OPERA BUFFA IN UKRAINE
As the war drags on, delusions mount, with no end, or victory, in sight
Let’s take a look at recent events in the Ukraine war from the point of view of those in the American intelligence community who don’t feel they have the ear of President Joe Biden but should.
On July 17 Ukraine attacked for a second time one of Russian President Vladimir’s proudest achievements: the 11.25-mile Kerch Bridge linking Crimea to Russia. The 3.7 billion dollar bridge, with separate spans for auto and train traffic, was opened for auto traffic in May of 2018 and for trucks five months later, with Putin himself driving the first one to make the crossing.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made it clear before the Russian invasion early last year that he considered the bridge a legitimate military target. Ukraine initially attacked the bridge last October, using a truck bomb, but it was fully repaired within seven months. The most recent attack, by a pair of submersible drones, killed a couple who were driving across when the explosion occurred and injured their child. Damage to one of the auto spans was severe.
The Biden administration’s role in both attacks was vital. “Of course it was our technology,” one American official told me. “The drone was remotely guided and half submerged—like a torpedo.” I asked if there was any thought before the bridge attack about the possibility of retaliation. “What will Putin do? We don’t think that far,” the official said. “Our national strategy is that Zelensky can do whatever he wants to do. There’s no adult supervision.”
Putin responded to the second attack on the bridge by ending an agreement that enabled Ukrainian wheat and other vital food crops, stymied by the ongoing war, to be shipped from blocked ports on the Black Sea. (Before the war Ukraine exported more grain than the entire European Union and nearly half of the world’s sunflower seeds.) And Russia began steadily intensifying missile and rocket attacks in Odessa, whose initial target list has expanded from port areas to inner city sites.
The official said there was a lot more than grain and sunflower seeds flowing into Europe from Odessa and other Black Sea ports: “Odessa’s exports included illegal stuff like drugs and the oil that Ukraine was getting from Russia.”
At this point, with the Ukraine counteroffensive against Russia thwarted, the official said, “Zelensky has no plan, except to hang on. It’s as if he’s an orphan—a poor waif in his underwear—and we have no real idea of what Zelensky and his crowd are thinking. Ukraine is the most corrupt and dumbest government in the world, outside of Nigeria, and Biden’s support of Zelensky can only come from Zelensky’s knowledge of Biden, and not just because he was taking care of Biden’s son.”
There are some in the American intelligence community, the official said, who worry about Putin’s response to the recent Ukrainian drone attacks in central Moscow. “Will Kiev be next?”