Historian Heather Cox Richardson has interesting insights on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The overwhelming resistance to Putin is remarkable, and Putin has turned to carpet-bombing cities and devastating civilian areas. Despite Russian efforts to convince the Russian public that the war “to liberate Ukraine from fascists” is going well, she points to the growing number of anti-war protests in Russia.

She writes:

In Ukraine, Russian troops escalated their bombing of cities, including Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Mariupol, in what Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky called a campaign of terror to break the will of the Ukrainians. Tonight (in U.S. time), airborne troops assaulted Kharviv, which is a city of about 1.5 million, and a forty-mile-long convoy of tanks and trucks is within 17 miles of Kyiv, although a shortage of gas means they’ll move very slowly.

About 660,000 refugees have fled the country.

But the war is not going well for Putin, either, as international sanctions are devastating the Russian economy and the invasion is going far more slowly than he had apparently hoped. The ruble has plummeted in value, and the Kremlin is trying to stave off a crisis in the stock market by refusing to open it. Both Exxon and the shipping giant Maersk have announced they are joining BP in cutting ties to Russia, Apple has announced it will not sell products in Russia, and the Swiss-based company building Nord Stream 2 today said it was considering filing for insolvency.

Ukraine’s military claimed it today destroyed a large Russian military convoy of up to 800 vehicles, and Ukrainian authorities claim to have stopped a plot to assassinate Zelensky and to have executed the assassins. The death toll for Russian troops will further undermine Putin’s military push. Russians are leaving dead soldiers where they lie, likely to avoid the spectacle of body bags coming home. It appears at least some of the invaders had no idea they were going to Ukraine, and some have allegedly been knocking holes in their vehicles’ gas tanks to enable them to stay out of the fight. Morale is low.

Associated Press correspondent Francesca Ebel reports from Russia: “Life in Russia is deteriorating extremely rapidly. So many of my friends are packing up & leaving the country. Their cards are blocking. Huge lines for ATMs etc. Rumours that borders will close soon. ‘What have we done? How did we not stop him earlier?’ said a friend to me y[ester]day.” The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, Andrew Roth, agreed. “Something has definitely shifted here in the last two days.”

According to the BBC, a local government body in Moscow’s Gagarinsky District called the war a “disaster” that is impoverishing the country, and demanded the withdrawal of troops from Ukraine. Another, similar, body said the invasion was “insane” and “unjustified” and warned, “Our economy is going to hell.”

Putin clearly did not expect the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the U.S. and other allies and partners around the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and others, to work together to stand against his aggression. Even traditionally neutral Switzerland is on board. The insistence of the U.S. on exposing Putin’s moves ahead of time, building a united opposition, and warning of false flag operations to justify an invasion meant that the anti-authoritarian world is working together now to stop the Russian advance. Today, Taiwan announced it sent more than 27 tons of medical supplies to Ukraine, claiming its own membership in the “democratic camp” in the international community.

This extraordinary international cooperation is a tribute to President Joe Biden, who has made defense of democracy at home and abroad the centerpiece of his presidency. Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and State Department officials have been calling, meeting, listening, and building alliances with allies since they took office, and by last Thanksgiving they were making a concerted push to bring the world together in anticipation of Putin’s aggression.

Their early warnings have rehabilitated the image of U.S. intelligence, badly damaged during the Trump years, when the president and his loyalists attacked U.S. intelligence and accepted the word of autocrats, including Putin.

It has also been a diplomatic triumph, but in his State of the Union address tonight, Biden quite correctly put it second to the “fearlessness,…courage,…and determination” of the Ukrainians who are resisting the Russian troops.

The rest of her post is about Biden’s State of the Union address. You will not be surprised to learn that the President was heckled by Congress members Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. Boebert’s the gun-carrying Member of Congress from Colorado.