While we’ve been focused on the midterms and Trump’s announcement of his next run for President, there have been both positive and worrying developments in the war in Ukraine.
On the positive side, the Russians abandoned Kherson, one of the four regions that Russia “annexed” at the beginning of October. The Russians withdrew to the east bank of the Dnipro River, from which it will be easier for the Russian army to defend the remainder of their annexed territory.
On the worrying side, the Russians continue to obliterate the Ukrainian power grid, and there doesn’t seem to be much that the Ukrainians can do about it. I mean, they have anti-missile defenses, and they have (apparently) shot down many of the Russian missiles, but not enough. The Russians can shoot off too many missiles at once.
The Russians have clearly abandoned their original military objectives. Vladimir Putin (and his cohorts) apparently thought that it would be easy to overrun Ukraine — kind of like the Americans did in Iraq during the second “Desert Storm” — and evict President Zelenskyy, the former Comedian, who Putin apparently viewed as a clown.
I mean, let’s remember that Volodymyr Zelenskyy became famous in Ukraine playing the President on television, which is kind of like as if Julia-Louis Dreyfus were to become the actual Vice President of the United States. (Not that she wouldn’t be a better Vice-President than Mike Pence was, but you get the point.)
For the Russians, it’s now clear that cruelty is the point. They can no longer win the war. But they can surely punish the Ukrainians. Frontline also has a recent documentary where they documented many of the war crimes that the Russians committed in the areas that they had conquered, however briefly. The documentary is, frankly, hard to watch:
So, the cruelty is the point.
If the Ukrainians were once arguably the Russian’s “brothers,” that has come to a full stop. There are still over 8 million Russians who live in the Ukraine (and also about 1.9 million Ukrainians who live in Russia), but those relationships have changed permanently. And not for the good.
How will these relationships play out in the long run?
One can only worry about that.