William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE WAR – OVERNIGHT:  The president announced that he will leave soon for Brussels to attend a NATO summit meeting on Ukraine.  Can you just imagine the excitement in Brussels? "BIDEN IS BACK!"  There are rumors that Kamala may follow Joe to Brussels, primarily to visit a school and give a free English lesson.

In fact, no one is much interested in the NATO summit.  It comes a war too late.  People are wondering why a summit is even needed.  Ukraine requires arms, not words.  The Ukrainian capital of Kiev is under heavy bombardment, as are other Ukrainian cities. While the Russian ground advance appears to have slowed, in part because of Ukrainian resistance, the prospect of bitter urban warfare lies ahead. One ray of hope – that the Red Army will run out of supplies and not try to advance any further. Only a hope.

And there are new reports of secret negotiations. From Times of Israel:

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine said it saw possible room for compromise in talks with Russia despite Moscow’s stepped up bombardment Tuesday of Kyiv and new assaults on the port city of Mariupol, from where an estimated 20,000 civilians managed to flee through a humanitarian corridor.

The fast-moving developments on the diplomatic front and on the ground came as Russia’s invasion neared the three-week mark and the number of Ukrainians who have left the country amid Europe’s heaviest fighting since World War II eclipsed 3 million.

After a curfew planned to span 35-hours went into effect across Kyiv Tuesday night, there were fresh reports of explosions and fighting near the capital before dawn on Wednesday.

Delegations from Ukraine and Russia met again Tuesday via video. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said early Wednesday that Russia’s demands were becoming “more realistic.”

The two sides were expected to speak again Wednesday.

“Efforts are still needed, patience is needed,” he said in his nightly video address to the nation. “Any war ends with an agreement.”

While both Moscow and Kyiv signaled progress in ceasefire talks, a Ukrainian presidential aide, Mykhailo Podolyiak, cautioned that while “compromise” was possible, “fundamental contradictions” remained.

Kyiv was “not showing a serious commitment to finding mutually acceptable solutions,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told European Council leader Charles Michel in a call Tuesday.

In his speech, Zelensky, who was expected to address the US Congress on Wednesday, thanked President Joe Biden and “all the friends of Ukraine” for $13.6 billion in new support.

He appealed for more weapons and more sanctions to punish Russia, and repeated his call to “close the skies over Ukraine to Russian missiles and planes.”

He said Russian forces on Tuesday had been unable to move deeper into Ukrainian territory but had continued their heavy shelling of cities.

Over the past day, 28,893 civilians were able to flee the fighting through nine humanitarian corridors, although the Russians refused to allow aid into Mariupol, he said.

COMMENT:  Remember, this war is only three weeks old.  In the bizarre world of television coverage, it seems like it's always been there.  The presumed experts tell us there is no clear end game.  Indeed, some military people had predicted that Vietnam would be over in a few months, and it lasted years.  Most of the action in the Korean War occurred in the first year, when we secured the existence of a South Korea.  After that, the sides fought to a stalemate, and we had two years of peace talks. Believe no one who says he can tell you when Ukraine will end.

March 15, 2022