Russia’s cruise missile attack on Kyiv yesterday just after UN Secretary António Guterres’ visit with Ukraine’s President Zelenskiy demonstrates the determined, relentless resolve of Putin to bring Ukraine to heel and punish its Western sympathizers.

We know about Russia’s crimes against civilians, raped, tortured and executed; its killing of soldiers who have surrendered; bombings of train facilities providing civilian egress from war zones; attacks on schools and hospitals.

The truth is Russia blundered into this war, thinking a quick assault on Kyiv and regime change would yield victory within a few weeks.

Surprised by the vehemence of Western reprisals via sanctions and steadfast supply of weaponry, increasingly of an advanced nature, and fierce Ukrainian resistance, Russia now faces prolonged, bloody entrenchment and even defeat.

British intelligence indicates a loss of 15,000 troops, with many more wounded.

American sources indicate the Russians have lost 25% of their military capability.

Now the war has expanded into Russia, with military infrastructure within Russia being hit, causing panic upon nearby civilians and calls for retaliation.

Meanwhile, despite Putin’s denials, the Russian economy has suffered enormously.

For several weeks, Putin has been menacing the West with apocalyptic warnings of nuclear consequences for nations threatening its security, notably the U.S. and Britain: “If anyone intervenes in Ukraine and creates unacceptable threats for us that are strategic in nature, our response will be lightning fast. We have all the tools for this that no one else can boast of having. We won’t boast about it, we’ll use them, if needed.”

Will Putin carry out his threat?

Yes, but not against NATO nations, for that would lead to an unimaginable horror fallout of nuclear exchange and Moscow’s decimation to rubble in minutes.

What’s more likely to happen is a low-yield employment of nuclear tactical weaponry delivered through aircraft and artillery.

Russia, probably correctly, thinks the West will pull back its support and Ukraine will surrender, with huge loss of its territory, in short order.

Putin cannot afford to lose this war he’s presumptuously waged.

Thus far, the West has not singled any probable response to nuclear weaponry in Ukraine, increasing the likelihood of Russia’s adopting such draconian measures similar to what the U.S. resorted to in Japan.

We should all be afraid.

–rj