October 11, 2022


“Russia rained cruise missiles on busy Ukrainian cities on Monday in what the United States called ‘horrific strikes’, killing civilians and knocking out power and heat with its most widespread air attacks since the start of the war… President Vladimir Putin said he had ordered ‘massive’ long range strikes after an attack on the bridge linking Russia to the annexed Crimean peninsula over the weekend, and threatened more strikes in future if Ukraine hits Russian territory.” Reuters

“Putin on Sunday called the attack that damaged the huge bridge connecting Russia to its annexed territory of Crimea ‘a terrorist act’ masterminded by Ukrainian special services. The Kerch Bridge, which holds important strategic and symbolic value to Russia in its faltering war in Ukraine, was hit a day earlier by what Moscow has said was a truck bomb. Road and rail traffic on the bridge were temporarily halted, damaging a vital supply route for the Kremlin’s forces.” AP News

Both sides condemn Putin’s strikes, urge the US to provide Ukraine with additional air defense systems, and argue that the destroyed bridge is a major setback for Russia:

“More than a personal blow at Putin, the bridge attack is a strategic and security failure, given how obvious the bridge was as a target, and how emphatically Russian media had reported on the multilayered protection supposedly in place. Even the infamous trained dolphins, a promised protective ‘dome’ and anti-sabotage boats were unable to stop the disruption of a crucial supply line for the armed forces…  

“And it is, as Kyiv has put it, just the beginning — a reminder of just how hard it will be for Moscow to hold the land it has grabbed… The severe damage done to a symbolic and logistically important link with Russia exposes a leader under pressure from all sides.”

Clara Ferreira Marques, Bloomberg

“It takes a lot of mental gymnastics to describe the Kerch bridge attack as ‘terrorism.’ According to Article 52 of the Geneva Convention… attacks on infrastructure that contributes to wartime supply lines, including bridges, are legitimate [military targets] and not acts of ‘terrorism.’ The military benefits of destroying the Kerch bridge are uncontestable — now, Russia will be forced to rely more heavily on supply lines in southern Ukraine that, running closely parallel to the front line, are highly vulnerable…

“This summer, Russia itself destroyed every bridge leading to the Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk. In this light, Putin’s ‘terrorism’ claims are disingenuous and hypocritical. Indeed, on Monday, Russia launched over [80] missiles at Ukraine. Many missiles landed in downtown Kyiv, where, among other places, Shevchenko University was targeted, terrorizing students on their way to class. Universities and civilian apartment buildings, unlike bridges, have no military value. If Putin and his Western apologists want an example of terrorism, they can start by looking there.”

Adam Zivo, Washington Examiner

“Hard-liners in Russia, who have been urging Mr. Putin to target Ukraine’s civilian areas and infrastructure, pronounced themselves pleased with this appalling escalation. They are deceiving themselves: Russian artillery and aircraft have already sown vast death and destruction on cities across Ukraine, achieving little more, strategically, than to make Ukrainians who weathered those onslaughts more committed to fight. If history is any guide, the latest attacks will further stiffen Ukrainian resolve, just as the V-2 campaign 78 years ago galvanized the British people…

The Russian attack shows that Ukraine needs more and better air defense systems, in addition to the ones it already has — which it used to shoot down 43 of the missiles Moscow launched. The United States says delivery of its National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS, should be complete within ‘several weeks.’ German systems are also en route. France, meanwhile, has hesitated, reportedly because of parts shortages. Whatever the obstacle, Paris needs to overcome it. Enabling Ukraine to limit the damage from Mr. Putin’s aerial terrorism will help ensure that, like similar campaigns in the past, this one proves an exercise in strategic futility.”

Editorial Board, Washington Post

Monday’s casualties reflect the delay in getting air defenses to the country. The U.S. agreed in July to supply the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or Nasams, but that won’t reach Ukraine for several months. The U.S. has been reluctant to supply Patriot missile batteries for reasons that seem related to risks of escalation with a NATO weapons system, but that line has already been crossed. Mr. Putin won’t end his war until it becomes clear the cost of continuing it is too high.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“The last eight months have proven that the West is not going to stand idly by while Russian nationalists try to swallow up old Soviet republics, and that the Ukrainians will not submit either. Russia can lob missiles at civilian centers for a while, but that use of their munitions means less of them get used on the front, where Ukrainians are annihilating Russian military units. It’s nothing more than a temper tantrum from a bully getting beat on the playground — a very deadly bully, but still one who now can only fight non-combatants.”

Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

“[It is conceivable that] the Kremlin will decide to use a small battlefield nuke, or a number thereof, in Ukraine, in a Hail Mary maneuver aimed at breaking Ukrainian morale. Doing so, however, would not solve any of Putin’s military problems. It would likely compound them as the Russian military almost certainly lacks the capability to operate in a nuclear environment without exposing its troops to toxic doses of radiation. Instead of breaking the Ukrainians into submission, it is bound to act as a catalyst [for] Ukraine’s NATO-supported (or perhaps even NATO-led) conventional retaliation against targets inside Russia…

“Even for Beijing, the association with Moscow would become too much of a liability to even consider any form of assistance to Putin. As a result, while the contingency of a nuclear escalation in Ukraine is horrifying, it [is] also one that would dramatically weaken Russia. Moreover, it is the Ukrainians, not us, who would bear the brunt of the costs and human toll of such an attack. If we are determined to stand with them, therefore, we ought to defer to their wishes.”

Dalibor Rohac, New York Post

“Defiance has become a way of life here [in Ukraine]… The national pet is a bomb-sniffing dog named Patron, who has become a star on TikTok. A Russian-language radio station here has been replaced by one that plays patriotic Ukrainian songs… Ukrainians profess to be unafraid even of Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling. The most popular question on a Ukrainian call-in network program the past two weeks has been how long can you wait before seeking shelter after a warning of a possible nuclear attack…

“Russia’s assault has drawn this often fractious and corrupt country together, under Zelensky’s iconic leadership. A group of 70 Ukrainian intellectuals met recently to assess how the country has changed since the invasion. Among the changes: increased trust in public institutions, greater tolerance and a spirit of cooperation in which ‘charity is a mass phenomenon’… A visit here left me with the feeling that steady, sustained military assistance to this astonishingly brave nation — despite Russian threats and for as long as it takes — is an investment in a safer and better world.”

David Ignatius, Washington Post

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