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The Siege of Kyiv


There’s all kinds of stuff going on and it’s frankly impossible at this point to keep track of the claims and counter-claims. There does appear to be fighting in Kyiv:

Ukraine’s capital and greater Obolon district came under increased fire early Friday as Russian forces continued their advance on Kyiv. 

Overnight Russian forces launched rockets in Kyiv, foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted. “Horrific Russian rocket strikes on Kyiv. Last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany.”

Speaking to CNN early Friday, former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said he and the forces with him in central Kyiv had just been warned of another incoming missile attack, one of many air siren warnings that were ringing out across the country. 

Pope Francis has apparently broken with diplomatic protocol to make his concerns clear:

Pope Francis went to the Russian embassy to the Holy See on Friday to relay his concern over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to Moscow’s ambassador, in an unprecedented departure from diplomatic protocol.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the pope spent about 30 minutes at the embassy, which is close to the Vatican.

I cannot sufficiently express the degree of salt with which you should take reports about the Ghost of Kyiv, a MiG-29 pilot who has purportedly shot down six Russian aircraft, but it’s a good story:

The Ghost of Kyiv. The evocative name is trending on Twitter and other social media sites, and refers to a Ukrainian MIG-29 pilot who allegedly shot down six Russian jets in the first day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

I have two short columns up at 1945. The first is about Russia’s use of airpower:

Thus, Russia has huge advantages.  It has more aircraft, its aircraft have been updated more recently, and its pilots have combat experience. The Russian air forces also have a first-mover advantage, being able to launch strikes with a least a degree of tactical surprise (Russia obviously gave up on operational surprise some time ago). 

The second contemplates the war from the perspective of Just War Theory:

Let there be no doubt: Russia has launched an unjust and illegal war against Ukraine. This is not a near case; it is on the terms of just war theory less compelling even than the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, which was viewed as deeply problematic by most legal and scholarly authorities.  The final corollary to this is that, given the demands of just war, it is literally impossible for a country to be “forced” into launching an unjust war. This should give Westerners seeking to excuse Putin’s behavior as the result of NATO expansion some pause.

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