Putin was a KGB case worker, not an analyst. An analyst would report on the self destructiveness of this war. A case worker manipulates others to save the situation. And right now, he’s trying salvage the support of his regime at home by luring NATO into the fight, knowing emotionally we want in. Meanwhile, he’s ominously requested military and economic assistance from China. On one hand, we don’t want America and China drawn further into this conflict, and we know proxy wars between the two countries haven’t gone particularly well in the past. On the other hand, it’s notable that the supposedly massive Russian military is already looking for outside support two weeks into a war of choice. It’s a reminder of an Russian joke Garry Kasparov shared, “Every country has its own mafia. Putin’s Russia is the first where the mafia has its own country.” It sure looks like a lot of the Rubles intended for military build-up have been diverted to the Yachts currently trying to sail clear of economic sanctions.

+ As the US holds talks with China, here’s an interesting look at Possible Outcomes of the Russo-Ukrainian War and China’s Choice. (China has other worries as well. Covid is back, in a big way and “Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong had their worst day since the global financial crisis, as concerns over Beijing’s close relationship with Russia and renewed regulatory risks sparked panic selling.”

+ Meanwhile, the Russian atrocities are accelerating. “In video and photos shot Wednesday by AP journalists after the attack on the hospital, the woman was seen stroking her bloodied lower abdomen as rescuers rushed her through the rubble in the besieged city of Mariupol.” Pregnant woman, baby die after Russia bombed maternity ward.

+ More salvos fired in the battle over truth: The NYT has launched a Telegram channel. And from AP: War censorship exposes Putin’s leaky internet controls. Russia throttled “both Facebook and Twitter so badly they are effectively unreachable on the Russian internet.” (Imagine blocking Facebook because you’re worried it’s providing too much accurate information…)

+ As the number of Ukrainian refugees has topped 2.5 million, here’s a great scene of Italian schoolkids welcoming their new classmates.