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USA Braces for Russian ‘Surprise’ on Victory Day

Putin’s unpredictable behavior of late has imbued the conflict with an air of fatalism, which has long had the world on edge.

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To say that Vladimir Putin has gone off the deep end would be a bit of an understatement.

The Russian President, who is said to be dying of terminal bowel cancer, is far worse off than that, having drifted into a Marianas Trench of evil in recent weeks.  As his invasion of Ukraine continues to stagnate, the former KGB agent has instructed his troops to commit brazen war crimes, including rape and genocide.

Now, as the enormous Russian “Victory Day” holiday is upon us, there are fears that Putin’s rat-in-a-trap attitude could get even worse, and that the world may pay a heavy price on account of it.

Many analysts believe Putin had hoped to use Victory Day to declare a military victory in the conflict. But ten weeks after the invasion, Moscow has failed to conquer Kyiv and is making plodding progress in the eastern Donbas region.

Instead, experts and Western officials now believe Putin may mark the holiday by declaring a more limited victory in the southern city of Mariupol, which has been under bombardment from Russian airstrikes for weeks, and in the Donbas, which Russia first invaded in 2014 and where Moscow has concentrated most of its forces in recent weeks. Taking Mariupol is key to creating a land bridge connecting Russia to Crimea.

But looming over the holiday is the fear Putin will use the day to double down on the invasion and announce a full-scale mobilization or call-up of reservists to replenish his depleted forces in Ukraine. Already, Russia has reportedly ramped up its offensive in eastern Ukraine ahead of Victory Day.

“I think he is going to have to declare war so he can call up the reserves and more conscripts,” said Mick Mulroy, a former top Pentagon official and retired CIA paramilitary officer and U.S. Marine. “If he does not do that it may indicate he knows he can’t win. If he does, this could get even worse.”

There are other fears as well:

Western officials have been preparing for a possible formal declaration of war for over a week. British Defense Minister Ben Wallace said late last month that he expects Putin to declare on May 9 that “we are now at war with the world’s Nazis,” a reference to the Russian president’s claims that he ordered the invasion to de-Nazify Ukraine.

“I think he will try to move from his ‘special operation,’” Wallace told a British radio station. “He’s been rolling the pitch, laying the ground for being able to say, ‘look, this is now a war against Nazis, and what I need is more people. I need more Russian cannon fodder.’”

Alternatively, Putin could choose a “horizontal escalation” to distract the West and Ukraine from the main fight and put pressure on NATO, said retired Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges. This could be a strike against a logistics hub in one of the NATO countries, a threat of a nuclear strike inside Ukraine, or a demonstration of nuclear capability in an isolated area, Hodges said.

Putin’s unpredictable behavior of late has imbued the conflict with an air of fatalism, which has long had the world on edge.

On Monday, we hold our breath.

Opinion

Pence v. Trump 2024? Former Veep Leaves the Door Open

WHOA!

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There has been an incredible amount of speculation as to whether or not Donald Trump will be again running for President in 2024, and there are a number of factors still at play that could create seismic shifts in the race to come.

For instance, if Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence were to decide to run against him in 2024’s primary…

Mike Pence is not ruling out the possibility of going head-to-head with his old boss Donald Trump in a 2024 Republican presidential primary, a new report suggested on Monday.

‘We’ll go where we’re called,’ Pence told the New York Times when asked about the possible head-to-head.

‘That’s the way Karen and I have always approached these things.’

Trump was not thrilled with the idea.

Meanwhile Trump, despite not formally declaring a 2024 bid yet, has eyes on the competition – including Pence.

In a statement to DailyMail.com, his spokesman slammed his old deputy as ‘desperate’ and mocked him for trying to ‘chase’ his ‘lost relevance’ amid the former running mates’ latest divide over backing separate candidates in the Peach State’s gubernatorial election.

Former President Trump is said to be waiting until after the 2022 midterms to make an official announcement regarding 2024, but there have been plenty of hints regarding his potential campaign – the latest of which came from former First Lady Melania Trump.

 

There has been an incredible amount of speculation as to whether or not Donald Trump will be again running for President in 2024, and there are a number of factors still at play that could create seismic shifts in the race to come. For instance, if Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence were to decide to run against him in 2024’s primary… Mike Pence is not ruling out the possibility of going head-to-head with his old boss Donald Trump in a 2024 Republican presidential primary, a new report suggested on Monday. ‘We’ll go where we’re called,’ Pence told the New York Times when asked about the possible head-to-head. ‘That’s the way Karen and I have always approached these things.’ Trump was not thrilled with the idea. Meanwhile Trump, despite not formally declaring a 2024 bid yet, has eyes on the competition – including Pence. In a statement to DailyMail.com, his spokesman slammed his old deputy as ‘desperate’ and mocked him for trying to ‘chase’ his ‘lost relevance’ amid the former running mates’ latest divide over backing separate candidates in the Peach State’s gubernatorial election. Former President Trump is said to be waiting until after the 2022 midterms to make an official announcement regarding 2024, but there have been plenty of hints regarding his potential campaign – the latest of which came from former First Lady Melania Trump.  

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Opinion

Verdict Reached in First Russian War Crimes Trial

This is just the first of many, certainly.

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a brutal one, and increasingly so as the Kremlin’s soldiers find themselves in more and more trouble of their own making.

As the war grows ever more impossible for Russia to win, the troops sent into Ukraine have been committing a series of worsening atrocities.  It’s terrorism at the least, (and very likely a full-fledge genocide), and it belies just how poorly things are going for Russia.

Now, in the first war crimes trial of the conflict, a verdict has been reached.

In the first of what could be a multitude of war crimes trials held by Ukraine, Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was sentenced for the killing of a 62-year-old man who was shot in the head in a village in the northeastern Sumy region in the opening days of the war.

Shishimarin, a member of a tank unit, had claimed he was following orders, and he apologized to the man’s widow in court.

His Ukraine-appointed defense attorney, Victor Ovsyanikov, argued his client had been unprepared for the “violent military confrontation” and mass casualties that Russian troops encountered when they invaded. He said he would appeal.

There was no doubt about the court’s legitimacy, either.

Ukrainian civil liberties advocate Volodymyr Yavorskyy said it was “an extremely harsh sentence for one murder during the war.” But Aarif Abraham, a British-based human rights lawyer, said the trial was conducted “with what appears to be full and fair due process,” including access to an attorney.

Given the sheer amount of heinous deeds the world has witnessed in Ukraine, there is no doubt that more war crimes trials will be coming.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a brutal one, and increasingly so as the Kremlin’s soldiers find themselves in more and more trouble of their own making. As the war grows ever more impossible for Russia to win, the troops sent into Ukraine have been committing a series of worsening atrocities.  It’s terrorism at the least, (and very likely a full-fledge genocide), and it belies just how poorly things are going for Russia. Now, in the first war crimes trial of the conflict, a verdict has been reached. In the first of what could be a multitude of war crimes trials held by Ukraine, Russian Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin, 21, was sentenced for the killing of a 62-year-old man who was shot in the head in a village in the northeastern Sumy region in the opening days of the war. Shishimarin, a member of a tank unit, had claimed he was following orders, and he apologized to the man’s widow in court. His Ukraine-appointed defense attorney, Victor Ovsyanikov, argued his client had been unprepared for the “violent military confrontation” and mass casualties that Russian troops encountered when they invaded. He said he would appeal. There was no doubt about the court’s legitimacy, either. Ukrainian civil liberties advocate Volodymyr Yavorskyy said it was “an extremely harsh sentence for one murder during the war.” But Aarif Abraham, a British-based human rights lawyer, said the trial was conducted “with what appears to be full and fair due process,” including access to an attorney. Given the sheer amount of heinous deeds the world has witnessed in Ukraine, there is no doubt that more war crimes trials will be coming.

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