People are finally starting to speak of the Russian invasion of Ukraine:
Determined to preserve the pro-Russian revolt in eastern Ukraine, Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday, sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory.
I'll also note that the New York Times article reports that elements of the 9th brigade from western Ukraine is fighting in the east. So that area's corps isn't out of action.
And despite Russia's denials and blatant lies about their invasion, proof is out there for all but the most dense or Putin's apologists to believe, and now we have another piece:
Russia has consistently denied sending tanks into Ukraine, arguing that any vehicles used by separatist forces there must have been captured from the Ukrainian army itself.
But now experts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London have told the BBC that they have identified a Russian tank in a separatist column in eastern Ukraine that they say could only have come from across the border in Russia.
Why Russia's capture and annexation of Crimea isn't the obvious evidence of Russia's ongoing invasion, I don't know.
And the retreat of bloodied Russian troops in Russia has been reported:
The Reuters reporter said the column was made up of two armored personnel carriers, six military trucks and one military excavator. The troops sitting on top of the armored personnel carriers had dirty faces, and one had a bandage on his face.
One of the trucks had a smashed windscreen and smashed headlights and was being towed by a second truck. A Mi-8 military helicopter with red star insignia landed at a nearby camp manned by men in camouflage fatigues without identifying marks.
I suppose it helps that Russia has expanded their role so much that they can hardly bother to hide it. But they'll still just deny they are doing anything.
I'm not sure of the hesitancy to finally say Russia has invaded Ukraine, since I called the invasion on February 28th:
Good grief. Did Russian Spetsnaz just seize Crimea airports?
I even called the scope, despite reports that our intelligence agencies doubted Russia would invade:
I don't think Russia could occupy all of Ukraine. But Russia could grab chunks in the east and in Crimea. Does that count as an "invasion" in our intelligence agencies?
Now we have to get on with the dirty work of seriously helping Ukrainians kill Russian soldiers, because appeals to the judgment of history and decency have no effect on Putin.
I've already noted that Hungary is apparently shipping T-72 tanks to Ukraine. And we are enabling Croatia to ship helicopters to Ukraine:
US and Croatian officials have discussed a deal that would send American UH-60 helicopters to Croatia, while Croatia would send Mi-8MTV-1 aircraft to Ukraine.
So good for us. I hope we are giving Ukraine all the intelligence and recon information that they need to fight the Russians.
What this era will be called depends on whether China sits it out, strikes east to the sea, or strikes north and west while Russia is occupied in self-destructive confrontation with NATO and the West. And Iran is a minor question mark (relatively minor--amazing what a few years can do to the major problem we faced) for this era-defining question.
But I do know that this will not be known as the Era of Hope and Change. The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the teleprompter clearly is not mightier.