Day 94: Encirclement of Severodonetsk Looms; Zelenskyy Vows City Will Never Be Russian

    Photo: Reuters [via PBS News Hour]

    The Facts

    • As the Russian offensive in the Donbas grinds on and continues to make incremental gains, troops closed in on Severodonetsk, launching their first direct assault on the city on Friday.

    • Pro-Russian troops from the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic as well as Chechen forces independently claimed they completed the encirclement of the city, though this was denied by military analysts.

    The Spin

    Anti-Russia narrative

    This invasion is an egregious violation of international law. Putin's ultimate aim is to restore the Soviet empire, even if it takes massive bloodshed and false pretexts such as calling the 2014 Ukrainian revolution after a fraudulent election a "coup". This unprovoked attack is the latest chapter in Putin's Orwellian attempt to rewrite history.

    Pro-Russia narrative

    NATO and the US have ignored Russia's security concerns by breaking its promise not to expand eastward in return for German reunification. These concerns are legitimate and taking them seriously would have avoided the Ukraine tragedy.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 30% chance that Putin and Zelenskyy will meet to discuss the peaceful resolution of the Russian-Ukraine conflict before 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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