical trends.

Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, said that the results of the elections came up in meetings with the president and that many leaders came to him to say that they were following them closely.

“I would say one theme that emerged over the course of the two days was the theme about the strength of American democracy and what this election said about American democracy,” Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One as Biden traveled from Phnom Penh to Bali, Indonesia, for the Group of 20 Summit.

The US-China relationship since the 2008 election: Do we know what we are doing? When did we learn about the American political landscape? How did we find out after the election?

White House officials, even those who braced for losses in the weeks leading up to election day, have cast aside any reticence to take to their Twitter accounts or to TV interviews to call out pundits and politicians who predicted otherwise.

It’s a reflection of the team that feels constantly underestimated and has been coveted for success after a first 21 months in office.

The White House had been looking for a meeting with the Chinese leader for months. The two sides prepared for the public announcement of the engagement. Regardless of domestic politics, the tenuous state of the relationship necessitated a sit down.

Biden’s theory that the American political landscape had worked to rattle allies and foes over the last couple of years was vindicated by the election results, as the White House mood has only grown more giddy with each new day of called races.

Multiple people that were familiar with the matter said that there was some awareness of the potential split screen of US president struggling with party weakness in the wake of the Community Party Congress in which he would ascend to power.

“Perception matters and so does political standing,” one US official said. “It’s not the be-all, end-all, and it was never a central focus or driver of the dynamics, but we’re well aware of the fact everyone was watching this election around the world.”

Far from a liability, however, each of the congratulatory calls back home have underscored the driving wind at the back of a president who entered the meeting with Xi at a moment where US-China relations appear to be inching away from great power competition toward inevitable conflict.

“I know I’m stronger,” Biden said, before noting that given his long-standing relationship with Xi formed during their times as their nations’ vice president that the results weren’t a necessity for the meeting to achieve its goals. US officials are also careful not to overstate the effect on a trip – and in a region – where the layers of complexity and challenges far exceed what voters decide in a congressional district or swing state.

They would like to know if the United States is stable. Do we know what we are doing? Are we the same democracy we’ve always been?” Biden said at his post-election news conference as he described his conversations with world leaders.

A Conversation with Biden at the ASEAN-US Summit: The Future of the International Electroweak Relations and the Status of the U.S. Capitol

Former President Donald Trump, whose election lies had driven the assault on the US Capitol, hadn’t faded away and he remained the most powerful figure inside the Republican Party.

Biden had navigated the narrowest of congressional majorities to enact a sweeping domestic agenda, a chunk of which was done on a bipartisan basis. He had an approval rating that was in the 40s but weighed down by four decades of inflation and a population exhausted by years of crisis.

Biden would likely be judged harshly in his first and second years in office as nearly all his predecessors have been. It was always going to happen.

As he moved through bilateral meetings and pull-asides, Biden’s own political validation served as a further reason for his approach on the world stage.

Biden “feels that it does establish a strong position for him on the international stage and we saw that I think play out in living color today,” Sullivan told reporters after Biden departed the ASEAN-US Summit, as the Xi meeting loomed. “I think we’ll see that equally when we head into both the G20 and to his bilateral engagements in Bali.”

Biden described the meeting as open and candid, and said he would manage the China relationship properly.

Nevada Rep. Dina Titus, who faced a tough reelection battle in a redrawn district, had secured another term in office. Biden needed to pass along his congratulations.

The Rise of the U.S.-China Relationship after the 2011 Bali Summit: The Case of the Asia-Pacific Spite-Balloon-gate

The summit in Indonesia yielded two important outcomes, according to the US: A joint position that Russia must not use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine and an expected resumption of talks on climate between American and Chinese negotiators, a boost for the COP 27 global climate conference in Egypt.

Biden reported that he pressed the Chinese president to temper North Korea’s destabilizing missile and nuclear activity that has the Pacific region on edge.

That the world’s two most powerful leaders had not been addressing these issues together in recent months shows how the entire world suffers when Washington and Beijing are as deeply estranged as they’ve been this year.

Beijing’s invasion of Taiwan and it’s relationship with Moscow are still important to the U.S. Washington and Beijing’s relationship is fraught and has deteriorated further in the wake of “balloon-gate.”

Leon Panetta is a former White House chief of staff, defense secretary and CIA chief and has dealt with US-China relations for decades.

“If the result of this meeting is to put the relationship back on a more diplomatic plane, in which instead of beating each other up they can begin a dialogue on the kind of issues that need to be dealt with, I think this meeting could very well be pivotal,” Panetta told CNN’s John King on “Inside Politics.”

At the summit in Indonesia, it was evident that the goals of both China and the US remained incompatible, even if both want to avoid a clash now.

Both sides should not attempt to change or subvert the other’s system according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

By the time they met again, Putin admitted that he had questions and concerns about China’s backing of Russia, and that China had little to no support for Russia. More recently, after the Russian President thinly threatened to use nuclear weapons, Xi rebuked him.

That means making sure that Russia doesn’t win in Ukraine, but also prying apart Moscow and Beijing (echoing then-President Richard Nixon in the 1970s) and countering China’s efforts to forge stronger bonds with Iran.

The dynamic between Beijing and the Kremlin has changed, with China being the global power and Russia the junior partner.

Analysts say the meeting could lay the groundwork for stronger ties. Stock markets in mainland China and Hong Kong were buoyed as a result, with technology giants such as Alibaba

            (BABA) and Tencent

            (TCEHY) soaring on Tuesday.

Neil Thomas said the goal of the meeting was to build a floor under the declining relations between Beijing and Washington.

Ken Cheung, chief Asian foreign exchange strategist at Mizuho Bank, said the meeting was a positive sign that the two sides were keen to find common ground.

Hong Kong, Alibaba and Xi: The Rise of the Cold War: Implications for the United States, the Emerging Global Player, and for Russia

On Tuesday, the Hong Kong index rose 4%, on course to record a third straight day of gains. The index, boosted by China’s latest policy shift towards a gradual reopening of borders and a sweeping rescue package for the ailing property sector, has soared 14% since last Thursday.

Chinese technology shares, which had been hammered by a regulatory crackdown at home and rising geopolitical tension abroad, led markets higher on Tuesday. Alibaba shares shot up by 11% in Hong Kong, followed by Tencent, which was up 10%.

Biden’s reiteration of the US position on Taiwan and its “One China” policy was helpful, they said, as was Xi speaking out against the use of nuclear weapons by Russia.

“This was far more progress than we, or indeed most commentators had expected, and dominates what may otherwise turn out to have been a fairly irrelevant G20 summit,” the ING analysts said.

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

This meeting was a perfect one because it was from the point of view of the United States and for democracy.

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

One year later, Putin’s push for a quick victory in Ukranian looks like it would hurt Russia’s place as a top global player, and the alliance appears less valuable than it should be.

Putin didn’t go to the G20 summit in Bali in order to avoid confrontations with other world leaders.

Putin’s Cold War with Russia: What he Has Done Recently About China and How he’s Behaving in the Modern Era

Biden is not the only leader with a strong hand. Xi has just secured an unprecedented third term as China’s leader, and he can now effectively rule for as long as he wants. He does not have to worry about elections, the press, or the opposition party. He is essentially the absolute ruler of a mighty country for many years to come.

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

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

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

As it was when the US government declared that Russia committed war crimes last March, it remains to be seen whether there will be any accountability for those accused of carrying out the alleged crimes and whether Russian President Vladimir Putin himself will be forced to bear any responsibility.

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

But beyond these most recent missile attacks lies a laundry list of horrors Putin has launched that only seems to have driven his nation further from the pack of civilized powers that he once sought so desperately to join.

A number of Russian soldiers have refused to fight because of what they were being asked to do. Amid plummeting morale, the UK’s Defense Ministry believes 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.

What do Ukrainians understand about the future of Russia? A Turkish journalist’s first chance to leave his homeland, and what has he learned from his experience in Brussels

A leading Russian journalist, who has settled in Berlin, told me last week that, like many of his countrymen, he may never be able to return to his homeland, even though he hoped this was not the case.

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

The burden of the conflict on the Western countries is proving to be unfulfilled by Putin, who had hoped that it would drive wedges into the alliance. On Monday, word began circulating in aerospace circles that the long-stalled joint French-German project for a next-generation jet fighter at the heart of the Future Combat Air System – Europe’s largest weapons program – was beginning to move forward.

Russian hopes of seizing control of eastern and southern portions of Ukraine have been dashed since the beginning of September, with the army largely on the defensive across over 600 miles of battle lines.

Indeed a truce or negotiations may be the only path to victory possible at this moment for the Russian leader; his manpower exhausted and weapons supplies dwindling.

Michael Kofman, the director of Russian studies at the CNA think tank and a leading expert on the Russian military, told me in an interview that a premature truce allows both parties to re-arm.

Russia has a large amount of arms and ammunition in close proximity to their troops and well outside the range of enemy weaponry. Standard military practice dictates that large depots be broken up and scattered and that they be located far behind enemy lines — even within Russian territory that western powers have declared off-limits to Ukrainian strikes.

The manufacture of weapons has gone from two to three in some factories in Russia, according to the information cited by Kofman. He said it suggests that they are not going to double and triple shifts.

Petro Poroshenko urged the Council on Foreign Relations to imagine how Ukrainians understand negotiations. “You are sitting in your own house, the killer comes to your house and kills your wife, rapes your daughter, takes the second floor, then opens the door to the second floor and says, ‘OK come here. Let’s have a discussion. What would be your reaction?”

Russia will just wait it out if you don’t give them a chance to do so. After being pushed back in the Fall offensive, they now have a smaller front to defend.

That sentiment was voiced last month by Jeremy Fleming, head of Britain’s top-secret electronic espionage agency GCHQ. “We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and munitions are running out,” said Fleming.

Compounding the problem, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said after the recent Makiivka strikes that “the Russian military has a record of unsafe ammunition storage from well before the current war, but this incident highlights how unprofessional practices contribute to Russia’s high casualty rate.”

The Russians are willing to trade soldiers and shells. NATO and the Western allies will no longer be willing to participate in those trade deals over time, according to the Russians. It will force them to negotiate. I think that is Putin’s bet.

They will get tired of this war one day, he said. Russia may become a mindset that they may not have everything they want. We will annex a chunk of the Donbas to Russia and we will hold onto the peninsula. That is kind of their bet right now.

The West would be able to rebuild rapidly depleted weapons, even if the truce did not take place.

The question is whether the US and its allies will be ready for a return to war in months or years from now.

Why did Brittney Griner and Viktor Bout get their start? A candid account of his life in Moscow, the infamous bogeyman of war

The swap of a US basketball star for a Russian arms dealer is the oddest swap of its kind and may have been the reason for the intense pressure on this moment.

On the surface, Brittney Griner and Viktor Bout are accused of ludicrously different crimes. A Russian penal colony gave a sentence for possession of a gram of cannabis oil. Bout is allegedly the most prolific arms dealer of the past decades, fuelling conflicts in Africa and beyond – and more specifically being convicted in a US court of plotting to kill Americans.

Griner, by that point, had been moved from the penal colony where she’d been held to Moscow: a concrete sign of an imminent resolution. When Cherelle Griner arrived at the White House for the meeting with Sullivan, it had become apparent the critical question was no longer if her wife would be released, but when.

This is a man that many ordinary Russians may not have heard of, but he is still important to the Russian elite. He is not someone Moscow would – to paraphrase the ugly slogan of Russia’s invasion in which hundreds of soldiers’ bodies have remained strewn on the battlefield – “leave behind.”

I interviewed Bout in 2009 after months of negotiations while he was imprisoned in Bangkok. He is a polyglot who can talk about anything, from his personal relationships to the political characters he has in his life.

I have seen videos of Bout in the Congo and across Africa, where he was pretty close to the conflicts there. He is accused of proliferation of small arms across that continent during the 90s and early00s, which he denied. He denied that he armed al Qaeda. There was little he was not accused of doing, and few things he didn’t deny. He became a bogeyman in a film called “Lord of War.” Nicolas Cage was cast in the film.

That is the career history: the reputation as the man who became known as the “Merchant of Death.” After 14 years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, he was extradited to the U.S. where he was exposed to a complex sting by the Drug Enforcement Agency in which he was deceived into agreeing to sell weapons to US agents who were supposed to kill Americans. It is an oddity that after all the crimes Bout was accused of, the one he did jail time for was a conspiracy – a plot, rather than an act.

For sure, he is a pilot and an entrepreneur. He was a military translator with a Soviet past. But there are allegations he worked in Russian intelligence and became an asset for them in the supply of weapons around the world to bolster Moscow’s geopolitical aims. There are rumors that he served alongside senior Russians who are now close to the president. This might have explained the intensity with which the Americans sought him. He was never a nobody.

There was always a curious mystique to Bout and his entourage. Yes, he was innocent, of everything, he would say. But also yes, he had had an interesting life. There was always the wink-wink you often get when someone knows there is more to a story than is being said openly.

Biden’s wife of Griner tells him he won’t leave the United States until the end of the Great War: the case of the Russians brutalizing Ukraine

The larger surprise is how this exchange took place during the Russians brutalizing ofUkraine. It says two things: that Moscow and Washington are able to do business even as Russian bombs kill innocent Ukrainian civilians, and the United States provides arms to Ukraine that are killing Russian soldiers, and that nuclear powers can work on other thorny issues while bullets are flying. This is a great thing for everyone on the planet. Basic interests win out because some cool heads prevail.

The wife of Griner was invited to the White House on Thursday morning for an early morning meeting. She was initially scheduled to meet with national security adviser Jake Sullivan, who had briefed her several times over the course of the negotiations.

Because of the matter’s exceedingly high profile, it was certain those conditions had been set by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself, one US official said.

It was obvious that Putin would not relent, despite Biden trying to link the case to the case of the former US marine who was sentenced to 16 years in prison for espionage.

In July, she wrote a letter to Biden saying that she might be here forever. She told him that he had to go all out to bring her home. At the White House, Biden met with Griner’s wife for the first time to show her the letter he was sending in response.

The release of one of the most prolific arms dealers of the past decades would have an inevitable blowback and could possibly prevent a victory.

A law enforcement official said the decision had been made despite strenuous objections. For the law enforcement agents that spent years trying to capture Bout, the release of him raised further concerns about the precedent the deal could set.


Biden Griner’s Flight to Freedom in the United States: A High-Redshift Post-Breakdown Account of the War Between the Soviet Union and the US

The US official said that after stepping from her plane in the Middle East air, it was fifty degrees warmer than Moscow.

Over the past week, White House officials briefed other government agencies that the Russians would only swap Bout for one person, and that it would happen at a future time. The Justice Department was always against the release of Bout, and they felt that the previous deal had gotten worse.

After waiting for a short period of time at the White House, it became clear that Sullivan’s meeting had changed. One person in particular wanted to deliver the official news that Griner’s nearly 10-month ordeal had come to an end.

Griner’s flight to freedom marked a moment officials acknowledged was only the first step of what will likely be a difficult and emotionally jarring process for the professional athlete in the weeks and months ahead. A number of support programs developed across the US government in recent years have been prepared for the needs of prisoners and hostages returning to the US.

He said that she had lost months of her life, experienced a needless trauma, and deserved time with her family to heal from her time being wrongly held.

Her case also served to amplify the plight of Whelan, whose arrest on espionage charges led to a conviction in 2020 and a 16-year prison sentence. The charges in the trial have been called manufactured by US officials.


The U.S. Ambassador to the Middle East, David Bout, whose criminal activity in the past was not a security threat to the US

A senior administration official said the US had “tried to articulate other options, other categories of options, to create the space to really have the haggling that we want to have,” describing the other categories as involving individuals in US custody.

“If you’re haggling, you’re getting closer,” the official said. “And instead we have had no change or softening of a response that is simply a demand for something we just can’t provide because it’s not something in our control.”

As it became clear that Whelan would not be released alongside Griner, Whelan’s sister was visited in person by senior US government officials to “share and talk through” the news. A senior US official spoke with Whelan.

“I was arrested for a crime that never occurred,” he said from the penal colony where he is being held in a remote part of Russia. “I don’t comprehend why I’m sitting here.”

The final approval to accept the deal was given by the Biden administration, after conducting a security assessment. Ultimately, the assessment’s conclusion was that “Bout was not a security threat to the US,” a US official told CNN.

The official said that the assessment took into account the fact that Bout has not been active in criminal activity in over a decade, and that he was in prison for over a decade.

Other than to say that the security assessment conducted on Bout was “thorough,” the official would not elaborate further on how the US was able to be certain that the Russian arms dealer wouldn’t pose a future risk to the country.

Concerns were raised that the deal could lead to Russia and other countries using the arrest of Americans to try to get concessions from the US, even though they wouldn’t give.

Speaking Thursday, an administration official rejected the notion that Bout’s release set a new precedent for securing the release of Americans and said hostile governments would be mistaken if they interpreted Thursday’s swap that way.

The official said that any inference that somehow this has become the norm would be mistaken. Sometimes there are no alternatives left and a heavy price to pay when there is an imperative to Americans home, a real priority of this president.

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

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

The country could use the security system to protect against Russian attacks that have left millions without power, but requires a lot of training for multiple people to operate it.

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

The video of the missile installation into a silo in the Kaluga region, shared by the defense ministry, may be a subtle way to remind the US that the deployment of the Patriot anti-missile system is provocative.

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.

Russian Patriot Missiles What Matters: A US Secretary of State Revealed by a CNN Report on the Status of the Ukrainian Air Defense System

Smaller air defense systems only need a few people, but the bigger the batteries, the more personnel are required to operate them. The training for Patriot missile batteries normally takes multiple months, a process the United States will now carry out under the pressure of near-daily aerial attacks from Russia.

The system is a powerful weapon that can be used to defend against missiles as well as some aircraft. Because of its long-range and high-altitude capability, it can potentially shoot down Russian missiles and aircraft far from their intended targets inside Ukraine.

Zelensky said in an interview with The Economist that he did not think the US Secretary of State should suggest that the areas of the country under Russian rule should not be considered part of the country.

Before the development of the missile, Jens Stoltenberg told the French news outlet France 24 that one of the main goals of NATO was to provide aid to Ukraine and not escalate the war.

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

The official told reporters that when they load the bullets, they cross their fingers that it will fire or explode.


Zelensky in the trenches: The stagecraft of the president’s inner circle during his campaign against Putin and the invasion of Ukraine

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 talks to a sewing machine repairman turned tank driver.

In Paris at the time, I witnessed how Zelensky pulled up to the Élysée Palace in a modest Renault, while Putin motored in with an ostentatious armored limousine. The French President,EmmanuelMacron, hugged Putin but didn’t shake hands with Zelensky.

A prisoner swap with Russia shortly after the summit seemed to favor Zelensky, who said at the time it was a first step towards ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which had started in 2014 and claimed the lives of over 14,000 people.

Biden’s secret visit, which involved the president leaving the US without warning and heading to an active war zone, was similar to the stagecraft Zelensky has used to maintain western support for his people.

Zelensky has a popular image in both inside and outside the country thanks to the stagecraft of the president’s inner circle.

He knew exactly what he needed to do, after being bullied by Putin, according to Yevhen Hlibovytsky, the founder of the think.

The leader who when the US offered to rescue them when Russia launched its full-scale invasion joked that he didn’t need a ride.

It’s easy to forget that Zelensky was the one who stood up to Donald Trump in the quid pro quo scandal.

The campaign celebration where Zelensky thanked his supporters for a resounding victory was a long, long way from now. He looked in a state of shock as he stood on stage and saw the confetti that had just been thrown at him.

Zelensky spoke to US lawmakers by video back in March. “We need you right now,” he said at the time, early in the conflict, when he compared daily Russian strikes on Ukraine to Pearl Harbor and 9/11, attacks that shocked the United States.

His previous professional life as a TV comedian included many people in his bubble. The press conference on the platform of a metro station in April had great lighting and camera angles to emphasize a wartime setting.

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

Zelensky: From Silicon Valley to Washington, D.C., for the First Time since Russia’s March 24th Invasion

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

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

Journeying to where her husband can’t, Zelenska has shown herself to be an effective communicator in international fora – projecting empathy, style and smarts. Most recently, she met with King Charles during a visit to a refugee assistance center at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in London. Zelenska wasn’t included on the cover of the magazine but there was a reference to her in the supporting text.

There are some signs that Zelensky’s international influence might be waning. Zelensky wanted the G7 to set a price cap on Russian crude at $30, but despite that they imposed a $60 a barrel price cap.

As Zelensky said in a recent nightly video address: “No matter what the aggressor intends to do, when the world is truly united, it is then the world, not the aggressor, determines how events develop.”

Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S. was his first foreign trip since the war started on Feb. 24. Kuleba emphasized the significance of Washington’s efforts.

Unbroken, defiant, a civilian forced to don green military garb, the Ukrainian president spent Wednesday in Washington, DC, on his daring first trip out of his country since Russia’s brutal, unprovoked invasion in February. He made it clear he would never stop requesting more from America, even though he expressed thanks for the multi- billion dollar weapons lifeline.

The final decision was made in an Oval Office meeting on Friday evening, when Biden gave the final green light. The US took steps to notify Russia of their plans before the trip so they wouldn’t have to deal with Biden on the ground.

The Times’ analysis of anonymous sources during the first Ukrainian training course on symmetrized solitons and shariahs

The first group of 635 Ukrainians training on this style of fighting wrapped up their course at Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany last week, according to Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder. The second group of soldiers began a five-week training course.

What we consider before using anonymous sources. The sources know what they’re talking about. What’s their motivation for telling us? They have proved reliable in the past. Can we corroborate the information? Even with these questions satisfied, The Times uses anonymous sources as a last resort. The reporter and at least one editor know the identity of the source.

Others indicated late Tuesday that their support for Ukrainian aid would be outweighed by their opposition to the spending measure, which must be passed by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. Kevin Cramer, the Republican from North Dakota, said voting against the spending bill doesn’t mean we don’t support Ukraine.

Zelensky’s visit to Ukraine as a counter-attack against socialism: From Pelosi to the Kremlin era

A visit to Washington by another leader of a bomb-racked nation who wanted US help to turn the tide against socialism was the start of Zelensky’s visit. Pelosi, likely presiding over her final great congressional occasion, recalled how her father was in the House, as a Maryland congressman, when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed Congress on December 26, 1941. Zelensky borrowed one of the great statesman’s greatest lines, as he also presented himself as the symbol of a nation’s defiance.

Zelensky was able to appear by Pelosi, one of her final acts as speaker. Earlier this year she took a surprise visit of her own to meet with Zelensky in Kyiv.

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

A former NATO supreme Allied Commander, Europe, said Zelensky’s visit shows how important it is that the US support is upgraded before Russia regroups.

Republicans are currently set to take over the House majority in the new year, and this will make his visit to Congress even more important. Some pro-Donald Trump members, who will have significant leverage in the thin GOP majority, have warned that billions of dollars in US cash that have been sent to Ukraine should instead be shoring up the US southern border with a surge of new migrants expected within days.

The Battle of the Bulge: Remembering Pearl Harbor, terrible day of December 7, 1941, a turning point in the war against America, according to Zelensky

That imagery encapsulated Zelensky’s mastery of historical allusion and public relations theater. He drew an analogy to the Battle of Saratoga when he argued that the war in Ukraine was a turning point in the war against America. He evoked the heroism of US soldiers dug into freezing foxholes in the Battle of the Bulge during Christmas 1944, which thwarted the last effort by Nazi Germany to repel the allied liberation of Europe. And he cited wartime President Franklin Roosevelt to promise a certain, hard-won victory for freedom.

“Remember Pearl Harbor, terrible morning of December 7, 1941, when your sky was black from the planes attacking you. Zelensky said to just remember it. “Remember September 11, a terrible day in 2001 when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, into battlefields. When innocent people were attacked, attacked from air, just like nobody else expected it, you could not stop it. Our country experiences the same every day.”

The wartime British leader sailed to the United States aboard HMS Duke of York, dodging U-boats in the wintery Atlantic and took a plane from the coast of Virginia to Washington, where he was met on December 22, 1941, by President Franklin Roosevelt before their joint press conference the next day.

In the days leading up to World War II, the two leaders plotted the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and drank 90-year-old brandy and champagne for breakfast, lunch and evening.

I don’t feel much closer to my family or my country than I did when I visited during World War II, because I pined for US involvement for months and knew it was the key to defeating Hitler.

The Ukrainian leader should be familiar with the historical parallels. He paraphrased one of Churchill’s most famous wartime speeches in an emotional address to British members of parliament in March.

What does the US Army and NATO spend on Ukrainian armed forces? A message from the United States Capitol during a historic speech to Ukraine, April 10, 2014

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

The second are precision-guided munitions for Ukrainian jets. Russia andUkrainian have weapons that are fired roughly towards a target. The Western standard precision weapons that have been given to Ukranian are Howitzers and HIMARS.

In addition to the money directly for Ukraine, the larger year-end spending bill includes an increase in US defense spending that will help American weapons and ammunition stockpiles depleted by support sent to Ukraine.

But Moscow is struggling to equip and rally its conventional forces, and, with the exception of its nuclear forces, appears to be running out of new cards to play. The use of nuclear force is less likely now that China and India have joined the West in opposing it.

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

Washington’s yearly defense budget of $1 trillion is light for the bill for the slow defeat of Russia in this conflict.

Her comments came after Zelensky delivered a historic speech from the US Capitol, expressing gratitude for American aid in fighting Russian aggression since the war began – and asking for more.

The speech was used to connect the struggle of Ukrainian people to our revolution and to get us to think about the families who will be stuck in the cold during Christmas.

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

Clinton met Putin while he was secretary of state and said the leader was “probably impossible to actually predict.” The war in eastern Europe has turned in Ukraine’s favor and Putin’s popularity at home has waned.

The bodies of Russian conscripts could be used in the fight in Ukraine, according to Clinton.

Zelensky’s Legacy: From the Cold War to the Final Battle of the Bulge, with and without a White House Address on Wednesday

Shrouded in secrecy until the last minute, the historic visit was heavy with symbolism, from Zelensky’s drab green sweatshirt to President Joe Biden’s blue-and-yellow striped tie to the Ukrainian battle flag unfurled on the House floor.

The White House had to take extraordinary measures to keep Biden’s plans a secret. In the weeks leading up to Biden’s travel, he and top aides repeatedly shot down the possibility of a trip to Ukraine. There was every chance that the position would be maintained in the hours leading up to Biden’s surprise arrival.

While talking after their talks, both men made clear that the war was entering a new phase. As Russia sends more troops to the frontlines and wages a brutal air campaign against civilian targets, fears of a stalemate are growing.

Zelensky said on Wednesday that he wouldn’t make any concessions to Russia in order to end the war.

He said that peace is not negotiable and there is no road to peace that involves Ukraine giving up territory or sovereignty.

Later, in his address to Congress, Zelensky said he’d presented a 10-point peace formula to Biden – though US officials said afterward it was the same plan he offered to world leaders at the Group of 20 summit last month.

For his part, Biden said it was up to Zelensky to “decide how he wants to the war to end,” a long-held view that leaves plenty of questions unanswered.

Zelensky peppered his address to lawmakers with references to American history, from the critical Battle of Saratoga during the American Revolutionary War to the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

He chose to deliver the address in English, a choice he telegraphed ahead of time. Even his attire – the now-familiar Army green shirt, cargo pants and boots – seemed designed to remind his audience they were in the presence of a wartime leader.

Zelensky, Ukraine, and the United Nations: Rejoinding the War on Crime, Violence, and Human Rights in Ukraine

Zelensky has demonstrated his ability to appeal to an audience during the conflict, most notably to the national legislatures and the audiences of the Grammys.

On Wednesday, he sought to harness Americans’ emotional response to his country’s suffering, evoking dark winter nights as Russia seeks to interrupt Ukraine’s power supply.

Later he observed that Ukrainians will be celebrating Christmas by candlelight, “not because it’s romantic, no, but because there will be no electricity.” Russia has destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure.

But he also seemed aware that many Americans – including some Republicans in Congress – have wondered aloud why billions of US dollars are needed for a conflict thousands of miles away. He sought to make the cause about more than his own homeland.

In Washington, the attacks changed the course of events. The Pentagon was asked by the President to get the most advanced missile defense system in the United States for Ukraine because he was so angry with the threat to civilians.

Zelensky’s honest request for morePatriots was a glimpse into one of the world’s most complicated relationships.

That hasn’t always sat well with Biden or his team. As he does with a host of other foreign leaders, Biden seemed intent on applying physical proximity into a better understanding of his counterpart.

It is all about looking at someone. I meant it as sincerely as possible. I think it is pointless to sit face to face with a friend or a foe and stare them in the eye.

Zelensky at the House of Representatives: The War of Ukraine, the United States and the War on the Cold War to the Last Ukrainian

The story was adapted from a daily email on US politics for global readers. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.

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

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

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

Zelensky said that the American people would win through to victory. “The Ukrainian people will win too, absolutely.”

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

The Ukrainian leader’s hero’s welcome in the chamber suggested that some members of the Republican majority would be shamed if they stopped aid to him.

— To Europeans, enduring their own grim winter of high electricity and heating prices after cutting off from Russian energy, and who may be minded to push for an end to the conflict on Putin’s terms, Zelensky showed that the West is united and that Biden means it when he said Wednesday the US is in “for as long as it takes.”

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

“What’s going to happen after Patriots are installed? Zelensky stated at the news conference that they would send another signal to President Biden after that. He said in his address to Congress that he has military equipment. We have it. Is it enough? Not really. Both times, he was joking but that didn’t mean that he wasn’t deadly serious. Zelensky urged Washington to send more offensive weapons in his address to Congress.

The president wanted to avoid a disastrous direct clash with Russia and the need to protect a European democracy, while also trying to avoid crossing obscure red lines that would be known to Putin.

Biden said thatPutin thought of Ukraine as weak and the West was divided. “As you know, Mr. President, I said at the beginning, he’s counting on us not sticking together.”

The Battle of the Bulge: Vladimir Zelensky at the White House after the D-Day Battle of Ukraine with the Ukrainian Forces

With politics in Washington so divisive, there is no guarantee that Americans will be able to fund their own government next year.

Fresh from a trip to the bloody front lines in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky strode onto the ornate US House floor on Wednesday evening in his signature green military wear to shore up his supply line.

Although he did not mention the elephant in the room, the speech was a clear plea to Republican lawmakers, who will control the House in January, to stay with Ukraine.

His remarks came as Congress had been planning to vote this week on a year-long spending bill that includes roughly $45 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and NATO allies.

When the US got a foothold in Europe on D-Day, troops were surrounded in the snow by Germans, so he referred to this as the Battle of the Bulge.

Zelensky pointed out that like the American soldiers who held their lines and fought back Hitler’s forces in the Christmas of 1944, brave Ukrainian soldiers are doing the same to Putin’s forces.

“He’s already established in the American people’s mind we’re in this together, but then pointing out that they’ll do the fighting for us – ‘just give us the tools and we will finish the job.’ “That’s what Churchill said,” said CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

A state of the nation address was supposed to be delivered in April, but has been repeatedly delayed. Putin’s annual “direct line” — a media event in which Putin fields questions from ordinary Russians — was canceled outright.

Wednesday’s White House reception could not have been the one Zelensky envisioned years ago when he faced then-President Donald Trump’s call for him to investigate Biden in exchange for military aid. Zelensky was thanking Americans for helping against Russia in the same place where Trump was impeached three years ago.

Lawmakers need to pass the spending bill by Friday in order to disburse the new money pledged to Ukraine.

The role of the U.S. in fighting crime against Russia: The case of Zelenskyy, the Ukrainians, and the United States

Kevin McCarthy, leader of the House GOP, met with Zelensky and three other top congressional leaders in order to get the votes needed to become House speaker.

The only Ukrainian-born member of Congress has expressed doubts about some of the aid to the country.

Russia said that Kyiv and its Western partners are about to have a long confrontation with Russia following President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to Washington.

The US stated that Russian troops are committing war crimes. Russian atrocities are now being classified as crimes against humanity. The Vice President said that justice needs to be served and that the perpetrators must be held to account.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that no matter how much military support the West provides to the Ukrainian government, “they will achieve nothing.”

“As the leadership of our country has stated, the tasks set within the framework of the special military operation will be fulfilled, taking into account the situation on the ground and the actual realities,” Zakharova added, referring to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The Wednesday meeting shows that the US is engaging in a proxy war against Russia, Peskov told journalists.

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

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

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

It is the first time that Putin has used the term “war” to refer to the conflict in Ukraine, a deviation from his carefully crafted description 10 months after it began.

Putin told reporters in Moscow that his goal is not to spin the conflict but to end it. “We have been and will continue to strive for this.”

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

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

A US official told CNN that Putin didn’t mean to say it but probably meant a slip of the tongue. officials will be watching to see what the Kremlin says in the coming days

The Kremlin will make a large investment in the military according to Putin and Shoigu. Increasing the size of the armed forces, speeding up weapons programs and sending a new generation of hypersonic missiles to prepare Russia for war are some of the initiatives.

Putin’s stance on Ukraine’s peace proposal as a war and the United States’ role in the diplomacy process in the war

At the weekend, a top diplomat in Beijing said that Beijing’s peace proposal for Ukraine was ready to be presented and referred to the conflict as a war.

Russia would only be invited to the summit if the country faced a war crimes tribunal first, according to the Foreign Minister.

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

Kuleba said during a Foreign Ministry interview that diplomacy is an important part of the war victory plan for Ukraine.

He said that the UN was the best place for the summit because it wasn’t about making a favor to a particular country. Everyone should be on board.

Kuleba said that he is an efficient mediators and an efficient negotiator and that he is a man of principle and integrity. We would welcome his participation.

“They regularly say that they are ready for negotiations, which is not true, because everything they do on the battlefield proves the opposite,” he said.


Moscow refuses to admit Russian nationality at the U.N. Security Council, a comment on U.S. Secretary of State Mike Kuleba

“This shows how both the United States are important for Ukraine, but also how Ukraine is important for the United States,” said Kuleba, who was part of the delegation to the U.S.

He said that the U.S. government developed a program for the missile battery to complete the training faster than usual “without any damage to the quality of the use of this weapon on the battlefield.”

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

During Russia’s ground and air war in Ukraine, Kuleba has been second only to Zelenskyy in carrying Ukraine’s message and needs to an international audience, whether through Twitter posts or meetings with friendly foreign officials.

Russia should be barred from the U.N. Security Council because of it’s status as a permanent member, Ukrainian officials said on Monday. Kuleba said that they have prepared for the step to uncover fraud and deprive Russia of its status.

The Foreign Ministry says that Russian never went through the legal procedure for acquiring membership and taking the place of the USSR at the U.N. Security Council after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Human Rights and Cybersecurity in the U.S.: Why Russia is Facing the Cold War? Menon, Director of Defense Priorities & Founder of the Defence Priorities Think Tank

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

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

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

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

Draconian laws passed since February have outlawed criticism of the military or leadership. Nearly 20,000 people have been detained for demonstrating against the war — 45% of them 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 most revered human rights organization in Russia, the 2022. Nobel Prize co-recipient Memorial, was forced to stop their activities because of alleged 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, there is still targeted repressions. Some of the new laws are not enforced. Should the moment arise, few disagree that the measures are intended to crush wider dissent.

The leading independent media outlets were forced to shut down and relocate abroad when faced with fake news laws that trumped the official government line.

Restrictions extend to internet users as well. In March, American social media giants were banned. More than 100,000 websites have been blocked by the Russian internet regulators since the start of the conflict.

Technical workarounds such as VPNs and Telegram still offer access to Russians seeking independent sources of information. Older Russians prefer state media to be more pro-government, with angry TV talk shows spreading rumors.

What Do Former Soviet Republics Really Want to Learn from Russia’s Invasion? The Implications for Europe and the Future of the Cold War

Many perceived government opponents left in the beginning of the war due to fears of persecution.

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

In the initial days of the invasion, Russia’s ruble currency cratered and its banking and trading markets looked shaky. Hundreds of global brands, such as McDonald’s and ExxonMobil, had their operations reduced or closed entirely in Russia.

President Putin hopes that the European nations will blink first when it comes to sanctions, as they grow angry over soaring energy costs at home. In order to make the pain worse in Europe, he announced a ban on oil exports to places that abide by the price cap.

When it comes to Russia’s military campaign, there’s no outward change in the government’s tone. Daily briefings from Russia’s Defense Ministry chronicle endless successes on the ground. Putin assures everyone that everything is going according to plan.

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

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

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

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

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

It would have been unthinkable in Soviet times for Central Asian allies to criticize Russia’s actions out of concern for their own sovereignty. India and China have been buying discounted Russian oil, but have not supported the military campaign in Russia.

The World Comes to Live: The 2022 Ukrainian Crisis and the US-Case of Truth in Ukraine (And Why We Wrongly Do It)

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. After 10 months of war and no sign of victory, the Russian leader might have run out of good news to share.

February 23, 2022, is the evening of that day. The boss of a news site relaxes in a bath and candles. In Zaporizhzhia, a young woman goes to bed planning to celebrate her husband’s birthday in the morning. In Moscow, a journalist rearranges his plans to visit Kyiv.

When news breaks, the world comes to CNN, as it has for more than 40 years on television and more than 25 years on digital platforms. On average, more than 165 million of you came to CNN Digital from around the globe every month in 2022, according to Comscore.

The war in Ukraine dominated the year like no other news, proving, as the pandemic has, that our interests are global and our news coverage needs to be, too. Six of our top 10 stories (and 32 of our top 100) were Ukraine live stories that followed the twists and turns of the day’s news, including the incomparable coverage from CNN’s teams on the ground, often in the line of fire.

I wrote an analysis in the early part of the conflict that explained the limits of what the US and its allies could and could not do. The limits have been contentious since the beginning, as Russia accuses the West of going too far.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade and its impact on women’s lives and US politics were a recurring top story, as were the numerous mass shootings and natural disasters.

The Covid-19 Pandemic and What We Don’t Know About China, but What We Can Do to Prevent It From The First Day

The last weeks of the year brought new worries, especially in China, even as interest and fear faded around the Covid-19 Pandemic. History has taught us that pandemic developments know no borders.

Millions of people were attracted to CNN by entertainment news. Our top entertainment story was the tragic death of Stephen “tWitch” Boss, the amiable DJ for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The Good Samaritans made a difference in the lives of strangers.

Our internal data shows that every piece of our Top 100 Stories list had at least 3 million visits this year.

Thank you for being here with us through it all. We promise we’ll be there for you for every breaking news, every piece of joy, and every triumph.

  1. At least eight people, including two children, were killed by a Russian military strike outside of Kyiv.

And finally, to those who felt nuclear saber-rattling was an oxymoron in 2022 – that you could not casually threaten people with nukes as the destruction they brought was complete, for everyone on the planet.

Still, as 2022 closes, Europe is left dealing with a set of known unknowns, unimaginable as recently as in January. To recap: a military once considered the world’s third most formidable has invaded its smaller neighbor, which a year ago excelled mostly in IT and agriculture.

Russia has also met a West that was more than willing to let Russia send some of its weapons to its eastern border. Western officials might be surprised that the red lines on Russia’s borders are constantly shifting, as they realize how limited non-nuclear options are. None of this was supposed to happen. So, what does Europe do and prepare for, now that it has?

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

Declarations that Russia has already lost the war remain premature. There may still be variables which could lead to a stalemate in its favor or even a reversal of fortune. NATO could lose patience or nerve over weapons shipments as they try to get economic comfort over long-term security. But that does, at this moment, seem unlikely.

The Rise of Autocracy and the Rise and Fall of Democracy: Why did the United States Fail to Fail During the 2022 Ukrainian Missile Crisis?

America has done this before. The Soviet Union moved quickly to accept the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis, even though it was the most dangerous nuclear confrontation so far. Had red lines thinking been in fashion, America might have accepted a compromise that weakened its security and credibility.

The US has provided other armored vehicles to Ukraine in the past, including Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and armored utility vehicles. The US also paid for the refurbishment of Soviet-era T-72 tanks.

Biden affirmed the new commitment in a telephone call with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday. Germany will also send Ukraine new fighting vehicles, along with a Patriot missile battery to protect against Russian air attacks.

Zelensky wished that those systems would allow his military to target Russian missiles at a higher altitude than they had been able to before.

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

How many believe Russia, China or Iran has a better model than an open society with all its flaws and challenges? Many people think that the US would be better off with a more autocratic president.

In 2022, democracy fought back with astounding determination, conviction and, yes, idealism. The autocrats went on the defensive. Even populism began to lose steam. Many of the positive Trends are forged with great effort and are looking promising at the moment.

After the progress of democracy in the United States, it is important for democratic leaders to know how to handle the economic challenges of the coming months. In the future, they will have to compete with ambitious autocrats such as Russian president and Chinese leader to regain the upper hand.

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

In 2022, while these global strongmen struggled, self-assured “geniuses” like Elon Musk – who more than once appeared to side with autocrats – revealed their own shortcomings, and oppressed populations fed up with decades of tyranny demanded change.

Democracy in a Cold World: From Sweden and Finland to the end of the Cold War: How far will the rest of the world respond?

The invasion strengthened NATO, a democratic defense alliance, in a way nothing had in decades. Even Sweden and Finland – countries that had long cherished their neutrality – wanted to join.

No one expected the “Woman, Life, Freedom” activists to continue defying the regime and its brutality. How far away will they go? How far will the regime go to destroy them? Will the rest of the world respond?


Trump, Bolsonallo, Boris Johnson and the Brexit crisis: Why do we live in the UK, not in Europe? How did Donald Trump and the Republicans respond to his defeats in 2016?

Trump launched a new campaign. The British used to call it a lead balloon. He’s becoming an increasingly isolated, rather pathetic figure after many of his top choices failed in the midterm elections and election deniers fared badly. Kevin McCarthy was the House Speaker this week and his calls for Republicans to unify behind him did not seem to deter the rebellion. democracy was on display in the messy wrangling over the speakership. And of course, Trump’s legal troubles seem endless.

Jair Bolsonallo, Trump’s alter ego, lost his reelection bid in Brazil. He refused to concede defeat or attend the inauguration of the man who defeated him. Instead, a grim Bolsonaro decamped to Florida.

In the UK, the populist Boris Johnson lost the premiership and after an embarrassing interlude with the hapless Liz Truss, the decidedly non-populist centrist, Rishi Sunak, became prime minister. Back when Johnson was leading his country out of the European Union, populists across Europe wanted their own versions of Brexit. We don’t hear that anymore. Marine Le Pen had to run from her record of being close to Putin because the French President defeated her.

What is the Russian Army telling us about Makiivka’s death and how it happened? A Washington Post-WWII Perspective

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. Ukraine, however, has not indicated how the attack was executed. The implications for how Russia is conducting its war right now are deeper than just that.

After the deadliest known attack on Russian servicemen, President Vladimir Putin called for a temporary ceasefire. 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.

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. (Another two HIMARS rockets were shot down by Russian air defenses).

Chris Dougherty, a senior fellow for the Defense Program and co-head of the Gaming Lab at the Center for New American Security in Washington, has told me that Russia’s failure to break up or move large arms depots is largely a function of the reality that their forces cannot communicate adequately.

It’s a view shared by other experts. “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.

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

Many inmates from Russian prisons have recently arrived in the war and are immediately transferred to the Ukrainian side. One can only imagine how appealing the use of cell phones would be to prisoners accustomed to years of isolation with little or no contact with the outside world.


The Pentagon Apologizes for the Crimes of Sergei Mizintsev and the Secretary of State: The Case Against McCarthy’s Emergency Assistance to Ukraine

The Russian military is making many errors which are becoming so blatant and deadly that some of Putin’s most ardent apologists are beginning to look at the military establishment.

Semyon Pegov, who blogs under the alias WarGonzo and was personally awarded the Order of Courage by President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin two weeks ago, attacked the Ministry of Defense for its “blatant attempt to smear blame” in suggesting it was the troops’ own use of cell phones that led to the precision of the attack.

He questioned how the military could be so sure that the soldiers were in a school building, since they had not used drones or a local source to determine their location.

The deputy defense minister was promoted to the position of general, replacing a four-star general. The arms depot is next to the Makiivka recruits and would probably have been seen by Mizintsev.

Sergei Shoigu was the defense minister at that time and he told his forces in a celebratory video that their victory was inevitable.

The administration announced a new $2.85 billion drawdown for Ukraine, part of more than $3 billion in new military assistance to Ukraine. The drawdown will include Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers, surface to air missiles, and other items to support the government of Ukraine as it defends its people, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.

One diplomat told CNN they believe the impasse “definitely” signals trouble for Ukraine aid moving forward, as many of those who have fought McCarthy’s speakership have in the past spoken out against additional assistance for Kyiv.

Two of the Republicans who had opposed McCarthy until Friday afternoon – Florida Rep. Byron Donalds and Texas Rep. Chip Roy – had called on the House to change leadership and debate rules over Ukraine aid. Other Ukraine aid skeptics have continued to oppose McCarthy’s bid.

Several Republican members who switched their votes to support McCarthy on Friday said they are encouraged by a framework of an agreement, but provided no specifics about the deal and said talks are ongoing.

U.S. President Vladimir Zelensky and the latest drawdown on subsea funding for Ukraine: a diplomatic letter to the Kremlin

The higher number was a reflection of the Democrats concerns that additional funding wouldn’t be forthcoming in a GOP-led House. The belief inside the White House was that the number would help the US in its fight against the Republicans and that would last for several months.

Rules changes to the budgetary process could make it very difficult for Congress to pass new aid come September, and some conservatives have said they will oppose any new money for Ukraine.

“This is a harbinger for a protracted legislative paralysis,” the diplomat said, adding that “the Freedom Caucus – which is not particularly pro-Ukrainian – has just demonstrated its clout.”

Others noted they were watching closely to see the kinds of maneuvers McCarthy would make to secure the role, which could potentially include cuts to aid.

Another diplomat told CNN they’re personally concerned about “the policy concessions McCarthy has to make, and if they are going to affect US role in the world.”

According to a third diplomat, concessions like the House Rules Committee and important committee assignments could be made to lawmakers who have advocated against more assistance for Ukraine, which could make it difficult to pass additional assistance legislation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday welcomed the latest drawdown, saying it was an “awesome Christmas present for Ukraine!” And lawmakers in Ukraine told CNN they are not concerned that the future of assistance is at risk, noting the strong past bipartisan and public support for aiding their country.

Russia reasoned that if Washington blocked Nord Stream 2, which it ultimately did, then it would show that European power no longer flowed through Berlin, but actually via the White House.

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

Germany’s new Chancellor and the fate of the Middle East – remembering Robert Scholz in his first victory speech over the Ukraine crisis

Europe has been slow to respond to the deep fissures in US politics and the uncertainty another Trumpian-style presidency could wreak on its allies. Decades of a reasonably unshakable reliance, if not complete trust, in the US, has been replaced by stubborn European pragmatism – and Germany leads the way.

Europe’s moral compass was the former Chancellor of Germany. On Wednesday, when Scholz flashed a rare moment of steely leadership, thunderous applause went to Germany’s Bundestag.

He told them that they wouldn’t put you in danger. He showed how his government was able to handle Russia’s aggression and what had happened when the weather turned cold. He said the government dealt with the crisis and the situation was in a better place.

The applause at each step of his carefully crafted speech spoke as loudly as his words. Scholz did it the right way for Germany by bringing with him a population that would be hostile to war, and deeply divided over how much help should be given to kill Russians in order to appease the Kremlin.

But if in Europe Scholz seems to have wrestled some vestige of influence over America in the Ukraine war, in Moscow they don’t believe his new vigor changes much.

Russia’s Ambassador to Germany said the move to send tanks was ” extremely dangerous” and accused Scholz of not acknowledging Germany’s historic accountability to its people for the horrible crimes of the Nazis. Meanwhile his counterpart in Washington accused the White House of “blatant provocation” and Biden of being intent on the “strategic defeat” of Russia.

Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president and deputy chairman of its national security council, has said Russia would never allow itself to be defeated and would use nuclear weapons if threatened.


CNN’s State of the Union: Biden, Scholz, Zelensky, Smith, Smith and the Soviet Ambassador to the NATO Area

CNN spoke with some people who were confused by the announcements by Biden and Scholz. A majority of the people were worried about the war and frustrated that Putin did not pay attention to their concerns.

Germany was late to recognize Russia’s threat and now wants to have control over the military, according to pragmatist Scholz. He claimed Germany would coordinate supplies of the Leopard 2 from its allies to Ukraine, because of the legislation preventing the country from passing war-fighting hardware on to a third state.

Longer debates about the next military moves for Ukraine could be coming and will likely signal to Zelensky that weapons supplies will be on more of a German leash, and less unilaterally led by Washington.

A change in the power dynamic may not change the way the war is being fought but it could affect what happens next and shape a peace deal.

The war in Ukraine was absent from the State of the Union speech given by President Biden, even though it was attended by the Ukrainian Ambassador.

You can read past recaps here. There are more of NPR’s coverage on this page. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.

Ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion, US and Western leaders are preparing for a show of strength and unity to establish once and for all that NATO is not in a war with Russia.

“Russia has lost – they’ve lost strategically, operationally, and tactically,” the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley said on Tuesday. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Putin could not win as he explained the rationale for rushing arms and equipment to Ukrainian forces. And Julianne Smith, the US ambassador to NATO, told CNN’s Becky Anderson that Washington was doing all it could to “continue to apply pressure on Moscow to affect (Putin’s) strategic calculus.”

The Western rhetorical and diplomatic offensive will intensify this week when Vice President Harris is in Germany for a security conference. President Joe Biden will make his first visit to Poland and the NATO area of operations next week, bolstering his legacy for offering the most effective leadership of the alliance since the Cold War ended.

The fate of the nuclear power depends on the rule of the strongest, when China can’t rely on Russia for an end to the war

Some members of the new Republican majority of the US House are hesitant. Gaetz demanded that the US demand all warring parties agree to a peace agreement, and that aid to Ukraine be stopped. A bipartisan majority for saving Ukraine still exists in the House and the Senate. But it’s not certain Biden can guarantee massive multi-billion dollar aid packages for Ukraine in perpetuity. If Donald Trump or another Republican wins the election, it’s not a good sign for US aid.

The outside world knows Putin is not contemplating defeat or an exit from the war because of the complete lack of any diplomatic framework for ceasefire talks.

At the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday, a leading expert on Russia and Putin who worked in Trump’s White House said there was little evidence that Putin’s determination is waning.

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

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

Russian state media released a photo that shows Putin and Wang Yi at the Kremlin in Moscow on Wednesday.

The fate of nuclear powers is dependent on conflicts that they don’t lose. “This should be obvious to anyone. Even to a politician in a Western country with at least some intelligence.

In addition to fortifying NATO and strengthening alliances, President Joe Biden’s administration has accomplished several other things, and they need to be stopped by a unified force of aggressive antidemocratic regimes.

A bloc of aggressively anti-Western autocracies is precisely what Xi and Putin were launching that day in February. Beijing and Moscow sought to replace the rule of law with “the rule of the strongest,” warned European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The rule of the strongest doesn’t work when you can’t win, that’s how Russia’s plans started to break and China had to rethink its commitment

Is the leader of the free world with Putin? Xi seems to want it both ways. He wants to have a relationship with a country that invaded its neighbor without provocation, but he is also trying to present himself as a responsible global leader instead of a democratic Western model.

According to US intelligence, Russia has bought artillery shells from North Korea, another notorious dictatorship, which denies its involvement in a war whose morality is beyond the pale.

A complicated relationship between Beijing and Tehran, and the Xi regime in Saudi Arabia after the Russian-American War on Crime and Genocide

Beijing has a complicated relationship with Tehran. In December, when Xi visited Iran-foe Saudi Arabia, a joint statement after meeting with Saudi officials noted Iran’s “destabilizing regional activities” and “support for terrorist and sectarian groups,” infuriating Iran.

The Beijing-Tehran ties have raised alarms among both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, who fear China’s support could help Tehran evade sanctions related to its nuclear and conventional weapons programs, support for terrorism and human rights abuses.

Within hours, their lives are dramatically and radically transformed. The next day, Russian President Vladimir Putin launches his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

In the space of a year, the war has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more. It has unleashed unfathomable atrocities, decimated cities, driven a global food and energy crisis and tested the resolve of western alliances.

What happened to Russia in 2022: My husband and I left. I went to Berlin and did everything I could do in a day I would do it again

February 23, 2022. I went to bed thinking that I would celebrate my husband’s birthday the next day. Our life was getting better. My husband was running a business. Our daughter made friends at school. We were fortunate to have found support services and a special needs nursery for our son. I finally had time to work. I felt happy.

We had to come to terms with our displacement, which was completely exhausted, crushed and scared. I will be forever grateful to all those who helped us come to Prague and adjust to a new life in a foreign land.

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

On February 23, I washed my dog, took a bath, and lit candles. I have a cozy, one-bedroom apartment in a northern district of Kyiv. I loved taking care of it. I loved the life I had. The small routines and the struggles are what we have to deal with. That night was the last time my life mattered.

We woke up to learn that the invasion had begun. I wrote an open letter denouncing the war, which was co-signed by 12 Russian writers, directors and cultural figures. A large number of Russians added their signatures when it was published.

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

We moved to Berlin. The refugee camp next to the railway station was the location where thousands of Ukrainians were arriving each day, and my husband volunteered at it. I started writing a new book. It begins like this.

“This book is a confession. I am guilty for not reading the signs much earlier. I am responsible for what happened to Russia. As is my forebears. Regrettably, Russian culture is also to blame for making all these horrors possible.”

I know that Russian people are infected with imperialism. We failed to spot just how deadly the very idea of Russia as a “great empire” was – now we have to come a long way, healing our nation from that disease.

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

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

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

Is there any changed since February 24, 2022, the day Russian missiles began falling? The fear felt by Ukrainians has been replaced with anger as they stand up to barrages of rockets and drones.

A year into the full-scale invasion, my passport is a novel in stamps. In London I teach Ukrainian literature, and in Ukranian I get lessons in courage.

My former classmates from Zaporizhzhia whom, based on our teenage habits, I expected to perish from addictions a long time ago, have volunteered to fight. My hairdresser, who was supposed to be a cool summer child, fled on foot from the town of Bucha through the forest with her mother, grandmother and five dogs.

My capital, which the Kremlin and the West expected to fall in three days, has withstood 12 months of Russia’s terrorist bombings and energy blackouts. These dark winter nights, one sees so many stars over Kyiv which the Russians have only managed to bring closer to eternity.

Since February 22, we have experienced several eras. The first euphoria was when Putin suddenly received an 80% approval from the population after a time of stagnant ratings.

He canceled the future by not renewing the past. It is easier to live this way when your superiors decide what to do and you take for granted what you are told.

It’s impossible to adapt to a disaster of this scale for me and my family. As an active commentator on the events, I was labeled by the authorities as a “foreign agent,” which increased personal risk and reinforced the impression of living in an Orwellian anti-utopia.

I remember talking to colleagues to get together a small army of volunteers for the newsroom. My parents were supposed to organize buying supplies.

I knew there was a life falling apart soon after. I did not care if I drank my morning tea, wore my dress, or took a shower. Life no longer mattered, only the battle did.

It was difficult to remember the good times of the pre-war era in a few weeks as the full-scale invasion began. I couldn’t relate to the upset that I had about my boyfriend. On February 24, my life was taken from me.

My shock at the war turned into a desire to act through sports. Athletes could fight against Russian propaganda in the best way. The war and the Ukrainians required us to tell the truth, that we are kind and brave. How we are able to fight for our country.

I was no longer concerned with my personal ambitions. The only important goal was to raise our flag and show the world that we are fighting.

I hated my wins on the track. They were only possible because so many defenders had laid down their lives. But I got messages from soldiers on the frontline. I wanted to keep working because they were so happy to follow our achievements.

Russian crimes against humanity and the Vienna Security Conference on Crimes against Humanity in the Light of the Munich Security Conference ”Independence on Russia’s actions in Ukraine”

“In the case of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we have examined the evidence. She said at the annual Munich Security Conference that there is no doubt that the crimes are against humanity.

While the latest crimes against humanity determination is significant, it remains largely symbolic for now. It does not immediately trigger any specific consequences, nor does it give the US the ability to prosecute the Russians involved with perpetrating crimes against humanity. International bodies such as the International Criminal Court, which work to hold perpetrators responsible, could use evidence to try to prosecute crimes.

Harris said Saturday that as a former prosecutor who began “as young lawyer in the court room and later running California’s Department of Justice,” she knew “firsthand the importance of gathering facts and holding them up against the law.”

In her speech she laid bare some of what could be used as evidence of Russia’s crimes against humanity. The vice president talked about instances that were covered in news clips and official reports.

She urged delegates not to look the other way, saying: “Think of the four-year-old girl who the United Nations recently reported was sexually assaulted by a Russian soldier.”

He said there are a few on both sides who don’t support or don’t want support to end. There are over 400 members of Congress. There are a lot of people who want to continuing this direction and path.

“They are here together because they understand the stakes. The members of this group have been very supportive of their own country and I am certain that their support will continue, said the vice president.

According to the United Nations Charter peace has to be consistent. It’s against the interests of every other country to wind up with a result like that, which shows the seizure by force of territory, and it’s something that Dmytro Kuleba, his respective German and Ukrainian friend said during the discussion panel.

“Because if we do that, we will open a Pandora’s box around the world, and every would-be aggressor will conclude that if Russia got away with it, we can get away with it. It is not in anyone’s interest because it is a recipe for world conflict.

Also in Munich, CIA Director Bill Burns said Saturday that intelligence sharing with NATO allies has proved essential to supporting Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.

It’s a two-way street. From our NATO partners, we have learned a lot. In the panel discussion Burns said that we learn a lot from the Ukrainians. That, he said, “has been the kind of essential cement in the coalition that the president has organized.”

China and Russia publicly declared a “no-limits” friendship just before Russia invaded Ukraine last year, and Wang is set to visit Russia this month, CNN has reported.

Wang said that Beijing will work for peace, and that Territorial and sovereignty of all countries will be respected in the proposal.

At the Security Conference on Saturday, Wang spoke to a room of European officials as “dear friends” and talked about China’s commitment to peace while attempting to drive a wedge between Europe and the US.

Ursula Von der Leyen, European Commission President, told CNN Saturday that more proof that China is not working with Russia is needed.

InSeptember 2022, Putin admitted that Beijing had questions and concerns over the invasion.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu: A lesson from the Ukraine war and how we’re trying to keep China from destroying the world in the name of justice

The question is “who do we document all these crimes?” Oleksandra Matviichuk, the head of the Center for Civil Liberties, told us. Because I am a human rights lawyer, and because of that, we document human pain in order to bring these Russians to justice.

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

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

“We’ve managed to avoid conflict directly between great powers,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NPR. This system works for all its flaws. But now, it’s being challenged.”


Natalia was killed in the first day of the German-Russian war: a meeting between the Secretary of State and the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

Natalia thinks the family car was bombed by Russian forces in the first days of the war. The man was killed along with his nephew. Vova was hospitalized for months after he was wounded in the attack.

The audio for the story was produced by Danny Hajek. Additional editing and production help from Carol Klinger, Denise Couture and Nina Kravinsky. Hanna Palamarenko and Tanya Ustova provided reporting and translation help.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement on Saturday saying the U.S would hold those responsible to account and emphasizing the importance of this designation. Blinken is attending the meeting.

Ukraine is not a state party to treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). The country is able to accept the jurisdiction of the court over war crimes that are taking place within its borders. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said he would seek approval to investigate war crimes in Ukraine after Russia’s invasion of the country.

In the final hours before the meeting, Mr. Wang made a shocking confession about the balloon being blown off course by high winds and the American decision to shoot it down.

Some Western leaders were suspicious of the proposal due to the vague mention of it and the fact that it could be used to help Russia.

The officials wouldn’t say what intelligence they had seen suggesting a recent shift in China’s posture but said US officials had given intel to allies and partners at the Munich Security Conference.

The Secretary of State spoke with Wang Yi on the sidelines of the conference about the issue.

“The Secretary was quite blunt in warning about the implications and consequences of China providing material support to Russia or assisting Russia with systematic sanctions evasion,” a senior State Department official told reporters.

The U.S. versus China Warfare after the Incident Balloon Event: A High-Level Meeting between the United States and China

“This warfare cannot continue to rage on. We need to think about what efforts we can make to bring this warfare to an end,” Wang said at the conference.

In China there is no distinction between private companies and the state and we have seen Chinese companies providing non-lethal support to Russia.

“The concern that we have now is based on information we have that they’re considering providing lethal support, and we’ve made very clear to them that that would cause a serious problem for us and in our relationship,” Blinken said.

After much “will they, won’t they”, Blinken and Wang sat down together on the last night of the conference, in the first high-level meeting between the two countries since the U.S. shot down an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon.

Mr. Wang, according to that account, said it was up to the United States to “solve the damage caused by the indiscriminate use of force” when it shot down the large balloon off South Carolina.

The two descriptions suggested that both Washington and Beijing were digging in, two weeks after the episode. American officials had clearly hoped to find a path toward a resolution that would allow Mr. Blinken to reschedule a visit to China, the first in years by a U.S. secretary of state, that he had abruptly canceled as the balloon drifted from Montana to the East Coast.

Many at the annual meeting of diplomatic, intelligence and lawmakers expressed concerns that the handling of the balloon episode just highlighted how the two countries had failed, while President Biden often talks of aspiring to a relationship that is vigorous competition but not conflict.

A State Department description of Mr. Blinken’s message to Mr. Wang, using the abbreviation for the People’s Republic of China, said the United States “will not stand for any violation of our sovereignty, and that the P.R.C.’s high-altitude surveillance programs — which has intruded into the air space of over 40 countries across 5 continents, has been exposed to the world.”

The U.S. Navy and the Coast Guard have since recovered much of the balloon’s equipment — contained in a payload about the size of a small regional airliner — and American officials have said they intend to make public details about the sensors they found. Officials have already said the craft’s surveillance equipment was visible, contradicting China’s claims that it was a weather balloon.

In his interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” which was taped on Saturday night for broadcast on Sunday, Mr. Blinken said the United States would soon be offering new information to demonstrate Beijing was “strongly considering providing lethal assistance to Russia.”

That phrase was particularly notable given that Mr. Wang had said, during earlier remarks on Saturday at the conference, that “the Cold War mentality is back” in global affairs.

The canceled trip and subsequent war of words set relations back further. After Mr. Biden ordered the craft shot down, China rejected a request from Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III to speak with his Chinese counterpart — a development that U.S. officials called troubling.

Despite the pointed rhetoric, said Danny Russel, a vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute, an independent research organization, “the fact that the meeting occurred and that both sides can claim to have delivered their points on the spy balloon may help the two sides put the incident behind them and move on to rescheduling Blinken’s trip to Beijing — which is where the real work needs to get done.”

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stated that China is willing to resume exchanges with Germany and other European countries after Wang met with the Chancellor of Germany.

Rep. Mike McCaul: The Status of the United States and the Challenge of Foreign Intelligence Against the Threats to Russia and the World

Republican members of congress will continue to provide support for Ukranians despite the protestations of some of their party’s members, aides to Biden believe.

The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Texas Representative Mike McCaul, told CNN’s Pamela Brown on “State of the Union” that bipartisan support for Ukraine is still very strong.

McCaul warned that hedging support for the Ukrainians could prolong the conflict, playing into Russia’s advantages and allowing anti-Ukraine dissent to build.

McCaul told Brown that he hoped the US was considering sending F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and stated that he was worried about a drawn out conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Turner equated the resolution to a letter more than two dozen progressive House Democrats sent the White House last fall, asking it to pursue diplomacy between Russia and Ukraine. The letter was put back in its original place.

McCaul told CNN that parts manufactured in the United States were found in a suspected Chinese balloon shot down off the coast of South Carolina and that the US should restrict the flow of weapons technology to China.

“They steal a lot of this from us. But we don’t have to sell them the very technology they can put in their advanced weapons systems to then turn against either Taiwan in the Pacific or eventually, possibly the United States of America. He thinks there is bipartisanship when it comes to this issue.

McCaul said there is a high degree of tension between the two countries and that Democrats and Republicans alike want to confront Chinese threats.

“I think we have a unique opportunity to be bipartisan on this issue of national security against one of the greatest threats to this country, and the world, for that matter,” McCaul said.

Vice-president Wang Yi, Defense Minister Pistorius and Defense Minister Boris Scholz, spoke at the ‘Weill of defense’

The security conference is also known as the ‘Weill of defense’ because of the heads of state, generals, intelligence chiefs and top diplomats that attend.

The president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, urged Western leaders to act rather than talk, and he spoke via video link to warn that supplies on the battleground were running out.

The U.S. had a record number of delegates at the gathering, with significant bipartisan and bicameral representation from Congress.

But with delegations attending from every continent, beyond Europe and the members of NATO, broader geopolitical issues were at play, both on the conference stage and on the sidelines.

The U.S. Secretary of State said in a statement released at the conference: “We reserve crimes against humanity determinations for the most egregious crimes.”

“On the Ukraine issue, China has always stood on the side of peace and dialogue, and has always insisted on pressing for peace and negotiation,” Mr. Wang said in a meeting with Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, on Saturday, when they were both in Munich for an annual security conference, according to China’s official summary of the meeting.

While Wang Yi called for peace in Ukraine – without elaborating how to achieve it or what peace in the region means – Europe’s leaders committed to investing more in weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this month that NATO needs to increase production capacity if the West is going to meet Ukraine’s needs.

Boris Pistorius was the new Defense Minister and he pushed for higher military spending within Europe and NATO. He called on NATO to agree on 2% as minimum commitment, aiming for more than the 2% promised by Scholz. Germany currently does not meet the 2% target and is not expected to do so for another couple of years, despite Scholz’s additional €100 billion boost to the Bundeswehr budget.

In the past, Scholz had said no on several occasions to Ukrainian requests to send fighter jets. He said Germany’s support for Kyiv is firm, but warned against hasty decisions and the dangers of escalation.

Putting a War on the Warfare: John J. Sullivan in the Office of the U.S. Ambassador to the Cold War

Prominent Kremlin critics, including exiled oil tycoon Khdorkovsky, chess champion Gary Kasparov, and the wife of jailed opposition political figure Alexey Navalny, were offered seats instead.

Heusgen admitted in an interview earlier this week he left the conference last year because he thought Russia wouldn’t invade Ukraine. Four days later, the invasion began.

Editor’s Note: John J. Sullivan was US Ambassador to Russia from December 2019 to October 2022. He was previously US Deputy Secretary of State. And is now a partner in Mayer Brown LLP and a Distinguished Fellow at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. Read more opinion on CNN.

For weeks, I had been telling everyone I could reach that Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to launch a war on the continent of Europe, the scale of which had not been seen since World War II.

Although confident in my pre-war assessment, I was disconsolate. For the past two years, I have been the US Ambassador to Russia, and I have been trying my best to make small progress in areas where there could be dialogue.

My approach was affirmed following President Biden’s meeting with Putin. The US delegation did not have any illusion that there would be progress on any particular issue, but they all agreed it was in the interest of the United States to try.

Russian interlocutors read from their talking points and would not engage in a real dialogue. Minders from the Russian security services monitored every meeting and phone call. The Russians were going through a diplomatic charade to lay the groundwork for an invasion that Putin had already decided to launch. The only question was when.

The war changed my life in many ways, from where I live in Moscow to where Russia is now. I had to move onto the Embassy compound because the pace of teleconferences with Washington, combined with an eight-hour time difference, meant I had to be immediately available at all hours.

Peace talks might not get the go-ahead from some forces. They do not care about the lives and deaths of Ukrainians or the harm on Europe. They might have larger goals that just happen to be Ukraine. This warfare must not continue,” Wang said.

The economic toll alone is staggering, and it will only get worse until it is stopped and reversed so as to protect the country’s sovereignty and security.

The Russian government knows that the goals of the Special Military operation cannot be achieved. The Russian government will only negotiate in good faith. And only then will peace return to Europe.

Wang meets Putin: Who is calling for a dialogue? Where are we going? How Russia and China react in the wake of the Ukraine nuclear crisis

As US President Joe Biden touched down in Ukraine to meet with his counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday, China’s top diplomat was traveling in the opposite direction, on his way to Russia.

The last few days before the one year anniversary of the brutal war between the world’s two strongest countries show the sharpening of fault lines.

The Chinese government often makes it sound like the US is prolonging the war because they don’t add fuel to the fire.

China criticized the US for spreading false information and shifting blame after Monday’s accusations.

The United States warns that China could try to support Russia with weapons. But there was no mention of Ukraine or weapons in the seven-minute, televised portion of Mr. Wang’s meeting with Mr. Putin on Wednesday, where Mr. Patrushev and Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, joined Mr. Putin around a white, oval table.

“Who is calling for dialogue and peace? And who is handing out knives and encouraging confrontation? The international community can clearly see what is happening.

Beijing had avoided actions that could be used to impose sanctions, which would be devastating for an economy hampered by three years of zero- Covid policy.

Beijing claimed impartiality, but did not condemn Moscow or blame NATO for provoking the conflict.

And while Beijing’s pro-Russian rhetoric appears to have softened in recent months, its support for Moscow – when measured by its annual trade, diplomatic engagements and schedule of joint military exercises – has bolstered over the past year.

Security concerns on the Biden-Boris-Bisn-Jackiw-Zelensky-Kakissis visit to Ukraine

Biden traveled with only three officials and one reporter. A small group of reporters already inside Ukraine — including NPR’s Joanna Kakissis — joined Biden after his arrival at 8 a.m. local time.

The Biden trip was shrouded in secrecy and reflected the serious security concerns. Air Force One departed Joint Base Andrews under cover of darkness at 4:15 a.m. ET on Sunday, and reporters aboard the plane were not allowed to carry their devices with them.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, is with Biden on his travels.

They first began visiting Kyiv in March 2022, when the prime ministers of Poland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic all arrived by train. Then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited April 9, followed by visits from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and then-Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Even Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, paid a surprise visit on Mother’s Day last year to a small city in the far southwestern corner of Ukraine. She met with Zelenska at a former school that was converted into temporary housing for displaced Ukrainians, including 48 children.

Biden landed in Rzeszow, the Polish town where he’d stopped in March of last year to visit US troops deployed near the Ukrainian border and humanitarian efforts supporting Ukrainian refugees. During that visit 11 months ago, he alluded to what became a long-running desire to extend his journey just a little further into Ukraine.

Yet underneath Biden’s pledges of continued support for Ukraine remains a lingering concern, shared with his European allies, that the war could descend into a stalemate as each side sees small gains and losses without a clear trajectory.

But it remains unclear what parameters Zelensky might be willing to accept in any peace negotiations, and the US has steadfastly refused to define what a settlement may look like beyond stating it will be up to Zelensky to decide.

Joe Biden, the Donbass Project, and the Dominant Budget Threat: Why he Traveled to Ukraine on Valentine’s Day

Biden’s visit comes as Russian forces make a new push to take control of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, which Russia illegally annexed last September.

“I thought it was important that there was no doubt about the U.S.’s support for Ukraine in the war,” Biden said.

But with no end to the war in sight, polls show a growing number of Americans are concerned about how much money has gone to the war — and some Republican budget hawks have said they would like to curtail the spending.

Around 7 p.m. ET on Saturday night, President Joe Biden was out in Washington on a Valentine’s week date-night, lingering over rigatoni with fennel sausage ragu before returning with his wife to the White House.

A day after he was seen in public, air raid sirens began wailing and he left St. Michael’s Cathedral in Kyiv into a bright winter day.

Yet it was more than symbolism that drove Biden to endure the significant risk of visiting an active war zone without significant US military assets on the ground.

This is much larger than just one country. It’s about freedom of democracy in Europe, it’s about freedom and democracy at large,” he said, his blue-and-yellow tie an overt nod to his Ukrainian hosts.

That was in part due to the fluid nature of the trip itself. Even as the small circle of White House officials looped in on the planning grew confident it was an achievable undertaking, the realities of sending a president into a war zone where the US had no control over the air space were daunting.

Reporters were not told on Sunday that Biden wasn’t in Washington. The official White House schedule, released Sunday evening, still listed his departure for Poland at 7 p.m. ET on Monday.

“We’re going to continue to use our convening power, to marshal the world, to galvanize support for Ukraine, but there are no plans for the president to enter Ukraine on this trip,” NSC spokesman John Kirby said in an interview on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.”

The Air Force C-32 Mission in Ukraine: Why Biden opted to Embark on the Crossing of the Border into the United States

But at that point, Biden had already lifted off from Joint Base Andrews hours before, not in the usual plane that is synonymous with Air Force One, but instead in a smaller Air Force C-32.

The flight would have to stop at a US base before entering Poland. As he jetted eastward, Biden’s focus was plotting out his conversations with Zelensky, hoping to use his limited time wisely in discussing the coming months of fighting.

Biden, who has seen the humanitarian crisis in other places, said that he isn’t as comfortable seeing it in Poland. “They will not let me – understandably, I guess – cross the border and take a look at what’s going on in Ukraine.”

It was the culmination of a process that began months earlier, as Biden watched as a parade of his foreign counterparts each made the journey into Ukraine.

The plan for Biden’s trip to Ukraine presented a range of possibilities but he chose the capital of the country, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Kate Bedingfield said that it was a risk that Biden wanted to take. He directed his team to make it happen no matter how difficult it was, even though it was hard.

Jake Sullivan declined to say whether or not Biden had overruled Secret Service or military officials in order to proceed with the trip.

He was presented a very good and effective operational security plan. He was satisfied with the risk, and made a decision to leave, Sullivan said.

The Story of Joe Biden and the Kremlin: How the Russians Hate to Leave Their Country for a Heavenly War

In the middle of the day, the president of the United States in overcoat and shades strolled through the city, visiting a historic church while air raid sirens wailed nearby and standing in St. Michael’s Square.

Biden’s words might have lacked the poetry of “Ich bin ein Berliner,” or “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” The images of Biden and President Kennedy both sending their own images of determination to the Kremlin went down in history as a flashpoint in the Cold War, and each one sent their own version of US resolve to the Kremlin.

Putin is expected to address the Russian people on Tuesday, and he will have to reply to what happened today, said Rudik, who was referring to a speech by Biden.

This is because they would enhance Ukraine’s capacity to potentially strike at Russian jets and air defense systems inside Russia. The Kremlin could conclude NATO has directly intervened in the war even with the help of Ukrainian pilots, which could increase the risk of a disastrous conflict Biden has tried to avoid.

A grueling and dangerous journey that required energy and endurance felt like a jab at critics who question whether Biden should be contemplating a reelection race at the age of 80.

Haley, a Republican who had assumed that America had a more traditional view of the world, criticized Biden this week for spending too much time abroad.

This is really offensive. Today on President’s Day, Joe Biden chose Ukraine over America, and then forced the American people to pay for their own country’s war. I can not express how much Americans hate Joe Biden,” Greene said in a tweet.

It is a presidential duty to stand for the principles of freedom and democracy of the U.S. and the right of a people to resist tyranny imposed at the point of the gun from a foreign oppressor.

“Biden in [Kyiv]. Demonstrative humiliation of Russia,” Russian journalist Sergey Mardan wrote in a snarky response on his Telegram channel. “Tales of miraculous hypersonics may be left for children. The entire West is fighting a holy war with us.

Russian army veteran and former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Igor Girkin meanwhile suggested that Biden could have visited the frontlines in eastern Ukraine and escaped unharmed.

“Wouldn’t be surprised if the grandfather (he is not good for anything but simple provocations anyway) is brought to Bakhmut as well… AND NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO HIM,” Girkin said.

Many Russian military and political commentators have criticized the approach of Putin’s generals on the battlefield, saying that it is soft and disrespectful to the Russian people.

The debate over Biden will distract Putin from his speech to the Federal Assembly, which will discuss the ongoing invasion.

Participants of what Russia refers to as its “special military operation” will be in attendance but foreign guests or representatives will not be invited, the Kremlin’s spokesperson told reporters Monday.

Nearly a year later, Biden returns to the Royal Castle this week to mark the anniversary of a war that has increasingly put him directly at odds with the Russian leader, a Cold War dynamic underscored by Biden’s highly secretive visit to Kyiv a day earlier.

The White House said ahead of his trip that Biden would speak by phone over the course of the week with other Western leaders, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom and President Emmanuel Macron of France.

Preparing for Warsaw: What is happening after Biden’s visit to the White House, at the end of Air Force One’s term?

“We have to be honest and clear-eyed as we look at the year ahead. The defense of freedom is not the work of a day or of a year. It is always important according to Biden.

This week will be as much about the year ahead as it was in the past 12 months, because Biden has not been able to say exactly how long that will be.

As Air Force One returns to Washington, however, it is difficult to ignore the looming questions Biden’s visit did little to answer: How and when the war will end.

“I think it is wise to be prepared for a long war,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who will visit Biden at the White House early next month, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.

The West cannot provide unlimited support forever, as evidenced by surveys showing support for the war effort waning, as new concerns about the available supplies of ammunition and weapons have emerged in the past week.

There’s a concern in Poland and Ukraine that the US won’t leave after this administration. The German Marshall Fund manager in Warsaw said that the war would look different without the support of the US.

We are fighting with time, right? Baranowski said something. Time is on the side of Russia who are losing and have a lot of money to spend on us in the West. That’s what gives me pause. I hope we have the ability to stay.

The World Will Live Again: President Joe Biden’s Visit to Moscow to mark the First Day of the War on the Balkan Peninsula – Addressing Russia’s Problems with the World

In an indication of the massive number of refugees Poland has absorbed since the start of the war, his remarks will be translated into both Polish and Ukrainian.

John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator at the National Security Council, said the president’s message would be for “people all around the world.”

The risky trip on Monday to an active war zone was not just a powerful symbol of American support, it was a shot in the arm to a population that has endured Russia’s devastating attacks on civilian apartment blocks, hospitals, schools and the power stations that provide heat and electricity.

Recall that in the early days of the invasion, Ukraine said it found Russian forces had brought along their dress uniforms apparently expecting a victory parade.

Biden is old and has a stiff walk. But he has no shortage of courage (air raid sirens sounded over Kyiv while Biden was there) or, crucially, competence.

A joyous Zelensky said Biden’s visit “brings us closer to victory,” adding it will “have repercussions on the battlefield in liberating our territories.”

China’s Foreign Ministry said the visit to Moscow will provide an opportunity for China and Russia to continue to develop their strategic partnership and “exchange views” on “international and regional hotspot issues of shared interest.”

Putin, for example, announced Tuesday that Russia would suspend participation in the New START nuclear treaty with the United States. It was unclear if the deal would have an impact since Moscow stopped implementing it.

Finally, another treaty simply between Moscow and Washington no longer makes sense to most nuclear experts. The Pentagon now believes China could have 1,500 weapons by the year 2020 with the same arsenals as the Americans and Russians. A treaty that did not include one of the three major powers would be useless. If there were any negotiations, China has so far refused to join them.

The US said that Russia had previously refused to allow inspections of its nuclear facilities. “Russia is not complying with its obligation under the New START Treaty to facilitate inspection activities on its territory,” a US State Department spokesperson said in January.

While Russia is not withdrawing from the pact completely, it appears to be formalizing its current position. The US has been frustrated with Russia’s lack of cooperation with the agreement.

Blinken said President Joe Biden’s administration remains ready to talk about the nuclear arms treaty “at any time with Russia, irrespective of anything else going on in the world.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Russia’s decision as “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.” The U.S. has previously accused Russia of violating the last remaining nuclear arms treaty between the two countries.

The Director of the Nuclear Information Project questioned whether Russia will stop sending data to the US now that the treaty has been put on life support.

He was sad to hear of Mr. Putin’s announcement. But he suggested that the United States would not change its compliance with the treaty, no matter what Russia did.

If that attitude holds, whoever is sitting in the Oval Office when the treaty expires in a bit more than 1,000 days may face a new world that will look, at first glance, similar to the one of a half-century ago, when arms races were in full swing and nations could field as many nuclear weapons as they wanted.

Vladimir Putin’s “Neo Nazi” War: Implications for the Security and Security of the Kremlov-Migdal’s Armed Forces

He said he wasn’t about to allow inspectors to survey those facilities, because they could pass their findings on to the Ukrainians to launch further attacks. “This is a theater of the absurd,” he said. We know that the west is behind the plan to strike at the bases.

Putin acknowledged Russia’s significant losses in the war and called on those present to stand for a moment of silence in their memory. A range of social support packages for families of the fallen was promised by the Russian leader.

There was no discussion of Russia’s failure in the early days of the war to oust the elected government of Ukraine and its setbacks on the battlefield.

Putin also said he’d instructed his military and civilian atomic energy agency to be prepared to test additional nuclear weapons – should the U.S. carry out new tests first.

Putin presented a now-familiar list of grievances against the West, including what he described as its moral and spiritual collapse whose values, he said, threaten the children of Russia. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church was seated at the front of the hall.

The Russian leader compared the “neo Nazi” government in Ukraine to the Soviet Union’s defense of its territory during World War II.

The cancellation of last year’s address was due to a trickle of bad news from the battlefield in Ukraine and Putin’s speech in effect made up for it.

Today’s address also kickstarts a series of connected and choreographed events: Russian lawmakers gather for an extraordinary session of both chambers of parliament Wednesday, when Putin will also address a mass rally at Moscow’s largest stadium.

The image of Putin holding court in a hallway with his closest advisors is famous because he assembled his National Security Council for a televised session to discuss the independence issue.

The U.S. War on Cold War: Where Are We Going? Why Did Putin and Putin set a Goal to Make Russia Great Again?

Poland is a close NATO ally and has provided $3.8 billion in military and humanitarian assistance. Kirby said Biden will also use the opportunity to thank Poland for hosting U.S. forces.

Editor’s Note: Jill Filipovic is a journalist based in New York and author of the book “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind.” You can follow her on social media. The opinions expressed are of her own. CNN has more opinion on it.

This renewed threat of nuclear destruction is frightening for Americans who have recently come of age, and even more so for those who have been through the original Cold War.

This is indeed a battle between freedom and oppression according to Biden. It’s worth nothing, though, that Putin’s emphasis on cultural and gender warfare is also correct, in its own way.

He is lying when he tells the truth about same-sex marriage or the idea of a gender neutral God, and when he says that the west seeks the destruction of the family, cultural and national identity. It is true, though, that there is a clear historical and contemporary relationship between conservative religiosity and autocracy on the one hand, and liberal tolerance and democracy on the other.

Conservative religiosity is of course not a requirement for autocracy – just look at the previous era of Russian autocracy, which was decidedly irreligious. The autocrats in Beijing, who are expanding their own nuclear weapons and lending support to Russia, are not bringing conservative Christian principles to China.

They are embracing traditionalism, a backward-looking national identity and a hypermasculinity. The refrain of global authoritarians has been: Make the country you want. Great Again. Evan Osnos of the New Yorker wrote about how China is attempting to regain its previous greatness. “Putin set out to ‘Make Russia Great Again,’” Gen. David Petraeus told CNN earlier this month. And, of course, we all know the American version.

A lot of right-wing Americans think that Putin is against the West being dead, and feel comfortable in bringing a strongman in to restore the traditional order.

There isn’t a divide between East and West, it’s between those who want liberal democracies that allow for people to live freely and those who prefer authoritarian strongmen who use the law to impose conservative, traditional values.


Do We Support Autocrats or Are We Forbid? Is Donald Trump Right? Does Putin Have an Unprejudiced View of the World?

Donald Trump praised Putin and trashed NATO, elevating the dictator to a position of conservativism for pro- Trump conservatives. Republicans in the US had a less favorable opinion of Putin than they had of Biden, Harris, Pelosi and the Democrats.

Georgia lawmaker Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that NATO was giving the neo-Nazis in Ukraine powerful weaponry and training to use it.

She said on the campaign trail that Republicans weren’t going to give another penny to Ukraine. Nick Fuentes, the white nationalist who recently dined with Trump and rapper Kanye West at Mar-a-Lago, told his followers, “I wish Putin was president of America.” Andrew Torba, the CEO of the right-wing platform Gab, put the issue in even starker terms last year: “What (Putin) really means is Ukraine needs to be liberated and cleansed from the degeneracy of the secular western globalist empire.”

This is not merely a divide between the US and Russia. It’s a divide within Russia itself, as the nation’s feminists, LGBTQ rights advocates, and democracy activists continue to push (often at great personal risk) for a freer and fairer country. And it’s a divide within the US, too, between the Americans who want liberal democracy to thrive, and those who want their ideology to rule us all.

A year into Putin’s war, it’s clear that he is willing to sacrifice untold lives to cement his power and Russia’s imperial interests. Do we support autocrats and their view of the world, or are we against them? The obligation to live among those who agree or disagree with you is included in the example of freedom and democracy.

The U.S. War on the Balkans During the First Ukrainian Warfight: Joint Secretary of State Jake Sullivan and Gen. Mark Milley

Biden’s decision to provide a Patriot missile battery also motivated other countries to act: Germany followed suit with its own commitment to transfer a Patriot battery and the Netherlands has pledged Patriot components and missiles.

US officials have urged Ukraine to shift to a maneuver warfare style of fighting used by the US and other modern militaries – that is, fighting that uses rapid, unanticipated movements and a combination of different combat arms rather than relying too heavily on artillery.

In addition to lower-level military contacts, National security adviser Jake Sullivan, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley all speak directly with their counterparts multiple times a week.

Sullivan and Milley hold regular calls with Zelensky advisers and the commander- in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces. Sullivan and Milley will be given a chance to assess the needs of the Ukrainian military after getting the latest reports from the battlefield.

The Pentagon is where the Ukrainian requests are received and analyzed to see how the new weapons will affect the fight on the battlefield and their impact on US military readiness.

The process got more organized, with US equipment now landing in Ukraine after Biden approves a security package.

One senior State Department official said they had never seen bureaucracy work as quickly as it is working, but they needed to do more.

“The president was obviously outraged about this, as we all were, and really pushed our teams, particularly at the Pentagon, to look at what we could do on our side to help them defend against this problem,” a senior administration official said.

Sullivan hosted a daily meeting of key National Security Council officials to coordinate the government-wide effort to supportUkraine, which spurred an effort to get other US allies to also improve their air defense capabilities.

“We really went around the world and found for them, not only additional systems that other countries had and persuade them to transfer them, but parts,” the official said, allowing Ukraine to get non-operational S-300 systems back online.

The turning point in the security assistance given by the US was the decision to provide howitzers in April, and subsequently multiple rocket launchers in June and tanks last month.

“At every stage of conflict, we have adapted to make sure the Ukrainians had what they needed to be successful – and they have,” a senior administration official said. They have adapted.

As the second year of the war gets closer, it’s difficult to see how the West will be able to keep pace with the decline in weapons and supplies.

The EU’s current industrial capacities are limited in terms of how quickly they can be manufactured and a lot of the ammunition stocks have been depleted.


Joe Biden in Ukraine: What the US can do to keep Ukraine from launching an extended war, but what the EU can do about it

The Ukrainian military has been itching to fight an shelling war, which involves sending a crushing amount of heavy weapons at the enemy’s defensive lines.

It is a strategy straight out of the Russian playbook. With its slow advance and defensive lines, Russia has tried to drag Ukraine into this kind of extended war, believing it can outlast the Ukrainians, officials said.

The plan includes calls for the restoration of Ukraine’s state borders with Russia and the withdrawal of Russian troops, a special tribunal to prosecute Russian war crimes, and the release of all Ukrainian prisoners of war.

The allies are starting to see that the war will be longer, according to the defense secretary of the country. It is going to be very expensive and in order to manage this strategy you need to have an end goal.

The senior State Department official said the US understands this position. An end goal “has to be something that any democratically elected leader in Ukraine can sell to his or her public,” the official said. I think that he is committed to get there.

President Joe Biden had barely slept as his train car descended into the warzone that has shaped so much of his presidency.

Biden will depart Europe three days later having loudly recommitted to backing Ukraine as it enters a second year of conflict, working to cast aside doubts about the durability of American support and directly blaming his counterpart in the Kremlin for thrusting the continent into war.

Biden spoke with aides and foreign counterparts and even had a phone conversation with his wife while on his visit in an effort to show the world that the US wouldn’t abandon it’s support.

The U.S. and Europe listened to President Volodymyr Zelensky in Warsaw and warned against further invasions by Ukraine

There have been persistent concerns at how Ukraine is using those resources among some US and European officials, who have encouraged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to focus on planning and executing a spring counteroffensive rather than waging battle on multiple fronts, some with less strategic importance than others.

Tellingly, Sullivan said much of Biden’s focus during the day-long journey into the warzone was spent plotting out how he would raise those issues with Zelensky when they sat down to talk inside the gold-and-white Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv.

Instead, the president focused his remarks in Warsaw, a landmark address that he was developing for weeks, on heralding the continued resistance of the Ukrainians and accusing Putin of atrocities.

The aides to Biden said his remarks were intended for a bunch of different people: the besieged Ukrainian people, the Poles who have felt the pinch, and the Russians who may be unhappy with their leaders.

In the view of some of his team, the most important thing was that people in the US remained supportive of US help despite being away from the frontlines.

Biden’s critics used his trip this week to paint him as inattentive to his country’s needs, using the chemical leak in Ohio as an example of an American crisis deserving his attention.

“I reaffirmed my commitment to making sure they have everything they need,” he wrote in a caption accompanying a photo of the call that was posted on Instagram.

But he also used the opportunity to blast Republicans – including former President Donald Trump, who is set to visit East Palestine on Wednesday – for loosing regulations and making it more difficult to strengthen rail safety.

Perhaps the most impassioned call this week for sustained American involvement in Europe did not come from Biden himself, for whom the concept is innate, but from Polish President Andrzej Duda, once a top ally of Trump who even proposed naming a military base “Fort Trump” in honor of his friend.

Speaking across the table from Biden on Tuesday, Duda placed this week’s events within a century-old context of robust American presence on the continent.

“The United States … has demonstrated on multiple occasions its responsibility for European matters during the First World War, during the Second World War, during the Cold War. They restored the democratic rules every time. The United States brought back freedom when they were there.

Mapping the US-Russia Economic Connection during a High-Energy Diplomatic Summit: Beijing-Mumbai Relationships Reaching New Milestones

In the latest highly significant move in a week of diplomatic symbolism, Putin welcomed Wang and told him relations between Beijing and Moscow were “reaching new milestones.”

Wang told Putin that the two nations often face “crisis and chaos, but there are always opportunities in a crisis and the latter could possibly turn into the former.”

This foreign policy picture is more than just a problem for American diplomats. Concerns about military capacity and current defense spending are posed by the depletion of US and Western weapons stocks as they are sent to Ukraine. Even as he tries to position Democrats as the protectors of working Americans, the GOP is accusing Biden of snubbing voters facing economic and other problems.

And Biden vowed, “President Putin’s craven lust for land and power will fail, and the Ukrainian people’s love for their country will prevail,” he added.

The estrangement between the US and Russia is almost complete, as demonstrated by Biden’s trip.

US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield warned on CNN that a step would violate a US red line but did not specify what consequences would be.

The meeting where Mr. Wang made his published comments did not use the word war to describe the fighting in Ukraine. And while in Moscow, Mr. Wang may be even more reluctant to expose any deep differences between China and Russia.

Mr Wang met with Mr. Patrushev. The Chinese government statement on the meeting said the two had “exchanged views” on Ukraine.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Putin highlighted the economic aspect of the China-Russia relationship, predicting that the countries’ annual trade volume could reach $200 billion as early as this year, compared with $185 billion last year.

The president said that everything was moving forward and that they were reaching new frontiers. We are talking about economic issues.

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