In Other News – All Evidence Suggests Putin Remains Undeterred in Ukraine – 10/27/2022

October 27, 2022

Despite Russian setbacks on the ground, all evidence suggests that Vladimir Putin remains undeterred in Ukraine. From the onslaught of Russian missiles targeting critical infrastructure to running nuclear drills in response to the completely unverified intelligence that Ukraine is trying to build a dirty bomb, Putin’s new war posture is geared to grind down both Ukrainian and Western resolve for his unjust war. As Autumn progresses, Putin hopes to shroud the Ukrainian people in darkness and cold and cause enormous strain to American and European political leaders with high gas prices and the threat of nuclear fallout and hoping that the U.S. midterm elections might turn a result more amenable to his worldview. He is hoping that the West might start to negotiate for themselves and not Ukraine to end their own pain.

The winter will be very hard, Ukraine has rolling blackouts and water supplies to key cities, like Mykolaiv, are now unsecured. Ukraine has directed its displaced refugees not to return to Ukraine until after the winter. European leaders are reaching on a consensus for a price cap on Russian energy as Russian energy flows are steadily being cut and still prices in Europe are soaring. Also, the coming months will reveal the results of the massive Russian mobilization, whether some of the purported 300,000 newly conscripted Russian troops can successfully be redeployed to overwhelm Ukrainian forces despite the apparent and serious logistical, tactical, political, and social challenges to do so.

Just as staving off Russia’s access to elements essential to microchip production has been key to the sanctions effort, ensured access to technology has become central to sustaining Ukraine’s war effort as evidenced by the hectic effort to ensure continuation of Elon Musk’s Starlink service following his parroting of Russian talking points on many social media and public forums. Precision guided missile systems require satellite links and communication with the field. There is general consensus that one of the major key success factors to staving off Russian cyber attacks has been the longtime investment of Microsoft in Ukraine. Furthermore, drones and the novel use of AI have been integral to Ukraine’s effective, asymmetrical battle strategy.

Russia understands this too as evidenced by Russian Foreign Ministry official Konstantin Vorontsov statements at the UN declaring that Russia will consider commercial satellites belonging to the U.S. and it’s Allies legitimate military targets if they are used to support the Ukrainian war effort. As the war drags on, technology and innovation more generally may be the crux upon which Ukraine resistance will need to be leveraged in response to continuing Russian devastation.

Unfazed by Putin’s nuclear blackmail, NATO continued to run its “Steadfast Noon” war games, which test airborne nuclear forces but with no live-fire elements, in Belgium, the UK and over the North Sea. Attention presently is focused on providing Ukraine with the anti-missile defenses its needs as well as the financial support required to sustain living conditions in Ukraine. For now, NATO and its partners are galvanized both by Ukraine’s military success on the ground but also by the clear understanding that European and Western security is inextricably linked to Ukrainian victory. In fact discussion this week in Germany on funding the Ukrainian rebuild focused more on the importance of funding the Ukrainian war effort.