As the world reels from the reckless attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Russian troops continue to advance deeper into Ukraine and tighten restrictions at home.
Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube were all suddenly blocked from the giant country, as the state clamps down on freedom of the press and threatened 15 years of prison for any who spread ‘misinformation’ regarding the ‘special operation’ in Ukraine, which Russia continues to deny is a war.
Though much of the younger and older generation stand against Putin, many still see him as a macho strongman, larger than life leader playing his cards wisely in Ukraine. Yet many in his administration are questioning him, particularly those in the intelligence corps, academia, and foreign service. It is widely believed that Zelensky, who has so far survived three assassination attempts, was tipped off by Russian officials regarding the Chechen and Wagner Group forces sent to kill him. Captured members of the Wagner Group state they were shocked at just how precisely the Ukrainians knew their tactics and operations, allowing them to defeat the well-supplied mercenaries.
Yet the Russian army has not completely halted, with troops marching into the city of Enerhodar today. This comes as the Russian convoy near Kyiv appears frozen, as weather conditions across Eastern Europe point to muddy and boggy terrain. It is likely that Kyiv itself will not fall for at least the coming weeks, as Russian troops will likely seek to encircle the city before pressing their attack. Even then, they have been harassed and sabotaged by members of the Ukrainian SOF and even civilians who have used RPGs, molotovs, or sheer crowds to halt Russian advances.
Around the world, more and more nations seem to be pushing for safety guarantees; the Prime Minister of Finland met with Joe Biden to discuss the potential inclusion of Finland as a major non-NATO U.S. ally and reiterated that he believed Finland could join NATO overnight. Whether this remains the case is unknown, but out of all prospective members, Finland’s military is the most readied and professional, though nowhere near that of Russia and Ukraine.
Additionally, 16,000 volunteers have pledged to go to Ukraine and fight, with more joining in the coming days. Within this force are several veterans from the most professional units in the world, with NATO training and a deep understanding of special operations. These special forces are force multipliers, coming from the same units that trained insurgencies that have taken down numerous powerhouses during the initial stages of invasion, like Iraq, ISIS, and Afghanistan.
Speaking of former invasions, many have tried to refute claims of a Russian military failure, outrageously comparing the invasion as more successful than the Blitzkrieg of Poland or the invasion of Iraq. Beyond the obvious fact of not having used accurate intel (maps cited by these ‘sources’ claimed Russian troops had overrun almost all of Eastern Ukraine..on the third day), there is the simple question of what Russia has done with its forces so far. Their initial campaign was an incredible failure, focusing primarily on shock and awe, which had only temporary effects on Ukrainian morale. This did not translate well in the subsequent invasion, as they failed to achieve air superiority and later lost several transport aircraft and helicopters to botched operations. Only about a week later did they manage to take a single city, which has since provided a fierce resistance to the military administration, through protests and refusing to cooperate with Russian media. Troops have been lost, picked off and killed, or captured, with no idea of where they were in Ukraine or the objectives of their invasion. And in response to this failure, Putin ordered the targeting of civilian infrastructure and residences, making the possibility of a long-term annexation or normalized relations improbable.
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