Vladimir Putin dramatically escalated his war in Ukraine a week ago, attacking the country’s major cities Kharkiv and Kiev and expanding Russian control of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast out of Crimea.
So far the least successful Russian offensive has been in the Donbas. Possibly because the Ukrainian soldiers there are its most battle-hardened. Or maybe the Russian attack from the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk was only meant to pin those Ukrainian forces down.
Russian troops have entered the northern suburbs of Kiev, streaming down from Belarus. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and his government remain in the city, once home to three million.
The United Nations estimates that 660,000 Ukrainians have fled. More than half made their way to Poland. The Polish government says 50,000 Ukrainians are arriving every day. Hungary has taken 90,000 refugees. Hundreds thousands more are internally displaced.
The European Union has banned Russian flights and state media, and in an historic first is providing €500 million worth of weapons to Ukraine. Large Western companies, including automaker Daimler and the oil and gas giant Shell, are pulling out of Russia.
I haven’t been writing daily analyses of the war, because there are others who do that much better. Here are the sources I recommend.
For analysis of Putin and his regime, Mark Galeotti is the best. He writes for various publications, including Britain’s The Spectator. Also follow him on Twitter.
Friend of the blog András Tóth-Czifra knows Russian politics well. Read his No Yardstick.
Leonid Bershidskiy is a Russian-born columnist for Bloomberg Opinion who used to live in Germany. Follow him on Twitter too.
EUvsDisinfo, an EU-funded task force, is doing yeoman’s work disproving Russian lies.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, funded by the United States, is an indispensable source of reliable, on-the-ground reporting.
For tactical updates, I recommend the Institute for the Study of War. They provide a daily campaign assessment that you can read online or subscribe to.
Lawrence Freedman, who used to teach war studies at King’s College London, provides tactical analysis in his newsletter.
Dmitry Gorenburg is another top expert on the Russian military. Follow his blog or Twitter.
The European Institute of the University College London has put together a excellent (and not too long) reading list with input from the world’s leading Ukraine and Russia experts.
My own archive
For background, I can recommend several articles from the Atlantic Sentinel archive:
- Don’t fall for Putin’s propaganda: The Ukrainian people haven’t been led astray by oligarchs and neo-Nazis. They must decide their own future.
- Finlandization is not an option: Neither the Ukrainians nor Putin would be content with Ukrainian neutrality.
- Ukraine might be better off if “Little Russia” did secede: The reconstruction of Donetsk and Luhansk is going to be costly.
- How culture keeps the Russians and Ukrainians steps away from war: Neither back down in the face of adversity.
- Russia needs to stop feeling sorry for itself: Russian self-pity and mistrust of the West are root causes of the conflict.
- Sino-American rift gives Russia an opening: Russia wants closer relations with Beijing, even as the junior partner.
- This new Cold War is ideological too: Russia is borrowing Western beliefs. That only makes the ideological challenge it poses more insidious.