The unfolding war is unlike any other, I believe. Russia is being pummeled by financial sanctions. Ukraine citizen militias are organizing on social media, and a head of state is addressing his people and the world on Twitter. There are some good ones on this Twitter feed. Fighters on the front lines are providing updates on Twitter.
Update by a Ukrainian Marine on the Donbas front lines. https://t.co/rbPLukw0zb
— Nolan Peterson (@nolanwpeterson) February 27, 2022
Oh, and this seems significant —
Wow, a day I never thought would come https://t.co/msTZk5HaSc
— max seddon (@maxseddon) February 27, 2022
So is this:
Just spoke to a high-ranking European intelligence official who tells me Russia has “deployed several mobile cremation trucks close to its border with Ukraine.”
— Michael Weiss ? (@michaeldweiss) February 27, 2022
The Russian people won’t have to take their sons and possibly daughters back in body bags, I guess. Many families may never learn what happened to their loved ones.
Okay, one more.
The EU just closed its airspace to Russian planes. FedEx and UPS suspended service in Russia. BP is getting out. Russian banks are running out of dollars. The ruble is crashing. Putin is finally getting his dream of taking Russia back to the USSR, an impoverished, hermit kingdom.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) February 27, 2022
I understand that Russians have very limited access to the Web outside of Russia, but “very limited” is not “zero.” Russians are going to find out what’s really going on eventually. And it sounds as if a lot of them have found out already — see Furious Russians turn on Putin – mass arrests as thousands protest in St Petersburg, just posted at The Express (UK).
This morning we woke to the news that Russia was putting its nuclear forces on alert. Nuclear weapons are a power that creates weakness and limits options. It’s because of nuclear weapons that other nations are not sending their own troops to defend Ukraine, but instead the world stands by and watches. Ukraine will be sacrified before risking a nuclear World War. But the world is not standing by helplessly; the sanctions appear to be having an effect.
Today the Pentagon said, in so many words, that since the original blitzkrieg plan was stopped, the Russian military appears to be falling back on the time-honored Plan B — a seige. This is not good news for civilians. Will the Russians interpret attempts to send food and medical supplies to Ukraine’s cities as acts of war?
Now Alexander Vindman is tweeting that there are reports Putin has fired the head of the Russian military, Valery Gerasimov. This hasn’t hit the news yet, if it’s true. It may not be.
If Putin is rational — some are questioning this — he must realize that even if his military does take Ukraine, this will not be the end of the story. The global community will not accept a Russian occupation Ukraine, never mind Ukrainians. There will be robust subversion and guerrilla war. It will cost Russia big time to hang on to Ukraine. And the sanctions continue to pile on.
See the Finantial Times, Vladimir Putin’s grand plan is unravelling.
Unable to achieve the easy victory that he anticipated, Putin seems unlikely to back down. Pride, paranoia and his own personal survival point to the use of ever more radical and dangerous tactics. One senior western official predicted to me that “Putin will only dig in and this will get very ugly”.
Western security analysts have been warning of the possible use of thermobaric missiles in Ukraine — “flame-thrower” bombs which Russia has deployed in Chechnya and Syria and can cause huge loss of life. The nuclear threats that Putin is deploying, while clearly intended to intimidate, cannot be entirely discounted given his state of mind.
Do read the entire article; it’s very informative. But it’s possible the rest of the world will be drawn into a larger war, like it or not. However, I believe Russia will be alone. I don’t think Xi Jinping is deluded enough to back up Russia militarily. What’s in it for China? Nothing I can see.
Best-case would be for the oligarchs gang up on Putin and oust him.
One more tweet — Kyiv’s defenders are sending videos to the Russian troops surrounding their city.
— Mark Hertling (@MarkHertling) February 27, 2022