Odessa, Ukraine CNN  — 

Each morning I hope it will be easier to process. But nearly a fortnight into this war, the conflict still seems surreally distant and alarmingly beyond comprehension.

Try to ask yourself “how is this happening?” and you lurch out over an abyss so profound it is beyond the reach of your senses.

And even if Putin does think he can get his old empire back, how do these 13 days of savagery make that happen?

The slow and clumsy Russian campaign for the south has been the most baffling. It is clear what Moscow wants: To cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea.

What is hard to fathom is whether the Kremlin’s plan to get it has collapsed, and Russian troops are just throwing rockets and tanks at anything they can, or whether this sort of total war against Ukrainians was always the plan.