There are so many important news items, some of them with very subtle nuances regarding events and possibilities, that can only be found by digging a little deeper. Most of these will not even merit a mention in what passes for news sources in the US. Here are a few points of note from the last few days.

Yesterday the Brookings Institution hosted a webinar on Ukraine’s economy. The webinar is archived and available to watch by clicking the link. The first part focuses on Ukraine’s economic situation- its fiscal policy, energy, inflation, and trade, as well as current and future needs. A recurring theme in the discussion was the gap between money that has been pledged to Ukraine and money that is actually making it to the country. There was also a thoughtful discussion on reconstruction, with projected numbers, discussion of where the money might come from, and the need to start the process now. The second part focused on historic examples, first with a history of the Marshall plan, then examples of recent reconstruction projects in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan.

Two recent articles discuss the need for clear, pragmatic, and cautious goals in Ukraine. From the Diplomatic Courier, “Lack of Clear Strategic Goals in Ukraine Risks Escalation” by Ethan Brown, the author suggests that now is the time to consider an “off ramp from conflict escalation.”  He asks “what is the grand strategy?” and references the lack of such in Afghanistan and that unforgivable outcome.  He in no way suggests capitulation, or even negotiation on Putin’s terms, but notes that the Russian dictator is unlikely to back down any time in the foreseeable future, thus suggesting that Ukraine and the world are in this for the long term. 

From Foreign Affairs in the article “Go Slow on Crimea“, the authors Liana Fix and Michael Kimmage suggest caution on the retaking of the peninsula, albeit clearly part of sovereign Ukrainian territory. But they note that not taking it will in fact create unending problems for Ukrainian security, for its relationships with and accession into both the EU and NATO, and again for the rest of eastern Europe, Crimea being a testing ground and staging area for further conquest. 

My take on the situation has never changed- Russia is a terrorist state that perpetuates conflict in order to conquer and rule, and Ukraine is just a stepping stone to the rest of eastern Europe and Putin’s imperial goals. The answer to the problem in short: if you back down from a bully, as soon as you turn your head he will hit you again. Therefor we must:

  • Incentivise Russian withdrawal from Ukraine by maintaining and strengthening sanctions and policies against Russia until they squeeze the very blood from the aggressors; this includes freezing (and eventually seizing for reconstruction funding) ALL Russian assets available to countries supporting Ukraine.
  • Clearly define that stance that all Ukrainian territory must be returned, including and especially Crimea.
  • Continue supplying aid, weapons, and training to Ukrainian forces, and the forces of surrounding countries, and bolstering NATO throughout Europe. 

History teaches us that the Soviet Union, failed experiment in sociological control that it was, finally fell due to economic stagnation and collapse, the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and the people of Russia and all Warsaw Pact and Soviet Bloc nations getting a taste of western freedoms, democracy, and culture at the end of the 1980’s. History is repeating itself. 

  • Russia may be setting conditions to conduct a new offensive against Ukraine—possibly against Kyiv—in winter 2023. Such an attack is extraordinarily unlikely to succeed.  A Russian attack from Belarus is not imminent at this time.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin’s objectives in Ukraine have not changed.
  • Putin is using two simultaneous military efforts to pursue his objective of conquering Ukraine and securing major concessions.
  • Putin is likely setting conditions for a renewed offensive before the spring of 2023 to coerce Ukraine into offering concessions.
  • Russian forces may be setting conditions to attack from Belarusian territory, although ISW continues to assess that the Belarusian military will not join the fighting in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian forces reportedly continued counteroffensive operations in the direction of Kreminna and Svatove.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka areas.
  • Russian forces continued defensive operations south of the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine.
  • The Russian officer corps continues to suffer heavy losses in Ukraine.
  • Ukrainian partisans conducted a sabotage attack on a power transformer substation in Berdyansk, Zaporizhia Oblast.

And finally, Russian combat losses/ citizens sent to their death by their murdering dictator, as of today:

Russian combat losses as of 16 December, 2022

Russian combat losses as of 16 December, 2022

On 05 December, 2022 the Brookings Institute held an online event titled Nonstate armed actors in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. It is archived and available to watch by clicking the link. I highly recommend taking the hour and a half to listen to it, no only for the updated information from the Brookings panel on conditions in Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria, but also for updates on the continued involvement of Russia and Iran, amongst others, in these and other countries.

Insuring instability by supporting rebels, insurgents, governments, their own mercenary force (Wagner), or some fictional specter in these countries and all around the world is an integral part of Russia’s active, proxy, and hybrid war against… yes, the free world. It has come down to that again. 

Russia must bear responsibity for its crimes.

Russia must bear responsibility for its crimes.

For more background on why no “peace” can be negotiated with Russia, from the Prime Minister of Estonia, Kaja Kallas, see the article on the Foreign Affairs website, No Peace on Putin’s Terms: Why Russia Must Be Pushed Out of UkraineThe article is adapted from a speech given in November, 2022, and reiterates the concerns I have been noting all along, but from the perspective of a country formerly under Soviet rule. If you do not have access the Foreign Affairs website, you can also find the article here.  By the way, a plug here for Foreign Affairs magazine (I receive no money or any sort of backing from them)- a subscription to the magazine which includes 6 annual print issues and unlimited online access is only $45.95 USD per year.  That is an unbeatable value for the quality and amount of information they publish.

Finally for today, on Aljazeera there is an article and infographic that shows how much and where support for Ukraine is coming from. In terms of overall dollars, the US clearly leads. But further down the page the article notes that in terms of GDP, the US contributes .23 percent, whereas Estonia as a percentage of its GDP contributes 1.1 percent. Latvia is just below Estonia with 0.93 percent, Poland with 0.5 percent and Lithuania 0.46 percent of their GDP. 


Eastern Europe is moving forward to replace Russian energy- see the 07 December article at the BIRN website which discusses Balkan-Azerbaijani talks on energy cooperation. The strategic energy partnerships discussed have huge repercussions for the Russia. Not only do the negotiations, and the current and proposed projects allow for the independence of the target countries from Russia, they also grant another measure of independence and security to source countries such as Azerbaijan, and other former Soviet Bloc countries who are part of the projects. If these projects are seen through- and they must be- the power gained by Russia in its weaponisation of energy will continue to decrease.

From the Radio Free Europe website, the article Uzbekistan Rejects Putin-Proposed ‘Trilateral Natural Gas Union’ is another indication that the region, its goals and allegiances are changing. 

Aljazeera reported more promising news in the article EU, Western Balkans leaders meet amid fears of Russian influence. 

The key takeaways for the day follow:

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin is setting conditions for a protracted war of conquest in Ukraine.
  • Putin is using Russia’s Human Rights Council to consolidate power while rejecting principles of international human rights law.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg made comments supporting ISW’s previous assessments that an operational pause in the winter of 2022-2023 would favor Russia.
  • Russian forces used Shahed-136 drones in Ukraine for the first time in three weeks.
  • Russian efforts to pressure Belarus into joining the war in Ukraine may be causing friction in the Belarusian military.
  • Russian forces are likely increasing the pace of their counterattacks in eastern Kharkiv and western Luhansk Oblast.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Avdiivka-Donetsk City areas.
  • Russian forces continued defensive operations and the reorientation of their forces in eastern Kherson Oblast.
  • Independent Russian media sources indicated that mobilization efforts will continue despite statements from Russian officials to the contrary.
  • Russian occupation authorities are likely transforming Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast, into a rear military and logistics base for Russian forces.

You can support small business in Ukraine- visit the Made With Bravery website and so some holiday shopping! The website is making a difference- it supports small businesses and the war effort through donations to United24, which collects funds for Ukraine. Here is a quote from an email I just received from them:

For the 2 months of brave work, together with your help, we transferred 722,000 UAH or 18,700 EUR to United24, and we will continue to do so! 

To remind you, we transfer all profit from the marketplace commission to the presidential fundraising platform United24 in the direction of ‘Rebuild Ukraine.’ Plus, 5% will be transferred on top if a purchase is made with Visa.

The funds are deposited into the account of the National Bank of Ukraine, and then a special platform commission is directed to current programs for the reconstruction of Ukraine. Currently, we are choosing an exact object for which our brave community will collect the funds. We will keep you informed in the following emails.

Finally, as reported on the Telegram channel Ищи своих Russian war dead has reached nearly 93,000.

Russian war dead as of 07 December, 2022

Russian war dead as of 07 December, 2022


As a follow-up to my recent post about avoiding a Bosnia-style outcome in Ukraine, I have found a related article of interest. Originally posted on the website, the article The Long-Term Risks of a Premature Ceasefire in Ukraine by Fredrick W. Kagan outlines the most likely scenarios if anything other than a complete Ukrainian victory and expulsion of the invading Russian aggressors from Ukraine is not achieved. Simply put, if there is a compromise of any sort in Ukraine, European and world security will continue to be at a higher level of risk; after regrouping Russia will continue its aggression against Ukraine and then into other parts of eastern Europe; and western support of Ukraine is likely to wane once Russia goes on the offensive and begins to win ground through this “diplomacy”, further threatening Ukraine and the world.

Another source of interest is an article from The Washington Post from March, 2022. It discusses the size of Ukraine and its major population centers, and compares them in numbers and graphically to similar-sized US cities.

See today’s post on the Institute for the Study of War for an update on the Russian campaign of aggression against Ukraine. 

Radio Free Europe reports a drone strike at an airfield inside Russia. Part of that report states:

At least one large explosion occurred at a Russian military air base in the Saratov region, about 600 kilometers east of Ukraine, while another blast was reported by Russian state media at an airfield outside Ryazan, southeast of Moscow.

The December 6 incident, coming a day after Moscow accused Ukraine of carrying out deadly drone strikes on two other airfields, prompted the Kremlin to announce that Putin convened a meeting of his Security Council to discuss how to ensure the state’s “domestic security.” No other details were provided.

Part of the comments from today’s Institute for the Study of War update regarding those drone strikes follow:

Anger over the Russian military’s inability to prevent the Ukrainian strikes on Russian strategic airbases over 280 miles from Ukrainian positions outweighed praise for the latest round of strikes against Ukraine within the Russian milblogger community. Russian milbloggers criticized Russian officials for failing to anticipate and prevent the drone strikes at the Engels-2 and Dyagilevo Air Bases on December 5.[10] Select milbloggers noted that Russian military officials have not adequately protected the airbases, with some suggesting that Russian officials did not adequately defend the bases despite knowing that they were clear targets for Ukrainian strikes.[11] Several prominent Russian milbloggers claimed that Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups must have launched the strike against the Engels-2 air base from inside Russian territory, asserting either that Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance groups are active inside Russia or – if the UAVs were launched from Ukrainian territory – that Moscow is under threat from Ukrainian territory.[12]

As of today, Russian dictator Putin is responsible for the death nearly 92,000 people. 

Russian combat dead as of 05 December, 2022

Russian combat dead as of 05 December, 2022

Remember that you can support Ukraine no matter who you are. Use the links at the top of the page to donate to Ukraine’s war effort. Shop on their Made With Bravery website and support Ukrainian businesses at the same time. Help keep this free country free. 


The easiest way to keep up-to-date on events on the ground in Ukraine is to visit the Institute For The Study of War website. You can also find updates on the developing situation in Iran there as well. The following is from their update for 02 December, 2022.

Key takeaways from the day’s update:

  • Russia is attempting to capitalize on the Western desire for negotiations to create a dynamic in which Western officials feel obliged to make preemptive concessions to lure Russia to the table.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated as the basis for negotiations precisely the same demands that the Russian Foreign Ministry had made before the February 24 invasion, and Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitrii Peskov added the further demand that the West recognize Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory.
  • Russian forces still pose a threat to Ukrainian energy infrastructure despite the success of Ukrainian air defenses.
  • Additional Western air defense systems are prompting the Russian pro-war community to question the Russian air campaign against Ukrainian infrastructure.
  • Russian officials are setting conditions to negotiate the demilitarization of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), an agreement upon which Russia would likely renege and that would not eliminate or diminish the ongoing threat to the ZNPP.
  • Ukrainian forces made localized breakthroughs southwest and northwest of Kreminna.
  • Russian forces continued to make minimal advances in the Bakhmut area and conduct offensive operations in the Avdiivka–Donetsk City area.
  • Russian forces may be struggling to properly allocate and deploy forces in rear areas in southern Ukraine due to Ukrainian strikes.
  • Poor logistics, unruly mobilized personnel, and domestic protests continue to prevent the Kremlin from achieving the goals of partial mobilization.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to attempt to mask military development projects in occupied territories for no obvious reason.

Russian war dead: from the Telegram Channel Ищи своих (“Look For Your…”) as of 02 December, 2022, the latest figure for Russian war dead has exceeded 90,000. 

Finally, from the Telegram Channel Center for Countering Disinformation from yesterday, Putin appears to be losing support:

#CCD_informs: the administration of the russian president is limiting the number of open sociological surveys on the attitude of russians to the war in Ukraine. State and pro-government russian mass media, sociological centers were instructed not to pedal the military topic and to focus on a «positive» agenda

🔻 The reason is that the attitude of russians towards war has deteriorated, in particular after mobilization and military defeats

🔸 According to the results of a closed sociological survey conducted by putin’s FSS in November, only 25% of respondents support the continuation of the war (in July – 57%, in March – 71%), the share of those who support peace negotiations with Ukraine increased from 32 % to 55%

🔻putin’s authorities are trying to hide the sharp drop in support for the war in Ukraine in russian society. The kremlin fears that a shift in public sentiment could lead to a collapse in putin’s own approval rating and massive anti-war protests

I have pointed out the similarities, and the possible similar outcomes, between Ukraine and Bosnia many times in my blogs. I have repeatedly warned against allowing anything of the sort. Here is an article on Aljazeera by a professor at the University of Sarajevo, outlining exactly the same idea. In his article Why Ukraine should not accept Bosnia-style peace, Hamza Karčić explains the dangers of allowing western “experts” and “mediators” to help in the negotiating process. If you recall what happened in Bosnia in the early 1990’s then you know the dangers. If you are unfamiliar, use this article as a starting point to learn about the horrors of Bosnia at that time, and understand why Ukraine must be supported fully, to the end, when they drive the Russian invaders from their country.

Russia is a terrorist state. Ukraine must not become another Bosnia.

Russia is a terrorist state. Ukraine must not become another Bosnia.

We can all help the people of Ukraine succeed in their fight.  Today and tomorrow all donations made to World Central Kitchen will be doubled, up to 10 million dollars! Give what you can and help feed the victims of Russia’s criminal actions.

In the meantime, the criminal Russian state continues to kill its citizens. As of today Russian war dead totals near 88,000 souls.

At the same time, Russian military incompetence, disorganisation, and poor training continues to fund the Ukrainian war effort. Let’s add more HIMARS to these armaments, and most important of all ATACMS!

Russian donations to Ukraine's war effort.

Russian donations to Ukraine’s war effort.


Here is a repost directly (without editing) from the Telegram Channel Center for Countering Disinformation.

#CCD_informs: the events taking place in Ukraine today are the Genocide of the Ukrainians!

  • On the fourth Saturday of November in Ukraine, the memory of the victims of the famine in Ukraine is held
  • The term «genocide» – «killing of the nation» was appeared in 1944, and in 1953 was publicly called «the extermination of the Ukrainian nation a classic example of genocide»
  • Communist authorities wanted to subjugate Ukrainians with a repressive policy and the struggle for the revival of their own statehood
  • 90 years have passed, and dictator of the russian lands staged a new genocide of Ukrainians
  • Today, no one doubts that putin is on a par with Hitler and Stalin.
  • «Erasing» cities and killing thousands of civilians, putin «defends Ukraine from the Nazis»
  • The memory of the Holodomor motivates Ukrainians to resist another genocide, which was arranged by the enemy
  • But it is impossible to overcome a nation that has gone through the Holodomor!


Protect Ukraine, protect yourself.

To learn more about Stalin’s genocide in Ukraine, see the book Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum. You will gain a very clear understanding of what happened from the time of the revolution in Russia until the fall of the USSR regarding the weaponisation of food and the murder of the Ukrainian people, minorities, and Russians as well. You will also understand the tactics that Putin is currently using against Ukraine and the world.

There is not much more I can say regarding my feelings about Russia, and its mafia leadership. The facts are clear- it is a terrorist state. It is corrupt. It treats is citizens as subjects. It seeks to conquer and destroy and create havoc. It is the path of Russia for the last 100 years, for hundreds of years. That much should be clear after their actions this week. What is just as clear is that Ukraine will never give up, and my sincere hope is that the US, Europe, and the rest of their supporters will never abandon them.

Russia is a terrorist state

Russia is a terrorist state.

Now, closer to home, I recently caught one sentence by… he must not be named- that is, our own would-be dictator as he announced his intention to run for “president”- I put the word in quotes as his designs on the office have nothing to do with being a president, but more a strongman, a tyrant, a dictator.  The one sentence I did catch in the news, which immediately turned my stomach, was some derogatory line about the US Justice department.  It was in keeping with his “style”; that everyone in our government, all its agencies, should support him fully and blindly, otherwise they are traitors, to be dismissed and forever ostracised by the Party, whatever the definition and proper noun chosen to signify said “party”. Either way it sounded like something said by a 1930’s fascist leader, not a former president of the United States.

As a follow up, from last weekend’s Wall Street Journal, I found nearly the same statement, about the same department. From the article Special Council To Lead Trump Probes. The italics are my own.

Mr. Trump as president repeatedly stated that the attorney general owes a president personal loyalty and should deploy the Justice Department against his political enemies.

That from a US president! Not from Stalin, or Assad, or Kim, or Putin! Our president. If this is not clear evidence of tyrannical designs, and knowing that this is how he went about the business of destroying our country for four long years, grounds for arrest and imprisonment for life in itself, then we as a country are sunk. Food for thought.


The strength of Ukraine is in its people. Here is one example.

And here is the translation (translation source is

O one morning, and yet at dawn
The ground had trembled
And Immediately then our blood had boiled,
Missiles from the sky, the columns of tanks
Old man Dniepro he had then roared!
No one had thought, no one had witnessed
What truly then had been the Ukrainian rage .
Accursed executioners we with out mercy slay
Those who trudge upon our land !
In TerObron are only the very best men,
Only the heroes they fight there in our Armed Forces!
And the javelins, and the bayraktari

For our Ukraine they do strike Russia !

And here our people, and the Ukrainians
Against Russia
Have already united the whole wide world!
And soon there will be no Russia at all,
And there’ll be peace through the whole wide world!

It is no wonder that Russian combat deaths continue to increase, at about 84,600 deaths as of yesterday. When will the people of Russia say enough is enough? The country of Ukraine will never give up.
For a current, detailed  assessment of the war in Ukraine, including maps of the fronts, visit the Institute for the Study of War. Key points for the day from the assessment for 21 November follow:
  • Two days of shelling caused widespread damage to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
  • The Russian government is continuing to escalate control over the Russian information space.
  • Ukrainian intelligence reported that Russian special services are planning false flag attacks on Belarusian critical infrastructure in an attempt that would likely fail to pressure the Belarusian military to enter the war in Ukraine. ISW continues to assess that it is unlikely Belarusian forces will enter the war.
  • A Ukrainian official acknowledged that Ukrainian forces are conducting a military operation on the Kinburn Spit, Mykolaiv Oblast.
  • The November 18 video of a Russian soldier opening fire on a group of Ukrainian servicemen while Russian troops were surrendering has served as a catalyst for further division between the Kremlin and prominent voices in the Russian information space.
  • Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations in eastern Ukraine amid worsening weather conditions.
  • Russian forces continued ground assaults near Bakhmut and Avdiivka.
  • Russian forces continued conducting defensive measures and establishing fortifications in Kherson Oblast south of the Dnipro River as Ukrainian forces continued striking Russian force accumulations in southern Ukraine.
  • Russian mobilized personnel continue to protest and desert as their relatives continue to publicly advocate against mobilization issues.
  • Russian occupation authorities intensified filtration measures and the incorporation of occupied territory into Russia.