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Russia's Shock and Awe Invasion of Ukraine Fails, Putin Now Seeks Unconditional Talks

Putin dramatically underestimated the resolve of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukraine's citizens.
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Ukrainian fighter on Russian tank via Wall Street Journal.

Ukrainian fighter on Russian tank via Wall Street Journal.

After telling Ukraine no talks until it laid down arms, Ukrainian Forces Hold Kyiv as Talks With Russia Are Planned. That is a paywall free link.

Russian and Ukrainian officials prepared to meet for the first talks since Moscow began its invasion four days ago, as Ukraine’s defenders held on to the capital, Kyiv, and pushed back Russian troops in urban combat in its second-largest city, Kharkiv.

Russia sent a delegation to the southern Belarusian city of Gomel on Sunday, but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he refused to meet in a country that has become a launchpad for Russia’s attacks.

Mr. Zelensky did, however, speak by phone to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko later in the day, and said that he agreed to have his envoys meet with the Russian delegation on the river Prypiat along the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. Mr. Lukashenko committed during the conversation, the two men’s first in two years, that no Russian military activity would be carried out from Belarus in the meantime, Mr. Zelensky said.

“I don’t really have much faith in the outcome of this meeting, but let’s try, so that no citizen of Ukraine would think that I, as a president, didn’t try to stop the war when there was a chance, no matter how small,” Mr. Zelensky said.

“The enemy is losing steam,” said Zelensky adviser Oleksiy Arestovych. “Another day or two, and the offensive will collapse.”

Shock and Awe Fails Spectacularly

Early on Sunday, Russian forces pushed deep into Kharkiv, an industrial city close to the Russian frontier. Many of the light-infantry troops were ambushed and killed or captured by Ukrainian forces hours later, however.

Footage shared by Ukrainian forces on Sunday morning showed five Tigr-M armored vehicles with Russian “Z” markings destroyed on a Kharkiv street, with Ukrainian soldiers helping themselves to Russian ammunition and equipment, including several antitank rockets. A Tigr-M also was seen burning at another Kharkiv intersection. Residents said the city appeared to be under firm Ukrainian control by the afternoon. “We are finishing up cleansing the city from the enemy,” Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Synehubov posted on social media.

Russia Stumbles in Biggest Test of Its Military Force

Also consider Russia Stumbles in Biggest Test of Its Military Force

The Russian military has faltered early in its invasion of Ukraine, as stiff resistance threatens to turn Moscow’s hopes for a swift victory into a protracted and costly war, U.S. officials and allied military experts say.

The Russian military has a prodigious array of artillery, rockets and air power. Employing these weapons, however, would only further antagonize the population that Moscow is hoping to draw into its sphere of influence and make it harder for the Kremlin to control a country of 44 million.

Mick Ryan, a retired Australian Army major general who has studied advanced warfare, says Russia’s failure so far to achieve decisive gains and its potential depletion of precision-munition supplies “probably will force them to use older weapons that are less precise and more deadly.”

“In the next 72 hours I expect greater lethality on the battlefield,” he added.

EU to Purchase and Deliver Weapons to Ukraine 

In a historic first, Axios reports EU to Purchase and Deliver Weapons to Ukraine.

The European Union will finance the purchase and delivery of $500 million worth weapons to Ukraine, marking the first time in the bloc's history that it will send arms to a country under attack.

Longstanding policy taboos are falling across the EU because of Vladimir Putin's unprovoked assault on Ukraine. The new weapons program, which will be funded through the European Peace Facility, was announced Sunday alongside new sanctions on Russian aircraft, state media and the Belarus economy.

The EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said during the Q&A portion of a press conference that member states will provide fighter jets to Ukraine, not just ammunition.

  • "[Ukrainian Foreign] Minister Kuleba has been asking us that they need the kind of fighter jets that the Ukrainian army is able to operate. And we know what kind of planes, and some member states have these kind of planes," Borell said, in what's likely a reference to Soviet-era jets possessed by Eastern European countries.
  • He did not immediately provide more details.

Details

  • Germany, which had come under intense criticism for refusing to export weapons to Ukraine during the military buildup, reversed its position and said it would send 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger missiles to Ukraine.
  • Sweden, an EU member that is not in NATO and has historically maintained a neutral position in global conflicts, said it will send 5,000 anti-tank weapons, 5,000 helmets, 5,000 body shields and 135,000 field rations — as well as $50 million in funding directly to the Ukrainian military.
  • Belgium is sending an additional 3,000 machine guns and 200 anti-tank grenade launchers.
  • Hungary said it would not provide arms to Ukraine but committed to sending 100,000 liters of fuel and 28 tons of food, according to Ukrainian authorities.
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Air Space Denial 

The WSJ also notes EU to Fund Purchase of Weapons for First Time and Ban Entry of Russian Planes Into EU Airspace

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU's decision to finance arms purchases was “a watershed moment.” The EU traces its roots to post-World War II peace efforts and began as an economic alliance. 

In closing its airspace, the EU banned not only commercial airliners but any plane owned, registered or controlled by Russians, Ms. von der Leyen said.

“Our airspace will be closed to every Russian plane–and that includes the private jets of oligarchs,” Ms. von der Leyen said. 

In announcing sanctions on Belarus, Ms. Von der Leyen said that its leader, Aleksander Lukashenko, “is complicit in this vicious attack against Ukraine” and so would face bans on exports of products including mineral fuels, tobacco, wood, cement, iron and steel. Export restrictions already imposed on Russia also will be extended to Belarus, she said.

Leadership and Inspiration

Those looking for leadership, courage and inspiration can find it Volodymyr Zelensky.

He has united the world against Putin including unprecedented actions by the EU to supply arms.

In case you missed it, Zelensky turned down a US evacuation offer. For details, please see "I Need Ammunitions Not a Ride" Says Ukrainian President.

Congratulations to Zelensky and the citizens of Ukraine. 

This post originated on MishTalk.Com.

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