From Jamie Peipon: If the picture of the destruction of this building is any indication, this man has nothing left. More than likely, that wicker rocking chair is one of the very few items that survived an attack on his home. I wonder where he thinks he’s going with that chair. Is it really worth the risk to retrieve it from a heavily damaged and unstable building? What’s the plan for that chair? On the other hand, how could one not “rescue” the only thing left that has your name on it? What you’re seeing in this picture is a microcosm of what has kept Ukraine going for the past 5 months. People are identifying the work that needs to get done, no matter how breathtaking or boring it may be, and then they get that job done. That’s the story of each parent, each pastor, each volunteer, each infantryman, each street sweeper, each jet pilot, each musician, and each man who just wants to sit in his wicker rocker in peace.
There has not been much change to the resolve of the Ukrainian people over these months. According to a new poll, the number of Ukrainians who felt that Ukraine would not win the war was cut in half from April to June. That seems like a dramatic shift, but it was only a shift from 2% to 1%. 98% of respondents believe that Ukraine will win the war.
The big question from yesterday still remains. What was it that hit that airport in Saki? One Ukrainian official has said that it was covert operations forces working on the ground in Crimea. Most people don’t seem terribly convinced by that and assume that he’s actually avoiding talking about whatever really happened while doing it in a way that will have Russians looking double checking the locks on their doors and looking under their beds before they go to sleep at night.
Another significant movement on the diplomatic front has been announced in Estonia. Starting next week, Estonia is closing its borders for Russian citizens with Schengen visas. Earlier in the week, Finland called for the EU to stop issuing tourist visas for Russian citizens. Latvia has also expressed interest in this type of sanction. Those three countries might not seem to be incredibly influential, but if they all three decide to close borders, it will cause Russia some problems. If you look at a map, you can see why. Those three countries are the only three EU countries that border Russia (not counting the enclave of Kaliningrad). You’ll remember, of course, that all flights out of Russia are currently sanctioned in Europe. Therefore, many Russians are crossing the borders into those three countries on land, and then fly into the rest of the EU for vacation. Finland’s prime minister has said, “It’s not right that at the same time as Russia is waging an aggressive, brutal war of aggression in Europe, Russians can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists. It’s not right.”
This is just normal, self-contradictory Russian behavior. For decades, they’ve talked about how terrible the West is while traveling in Europe for vacations. Their oligarchs and politicians have always and still continue to talk a big game about how terrible the US and Europe are, while simultaneously buying property in those places and doing everything they can to send their children to school to be educated in those places. If Russia is as great as they it is, this is a paradox indeed.
“Let not those rejoice over me
who are wrongfully my foes,
and let not those wink the eye
who hate me without cause.
For they do not speak peace,
but against those who are quiet in the land
they devise words of deceit.
They open wide their mouths against me.”