We are now three months into the biggest European war since the defeat of Hitler, and a country of 40 million Ukrainians, attacked along multiple axes of advance by a numerically superior Russia, is holding its own.

That’s the good news, and perhaps the only good news. (Well, along with the fact that this conflict has not blossomed into a general European or even global war.) The armies sent to Ukraine by Russian President Vladmir Putin continue to murder, rape, pillage, and destroy, all in the name of … well, no one but Putin is quite sure. But there are signs that some kind of Russian reassessment might be underway.

I don’t want to raise any false hopes here. Be assured that Putin is going to go on hammering away at Ukrainian cities and infrastructure with artillery and missiles. But his plan of capturing Ukraine whole has failed, and his forces have now lost the battles of Kyiv and Kharkiv. They’ve won—if “winning” means anything at the moment—the battle of Mariupol, by reducing that besieged city to rubble. The onslaught is not going to end anytime soon.

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