Monday, December 19, 2022

‘Invasion’ Review: On the Ground in Ukraine; Putin’s New Strategy: Laying Claim to Traditional Values; UKR Air Force: 60 out 76 Russian missiles launched at Ukraine shot down; Russian base in Luhansk Oblast destroyed thanks to Ukraine's shadow army, LIVE UPDATES and MORE

Photo: Larry Towell/Magnum Photos
WSJ: ‘Invasion’ Review: On the Ground in Ukraine:
Walking home after dinner in Kyiv on Feb. 23, British journalist Luke Harding answers his phone: The Russian attack, he is told, is expected within hours. “Invasion” is his account of the war that ensued. Gripping and often moving, the book is primarily journalistic but goes beyond mere reportage as Mr. Harding draws on his knowledge of the region and a background that includes serving as head of the Guardian’s Moscow bureau.
Thus he provides a useful introduction to Vladimir Putin’s motives, even if he takes too seriously the claims by Russia’s cynical and kleptocratic leadership of “a civilizational struggle” against “decadent liberalism.” This is largely propaganda, designed to appeal to Russia’s “silent majority” and some sections of the Western right.
But that’s a rare slip. Mr. Harding is on firmer ground when citing “the threat of example” posed to Mr. Putin by the establishment of a successful democracy in a neighboring country with so much shared history and a large Russian-speaking minority. Then there is the idea “that without Ukraine, Russia could never be . . . a great power”—plausible enough given Ukraine’s resources, Ukraine’s location and (considering Russia’s deteriorating demographics) the size of Ukraine’s population.
Mr. Harding regards the invasion as part of a broader Kremlin attempt to recast the global order in a way that reduces America’s pre-eminence. This seems right. Mr. Putin’s notion of a “multipolar” world would resemble the system built by the great powers in the 19th century, one in which Russia could extend its reach westward while consolidating its sphere of influence within the boundaries of the former Soviet imperium. This plan would include reconstituting, either de jure or de facto, the U.S.S.R.’s Slavic core: today’s Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
Whether inspired by nostalgic fantasy or by the recognition that unapologetic imperialism is a tough sell nowadays, Mr. Putin insists that Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are one (to deploy his adjective) “triune” people, an argument stretching back to the czars. Mr. Harding dwells on a 2021 essay by Mr. Putin, in which he sets out a supposedly historical basis for this thesis. This “manifesto for upheaval and revisionism” has, as Mr. Harding puts it, “myriad flaws.” So it has, but the logical outcome of denying an authentic, distinctively Ukrainian identity was—once the war was under way—for Mr. Putin to set about destroying any evidence to the contrary. The predictable consequence of that was slaughter. --->READ MORE HERE
Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/REUTERS
WSJ: Putin’s New Strategy: Laying Claim to Traditional Values:
Searching for allies against Ukraine, Russia now presents itself as the leader of a global culture war against moral depravity. It’s not working.
Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer popularly known as “the merchant of death,” warned about the mortal peril facing humanity in his first TV appearance after returning home from an American prison.
“What is happening in the West is a suicide of civilization,” said Mr. Bout, who was traded this month for detained American basketball star Brittney Griner. “Can you imagine, in American schools they teach first-graders that there are 72 genders! Not just gays and normal people, but 72!”
The message coming from Mr. Bout, who is now a hero in Moscow, and from the Kremlin itself is that only Russia can rescue the world from moral degeneration and decay. That idea, long a key element of the Kremlin’s propaganda, has now been legislated as the Russian state’s official ideology, with the targeting of gay people as one of its most sharply defined features.
A decree issued by President Vladimir Putin in November proclaimed Russia’s mission as the bastion of “traditional values” and a savior of mankind. These values, it said, must be defended as a national-security imperative by Russia’s security services. Among other measures, that means cracking down on “nontraditional sexual relations” and promoting patriotic, religious families with multiple children, under the guidance of the Orthodox Church.
This new role for Russia, Mr. Putin’s decree added, has been made necessary by “the global crisis of civilization and values that leads to humankind losing traditional spiritual and ethical waypoints and moral principles.”
The Kremlin is searching for an ideological justification as it tries to garner some international sympathy for its war against Ukraine. The invasion that Mr. Putin launched in February is going badly, with Kyiv regaining more than half of the territories that Russia seized in the first weeks of the campaign, even as Moscow keeps pounding civilian infrastructure and wrecking residential neighborhoods.
Ukraine retook the city of Kherson, the only Ukrainian regional capital captured by Russia this year, just a day after Mr. Putin issued his traditional-values decree. On the world stage, Moscow faces international isolation, with only Belarus and Iran providing it with material help, while the U.S. and NATO allies spend tens of billions of dollars on arms and economic assistance to Kyiv.
By inserting Russia into the ideological cleavages of the U.S. and other Western societies, Mr. Putin seeks to weaken this Western resolve and undermine Western unity, said Fiona Hill, a Russia expert at the Brookings Institution who served as White House senior director for European and Russian affairs in 2017-2019. “What he wants to do is to stoke culture wars as much as possible,” she said. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to +++++relevant+++++ and related stories:

+++++Russia-Ukraine News LATEST UPDATES: (REUTERS) (AP) (NY POST) and (WSJ)+++++

+++++Air Force: 60 out 76 Russian missiles launched at Ukraine shot down+++++

+++++Russian base in Luhansk Oblast destroyed thanks to Ukraine's shadow army, says Ukraine’s MoD+++++

Enhanced U.S. Combat Training Teams Readied for Ukraine Forces

Ukraine shot down 37 out of 40 Russian missiles in Kyiv area - official

Russia Targets Infrastructure Across Ukraine in Latest Barrage

Russia launches another major missile attack on Ukraine

Minister: Greece to deliver S-300 missiles to Ukraine if US gives it Patriot systems

Greece could give up S-300 AA systems in exchange for Patriot

Watch: Russia Hits Ukraine Infrastructure, People Shelter in Kyiv Metro

Children’s torture chambers found in liberated territories, says Ukrainian ombudsman

The Chechen Warlord Who Does Putin’s Dirty Work in Ukraine

White House: Next security assistance package for Ukraine coming

A Ukrainian School Grapples With the Legacy of Russian Occupation

Media: Bulgarian parliament passes agreement on weapons supply to Ukraine

New EU sanctions target Russian military-industrial complex

First US Shipment of Emergency Repair Equipment Arrived in Ukraine - Ambassador

If you like what you see, please "Like" and/or Follow us on FACEBOOK here, GETTR here, and TWITTER here.

No comments: