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Ukraine about to lose a city?

Ukraine might soon lose Mariupol as Russia evacuates hundreds of wounded fighters out of a steel plant in that port city.

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Is Ukraine about to lose the city of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea? Yesterday’s news from that theater suggests it will.

Ukraine fighters surrender a steel plant in Mariupol

The biggest news from the Ukraine theater comes from Al-Jazeera, the Hindustan Times, and National Public Radio. All these sources report that Russia is now taking custody of more than 260 Ukrainian “fighters.” They are part of a large contingent that has been sheltering in the Azov Steel Works (Azovstal in Ukrainian). These soldiers took shelter there weeks ago.

Reuters has witnesses on the ground seeing buses carrying those soldiers to Novoazovsk, an area under Russian separatist control. Those particular soldiers are wounded. Very likely all will go back to Ukraine in exchange for Russian prisoners Ukraine now holds.

The Hindustan Times quotes Ukrainian officials as saying Ukraine is giving up Mariupol. Now Ukraine only wants all its soldiers out of the city and the steel works.

The Ukrainians claim that they are gaining ground in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city. That city sits on the border with Lugansk, one of two breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine.

Russia now controls most of Donetsk and Lugansk, all of Crimea, and a significant land bridge between those regions. Al-Jazeera has the best map showing these regions of control.

Map of Ukraine showing zones of control.
Zones of control in Ukraine. From Al-Jazeera.

The Ukrainians claim to be running counteroffensives around Kharkiv and in the southern part of the Russian control zone. That includes a claim to a region with Russian-controlled territory all around it. More likely that is a “cauldron” with Russian forces trying to starve some Ukrainian units into surrender.

Other news on military and diplomatic fronts

In other news, Russia fired several missiles into Lviv, near the Polish border. Al-Jazeera tells us the Russians are destroying some of those American and European arms shipments we hear about.

Finland and Sweden have definitely applied to join NATO. The Russians are making things difficult for Finland. It seems Finland gets its electricity from Russia – or they did. The Russians are switching that off. They also have expelled two Finnish diplomats.

Furthermore, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is recommending that NATO not admit Finland or Sweden.

McDonald’s is selling off all its fast-food joints in Russia to a Russian buyer. Workers are now taking down the trademark Golden Arches and stripping away all McDonald’s branding. Nor, apparently, is McDonald’s the only American business to leave Russia.

One may regard that as part of Russia asserting itself as a civilizational state. Such a state does not take part in anyone else’s system. For that reason, ordinary Russians might not miss the countries now leaving it.

CNAV has covered the American posture toward Ukraine, and carried Darrell L. Castle’s warning that this administration seems to want war with Russia. The impending loss of Mariupol shows that Russia is getting all it ever wanted in this special operation. Al-Jazeera’s map also shows the way to the sensible policy: accept Russian control in and of Crimea and the Donbas, and move on.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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