Ukraine War, March 22, 2022 (I): The goal must be Victory


Due to rapidly-breaking developments and in order to facilitate readers’ access to the latest dispatches, we are publishing this article as it is being written. please check back for updates and additions.

To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.


1) Anne Applebaum, “Ukraine Must Win; Ukrainians and the world’s democratic powers must work toward the only acceptable endgame,” The Atlantic, March 22, 2022 (9:00 a.m.);

2) Brett Forrest, “Ukraine’s Air Defense Becomes Its Surprising Trump Card Against Russia; The combination of Soviet-era long-range anti-air systems, U.S. Stinger missiles and clever tactics confound Russia’s air force,” Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2022 (1:30 pm ET);

3) Richard Kemp, “The Russian army has run out of time; This first phase of the war is over. Russian forces will have to regroup and find a different strategy, The Telegraph, March 22, 2022 (3:52pm);

4) Nick Allen and Danielle Sheridan, “Russians in retreat as Ukrainian troops regain key territory; Moscow’s forces suffer setbacks in areas including Makariv, near Kyiv, raising fears a desperate Vladimir Putin may turn to chemical weapons,” The Telegraph, March 22, 2022 (9:35pm);

5) Matheus Deccache, “Após rejeitar ultimato, Mariupol é invadida por forças russas; Mais de 200.000 pessoas seguem presas na cidade sob condições descritas como uma ‘paisagem infernal congelante repleta de cadáveres e prédios destruídos,'” Veja, o 21 de março 2022 (15h47, atualizado às 15h48).


Anne Applebaum lays out with great clarity what many have been thinking: The goal of Ukraine, the U.S., NATO, and their allies in the war with Russia must be Victory.

Biden and NATO have had no clear goals, other than not doing anything that might be provoke Putin. Without positive goals, of course, it is impossible to design a strategy to achieve them. If the only goal is to not ptovoke Putin, the only strategy is not to oppose him with any force, or anything that makes you think of force, like transferring old Polish Mig 29’s to Ukraine, or for the longest time even calling him a “war criminal”.

Applebaum sets us straight. There is no possible goal that leaves Russian troops occupying Ulraine.

The Russian annexation of the Crimea cannot be recognized because it would violate peremptory norms of international law (jus cogens) and any agreement to that effect would be void under international law. The same is true regarding recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in the Donbas region of the Eastern Ukraine.

Victory! Saying the word out loud has an incredible effect in clarifying one’s thinking.

No, Ukraine will not reward Putin for his war of aggression and his slaughter of tens of thousands of people in committing crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.

Yes, we shall reaffirm international humanitarian law.

Yes, we shall reaffirm the reality and applicability of international law and the basic provisions of the United Nations Charter.

Yes, we shall reaffirm the prohibition of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.

Yes, we shall reaffirm the right to life and other human rights that protect the inviolability of the human person.

How could we do otherwise?

These are the values we fought to defend in World War II, and upon which we founded the United Nations in 1945.

With a clear goal of Victory in Ukraine, we can mobilize both our energies and the peoples of the world to support and defend these values, and to join the civilized counties of the world in the ongoing battle to defeat Putin and Russian barbarism.

Applebaum concludes:

How should the West respond? There is only one rule: We cannot be afraid. Russia wants us to be afraid—so afraid that we are crippled by fear, that we cannot make decisions, that we withdraw altogether, leaving the way open for a Russian conquest of Ukraine, and eventually of Poland or even further into Europe. Putin remembers very well an era when Soviet troops controlled the eastern half of Germany. But the threat to those countries will not decrease if Russia carries out massacres in Ukraine. It will grow.

Instead of fear, we should focus on a Ukrainian victory. Once we understand that this is the goal, then we can think about how to achieve it, whether through temporary boycotts of Russian gas, oil, and coal; military exercises elsewhere in the world that will distract Russian troops; humanitarian airlifts on the scale of 1948 Berlin; or more and better weapons.

The Trenchant Observer