To the Death

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I wanted to note this report that Ukraine has essentially opened its armories to civilian volunteers. They claim to have given out up to 10,000 automatic weapons today to citizens willing to fight as home guards or essentially paramilitaries and irregulars. This makes perfect sense for how this conflict is evolving. It is clearly an existential battle for the Ukrainian state. But I just wanted to focus in on what this means. This means giving out machine guns to any Ukrainian citizens who are ready to kill Russian soldiers. This is an invitation to the kind of merciless and bloody urban warfare that insurgents and irregulars excel at and which regular armies struggle with. Don’t get me wrong. If I were running Ukraine I would be doing this too. Watching ordinary Ukrainians, in various ways, put their lives on the line to fight back against this entirely unprovoked aggression inspires me. But I just want to focus in on how dark and desperate a situation this is. This is to-the-death kind of fighting. Where who is military and who is civilian is totally blurred. It’s a level of ferocity you don’t easily come back from.

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