Summary of Ukraine: The Latest Podcast


It is day 90 in the war against Ukraine


  • Contributors: David Knowles, Dom Nichols, Verity Bowman, Julia Osmoiska
  • Intense fighting in the central Donbas region.  Putin has said that at the very minimum he wants the Donbas which includes the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts.
  • The slowdown of the grain exports is increasingly a problem.  It’s going to have a global impact.  Biden wants to keep this on the global agenda.
  • Verity Bowman:  Strike with 87 people killed last Thursday.  Hit reserve forces at a training center.  Large scale starvation is likely for some.  Putin’s forces are blocking exports.  Most of the Ukrainian exports go to developing countries.  Army is deliberately destroying agricultural machinery.  Somolia is one of the countries suffering.
  • Bowman: Lavrov (Minister of Foreign Affairs) says Russia must be more independent of dependence on Western sources.  He urges closer ties with China.  Russia will rely only on itself, says Lavrov. 
  • Bowman: Russia has managed to cut Ukraine completely of from the Sea of Azov. 
  • Osmoiska: Kissinger urging west to stop trying to press a decisive defeat on Russia.  We need to define what is meant by “complete defeat of Russian forces.”  Some have said that Ukraine is owed self defense even onto Russian territory.  Kissinger’s statement is another illustration of a “psychological phenomenon” we have observed.  In the first of the war, we saw fear of a Russian win.  Now, they seem to have a fear of a Ukrainian win.  These are “doves.”  Foreign statesmen and diplomats telling Ukraine what to do.  It is up to Ukraine.  “They are being a bit naïve.”  The point is when to start these negotiations.
  • Dom Nichols:  what is the mood inside Zelensky’s headquarters?
  • Osmoiska: Ukraine still has this lead in the war.  We haven’t seen a lot of success on the Russian side.  Many support getting back to the 1991 borders.
  • What would it mean if the Donbas was taken over by Russia?
  • Osmoiska: This doesn’t mean a defeat of Ukraine. 
  • Osmoiska:  If the Russians take Donbas will they stop?  It’s difficult to say.  A lot of experts are saying that this is a political campaign.  Russian TV shows are beginning to say that the Russian military is not doing well.  It looks like he will get the Donbas.
  • Knowles: How realistic is the notion that you can go back to the 1991 borders.
  • Osmoiska: Nobody believed that the Ukrainians would hold out this long.  Victory would go back to 1991 borders.  Russians still think they can win this war.  We were outraged at Putin’s attempt to put his own government into Ukraine and teach us how to govern.  It is up to Ukraine to decide when to enter negotiations. 
  • Knowles:  The outcome of this war should not humiliate Putin according to Macron. 
  • Osmoiska: It’s not a deliberate strategy to humiliate Putin, it’s just the result of what he is doing in Ukraine right now.  We see some signs of falling support for Putin.  It was not surprising to hear this from Kissinger.  He is an advocate of this tri-polar world.  Ukrainians were short-sighted about the Black Sea. 
  • Knowles: Keep an eye on the Donbas.  If it falls, there will be questions about what Russia does next. 
  • Osmoiska: Partners should not press Ukraine to negotiate when it’s too early.  Don’t be misled that Russia will be content with the Donbas.  Look at the former wars in Chechyna. 

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