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As Russia lays cruel siege to Severodontesk, as the death toll rises and the atrocities drag on, it’s time to ask: How does this war end, or at least reach a cease-fire?

Morally, Vladimir Putin deserves to keep none of his territorial gains. That goes back to his earlier seizure of Crimea and moves into the Donbas. Then, as now, the Russian strongman grabbed his neighbor’s territory with zero justification.

Sadly, those moral claims won’t determine practical results.

Yes, the bravery and resilience the Ukrainians have so far displayed suggest they’re willing to fight on to full victory. But Volodymyr Zelensky and his forces face three crucial limits.

The first is the possibility of Russian escalation. Backed into a corner, Putin truly might be mad enough to go nuclear — betting, say, that using a tactical nuke or two might transform his foes’ calculations.

Second is Ukraine’s lack of resources. Its forces have fought far above their weight, but they depend on the West for materiel.

And that’s the third factor: the willingness of the West, especially the United States, to keep providing the lethal (and non-lethal) aid that lets Ukraine keep fighting. Yes, Washington has committed billions, but America faces its own domestic problems, including an inflation crisis and a midterm election already sucking public support away from US involvement. And several European allies are even shakier.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses a joint meeting of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol on May 17, 2022 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden and Congress have committed $40 billion in aid to Ukraine.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The West seems willing to back Zelensky & Co. until Putin stops trying to take more territory, but it may well quail at major Ukrainian offensives beyond that.

An actual peace deal looks impossible: Neither Putin nor Zelensky seems willing to settle on a permanent division of Ukraine’s territory, and Putin’s word plainly can’t be trusted anyway.

Indeed, the pre-February status quo seems the very best Ukraine can hope for, and even that could come with carveouts in areas of the country’s energy-rich east that Putin now controls.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot be trusted with ending his invasion on his own promise.
MIKHAIL METZEL/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

But the war needs to end, for everyone’s sake: Ukraine’s civilians and the soldiers on both sides (remember, most ordinary Russian troops are just pawns sent into the meat grinder). As well as the rest of the world: The sudden loss of Ukrainian wheat exports is a huge blow to the global food supply.

Even temporary, internationally unrecognized territorial gains for Putin will be a bitter pill for Ukraine. But the autocrat remains a persona utterly non grata in Europe and America, facing continuing sanctions and general pariahdom. (Indeed, the Ukraine war and its aftermath may well provoke a wholesale rethinking by the West of its entanglement with China, too).

And the US and allies can, must, take real steps to make sure that any future Putin incursion would get stopped cold. That means getting Ukraine enough materiel to make a renewed assault hopeless.

A ceasefire doesn’t mean Ukraine has lost. It means that material necessity has prevailed. Next time, its friends can ensure that necessity is on the right side before the crisis arrives.


By: Ny Post

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20-year NYPD veteran retires by giving the department the finger

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A 20-year decorated veteran of the NYPD celebrated Independence Day a little early by retiring and giving the department the finger — literally.

Thomas J. Gambardella, 41, of Staten Island, posted a photo on Facebook of himself flipping the bird at a memorial inside NYPD headquarters, while wearing a T-shirt reading “Let’s Go Brandon,” following his official retirement from the force two weeks ago.

The statue Gambardella took aim at depicts a police officer watching over the child of a slain cop.

“I’m officially retired today!” he wrote in a post at the time. “From this sorry excuse of a s–t job. Thank God, I’m free at last!… I loved everyone I worked with and ‘some’ of the people I’ve worked for. But this job is no one’s friend. Time to live free. I’ll see you all out there!”

Gambardella, who was most recently a detective sergeant, told The Post on Saturday that he loved his job when he started out — but the gig turned “s–t” due to the city’s increasingly soft-on-crime policies.

“I was a true believer,” Gambardella, who comes from a police family, said of his early years on the beat. “I wasn’t a bag of s–t. I worked some intricate details. I gave a lot of my blood, sweat and tears. But no more.”

Facebook post.
Thomas Gambardella posted a photo on Facebook of himself flipping the bird at a memorial inside NYPD headquarters.
Thomas Gambardella/Facebook

A combination of increasingly liberal policies and what he said was the NYPD’s stranglehold over every aspect of his life led him to sour on the gig.

“It’s the worst f–king job in the world,” Gambardella said. “They own you. They’re not your friends. All that talk about the ‘big blue family.’ They don’t care. If I die tomorrow they wouldn’t give a sh-t. If I needed something it ain’t gonna happen. I’m better off just saying a prayer.”

The potty-mouthed former officer said he was disgusted by the increased hostility toward police, calls to defund the NYPD and crackdowns on what cops could or could not do.

“Crime is soaring and cops are leaving in droves,” Gambardella said. “Anybody can see that. All this liberalism is obviously a failure. But this is what they wanted. It’s a stupid experiment and it’s the people who will pay in the end.”

Gambardella said he has gotten some backlash to his posts and photos, though not much.

“I have a disease,” he said. “It’s called diarrhea of the mouth. People who know me know I’m like this. I don’t cower down.”

Gambardella, who is divorced with three kids, said cops were treated well under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former police commissioner Ray Kelly, and that the public was better off with them, too.

Thomas Gambardella.
“All that talk about the ‘big blue family.’ They don’t care,” Thomas Gambardella said.
Provided by Thomas Gambardella

“The minute they stopped the quality of life enforcement that was the beginning of the end,” he said. “Just having people know they could get a response from a noise complaint was a big deal. But that’s all long gone.”

Gambardella, who said he was named Officer of the Year in 2006 when he worked in the 68th precinct in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, joined the force in July 2002. He was most recently in the detective squad at the 70th precinct in Kensington.

According to city records, he made $164,000 last year.

More than 2,119 NYPD officers have either resigned or retired so far this year – on pace to be the biggest exodus of officers since the statistics have been available.

Some 524 cops have resigned and 1,072 have retired as of May 31, NYPD pension stats obtained by The Post last month showed. In June alone, 523 officers left, with 400 retiring and 123 resigning, the most resignations in a single month in at least a decade.

Of the 2,119 who are leaving, 1,472 are retiring and 647 are resigning, a 38% spike over the previous record of 1,535 for the first six months of 2020, the attrition numbers show. 

“The majority of officers who are retire are proud of their careers and their service with the NYPD,” a high-ranking police source told The Post when asked about Gambardella.

Several current and retired NYPD detectives said they were stung and angered by seeing the photo of Gambardella giving the finger to the memorial statue at One Police Plaza.

One retired NYPD detective said that officers will often buy miniature versions of the statue for families of slain police officers with the officer’s shield number on it.


By: Ny Post

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Cristiano Ronaldo tells Manchester United he wants to leave

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United return could prove to be short-lived.

Just 11 months after Ronaldo was triumphantly announced at Old Trafford, the Portuguese superstar has told the club he would like to leave if they receive a strong enough offer, per multiple reports, after United failed to qualify for the Champions League last season.

Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions to lead United, but the campaign was largely a disaster, as the club was sixth in the Premier League — tied for its second-worst finish of the Premier League Era — and lost in the Champions League Round of 16, failing to secure any trophies. Ronaldo, who came to United at the last minute after being linked to Manchester City, struggled to fit within Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s system before Solsjkaer was replaced by the polarizing Ralf Ragnick.

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Cristiano Ronaldo
REUTERS

According to The Athletic, newly minted Chelsea owner Todd Boehly met with Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes, last week to discuss the idea of him playing in London. The website also named Bayern Munich and Napoli as potential suitors, while Paris Saint-Germain is not considered interested.

Ronaldo reportedly has a year left on his deal with United, which does not view him as being for sale, according to The Athletic.

A five-time Ballon D’Or winner, Ronaldo’s 141 Champions League goals are the most of any player. If he is with United next season, it will be the first year in which he won’t take part in the top European competition since 2002-03, when he was 17 years old and playing for Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon.


By: Ny Post

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Off-duty NYC cop shot, robbed of motorcycle in The Bronx

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An off-duty NYPD auxiliary sergeant was shot in the leg as three masked bandits robbed him of his motorcycle in The Bronx early Saturday, police said.

The 23-year-old was on his 2017 white Kawasaki motorcycle when he was surrounded by the masked thieving trio on Independence Avenue between West 27th and West 239th Streets at around 4:30 a.m., cops said.

The auxiliary officer was shot in the left leg during the robbery. The suspects snatched his bag and cellphone before taking off on his ride and at least one other motorcycle, the NYPD and police sources said.

The victim was taken by EMS to St. Barnabas Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

There were no arrests. Police did not provide a description of the suspects, who fled in an unknown direction.


By: Ny Post

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