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Things Still Going Poorly In Ukraine For Trump's Russian Ally

Yesterday, writing for the Wall Street Journal, Robert Wall and Daniel Michaels, reported that Russia began it's invasion of Ukraine with the world's largest tank force, a tank force that has been severely diminished after just 3 weeks of fighting. "[T]he losses it has suffered reveal its weaknesses on the modern battlefield. Moscow’s forces have lost more than 230 of the heavily armored tracked vehicles since they invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24... Many were destroyed. Others were abandoned, captured or damaged. Ukraine’s government says it has exacted an even higher toll, claiming to have destroyed more than 400 Russian tanks and many more less-armored military vehicles." On top of that, reports claim more than 7,000 Russian soldiers have died, "greater than the number of American troops killed over 20 years in Iraq and Afghanistan combined." Between 14 and 21 thousand are injured and all this is causing very low morale.

Four of those dead are Russian generals, Oleg Mityaev, Vitaly Gerasimov, Andrei Kolesnikov and Andrei Sukhovetsky. Looking for scapegoats, Putin is starting to blame high-ranking generals for the debacle and yesterday had the chief of Russia's National Guard, Gen. Roman Gavrilov arrested by the FSB. Some suspect him of being teh top level link that has allowed Biden to announce every move Putin plans before he is able to act on them.

Putin said in an address on Wednesday that his country will undergo a "self-purification" of "traitors" as Russian troops continue to bombard Ukrainian civilians and advance toward Kyiv.
"The Russian people will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and simply spit them out like a fly that accidentally flew into their mouths," Putin said on Wednesday. "I am convinced that such a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, cohesion and readiness to respond to any challenges."
After the speech, flight trackers purportedly detected a mass exodus of private jets flying out of Moscow and toward Dubai, suggesting that Russian oligarchs may have fled anticipating Putin’s crackdown.
At least 14,980 people have been detained across Russia since the war in Ukraine began on Feb. 24, according to OVD Info, an independent organization monitoring political persecutions.

Putin isn't just threatening his own people. ABC News reported this morning that "Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that any foreign supplies to Ukraine containing military equipment will be considered 'legitimate targets' for Russian strikes. 'We clearly said that any cargo moving into the Ukrainian territory which we would believe is carrying weapons would be fair game. This is clear because we are implementing the operation the goal of which is to remove any threat to the Russian Federation coming from the Ukrainian soil,' Lavrov said in an English-language interview with the RT television channel."

It's as if the Russians are speaking the same language Trump and his Republicans speak, confident that the blatant lies will easily persuade the same kinds of morons that Trump can always count on being persuaded. Aggressively accuse your enemy of whatever you are guilty of. "The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call with Germany’s leader Olaf Scholz accused Ukraine of 'seeking to drag out' negotiations with Russia to end the war by putting forward 'new unrealistic proposals.'" No shame at all... just like all conservatives everywhere:

Yesterday, Putin called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and told him precisely what Russia's demands are. "The Russian demands fall into two categories," wrote John Simpson. "The first four demands are, according to Mr Kalin, not too difficult for Ukraine to meet. Chief among them is an acceptance by Ukraine that it should be neutral and should not apply to join Nato. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has already conceded this. There are other demands in this category which mostly seem to be face-saving elements for the Russian side."

Ukraine would have to undergo a disarmament process to ensure it wasn't a threat to Russia. There would have to be protection for the Russian language in Ukraine. And there is something called de-Nazification.
This is deeply offensive to Mr Zelensky, who is himself Jewish and some of whose relatives died in the Holocaust, but the Turkish side believes it will be easy enough for Mr Zelensky to accept. Perhaps it will be enough for Ukraine to condemn all forms of neo-Nazism and promise to clamp down on them.
The second category is where the difficulty will lie, and in his phone call, Mr Putin said that it would need face-to-face negotiations between him and President Zelensky before agreement could be reached on these points. Mr Zelensky has already said he's prepared to meet the Russian president and negotiate with him one-to-one.
Mr Kalin was much less specific about these issues, saying simply that they involved the status of Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, parts of which have already broken away from Ukraine and stressed their Russianness, and the status of Crimea.
Although Mr Kalin didn't go into detail, the assumption is that Russia will demand that the Ukrainian government should give up territory in eastern Ukraine. That will be deeply contentious.
The other assumption is that Russia will demand that Ukraine should formally accept that Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, does indeed now belong to Russia. If this is the case, it will be a bitter pill for Ukraine to swallow.
Nevertheless, it is a fait accompli, even though Russia has no legal right to own Crimea and actually signed an international treaty, after the fall of Communism but before Vladimir Putin came to power, accepting that Crimea was part of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, it appears that hawks in Washington are working feverishly towards drumming up a resistance in Ukraine that will keep the Russian military bleeding and bogged down for years after they win the current war-- not unlike what the U.S. did to Russia in Afghanistan.



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