Today's Panic Dispatch: Ukraine Edition
Thursday morning the Russian military and its allies invaded Ukraine. Not just an incursion, not just to the two breakaway regions, but a full invasion. Already more than 100 Ukranians have died, thousands have been displaced and the Russian military has seized Chernobyl and its exclusion zone as it pushes toward Kiev. It's the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II (although don't discount the slaughter of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s). It's going to get worse.
It's important to keep up with the news, real, verified news. Not propaganda arms, not “anti-imperialist” sites that actually forgive genocide, and not outlets reliant on video, that also end up doing things like this:
So follow good journalists on the ground. Jack Crosbie, Nabih Bulos, Christopher Miller, Matthew Cassel, among others. The Guardian has a great live blog updating pieces, as does Al Jazeera. Go with international outlets, not ones concerned with domestic American matters.
This is also purely on Putin. This is an act of Russian aggression. NATO, which has its share of imperialist actions and human rights abuses, did not cause this war to happen. Anyone who says that is missing the obvious. Russia invaded and is trying to take the Ukrainian capital.
Make no mistake, this is not a unified Russian move. There are protests, growing protests, against Putin and the war, in major cities in the Russian Federation. With the weak civil society and repression in Russia (many have already been arrested), these are acts of major bravery, and also a sign that Putin has overplayed his hand in how this will go. This isn't to say the war will end soon; no one knows. Anyone who says they do is lying. But keep this dissent in mind.
For the Americans reading this, please stop thinking about domestic internal bickering and please, for the sake of factual accuracy and being informed, remember: Russia is not communist. It's not the Soviet Union. Putin is a right-wing capitalist not a communist. Do not use Soviet iconography with him.
It's going to be bloody and brutal and the most vulnerable will suffer. Spare a thought for them.
Here are some important things to read or listen to for understanding and following the conflict:
Speaking of Jack Crosbie's reporting in Ukraine, this dispatch from Kharkiv is essential.
David Klion went on the excellent Left Anchor podcast to talk about the situation. It was recorded just before the invasion started, but it's an up to date look at the escalation and motives. David was also on Jeet Heer's podcast last week to talk historical background to this, which is some nice context.
Kelsey Atherton, writer of Wars of Future Past, is in Popular Science looking at the impact of Chernobyl being caught up in this war.
Also Spencer Ackerman at Forever Wars has an important piece on the conflict.