Must Ukraine Bring the War To Moscow Or Freeze To Death?

Max Rottersman
3 min readNov 3, 2022


Ukrainians are done giving Russians the benefit of the doubt . If the U.S. won’t step in and end the war, Ukraine will do what it must. What’s the worst Russia can do, mobilize?

All wars go from bad to worse.

If the U.S. and Europe makes stronger moves towards a cease-fire this winter (if Putin continues to live) it will weaken the moderate factions in Ukraine and radicalize the hardliners. It may actually help Ukraine in that if Russians realize they won’t be saved by negotiations, it will sink in what their war will cost — even were they to win!

I’m actually surprised there hasn’t been more internal conflict within the Russian Federation. But I still believe it’s coming, the timing impossible to predict. Nadin Brzezinski follows those developments closely.

I push back against the argument, from others, that Russia is winning the war. I don’t see that they are. But that doesn’t mean Ukraine is winning.

They believe things are under control. Are they?

We’ve grown complacent.

  1. We don’t know what’s going on, on the battlefield. At least I don’t feel any more confident today than eight months ago.
  2. We don’t know how many Ukrainians have been killed or injured.
  3. We don’t know how long Ukraine can hold it together with its economy in shambles.
  4. We don’t know what’s happening behind closed doors, politically, for either Russia (obviously) OR Ukraine (not so obvious).
  5. We don’t know how this Winter will affect the war.
  6. Again, we do not know how well each side controls this or that territory. What the state of supplies are, for each side.
  7. We look at the wrong problems, like nuclear weapons, instead of the bigger risks from China shifting policy, Iran’s involvement, Turkey’s potential to flip the card table, etc.

In short, I believe many still haven’t wrapped their head around the fact that Russia is no longer trying to win on the battlefield. Instead, Russia is now looking to outlast Ukraine economically while attacking Ukrainian infrastructure to hasten that process through starvation and freezing. As long as Russia has buyers for its gas and oil, can feed and produce energy for its own citizens, it can siege-warfare Ukraine indefinitely.

I feel shameful as an American to say…

If both Russia and Ukraine are completely destroyed it will be okay for the West. We are no friend to Ukraine, except one of convenience.

At what point must Ukraine attack the head of the snake?

“Terrorist” attacks on Moscow would put the West in a serious bind. If they withdraw weapons Russia wins. If they keep giving weapons they risk being brought into the war.

I also believe the West is deluded into thinking it can change the main trajectory of the war by dialing in, or out, weapons and economic support.

If the war ends tomorrow it doesn’t mean we go back to the booming world economy of the 1990s or 2010s. Germany can no longer dictate terms to Europe because of its export strength. The EU has been falling apart for some time. There is no healthy EU for Ukraine to join anymore.

I’m blown away that the news says 44 out of 50 drones were shot down over Kyiv yet Kyiv has no water or electricity. Something isn’t adding up.

Again, everyone seems to be complacent that Ukraine is winning and will win the war.

There will be some Ukrainian special forces guy who will state the obvious, “We can’t win a war when our opponent survives the winter while we freeze to death.”

For context, I follow Reporting from Ukraine and Denys Davydov. Then there’s Vlad Vexler for the psychological/historical insights. Here on Medium I read Nadin Brzezinski, Stefan Korshak and B Kean. There are others of course, but those come to mind quickest.



Max Rottersman

Trying to connect what hasn't been connected.