After a noticeable lull yesterday, the last 24 hours have produced scores of videos of new Ukrainian captures of Russian military equipment, again showcasing the substantial successes Ukraine’s defenders are having in disrupting Russian supply convoys and even battle groups themselves. Russian leaders may be dropping bombs on hospitals and on civilian neighborhoods not just as a would-be path to victory, but as a desperate measure to force a Ukrainian surrender that Russia’s military may be unable to secure. The seeming collapse of Russian military power continues to shock world analysts—and, those analysts worry, may drive Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin to far more vicious and desperate measures as he attempts to end the war he started before it bleeds his nation’s economy and military dry.
The videos of abandoned and destroyed Russian equipment may be an embarrassment to Russia’s ever-crooked leaders, but it is new images of widespread civilian deaths that may get some of those leaders indicted for war crimes. We’re seeing companies that were previously holding out announce that they, too, will be closing their Russian ventures. This may be a result of public pressure; it may also be corporate recognition, now, that the situation has so devolved that the only two likely outcomes (a new war that pits NATO countries against Russia, or a sanctions regime that may cut off Russia’s economy indefinitely) both bode unwell for business. Not for months, but for a decade or longer.
Putin himself appears to be attempting to provoke a wider war, perhaps because he believes new world sanctions pose a far greater risk to his personal rule than a clash with NATO countries would. And the absurdity of each new anti-Ukraine conspiracy theory being offered up by Russia’s top leaders suggests that the man may already have disposed of any Russian officials with even the vaguest hints of intelligence, leaving behind only whichever opportunists could most vigorously lick his boots.
The reason Russian military forces are running out of gas and limping along on rotted tires is becoming clearer by the day, and it’s leading Russia’s adversaries to ask the one question Vladimir Putin has spent his entire career keeping nations from asking: Just how much of Russia’s vaunted military is fictitious? We’ll find out soon how much of their supplies and capabilities exist only on paper after Putin and his fellow kleptocrats bled the country dry.
Some of today’s Ukraine news:
- Ukrainian forces have one of their best days of the war, and Russia is stalemated
- A war on the concept of civilization itself
- ‘R’ is for Russia
- Russia suffers another economic setback—a brain drain among its youth
- Panem et circenses et bellum
- Ukrainian family, initially blocked by U.S. border officials, to be allowed entry
Here at home, Republican elected officials are still caught in the same conundrum they’ve been in since the war’s beginning: how to mouth support for Ukraine while still stonewalling that support and pushing countless Trump-backed conspiracy theories against the Ukrainian government Trump continues to attack.
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