New York Times

  • While Russia is estimated to have lost 100,000 killed and injured, Putin has signaled that he is prepared to accept many more.
  • “Kyiv’s negotiating position has hardened.”
  • In March, Ukrainian negotiators proposed adopting neutral status, that is, not joining NATO in exchange for security guarantees from other nations. They were prepared to have talks about Crimea, and the Donbas.  Those terms are now off  the table.
  • In November, Zelensky presented a proposal calling for Russia’s full withdrawal including Crimea and Donbas.
  • This proposal also included: an international tribunal to try Russian war crimes; Moscow’s release of political prisoners and those forcibly departed; compensation for war damages; steps by the international community to ensure the safety of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants and to provide for its food and energy security.
  • France’s Macron has said “we must not humiliate Russia” and has called security guarantees for Russia an essential part of peace talks.
  • (Note: This article does not mention the fact that Russia has violated all peace agreements in the past, nor the fact that Russia is the invading country.  The both-sides headline is: “Hard-Line Positions by Russia and Ukraine Dim Hope for Peace Talks”)

New York Times

  • The administration has started a broad effort to halt Iran’s ability to produce and deliver drones to Russia.
  • Intercepted drones are stuffed with American made technology.
  • Washington and London are warning that iran may be about to provide Russia with missiles.

New York Times

  • A group of former FBI agents who had been placed on leave, calling themselves “The Suspendables,” sent a letter to Christopher Wray.  They made accusations that the FBI had discriminated against conservative-leaning agents.  
  • They accused one agent of having a suspicious role in the Mar-a-lago search.
  • Republicans are attacking the FBI and have seized on the letter.  Jim Jordan has pledged to investigate the “politicization” of the FBI and the Justice Department. 

The Guardian

  • 33 rockets hit Kherson in a single day.  This included a maternity ward.
  • Kherson was liberated in November.
  • Russian men called up to fight in Ukraine can freeze their sperm for free.
  • The Kremlin may well need to mobilize more men.  They are promising a number of perks such as a grace period on loan repayments and a halt on legal proceedings.  Families, however, complain that there is no followthrough on these promises.
  • Putin announced on Tuesday that Russia would ban the supply of oil to Western countries that have imposed a price cap.
  • The assault on Bakhmut continues.  There is little strategic advantage to taking Bakhmut for the Russians, but it is thought to have become a symbolic target for Putin, desperate to end the year with a victory. 
  • The Wagner Group is leading the Russian attack.  The failure to take back Bakhmut has been seen as a blow for the leader of Wagner, Yevgeny Prigozhin and his political ambitions and also an embarrassment to Putin.
  • Two of Wagner’s soldiers produced and distributed a video in which they criticized Russia’s army for a failure to supply gun crews with enough ammunition and saying that they (Wagner) were doing all the fighting.
  • One of the soldiers accused the Russian army chief of staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, of deliberately obstructing the delivery of more shells “to let our guys die.”

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