Source notes follow below, with subject heading in bold. (I again apologize for not being able to do full write-ups at this time. I hope you enjoy the podcast above.):
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President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia accelerated his war effort in Ukraine on Wednesday, announcing a call-up of roughly 300,000 reservists to the military, while also directly challenging the West over its support for Ukraine with a veiled threat of using nuclear weapons.
“You think I would tell you if I knew exactly what it would be? Of course I’m not going to tell you. It’ll be consequential,” Mr. Biden said, according to an excerpt from the interview. “They’ll become more of a pariah in the world than they ever have been. And depending on the extent of what they do will determine what response would occur.”
His warning was in response to an interviewer’s question, not in light of any newly released intelligence suggesting that the threat had changed.
The attempt by the White House to cultivate what’s known in the nuclear deterrence world as “strategic ambiguity”
The State Department has been involved in the private communications with Moscow, but officials would not say who delivered the messages or the scope of their content.
Biden administration officials have emphasized that this isn’t the first time the Russian leadership has threatened to use nuclear weapons since the start of the war on Feb. 24, and have said there is no indication Russia is moving its nuclear weapons in preparation for an imminent strike.
More on the mobilization:
Since President Vladimir V. Putin’s announcement on Wednesday of a new troop call-up, waves of Russian men who had previously thought they were safe from being forced to the front lines have realized they could not count on staying out of their country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Some have left the country in a rush, paying rising prices to catch flights to countries such as Armenia, Georgia, Montenegro and Turkey that allow them to enter without visas.
As women hugged their husbands and young men boarded buses to leave for 15 days of training before potentially being deployed to Russia’s stumbling war effort in Ukraine, there were signs of mounting public anger.
More than 1,300 people were arrested at anti-mobilization protests in cities and towns across Russia on Wednesday and Thursday, in the largest public protests since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the swap - which involved help from Turkey and Saudi Arabia - had been under preparation for quite a long time and involved intense haggling. Under the terms of the deal, 215 Ukrainians - most of whom were captured after the fall of Mariupol - were released.
In exchange, Ukraine sent back 55 Russians and pro-Moscow Ukrainians and Viktor Medvedchuk, the leader of a banned pro-Russian party who was facing treason charges.
"This is clearly a victory for our country, for our entire society. And the main thing is that 215 families can see their loved ones safe and at home," Zelenskiy said in a video address.
… crack troops of the Azov Battalion who led the long defense of Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks, which became an icon of Ukrainian resistance.
The defenders of Azovstal have become an example of invincibility and courage for the whole world and the worst enemies for Russia and its propaganda machine. Azov Regiment soldiers and other military personnel held the Azovstal and Mariupol plant defense for three months.
Under constant shelling and severe wounds, they held back the enemy to the last despite living in terrible conditions.
The evacuation of military personnel from Azovstal began on May 16. The commanders of the units located at the plant were ordered by the Ukrainian authorities to save the lives of the personnel, so the army was evacuated to territory not controlled by Ukraine, but by Russia.
These Ukrainian soldiers were held captive for more than four months. Some of them did not manage to return as they died as a result of the terrorist attack on Olenivka, when Russia launched a missile attack on the isolation ward where the Ukrainian military, including the defenders of Azovstal, were located.
Motivation and wisdom:
I always like to end with this one:
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As a reminder, please be kind and try your best to love your fellow Americans.
Let’s all work together to unite this country.
And also, please try to be a better person each and every day. Try to be kinder on social media and how you interact with others with whom you disagree.
Also, if you have a dream kicking around in the back of your mind? Go after it. If you have that friend or family member that you know you should reach out to? Reach out to them.
Finally, and this especially goes to all my awesome military folks listening out there, if you need help, reach out to someone. Please. Call that friend or family member. Do it for us all. We’ve already lost too many of the greatest folks that this country has produced to suicide. So I’m asking you to be brave once more, and show some vulnerability. Take a deep breath, breathe, and call a friend or family member or someone who can help.
I appreciate each and every one of you. Every tweet, every share, every email, etc. I can’t even tell you how much those mean to me, and I love each and every one of you all.
Please join me again in our next episode, and please stay safe until then.
Thanks again, everyone! You guys are the best. As always, don’t forget to check out my books. You can find all 11 of them on Amazon.
And with that, I’m out.
Stan R. Mitchell
P.S. Don’t forget to check out my books. I’ve written a CIA/Marine sniper series, a detective series, a private investigator series, an action-packed Western, a motivational/biography book about President Obama, and two realistic war novels: one about World War II and one about Afghanistan.