From Jamie Peipon: The picture is of a shopping center located in moscow. It was a shopping center that had a lawn and garden type store, and a grocery store. Before the war, there had been an IKEA there as well, but they left the russian market fairly quickly. It seems most likely that this was “just a fire.” It can be hard to tell because almost every trail of smoke in russia is filmed and followed by speculation about whether it was caused by Ukrainian Special Operations Forces, or a local partisan group, or just by accident. But the picture is emblematic of putin’s rule. Two decades of putin’s leadership has reached its absolute zenith and that zenith is just a giant dumpster fire. After years of relative progress, their economy, military, international trade, and outside investors have all gone up in smoke. All of his goals have already failed:
He wanted to break NATO up or at least prevent its expansion. The war in Ukraine has not prevented, but only caused that expansion. Sweden and Finland’s bids to join have been ratified already by all but two member countries.
He wanted to “demilitarize” Ukraine. He’s mostly demilitarized his own country and Ukraine has received more weapons, ammunition, and support than any analyst would have ever thought possible.
He wanted to erase Ukrainian culture and the Ukrainian language. Instead, interest has only grown. Duolingo, the popular language learning app, has reported that this year more than 1,300,000 people began studying Ukrainian using their services. Interestingly, the desire to study Ukrainian grew most quickly in countries far away from Ukraine including Argentina, Japan, and Vietnam.
Meanwhile, if things keep going as they are, all that will be left of russia is a smoldering pile of rubble. He’s living large in his mansions, but the rest of the country is just a mess.
British intelligence has suspected that there was a pause in the use of Iran’s drones by russia because they had already used them all up. They now believe that russia has received a new batch. There have also been reports that russia will start supplying Iran with more advanced military technology. It is hard to be too worried about this based on how well russia’s technology has performed in Ukraine. What I find most interesting about this is whether or not it will encourage Israel to support Ukraine more generously. Iran and Israel are not great friends and up until this point Israel has for some reason been hesitant to support Ukraine in this war. If russia and Iran begin to develop a military alliance, Israel may be incentivized to help Ukraine defeat russia.
In Ukraine, however, the picture is not exactly rosy. A representative from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine stated that 174,000 square kilometers of Ukraine are currently polluted by unexploded ordinance (mines, shells, rockets, etc.). That is about 30% of Ukrainian territory that will need to be cleaned up. For perspective, that’s the equivalent of cleaning up all of Switzlerland… four times. If the war were to end today, it is estimated that just clearing the explosives within the country will take at least ten years.
“The righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance…
Mankind will say, ‘Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
surely there is a God who judges on earth.’”