How should one address the conflict in Ukraine? A fair question that does not have an easy answer. There are several data points that do need to be pointed out.
The conflict itself presents challenges. Soldiers who have become pundits on TV news outlets have shown surprise at the campaign itself. Fighting does continue to rage in the Luhansk and the Donestk regions. The Russian Army has had considerably more success launching this new phase of the conflict from Crimea than it has from operations launched in the Kharkiv and the Kyiv areas.
Russian Ground Forces are moving forward at a snail’s pace and have not been able to achieve what would be considered to be a breakthrough at this time, this has become prevalent in the drive against the capital. The lack of speed during this has become a point of interest with pundits who marvel at the lack of movement by the column and the apparent lack of interest by the Ukranians.
The weekend of March 5th had an optimistic start at the beginning. It was announced that a ceasefire would be taking place in the area surrounding the city of Maripoul. This has been the scene of some of the most serious fighting in recent days. Sadly that ceasefire didn’t last long as shelling resumed in the area reportedly instigated by the Russians.
One concern is that a member of the Ukrainian Delegation to the recent talks in Belarus was killed in Kyiv. That could hinder talks however there was a surprise effort at mediation.
To the surprise of many Israeli Prime Minister Nefteri Bennett was able to to travel to Moscow and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They had a discussion that lasted for three hours before the Prime Minister left for Berlin. It should be noted that Ukrainian President Zelensky did ask for the Israeli Prime Minister to mediate during this recent phase of combat. This means whatever outrage created by the media regarding this visit may in fact be premature at this outing. After the visit the Prime Minister did ask for all Israeli Citizens currently in Russia to leave the country as soon as possible.
Also on that day the Ukrainian President also appeared in a Zoom call with a Bipartisan group of over 300 members of the United States Congress. During this call the President reiterated his calls to implement a no-fly zone and requested fighters so that they could maintain the conflict. There is an interesting caveat to the request by President Zelensky. He requested that the aircraft that would be sent to Ukraine to be Soviet era aircraft. It would be easier to train the pilots so that they could resume operations against the Russians.
The Economic Isolation continues at a rapid pace. On the weekend of March 5th it was announced that both Visa and Mastercard would not be accepted in Russia. This follows the exit from Russia by Google Pay as well. Another concern will be the accuracy of information being shared from Russia.
The Russian Duma passed a law where it is now a crime to “Disseminate any information that is detrimental to the Russian Military”. At least from the Russian side we could expect casualty figures on the Ukrainian side to be inflated while Russian figures to be considerably lighter than the official numbers.
It is an excellent move by Elon Musk to provide the Starlink Internet service to Ukraine. The use of this technology could present Russia with an easy method to locate Ukrainian formations during this conflict.
The conflict is in stasis in some areas right now even though it appears that the Russians have made some gains in some areas but the Ukranians are performing better than expected.