Putin hasn’t to move one tank into Ukraine to control Ukraine, for he has already made himself central to Ukrainian (and NATO) awareness, fear, mobilization, and reflection.
Everything Ukraine may now do (and think) will have to do with whatever Putin chooses to do first.
Putin is in control.
Consider the Ukrainian defender’s now about seven-years-old experience and position with a belligerent and bullying Russia repeatedly and with impunity injuring or killing Ukrainian troops daily and weekly for all those years.
Where is that pain to be harbored and kept in check?
For how many more hours, days, weeks, months, years should Ukrainians tolerate the status quo of a “frozen conflict” sustained by the same criminals driven out in the 2014 Maidan?
Putin is in control.
How should Ukrainians feel about reaching out to a NATO that hems and haws over its imperfect governance while aspiring to meet modern democratic standards in rule-of-law?
Oh, has anyone had a good look lately at the degrees of corruption and rancor in relation to domestic political behavior within the United States?
At least the voting will of the American People voted out their own corrupt autocratic infection, but should any of the Atlantic Alliance have fallen so far to now have to bend over fully to pick up the reins dropped from the horse?
Hungary, Italy, Poland, Turkey have each gone at least partially — two especially — back toward family control or, alternatively, ownership of states by nobility, i.e., either way, the feudal mode in political absolutism.
Putin is in control.
How tense the atmosphere? How dark the clouds? How near the enemy?
Putin is in control.
However far Russia dares to go with its annexation of Ukraine — and its thieving from Ukrainian business and industry and all else Ukrainian and good — Ukraine will have to stand up and go further, and God help NATO embrace and defend Ukraine.
“I heard Zelensky’s words as he said that Ukraine is ready to repel aggression. The fact is that he didn’t just say it’s ready today, it’s been ready for seven years already. It’s only that it’s a different level of readiness, because it’s hard to say when Russia might put their aggressive rhetoric to life,” Kravchuk told Current Time, a Russian language project created by RFE/RL with the participation of VOA.
He noted that Russia’s top leadership are directly threatening Ukraine and its sovereignty, including warning of “collapse of the state.”
My schematic for the personal journey and process known to malignant narcissists
Narcissistic Mortification –> Covering (humiliation and shame) / Splitting (the damaged child from the image of an heroic child) –> Gaslighting and other Willful Manipulation (to create and sustain an heroic image) –> Limitless Narcissistic Supply (the experiences of public glory, the roaring approval of crowds, the validations of humanity and God).
The power to (with impunity) threaten one’s targets is, of course, power. What those targets then do in the position of being threatened — and with Putin, boundlessly and without end — may or may not set the limits of that odious behavior.
Putin appears to be searching for the limits of threat while weaving into his takeover of Ukraine new prepared forces — and large ones, conventional and new — with impunity. Ukraine has fed its children, one to a few at a time, into the fire at the edge of the margin of the Atlantic Alliance and Europe.
NATO appears prepared but supine with an America’s President asking for “clarifications” and a State Department whining about Russia’s attitude toward publications adverse to its aggression.
The American public appears distracted by issues abetted or stirred by Russian trolls — possibly agent provocateur; certainly disinformation — and the encouragement of Far Out Left and Far White Right elements.
And much of the American public appears ill-educated, unprepared, and too parochial (on the Right) or self-centered (on the Left) for understanding how Putin’s aggression in Ukraine threatens the very freedoms, privileges, and traditions they take for granted (while the government takes care of their foreign affairs and related security, so they believe), a posture (if true) that then leaves their Presidents, even the former Trump, alone and weak).
Even America’s Gun Culture (as expressed in enthusiasm for signing up with militia) appears more concerned with its arms and predominantly white cultural traditions than with the greater freedom of all Americans and the support of bedrock American principles and values at home and abroad.
In Russia, Putin has effectively removed from the public sphere his most brave and notorious critic Navalny while ignoring the complaints of ordinary Russians. The man without a face has turned out a man without a purpose or soul apart from his own malign and piratical narcissism.
Former American President Trump’s tenure proved the nation’s distraction from all but itself with the exception of China for Trumpian finger pointing over the “Wuhan Flu”. Now the state’s perhaps a little startled to find itself again a part of the free and do-good world of the Atlantic Alliance. With concern for Russia’s now baldfaced aggression in Ukraine, President Biden will have to pick up on Russia’s crude squatting there and degrading and subverting industrial and other Ukrainian assets in the process of its imposing its largely unwelcome presence and will.
Once inured to suffering associated with Russian arms and will, the liberal democracies of the west risk watching the heat rise — or the surroundings change — while being lazed into unconscious acceptance.
Ukraine’s five-year-old “frozen conflict” has not been forgotten by EU / NATO, which methodically if slowly has focused on containing the irritating Bear now pummeling Mariupol and targets north by northwest along a line of embattled territory on the western edge of Donetsk Oblast. In addition to a vigorous round of military exercises conducted by NATO in 2018, typified perhaps by the 31+ nation Trident Juncture 18, the United States has continued training-related deployments to Ukraine in a “train-the-trainers ” effort to improve Ukraine’s defense against greater incursion by Russian forces.
Not to flack the rah-rah: Ukraine has been made to pay a near daily — or daily — price in injury and death for having become a Russian test bed (no different than Syria) for Moscow’s defense technologies and “hybrid warfare”.
The Russian propaganda mill plies a familiar routine with web videos: the most recent shelling appears to come from Ukrainian forces without cause (I’ll leave the look-up on such as “Donetsk, fighting” to the reader). However, as displayed on any given LiveUAmap, Russia’s military-integrated activity should seem clear enough.
“Together with two other S-300 air defense batteries nearby, Russian land-based air defenses in the region could simultaneously launch as many as 192 surface-to-air missiles. Interestingly, their crews have been training to counter not only hostile aircraft, but also sea-launched cruise missiles, seemingly in preparation for a NATO intervention. Whatever the case, the airspace above Crimea and Donbas has quickly become among the most well-defended in the world.
For cruising through related offerings on YouTube and elsewhere on the web, the open source seems short of up-to-the-minute Ukrainian war reportage but for the Live UA Map, a conflict pin board, and reporting by Michael MacKay via Twitter and through his column in Radio Lemberg.
BackChannels has been seeing the numbers, finding Russian-side videos (in which the fire always comes from Ukraine, not the Russian-backed separatists that provoke it), and finding videos from when the conflict was all bloody new, shocking, and hot. Now it’s still bloody and plenty hot, but it has become a part of the daily fare in the world’s conflict-related horror show.
Perhaps a warning should be issued: once inured to suffering associated with Russian arms and will, the liberal democracies of the west risk watching the heat rise — or the surroundings change — while being lazed into unconscious acceptance.
MacKay’s tweet, much in line with thinking by America’s Democrats and possibly some Republican moderates, begs a few questions about Ukraine’s “frozen conflict” among others: how much “patience” has the west? How much destruction and how many lives lost is acceptable before jawing about Russian barbarism and kleptocracy and posturing about western defense support and strength lose their charm?
Russia has recently claimed victory in Syria. This is what that looks like:
With the winter-is-coming cloud of nuclear warfare hanging over east-west confrontation — and with the incredible billions of dollars laundered out of transnational criminal enterprise spiked into the bloodstreams of states — the way forward for the democratic attenuation of political power and the promotion of faith in rule of law may be difficult to see. While one may hope for hope in that regard, locking related conflicts into one place without limit seems itself dispiriting and on the side of evil.
For how long may Ukraine be expected to endure a Moscow-engineered “status quo”?
. . . . used by the military to triangulate radio signals for radio navigation, intelligence gathering and search and rescue. Because its huge circular reflecting screen looks like a circular fence, the antenna has been colloquially referred to as the elephant cage. The term wullenwever was the World War II German cover term used to identify their secret CDAA research and development program; its name is unrelated to any person involved in the program.
Regarding the deployment of Russian fighter jets to its base in Sevastopal:
Of late, Russia has been playing up what appears to BackChannels as a false-flag operation — or perhaps just disinformation promoting an unsavory image — accusing Ukraine of chemical weapons preparation. While Moscow’s disinformation / propaganda campaign moves along on Twitter, here’s background on the matter from UNIAN:
Moscow’s persistence in claiming that Ukraine is plotting a chemical attack in the occupied Donbas raises serious concerns, says Ukrainian MP Dmytro Tymchuk, who is also a coordinator of the Information Resistance OSINT group. Even more worrying is the timing of Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova revisiting the issue on the eve of the two major events that will take place in December this year – the holding of the Unification Council for the creation of the United Local Orthodox Church in Ukraine and consideration by the UN General Assembly of the draft resolution on militarization of the occupied Crimea and Sevastopol, as well as parts of the Black and Azov Seas, Tymchuk wrote on Facebook.
From RFERL as cited in caption earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lists the following Russian Federation assets in the region of the so-far annexed Crimea:
1,400 artillery and multiple rocket launch systems
2,300 armored combat vehicles
Hundreds of aircraft
The news may be warmed over but none can miss the portent: having invaded and annexed Crimea, Ukraine, Russia has moved to tighten its grip on its prize while preparing for “expansion” through intimidation and force. As is — and as visiting the liveuamap service tells, there have been no ceasefires in Ukraine: shelling, injury, and death have become part of daily life in what must be for Ukraine’s military a grinding lottery of evil.
For Russia, Crimea, Ukraine must also serve to leverage the west in the middle east, for what happens between Israel and the forces sponsored or supported by Moscow and Tehran may insult a degraded EU / NATO about to be pinched between the two fronts. By “degraded”, BackChannels refers to the following: a Germany dependent on Russia for energy supply; a Hungary that becomes more each week the feudal estate of the Orban family; a France too easily given to the “Active Measures” encouragement of Right Wing Populism; and a Turkey that has become for all intents an anti-democratic and illiberal sultanate whose highest purpose would seem to be the cultural annihilation of the Kurdish Community and the eventual destruction of Israel — the “leadership” in Ankara has more in common with Moscow and Tehran (specifically, the penchant for feudal political absolutism laced with anti-Semitism) than with London, Paris, and Washington. It both loves Moscow’s power and political prowess, and it fears it. It’s continued NATO status and (the latest Patriot Missile deal) has more to do with the latter than any set of heartily defended liberal ethics, principles, and values.
According to civil rights groups, however, the Kremlin’s account of anti-Russian persecution is a dark fairytale – “entirely fictional”, as one put it. It is, they say, a made-up scenario scripted in Moscow for state TV, and now played out on the ground by pro-Russian activists and bussed-in professionals. Russian propaganda has been extremely effective, they add. Many trust Russian state TV rather than what they see on the streets, which are strikingly bereft of fascists.
“There’s no discrimination against Russian-speakers actually,” Yevgeny Zakharov, from Kharkiv’s human rights protection group, said earlier this week. Zakharov said support for the idea of Kharkiv following Crimea and joining Russia was low – 15% according to the latest survey. He believes last week’s bloody shoot-out was deliberately provoked. “This [Kremlin] campaign is being conducted very aggressively. The idea is to give the false impression that Russians are being humiliated and Kharkiv wants union with Russia,” he said.