Ukraine: The Worst Case Scenario

1:00 AM (8:00 AM in Ukraine)

  • Putin is trying to bring down the government of Ukraine.
  • Financial markets are going to react to this.
  • Explosions in many larger cities, at least three.
  • People are leaving Kyiv.
  • Bomb shelters are being opened in Ukraine.
  • Cruise and other missiles struck around Kyiv.
  • People are voluntarily trying to evacuate from Kyiv leading to traffic jams.
  • Peter Baker: Putin feels he has a historical mission.
  • McFaul interviewed on MSNBC: If Ukraine ran out of weapons it would be disastrous.  McFaul has been recommending stronger sanctions and more military assistance for a while.  Calling for massive sanctions, not ratcheting up sanctions, not targeted sanctions. 
  • Zelensky has tweeted asking for immediate sanctions, financial support, and to close the air space. 
  • There are ships in the sea of Azov. (If you don’t have a map, get one).
  • McFaul: Stop framing Putin as a rational actor who wants to negotiate.  “tonight there is good and evil in the world.”  For Putin this will be a “catastrophic mistake.” (Note: Not if we don’t make it one).
  • McFaul: “We are in the first day of a major war.”  When wars start, everybody is always thinking: We’ll all be home by Christmas. 
  • McFaul has an article in the Journal of Democracy article taking on the arguments that this is all NATO’s fault.
  • McFaul: Putin hasn’t always said that NATO expansion was a threat to Russia.
  • McFaul: Putin was calling Ukrainian independence a “neo-nazi coup” provoked by the Americans.
  • Velshi: Why didn’t Ukraine join NATO sooner?  McFaul: Ukraine didn’t want to have conflict with Russia and therefore didn’t join NATO sooner.  It was only after 2014 when Russia attacked them that the conversation about NATO started.
  • Ukrainian Ambassador to UN: “There is no purgatory for war criminals, they go straight to hell.”
  • When I woke up my Twitter feed said that Putin had declared war on Ukraine.  He evidently gave some speech earlier.
  • McFaul: Putin was warning by reminding people that Russia was a “nuclear power.”
  • McFaul: “He feels really unhinged to me.”  Talking about Putin.
  • I hear this “Putin is not a rational actor,” line spread from network to network from reporter to reporter.  Yamiche Alcindor, Michael McFaul, Don Lemon…to mention only a few.
  • Images of blasts near Kyiv on CNN.  Huge.
  • Wesley Clark (CNN): “All of us saw this coming.”  We don’t know what has been hit because Ukrainians don’t want to tell that.  Putin will use a nuclear weapon to “frighten off NATO.”  This aggression can’t be answered by just “standing aside.”
  • MSNBC: Ben Rhodes: Crimea was relatively bloodless.  Russians are not as supportive of this action.  “This brand of politics leads to war.”  This is a “war on democracy.”  The threat is a “successful democracy on Putin’s border.” 
  • Putin made an early morning address.
  • Trump actively undercut NATO. 
  • SWIFT system.  Ben Rhodes: The two things that you can detect reticence about are taking off SWIFT and energy exports.  The latter because affects prices.  Sometimes when scenario unfolds and you experience the reality, the videos and have to change your mind about what is acceptable.
  • Ben Rhodes: Putin is “increasingly isolated”   “We are in a whole new world now.”
  • Videos of helicopters coming in from Crimea.
  • MSNBC: Tanks are coming in from Belarus. 
  • MSNBC: Videos of traffic leaving Kyiv.
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