Twitter: 65 Diplomats, Journalists, Spies, and Professors Who Will Help You Make Sense of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

The usual disclaimers apply. This is not a complete list (it’s not even my complete list) and many informative accounts are not listed here. And of course I am not endorsing every tweet by every account here. However, these accounts will help keep you current and, in some cases, present you with interesting/challenging analysis. You will likely see many of them retweeted (sometimes frequently) by me @BlogsofWar as I continue to track this story closely.

@20committee – John Schindler. Professor, Naval War College; Chair, PfP CT Working Group; Senior Fellow, Boston University; former NSA & NAVSECGRU – talking intel & security

@2kdei – Kristina Dei. OSINT, PR, IR, #eDiplomacy, #ForeignPolicy, Polyglot Director: Go Global Media.

@AFP – Agence France-Presse. News – and the stories behind the news – from AFP’s reporters around the world.

@AmbassadorPower – Samantha Power. United States Ambassador to the United Nations.

@andrewsweiss – Andrew S. Weiss. Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment. Russia and Eurasia Program. NBC News Analyst.

@BBCDanielS – Daniel Sandford. I’m the Moscow Correspondent for BBC News.

@BBCSteveR – Steve Rosenberg. Moscow Correspondent for BBC News.

@b_judah – Ben Judah. Writer, Wonk. Author of Fragile Empire: How Russia Fell In And Out Of Love With Vladimir Putin. Often heard talking to Monocle 24 radio.

@BSBonner – Brian Bonner. Kyiv Post chief editor and regional coordinator of Objective investigative journalism project.

@carlbildt – Carl Bildt. Foreign Minister of Sweden since 2006.

@CoalsonR – Robert Coalson. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent covering Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Balkans, South Caucasus.

@CrimeaEU – Crimean Tatar Parliment Representation to the EU.

@CSISRussia – The Russia and Eurasia Program at CSIS provides research, analysis, assessment, and recommendations regarding all the regions of the former Soviet Union.

@DmitriTrenin – Dmitri Trenin. Carnegie Moscow Center’s Director. Editor in chief of #EurasiaOutlook, the blog of @CarnegieRussia.

@europatweets – Europatweets – What is Europe doing – Aggregating most of Twitter accounts concerning Eu affairs

@ForeignCorresp – Christian Fraser. BBC Paris Correspondent – formerly Rome/Cairo/MiddleEast. Tweets on all things Europe.

@FHeisbourg – François Heisbourg. Chairman/Président IISS, GCSP conseiller spécial/special adviser FRS.

@GeoffPyatt – Geoffrey R. Pyatt, is the current United States Ambassador to Ukraine.

@GermanyDiplo – News from the German Foreign Office.

@Interpreter_Mag – Interpreter Magazine is a Russian-to-English translation journal, with news analysis and commentary.

@jamesmatesitv – James Mates. Europe Editor, ITV News.

@jancienski – Jan Cienski. Financial Times Warsaw correspondent.

@jason_corcoran – Jason Corcoran. Bloomberg News Irish journo in Moscow.

@JohnKerry – John Kerry. 68th U.S. Secretary of State.

@joshuafoust – Joshua Foust. Communications officer at the Eurasia Foundation.

@juliaioffe – Julia Loffe. Senior editor at The New Republic.

@JustHovensGreve – Just Hovens Greve. Freelance journalist and student.

@Kasparov63 – Garry Kasparov. Chairman of the Human Rights Foundation (@HRF). Author, speaker, 13th World Chess Champion.

@Kateryna_Kruk – Kateryna Kruk is a civil activist and political scientist based in Kiev.

@KevinRothrock – Kevin Rothrock – Russia analyst. Global Voices @runetecho Project Editor. UConn PoliSci PhD student.

@KimberlyMarten – Kimberly Marten. Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University; international security specialist.

@KremlinRussia_E – President of Russia. Official Kremlin news.

@KrsBauer – Christophe Bauer. News producer at France 24 in Paris. Conflicted Franco-Haitian-Washingtonian. Politics/history nerd.

@KyivPost – The Kyiv Post is Ukraine’s leading English-language newspaper.

@lauraphylmills – Laura Mills. Moscow correspondent Associated Press.

@LawDavF – Sir Lawrence David Freedman. Professor of War Studies King’s College London.

@lrozen – Laura Rozen. Reporting on Washington, foreign policy & Middle East.

@Lucian_Kim – Lucian Kim. Swiss-Korean American journalist on Crimea rehab in Kiev.

@MarkAdomanis – Mark Adomanis. Consultant by day, Russia watcher, blogger, and commentator by night.

@MarquardtA – Alexander Marquardt. ABC News Middle East Correspondent.

@MaximEristavi – Maxim Eristavi. Freelance foreign correspondent covering Ukraine. ex-@RFERL & @VoiceofRussia.

@michaeldweiss – Michael Weiss.? NOW Lebanon columnist, Foreign Policy columnist, Editor-in-Chief of http://interpretermag.com.

@mike_giglio – Mike Giglio. Mideast Correspondent for BuzzFeed.

@myroslavapetsa – Myroslava Petsa. Foreign Correspondent at @5channel, ex-@chastime. @NaUKMA alumni.

@NSCPress – This account is run by President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC).

@NATOpress – Oana Lungescu. Official Twitter account of the NATO Spokesperson, Oana Lungescu. Ex BBC Europe correspondent.

@OdessaBlogger – Nikolai Holmov. Brit permanently in Ukraine.

@OSCE – The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is the world’s largest regional security organization.

@PaulSonne – Paul Sonne. Moscow correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. Currently in #Ukraine.

@pwaldieGLOBE – Paul Waldie. European Bureau Chief, Globe and Mail.

@RFERL – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has 700 journalists in 21 countries broadcasting in 28 languages.

@rm867 – Rod McLeod is a regional security/crisis director, US multi-national, operating in Europe, the Middle East & Africa.

@RNicholasBurns – Nicholas Burns. Harvard Kennedy School Professor and former American Diplomat.

@RolandOliphant – Roland Oliphant. Moscow correspondent for @telegraph.

@shaunwalker7 – Shaun Walker. Moscow Correspondent of the Guardian.

@shustry – Simon Shuster. Reporter in Moscow for TIME.

@SimonSmithFCO – Simon Smith. British Ambassador to Ukraine.

@SlawomirDebski – S?awomir D?bski. Director of @CPRDiP. Former head of the Polish Institute of International Affairs.

@steven_pifer – Steven Pifer. Brookings scholar focusing on arms control, Russia and Ukraine. Retired career diplomat.

@strobetalbott – Strobe Talbott. President, Brookings Institution.

@tanais_ua – Natalia S. Researcher (Ukraine, Eastern Europe, civil society, EU foreign policy).

@TheWarRoom_Tom – Tom Nichols. Professor, Naval War College. Former US Senate aide. Adjunct @HarvardEXT. Politics, foreign policy, Russia.

@tkesho3 – Eka Tkeshelashvili. Lawyer, President of Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies. Former Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Reintegration, Foreign Affairs and Justice.

@youbsanctioned – Sam Cutler. Policy Adviser @ Ferrari & Associates, P.C. Tweeting on sanctions, AML/CFT, IOC, and the day’s int’l crisis.

@YuliaSkyNews – Yulia Bragina. Russia and CIS producer for Sky News.

@zbig – Zbigniew Brzezinski. National Security Adviser to President Carter. Counselor and Trustee @CSIS. Research Professor at SAIS.

* The list may grow beyond 62 as I find time to add more names.

Tracking Euromaidan: 23 Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following

The Euromaidan protests are here to stay but supporters have a difficult road ahead. These accounts are a great start for those looking to stay on top of the protests and political maneuvering in what is sure to be an extended fight for Ukraine’s position in Europe.

@KyivPost – The Kyiv Post is Ukraine’s leading English-language newspaper

@ChristopherJM – Editor at English-language newspaper @KyivPost. Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Ukraine)

@MaximEristavi – the Golos 106FM CEO & Editor-in-Chief

@dpeleschuk – Moscow-based journalist. Senior Correspondent, @GlobalPost. All things behind the Iron Curtain

@EEAP1 – Research journalism and news based in Tallinn Estonia, covering Baltic region, Eastern Partnership, EU & Eastern Europe

@myroslavapetsa – Foreign Correspondent at @5channel

@mashadanilova – Associated Press Correspondent in Ukraine

@Ukroblogger – Ukrainian politics, Battleground updates

@BalmforthTom – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent

@ZygisPavilionis – Lithuanian Ambassador to the United States and Mexico

@OdessaBlogger – Brit permanently in Ukraine

@MarkAdomanis – Consultant by day, Russia watcher, blogger, and commentator by night

@VostokCable – A Russia and East European Studies blog, founded by students at Oxford University but independent and volunteer-run

@BBCSteveR – Moscow Correspondent for BBC News

@BSpringnote – All things Ukraine

@JustHovensGreve – Freelance Journalist

@IvanBotoucharov – A European and a Europhile. Co-Founder and Co-President @One1Europe. Special adviser @GreaterEurope

@AlisaRuban – International Secretary of Democratic Alliance

@MaxRTucker – Writes for @Independent. Former Amnesty International on #Caucasus and #Ukraine

@sia_vlasova – Photojournalist at Kyiv Post

@maxseddon – Foreign affairs reporter without portfolio @BuzzFeed. formerly of @AP moscow

@shaunwalker7 – Moscow Correspondent of the Guardian

@UN_Ukraine – Official twitter account of the United Nations in Ukraine

The #Euromaidan and #Ukraine hashtags are also helpful in tracking events and identifying new sources. And of course I will be including Ukraine updates on @blogsofwar. If you think I’ve overlooked an important account please send me a note.

Why Would Bashar Assad Strike Ghouta with Chemical Weapons?

First let me say that almost every aspect of this attack is still under investigation. We know that many civilians are dead but it can not be said, with certainty, that Bashar Assad ordered a chemical weapons strike. However, we seem to be approaching that conclusion and it is a very interesting question. So, despite the fact that there are much better qualified people for this exercise, here is my best guess.

In the earlier stages of this conflict I was strongly in the camp that believed Assad would not resort to large-scale chemical weapon use. It’s not that I believed that he would be personally uncomfortable with that horror. He would not. But I believed, still believe actually, that chemical weapons offered very little tactical gain in exchange for great strategic loss. It is unlikely that he saw an opportunity, or even a pressing need, to use them at that time. However, like many others, I am worried that the events in Ghouta are indicative of a significant shift in Assad’s logic.

So what has changed?

The conflict in Syria seems like the same unending mess day after day and that may be part of the problem. We are approaching the third year of a conflict that will not go away. In other words there is very little hope, from Assad’s perspective, that the opposition will be crushed. Whatever happens, Syria will not return to its original pre-2011 form. He also has to be acutely aware that the current level of conflict is not infinitely sustainable. Assad’s grip on power is still quite strong but desperation must be growing.

Also, efforts to bring focus to the opposition have largely failed. This is a profoundly messy conflict and it’s getting worse each day. The United States and other opposing forces have moved from posing a credible, if not immediate, intervention threat to repeatedly expressing a strong desire to steer well clear of it. I won’t beat the “red line” issue to death but we all know how this has gone. It is quite easy to picture Assad thinking though all of this and possibly concluding that he has a free hand.

On top of all this you have two years of false (intentional or otherwise) reports of chemical weapons usage, rogue elements everywhere and massive chemical weapons centered propaganda campaigns by both sides to muddy the waters. It is precisely the kind of environment where regime forces could act and, if challenged, shrug off the accusations as just more opposition propaganda. Perhaps that was their plan all along? They have certainly put significant effort into that angle in their communications. Clarity is lacking, profoundly so, and that benefits the regime.

So to sum it up Assad cares about survival – not global public opinion. He certainly doesn’t care about the lives of others. He doesn’t believe that western forces will intervene in any way that would actually tip the balance of power (Even now, as cruise missiles are moving into place, it is unlikely that regime change is our goal). He also beleives, without a doubt, that Iran and Russia will not recoil in horror if he kills a extra few thousand women and children on the way to stability. He may not be right about that when it comes to Russia but that is beside the point. What, from that skewed and isolated perspective, is there to lose?

Actually, there is much to lose but I can see how someone like Assad could convince himself otherwise. Dictators have a knack for doing that. More responsible powers also have a knack for correcting them – eventually. We seem to be moving into that phase of this conflict now.