Putin has Desperate Measures that won’t get him what he wants

Putin’s “Forcible” Solution of the Crimea: The Case of the Russian Forcible annexation of Ukrainian Territory

But when Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia in 1999, he had other plans. Russia does not accept Ukraine’s independence because it is part of Russia, says the Russian leader. He claims that only Russia has the ability to protect Ukraine from invaders.

The past century in Ukraine has seen wars, famines, political upheavals and much more. Yet there’s a recurring theme that can be boiled down to a single sentence: Ukraine tries to break free from Russia, and Russia refuses to let it go.

Despite the reports from the ground that voting took place at the hands of some people, Putin claimed the referendums reflected the will of millions of people.

“I want the Kyiv authorities and their real masters in the West to hear me. For everyone to remember. People are becoming citizens in Luhansk and the other areas. During the ceremony Friday, the Russian President said that they were going to be there forever.

The Russian president believed it was important to fix a mistake that was done after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Putin has made statements in the past indicating he wanted to rebuild the Russian empire. This was a warning to me that this war was going to happen,” he said.

Russia will now, despite the widespread international condemnation, forge ahead with its plans to fly its flag over some 100,000 square kilometers (38,600 square miles) of Ukrainian territory – the largest forcible annexation of land in Europe since 1945.

Russian forces were on the run in Ukraine on Monday, as the Ukrainian military pushed its offensive forward in the east and made gains in the south.

Yet Putin’s order to mobilize 300,000 additional troops in September prompted the largest outflow: Hundreds of thousands of Russian men fled to border states including Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Georgia in an attempt to avoid the draft.

Unveiling Ukraine During the Monday Attacks: Air Strikes on Kiev’s Strategic Infrastructure: CNN’s Michael Bociurkiw

Michael Bociurkiw is a global affairs analyst. He was a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe before he joined the Atlantic Council. He is a regular contributor to CNN Opinion. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN.

Russia’s defense of its own strategic infrastructure has been put in question because of a series of explosions along a key bridge.

Russia has since unleashed a wave of air strikes on civilian infrastructure in an attempt to freeze Ukraine into submission during the winter months. The bombing campaign has made life in Ukraine miserable, but there are few signs of Ukrainians backing down.

Unverified video on social media showed hits near the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and close to Maidan Square, just a short stroll from the Presidential Office Building. Five people were killed as a result of strikes on the capital, according to Ukrainian officials.

There were no air raid sirens in the Odesa area as of midday local time, despite reports that missiles and drones were shot down. (Normally at this time of the day, nearby restaurants would be heaving with customers, and chatter of plans for upcoming weddings and parties).

Just hours before the Monday attacks, Zaporizhzhia, a southeastern city close to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, was hit with multiple strikes on apartment buildings. Many people were killed and injured.

In a video filmed outside his office, the President Volodymyr Zelensky said that many of the missile strikes across Ukraine were aimed at the country’s energy infrastructure. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at least 11 important infrastructure facilities have been damaged and some provinces are without power.

Some media outlets in the capital moved their operations to underground bomb shelter in scenes similar to those of the early days of the war. In one metro station serving as a shelter, large numbers of people took cover on platforms as a small group sang patriotic Ukrainian songs.

Indeed, millions of people in cities across Ukraine will be spending most of the day in bomb shelters, at the urging of officials, while businesses have been asked to shift work online as much as possible.

Just as many regions of Ukraine were starting to roar back to life, and with countless asylum seekers returning home, the attacks risk causing another blow to business confidence.

It would seem that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has become even more proficient at creating new victims and enemies as he has been trying to get more people to fight him. At home and abroad, there seems to be no limits to Putin’s appetite to wreak havoc in pursuit of an elusive victory.

Hardwiring newly claimed territory with expensive, record-breaking infrastructure projects seems to be a penchant of dictators. In 2018, Putin personally opened the Kerch bridge – Europe’s longest – by driving a truck across it. The world’s longest sea crossing bridge was connected by Beijing to the former Portuguese andBritish territories of Macau and Hong Kong within a year. The $20 billion, 34-mile road bridge opened after about two years of delays.

The Ukrainian Response to the Decay of September 11, 2001: How Putin Met Putin and the West During Russia’s First Battlefield Collisions

The reaction among Ukrainians to the explosion was instantaneous: humorous memes lit up social media channels like a Christmas tree. Many shared their sense of jubilation via text messages.

Putin was always consumed by pride and self-interest, so sitting was never an option. He responded in the only way he knows how, by unleashing more death and destruction, with the force that probably comes natural to a former KGB operative.

It was also an act of selfish desperation: facing increasing criticism at home, including on state-controlled television, has placed Putin on unusually thin ice.

Faced with growing setbacks, the Kremlin appointed a new overall commander of Russia’s invasion. The pace of the Ukrainian counter-offensives has made it hard to know if Gen. Sergey Surovskaya will lead his forces back onto the front foot before the end of the year.

If Washington and other allies use urgent phone diplomacy to urge China and India to resist the urge to use more deadly weapons, it will be a big win.

Experts suggest the coming weeks are crucial for both the battlefield and Europe. “As ever, where Putin goes next depends on how the rest of the world is responding,” Giles said. “Russia’s attitude is shaped by the failure of Western countries to confront and deter it.”

Vladimir Lukashenko and the Belarusian military: bringing the Russes back together in the war against our neighbors, and why it isn’t

The country needs high tech defense systems to protect its energy infrastructure. The need to protect heating systems is important during the winter.

For the west to have a meaningful effect, Turkey and Gulf states need to come on board and be pressured to impose travel restrictions on Russia.

Russia massed tens of thousands of troops in Belarus before its February invasion and used Belarusian territory as a staging ground for its initial, unsuccessful assault on Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Moscow still has hundreds of troops in Belarus, from which it launches missiles and bombing raids, but their number is now expected to increase sharply.

“This won’t be just a thousand troops,” Mr. Lukashenko told senior military and security officials in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, after a meeting over the weekend with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in St. Petersburg.

In rambling remarks reported by the state news agency Belta, Mr. Lukashenko said that work had already started on the formation of what he called a “joint regional group of troops” to counter “possible aggression against our country” by NATO and Ukraine.

“Ukraine doesn’t pose a threat to Belarus. It’s a lie,” Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a Belarusian opposition leader, said. “I urge the Belarusian military: don’t follow criminal orders, refuse to participate in Putin’s war against our neighbors.”

The psychological impact from further involvement in the war could be a factor. “Everyone’s mind in Ukraine and in the West has been oriented towards fighting one army,” he said. Putin would use the war as a way to bring the lands of ancient Rus states back together.

Artyom Shraibman, a political analyst from Warsaw, said that the risk of Mr. Lukashenko sending his own troops to Ukraine would make it difficult for him to resist. It would be catastrophic politically.”

“There are many things Russia can do to make the war personal, not just for people of Ukraine but around Europe, to try to force pressure on governments to remove their support for Ukraine,” Giles said.

Not for the first time, the war is teetering towards an unpredictable new phase. “This is now the third, fourth, possibly fifth different war that we’ve been observing,” said Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Programme.

Experts say the next weeks of the war are critical and that there is a threat of another spike in intensity as each side seeks to strike another blow.

It means that, as winter approaches, the stakes of the war have been raised once more. “There’s no doubt Russia would like to keep it up,” Giles said. The successes of the Ukrainians have sent a clear message to the Kremlin. They are able to do things that surprise us, so we need to get used to it.

Monday’s attacks, and further strikes throughout the week, were evidence of Russian President Vladimir Putin lashing out after a series of setbacks in the war that have put him under pressure domestically.

The Russian Counter-offensive in Vysokopillya: Resolving the War in the Balkans and the Black Sea

Ukrainian troops hoist the country’s flag above a building in Vysokopillya, in the southern Kherson region, last month. Ukrainian officials say they have liberated hundreds of settlements since their counter-offensive began.

Russia said Thursday its forces would help evacuate residents of occupied Kherson to other areas, as Ukraine’s offensive continued to make gains in the region. The announcement came shortly after the head of the Moscow-backed administration in Kherson appealed to the Kremlin for help moving residents out of harm’s way, in the latest indication that Russian forces were struggling in the face of Ukrainian advances.

The counter-offensives have helped shift the focus of the war, proving a point that was made in Russia and the West during the summer.

The Russians are playing for the whistle, and trying to avoid a collapse of their frontline before winter sets in, according to a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

If they are able to get Christmas with the frontline looking like it is, it will be a huge success for the Russians.

Landing a major blow in Donbas would send another powerful signal, and Ukraine will be eager to improve on its gains before temperatures plummet on the battlefield, and the full impact of rising energy prices is felt around Europe.

“There are so many reasons why there is an incentive for Ukraine to get things done quickly,” Giles said. The winter energy crisis in Europe and the destruction of Ukrainian power infrastructure will be tests of resilience forUkraine and its Western backers.

The region would become stable if NATO membership was achieved by Ukraine, said Valeriy Chaly, the former ambassador to the United States. This is what Ukraine’s government wants, but the alliance is unlikely in the near term.

The power supply to the central regions of Ukraine has been stable, after Russian missile attacks on Monday and Tuesday disrupted the electricity supply. Ukraine’s Prime Minister has warned that there is a lot of work to be done to repair damaged equipment, and asked Ukrainians to reduce their energy usage during peak hours.

Experts believe it remains unlikely that Russia’s aerial bombardment will form a recurrent pattern; while estimating the military reserves of either army is a murky endeavor, Western assessments suggest Moscow may not have the capacity to keep it up.

“We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and munitions are running out,” Jeremy Fleming, a UK’s spy chief, said in a rare speech on Tuesday.

“Russia’s use of its limited supply of precision weapons in this role may deprive Putin of options to disrupt ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensives,” the ISW assessed.

It’s crucial to know how the momentum will shift in the coming weeks by how much weaponry and manpower each side has left. Ukraine said it intercepted 18 cruise missiles on Tuesday and dozens more on Monday, but it is urging its Western allies for more equipment to repel any future attacks.

The Russian government does not have the ability to sustain a high-tempo missile assault into the future because they don’t have the precision munitions to do so, according to Puri.

The impact of such an intervention in terms of pure manpower would be limited; Belarus has around 45,000 active duty troops, which would not significantly bolster Russia’s reserves. It would force another assault on the northern part of the country.

“The reopening of a northern front would be another new challenge for Ukraine,” Giles said. If Putin focused on regaining the territory of the Kharkiv oblast it would provide Russia with a new route into that area.

He said that there was a moral duty to aid and a win the war. “But also as an opportunity to revitalize the discussion about democracy and the values of freedom. The Ukrainians demonstrate to us that these values are worth fighting for.

Ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Berlin, the NATO Secretary General said that Ukraine needed more systems to stop missile attacks.

Many of the incoming missiles were shot down by the air defense systems provided by NATO Allies, and that’s making a difference.

Ukraine “badly needed” modern systems such as the IRIS-T that arrived this week from Germany and the NASAMS expected from the United States , Bronk said.

The army is already degraded in quality and capability. The composition of Russia’s military force in Ukraine — as much of its prewar active duty personnel has been wounded or killed and its best equipment destroyed or captured — has radically altered over the course of the war. The Russian military leadership is unlikely to know with confidence how this undisciplined composite force will react when confronted with cold, exhausting combat conditions or rumors of Ukrainian assaults. Recent experience suggests these troops might abandon their positions and equipment in panic, as demoralized forces did in the Kharkiv region in September.

Russian reprisal has expanded, as Ukrainian forces continue to push Russian units back and take back territory from them.

NATO will hold nuclear deterrence exercises starting Monday. NATO has warned Russia not to use nuclear weapons on Ukraine but says the “Steadfast Noon” drills are a routine, annual training activity.

State of Ukraine: Report of the Oct. 13 Security Council Report on Russia’s Decay into an Explosion on a U.S. Bridge

Russian agents are suspected of having carried out a large explosion on the bridge in order to send a message to other countries in the region.

Russia’s move to annex a number of territories in Ukraine was condemned by the United Nations General Assembly. In the Oct. 13 session, four countries voted alongside Russia, but 143 voted in favor of Ukraine’s resolution, while 35 abstained.

Two men shot at Russian troops preparing to deploy to Ukraine, killing 11 people and wounding 15 before being killed themselves, Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Oct. 15.

Russian troops began arriving in Belarus Oct. 15, which Minsk said were the first convoys of almost 9,000 service members expected as part of a “regional grouping” of forces allegedly to protect Belarus from threats at the border from Ukraine and the West.

You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR’s coverage here. NPR’s State of Ukraine is available for updates throughout the day.

Some regional officials, including the mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin, were taking pains to offer reassurances. “At present, no measures are being introduced to limit the normal rhythm of the city’s life,” Mr. Sobyanin wrote on his Telegram channel.

The governors of the four regional areas said that there would be no restrictions on entry or exit.

But many Russians are sure to see a warning message in the martial law imposed in Ukraine, the first time that Moscow has declared martial law since World War II, analysts say.

Ms. Stanovaya said people were worried about the borders and the siloviki, the strong men in the Kremlin who would do what they wanted.

On Tuesday, the newly appointed commander of the Russian invasion, Gen. Sergei Surovikin, acknowledged that his army’s position in Kherson was “already quite difficult” and appeared to suggest that a tactical retreat might be necessary. The general said he was prepared to make difficult decisions about military deployment but did not say what those might be.

In a signal that the faltering invasion of Ukraine has eroded Moscow’s influence elsewhere, Russia has recently redeployed critical military hardware and troops from Syria, according to three senior officials based in the Middle East.

The War of the Khmer Rouge: Russian Military Intelligence in the Land of the First Missile and the Search for a Weapon in the War Machine

Editor’s Note: David A. Andelman, a contributor to CNN, twice winner of the Deadline Club Award, is a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, author of “A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen” and blogs at Andelman Unleashed. He formerly was a correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Europe and Asia. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN.

A rocket from a Ukrainian missile defense system may have caused the landing of the first missile in Poland, a NATO member, which may have been an incoming Russian missile. (President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, has insisted the missile was not Ukrainian)

One thing is certain, even if it’s the exact circumstances of the missile. Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, said that Russia is responsible for its illegal war against Ukraine.

The army planted mines in large areas of Kherson in recent months, like the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia in the 1970s. The Cambodian de-mining experts have been called in to help with the monumental task facing Ukranian in the year 2022. Russian armies left behind evidence of atrocities and torture, reminiscent of the Khmer Rouge, at the same time.

A growing number of Russian soldiers have rebelled at what they are being asked to do and refuse to fight. Amid plummeting morale, the UK’s Defense Ministry believes Russian troops may be prepared to shoot retreating or deserting soldiers.

Indeed a hotline and Telegram channel, launched as a Ukrainian military intelligence project called “I want to live,” designed to assist Russian soldiers eager to defect, has taken off, reportedly booking some 3,500 calls in its first two months of activity.

Putin has also tried, though he has been stymied at most turns, to establish black market networks abroad to source what he needs to fuel his war machine – much as Kim Jong-un has done in North Korea. The United States has already uncovered and recently sanctioned vast networks of such shadow companies and individuals centered in hubs from Taiwan to Armenia, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, and Luxembourg to source high-tech goods for Russia’s collapsing military-industrial complex.

Putin is becoming more isolated on the world stage. The G20 was the only meeting of the head of state to stay away from. Though Putin once lusted after a return to the G7 (known as the G8 before he was ousted after his seizure of Crimea), inclusion now seems but a distant dream. Russia imposed a ban on 100 Canadians, including Jim Carrey, from entering the country only to see the comparisons with North Korea come to mind.

The best and brightest in almost every field have left Russia. This includes writers, artists and journalists as well as some of the most creative technologists, scientists and engineers.

One leading Russian journalist, Mikhail Zygar, who has settled in Berlin after fleeing in March, told me last week that while he hoped this is not the case, he is prepared to accept the reality – like many of his countrymen, he may never be able to return to his homeland, to which he remains deeply attached.

Vladimir Putin and the 1918 Ukrainian-Russia war: a reminder of the history coming in the building where Ukrainian independence came from Russia a few months ago

The West is trying to get away from Russian oil and gas in order to keep the country from pursuing this war. Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission told the G20 on Tuesday that they have learned that dependency was unsustainable and they want reliable and forward-looking connections.

Moreover, Putin’s dream that this conflict, along with the enormous burden it has proven to be on Western countries, would only drive further wedges into the Western alliance are proving unfulfilled. On Monday, word began circulating in aerospace circles that the long-stalled joint French-German project for a next-generation jet fighter at the heart of the Future Combat Air System – Europe’s largest weapons program – was beginning to move forward.

In the final analysis, it seems that Putin does not seem to know that revenge is not an appropriate way to act on or off the battlefield and is more likely to lead to isolation and weaken Russia.

He continued to hold that the attempts by certain countries to rewrite and change history are becoming increasingly aggressive as he spoke in the Kremlin on Tuesday.

The Russian empire began to expand. The empire of the Russians can’t exist without Ukraine. That’s why they keep coming back,” said Volodymyr Viatrovych, a member of Ukraine’s parliament and a prominent historian.

The suburb of Bucha was taken over by the Russians during the first few days of the war. Viatrovych said he immediately brought his wife and child to western Ukraine for their safety after the Russians invaded Ukraine.

martial law was declared by the parliament after he went for an emergency session. He was able to join the security forces after he received a rifle.

The offices of the Kyiv House of Teachers are in the elegant whitewashed building in the center of the city where Ukraine first declared independence from Russia in 1918.

Two months ago, a reminder of that history came. That’s when a Russian missile slammed into the street outside the Kyiv House of Teachers.

The blast blew out the windows, as well as parts of the glass ceiling in the hall where independence was declared in 1918. The windows are torn apart. Glass still covers the floor.

The director of the House of Teachers said that there were parallels to a century ago. “This building was also damaged in the fighting back then. And now it’s damaged again. Don’t worry. We will rebuild everything.”

On the time for an empire to go: Ukrain’s president is now fighting to free it self from Russia, as Putin did in 1991

Andrew Weiss, with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, notes that during the Soviet era, Kremlin leaders repeatedly crushed Ukrainian protests and rebellions — which helps explain why Ukrainians are fighting so fiercely today.

“If you look at all the hardships that Ukraine experienced in the 20th century, and they’re vast, this is the moment where all the wrongs of the last hundred plus years need to be redressed,” he said.

In December 1991, Ukrainians held a referendum on independence and thought they had solved the issue. Ninety-two percent of the respondents said they would go their own way. The Soviet Union collapsed later that month.

“I’ve said it before and I want to say it again, but Russia can be the guarantor of the territorial integrity of Ukraine,” Putin said earlier this month.

Weiss said Ukraine is now “mobilizing all of its citizens to make good on the things that people 100 years ago could only aspire to. The country will have an identity that’s largely founded in opposition to Russia and in a national narrative of survival and overcoming.

He said that if he’s losing a war, especially his own, he doesn’t survive. The outcome may signal an end to the era of the empire. It’s 21st century. It is time for empires to go.

When he entered politics, Kasparov was still in Russia and challenging Putin’s hold on power. He left Russia and now lives in New York after his safety was made clear.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2022/12/16/1142176312/ukraine-ongoing-fight-to-free-itself-from-russia

What Do We Expect to Learn from the Crimea: The Case of the Ruling of Ukraine in the Post-Soviet Era During the Cold War

Many military analysts warn the war is unlikely to produce a clear resolution on the battlefield. They say it’s likely to require negotiations and compromises.

That’s not a popular opinion in Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and many citizens say they want all Russian troops driven out of the country. Zelenskyy recently told Time magazine, “We are dealing with a powerful state that is pathologically unwilling to let Ukraine go.”

“Being a buffer zone or gray zone is not good from a geopolitical point of view,” he said. “If you are a gray zone between two security blocs, two military blocs, everybody wants to make a step. This has happened to Ukraine.

At the time, Putin insisted his forces were embarking on a “special military operation” — a term suggesting a limited campaign that would be over in a matter of weeks.

The war has fundamentally upended Russian life, rupturing a post-Soviet period in which the country pursued, if not always democratic reforms, at least financial integration and dialogue with the West.

The Russian War Against Ukraine Has Left Russia Isolated and Struturing with More Tumult Ahedral-Area: New Draconian Laws, Propaganda on Social Media, and Social Media

Draconian laws passed since February have outlawed criticism of the military or leadership. A leading independent monitoring group says that over 20,000 people have been held for demonstrating against the war and 45% of them are women.

Lengthy prison sentences have been meted out to high profile opposition voices on charges of “discrediting” the Russian army by questioning its conduct or strategy.

Organizations and individuals are added weekly to a growing list of “foreign agents” and “non-desirable” organizations intended to damage their reputation among the Russian public.

Even Russia’s most revered human rights group, 2022’s Nobel Prize co-recipient Memorial, was forced to stop its activities over alleged violations of the foreign agents law.

The state has also vastly expanded Russia’s already restrictive anti-LGBT laws, arguing the war in Ukraine reflects a wider attack on “traditional values.”

Repressions are still targeted for now. Some of the new laws are still not enforced. But few doubt the measures are intended to crush wider dissent — should the moment arise.

New “fake news” laws that criminalize reporting that goes against government policy forced leading independent media outlets and a handful of vibrant online investigations to shut down or relocate outside of the country.

Internet users are also subject to restrictions. American social media giants were banned in March. Since the start of the conflict tens of thousands of websites have been blocked by Russia’s internet regulator.

Technical workarounds such as VPNs and Telegram still offer access to Russians seeking independent sources of information. Older Russians prefer state media to TV talk shows, so there is a lot of propaganda on TV.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2022/12/31/1145981036/war-against-ukraine-has-left-russia-isolated-and-struggling-with-more-tumult-ahe

War Against Ukraine Has Left Russia Isolated And Ststruggling: Putin, the West, and the Theoretical Aspects of the Cold War

Many of the perceived government adversaries left in the early days of the war due to concerns of persecution.

Some countries that have absorbed Russians believe their economies will grow even if Russians remain a sensitive issue for former Soviet republics.

Helped by Russian price controls, the ruble regained value. Russian ownership led to the rebirth of several brands, including McDonald’s. The government reported that the economy declined 2.5% by the end of the year.

The Western world is trying to decrease Russian energy profits by limiting the amount countries will pay for Russian oil and seaborne oil imports. There are signs the efforts are already cutting into profits.

Ultimately, President Putin is betting that when it comes to sanctions, Europe will blink first — pulling back on its support to Ukraine as Europeans grow angry over soaring energy costs at home. He announced that oil exports would be stopped for five months for countries that do not abide by the price cap.

Putin’s reputation for providing “stability” used to be a key reason for his support among Russians who remember the chaotic years that followed the collapse of the USSR.

The government’s tone is unchanging when it comes to Russia’s military campaign. Russia’s Defense Ministry provides daily briefings recounting endless successes on the ground. The Russian leader repeatedly says that everything is going according to plan.

Yet the sheer length of the war — with no immediate Russian victory in sight — suggests Russia vastly underestimated Ukrainians’ willingness to resist.

It is a taboo topic in the home to discuss the true number of Russian losses. Estimates from the west place these figures much higher.

Indeed, Russia’s invasion has — thus far — backfired in its primary aims: NATO looks set to expand towards Russia’s borders, with the addition of long-neutral states Finland and Sweden.

Russia’s actions have been criticized by long time allies in Central Asia out of concern for their own sovereignty, which would be unthinkable in Soviet times. India and China have eagerly purchased discounted Russian oil, but have stopped short of full-throated support for Russia’s military campaign.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2022/12/31/1145981036/war-against-ukraine-has-left-russia-isolated-and-struggling-with-more-tumult-ahe

Putin’s “direct line” and “big press conference” delayed for a few months after the State of the Nation: Ukraine vs. Ukraine

A state of the nation address, originally scheduled for April, was repeatedly delayed and won’t happen until next year. Putin’s annual “direct line” — a media event in which Putin fields questions from ordinary Russians — was canceled outright.

An annual December “big press conference” – a semi-staged affair that allows the Russian leader to handle fawning questions from mostly pro-Kremlin media – was similarly tabled until 2023.

There is no reason why the delays are taking so long. Many suspect it might be that, after 10 months of war and no sign of victory in sight, the Russian leader has finally run out of good news to share.

A top Ukranian national security official has said that Russia could potentially increase its military activities in the next few weeks.

The Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Oleksiy Danilov told Sky News that these months will define the war.

“During the week, military representatives from the two countries will practice joint planning of the uses of troops based on their previous experience in armed conflicts,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Ukrainian President made a surprise Europe tour, meeting leaders in London and Paris and reiterating his call for fighters to be sent to his country.

Oksana Markarova attended the State of the Union for the second year in a row, but the war in Ukraine was not in the speech this year.

There’s “strong indication” Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead to supply anti-aircraft weapons to separatists in Ukraine, according to the international team investigating the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014.

“We are peaceful people. Lukashenko, who has close ties with Putin and is an authoritarian, said at a press conference that they don’t want war.

News from the Ukraine: CNN Observations of the Border Fortification with Barbed Wire on the Ukrainian-Baryrianische Strahlung

The CNN team were 100 meters (328 feet) away from the Ukrainian side, where they saw the Belarusian government’s fortification of the border area with barbed wire in a carefully orchestrated and tightly controlled press tour.

The border crossing between the two countries is still open, but it has been closed by the Ukrainian side, the officials told CNN.

A red and white flag associated with the opposition is pictured on the opposite side of the border crossing by the CNN team.

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