Ukraine Update: On the ninth day, Kyiv is still free

Ukraine Update: On the ninth day, Kyiv is still free

Travelers to China are often surprised by the efficiency of the Great Firewall. For a westerner dropping in, it can be a shock to find that Twitter is blocked. And Facebook is blocked. And even Google searches are blocked. Instead, both visitors and Chinese citizens are restricted to using the local domestic equivalents — equivalents that somehow lack any information on Chinese actions against Uyghurs, the protest at Tiananmen Square, and the circumstances of how Tibet ceased to be a free, independent country.  Though clever students and hackers are forever finding a way around some parts of the Great Firewall, and Chinese officials sometimes turn a blind eye to their efforts, there’s a second wall that backs up the technological one: legislation. The consequences of peeking through a crack in that wall can be startlingly harsh.

At a small college in Fulton, Missouri, former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill stopped by in 1946 to deliver a speech about a different kind of wall. He did so at the request of President Harry Truman, who pointed out that the college was named Westminster, and said that, should Churchill have the time for a visit, ”This is a wonderful school in my home state. If you come, I will introduce you. Hope you can do it.”

Churchill did. At it was at this little college he made the speech which included the line, “From Stettin in the Baltic, to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.” That speech is sometimes regarded as the informal start of the Cold War.

Now we are, as Fiona Hill stated so clearly, in the midst of a different kind of world war; one in which a single nation — Ukraine — is bearing all the physical burden of conflict, while the rest of the world watches to see if they can bring an aggressor to bay by denying them money. And super yachts. And new iPhones. The question now really is about what will be the extent, and the cost, of that war before Russia’s inevitable defeat.

In this new not-so-cold war, Russia is pulling around it a new kind of wall. A silicon curtain. In the last few days, Russia has blocked Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. It’s a cruder thing than the Great Firewall, with little subtlety or fallbacks. It’s just chopping its populace off from the world, in an effort to feed them a fantasy in which Vladimir Putin is right, and everyone, everyone, everyone else is wrong. Like China, it’s already started building up the legislative wall to back up that technological severing. That’s a crude thing too, offering nothing but harsh penalties to anyone who lets a little light slip through the Silicon Curtain. 

This, for all those on the right who don’t recognize it, is what actual censorship looks like.


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 12:29:05 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Deadline reports that the BBC has temporarily suspended the work of all journalists in Russia. This is in response to the draconian censorship laws forced through the Russian parliament in the last two days.

Those laws mean 15 years in prison for anyone who dares to publish the truth about what’s happening in Ukraine. 


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 12:38:29 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Military Land has out their daily summary of events in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That summary notes that while Ukraine is continuing to hold Kyiv, Odessa, and other key cities in the center and west of the country, “the Donbas frontline is approaching a critical stage.”

  • Russian forces managed to come very close to the city of Mykolaiv and temporarily captured Kulbakyne airport before Ukrainian forces successfully drove the Russians from the area. Since Russia now occupies Kherson, Mykolaiv is quickly becoming the front line and is expected to be under attack within hours.
  • Some reports that the city of Sumy in the east has been encircled, but Ukraine remains in control and those reports have not been confirmed.
  • Russian forces are now on the attack in the areas of Slavyansk and Lysychansk, a successful push from Russia could leave Ukrainian forces in northern Donbas cut off from supply and surrounded.
  • Mariupol is entering another day of absolute misery. The city is without power, water, or heating. Ukrainian forces continue to hold the city, but it is completely encircled and Russia is constantly shelling the edges of the city. Unless Ukraine can get some relief to the area, it may not hold much longer.
  • Kyiv is holding, and Ukrainian forces have pushed Russian troops out of the immediate western suburbs. However, a large mass of Russian troops and hardware is forming to the northwest of the city.


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 12:39:30 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Even though flights to almost every destination have been blocked, Russian airline executives seem to be making escapes while they can.

❗️The head of Aeroflot, Mikhail Poluboyarinov, has left his post and probably #Russia as well Earlier, the head of Pobeda Airlines, Andrei Kalmykov, also left his post. On March 4, he published a farewell letter to the employees. pic.twitter.com/RUIyKqGIrU

— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 4, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 12:43:34 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

U.S. officials confirming the statement that came out of the Ukraine defense ministry earlier. That Russia failed to achieve air superiority before rolling in the first ground troop seemed almost impossible. That Ukraine is still flying—and scoring shoot-downs of Russian planes—nine days into the conflict, is just staggering.

BREAKING: A U.S.official confirms that Ukraine still has a “significant majority” of its aircraft intact

— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) March 5, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 12:46:47 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Earlier today I posted that Ukraine might soon have more T-80s than Russia. That might be something of an exaggeration, but they certainly seem to be building quite a collection. This is another one. If all accounts are accurate, Ukraine captured at least 6 or 7 on Friday alone.

#Ukraine: During night fighting this evening, Ukrainian Forces captured another T-80BV from Russian Forces in the vicinity of #Kharkiv. pic.twitter.com/gjGvWmivzl

— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 4, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 12:49:44 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Since Germany has broken with it’s 75-year tradition of not shipping weapons to combatants in other nations, Ukraine has apparently decided they might as well ask for the whole enchilada. Submarines seems like a big ask. What they get is going to be interesting.

❗️#Ukraine asks #Germany for supply of heavy weapons. According to AFP, this includes tanks, submarines and combat helicopters. A spokesman for the #German Ministry of Defense said that a number of supplies were ready for shipment, but did not specify which ones.

— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 5, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 1:01:26 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

The shelling of the plant at Zaporizhzhia was a horror show that many around the world watched live. Now the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. warns that Russia may be ready for a repeat at another nuclear plant. Russian forces are reportedly just 20 miles away from Ukraine’s second largest nuclear facility, the Yuzhnoukrainsk Nuclear Power Station near Mykolaiv.

‘The world narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe last night,’ Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. tells the 15-member Security Council, convened following the seizure of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power in Ukraine by Russian troops https://t.co/WrsS7FcWwG pic.twitter.com/wYO72LW8O3

— Reuters (@Reuters) March 4, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 1:12:49 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Both cameras in the area and reports on the ground indicate that Kharkiv is once again under heavy bombardment. Since the city can be hit from across the border in Russia, it has been a near constant target for both artillery and MLRS fire.


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 1:17:51 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

I don’t think getting a colonel and two major generals killed in the space of three days exactly mirrors U.S. tactics against ISIS.

Russia is moving more experienced military officers to the front lines in Ukraine to speed up its offensive This has resulted in the deaths of 3 Russian commanders This tactical shift mirrors US tweaks to its anti ISIS strategy in 2016-17

— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) March 4, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 1:45:11 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

As they have done on other nights after it became clear that Russian forces are communicating with analog radios lifted straight from 1980, Ukrainian troops are jamming their communications and providing entertaining comments. Such as “Putin is a dickhead.”

War of words, songs and bombs: Russian offices struggle to communicate attack plans on short-wave radio, while Ukraine jams them with… their national anthem. Shivers. pic.twitter.com/B6dcQTE1Qm

— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) March 5, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 1:49:28 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

A fake message apparently circulated earlier in the evening that claimed to come from the U.S. Embassy and warned of and upcomign assault. Whether this was a Russian action, or a social media account wanting attention, it’s sometimes hard to tell.

⚡️The U.S. Embassy did not send a message on behalf of U.S. Chargé d’Affaire Kristina Kvien saying that there “will be strong shelling tonight,” and that Russians will target all civil activists after capturing the city and imposing martial law.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 4, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 2:10:08 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Three-quarters of Americans are either ready to risk nuclear war with Russia, or don’t have a clue what a No-Fly Zone actually means. 

⚡️Around 74% of Americans – including Republicans and Democrats – said the U.S. and its NATO allies should impose a no-fly zone in Ukraine, a Reuters/Ipsos poll completed on March 4 found. An equally bipartisan 80% of Americans said the U.S. should stop buying Russian oil.

— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 5, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 2:22:42 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Some of that hardware that’s coming toward Ukraine from other areas of Russia looks to be — not kidding — of 1950s mintage. 

This is ancient stuff. Looks like a ZSU 4×23, air defense artillery. The Russians weren’t prepared for such losses. https://t.co/zNwmvZEgDr

— Alexander S. Vindman (@AVindman) March 5, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 2:32:08 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

This likely has a lot more to do with social media pressure than wanting to be on the right side of history. But I’ll take it.

⚡️#CocaCola and #Danone are leaving the #Russian market.

— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) March 5, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 3:29:02 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

Mariupol, which has been under siege for over three days now, spending another night with Russians firing into the city from all directions.

‘They are trying to exterminate us’: Mariupol comes under Russian onslaught https://t.co/sMQYbOazJl

— URL4EVER (@Url4Ever) March 5, 2022


Saturday, Mar 5, 2022 · 3:37:48 AM +00:00

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Mark Sumner

This kind of sentiment is getting a lot of play, but there’s absolutely no benefit in underestimating Russian capabilities. There have been many instances in history where seemingly unstoppable armies have melted away in battle, but no one should be making plans based on that assumption.

THREAD I know it sounds contra-intuitive, but it feels that Russia and its army are about to collapse. RU obviously has no reserves left: the tanks they send to the front are very old, without active armor, look like training machines. They do not have trucks, using civilian ones

— Sergej Sumlenny (@sumlenny) March 4, 2022

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