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Escalated Russian strikes on Ukraine and threats from President Vladimir Putin have raised new concerns about the conflict.
After Putin said last month that Russia would use "all the means that we have" to defend itself, President Joe Biden said last week Putin "is not joking" and warned that the world hasn't "faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis." Biden then said this week that he doesn't believe Putin will ultimately use nuclear weapons, and described him as "a rational actor who has miscalculated significantly."
Meanwhile, Russia has ramped up attacks on Kyiv, a key nuclear power plant, and other areas, prompting the G7 nations to convene an emergency meeting. Russia cited an explosion on a key bridge and Russian supply route in Crimea as a reason for the escalation, and blamed Ukraine for the purported attack.
News coverage of the Russia-Ukraine conflict remains similar across the political spectrum, unlike coverage of most other major stories. Media outlets on left, right and center all highlight Ukraine's recent territorial gains and indications that Russia' military is losing momentum.
Some coverage from right-rated outlets framed Biden's nuclear warnings as being at odds with U.S. intelligence, and some opinion writers across the spectrum agreed with that framing while highlighting Biden's "Armageddon" remark.
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Snippets from the Left
"General Sergei Surovikin, lionized by Russia's pro-Kremlin press as 'General Armageddon,' was previously the commander of Russia's Air Force. He earned his reputation by a stint leading Russia's ruthless bombing campaign in Syria, flattening entire cities and killing thousands of civilians in support of dictator Bashar Assad's regime."
Time to Unleash Congress on Putin
"Congressional action can provide the heft that’s needed to enforce difficult global sanctions regimes. The Obama administration started by opposing congressional sanctions on Iranian oil in 2011, only to later argue that they were essential to bringing Tehran to the negotiating table. Now the Biden administration has a chance to get it right from the outset."
Snippets from the Center
International Business Times
"At least 370 Russian soldiers were killed in combat Monday, bringing Russia's military death total to 62,870 since the beginning of the war, according to estimates from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF) and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. The Russian army suffered the most losses in the Kryvyi Rih and Kramatorsk directions."
‘We first’ beats ‘me first.’ Ukraine war revives Western alliances.
Christian Science Monitor (analysis)
"Russia’s latest missile strikes seem likely to reinforce, not dent, Western resolve. Germany has already responded by sending Ukraine the first of a number of long-delayed air-defense systems. But securing the longer-term cohesion of NATO and the EU could prove a stiffer test. If they are to meet that challenge, they will need to do more than keep the words of an ancient Roman poet in mind, once the immediate “need” for friends recedes."
Snippets from the Right
"Biden, at a recent fundraiser, said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is 'not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.' ... Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre later said onboard Air Force One: 'We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, nor do we have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons.'"
Putin's rage: Russia wastes dwindling number of missiles 'with no effect'
Washington Examiner (opinion)
"The very fact that Putin declined to hit such targets early in the war reinforces the impression that their destruction holds little value for the Russian war effort. So his decision to change course this week leaves Western observers to wonder if his choices can be explained better by political motivations or as a function of the Russian military’s inability to hit the infrastructure targets, such as transportation facilities, that might have a more immediate impact on the battlefield."