USA TODAY’s opinion asked the US Army Colonel. Yevgeny (Eugene) Vindman To give his appreciation for the progress of the war between Ukraine and Russia. Windman, with his twin brothers, Alexander Windman, Worked for the National Security Council during the Trump administration. They expressed concern that President Donald Trump called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in 2019. The brothers were later dismissed from NSC.
“It’s hard to see what (Vladimir) Putin is doing to those people and his country,” Windman said. “I’m also thinking about my mother’s grave in Kyiv and other relatives buried there. Can I visit their graves and make them bloom? Is there anything left? not.”
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Windman spoke from his personal standpoint. The views expressed are his own, not necessarily those of the US Army, Department of Defense, or US Government. His conversation with Tim Swarens, a member of the USA TODAY editorial board, and Austin Bogues was edited for length and clarity.
Q. What is your overall assessment of where things are currently in the war? Is the most likely scenario still a Russian victory, or has the facts on the ground changed to the point where the Ukrainians have a realistic chance to repel the aggression?
A. The war in Ukraine is entering a new, more deadly stage. Russian troops have apparently returned to the old methodology of leveling cities and are apparently indiscriminately bombing (See AleppoSyria, and Grozny, Chechnya). They are destroying many private areas and structures and attacking private facilities, including Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The number of civilian deaths can skyrocket. At the same time, the Ukrainian army has caused great casualties to the Russian air force and ground forces. Russia cannot sustain such casualties for a very long time.
In their own words: Ukrainians talk about living through the Russian invasion
Russia’s victory is not a natural conclusion. The Russian army has poor performance and the Ukrainian army has excellent performance.The Ukrainian fighting will is impressive and they themselves The most ambitious and effective force in the world, Even though it wasn’t shot. This is primarily due to Zelensky’s leadership. Ukrainians have a legitimate opportunity to repel the aggression, but the cost of civilian casualties is high.
Q. Russian troops are reportedly using powerful firepower, including rockets and missiles, to attack Ukrainian cities. Have you ever seen evidence suggesting that Putin and Russian commanders may be guilty of war crimes? Or are you seeing the horrifying and expected consequences of modern warfare when urban areas are involved?
A. There is evidence that the Russian attack violates the law of war. The four principles of law of war are:
► Attack targets only for military needs or military purposes.
► Distinguish between civilian and military targets.
► Proportional – If you are attacking when civilian casualties are likely to occur, try to use as much force as you need to achieve your military goals.
►Humanity – Do not use weapons to cause unnecessary injuries or use legal weapons in illegal ways.
International law of war, including the Geneva Convention on the Protection of Citizens and Civilian Properties, has certain prohibitions that appear to be violated by Russian troops, including attacks that do not distinguish between military and civilian targets.Russian army I also use Ukrainian uniforms Get surprised when attacking Ukrainian troops. It is forbidden.
Ukraine War Diary:“My 10-year-old son is now making a military camouflage net.”
These are all potential war crimes. All of them should be documented as much as possible for future accountability. finally, Russia withdrew From some of the additional protocols of the Geneva Convention a few years ago. This withdrawal does not constrain Russia’s operations in some respects. It may also indicate that Russia had planned this war for some time.
Q. Do you see a scenario where Putin could withdraw and be able to maintain power? Or did he encounter a trap in which he must continue to fight this war to save the dictatorship and himself?
A. Putin’s days are counted in my personal opinion. Putin tried his maximal goal – he conquered all of Ukraine and crushed the population. He does not achieve these goals. Putin is an influential person who shows that he is not very strong. His only influence on the West is nuclear war. But he can’t press the red button himself. He needs many subordinates to carry out his orders. They do not seem to be interested in Putin’s unreasonable war on nuclear extinction. He is also afraid and isolated, showing the distance between himself and others at the table. It’s hard to believe that a very scary person is willing to die on the nuclear holocaust. That said, the risks are high, which is why the United States and the West are taking a cautious and restrained approach. Thinking creatively about off-lamps and attractive intermediaries, like the Israelites, is a wise and rational approach.
Q. Your family is deeply rooted in Ukraine. How was it to see this war unfold?
A. This war was terrible to see. I’m glued to one screen or another. There are really smart people on Twitter who are scrutinizing, compiling, and providing great analytics on open source intelligence. There is a fairly accurate picture of Russian casualties and property losses. Their number is staggering. There is also a pretty good record of Russia’s atrocities in the war. This will be needed for accountability once this is done. Personally, I’m thinking about what I can do. Ukrainians are fighting for Western values, freedom and democracy. I think my heart is directed at them and the Americans are united behind them. In democracy, people speak and politicians obey it. If we support the Ukrainian people, so will our government. I was born in the Soviet Union. I speak Russian instead of Ukrainian. It’s hard for me to see what Putin is doing to those people and his own country. Think about his mother’s tomb in Kyiv and the other relatives buried there. Can you visit their graves and make them bloom? Is there anything left? do not know.
Deputy Editor Tim Swarens and Commentary Editor Austin Bogues are members of USA TODAY’s editorial board.
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This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Russia’s War with Ukraine: Putin Shows He Is Not Very Strong