GrayBook: March 2
Here's what's happening in and around Ukraine on Wednesday, March 2
US OFFICIAL: KYIV CONVOY “STALLED”...FOR NOW. A convoy of Russian military vehicles snaking its way towards Kyiv has stalled, according to a US official. Some reports indicate some Russian units have outright surrendered without a fight and that Russian troops advancing along the northern axis are running low on fuel and food. (It’s a cruel irony for a nation that vanquished many invaders by outstretching their opponents’ supply lines.) Nevertheless, most US officials believe the convoy still presents a threat to Kyiv and may be trying to encircle and besiege the city.
RUSSIA’S DECEPTION PLAN BACKFIRES. Sun-Tzu’s legendary work begins with, “All warfare is based upon deception,” and no one’s a better master of deception than Vladimir Putin. Russia continually denied having troops in Ukraine for years, even though it was obvious his “Little Green Men” were actually Russian soldiers.
But the West seems to have beaten the master at his own game, throwing back the curtains on both Russia’s phony pretexts for war as well as the flimsy cover that its massive troop buildup was “just an exercise”. Oddly enough, the only ones who fell for the ruse seem to have been Putin’s own soldiers, many of whom seem surprised to be in an actual shooting war with no clear pretext.
UKRAINE’S EU APPLICATION ACCEPTED, BUT ADMISSION CAN TAKE YEARS. The European Parliament adopted a resolution yesterday saying it would “work towards granting” Ukraine membership within the EU. But that process can take years and involves a complete overhaul of the nation’s legal system, says former Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, who helped oversee Estonia’s induction into the EU.
RUSSIA CLAIMS MARIUPOL ENCIRCLED, KHERSON CAPTURED. On the southern front, Russia claims to have encircled the port city of Mariupol, as forces from Crimea link up with those from Donetsk. Russia also claims to have captured the Kherson on the Dnieper River. If the Russian claims are true, it would be the largest city yet to fall into Russian hands.
FIGHTER JET DEAL FALLS FLAT. On Monday, the EU announced it had brokered a deal to send MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. However, by the time Ukrainian pilots arrived in Poland to pick up their new jets, the deal fell apart.