NBC’s Peter Alexander did an interview with Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska. It was both sad and fascinating. Sad that Ukraine’s war with Russia rages on. Fascinating in how she feels the war has taken a toll on her country.

Not just the physical toll. The actual damage to the infrastructure. Also, the mental toll. How this ongoing conflict has affected the psyche of Ukraine.

Olena Zelenska talked about how this war has affected her family. A beautiful family, by the way. What does her son want to be when he grows up? A soldier.

This war just rages on. Depending on what you read and hear, both sides seem to be making progress.

The New York Times has a story about how Ukrainian forces have recaptured the town of Pavlika from the Russian military. It’s beat up, but back in Ukrainian hands.

The Times calls it “a rare success, when much of Ukraine, and the rest of the world, was transfixed by the fall of the last two cities in eastern Luhansk Province to overwhelming Russian firepower.”

It does seem Russia is playing the long game here. Just slowly wearing down Ukrainian forces.

That said, it’s taking a toll on Russia. CIA Director William Burns told a security forum that Russia’s territorial gains have been minimal and have come at a very high cost. Burns estimates 15,000 Russian troops have been killed and 45,000 wounded.

The Russia-Ukraine War has also been called “The Energy War.” We are reporting that the European Union has unveiled an emergency plan to ration gas through the winter as it prepares for Russia to cut off much of the continent.

Should that happen, it will hurt. Public opinion in the EU is split on whether continuing to support Ukraine is worth the economic pain. Like I said, Russia appears to be playing the long game.

One thing to note here… Russia resumed flows of natural gas to Germany after maintenance to a pipeline.

Here’s something else CIA Director Burns said at that security forum. He believes what has happened in Ukraine has China rethinking a possible invasion of Taiwan.

He says Vladimir Putin’s “strategic failure” in Ukraine will have “unsettled” Beijing, with Russia’s military experiencing significant losses.

“If there’s one lesson I think they may be drawing from Putin’s experience in Ukraine, it’s you don’t achieve quick, decisive victories with underwhelming force,” Burns said.

Let’s hope so. We don’t need a Chinese invasion of Taiwan now.

The War’s toll. It adds up. Everyday, a little bit more.

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