Foreign volunteers are heeding the call to join Ukrainians in defending their country from Russian attacks. In this article, Dan Byman recalls lessons learned from past conflicts and writes that the results are mixed. Although foreign fighters can be helpful, particularly if they have relevant military experience, their presence often brings unintended negative consequences. Byman writes, "In general, private war is a bad idea even in cases like Ukraine, when there is a clear victim state and villain state. If governments believe Ukraine needs more support, they should provide it, not put the onus on individual citizens, especially when such fighters can make things worse for the country in question and pose long-term dangers."

"Foreign Fighters in Ukraine? Evaluating the Benefits and Risks" - Lawfare

Reports from Ukraine indicate that U.S. High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMAR) long-range missile systems are giving Ukrainian forces an important boost against Russia. As the war drags on, this article gives an important analysis of the current state of play in Ukraine, relating it to what the author and many other foreign policy experts consider a broader conflict war underway in the world between democracy and autocracy. The author points out that:

"There are three things to bear in mind as you read the news from Ukraine:

  1. The Russians are not interested in a settlement.
  2. The Russians are running out of men and materiel, and the war is getting closer to the lives of people in Russia who thought it would never touch them.
  3. The Ukrainians are taking terrible losses, but they could outlast the Russians with Western help."

"The Stakes in Ukraine Have Not Changed" - The Atlantic

Who or what can stop Putin, and how will this end? Eliot Cohen wrestles with the question of what the West can do in the face of Russia's escalating attack on Ukraine in this article in The Atlantic. He acknowledges the tremendous challenges the world faces with regard to Putin's aggression, but celebrates the "remarkable solidarity and decisiveness of the liberal democracies, in Europe and outside it." He argues that "Western strategy should rest on three pillars: vigorous and imaginative military support to Ukrainian regular and irregular forces; sanctions that will hobble the Russian economy; and construction of a militarily powerful European alliance that can secure the border with Russia as long as that country remains a menace." To the question of how this might end, Cohen posits that "The road that the West should seek will lead either to the collapse of Putin’s regime or to a long-term weakening of the Russian state’s capability and appetite for aggressive war." He goes on to note that Americans will have to again accept that national security must be a priority.

"The Strategy that Can Defeat Putin" - The Atlantic

NATO member states Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia, which share borders with Russia, have a great deal of experience dealing with Russia. Their leaders have been outspoken since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the presidents of all three Baltic states recently visited Kyiv. This opinion piece argues that the West should be heeding the Baltic states' advice to not be deterred by Putin's rhetoric. "Baltic nations also insist that NATO must grow a backbone."

"Want to Know How to Stop Putin? Listen to Leaders of the Baltic States" - Philadelphia Inquirer

"Having lived under Soviet rule, the Balts have no illusions about the need to prevent Russian President Vladimir Putin from scoring a brutal 'victory' over Ukraine, something which could still happen if NATO members don’t send heavy weapons quickly. Their leaders are blunt about the long-term threat to Western nations if they fail Ukraine."

Vector Background Clipart A Stock Treasure Illustrations Free

The Black Sea is of tremendous strategic importance. Bordered by Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, Turkey, and Romania, the Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean Sea (via the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean Sea) through the Bosporus straight. Russia's unfettered access to the Black Sea, as well as its occupation since 2014 of the Crimean Peninsula, facilitate its continued attacks on southeastern Ukraine. Ukraine's ability to defend itself is hampered because Russia destroyed and/or took control of most of Ukraine's naval forces when it annexed Crimea.

The international community is unable to curtail Russian warships' access to the Black Sea because, as noted in the article linked below, "Due to Montreux Convention rules regarding the Bosporus and Dardanelles that connect the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, countries that sit on the Black Sea have unlimited access. Nonresident countries may only send ships in for short stints and are limited by ship size. So although NATO is not intervening militarily on Ukraine’s behalf, the Black Sea was always going to be a vulnerable spot for Ukraine."

For more information on the Montreaux convention and the importance of the Black Sea, check out this article:

"What Makes the Black Sea So Strategically Important?" - Defense News

Crimea, Bird Home, Sea, Black Sea

Russia's invasion of Ukraine purportedly arose out of Putin's concern for Russia's security and is intended to discourage NATO expansion and undermine cohesion among NATO countries and the West. The invasion in fact seems to be having the opposite effect, with the West unifying in its opposition to the war, NATO readying defensive forces, and accelerated talk of NATO membership for countries such as Sweden and Finland, as well as increased talk of admitting Ukraine into the EU. For an excellent read about the strategic implications of this conflict, check out this Q&A with Atlantic Council experts.

"Twenty Questions (and Expert Answers) about What's Happening with Ukraine and Russia" - Atlantic Council

As Russia has turned to Iranian-made kamikaze drones in addition to its own missiles to attack targets across Ukraine, calls for the international community to provide Ukraine with air defense systems have intensified. The U.S. and European countries have provided air defense systems and more are on the way, but stocks are low and new systems take time to be manufactured. Air defense systems are quite complex, as they seek to identify and destroy a wide variety of aerial threats traveling at differing speeds over varied terrain, from helicopters to ballistic missiles to cruise missiles. Ukraine has its own systems, but many have been destroyed. Allies continues to unite in support of Ukraine as individual countries provide air defense support and NATO countries work to build an interoperable air defense system for NATO member countries and allies.

"Can the U.S. Do More for Ukrainian Air Defense?" - Center for Strategic and International Studies

This article presents an excellent explanation of how air defense works:

"Ukraine Wants More Air Defense. Here's How It Works" - Washington Post

"NATO Rushing to Build Up Air Defenses for Ukraine - and Itself" - Politico

Belarus, the former Soviet state that shares borders with Ukraine and Russia, is in the headlines. Belarus's authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has been in power since 1994 and has thrown his lot in with Putin. He has facilitated Russia's invasion of Ukraine by allowing Russian forces to stage in Belarus, and as a result Belarus is subject to new sanctions by the West. As the war in Ukraine intensifies, Lukashenko has tightened his grip on power through a referendum that grants him lifetime immunity from prosecution and allows Russia to stage nuclear weapons on Belarusian terrain.

"Why Russia's Invasion of Ukraine Led to Sanctions on Belarus" - Time

"Belarus' Lukashenko Tightens Grip in Referendum" - Deutsche Welle

"OSCE Report: Belarus Vote Was 'Not Transparent, Free, or Fair'" - Al Jazeera (re: 2020 election of Lukashenko)

Here's another excellent interview from the Aspen Security Forum. CIA Director William Burns gave fascinating insights on the conflict in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin's evolving character and decision-making process, Americans detained overseas, relations with China, Taiwan, Iran's nuclear program, and other national and international security issues. During the interview he provided the first public U.S. estimate of Russian casualties during the war in Ukraine: 15,000 killed and 45,000 wounded. Regarding President Putin's health, Burns said, "As far as we can tell, he's entirely too healthy."

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For the military analysts, veterans, Ukraine supporters, and foreign policy enthusiasts among us, this is worth a look. The U.S. has recently pledged additional military assistance to Ukraine, bringing the total U.S. security assistance commitment to Ukraine to just under $13 billion. U.S. security assistance includes, in addition to weaponry, things like logistics support, salaries, stipends, intelligence support, and training. The Hill has published a list of the materiel the U.S. has supplied to Ukraine with some of that $13 billion. Wow!

"Here's Every Weapon U.S. Has Supplied to Ukraine with $13 Billion" - The Hill

"U.S. Security Assistance to Ukraine" - Congressional Research Service

"Since the start of the 2022 war, the Biden Administration has committed about $12.9 billion in security assistance to 'provide Ukraine the equipment it needs to defend itself.'"

Marines, M777 Howitzer, Artillery, 155Mm

It is rare to see details on the effectiveness of sanctions. David Ignatius’s article below provides several. Interesting read. 

If the war in Ukraine is indeed prolonged, the effect of sanctions becomes more important in strategic planning. The role of the Europeans becomes more crucial. Can experimentation WITH the Europeans be done on this?

"Opinion: Putin's Long Game in Ukraine May Not Play Out as He Predicts" - Washington Post

This week Public Radio International's The World re-aired a 5-part radio series called "How Wars End." These brief programs are a fascinating review of history as they discuss Iraq, the American Civil War, World War I, and the Gulf War. They also provide timely considerations regarding the end of the war in Afghanistan one year ago and regarding an eventual end to Russia's war in Ukraine. These are well worth a listen.

"How Wars End: Revisiting Our Series About One of the Most Difficult Aspects of War" - PRI's The World

An introduction to the re-airing of the series.

All five programs in the series "How Wars End" by PRI's The World.

Dove, Peace, Flying, Olive Branch

Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine is not only reshaping the entire security environment in Europe, but is also revealing a great deal about Russia's military capabilities and weaknesses. CSIS has published a comprehensive report on lessons learned. "This analysis examines lessons from Russian air, ground, cyber, and other domains following Moscow’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. It asks: What are some of the most important military lessons from the first three months of the war? What do these lessons suggest about the future of the war?" The report lays out Russia's weaknesses in training and planning, which led to numerous logistics failures. It also discusses how Russia's incorrect assumptions about the Ukrainian military, the Ukrainian public, and the West have affected the offensive. Third, the report analyzes the challenges Russia faces in domains such as cyber operations, electronic warfare, air operations, and maritime.

"Russia's Ill-Fated Invasion of Ukraine:Lessons in Modern Warfare" - Center for Strategic and International Studies

NATO is bringing under its command and control and deploying allied air and missile defenses in an "air shielding" mission to boost NATO defense of Eastern Europe in the face of ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine. This effort is a significant expansion of NATO cooperation in the region and serves to protect the Alliance from air and missile threats.

"NATO Fortifies Eastern Europe's Defenses Under New 'Air Shielding' Mission" - Air Force Times

"The policy brings together disparate allied air and missile defense units under NATO’s command, rather than relying on them in a more reactive, piecemeal fashion."

"Additional fighter jets are bolstering eastern defenses as well. The U.S. recently sent its F-35A Lightning II jets from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to Estonia, and F-22 Raptor fighters from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, to Poland as part of the expanding mission."

"USAF F-35s Forward Deploy for NATO Air Shielding Mission" - NATO Allied Air Command

"This activity enhances the security of NATO airspace ensuring a robust and integrated shield for Allied territory and contributing to the deterrence and defence of the Euro-Atlantic area."

Us Air Force, Military, F-22 Raptor

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has sharpened NATO's focus and is accelerating difficult and timely discussions regarding NATO unity and NATO members' defense spending. Far from creating fissures within NATO or weakening the alliance as Putin might have hoped, Russia's unprovoked aggression has unified the West and provided the necessary impetus to spur additional military spending within NATO countries. Most striking has been Germany's recent announcement that it would increase defense spending to over 2% of GDP a year. This is a welcome change within NATO and one for which the U.S. has long advocated.

"The War in Ukraine: Meeting the Russian Challenge to NATO" - CSIS

"Germany to Increase Spending in Response to 'Putin's War' - Scholz" - Reuters

nato flag - Clip Art Library

The Atlantic Council has published three articles debating the issues related to a potential no-fly zone over Ukraine. The West has thus far refused to establish an NFZ in Ukraine as doing so would amount to a NATO declaration of war against Russia. In addition to escalating the conflict, many argue that an NFZ would not be effective.

The case for a no-fly zone:

Russia's aims are likely broader than just Ukraine. "The choice is simple: We can confront Putin either now or later."

The case against a no-fly zone:

"Implementing an NFZ over even just the western part of Ukraine or for the protection of humanitarian corridors would deliver the ultimate trifecta of bad outcomes: It would be a costly and difficult mission; it would lead to direct military confrontation with Russia; and it would all be for naught. Indeed, it would only prolong the loss of life and human suffering without changing the ultimate outcome of the war."

The case for NATO helping in other ways:

"But there’s plenty NATO member states can still do to protect civilians on the ground short of shooting down Russian aircraft over the country (which would also prevent Ukrainian air assets and humanitarian flights from doing their jobs)."

Us Air Force, Military, F-22 Raptor

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is facing significant challenges amidst Russia's ongoing attacks on Ukraine. In anticipation of the upcoming NATO Summit to be held in Madrid at the end of June, the Atlantic Council held a conference on Monday, "Priorities for the NATO Summit and Security in Europe," and has made a recording of this conference available online. Speakers included Lithuania's minister of defense, senior U.S.military and civilian officials, and two U.S. senators. This is an excellent opportunity to hear from leading experts and policymakers regarding the future of NATO.

Logo, Nato, Blue, Metal, Star, Nato

Hundreds of thousands of Russians have fled their country over the last two weeks to avoid getting called up to fight in Ukraine. This is a sobering commentary by a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general with decades of experience training soldiers who predicts these Russian "reservists" will be woefully unprepared.

"Putin's Recruits Are Heading for Slaughter" - Opinion in the Washington Post

boot camp military clip art - Clip Art Library

Surely one of the unintended consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine is that the mistakes, weaknesses, and depravity of Russia's military are on full display for all the world to see. By now we all know about the stalled convoy and maintenance failures as well as the fact that Russia is running out of missiles. In addition, this article in the Atlantic argues that "The Russian air force’s failure is perhaps the most important, but least discussed, story of the military conflict so far...the Russian air force continues to suffer from flawed logistics operations and the lack of regular, realistic training. Above all, the autocratic Russian kleptocracy does not trust low-ranking and middle-ranking officers, and so cannot allow the imaginative, flexible decision making that NATO air forces rely upon. All this meant that when the invasion started, the Russian air force was incapable of running a well-thought-out, complex campaign." The authors go on to describe how the Ukrainians have creatively leveraged their more limited airpower resources to significantly hamper Russia's efforts to control the skies.

"The Overlooked Reason Russia's Invasion Is Floundering" - The Atlantic

Russia has used millions of dollars worth of missiles to destroy powerful Ukrainian HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) donated by the U.S. Oh but wait, those HIMARS the Russians destroyed with their costly cruise missiles were wooden fakes. In fact, Russia claims to have destroyed more HIMARS than Ukraine ever received. 

"Ukraine is Building Wooden HIMARS Decoys to Fool Russia - and It's Working" - Popular Mechanics

Russian mercenary organization the Wagner Group is suspected of being involved in Burkina Faso's most recent coup and operates in Ukraine, Syria, the Central African Republic, Mali, and elsewhere on behalf of the Kremlin. Just what is the Wagner Group?

"What is the Wagner Group, Russia's Mercenary Entity in Ukraine?" - Washington Post

"Examining Russia's Influence on the Most Recent Coup in Burkina Faso" - NPR

The Russian military's weaknesses are being laid bare on the battlefield as its war in Ukraine enters its ninth month. As it continues to show disregard not only for international law but also for civilian lives, Russia is revealing its military limitations for all the world to see.

"Ukraine War Proves Western Technology Is Superior, German General Says" - C4ISRNet

Russian diplomats around the world are toeing the line, propagating false pro-Russian propaganda about the war in Ukraine. As this AP article points out, "Russian embassies and consulates around the world are prolifically using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to deflect blame for atrocities while seeking to undermine the international coalition supporting Ukraine."

"For Russian Diplomats, Disinformation Is Part of the Job" - Associated Press

Phone, Display, Apps, Applications

U.S. military aid is pouring into Ukraine. This week U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Kyiv, further demonstrating U.S. resolve and committing additional assistance. U.S. military aid to Ukraine now tops $3 billion since Russia's invasion in late February. What kind of weapons is the U.S. providing? One example of crucial assistance is Man-Portable Air Defense Systems, or MANPADS. These shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles are highly portable and include the American Stinger, effective against low-flying aircraft, and anti-tank Javelin missiles. The U.S. is also sending armored personnel carriers, drones, ammunition, howitzers, body armor, medical supplies, vehicles, heavy artillery, training, and more.

"The Latest Aid Package to Ukraine Is a Major Escalation of Support" - Center for Strategic and International Studies

"What Weapons Has The U.S. Given Ukraine - and How Much Do They Help?" - BBC

"The West Needs to Keep Supporting Ukraine with MANPADS" - German Marshall Fund of the United States

Anti Tank Guided Missile, Rocket

For those of us who aren't Army engineering experts, here's a chance to admire and celebrate American military ingenuity in "wet gap" crossings, or modular bridge building for combat situations. This expertise is in striking contrast to bungled Russian attempts at river crossings in Ukraine.

"The Army is Pushing the Limits of Bridging Ops as Ukraine's Fight Spotlights River Crossings" - Sandboxx

"The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, in partnership with Program Executive Office Combat Support, is now pushing the outer limits of vehicle weight load capacity for the Improved Ribbon Bridge, according to an announcement from the Army Corps of Engineers. The floating bridge, which has been used by both the Army and Marine Corps since 2003, is designed to carry 105 wheeled, or 85 tracked vehicles, according to published specifications. In extreme situations, that load can be increased to 110 wheeled or 90 tracked, with caution."


Photo from U.S. Army Europe and Africa (Twitter: @USArmyEURAF)

The Washington Post published two interesting articles on Russian generals this past week.

Ukrainian forces have killed several Russian generals and other senior commanders on the battlefield, providing a boost to Ukrainian morale.

"Russian Generals Getting Killed at an Extraordinary Rate" - Washington Post

Channels of communication between senior U.S. and Russian military personnel have gone quiet, as top Russian military leaders decline to take calls from U.S. leaders. This dearth of communication increases the risk of miscalculation and accidents that could cause dangerous spillover from Russia's war in Ukraine.

"Top Russian Military Leaders Repeatedly Decline Calls from U.S., Prompting Fears of 'Sleepwalking into War'"

As Ukraine's allies send weapons and ammunition to help the country defend itself against Russia, donor countries are depleting their own stockpiles at a rapid rate. Some are increasingly concerned that they will not have enough left for their own defense should the need arise. Stockpiles in some countries had already been low due to budget constraints and the perception that the threat level was low. Production capacity is in many cases limited, as only a few companies produce these weapons, lead times are long, supply chains are complex, demand is high,, and skilled labor is in short supply. The defense industry wants firm commitments, and contracts, before investing in additional production capacity.

"Weapons Shortages Spark Tough Choices for Ukraine's Allies" - DefenseNews

"Ukraine's Appetite for Weapons Is Straining Western Stockpiles" - Foreign Policy

This and other topics were discussed recently at the Halifax International Security Forum. Find information and links to session recordings here:

Halifax International Security Forum (including links to Youtube recordings of the event)

Marines, M777 Howitzer, Artillery, 155Mm

It's interesting to consider the complexity involved in providing materiel to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia. Not only are there significant security and logistics obstacles, but in some cases Ukrainian troops need training to use the equipment. This need for training has to be balanced with the fact that Ukrainian military personnel are needed on the battlefield. As this article points out, the supply of international weaponry needs to not outstrip the Ukrainian military's capacity to receive it and learn to use it most effectively.

"From Howitzers to Suicide Drones: Pentagon Seeks Right 'Balance' on Training Ukrainians on New Arms" - Defense News

Parade, Military, Soldiers, Camouflage

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), since Russia began its offensive on February 24, more than 2.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country and become refugees. Just under two million additional people have been displaced from their homes but remain in Ukraine.

For frequently updated information on the refugee situation, consult UNHCR's Operational Data Portal on Ukraine, linked here. Within are links to flash updates with more information on assistance UNHCR and others are providing to refugees.

UNHCR Operational Data Portal on Ukraine

Recently the European Council acted to enact the EU's first-ever Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) for Ukrainian refugees. This historic decision grants refugees from Ukraine who are anywhere in the EU the right to housing and health care and access to the labor market and to education for children. Refugees from Ukraine who left the country on or after February 24 do not have to go through a lengthy process to request protection and assistance in EU countries. Instead, they automatically receive access to these benefits upon asking for a residence permit in any country in the EU, and the benefits are standardized. The TPD is in place for at least one year and will likely prevent EU countries' asylum systems from being overwhelmed by applications.

"Ukraine: Council Unanimously Introduces Temporary Protection for Persons Fleeing the War" - European Council

For more detailed analysis, watch this hour-long webcast from the Migration Policy Institute, "Briefing on Ukraine: Avenues to Safety and Meeting Immediate Needs."

refugee clipart - Clip Art Library

Even amidst the devastation in Ukraine, we can be inspired and encouraged.

Steel-toed boots, saline bags, tourniquets, SUVs: Ukrainian soldiers need everything and anything, and resolute donors in Europe and elsewhere are getting needed items in.

"Inside the Transfer of Foreign Military Equipment to Ukrainian Soldiers" - Washington Post

History abounds with stories of military occupation, defined by Merriam Webster as "control and possession of hostile territory that enables an invading nation to establish military government against an enemy or martial law against rebels or insurrectionists in its own territory." Successful occupations count on support from the occupied population, which Russia certainly would not have in Ukraine. If it were to prevail, Russia would be very unlikely to be successful in occupying Ukraine.

"Unfortunately for the Russians, they face the worst of circumstances for an occupying power. Historical cases of occupation and counterinsurgency suggest an impending disaster. There is almost no chance that Russia will successfully occupy Ukraine."

"Vladimir Putin Has Almost No Chance of Successfully Occupying Ukraine" - Atlantic Council

As we watch catastrophe unfold in Ukraine, observers are grasping for possible ways to reduce harm to Ukraine and avert a broader war in Europe. One proposal being made is to deny Russia the ability to attack Ukraine from the air by imposing a no-fly zone (NFZ). It sounds simple enough; if Russian planes aren't allowed to fly over Ukraine, Russia's attack will be more limited in scope and therefore inflict less damage. But here is the problem with NFZs that proponents are not addressing: NFZs require enforcement. That is, if an NFZ is in place, some country or countries need to patrol the airspace. If Russian aircraft violate the NFZ, someone needs to shoot those Russian planes down, essentially initiating an all-out war with Russia. What western government is willing to do that now? If Russia attacks NATO and NATO invokes Article 5 (the principle of collective defense), war of western powers against Russia will be inevitable. But unless and until that happens, imposition of an NFZ over Ukraine is highly unlikely.

Learn more about No-Fly Zones from this interesting Rand Corporation paper.

"Denying Flight: Strategic Options for Employing No-Fly Zones" - Rand Corporation

Mig 21, Plane, Military Jet, Air Force

The U.S. has announced that it will provide four additional HIMARS, or M-142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, to Ukraine. With these Ukraine will have 16 of these rocket launcher systems, which can strike with precision at long range. Experts agree that these systems have been extremely useful in Ukraine's fight against Russia, and Ukraine has indicated that it needs many more. Some observers believe that the U.S. was remiss in not sending more of these long-range systems earlier in the war.

"More HIMARS Heading to Front Lines After Ukraine Praises U.S. Weaponry" - Newsweek

"U.S. To Send More HIMARS Precision Rocket Systems to Ukraine in Latest Package" - Defense News

"Ukraine Says It Needs at Least 100 HIMARS and Longer-Range Rockets" - Defense One

(Former U.S. Ambasssador to Ukraine John) "Herbst said the Biden administration has been too timid and risk averse in its willingness to send Ukraine longer-range weapons."

High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) — M142

Photo: U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center

What is genocide? In recent days Ukrainian President Zelensky, U.S. President Biden, and others have characterized Russia's actions in Ukraine as genocide, while others including French President Macron have taken care not to use the loaded term.

The term "genocide" was first used during the Second World War, and in 1946 genocide was codified as a crime under international law by the UN General Assembly. It has a very specific definition.

This website provides a superb, concise discussion of the history and meaning of the word genocide.

The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide:

"Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

A very interesting point is that the definition of genocide includes intent. As the UN Office on Genocide Prevention discusses, "The intent is the most difficult element to determine. To constitute genocide, there must be a proven intent on the part of perpetrators to physically destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. Cultural destruction does not suffice, nor does an intention to simply disperse a group. It is this special intent, or dolus specialis, that makes the crime of genocide so unique. In addition, case law has associated intent with the existence of a State or organizational plan or policy, even if the definition of genocide in international law does not include that element."

Russia has declared martial law in the four territories of Ukraine that Russia recently annexed. What is martial law, and what is the significance of Russia's action? A declaration of martial law gives the military legal authority over what are usually civilian jurisdictions. Putin has given Russian military leaders broad powers over the occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine. Just what is martial law? Here are some excellent resources to learn more.

"Martial Law Explained" - Brennan Center for Justice

"In the United States, martial law usually refers to a power that, in an emergency, allows the military to take the place of the civilian government and exercise jurisdiction over civilians in a particular area. But 'martial law' has no established definition, because across history, different people have used the term to describe a wide variety of actions, practices, or roles for the military. The law governing it is complicated and unsettled — and, as a result, the concept has never been well understood."

"What Is Martial Law?" - Juris Magazine

"Martial law is the substitution and suspension of civilian law for military rule. During periods of martial law, the military becomes the lawmaking and enforcing governing body, replacing civilian leaders and the police with military personnel. If civilians violate the law, military personnel could try civilians in military tribunals instead of traditional civilian courts. Martial law is discernible from military law because military rule applies exclusively to individuals in military service. Thus, only martial law governs civilians."

"What Is Martial Law, and Why Did Putin Impose It In Ukrainian Areas?" - Washington Post

"In practice, what will change on the ground in highly militarized regions already under military occupation, or under contest in Ukraine’s counteroffensive, remains unclear. The main change could be a new degree of cover for military actions under Russia’s legal system."

Justice, Statue, Lady Justice

The big news this week has been Sweden and Finland's announcements of their intentions to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Although Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to deter NATO expansion through his attack on Ukraine, he seems to have accomplished the inverse. So just how do countries join NATO?

"What Does It Take to Join NATO?" - The Economist

Regarding Finland and Sweden, "Given that they are mature democracies, and highly interoperable with NATO, accession is expected to be quick. Prospective members have to send a letter of intent to NATO and, assuming it approves, hold talks on a range of political, defence, legal and technical issues. NATO would then draw up accession protocols which can be signed by ministers, or ambassadors to NATO."

"Enlargement and Article 10" - NATO

"NATO’s door remains open to any European country in a position to undertake the commitments and obligations of membership, and contribute to security in the Euro-Atlantic area." The requirements to join NATO are not terribly clear, though this article gives the steps in the "Accession Process" section.

"NATO Enlargement & Open Door" - NATO

"European countries that wish to join NATO are initially invited to begin an Intensified Dialogue with the Alliance about their aspirations and related reforms. Aspirants may then be invited to join the Membership Action Plan, a programme which helps nations prepare for possible future membership. Participation does not guarantee membership, but is a key preparation mechanism. To join the Alliance, nations are expected to respect the values of the North Atlantic Treaty, and to meet certain political, economic and military criteria, set out in the Alliance's 1995 Study on Enlargement. These criteria include a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority contribution to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institutions."

NATO members must agree to the accession of new members. Currently Turkey is opposing the accession of Finland and Sweden.

"Turkey Blocks Start of NATO Talks on Finland's and Sweden's Applications" - Washington Post