Vladimir Putin’s Forcible Annexation of Ukrainian Territory: A Prelude to a Russian Revolution and a Call for an End of the Crimea Era
Russia’s leader said that Ukraine doesn’t exist. Before he started his murderous full-scale invasion, he repeatedly denied the country’s existence in pseudohistorical essays and speeches. He is just the latest in a long line of Kremlin rulers who have tried to deprive Ukrainians of their subjectivity. For a man so obsessed with history, he should have worked out that centuries of unsuccessful attempts to destroy the Ukrainian nation show that Ukraine very much exists.
The military of the Ukrainians are proud of their actions in smashing the lines of Russian troops in northeastern Russia three weeks ago and restoring swaths of territory taken by Russian troops earlier this year. The territory in each of the four regions that President Putin claims to have annexed for Russia is almost back to them.
Putin, however, attempted to claim that the referendums reflected the will of “millions” of people, despite reports from the ground suggesting that voting took place essentially – and in some cases, literally – at gunpoint.
“A lot of buses arrived with Russian citizens who came to vote for leaving Ukraine and joining Russia. We knew we could not go along with this. It went against everything we believed in and were loyal to our fellow Ukrainian citizens.
The Russian president framed the annexation as an attempt to fix what he sees as a great historical mistake that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Putin, understandably, doesn’t want to go the way of either the Soviets or the Romanovs. It’s possible that the recent moves are due to the fact that he had long sought to avoid them.
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.
The Russian leader spoke in the chandeliered St. George’s Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace — the same place where he declared in March 2014 that the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea was part of Russia.
Hundreds of Russian members of Parliament and regional governors sat in the audience for Mr. Putin’s speech, as well as many of his cabinet ministers and the four Russian-imposed leaders of the occupied Ukrainian regions.
Europe has a challenge in dealing with Russia in a state of denial that can evolve into a managed decline. One abiding comfort may be that, after underestimating Moscow’s potential for malice, the risk for Europe would be to overstate its potential as a threat.
Vladimir Putin and the Makiivka War: a Cold War Between the Soviet Union and the United States, the Cold War between Russia and the Middle East
He reeled off a litany of Western military actions stretching over centuries — from the British Opium War in China in the 19th century to Allied firebombings of Germany and the Vietnam and Korean Wars.
The United States, he said, was the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war. “By the way, they created a precedent,” Mr. Putin added in an aside.
The Makiivka strike underlines not just Ukraine’s western-backed weapons capabilities, but Russia’s ongoing colossal strategic errors, made from either ignorance, incompetence or simple negligence.
A celebration will take place on Red Square. The Kremlin spokesman said that the official approval of the decrees will happen next week.
During a war, staged referendums were held in occupied territory. Much of the provinces’ civilian populations has fled fighting since the war began in February, and people who did vote sometimes did so at gunpoint.
Russia has taken over the two eastern regions that are collectively referred to as the Donbas, an area that Mr. Putin considers to be his primary prize and that has caused some hawks in Russia to criticize Russians for not doing enough.
But Mr. Putin nevertheless faces huge hurdles to reassert his control over an increasingly chaotic war, including a recent draft of hundreds of thousands of civilians into military service that has encountered opposition in Russia.
The Kremlin wanted to deny and suppress the identity, history, and culture of Ukraine, according to the evidence. “The devastating impacts of Putin’s war on Ukraine’s children will be felt for generations. The United States will stand with Ukraine and pursue accountability for Russia’s appalling abuses for as long as it takes.”
Kortunov is the head of the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow. He told CNN that President Putin wants to end the whole thing as soon as possible.
Hundreds of thousands of Russians have left the country, some out of principle or because they were facing persecution, others to avoid Western sanctions or the risk of being drafted into the military. According to rights groups, thousands of people have been arrested. Many others have been forced to withdraw from public life or lost their jobs, after hundreds of western companies withdrew from Russia and many local and foreign NGOs and campaign groups were shuttered.
The analysts noted that Russia had grumbled about the deliveries but had little response to the crossing of what could have been considered red lines.
Kortunov says he doesn’t know what goes on in the Kremlin but that he understands the public mood over the huge costs and loss of life in the war. “Many people would start asking questions, why did we get into this mess? Why, you know, we lost so many people.”
He has used a similar tactic in the past when annexing Crimea, but now threatens nuclear strikes should Ukraine attempt to take the annexed territories back.
Western leaders are in a battle of brinksmanship with Putin. Last Sunday US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Washington would respond decisively if Russia deployed nuclear weapons against Ukraine and has made clear to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” it would face.
Russian sabotage of NATO Nord Streams as a diplomatic probe of Russian aggression and Russian security forces in the wake of Ukraine’s invasion
Both Danish and Swedish seismologists recorded explosive shockwaves from close to the seabed: the first, at around 2 a.m. local time, hitting 2.3 magnitude, then again, at around 7 p.m., registering 2.1.
The German and Danes sent warships to secure the area, as Norway increased security around its oil and gas facilities.
So far, at least four leaks in Russia’s Nord Stream pipelines 1 and 2 have been discovered, each at the surface resembling a boiling cauldron, the largest one kilometer across, and together spewing industrial quantities of toxic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Brennan’s analysis is that Russia is the most likely culprit for the sabotage, and that Putin is likely trying to send a message: “It’s a signal to Europe that Russia can reach beyond Ukraine’s borders. Who knows what he will be doing next.
Nord Stream 2 was never operational, and Nord Stream 1 had been throttled back by Putin as Europe raced to replenish gas reserves ahead of winter, while dialling back demands for Russian supplies and searching for replacement providers.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had a plan to seize Ukraine quickly. The Russians failed to capture Kyiv on their first day of invasion.
Having failed in the face of Western military unity backing Ukraine, Putin appears set to test Western resolve diplomatically, by trying to divide Western allies over terms for peace.
Putin is expected to tell France and Germany that they need to end the war, that they need to protect their territories and that they need to put pressure on the Ukrainians.
The most worrying part is that Putin doesn’t seem to realize how small his space is, and that he would be foolish to use nuclear weapons in the future.
NPR Meets David Cherkaskyi, a father and son in the Donbas, Ukraine, during the Khmer Rouge Era
For Ukrainian Orthodox Jews Asher and David Cherkaskyi, a father and son both fighting on the front lines in the eastern Donbas region, beating Russia has become especially important to them because of their faith.
The mines that his forces planted in vast swaths of Kherson were very similar to the ones the Khmer Rouge planted in Cambodia during the 1970s. Indeed, Cambodian de-mining experts have even been called in to assist with the herculean task facing Ukraine in 2022. At the same time, Russian armies have also left behind evidence of unspeakable atrocities and torture, also reminiscent of the Khmer Rouge.
NPR met the father and son in July, and caught up with them again by phone in September as Jews around the world were celebrating Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year, and prepared for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which begins Tuesday evening.
The Asher story of David Cherkaskyi, a 16-year Ukrainian soldier in Dnipro, Ukraine, whose independence was declared by Russia in 2016
“If you said you were Jewish, you’d be downgraded in school. And if you were fighting in the army, you wouldn’t get a medal no matter how brave you were. He says you would be sent to the most dangerous places. “The anecdotes and propaganda made us feel embarrassed and intimidated.” Jews and other nationalities were thought to be inferior. Only Russians were good enough to rule in the Soviet Union.
David Cherkaskyi, 20, has only known an independent Ukraine, which declared independence in 1991. He tells NPR that his country is a free one. You have the option to do what you please here. You can go to church, you can be Muslim or Jewish, it is not a problem.”
David was to deploy to the front in the Donbas, hours before NPR met the Cherkaskyis in Dnipro. One of the top sofruts is a center of religious calligraphy where Torahs and other Jewish parchments are written by hand.
According to Asher, he realized he was a Ukrainian Jew in the fall of 2016 after Russia’s takeover of the peninsula. He remembers the trumped up referendum to unify with Russia.
The voting process that the Kremlin is attempting to justify taking four Ukrainian regions was very tough and cynical, more than the referendum of the peninsula.
But he says Putin’s move to conscript “by trickery” hundreds of thousands of new soldiers — who Cherkaskyi says “are unprepared, forced and intimidated” — does not dent Ukrainian soldiers’ morale in the least.
The fall of Lyman, the central railway hub of Donbas, Ukraine, as witnessed by the Rosh Hashana, Asher and Alexander Dugin
But this past Rosh Hashana, Asher says they were able to celebrate as usual, with blessings, apples and honey. And, he says, they said a “a prayer for the light to overcome the darkness approaching Europe and the whole world from the Russian Federation.”
KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces on Sunday hunted Russian stragglers in the key city of Lyman, which was taken back from Russia after its demoralized troops, according to a major Russian newspaper, fled with “empty eyes,” and despite Moscow’s baseless claim it had annexed the region surrounding the city.
Two days after President Vladimir V. Putin held a grandiose ceremony to commemorate the incorporation of four Ukrainian territories into Russia, the debacle in the city — Lyman, a strategic railway hub in the eastern region of Donbas — ratcheted up pressure on a Russian leadership already facing withering criticism at home for its handling of the war and its conscription of up to 300,000 men into military service.
The Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported on Sunday that Russian forces had been plagued by desertion and delayed arrival of reserves during the last few days of their occupation.
After more than an hour of laudatory coverage of Russia’s growth from 85 to 89 regions in an annexation most of the world views as illegal, the fall of Lyman was not even mentioned on the flagship Sunday political show.
The soldiers said they had been forced to retreat because they were fighting with NATO soldiers instead of the Ukrainians.
These are not toys anymore. They are part of a systematic and clear offensive by the army and NATO forces,” the unnamed deputy commander of one Russian battalion told the show’s war correspondent, Evgeny Poddubny. The soldier said that his unit was intercepting discussions by the soldiers from Poland and Romania on their radios.
The broadcast was intended to convince Russians who think the war is pointless and have doubts about what will happen to them if they are called up that they will be blamed for the destruction of Russia by the West.
The idea that Russia is fighting a broader campaign was repeated in an interview with Aleksandr Dugin, a far-right thinker whose daughter, also a prominent nationalist commentator, was killed by a car bomb in August.
Moreover, Ukraine has, to date, done a better job than Russia of recruiting, training, equipping, organizing and employing additional forces – enabled by the extraordinary support provided by the US (more than $26 billion in arms, ammunition, and other security assistance since the beginning of the latest invasion) and other NATO and western countries. I think we will see more evidence of this when Ukraine launches its counter-offensive in the summer.
Both Europe and Russia accuse the Western countries of damaging the Nord Stream gaspipeline, which burst after underwater explosions last month, as an act of sabotage.
“The West already accuses us of blowing up the gas pipeline ourselves,” he said. “We must understand the geopolitical confrontation, the war, our war with the West on the scale and extent on which it is unfolding. In other words, we must join this battle with a mortal enemy who does not hesitate to use any means, including exploding gas pipelines.”
The campaign may be working at the moment. In an interview, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stated that many Russians feel threatened by the West.
Moscow and Tehran want to spread their ideologies outside of their borders. The struggles of the Ukrainian and Iranian people will have repercussions far from their countries.
When Aleksandr was captured outside of the eastern city of Lyman, he was not wearing the usual black or red outfit that he would wear if he were in Russia or Ukraine. To keep him warm, the Ukrainian soldiers gave him a Russian parka they had lying around in their trench.
Serhiy, one of the Ukrainian soldiers who found Aleksandr, told reporters from The New York Times that he went to their positions after coming out of the forest.
There has been little time for reflection by the Ukrainians as they press their attack and try to stop the Russian army from regrouping. The soldiers of the Ukrainian army were never able to observe the faces of the Russians in the trenches, but now they can see them from close range.
The Iraq War: An All-Weight Campaign to End the War for Women: The Case of a Syrian Girl Indicted at a Crime Scene
A former CNN producer and correspondent is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN and she is a columnist for The Washington Post. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.
On Sunday, almost by accident, two groups of demonstrators came together in London. One was waving Ukrainian flags; the other Iranian flags. When they met, they cheered each other, and chanted, “All together we will win.”
The uprising in Iran and the war in Ukraine are, on the surface, very different conflicts. At their core, however, they are being fought by individuals who have decided to risk their lives, to do what it takes to defend their right to live as they choose; to push back against violent, entrenched dictatorships.
These David v. Goliath battles show bravery that is almost unimaginable to the rest of us – and is inspiring equally courageous support in places like Afghanistan.
In Iran, there was a death of a young woman last month. Known as “Zhina,” she died in the custody of morality police who detained her for breaking the relentlessly, violently enforced rules requiring women to dress modestly.
Iranian women have danced around fires and flung their headscarf into the flames in defiance of the regime, in scenes of exhilarated defiance.
It’s why women are climbing on cars, waving their hijab in the air, like a flag of freedom, and gathering crowds of supporters in city streets, and in universities, where security forces are opening fire to try and silence them.
Putin’s First Visit to Iran since the Ukraine War: In Memorandum: The Challenge of a Cold War in a Middle Eastern Regime
Russia, which has a significant military presence in Syria, still helps maintain the power of the government. In one of the world’s most complex conflict zones, changes in the balance of power could result in Israel rethinking its stance toward the Ukraine conflict.
For eight long years prior to the invasion of its neighbor, Russia waged a limited war in the east of the country, throwing the eastern border region into a state of turmoil and unleashing cyberattacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure. Many military and cybersecurity observers around the world warned that Russia’s scorched-earth hacking was demonstrating a playbook that would, sooner or later, be used outside of Ukraine too—a warning that soon proved true, with cyberattacks that struck everything from American hospitals to the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The repressive regimes in Moscow and Tehran are now isolated, pariahs among much of the world, openly supported for the most part by a smattering of autocrats.
Is it any wonder that Putin’s first trip outside the former Soviet Union since the start of his Ukraine war was to Iran? Iran has trained Russian forces and is believed to have supplied Russia with advanced drones to kill Ukrainians.
These are two regimes that, while very different in their ideologies, have much in common in their tactics of repression and their willingness to project power abroad.
Iran’s prisons are filled with regime critics and courageous journalists – including Niloofar Hamedi, first to report what happened to Mahsa Amini. In Russia as well, journalism is a deadly profession. So is criticizing Putin. Russian President Putin tried to kill the opposition leader, and then his people decided to keep him in a colony indefinitely.
People living in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen are more interested in the Iranian regime being overthrown than it is in the chance of that happening. It would change their lives because they were heavily influenced by Tehran. Iran’s constitution encourages it to spread its Islamist revolution.
Why Putin wasn’t invited to the G20: why Canada was banned from entering the G7, and why Russia didn’t allow North Korea
Putin has been isolated on the world stage. He was the only head of state to stay away from a session of the G20, which Zelensky dubbed the “G19.” It is no longer possible for Putin to return to the G7, despite his desire to do so before he was ousted. The comparison of Russia banning 100 Canadians, including Jim Carrey, from entering the country and that of North Korea is striking.
The area was occupied by Russian troops before October. Burnt-out cars litter the fields. The letter ‘Z’ – a symbol used by Russian forces – marks the walls.
“They dropped everything: personal care, helmets,” said the commander, who uses the code name Swat. I think it was a special unit that they were afraid of. It was raining very hard, the road was bad and they drop everything and move.”
The Cost of Chaos: The CNN Analogue of Bergen’s Revisionist Account of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and its Implications for the US and NATO
Peter Bergen is a national security analyst for CNN, a vice president at New America, and a professor at Arizona State University. Bergen is the author of “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.
With even his allies expressing concern, and hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing partial mobilization, an increasingly isolated Putin has once again taken to making rambling speeches offering his distorted view of history.
(Indeed, his revisionist account defines his rationale for the war in Ukraine, which he asserts has historically always been part of Russia – even though Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union more than three decades ago.)
When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, they planned to install a puppet government and get out of the country as soon as it was feasible, as explained in a recent, authoritative book about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, “Afghan Crucible” by historian Elisabeth Leake.
During the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US was initially reluctant to escalate its support for the Afghan resistance, fearing a wider conflict with the Soviet Union. It took until 1986 for the CIA to arm the Afghans with highly effective anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, which ended the Soviets’ total air superiority, eventually forcing them to withdraw from Afghanistan three years later.
Ukrainians are not an official member of NATO, which is of interest to the US since it is a treaty alliance. One major reason the US has not provided more direct aid to Ukraine is concern that Putin would be provoked against NATO.
Although it claims a high success rate, Ukraine has already stopped 30 of 35 missiles with the patriot air defense system. NATO’s best technology is on the table in order to help win the war over Russia and hold them back.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian Embassy, and the Third Dissolution of the Russian Empire: The Case of the 1917-1991 War and the Russia-Russian War on the Crimea
Putin is also surely aware that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was hastened by the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan two years earlier.
Looking further back into the history books, he must also know that the Russian loss in the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 weakened the Romanov monarchy. Czar Nicholas II’s feckless leadership during the First World War then precipitated the Russian Revolution in 1917. Subsequently, much of the Romanov family was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad.
On February 22, just two days before the Russians invaded, Donald Trump publicly gushed about Putin and said he was a genius for declaring two regions of eastern Ukraine independent.
Asked by a reporter what factors could call for a new round of mobilization, Putin said: “There are no such factors today, we are not discussing them. I told you, 300,000 were called up as part of the mobilization. 150,000 have been deployed to Ukraine. More than half are in combat units.
Putin’s gamble may lead to a third dissolution of the Russian empire, which happened first in 1917 as the First World War wound down, and again in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union.
In a recent interview with Russian arch-propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, the head of the defense committee in Russia’s State Duma demanded that officials cease lying and level with the Russian public.
Kartapolov complained that the Ministry of Defense was evading the truth about incidents such as Ukrainian cross-border strikes in Russian regions neighboring Ukraine.
The Belgorod region is located close to the border with Ukraine. When it comes to striking targets across the border, Kyiv has generally adopted a neither-confirm-nor-deny stance.
“There is no need to somehow cast a shadow over the entire Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation because of some, I do not say traitors, but incompetent commanders, who did not bother, and were not accountable, for the processes and gaps that exist today,” Stremousov said. “Indeed, many say that the Minister of Defense [Sergei Shoigu], who allowed this situation to happen, could, as an officer, shoot himself. But, you know, the word officer is not very well-known for many.
Kadyrov has been less reticent about blaming Russian commanders since the retreat of Russia from the Ukrainian city of Lyman.
Kadyrov accused Lapin, the Central Military District commander, of failing to provide for his troops and moving his headquarters away from his subordinates.
The information space of the Russian Federation deviated from the narratives preferred by the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense that things are generally under control.
Kadyrov – who recently announced that he had been promoted by Putin to the rank of colonel general – has been one of the most prominent voices arguing for the draconian methods of the past. He said in a Telegram post that he would give the government extraordinary war powers if he had his way.
“Yes, if it were my will, I would declare martial law throughout the country and use any weapon, because today we are at war with the whole NATO bloc,” Kadyrov said in a post that also seemed to echo Putin’s not-so-subtle threats that Russia might contemplate the use of nuclear weapons.
A disaster unfolds in a remote village in Ukraine: air raid sirens, rocket shelling, rescue workers, evacuations, refugee camps and the subway system
The barrage continued on a day when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to human rights activists in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, an implicit rebuke to Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin, for his invasion of Ukraine.
Overnight nearly 40 Russian rockets hit Nikopol, on the Dnipro River, damaging at least 10 homes, several apartment blocks and other infrastructure, according to the head of the regional military administration, Valentyn Reznichenko. He said that further shelling on Friday evening killed one man and wounded another.
The result in one remote village is a disaster: homes destroyed, a burned-out school, and a sickening stench from the rotting carcasses of 24,000 dead chickens.
The worst violence to hit the area since the collapse of the soviet Union took place last month and all fell victim, but neither Russia nor the military alliance devoted to keeping peace did anything to stop it.
The relative calm in Ukrainian cities far from the country’s battlefields was shattered by two painfully familiar sounds this week: the ominous ring of the air raid sirens, and the eruptions of Russian attacks.
The Ukrainian military said that the majority of cruise missiles fired at Ukraine on Thursday were intercepted, with its defense forces shooting down 54 of 69, according to preliminary data. The missiles were destroyed by Ukrainian air defense, according to the boxer.
The subway system was suspended for several hours on Monday. Rescue workers tried to pull people out of the rubble after the air raid alert was lifted.
The Crimean Attacks of Monday on the Kerch Bridge: Kiev, Ukraine, Russia, Ukraine and the Netherlands condemns the actions of Putin
The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Demys Shmygal, stated Monday that as of 11 a.m. there had been 11 damaged infrastructure facilities in eight regions.
As of Monday afternoon, the electricity supply had been cut in Lviv, Poltava, Sumy, and Ternopil, said the Ukrainian State Emergency Services. Electricity was “partially disrupted” in the rest of the country.
On Monday, Putin held an operational meeting of his Security Council, a day after he called the explosions on the Crimean bridge a terrorist attack and spoke of the Ukrainian special services as the culprits.
The strikes followed weeks of Ukrainian ground gains and began two days after a huge explosion damaged the Kerch bridge, the only crossing between the annexed Crimean peninsula and Russia. That blast, used by the Kremlin to justify Monday’s onslaught, was a big blow to the Russians.
The Russian appointed head of annexed Crimea claimed on Monday that his approach to what he calls its special military operation in Ukraine has changed.
“I have been saying from the first day of the special military operation that if such actions to destroy the enemy’s infrastructure had been taken every day, we would have finished everything in May and the Kyiv regime would have been defeated,” he added.
“They are trying to annihilate us and wipe us off the face of the earth,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram on Monday as the scale of the attacks became clear. In a nutshell, that is it. They are trying to kill the people in Zaporizhzhia who sleep in their homes. They are trying to kill people on their way to work.
And there seems to be little suggestion that the West will be letting up on its support for Ukraine. The United States and Europe, which recently committed to raising funding by $2 billion in 2023, seem determined to seeUkraine through the winter.
“Again, Putin is massively terrorizing innocent civilians in Kyiv and other cities,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said. The Netherlands condemns these acts. Putin doesn’t know that the will of the Ukrainian people is not negotiable.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the attacks “another unacceptable escalation of the war and, as always, civilians are paying the highest price.”
An Israeli Airstrike Event during the First Day of the War: Gazebov Strikes on Kiev’s Central Nuclear Power Plant
The G7 group of nations will hold an emergency meeting via video conference on Tuesday, the office of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed to CNN, and Zelensky said on Twitter that he would address that meeting.
The analyst Michael Bociurkiw moved from Canada to Ukraine in the summer. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The fear of retaliation by the Kremlin was always present, even after a huge explosion hit the hugely strategic and symbolic Kerch Straight bridge over the weekend.
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.
The area surrounding my office in Odesa remained quiet in between air raid sirens as reports emerged of missiles and drones being shot down. Normally, at this time of day, restaurants would be filled with customers and chatter of upcoming weddings and parties.
A few hours later, Zaporizhzhia, a southeastern city close to the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, was hit by several strikes on apartment buildings. At least 17 people were killed and several dozens injured.
This week’s air strikes may point towards that endeavor; Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told CNN that around 30% of energy infrastructure in Ukraine was hit by Russian missiles on Monday and Tuesday. The minister told CNN that this was the “first time from the beginning of the war” that Russia has “dramatically targeted” energy infrastructure.
In the northeastern city of Kharkiv which has seen more bombardments than the other city in the region, residents stocked their fridges and pantry with canned food, gas and drinking water. Yet they also entertained themselves at the Typsy Cherry, a local bar. The owner told The Times that the mood was cheerful. People had a good time and wondered when the electricity will come back. (Power came back hours later.)
businesses have been asked to shift work online as much as possible, and millions of people in Ukrainian cities will spend most of the day in bombshelters, at the urging of officials.
With so many asylum seekers returning to their homeland, the attacks risk causing another blow to business confidence.
It was a day of high drama in a war that’s still playing out. Viatrovych sees the actions of Putin as part of a pattern of behavior by Russian leaders.
dictators like to hardwire newly claimed territory with record-breaking infrastructure projects. In 2018, Putin personally opened the Kerch bridge – Europe’s longest – by driving a truck across it. The president of China decided to connect the former Portuguese and British territories with the longest sea crossing bridge after Beijing reclaimed Macau. The $20 billion, 34-mile road bridge opened after about two years of delays.
The Russian Response to Putin’s Attack on Ukraine: The Need for Arms, Training and Education in the Era of High Technology Warfare
The reaction among Ukrainians to the explosion was instantaneous: humorous memes lit up social media channels like a Christmas tree. Text messages gave many a sense of jubilation.
For Putin, consumed by pride and self-interest, sitting still was never an option. He just went ahead and killed more people with the force that comes naturally to a former KGB agent.
Putin has been placed on thin ice by growing criticism at home, an act of selfish desperation.
And all of this will be happening while we await the Ukrainian offensive that will be launched in the spring or summer, with much better trained, better equipped and more capable Ukrainian forces.
Washington and some of its allies must use telephone diplomacy in order to convince China and India to resist the urge to use even more deadly weapons.
The most important thing for the West right now is to show unity and resolve against a man who probes for weakness and tends to exploit divisions. Western governments also need to realize that rhetoric and sanctions have little if no impact on Putin’s actions. Even if it means sending military experts closer to the battlefield to speed up the integration of high technology weapons, they still need to arm Ukrainians and provide urgent training.
Furthermore, high tech defense systems are needed to protect Kyiv and crucial energy infrastructure around the country. The heating systems need to be protected because of the upcoming winter.
U.S. and NATO responses to the London air raid attacks on Monday night: The message to Kiev and the rest of the world, and how Putin might respond to Russia
The time has also come for the West to further isolate Russia with trade and travel restrictions – but for that to have sufficient impact, Turkey and Gulf states, which receive many Russian tourists, need to be pressured to come on board.
The city dwellers who spent many months in air raid shelters have been able to rebuild their lives, but the attacks snatched away the semblance of normal that city dwellers have been used to.
The targets on Monday had little military value and it was a sign that Putin wanted to find new targets so he wouldn’t have to be involved in battles with Ukraine.
The bombing of power installations, in particular, Monday appeared to be an unsubtle hint of the misery the Russian President could inflict as winter sets in, even as his forces retreat in the face of Ukrainian troops using Western arms.
The attacks on civilians in Ukraine, which killed at least fourteen people, drove new attention to what steps the US and Allies must take to respond against Russia, after already having sent Billions of dollars of arms and kits to the country.
The US President unveiled a package of assistance for Ukrainians that included a missile defense system in order to counter air attacks from Russia.
John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, suggested Washington was looking favorably on Ukraine’s requests and was in touch with the government in Kyiv almost every day. He told Kate that they do what they can to meet those needs in subsequent packages.
Kirby was also unable to say whether Putin was definitively shifting his strategy from a losing battlefield war to a campaign to pummel civilian morale and inflict devastating damage on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, though he suggested it was a trend developing in recent days and had already been in the works.
It was probably something they had been planning for a long time. Kirby said that the explosion on the bridge might have led to some of their planning being accelerated.
The attacks in Ukraine may be the beginning of another conflict, as expressed by France’s President.
A retired lieutenant. The former director for European Affairs on the National Security Council said that by attacking targets, Putin was sending a message to the people of his country about how he planned to prosecute the war.
If we had modern equipment, we could probably raise the number of drones and missiles that are downed and not kill innocent civilian or injured Ukrainians.
In that case, Mr. Putin could lash out more broadly against Ukraine. The attacks of the past week — particularly striking critical civilian infrastructure — could be expanded across Ukraine if missile supplies hold out, while Russia could directly target the Ukrainian leadership with strikes or special operations.
The lesson of this horrible war is that everything Putin has done to fracture a nation he doesn’t believe has the right to exist has only strengthened and unified it.
Olena Gnes, a mother of three who is documenting the war on YouTube, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper live from her basement in Ukraine on Monday that she was angry at the return of fear and violence to the lives of Ukrainians from a new round of Russian “terror.”
“This is just another terror to provoke maybe panic, to scare you guys in other countries or to show to his own people that he is still a bloody tyrant, he is still powerful and look what fireworks we can arrange,” she said.
Russia does not want to send a thousand troops to Ukraine: a meeting of the president of Belarus with the press secretary general Lukashenko
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 the country that are used to launching missiles and bombing raids.
In the meeting over the weekend with President Putin of Russia, Mr. Lukashenko told military and security officials in his country that this will not be just a thousand troops.
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.
The strongman, who has resisted the pressure from Moscow to send his own troops, accused the Ukranian leader of planning to attack from the south with no evidence.
Any further Belarusian involvement in the war could also have a psychological impact, Puri suggested. He said that everyone in the West was focused on fighting one army. According to the article, the war in Russia is designed to reestablish the lands of ancient Rus states.
Artyom Shraibman, a Belarusian political analyst now in exile in Warsaw, said Mr. Lukashenko would likely try to resist deploying his own troops in Ukraine because that “would be so dangerous for him on so many levels. It would be catastrophic politically.”
Andrei Sannikov, who served as deputy foreign minister under Mr. Lukashenko during his early period in power but fled into exile after being jailed, said Mr. Lukashenko was “running scared,” caught between pressure from Russia to help its demoralized forces in Ukraine and the knowledge that sending in Belarusian troops would be hugely unpopular, even among his loyalists.
Chern-Yukor Drama: Why Ukrainians Live and Work in Ukraine. My First Walk During the Two Months War in Askold’s Playground
State television reported on the suffering on Monday, as well as showing it. It showed plumes of smoke and carnage in central Kyiv, along with empty store shelves and a long-range forecast promising months of freezing temperatures there.
In addition to his position as an associate lecturer in Ukrainian at the School of Slavonic and East- European Studies, University College London, he is also a special projects curator at the Ukrainian Institute London. She divides her time between London and Ukraine where she works as a “fixer“– a translator and producer for foreign journalists.
A reminder of the history came two months ago. That’s when a Russian missile slammed into the street outside the Kyiv House of Teachers.
In the past two months, Russian bombs have bombarded Ukraine’s power grid, causing it to fall down in as much as half of the country, and leaving a majority of the country without power. In Kyiv, more than 200 miles west of the ongoing fighting in the region known as Donbas, Ukrainians are reduced to hunting for generators, storing food outside to prevent it from spoiling, charging their phones and computers during the few hours a day of reliable power, and keeping backup food and water supplies in apartment building elevators in case someone is trapped inside during a blackout. Water supplies have been paralyzed at times, too, along with portions of the country’s electrified rail system. And winter, with only a fraction of the country’s heating systems operational, still looms ahead.
Our playground is located in the center of the city, and is well known to everyone in the city. I took my first walk with my son at the park close to my parents home. We have spent most of the years since visiting every day to this day.
The park itself, named after Ukraine’s national poet, Taras Shevchenko, has become Askold’s main playground, remaining so, eerily deserted, in late February and March, when Russian tanks stood a mere 25 kilometers away.
Askold would take his “weapon” – a wooden sword – to the usually empty playground, much to the bemusement of the National Guard securing the park. The lack of playmates, many of whom left Kyiv with their parents, made the choice of any slides, see-saw, or merry-go-round hard for him.
Apart from the National Guard and our family, on some days the only “human” in the park was the imposing yet welcoming monument of Taras Shevchenko (not then protected by a concrete enclosure – that would come later).
The statue is located some 75 meters from Askold’s playground, gazing approvingly at the striking red-columned entrance to Ukraine’s largest university, which also bears Shevchenko’s name.
Askold, the son of a writer, is holding his wooden sword with his grandparents and other people in Shevchenko Park. The statue of poet Taras Shevchenko can be seen in the background.
The resistance of Ukrainians and other peoples against the Russian empire is one of the main themes in Shevchenko’s poems. In their missile attacks on Kyiv, did the Russians want to destroy his monument as a symbolic gesture? This was a hot topic Monday on Ukrainian social media, as people desperately tried to cope with the shock of missiles striking the capital’s city center.
Would I tell him that Russia is using old maps? Because it wants to destroy monuments of Ukrainian history and culture? Or, simply, because it can?
Why does Russia want to destroy Ukraine? Askold, I, and Salvini: The case of the Euromaidan Revolution of Dignity
On February 24, my son had asked this question, and it was one of the first he had asked. The full-scale war was a huge shock but unfortunately not a big surprise for us.
The Revolution of Dignity, also known as Euromaidan, began when Askold was 7 months old. A few months later, Russia annexed Crimea and started a war in the east of Ukraine. We knew war was going to happen in our house in Ukrainian in less than a decade.
Why does Russia do that? Askold asked again, devastated, looking at pictures and videos of the crater where his favorite swing in the playground used to be.
I told him that the Russians do not want us to exist. I was going to tell my son what we had seen at the mass graves in Hostomel, after all, I took him there with me, and he ought to not see what he saw. I knew we had to.
It’s because he must understand why he goes to a bomb shelter instead of his classroom; why Russia intends to destroy Ukraine, with its playgrounds, parks and Shevchenko’s poetry. The weapons in the National Guard’s hands are real, but not wooden.
Far-right parties are turning their back on Putin in Europe as well. Their leaders are anxiously looking for ways to navigate the rapids.
The daily images of bombed out schools, hospitals, playgrounds and apartment buildings, and the determined, so-far-largely-successful pushback by Ukraine, has prompted many – though not all – former fans to reconsider their admiration.
The leader of the post-fascist Brothers of Italy, who now is slated to become prime minister, has stopped saying nice things about Putin and has vowed to continue sending weapons to help Ukraine. Likewise, Matteo Salvini, who once called Putin “the best statesman on Earth” and used to sport a shirt with Putin’s face on it, now insists he supports Ukraine.
The downward spiral in the opinions of Russia and Putin among far-right members may be the source of their reconsideration. There was no confidence in Putin to do the right thing about world affairs among Salvini’s backers.
Pro-Russia positions are so poisonous that the RN’s acting president, Jordan Bardella, threatened to sue anyone who suggests there are financial ties between the party and Russia. (Le Pen’s presidential campaign was partly financed by a mysterious multimillion dollar loan from Russia in 2014. Le Pen said French banks refused to give her a loan.)
That’s the case in Germany, where some in the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party have openly expressed support for Russia, but the leadership has tried to tone it down while mobilizing opposition to Berlin’s policies – on the grounds that it creates hardships for Germans.
A couple of weeks ago, CPAC, the conservative political action group, tweeted a cringeworthy message that framed the conflict along Putin’s preferred lines, calling on Democrats to “end the gift-giving to Ukraine” and focus on the US. The group soon deleted the post, apologetically, with claims that it didn’t go through proper vetting.
The founder and notorious White nationalist of the America First Political Action Conference bellowed “Can we get a round of applause for Russia!” when the Russian bombing of Ukraine began.
Trump claimed that Putin is playing Biden like a drum and that it is not pretty to watch. Trump has been praising Putin less recently. Often using the war to praise himself.
Even the leaders of former Soviet Republics, including autocratic ones Putin protected in the past, are letting him down. Alexander Lukashenko, the dictator of the Belarussian state, is the only one who has stood with the Kremlin.
A majority of Americans remain behind supporting Ukraine and keeping sanctions on Russia, according to recent polling, but in a December survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the share of Americans who believe the US should support Ukraine for “as long as it takes” dropped 10 percentage points since the summer to about half. In a survey of Republicans, just a third supported indefinite support.
Speaking about Russians as “us” had begun to feel wrong because he deeply disagreed with Russia’s actions, he said. Talking about Russians didn’t seem right either. “Because of course, I’m Russian, I also have some partial responsibility for what is going on and I do not want to hide from it.”
The Story of Russia’s Road to War with Ukraine: From the First Battle to the Last Standstill in Kiev’s Cold War, to the Final Battle in Donbas
The invasion has turned into the biggest land war in Europe since World War II and has forced millions of Ukrainians from their homes.
Not for the first time, the war is teetering towards an unpredictable new phase. Keir Giles is a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House and he said that the war is likely to be the third, fourth, and possibly fifth of it’s kind.
“What seemed a distant prospect for anything that could be convincingly described as a Ukraine victory is now very much more plausible,” Giles said. “The response from Russia is likely to escalate further.”
The country’s flag was flown over a building last month in the southern Kherson region. Since their counter-offensive began, Ukrainian officials say they have liberated hundreds of settlements.
The head of the Kherson military administration urged the remaining residents to leave the city and the Ukrainian forces were busy clearing land mines and hunting down Russian soldiers who had left behind essential services.
The Ukrainians know that they are more powerful than they had thought. Do those who underestimated them learn from their mistakes? Military aid has been enough for Ukraine to survive but not to crush the enemy.
“The Russians are playing for the whistle – (hoping to) avoid a collapse in their frontline before the winter sets in,” Samir Puri, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the author of “Russia’s Road to War with Ukraine,” told CNN.
If the Russians can get Christmas with the frontline looking correct, that will be a huge success.
Russia is massing replacements soldiers and additional units to launch an attack on the southeastern portion of the country that they do not control, while also establishing defensive positions in other parts of the country they control in the south.
When a major blow is scored in the conflict in Donbas, the country will be eager to improve its gains and as a result, the effects of rising energy prices will be felt around Europe.
The economy in Ukranian is struggling from war and missile strikes on critical power infrastructure, including a 76 strike on Friday. As winter bites, millions of Ukrainians are enduring long periods without heat, electricity and water. (However, indicative of the resiliency that Ukrainians have displayed since the start of the war, many say they are prepared to endure such hardship for another two to five years if it means defeating Russia).
Ukraine’s national electricity company, Ukrenergo, says it has stabilized the power supply to Kyiv and central regions of Ukraine after much of the country’s electricity supply was disrupted by Russian missile attacks on Monday and Tuesday. The Prime Minister has asked Ukrainians to reduce their energy usage during peak hours to fix damaged equipment, and warned that there is a lot of work to do.
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.
Jeremy Fleming, the UK’s spy chief, said on Tuesday that Russian commanders know that their supplies are running out.
Russia has limited supplies of precision weapons, which may make it difficult for Putin to disrupt ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensives.
The amount of manpower left in reserve by each side will be important in deciding how the tide will change in the coming weeks. Ukraine said it succeeded in intercepting 18 cruise missiles on Tuesday and more on Monday, but it is asking its allies for equipment to protect it from future attacks.
“The barrage of missile strikes is going to be an occasional feature reserved for shows of extreme outrage, because the Russians don’t have the stocks of precision munitions to maintain that kind of high-tempo missile assault into the future,” Puri said.
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 put forward another assault on the northern flank of the country.
“The reopening of a northern front would be another new challenge for Ukraine,” Giles said. It would allow Putin to create a new route into the region, which has been wrested back from Ukrainians, he said.
By flipping the narrative of the conflict over the past two months, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has achieved one of his own key objectives: showing Ukraine’s Western allies that their military aid can help Kyiv win the war.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday that Ukraine needed more systems to be able to stop missile attacks.
Modern systems such as the IRIS-T that arrived inUkraine this week from Germany and the NASAMS expected from the United States are badly needed. , he said.
Olya, 24, and the shooting of a Soviet soldier killed in a Moscow-style barbershop last week: “What do we need to do?”
Mobilization forces can be used if they are needed. They may ease the burden on the remaining parts of Russia’s exhausted professional army if they were used in support roles. They could also fill out depleted units along the line of contact, cordon some areas and man checkpoints in the rear. They are, however, unlikely to become a capable fighting force. There are signs of discipline problems among soldiers who have been mobilized.
The Russian Defense Ministry described the shooting as a terrorist attack, according to state media outlets. It said the two gunmen were from a former Soviet nation and had fired on the soldiers during target practice at a firing range.
MOSCOW — Friday afternoons at the Chop-Chop Barbershop in central Moscow used to be busy, but at the beginning of a recent weekend, only one of the four chairs was occupied.
Many men have been staying off the streets out of fear of being handed a draft notice. She said she saw the authorities at the exits as Olya arrived at work last Friday.
Olya’s last name was not used in the interview because she didn’t want it to be referred to as ” Olya”. “It is hard for me to know what to do. We always planned as a couple.”
Vladimir Putin, Sergey Sobyanin, and the Russian invasion commander Gen Sergei Surovikin: a critical look at Moscow’s martial law
Some regional officials — including the mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin — appeared to be 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.
Although they were granted power, the governors of the region said that they wouldn’t impose restrictions on entry or exit.
Moscow has declared martial law in the past, but this is the first time they have done it since World War II.
The siloviki, the strong men in the Kremlin who are close to Mr. Putin, will do what they want, Ms. Stanovaya said.
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. General Surovikin was ready to make difficult decisions about military deployment but didn’t give any more information.
Russia still has large quantities of arms and weapons close to the troops they’ll supply and within range of enemy weaponry. Large depots should be broken up and scattered and located far behind enemy lines, even in Russian territory that western powers have said is off limits to Ukrainian strikes.
Comments on CNN News Editor’s Note: Kevin McCarthy’s “Outcome on Ukrainian Security Issues” in the U.S. Sen. Kamil Kushkin
Editor’s Note: Dean Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM radio’s daily program “The Dean Obeidallah Show” and a columnist for The Daily Beast. Follow him @DeanObeidallah. His own opinions are expressed in this commentary. View more opinion on CNN.
Kevin McCarthy’s comments were even more worrisome than Vance’s initial reaction, he was callous and inflammatory. McCarthy said that if Republicans win the House in November, Ukraine can no longer expect that US assistance would be a “blank check.”
“I support Ukraine but I never support a blank check,” McCarthy said after the speech. “We want to make sure there’s accountability for every money that we spent.”
Biden will announce a package of security assistance to Ukraine during his visit to the country, which will include the coveted Patriot missile systems, a US official told Phil Mattingly. The Pentagon plans to giveUkraine bomb kits to convert less sophisticated weaponry into “smart bombs” that it can use against Russians, according to sources. Zelensky’s visit also comes as Congress is poised to sign off on another $45 billion in aid for Ukraine and NATO allies, deepening the commitment that has helped Kyiv’s forces inflict an unexpectedly bloody price on Putin’s forces.
“The notion that now Kevin McCarthy is going to make himself the leader of the pro-Putin wing of my party is just a stunning thing. It’s dangerous,” Cheney said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“He knows better, but the fact that he’s willing to go down the path of suggesting that America will no longer stand for freedom, I think, tells you he’s willing to sacrifice everything for his own political gain.”
The War Between Ukraine and the United States: Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Give It to the Other Country, Even if It is a Cold War
Meanwhile, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene — who recently declared that if Republicans win the House in next month’s elections that she expects McCarthy “to give me a lot of power and a lot of leeway” — blamed Ukraine for the war shortly after Russia’s attack, saying that “Ukraine just kept poking the bear and poking the bear, which is Russia, and Russia invaded.”
Tucker Carlson is one of the Fox News stars who has been laying the groundwork with Republican base members about whether or not the United States should end its assistance to Ukraine.
And just last week, Ingraham derided former Vice President Mike Pence for referring to the United States as the “arsenal of democracy” and suggested our massive military is too depleted to help other countries such as Ukraine. Jim Banks of Indiana, who was a Republican, was welcomed by Ingraham, as he said that the US shouldn’t help those in other countries because we can’t put America first.
Some of McCarthy’s fellow Republicans may or may not get it according to Biden. But there’s one person who fully gets it: Vladmir Putin. If the GOP regains control of the House, it will cause great celebration.
The Phenomenology of Warfare: An Analysis of the Brussels Summit of the European Parliament on February 24 – 3 November 2015
Petraeus studied warfare for decades and practiced its application. He was the US and coalition commander of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and later served as director of the CIA. He received his PhD from Princeton after studying the American military’s lessons from the Vietnam War. Petraeus is also the co-author, with British historian Andrew Roberts, of the forthcoming book, “Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine.”
He wants to distract his nation from the obvious fact that he is losing badly on the battlefield and utterly failing to achieve even the drastically scaled back objectives of his invasion.
This ability to keep going depends on a host of variables – ranging from the availability of critical and affordable energy supplies for the coming winter, to the popular will across a broad range of nations with often conflicting priorities.
In the early hours of Friday in Brussels, European Union powers agreed a roadmap to control energy prices that have been surging on the heels of embargoes on Russian imports and the Kremlin cutting natural gas supplies at a whim.
These include an emergency cap on the benchmark European gas trading hub – the Dutch Title Transfer Facility – and permission for EU gas companies to create a cartel to buy gas on the international market.
While French President Emmanuel Macron waxed euphoric leaving the summit, which he described as having “maintained European unity,” he conceded that there was only a “clear mandate” for the European Commission to start working on a gas cap mechanism.
Still, divisions remain, with Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, skeptical of any price caps. Now energy ministers must work out details with a Germany concerned such caps would encourage higher consumption – a further burden on restricted supplies.
These divisions are all part of Putin’s fondest dream. Manifold forces in Europe could prove central to achieving success from the Kremlin’s viewpoint, which amounts to the continent failing to agree on essentials.
Germany and France are already at odds on a lot of these issues. The Chancellor of Germany and the President of France will hold a conference call on Wednesday in an effort to reach some sort of agreement.
Italy’s new prime minister is not afraid to return Putin’s message to Poland: The U.S. military needs to return to the Soviet era
And now a new government has taken power in Italy. Italy’s first woman prime minister tried to brush aside the post-fascist aura of her party after she was sworn in. One of her far-right coalition partners is a big fan of Putin.
The LaPresse audio clip states that Berlusconi said he returned Putin’s gesture with bottles of Lambrusco wine.
The other leading member of the ruling Italian coalition, Matteo Salvini, named Saturday as deputy prime minister, said during the campaign, “I would not want the sanctions [on Russia] to harm those who impose them more than those who are hit by them.”
At the same time, Poland and Hungary, longtime ultra-right-wing soulmates united against liberal policies of the EU that seemed calculated to reduce their influence, have now disagreed over Ukraine. Poland dislikes the pro-Putin sentiment of Hungary’s populist leader.
This is not easy. Congress’s likely new Speaker, Republican Kevin McCarthy, has warned the Biden administration cannot expect a “blank cheque” from the new GOP-led House of Representatives.
On Monday, Congress’ progressive caucus called on Biden to open talks with Russia to end the conflict, while it is still being waged, and its missiles and drones are still hitting in the interior.
Hours later, caucus chair Mia Jacob, facing a firestorm of criticism, emailed reporters with a statement “clarifying” their remarks in support of Ukraine. The Secretary of State called the Ukrainian counterpart to extend America’s support.
The support in terms of arms and materiel has helped the Ukrainians to achieve remarkable battlefield successes against a weakened and ill-prepared Russian military.
All these actions point to an increasing desperation by Russia to access vitally-needed components for production of high-tech weaponry stalled by western sanctions and embargos that have begun to strangle the Kremlin’s military-industrial complex.
Russian production of hypersonic missiles has all but ceased “due to the lack of necessary semi-conductors,” said the report. Plants that produce anti-aircraft systems are shutting down, and Russia has to return to Soviet-era defense stocks for replenishment. The Soviet era ended more than 30 years ago.
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.
The Justice Department imposed sanctions against individuals and companies for trying to smuggle high-tech equipment into Russia.
Ukraine was Russia’s until November 11: A case study of a Kherson woman raped by a Russian soldier
Billboards around the city that once read “Ukraine is Russian forever” have reportedly been spray-painted over with the message: “Ukraine was Russia’s until November 11.”
There are cases of sexual and gender-based violence against people ranging from 4 to 86 years old according to the United Nations. As of September, 43 criminal proceedings had been initiated, according to the UN.
Two weeks of work in the Kherson region have led to six allegations of sexual assault. The real number is almost certainly much higher, they say.
She says they walked around the rooms. “One stayed there, and the other one, who raped me, came in here. He came in, walked a little bit around the room and here in this place, he started groping me.”
He pinned her against the wardrobe, she says, and tore at her clothes. She says she was crying and begging him to stop. I had only one thought, to stay alive.
He warned her not to tell anyone, she recalls. She cried as she said that she didn’t tell her husband right away. “But I told my cousin, and my husband overheard. He said, ‘You should have told me the truth, but you kept silent.’”
She was widowed more than 30 years ago – she says her husband died in a motorcycle accident – and her son joined the military soon after Russia’s invasion on February 24. She left about 3 months after Russian troops occupied her village.
The case of Kateryna, Oleg, who was brutally raped by the Ukrainian soldiers in Novovoznesens’ke
“His commander found the head of his unit. He came to see me and told me, ‘I punished him severely, I broke his jaw, but the most severe punishment is ahead.’ Like shooting. The commander asked me if I was okay with it. I said I wish all of them would be shot.
The two-man team makes their way to a village named Novovoznesens’ke, where they discovered two additional cases of rape, allegedly by Russian soldiers. The next day, they return to Kyiv, to submit their findings.
Like many people from Kyiv, Kateryna and Oleg moved away from the capital to a safer area in western Ukraine when the invasion began last February. But they never wanted to leave the country. And soon they felt the draw of home pulling them back to the city.
The man in the crowd told the investigators that he was held by the Russian soldiers and forced to kill himself. It’s hard to hear, tales of torture like this are common here, but that’s not the subject of their work today.
A short drive down roads pockmarked by shelling, in Tverdomedove, a mother and daughter tell Kleshchenko that they have not heard of any sexual crimes in their one-road hamlet.
Months later, after the Ukrainian military liberated her village in a lightning counteroffensive, she returned. Shelling had cut her roof in half.
A Red Cabana in the Zaporizhia Neighborhood, and the Case of Viktor, a Freeman from Kherson
She does not know where to put it so the ceiling won’t fall on her. “If it would fall and kill me that would be better, so I won’t suffer. But I want to see my son again.”
Of course, many of these allegations will be impossible to prove; many do not even have a suspect. The team files its reports, and investigators try to get charges filed in the future.
“I still can’t believe I left there because I’m 25 miles from occupied territory,” says Viktor, who pulled a red suitcase from the black car he rode to Zaporizhia. “The madness.”
His home is just outside Kherson. He and his wife Nadiya raised their three daughters there. A neighbor told Viktor that the Russians broke into their house after they left.
At a Zaporizhzhia shelter, a volunteer who asks that he be called by his middle name, Artyom, helps care for Kherson evacuees as if they were his own family. Artyom asked that we not use his full name to protect his relatives in Kherson.
Artyom’s wife is a farmer’s daughter: Can the Russians stop her? An analyst’s perspective on the crisis in Ukraine
His wife stays at home as often as she can. She sells potatoes and vegetables from her garden at the local street market.
Artyom is not sure if it’s fine. He has fears that the Russians will stop his wife. He worries that she’ll get sick. She is four months pregnant. He worries about the baby.
Collaborations in the street markets of Kherson, a city filled with a lot of people — one can’t leave, but they can talk about it
Some of them are called collaborators by the person who is living in Kyiv. He says there are some people who can’t leave. Many are older. Others have few resources. Their lives are busy at the moment, he says.
Since the start of the war, the local street markets have popped up throughout the city, and they are the main source of public interaction. Most of the stores in Kherson are either closed or have empty shelves, so local farmers and bakers have been selling and trading items at the street markets.
“You can buy most things, from beginning with medicine to finishing with meat,” says Natalyia Schevchenko, 30, who fled Kherson. It’s terrible to watch. They sell medicine on the hood of one car and cut meat on the side of another.
The volunteer at Odesa’s side-by-side group that helps people evacuate from occupied territories still has contact with those in the city. She says her grandmother, who refused to leave, gives her regular updates.
Every now and then Artyom and his wife talk. They worry that Russians listen in on their conversations.
The last night of the Russian occupation: Kherson, Ukraine, is going to be a new pro-Russian republic – an urban warning from Vladimir Zelensky
The Russians could hit them here, so everyone is aware that there are tougher days to come. It is also unclear whether all Russian troops have left Kherson and the wider region. There is still a lot of uncertainty behind this euphoria.
In Kherson, the streets are filled with residents in Ukrainian flags, or with painted faces, singing and shouting protest against the Russians plans to transform the region into a new pro-Russian republic.
The locals climbed onto the tops of the buildings in the square to put up Ukrainian flags. Soldiers driving through are greeted with cheers and asked to sign autographs on flags.
Before we lived under Russian rule, every person we had talked to has had terrifying experiences like the teenager who told CNN he was taken and beaten by Russian soldiers who thought he was a spy. Residents told us they are overwhelmed by what this new-found freedom means.
Zelensky said that Ukrainian soldiers are doing the same thing as the American soldiers did in 1944 when they fought back Hitler’s forces.
Katerina described the liberation as the “best day” of her life after eight months under Russian occupation. “Our town is free, my street is free,” she told CNN.
The retreat is a blow to Putin’s war effort. Kherson was the only Ukrainian regional capital that Russian forces had captured since February’s invasion. Russia has occupied large areas of land since the beginning of the war, and Putin officially declared Russian territory just five weeks ago.
“It was a really hard time for everyone. Every Ukrainian family waited for our soldiers, for our army,” a Kherson resident told CNN on Saturday, recalling Russia’s months-long occupation.
Speaking Saturday on the next steps for the Ukrainian military, CNN military analyst Cedric Leighton said: “This is going to be a major urban operation. What you are going to see is a methodical operation to clear buildings of potential booby traps and mines.
On Friday evening, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky posted a nighttime video of celebrations in the city, where a crowd was waving flags and chanting “ZSU,” the Ukrainian acronym for the armed forces.
Earlier that day, the Ukrainian military’s southern operational command said Russian forces had been “urgently loading into boats that seem suitable for crossing and trying to escape” across the river.
The CNN team had to drive through a lot of diversions and fields, including bridges over canals that were destroyed, on their journey through small towns and settlements.
Eurphoria in Kherson, Ukraine, as CNN approached the first day of World War II: Vladimir Bespaov and Maria Bespalaya
The west bank of the Dnipro River was empty after Russians withdrew from Kherson, leaving the regional capital of the same name to Ukrainians.
The city’s residents do not have water, an internet connection or power. But as a CNN crew entered the city center on Saturday, the mood was euphoric.
The military presence is still limited, but huge cheers erupt from crowds on the street every time a truck full of soldiers drives past, with Ukrainian soldiers being offered soup, bread, flowers, hugs and kisses by elated passersby.
A man and woman hugging a soldier with their hands on his shoulder as CNN’s crew stopped to regroup.
With the occupiers gone, everyone wants you to understand what they have been through, how happy they are, and how much they are grateful to the countries who have helped them.
Russian forces invaded their country in late February and Vladimir Bespaov and Maria Bespalaya worried that they would not be able to start a family through adoption.
“I remember that morning of February 24, very clearly,” said Vladimir Bespalov, a 27-year-old railroad worker, of the first day of the war. “We thought we were too late. We realized we were already in a state of war, and we thought we could no longer adopt.”
The situation pushed the couple to do it sooner, he said. We were waiting to earn more money, have a better car, and build a house to give our children the best start in life. But when the war started, we thought why not adopt a child now and accomplish these things together as a family.”
A Russian soldier in Mariupol, Ukraine: What he and his family could do to stop him from becoming a slave in a war
Weeks later that message would reach a volunteer helping those fleeing Mariupol, a southern city that became emblematic of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ruthless campaign to take Ukrainian land, no matter the cost.
Russian troops bombarded the city while people were forced to underground for weeks. It is now a virtual wasteland, with nearly every building damaged or destroyed, and an unknown number of dead beneath the rubble.
After his mother was killed by Russian gun fire, Bespalov and Bespalaya were told by police that her death was an accident.
The men were drinking while the kids of their neighbors were tormenting them. He was starving and freezing,” Bespalaya told CNN in a hushed voice. She doesn’t want to bring up Ilya’s terrifying experience in front of him but he told the woman he now calls mama everything he knows about his terrifying weeks in the basement.
Bespalov and Bespalaya are his legal caretakers. They have been a little family for more than six months, and they plan to formally adopt him as soon as possible. All adoption processes are currently suspended in Ukraine due to martial law.
The young couple are protective of Ilya and protective of each other, trying to give him a sense of stability even though they know he will be affected by war.
“You try to take your mind off the fighting and immerse yourself in spending time with your child. We try to create memories of a normal childhood. Work takes time, but we spend every free moment together,” said Bespalov, who as a crucial railroad worker has not been called up for military service.
There is nothing normal about war. After they posted their appeal on Instagram, the couple set up two spare rooms for the possible arrival of a child – one a nursery with a white crib and blue bedding, the other equipped with a bunk bed and lots of toys.
I completely stopped being afraid of adoption. I was confident that we would have a child, and I was confident that I could care for anyone and deal with their character,” she told CNN.
Love, War and Strikes in the Dnipro River: a Call from Slovyansk, Kyiv, a New Family Unit
But that plan, too, was shattered by war. They were forced to flee their home in Slovyansk, a city in the frontline of the Donbass region, to get to Kyiv.
In April, they finally received the call they had been hoping for, from a volunteer in Mariupol: there was a little boy with no parents, could the couple care for him?
They left the city on the following day to meet the boy they would become part of their family.
“Now we have that love, that love that makes you a family. “I had a baby but my love is real and we did not have this baby,”Bespalaya said, with her husband Bespalov nearby.
When the power goes out at night, life is hard for Ilya because he is a new family unit and he has to depend on the power for their home.
Russian and Ukrainian forces traded fire in the wide expanse of the Dnipro River, which divides them, after Russia had retreated from the southern city of Kherson.
The Dnipro has become the new front line in southern Ukraine, and officials there warned of continued danger from fighting in regions that have already endured months of Russian occupation.
Through the afternoon, artillery fire picked up in a southern district of the city near the destroyed Antonivsky Bridge over the Dnipro, stoking fears that the Russian Army would retaliate for the loss of the city with a bombardment from its new positions on the eastern bank.
Mortar shells struck near the bridge, sending up puffs of smoke. Near the riverfront, incoming rounds rang out with thunderous, metallic booms. It was not immediately possible to assess what had been hit.
The mines are dangerous: A surprise visit to Kherson City, declared by U.S. Secretary of State Gen. Igor Yanushevich
The mines are dangerous. Four people, including an 11-year-old, were killed when a family driving in the village of Novoraysk, outside the city, ran over a mine, Mr. Yanushevich said. Another mine injured six railway workers who were trying to restore service after lines were damaged. And there were at least four more children reportedly injured by mines across the region, Ukrainian officials said in statements.
The threats still remain on the ground even as Mr. Zelensky made a surprise visit to Kherson.
“We are, step by step, coming to all of our country,” Mr. Zelensky said in a short appearance in the city’s main square on Monday, as hundreds of jubilant residents celebrated.
Russian forces fired on towns and villages that were recently regained by Ukrainian forces, according to the Ukrainian military. Two Russian missiles struck the town of Beryslav, which is just north of a critical dam, the military said. It was not immediately known if there were any casualties.
“Occupants rob local people and exchange items for homemade vodka”, said a resident in Oleshky, a town across the river from Kherson City. They get drunk and even more aggressive after that. We are so scared here.” She asked that her surname be withheld for security.
Biden and Xi Met: The Perfect Moment for a Dialogue between the United States and Democracy in the 21st Century
With democracy suddenly looking like it’s on firmer ground and key autocracies facing serious problems, it was an ideal moment for Biden to speak frankly to Xi about areas of disagreement between the two superpowers while trying to build safeguards to prevent the rivalry from careening into conflict as the relationship has deteriorated to its most tense state in decades.
A well-functioning democratic process in the US is likely disappointing to Xi and other autocrats hoping that deep divisions not only continue to weaken the country from within but also prove that democracy is chaotic and ineffective, inferior to their autocratic systems, as they like to claim. The midterms brought the American President to the table with a stronger hand to play.
That’s not the only reason, however, why this was the perfect moment — from the standpoint of the United States and for democracy — for this meeting to occur: There’s much more to this geopolitical moment than who controls the US House of Representatives and Senate.
After the Russians had conquered Kherson, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an emotional return to the destroyed city as Biden and XI were meeting.
Putin’s adventure turned to disaster as the Ukrainians defended their country with unexpected tenacity and as Biden rallied allies in a muscular push to support Ukraine.
By the time Xi and Putin met again in September, China had done little to support Russia militarily, and Putin admitted that Xi had “questions and concerns” about Ukraine. More recently, after the Russian President thinly threatened to use nuclear weapons, Xi rebuked him.
Putin decided to stay away from the upcoming G20 summit in Indonesia, avoiding confrontation with world leaders, as he became a pariah on the global stage.
The War in Ukraine with Russia and the Cold Cold Cold War: The Case for a Commander-in-Chiral Office? Xi Biden and the Destroying Russia
To be sure, Biden is not the only leader with a strong hand. The victory of the third term of China’s leader allows him to rule for as long as he wants. He doesn’t have to worry about elections, about a critical press or a vociferous opposition party. He is essentially the absolute ruler of a mighty country for many years to come.
And yet Xi faces a mountain of daunting problems. The economy has slowed down so much that China is reluctant to reveal economic data. China’s Covid-19 vaccine, once a tool of global diplomacy, is a disappointment. Part of that is that China is imposing strictures on the rest of the world because of the H1N1 swine flu.
Also crucial in the epochal competition between the two systems is showing that democracy works, defeating efforts of autocratic countries such as China and Russia to discredit it and proving that unprovoked wars of aggression, aimed at suppressing democracy and conquering territory, will not succeed.
Now Poland is facing the repercussions from these attacks – and it’s not the only bordering country. Russian rockets have also knocked out power across neighboring Moldova, which is not a NATO member, and therefore attracted considerably less attention than the Polish incident.
One thing is certain, whatever the circumstances of the missile. NATO Secretary General Jens Stattenberg said that Russia bears ultimate responsibility for its continued war against Ukraine.
A lot of Russian soldiers have rebelled at what they are told 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.
The “Heroes of Russia” campaign and Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure – a conversation with a leading journalist
I had a conversation with a leading Russian journalist who has settled in Berlin after fleeing in March and he told me he was ready to accept the reality that he could never return to his homeland.
The good has come from this debacle. The dependence of Europe on Russian gas and fossil fuels is not sustainable in the long term as the economic dependency on them can’t bring stability.
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. The Future Combat Air System project for a next-gen jet fighter was going to start moving forward, as word began to spread on Monday.
Putin made rare public comments and addressed the attacks from the Russian armed forces onUkraine’s energy infrastructure.
Speaking after an awards ceremony for “Heroes of Russia” at the Kremlin, he addressed a group of soldiers receiving the awards, clutching a glass of champagne.
Putin kept on mentioning alleged aggressions at the awards ceremony. It’s an act of genocide if a city of million doesn’t have water.
The reference to Kursk appears to reference Russia’s announcement that an airfield in the Kursk region, which neighbors Ukraine, was targeted in a drone attack. The Defence Ministry of the Ukranian has not commented on recent explosions deep within Russia. Officially, the targets are well beyond the reach of the country’s declared drones.
Does Putin really want water? The Kremlin response to the comments by Ukrenergo on the Kerch bridge and Ukraine’s prosecution of genocide
He ended his apparent off-the-cuff comments by claiming there is no mention of the water situation. No one has said anything about it. Yes, at the very least! Complete silence. He said that.
Local Russian authorities in the eastern part of the country have reported frequent shelling this week.
Last week Putin appeared on the Kerch Bridge, where he was shown repairs and drove a car across the structure that he himself officially opened in 2018.
In his Kremlin appearance Thursday, he continued to say: “Who is not supplying water to Donetsk? Not supplying water to a city of million is an act of genocide.”
As soon as we make a move, we need to make noise, clamor, crackle for the whole universe to hear it, the Russian president said.
Ukrenergo acknowledged that the race to restore power is hampered by strong winds, rain and cold weather.
A top Ukrainian official said the attacks on the country’s energy grid amount to genocide. Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Andriy Kostin made the comments while speaking to the BBC last month.
Borodianka, a town of Ukrainian refugees in the midst of the Russian invasion: The tragedy of a village with a million people
He shares the school with over 1000 students. The school serves as a shelter and provides heat, food and water for the community when there is a power outage.
He says the power cuts lasted up to 24 hours. The farming equipment and warehouses were destroyed. He estimates business activity is one-third of what it was.
About 200 Ukrainians were killed when the Russians occupied Borodianka shortly after the invasion began on Feb. 24 until the end of March, Yerko says. The town’s pre war population was around a little more than 12,000. It’s back up to about 9,000 despite the lack of resources.
People come from houses on the main street. The Ukrainian volunteer who is in charge of the temporary housing says that the ones that were destroyed were the ones that were burned down.
Boredian Ka-Banksy-Power-Cuts in Russia’s War-UKraine-town-Bordiskograine
When the lights went out, she was standing in a dark hallway. She says she’ll wait a while to see if the power comes back. If it starts to get chilly, she’ll turn on the generator. It’s like that every day, she says.
There is a bust in the center of town. In the 18th century he helped lead the fight to break away from Russia. He wrote, “It’s bad to be in chains and die a slave.”
An artist well-known for his street spray-paintings, known as “Banksy”, painted several badly scarred walls last month and later confirmed it was his work on social media.
One image shows a young boy tossing a man to the floor. Both of them are wearing martial arts attire. The man is widely assumed to be Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a judo enthusiast.
War crimes, human rights and the abuse of power: two Nobel laureates condemned for their crimes against humanity and Ukrainians in the Odesa area
“People are happy we’re getting this attention. But the paintings are on buildings that were destroyed,” Yerko says. “We’re planning to remove the paintings and put them somewhere else.”
The Russian winner of the peace prize criticized President Putin for his war against Ukraine in his acceptance speech.
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.
Oleksandra Matruche called for an international tribunal to prosecute Putin and Alexander Lukashenko for crimes against humanity in her acceptance speech.
The Center for Civil Liberties in Russia and Memorial in Ukraine won the peace prize on Saturday along with the imprisoned advocate of the former Yugoslavia, Alex Bialiatski.
The new laureates were honored for “an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power” in their respective countries.
“They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement in October when the winners were announced.
More than 1.5 million people were without power in the Odesa area after Russian drone strikes, according to President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In his nightly address on Saturday, Mr. Zelensky said Ukraine had shot down 10 of the 15 drones that Russian forces used. It was not possible to verify his total.
The attacks on plants and equipment that Ukrainians depend on for heat and light have drawn condemnation from world leaders, causing the country to be plunged into a cycle in which crews hurry to restore power only to have it knocked out again.
“The power system is now, to put it mildly, very far from a normal state — there is an acute shortage in the system,” he said, urging people to reduce their power use to put less strain on the battered power grid.
“There are attacks on civilian infrastructure in different regions of our country. Residential buildings, hotel, (a) shop, place for festivals were damaged. There are dead and injured,” he wrote.
Ukraine’s problem with the oil revenue is a problem for Ukrainians, as seen by French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store
Ukrainian authorities have been stepping up raids on churches accused of links with Moscow, and many are watching to see if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy follows through on his threat of a ban on the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine.
French President Emmanuel Macron hosts European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store for a working dinner Monday in Paris.
On Tuesday, France will be co-hosting a conference with Ukraine in support of Ukrainians through the winter with a video address by the Ukrainian president.
Following Brittney Griner’s release from Russian prison, fans, friends and family are celebrating the basketball player’s return to the U.S. Meanwhile, some Republican politicians have been complaining about the prisoner swap and other U.S. citizens still held by Russia.
New measures targeting Russian oil revenue went into effect on December 5. A price cap on Russian oil is included in the list, along with a European Union embargo.
Ukraine hit targets in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, including a church reported to be used as a Russian military base. Officials said Ukrainian forces used long-range artillery to reach targets in the city in southeastern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region.
Russian forces turned the city of Bakhmut into burned ruins, Zelenskyy said. Fighting has been fierce there as Russia attempts to advance in the city in the eastern Donbas region.
The 2022 State of Ukraine: From Russia’s War in Ukraine to the Mass Shooting at an Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, to the death of Queen Elizabeth II
President Zelenskyy had a phone call with President Biden on Dec. 11, as well as the leaders of France and Turkey, in an apparent stepping up of diplomacy over the 9 1/2-month-long Russian invasion.
You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR’s coverage here. NPR has a State ofUkraine podcasts that you can listen to throughout the day.
The world was the scene of an unparalleled set of news events in 2022. The year captured notable and surprising moments that led to disbelief and despair. Yet some days offered joy and pride. From Russia’s war in Ukraine to the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, these are some of the remarkable stories of the year. The year started calmly and the world slowly began to come out of a long, drawn out Pandemic hibernation. However, consistent with the brittleness of these modern times, a full-blown war erupted in Ukraine in February as Russia invaded the country, ending and upending the lives of many, including civilians and children. The Associated Press captured the most vivid picture of the war, a photo of an ashen-faced pregnant woman being carried on a stretcher after a bomb hit a maternity hospital in Mariupol. The unnamed woman and her baby died days later. This image has come to symbolize one of many Russian atrocities in the war in Ukraine. The attack on March 9, just 13 days after the war started, was one of the most brutal days of the conflict that continues to this day. Uvalde, Texas, was the location of a school shooting in June. The photographer took a photo of the chaotic scene outside of the school as students ran for safety while the shooter was inside. And on September 8, Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, sending shockwaves around the world. The monarch worked with 15 British prime ministers. Two days after inviting him to form a new government, she died. The funeral for the Queen attracted tens of thousands of people who paid their final respects to a monarch who reigned for 70 years. This was also a year of firsts. The United States saw the confirmation of the country’s first Black woman Supreme Court justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson. The first Black woman to win an individual medal in speedskating at the Winter Olympics was American Erin Jackson, who won the bronze. And history was made with the first all-female refereeing crew at a men’s World Cup. Another notable moment this year was the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that guaranteed the federal constitutional right to an abortion in the United States. This year the court made a decision that sparked protests and celebrations in the streets by both sides of the abortion debate. Americans went to vote in November, and their results were much better than expected. As all these moments unraveled, the Earth continued to warm up, melting and separating glacial ice ridges while much of the Northern Hemisphere dealt with a historic drought that scorched soil, dried up rivers and triggered mass crop failure. A telescope above the Earth captured images of space in great detail. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in the middle of the Academy Awards when he was upset that the comedian had talked about his wife. The moment was witnessed live on television by millions around the globe. As Judge broke Roger Maris’ American League homerun record, many sports fans were rooting for him. Interwoven with these big news events were snapshots of daily life reminding the world of the beautiful, quiet — and sometimes hilarious — moments in and out of people’s lives. And behind all the top photos this year is the hard work of photojournalists. Many of them continue to document wars and conflicts, away from the safety of their homes. These images come to light because of their perseverance and dedication, as well as the help that they give to us through photography. This is CNN Digital’s “2022: The year in pictures.
The Shelling in Kostiantynivka, Bakhmut, comes as a warning to anyone who wanders out of his basement
Tarasov, 48, was sheltering from the shelling in his basement where he now has to live. But last week he dared to venture out – to buy vegetables to make the national dish, borscht.
His face is pale as he talks about some graphic images in his mind. I would have torn myself apart if it wasn’t for the leather jacket. I mean, my guts would have been all over the place… I lost a lot of blood. I remember seeing a huge puddle.
He realized he might not survive after the blast that killed his friend, Tarasov. He said he would tell you the truth. “I prayed to survive.”
When Tarasov arrived, he begged the doctors to save his limb. “The first thing I asked was if I could have my arm sewn back on. I noticed that it was torn off, hanging in the sleeve. My stomach was burning and I could feel it. I thought it might be the guts coming out. There was blood everywhere.”
The power can go out sometimes, according to the chief surgeon. “Water comes by the hour, not regularly. There was no water over the weekend because of the shelling incident.
“One of (the victims) was a volunteer, a member of the rapid response team of the international organization. During the shelling, they were on the street, they were fatally wounded by fragments of enemy shells,” he added.
As the Russian army intensifies its campaign to take Bakhmut, the shelling comes ever nearer to Kostiantynivka, 25 kilometres (about 15 miles) to the west. The hospital director says that the town has been hit almost daily since the beginning of the month.
Meanwhile, medical staff hear the constant thud of artillery fired around Bakhmut – unwelcome signals that another patient may soon lie on the operating table.
Winter is coming: a time of crisis in Ukraine, and a hopeful decision to leave the industrial heartland of Tarasov
The local authorities asked civilians to leave the region. But for Tarasov, as for so many in Ukraine’s old industrial heartland, fleeing his home for a safer area had seemed impossible.
Tarasov would rather live abroad if he had a lot of money. “But I have no money and everything I had saved up was invested there. I had no money and nowhere to go.”
When we peer into the darkness only to be reassured that there would be a miracle, December is the month of fairy tales.
“We used to joke that our life was like a dark fairy tale inclined towards a happy ending. Ievheniia, a displaced Ukrainian woman in Poland who is nursing her two-month-old son, says the conflict is done and she has raw grief for the father.
With a baby, Ievheniia was unable to return to her hometown for her husband’s funeral. She wanted it to be streamed for her. But Russia’s continued attacks on critical infrastructure has made Internet connection in Ukraine unreliable – what she got was a few short recordings. Denys was buried in a closed coffin.
The key moments of the Ukrainian fairy tale take place via video link. This is what love looks like in a time of war, shifted to the digital space and disrupted mid-plot.
Ievheniia, a sports medicine physician and reserve officer, was prepared to join the Ukrainian army if called upon. “I am not the kind of person who flees,” she explained.
The festive season is well underway in Warsaw, her temporary home. “Christmas is coming. People don’t want to be reminded that someone somewhere is suffering,” Ievheniia said. It is obvious that this fight is happening right next to them.
Ievheniia finally arrived at an enlistment office when he drove across the country in the middle of Russian bombardment. She was interviewed on a Friday and told to return the following Monday to sign a contract with the Armed Forces.
She decided to take a pregnancy test just in case. “With war and evacuation, the ground was slipping under one’s feet,” she said with a laugh. It turned out that I was pregnant.
The plot was altered when the woman who planned to defend her homeland instead joined the flow of refugees looking for safety in Poland.
When Ievheniia and Denys met via the Internet: A fairy tale about the crossing of the border into the country of Ukraine
Separated by war, Ievheniia and Denys sought to validate their partnership in the eyes of the state. The everyday ingenuity of the country at war was at work; now, Ukrainian servicemen are allowed to marry via a video call. We got married by a handsome man wearing a uniform instead of boring civil servants. Ievheniia said that he had nothing to complain about.
Over the following months, Denys kept the magic alive via the Internet, with flower deliveries and professional photoshoots ordered for Ievheniia from the trenches.
When she didn’t pick up the phone in the morning, Denys raised the alarm and eventually the rescue squad found her unconscious in her apartment. A delay could have resulted in death. A Caesarean section followed. Because the baby was born two months early, the father was able to meet his new son.
The martial law of the country does not allow Ukrainian men of fighting age to leave. Yet as is appropriate for a fairy tale, Denys got permission, crossed the border, and spent five days with his family.
It was a wonderful time filled with ordinary things, such as shopping, registration, laughing and talking. Then he left. Ievheniia remembers that it was his birthday on November 17 and that he received greetings. He was killed the next day.
Fighting in Donetsk: A devastating attack against a Ukrainian city in the wake of heavy fighting in the 2014 Ukrainian War II. The US-based Energy Security Project
Consolatory fables, which are a rare fairy tale end badly, are the reason Italo Calvino called them. If it does, it means the time to be consoled has not yet come. Instead, it is time to act.
And we must not be deluded by the narrative logic of a fairy tale. The wily kid will not be able to defeat the monster with magic. Like ten months ago, Ukrainians need military aid sufficient to bring a decisive victory over Russia, not just prolong the fight with enormous sacrifices. Ukrainian victory depends on our collective effort.
I wondered how I would fight against evil as a teenager, after reading a lot of fantasy books. Would it be possible for me to turn away and not be involved in my daily life? Ievheniia told me. Today, everyone has a chance to find out.
Ukrainian forces have unleashed the biggest attack on the occupied Donetsk region since 2014, according to a Russia-installed official, in the wake of heavy fighting in the east of the country.
“Forty rockets from BM-21 ‘Grad’ MLRS were fired at civilians in our city,” he said Thursday, adding that a key intersection in Donetsk city center had come under fire.
The city was hit 86 times with “artillery, MLRS, tanks, mortars and UAVs,” in the past 24 hours, according to the regional head of the Kherson military administration.
The strikes in Kherson left the city “completely disconnected” from power supplies, according to the regional head of the Kherson military administration, Yanushevych.
The enemy hit a critical infrastructure facility. The medical aid and humanitarian aid distribution point was damaged as a result of shell fragments.
The United States gave machinery and generators to help strengthen the Ukrainian capital’s power infrastructure.
The Energy Security Project, run by USAID, delivered four excavators and over 130 generators, Klitschko said on Telegram. All equipment was free of charge.
From Avdiivka to Zaporizhzhia: Two children of Olga and Nikolay Grinik
This week, the Kremlin also appeared to rebuff Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace solution that involved asking Russia to start withdrawing troops from Ukraine this Christmas – as the war approaches the 10-month mark.
“The Ukrainian side needs to take into account the realities that have developed over all this time,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday in response to Zelensky’s three-step proposal.
“And these realities indicate that the Russian Federation has new subjects,” he said, referring to four areas Russia has claimed to have annexed, Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia.
Elena Dyachkova and her husband, former Avdiivka soccer player, Aleksander Dokalenko, used to live in a neighborhood that was close to the front line. The house had been hit several times by shells since 2014, but they weren’t ready to abandon it. The place was kept as good as it could be, with a plastic covering under the roof, pieces of chipboard where the ceiling once was, and closed doors that didn’t exist anymore.
Currently, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Avdiivka doesn’t exist anymore. The town turned into a battlefield after the start of the invasion, and was systematically destroyed by Russian weapons day after day. The city’s entire population has been forced to flee for their lives.
Olga and Nikolay Grinik not only stayed in Avdiivka throughout the first phase of the war but brought their two children into the world since the conflict began. We were without electricity for three months because of fighting, that’s how Nikolay used to joke. Nine months later, our daughter, Miroslava, was born. In 2016, we had no light for a month, and nine months later, we got our son, Kirill. Now we pray there is no electricity outage again.”
We were introduced to their large extended family when we visited the Griniks. They took us to their favorite spots. The beautiful forests and lakes surrounding Avdiivka had been covered in land mines, but the family had familiarized themselves with safe routes.
Several shells landed in the garden but did not explode. We were staying at home and I went to the grocery store the next day to get some bread. As I was on my way, a Russian fighter jet flew very low, and then it was shot down a little further away. I panicked and began running, but a Ukrainian soldier stopped me and asked whether I’d seen a parachutist. A parachutist? I couldn’t see a meter in front of me. ‘ Well,’ the soldier said, ‘if you see him, hit him with a spade.’ As soon as I got home, I packed up the kids and we took an evacuation bus.”
The loss of an elderly family in Opytne, Ukraine, until the invasion of Kryvyi Rih by a shell
Elena and Rodion were sad to leave the elderly inhabitants of Opytne, who they had been taking care of for years, but it was not feasible to come back. They relocated to the central Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, where they still struggle to find a place to live, due to the discrimination they face in their home country. About 30 of their elderly neighbors still remain in Opytne, which is now an active front line and has recently been captured by the Russian forces. Some of them have not been able to get in touch with Elena and Rodion.
Rodion and Elena remained in Opytne until this summer — even as the fighting in the area intensified — until Elena was hit by shrapnel in the couple’s backyard. The couple made it to the hospital in time to save her life after the shrapnel narrowly missed her spine.
Lord was a sweetheart and Aleksander told us the dog had even saved his life once. One night, as Aleksander was asleep, shelling came dangerously close to their home. Lord was able to get the man out of the bed and follow the dog until he woke up. A shell collapsed the wall after it struck.
After the full-scale invasion began in February, whatever fragile stability the family had managed to maintain was shattered. Elena fled to Poland with her daughter and young grandson. Aleksander stayed behind to look after Lord and the house, living in a basement and helping to distribute water for the residents under never-ending bombing, until his heart began to fail from the constant stress.
Fighting for independence: The russian president who traveled to Ukraine to fight for independence to free it self from Russia in the early 21st century
He says he lived only 500 meters from work, but it took him forever to get there. “You begin walking, then hear a whistle in the air and run for cover into the nearest building. This means it has landed elsewhere when you stand there and wait to hear an explosion. So you continue walking — but only until the next whistle.”
The Ukrainians sought to take advantage of the chaos in Russia after the fall of the Russian monarchy. After the fall of the Russian monarchy, theCommunists sent troops to defeat the independence of Ukraine.
He lives in a suburb that the Russians destroyed in the first days of the war. Viatrovych immediately sent his wife and son to western Ukraine for their safety when the Russians invaded.
He then drove to Kyiv for an emergency session of parliament, which declared martial law. By 2 p.m. that day, he received a rifle so he could join the security forces defending the capital.
The hall where independence was declared in 1918 was the scene of a blast that blew out the windows. The windows are boarded up. There are shards of glass on the floor.
Steshuk Oleh, director of the House of Teachers, said there were parallels to a century ago. The building was damaged during the fighting. And now it’s damaged again. But don’t worry. We are going to rebuild everything.
“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.
Ukrainians thought this matter was finally resolved in December 1991, when they held a referendum on independence. Ninety-two percent voted in favor of going their own way. The Soviet Union collapsed later that month.
The time for a war to go: Ukrainians have an opportunity to make a step towards a solution of the problem of war, and Russian men should get involved
Because “if he’s losing a war, especially a war of his own making, he doesn’t survive,” he said. The end of the era of the empire may be signaled by the outcome. It is the 21st century. It’s time for empires to go.”
15 years ago, when he entered politics, Kasparov challenged Putin’s hold on power. He left Russia and now lives in New York.
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. Many citizens say they want all of the Russian troops out of the country. Zelenskyy said that the powerful state was not willing to let Ukraine go.
Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s former ambassador to the United States, said the region would be more stable if Ukraine wins the war and joins NATO. This is what the Ukrainian government is trying to achieve, though it is unlikely to join the alliance in the near term.
“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 happened with Ukraine.
“I believe our generation has an opportunity to put an end to this. Ukrainians are more united, more mobilized, more ready to fight than in 1918,” he said.
Russian propaganda videos that were posted on social networks recently are trying to appeal to Russian men through the narratives of patriotism, morality and upward social mobility.
One of the videos, posted on December 14, features a young man who is choosing to fight instead of partying with his male friends and then surprises everyone by buying himself a car with the money he made from fighting on a military contract.
In another video, posted on December 15, the former girlfriend of a soldier is newly impressed with his courage and begs him to get back together with her. A further example shows a middle-aged man leaving the factory job that doesn’t pay him enough to sign a military contract and go to the front.
Another of the videos shows a group of 30-something, well-off Russian men loading a car as they are asked by elderly women where are they going. One of the men said they would go to Georgia. It will be forever. When one woman spills a bag of groceries, the men just get into the car and leave, instead of helping, while younger Russian men rush to pick up the groceries. “The boys have left, the men stayed,” one of the elderly women concludes.
Many of the videos portray the war as an escape for men from a bleak daily reality of drinking vodka, poverty and helplessness. Meanwhile, reports and complaints of shortages of provisions and equipment in the Russian military continue to emerge.
During a meeting with the mothers of the mobilized, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was better to be Killed fighting for the motherland than to drink yourself to death on vodka.
At a news conference, Putin tried to assure the public that there were no plans to mobilize more.
Putin said he was working closely with the Russian defence ministry and that there had been a problem with military equipment shortages.
Zelensky and Putin showed up to the lysée Palace in different cars, with Zelensky in a small car and Putin in an armored limousine. (The host, French President Emmanuel Macron, hugged Putin but chose only to shake hands with Zelensky).
Zelensky’s physical appearance in Washington is meant to remind the Republicans of the seriousness of the fight for Ukraine and how a win for the Kyiv would likely lead to Moscow’s nuclear backed brutality and eventually drag the us into a boots on the ground war.
Mikhail Zygar is a journalist and former editor in chief of the independent TV news channel Dozhd. He is the author of “All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin” and upcoming book “War and Punishment. The Path to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine was led by Putin and Zelensky.
“After the full-scale invasion, once he got into a position of being bullied by someone like Vladimir Putin he knew exactly what he needed to do because it was just his gut feeling,” Yevhen Hlibovytsky, former political journalist and founder of the Kyiv-based think tank and consultancy, pro.mova, told me.
As Russia launched a full-scale invasion, the leader of the US offered to leave but he quipped that he needed bullets and not a ride.
Zelensky was the one who stood up to Donald Trump, the President of the United States, in the scandal relating to quid pro quo.
It seems like a long time since Zelensky thanked his supporters for his victory in the election, in a nightclub where his campaign was held. Standing on stage among the fluttering confetti, he looked in a state of disbelief at having defeated incumbent veteran politician Petro Poroshenko.
Zelensky had limited success and his popularity waned after a couple of years. His approval ratings fell into freefall in October of 2021.
The Night of the Russian Prime Minister: Volodymyr Zelensky at the Kremlin with the U.S. Department of State
His bubble includes many people from his previous professional life as a TV comedian in the theatrical group Kvartal 95. A press conference held at the platform of a metro station during the war was staged with beautiful lighting and good angles to emphasize a wartime setting.
As for his skills as comforter in chief, I remember well the solace his nightly televised addresses brought in the midst of air raid sirens and explosions in Lviv.
Zelensky is showing his own confidence and competence in a modern fashion way by wearing T-shirts and hoodies, rather than suits, to a younger, global audience that recognizes it as such.
She said that he was more comfortable on camera than Putin, and also that he was a digital native. Zelensky is doing a better job balancing authority and accessibility, but I believe both of them want to come across as personable.
Zelenska has shown herself to be an effective and well-informed speaker in international fora by traveling to where her husband can’t. Most recently, she met with King Charles during a visit to a refugee assistance center at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in London. (Curiously, TIME magazine did not include Zelenska on the cover montage and gave only a passing reference in the supporting text).
There are signs that Zelensky’s influence may be waning. Zelensky tried to get a price cap of $30 on Russian crude in order to exert more pain on the Kremlin but the G7 imposed a $60 barrel price cap despite his pleas.
As Zelensky said in a recent nightly video address: “No matter what the aggressor intends to do, when the world is truly united, it is then the world, not the aggressor, determines how events develop.”
Putin’s comments Thursday followed a historic trip by Volodymyr Zelensky to Washington, where the Ukrainian president gave an impassioned speech to Congress appealing for greater US support for the war effort.
It will be similar to the British Prime Minister arriving in Washington 86 years ago after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. That Christmas visit cemented the alliance that would win World War II and built the post-war democratic world.
His visit is unfolding amid extraordinary security. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t even confirm the early reports that she’d welcome Zelensky to the US Capitol in an unexpected coda to her speakership, saying on Tuesday evening, “We don’t know yet. We just don’t know.
Zelensky was going to Washington on a specific mission, according to a Democratic lawmaker who visited Ukraine earlier this month. He is attempting to draw a correlation between the support and the survival and the future victory of Ukrainians, said an armed services committee member.
One of the most capable long-Range Air Defense systems on the market is the US Army’s Patriot system and it is frequently requested by the Ukrainians.
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, Wesley Clark said that Zelensky’s trip reflects a critical moment when the destiny of a war that Ukraine cannot win without upgraded US support could be decided before Russia can regroup.
But the highly public nature of Zelensky’s visit, and the expected announcement regarding Patriots, also risks further provoking Putin when he is signaling that, as disastrous as the war has been for Russia’s troops, he’s in for the long haul, betting the West’s commitment will eventually ebb.
His visit to Congress will also play into an increasingly important debate on Capitol Hill over Ukraine aid with Republicans set to take over the House majority in the new year. Some of Donald Trump’s supporters have warned that the US should send more cash to Ukraine than it has sent so far because there will be a big influx of people coming to the US.
What the US can do for Ukraine, and what it can teach us about war: Zelensky, Martin Luther King, John Luther, and Edwards Petrauis
In March, for instance, Zelensky evoked Mount Rushmore and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream Speech” during a virtual address to Congress. He also referred to two days of infamy in modern history when Americans directly experienced the fear of aerial bombardment.
After dodging U-boats in the Atlantic and taking a plane from Virginia to Washington, the British leader met with the President of the United States on December 22, 1941.
They drank 90-year-old brandy before they went to bed and took a day of meetings and planning that resulted in the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Churchill, who had pined for US involvement in World War II for months and knew it was the key to defeating Adolf Hitler, said during his visit, “I spend this anniversary and festival far from my country, far from my family, and yet I cannot truthfully say that I feel far from home.”
The historical parallels are likely to be appreciated by the Ukrainian leader. He spoke to the British parliament about the importance of a strong army and how it would help bring about peace.
The first deliverables are the Patriot missile systems. Complex, accurate, and expensive, they have been described as the US’s “gold standard” of air defense. NATO preciously guards them, and they require the personnel who operate them – almost 100 in a battalion for each weapon – to be properly trained.
The second are precision-guided munitions for Ukrainian jets. Ukraine, and Russia, largely are equipped with munitions that are “dumb” – fired roughly towards a target. There have been Western standard precision missiles and howitzers given to Ukraine.
Petrauis: There will be several new features this year, most significantly the additional capabilities on the Ukrainian side: Western tanks and infantry fighting vehicles; longer-range and larger precision munitions for the US-provided HIMARS (high mobility artillery rocket systems) that will enable precise strikes out to 150 kilometers (twice the range of the current precision munition); additional air defense systems of various types; augmented air defenses and additional wheeled armored vehicles, as well as enormous quantities of additional ammunition of all types.
Whatever the truth of the matter can be, Biden wants Putin to hear the names of the figures in the billions, push European partners to give more help, and make the resources of Ukraine seem unlimited.
The remnants of the Trumpist “America First” elements of that party have echoed doubts about how much aid the US should really be sending to the edges of eastern Europe.
Realistically, the bill for the slow defeat of Russia in this dark and lengthy conflict is relatively light for Washington, given its near trillion-dollar annual defense budget.
Zelensky’s legacy as a warrior: announcing a new war-fighting deal for the United States and its allies
Zelensky’s historic address made both Democrats and Republicans who understand what is at stake in the fight against Putin and Russian aggression, now also with their ally, Iran, as well.
The speech was about the struggle of Ukrainian people, how we want to be warm in our homes to celebrate Christmas and to think about the families in Ukraine that are going to be huddled in the cold.
“I hope that they will send more than one,” she added. She noted there’s “been some reluctance in the past” by the US and NATO to provide advanced equipment, but added “We’ve seen with our own eyes how effective Ukrainian military is.”
Clinton, who previously met Russian President Vladimir Putin as US secretary of state, said the leader was “probably impossible to actually predict,” as the war turns in Ukraine’s favor and his popularity fades at home.
“I think around now, what [Putin] is considering is how to throw more bodies, and that’s what they will be – bodies of Russian conscripts – into the fight in Ukraine,” Clinton said.
President Zelensky returned from the bloody front lines of Ukraine in his signature green military uniform, and took a stroll on to the US House floor.
Zelensky said that the defeat of Russia in the battle for the minds of the world was a result of him wearing the look of a warrior.
Although he did not mention the elephant in the room, the speech was a clear plea to Republican lawmakers, who will control the House in January, to stay with Ukraine.
His remarks came as Congress had been planning to vote this week on a year-long spending bill that includes roughly $45 billion in emergency assistance to Ukraine and NATO allies.
Zelensky could have addressed a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday if he wanted to, but Republicans would be in control of the House next month and Zelensky isn’t wanted anymore. The US has provided more than $21 billion in defense assistance in less than a year. That includes $1.8 billion in a new weapons deal announced when Zelensky met President Joe Biden at the White House earlier Wednesday.
The Battle of the Bluster: The U.S. State of the Nation, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and the Ukraine’s next state of the nation
He returned to military history Wednesday, saying that during the Battle of the bluster in World War II, the US was encircled in the snow after getting a foothold in Europe.
He is already establishing in the American people that they are in this together but then saying that they will do the fighting for us. That is what he said, according to the Kearns Goodwin interview with CNN Wednesday evening.
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.
He gave Pelosi the flag signed by the troops from the besieged area of Bakhmut, asking for her to support the country. He carried the American flag out of the chamber after he was handed it by her.
Zelensky told Congress that he told Biden about the 10 point formula and summit during their meeting at the White House. The leader said Biden supported peace initiatives.
Petraeus added it was substantive because of the new money pledged to Ukraine both at the White House and in a larger $1.7 trillion spending bill lawmakers need to pass before Friday.
The Interaction of Ukraine and the U.S. with Russia: Kevin McCarthy, Vladimir Zelensky, and Maria Zakharova
Kevin McCarthy, leader of the House of Representatives and a candidate to be Speaker, met with Zelensky and the other top congressional leaders.
The only Ukrainian-born member of Congress, Indiana GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz, has expressed skepticism about some of the aid to Ukraine and concerns about corruption in Zelensky’s administration.
The war in Ukraine is about to approach 10 months, and Moscow said that the conflict is set for a long confrontation with Russia.
Russia’s foreign ministry condemned what it dubbed the “monstrous crimes” of the “regime in Kyiv” after President Joe Biden promised to give more military aid to Ukraine at the White House on Wednesday.
Maria Zakharova claims that the Ukrainian government won’t achieve anything even though the West is giving them military support.
Zakharova said the tasks set within the framework of the special military operation will be fulfilled, taking in account the situation on the ground and actual realities.
Pesov said there were no real calls for peace. But during his address to the US Congress on Wednesday, Zelensky did stress that “we need peace,” reiterating the 10-point plan devised by Ukraine.
He said there had been no calls for peace or signs of willingness to “listen to Russia’s concerns” during Zelenskyy’s visit, which he said proves that the U.S. is fighting a proxy war with Russia “to the last Ukrainian,” Reuters reports.
The Kremlin has also been selling that line to the Russian public, who is largely buying it, says Sergey Radchenko, a Russian history professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Dismissing accusations of a proxy war, Sloat says Zelenskyy and Ukraine have made clear that they want a “just peace,” and all the U.S. has been doing is help the country defend itself against Russian aggression.
Moscow had warned last week that it would see the reported delivery of Patriot missiles to Ukraine as “another provocative move by the U.S.” Does Sloat worry this could provoke a Russian escalation?
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday used the word “war” to refer to the conflict in Ukraine, the first known time he has publicly deviated from his carefully crafted description of Moscow’s invasion as a “special military operation” 10 months after it began.
“Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war,” Putin told reporters in Moscow, after attending a State Council meeting on youth policy. We have been trying and will continue to do so.
Nikita Yuferev, a municipal lawmaker from St. Petersburg who fled Russia due to his antiwar stance, on Thursday said he had asked Russian authorities to prosecute Putin for “spreading fake information about the army.”
“There was no decree to end the special military operation, no war was declared,” Yuferev wrote on Twitter. “Several thousand people have already been condemned for such words about the war.”
A US official told CNN their initial assessment was that Putin’s remark was not intentional and likely a slip of the tongue. Officials will be looking closely at the statements made by Kremlin figures in the coming days.
Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday declared the Kremlin would make a substantial investment in many areas of the military. The initiatives include increasing the size of the armed forces, accelerating weapons programs and deploying a new generation of hypersonic missiles to prepare Russia for what Putin called “inevitable clashes” with its adversaries.
Defying Evil: A Threat to the United States, and to the Middle East,” Revisited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Ukrainians to have “patience and faith” in a defiant Christmas address after a deadly wave of Russian strikes pounded the southern city of Kherson.
He urged the nation to stand firm in the face of a grim winter of energy blackouts, the absence of loved ones and the ever-present threat of Russian attacks.
There are empty chairs around it. And our houses and streets can’t be so bright. And Christmas bells can ring not so loudly and inspiringly. Through air raid sirens, or even worse – gunshots and explosions.”
He said that while Ukraine has been resisting evil forces for three hundreds of days and eight years, they have another powerful and effective weapon. The hammer and sword of our spirit and consciousness. The advice of God. Courage and bravery. They incline us to do good and overcome evil.
He told the Ukrainian people that even if communication services are down, they will still hear the voices and greetings of their relatives and listen to Christmas carols louder than a power generator.
“And even in total darkness – we will find each other – to hug each other tightly. We’ll give each other a big hug if there’s no heat.
Zelensky concluded: “We will celebrate our holidays! As always. We will smile and be happy. As always. The difference is one. We will not waiting for a miracle. We create it ourselves.
One branch of Ukraine’s Orthodox church announced last month that it would allow its churches to celebrate Christmas on December 25. The holiday on December 25 is seen by many younger Ukrainians as a chance to move away from Russia and towards the western world.
CNN’s Alexei Mironov: The Crime against a Woman in Ukraine and the Russian War on Crime against Human Rights and Freedoms
There were at least two deaths in northeastern Kharkiv region. According to Oleh Synie Hubov, head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, four rockets hit the city and that it was the intended target.
“These are not military facilities,” he wrote on Telegram Saturday. “This is not a war according to the rules defined. It is terror, it is killing for the sake of intimidation and pleasure.”
She said that the Putin regime did a good job of forcing out or imprisoning all viable alternatives that are of the more democratic fashion and then on the other side, you have fear of going out into the streets if there is no clear path forward.
CNN will call her ‘Olga’ because February 24 was the point of no return. She told CNN that life turned to a nightmare, with it impossible to wake up round-the-clock and read the news because there were more security forces than civilians. “The aggressor is our country. She said this terrible massacre is being waged on her behalf.
CNN is using a fake name for the woman because of the risk to her personal safety. She could be arrested and jailed if she speaks to foreign journalists about her involvement in the demonstrations and even if she uses the term “war” rather than “special military operation”.
Long prison sentences for questioning the Russian army have been meted out to high profile voices who questioned its conduct or strategy.
The court in Moscow used the law to impose an eight year term on a Kremlin critic who spoke up about the killing of civilians in Ukraine by Russian troops. The Kremlin denied any involvement in mass killings and repeated their baseless claims that the pictures of civilians were fake.
Technical workarounds such as VPNs and Telegram still offer access to Russians seeking independent sources of information. Older Russians are fond of state media propaganda which can be seen on TV talk shows.
The US Border Patrol recorded 36,271 encounters with Russian citizens between October 2021 and September 2022. The two previous fiscal years had 13,620 and 5,946 people who were expelled or arrested by the border force.
According to surveys done by OK Russians, those leaving Russia are more educated and younger than the general Russian public.
If you take the Moscow liberal intelligentsia, and of course I am talking only about people I know, I would say that 70% left. It is journalists, schools, artists, people who have clubs in Moscow that got closed down, Soldatov said.
The Russian expert at the German Marshall Fund said it is important for the country’s economic prospects but also important to reconstitution of the country. She pointed to the exodus of Iranians from the country during the 1979 revolution as an example of what could happen when a large section of the population leaves.
Maria is determined to stay in Russia even though most of her friends and son have left. Her elderly mother can’t – and doesn’t want to – travel abroad, and Maria is not willing to leave her. “If I knew for sure that the borders would not be closed and I could come at any time if my mother needed my help, it would probably be easier for me to leave. She told CNN she is scared by the fact that something else could happen at any moment.
She said that she is not sure if she will see any hope for the future, even though she believes her work is important. She described her life as a constant cycle of panic, horror, shame and self-doubt.
“You’re constantly torn apart: Are you to blame? Did you not do enough? How should you act now that you can either do something else or not? She said yes. “There are no prospects. I wasn’t sure about everything in my life, but I knew what would happen next. Now nobody understands anything. People do not understand what will happen to them tomorrow.
He began to question his own identity. “The things we held dear, like the memory of the Second World War, for instance, became completely compromised,” he said, referring to Putin’s baseless claim that Russian forces are “denazifying” Ukraine.
It feels absolutely wrong because the Russian army helped to win the war and it was used by Putin. You start questioning the history,” he said, adding that the favorable reaction by some parts of the Russian society to the invasion prompted him to research pre-war rhetoric in Germany.
Maria, a historian by training, has spent years taking part in anti-government protests, describing herself as a liberal deeply opposed to Putin, a former KGB agent. “I always knew that our country should not be led by a person from the KGB. It is too deeply rooted with horrors, deaths and all that,” she said.
Berzina said that the expectation of some in the West – that “once people start feeling as though their leaders are doing wrong, that there is an immediate wave of protests on the streets and call for government change that actually has an effect” – does not reflect the reality of life in Russia.
Almost all opposition and opinion leaders are either in prison or abroad. People have a huge potential for political action, but there is no leader and no power base,” she said, adding that civilians will not come out against the armed police, the National Guard, and other security forces.
“It is probably difficult for people from democratic countries to understand the realities of life in a powerful autocracy,” she said. “It’s a terrifying feeling of one’s own insignificance and helplessness in front of a gigantic machine of death and madness.”
“It’s like the central nervous system of the human body: If you mess with it, you put all sorts of systems out of whack,” says Rajan Menon, a director of the Defense Priorities think tank who recently returned from a trip to the Ukrainian capital, speaking about Russia’s power grid attacks. “It is not just an annoyance but a huge economic cost.” It’s an effort to create pain for the civilian population, to show that the government can’t protect them adequately.”
The NotPetya Malware released by the GRU in Russia five years earlier could be applied to every single one of Menon’s comments. The goal is the same even though they are different in the details. People demoralizing and punishing people.
Russia went after the country’s electrical infrastructure and caused power cuts in several regions. Engineering crews were working to restore services in time for the New Year.
The wake of the sirens in Kiev: a battle for civil rights and democracy in the 21st century in a war-torn country
After the sirens gave the all clear, life in the capital went back to normal, Hryn said: “In the elevator I met my neighbors with their child who were in hurry to get to the cinema for the new Avatar movie on time.” Parents took their children to school and people went to work, while others continued with holiday plans in defiance.
She told CNN that she tried to take a nap on New Year’s Eve. “But I woke to the sound of explosions, and they went on through the night. She said that the sirens were on til 4:30 a.m.
At least three people, including a 14-year-old, were injured and two people pulled from a damaged home on Thursday, Klitschko said earlier. There were homes, an industrial facility and a playground that were damaged in attacks on the capital.
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 upended Russian life, ending a post-Soviet period in which the country pursued democratic reform, as well as financial integration and dialogue with the West.
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 will remain targeted at the moment. Some of the new laws are still unenforced. If the moment comes, the measures will be designed to crush wider dissent.
Leading independent media outlets and a handful of vibrant, online investigative startups were forced to shut down or relocate abroad when confronted with new “fake news” laws that criminalized contradicting the official government line.
Restrictions extend to internet users as well. American social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook were banned in March. More than 100,000 websites have been blocked by the Russian internet watchdog since the beginning of the conflict.
War against Ukraine has left Russia isolated and struggling with more turbulent as a result of the Russian exodus: Evidence from business, politics and media
Thousands of perceived government opponents — many of them political activists, civil society workers and journalists — left in the war’s early days amid concerns of persecution.
Meanwhile, some countries that have absorbed the Russian exodus predict their economies will grow, even as the swelling presence of Russians remains a sensitive issue to former Soviet republics in particular.
Helped by Russian price controls, the ruble regained value. McDonald’s and several other brands ultimately relaunched under new names and Russian ownership. The economy declined 2.5% by year’s end, less than most economists had predicted.
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 a five-month ban on oil exports to countries that abide by the price cap, a move likely to make the pain more acute in Europe.
There is no change in the government’s demeanor when it comes to the Russian military campaign. Russia’s Defense Ministry keeps track of every single success on the ground. Putin assures everyone that everything is going according to plan.
Russia underestimated Ukrainians’ willingness to resist, because of the long length of the war.
The true number of Russian losses is a subject which is not discussed at home. Western estimates place those figures much higher.
NATO looks set to expand towards Russia’s borders, with the addition of long-neutral states, with the backfiring of Russia’s invasion.
Longtime allies in Central Asia have criticized Russia’s actions out of concern for their own sovereignty, an affront that would have been 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.
The Big Press Conference of December 20, 2022, Presented by the Russian Prime Minister Alexei Sergei Ivanov-Bengalev
An annual December “big press conference” that allows the Russian leader to handle questions from the pro-Kremlin media was tabled until later in the decade.
The Kremlin has given no reason for the delays. The Russian leader has not been able to share any good news in the last 10 months and many think it’s because he has run out of good news.
When news breaks, the world comes to CNN, as it has for more than 40 years on television and more than 25 years on digital platforms. On average, more than 165 million of you came to CNN Digital from around the globe every month in 2022, according to Comscore.
The war in Ukraine dominated the year like no other news, proving, as the pandemic has, that our interests are global and our news coverage needs to be, too. Six of our top 10 stories were live stories that followed the twists and turns of the day’s news and CNN’s teams on the ground, often in the line of fire.
Early in the conflict, I wrote an analysis explaining the limits of what the US and its allies would and would not do in Ukraine. Those limits have been contentious from the start and are only growing more so today as Russia accuses the West of going too far.
There were many stories concerning the overturn of the abortion ban, as well as mass shootings and natural disasters.
What Have we Learned About the Covid-19 Pandemics in China and What We Can Learn About Their Lives, How They Help Each Other, and How They Can End Their War
Interest and fear surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic waned as the pandemic itself did, but the last weeks of the year have brought new worries, especially in China. Pandemic developments know no borders, that’s been taught by history.
Entertainment news brought millions of you to CNN. The death of Stephen “tWitch” Boss, the amiable DJ for the Ellen Degeneres Show, was our top entertainment story. There were bright moments like the Good Samaritans who made a difference in people’s lives.
According to our internal data, the Top 100 Stories list this year received more than 3 million visits.
Thank you for being here with us through it all. We promise we will be here for you in 2023, for every breaking news story and for every piece of joy, delight and triumph.
Zelensky urged Russians to stop liars in a second video, asking them to lie to everyone in the world. We have to end this war. We can live in peace, in a global peace.”
Ukraine’s newest air strikes: Kyrylyo Tymoshenko in the Donetsk and Bakhmut regions (Russia’s first air strikes)
The deputy head of the Office of the President of Ukraine reported that three people were dead and three others were wounded in the Donetsk region. “On Telegram,” said the man, referred to as Kyrylo Tymoshenko.
One person was wounded. Two were killed and one wounded in the Kharkiv region. One person died and two others were wounded in the Kherson region.
“26 of the enemy’s air strikes were on civilian infrastructure. The Shahed-136UAVs were used by the occupier, but they were shot down. In addition, the enemy made 80 attacks from multiple rocket launchers, civilian settlements were also hit,” the General Staff said in its latest operational update.
Russia is trying to improve the tactical situation at the Avdiivka directions and continues to conduct offensive actions at the Bakhmut directions, according to the report.
A Memories from the First Year in Ukraine: The Life of Volodymyr Zelensky during the First Years of the Cold War
“The municipal ‘life support system’ of the capital is operating normally. Currently, 30% of consumers are without electricity. Due to emergency shutdowns,” he said on Telegram.
The open section of the red Metro line in the city was restricted for the purpose of checking for remnants of missile debris.
“From 2023 I really want to win, and also to have more bright impressions and new emotions. I miss it very much. I also want to visit other parts of the world. And I also think about personal and professional growth, because one should not stand still. I have to develop and work for the benefit of the country,” said Alyona Bogulska, a 29-year-old financier.
“This year, it’s a symbol, not that it’s a small victory, but a symbol that we survived the year,” said Tatiana Tkachuk, a 43-year-old pharmacy employee.
On New Years Eve, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke of fear over Russia but said that his country was hopeful for victory.
Standing in darkness with a Ukrainian flag rippling gently in the breeze behind him, Mr. Zelensky recounted in a videotaped speech many notable moments from the war — including the attack on a maternity hospital, the intense fighting at the Azovstal steel plant, the destruction of a Russian bridge to Crimea, the retaking of Kherson, the sinking of a Russian flagship — as the video cut to footage that underscored his words.
He said, according to a translated transcript, that this year struck his hearts. We cried out all the tears. The prayers have been said. It is 311 days. We have something to say about every minute.”
The Crime of 2022: The Crimes against the Ukrainians and a Unexpectedly Unified European Armed Forces in 2022
All Ukrainians — those working, attending schools or “just learning to walk” — are participating in Ukraine’s defense, Mr. Zelensky said. And although 2022 could be called a year of losses, he said that was not the right way to think of it.
The world has rallied around Ukraine, Mr. Zelensky said, from the main squares of foreign cities and their halls of government to the top of Google’s search results.
And finally, to those who felt nuclear saber-rattling was an oxymoron in 2022 – that you could not casually threaten people with nukes as the destruction they brought was complete, for everyone on the planet.
Despite this palpable Russian decline, Europe is not welcoming in an era of greater security. Calls for greater defense spending are louder, and heeded, even if they come at a time when Russia, for decades the defining issue of European security, is revealing itself to be less threatening.
Russia has also met a West that, far from being divided and reticent, was instead happy to send some of its munitions to its eastern border. Western officials might also be surprised that Russia’s red lines appear to shift constantly, as Moscow realizes how limited its non-nuclear options are. None of this was supposed to happen. So, what does Europe do and prepare for, now that it has?
Key is just how unexpectedly unified the West has been. Despite being split over Iraq, fractured over Syria, and partially unwilling to spend the 2% of GDP on security the United States long demanded of NATO members, Europe and the US have been speaking from the same script on Ukraine. Washington has been at times warier, and there have been outliers like Hungary. But the shift is towards unity, not disparity. That’s quite a surprise.
The Russian defeat is more than just a possibility, since it did not win quickly against an inferior adversary. There was a need to get rid of the gloves after Kharkiv as if they wouldn’t be exposing a fist that was already withered. Revealed almost as a paper-tiger, the Russian military will struggle for decades to regain even a semblance of peer status with NATO. The year of effort spent rebuilding Moscow’s reputation as a smart, asymmetrical foe has ended in six months of mismanagement.
If Moscow’s supply chains for diesel fuel for tanks 40 miles away from its border don’t function, how can they be sure that The Button will work, if Putin presses it? There is no greater danger for a nuclear power than to reveal its strategic missiles and retaliatory capability do not function.
America has done this before. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the position of the Soviet Union changed and they accepted an outcome that favored the West. Had red lines been used more, America might have had a better compromise for its security and credibility.
Born and Made: Jay Parini and the First War in the English Highlands. CNN Views of Kateryna and Thomas L. Friedman
Editor’s Note: Jay Parini, a poet and novelist, teaches at Middlebury College. His last book was “Borges and Me,” a memoir of his travels in the Highlands of Scotland in 1971 with Jorge Luis Borges, the ArgentineFabulist. The views expressed in this commentary belong to the author. CNN has more opinion.
It is an unprecedented conflict in modern times, as Thomas L. Friedman notes in The New York Times. Friedman wrote that the first war in a completely connected world would be marked by the addition of social media platforms and live traffic data on Google Maps.
The Iraq War veteran and journalist Daniel Johnson wrote that it is a large-scale invasion being broadcasted live to the world. Those of us who are lucky enough to be miles away from the missile strikes, gunfire and shelling are watching the events unfold in real time on smart phones and other screens.
His gifts for communication and his remarkable grasp of social media make him a formidable opponent for Putin, even though the army he commands, in sheer numbers and resources, pales beside Russia’s.
They are also preparing for the arrival of twin boys. Kateryna, who is 34, is eight months pregnant. CNN agreed to use only first names for her and Oleg as they fear for their privacy.
When the sirens aren’t wailing, Kateryna said, there is another noise that is new to her neighborhood: the chattering of generators as homes and businesses try to compensate for being without electricity twelve for as much as 12 hours a day.
Even though Kateryna is at risk due to the impending arrival of twins, she still travels to central Kyiv twice a week to use one of the co-working spaces that have popped up across the Ukrainian capital.
Bringing food into the country: Kateryna and Oleg laugh when she arrives in Ukraine to help with missiles. “I am afraid I will die,” she said
The space has become more professional with a variety of items purchased from the company owned by Musk.
Kateryna helps import large containers into Ukranian. It’s more than just a livelihood. It’s also a way to contribute to the war effort.
Kateryna and Oleg are luckier than most Ukrainians in that they have a small generator at home, but they use it sparingly. It uses a liter of fuel per hour and needs to cool off every four hours so it is always at risk of running out. They said that they have to choose between lights or laundry.
Kateryna says she sometimes needs a flashlight to shop for food in the stores. They keep about two months’ worth of food supplies stacked in the house, just in case the situation goes from bad to worse.
“I have a job here; Oleg has a job here and he cannot work remotely. We have many friends here, our home. For me it’s a nightmare to move somewhere else,” Kateryna said.
The company my husband works for gives money to the Ukrainian fighters that help them with equipment like drones and trucks. We helped collect money for such equipment,” she said.
I want my kids to live in a free Ukraine, and be safe in the process. They have the right to safety and protection just like all other children in the world. I don’t want them to live in fear of dying from a Russian rocket, they should be happy and carefree,” she said.
She is worried that she will find herself in the hospital after another wave of missile attacks. She said that she would pray very hard at that point.
Why do Russian troops have to communicate effectively? The example of the Khrushchev-Kuzmin attack on the Soviet military and the security of their cell phones
Regardless of whether Russia lost 400 men as Ukraine claims, or 89 as Moscow says, the result of the attack is the same: Russia’s highest single-incident death toll since the war began more than 10 months ago.
If the Russian account is accurate, it was the cell phones that the novice troops were using in violation of regulations that allowed Ukrainian forces to target them most accurately. The attack may have been executed in another way, butUkraine has not indicated that. Russia’s war is having broader and deeper implications.
The call for a temporary truce was made by Putin days after the deadliest attack on Russia’s servicemen. The move was rightly dismissed by Ukraine and the US as a cynical attempt to seek breathing space amid a very bad start to the year for Russian forces.
Russian officials said that four Ukrainian-launched HIMARS rockets hit the vocational school where its forces were housed, apparently adjacent to a large arms depot. Russian air defense shot down two of the rockets.
Chris Dougherty, a senior fellow for the Defense Program and co-head of the Gaming Lab at the Center for New American Security in Washington, has told me that Russia’s failure to break up or move large arms depots is largely a function of the reality that their forces cannot communicate adequately.
It is a view shared by many other experts. James Lewis, director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies told me in an e-mail exchange that bad security communications are a common practice in the Russian Army.
The Russian military has a history of unsafe gun storage, the ministry of defense of Britain said after the recent Makiivka strikes.
The troops killed in Makiivka seem to have been recent conscripts, part of a larger picture of Russian soldiers being shipped to the front lines with little training and deeply sub-standard equipment and weapons.
Russian inmates have been freed and transferred to the Ukrainian front in the last couple of weeks. It’s hard to imagine the appeal of using a cell phone to prisoners who are used to years of isolation with little or no outside contact.
Semyon Pegov, who blogs under the alias WarGonzo and was personally awarded the Order of Courage by President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin two weeks ago, attacked the Ministry of Defense for its “blatant attempt to smear blame” in suggesting it was the troops’ own use of cell phones that led to the precision of the attack.
He questioned how the Ministry of Defense could be “so sure” that the location of soldiers lodging in a school building could not have been determined using drone surveillance or a local informant.
The defense ministry replaced four-star Gen. Bulgakovsky with Col. Gen. Mikhail Y. MIktsev, known to Western Officials as the butcher of Mariupol. The location of the arms depot would have been on the watch of the commander.
Still, Putin-favorite Sergei Shoigu remains defense minister — as recently as Saturday, before the Makiivka attack, telling his forces in a celebratory video: “Our victory, like the New Year, is inevitable.”
Just this week, the Biden administration announced the US was considering dispatching Bradley armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was pushing for heavier battle tanks and French PresidentEmmanuel Macron announced he would be sending light tanks. All of which puts German Chancellor Olaf Scholz under increasing pressure to add its powerful Leopard 2 tanks to the mix.
There are loud bangs as the streets of Siversk in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region are battered. Sometimes the Russians fire back, and sometimes the outgoing Ukrainians fire back.
An elderly woman in black pants, heavy shoes, and a dirty grey overcoat and headscarf shuffles up the street. There is an explosion that rings out. She flinches, but she doesn’t miss a step. The crowd of elderly residents were bundled up against the cold.
Lubov Bilenko stands alone on the edge of the crowd. Her face is flat, devoid of emotion, her dark eyes without expression – the thousand-mile stare.
A woman in Siversk, Ukraine: The first pensions handed out in a town with Russian forces is the only connection to the rest of the world
She uses a low voice to say that they were scared before. “Now we’re used to it,” she says of the shelling. We don’t pay attention anymore.
In order to collect her pension from the Ukrposhta mobile unit, she had to leave her apartment and travel to the main road. The pension of Bilenko is not very high. Only enough to buy food from a shop that isn’t currently open.
Anna Fesenko, a blonde woman with a quick smile, heads the mobile unit. As she and her colleagues check documents against a list of recipients and hand out cash, Anna coaxes a smile and an occasional chuckle from weary town residents.
The post office where Fesenko worked was located 22 miles south of Siversk. In the fall fighting around the town became so bad that she and her colleagues had to leave.
She understands that her job is not only to give out pensions, but to also make sure that the people in Siversk aren’t forgotten. She says that she believes they are the only connection between them and the rest of the world.
“I live within a 20-minute walk from here, but my wife is afraid to come here,” says 63-year-old Volodymyr, who declined to give his full name, pulling on a cigarette before joining the line.
Olha has made it to the front. She spent months in the basement of her building huddling with others, like so many people living in the war zone. It is a cramped, uncomfortable existence. She is willing to put up with it.
Overseeing the operation is the head of the Siversk military administration, Oleksi Vorobiov. He’s nervous that so many people have gathered out in the open.
Russian forces are near the pension distribution point, occupying hills. They are about six miles from the north.
“We are trying to choose the right time and place,” Vorobiov says of the pension handout. Every time the mobile unit comes, it is different locations and time to avoid being targeted by Russians.
A Russian missile strike on a Ukrainian city destroyed by a renewed volley of missiles that slammed into Kramatorsk
No one was injured, she said, but she and her colleagues dispensed with formalities. They quickly handed out the cash they could to those still waiting, she said, and left.
There was a renewed volley of missiles that slammed into the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukranian Thursday, sending fire and smoke into the air as screaming people scrambled to find shelter.
Paramedics rushed to the scene to treat at least one wounded civilian. The mayor told the residents to stay in bomb shelters and that there had been a strike on the city.
Rescue workers searched through piles of rubble to try and locate survivors in the aftermath of Wednesday’s attack, which damaged eight apartment buildings. Authorities also evacuated people to a local school for shelter.
“A country bordering absolute evil. To reduce to zero the likelihood of tragedies occurring again, a country has to overcome it. We will find and punish all the perpetrators. They do not deserve mercy.”
The incident of Kramatorsk: two Russian guerrillas confronted by the Ukrainians in a high-strength conflict
Moscow’s attack in Kramatorsk came after a top Kyiv official said Russia is gearing up for a “maximum escalation” of the nearly years-long war in Ukraine.
“These will be defining months in the war,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Sky News in an interview broadcast Tuesday.
Two former fighters of the Russian private military company Wagner have told CNN of their horrific experiences on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, and how anyone who faltered was immediately shot by their own commanders.
The two fighters were captured by Ukrainian forces. CNN is not disclosing their identities for their own safety. While in prison, they were recruited and married with children. One was sentenced for manslaughter.
For security reasons, the Ukrainians kept a presence in the room where the interview took place. The fighters were told by CNN that they could finish the interview at any time they wanted. But they spoke in detail for more than an hour.
There were 90 of us. Sixty people were killed in the first assault. One recalled his first assault near the village of Bilohorivka where a few remained wounded. “If one group is unsuccessful, another is sent right away. They send another group if the second one fails.
A fight took place in a forest in eastern Ukraine for five days, during which the other fighter was involved.
The wounded cannot be helped. The Ukrainians were firing heavily on us, so even if their wounds were minor, you’ve got to keep going, otherwise you’re the one getting hit by the fire.
The prisoner claimed that he kicked in to save himself, but other people didn’t like it. Some people drop their weapons in the forest. Drop your weapons will lead to death from sniper fire.
There was no evacuation of the wounded, he added. “If you’re wounded, all you have to do is roll away, any way you can, in a neutral area, and give yourself first aid to yourself.” he said.
Casualties piled up by the dozen, the men said. One of the fighters said, “You don’t really consider who’s dead and who’s wounded when casualties arrive.”
They became numb to the casualties and the killing of the Ukrainian soldiers they faced. You would think you would feel something. [after killing someone], but no, you just keep going.”
The other fighter said that his commander told him to eliminate anyone who got cold feet. If we failed to eliminate him, we would not be able to.
The men talked about how they were recruited. In August and September of last year, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the group’s chief, flew to the prisons where they were being held in order to get them to grant him a pardon.
“Only a handful in my unit came for money, most came because they had long sentences,” said one of the fighters. “But there were also some who had only 12 days of their sentence remaining, and they went anyway.
The selection process was so rudimentary that older prisoners only had to show they could march a few yards, one of the prisoners said. They took most of the people.
Since the Russian invasion began, I have been haunted by the dark thoughts in my father’s eyes as he retells the stories of his relatives who never came back after being shipped off to Soviet concentration camps. Stories of millions of Ukrainians starving to death during Stalin’s famine in the 1930s.
Soon after Prigozhin’s visits, hundreds of prisoners were taken by bus and plane to a training ground in the Rostov region of Russia, according to the two men.
The training was brief and basic – handling guns for the terrible assaults they would soon be ordered to carry out. The men said it was clear they were being prepared for missions they’d not signed up for.
A Global Network Study of Political Reform in Ukraine: The Case for an Airborne Anti-Aircraft Weapons Campaign against the Crimea-Russian Interaction
One person said that he didn’t mention anything about danger. “He talked about expunging all convictions, we would serve six months, all convictions would be expunged, an advance payment of 240,000 roubles (around $3,300) and also that our task was to hold the defense on the second line.”
I was ordered to dig in at my position by the command, waiting to be evacuated. He recalled that the group of 10 was sent by the authorities and they killed all of them.
I did not think it was a good choice, especially since I had never fought against the AFU. They brought us here under the wrong pretext. And so we are at war, but I don’t think it’s a just cause,” said one.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise Europe tour, meeting leaders in London, Paris and Brussels, and reiterating his call for allies to send fighter jets to Ukraine.
Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova attended President Biden’s State of the Union speech, for the second year in a row, but the war in Ukraine received far less attention in the address this time.
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.
The report’s primary purpose appears to be political reeducation, as at least 32 facilities identified in the report appear to be engaged in systematic re-education of children from the former Yugoslavia to Russia.
It identified 43 facilities that are part of the network, which stretches from either end of Russia to the other, including Russian-occupied territories such as Crimea and the eastern Pacific Coast.
According to Raymond, a camp in Chechnya and a camp in Crimea seem to be specifically involved in training children in the use of firearms and military vehicles, but the researchers have not been able to corroborate that the children are being sent into conflict.
It is not certain if hundreds of children who are still unknown have been returned to their families. Other children were held for months at these camps, including many who are still unknown. This report has identified two camps where children’s scheduled return date has been delayed by weeks. Children’s returns at two other camps have been indefinitely postponed.
“It’s also critically important to understand that these are children who – the lack of contact that they have, or the only intermittent contact that they may have with their parents, is causing very real and potential harm on a very daily basis,” said Caitlin Howarth, also of Yale Humanitarian Research Lab.
The report said at least 12 of the identified federal, regional and local figures were not on the U.S. and/or international sanction lists.
Raymond said that the system is consistent with both the Rome Statute and the Genocide Convention when it comes to prohibiting the transfer of children from one group to another.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that “Russia’s system of forced relocation, reeducation and adoption of Ukraine’s children is a key element of the Kremlin’s systematic efforts to deny and suppress Ukraine’s identity, its history and its culture.”
The transfer and deportation of protected people is a war crime according to the US State Department.
The Russian War, Cold War and the Future: What Do We Expect to Learn from the First Open-Source Wars and How Do We Prepare for It?
Multiple failures of their military culture, doctrine, organizational structure, training and equipement have caused the Russians to lose many battles. While Petraeus says this is in many ways the first open-source war, other aspects are being fought with Cold War tactics and weapons – albeit with upgraded capabilities, drones and precision munitions.
Petraeus is not completely. In an interview with The Atlantic published shortly before the Russian invasion, I explained the considerable difficulties I expected Russia would encounter and noted that an invasion force of some 190,000 was much less than what likely would be required, especially if the Ukrainians proved to be as determined as I thought they would be (and they have been even more so).
We are, however, seeing some glimpses and hints of what the future of warfare might look like. We think the Ukrainian use of drones as aerial observers to identify Russian headquarters and other targets for the US’s precision missiles will double in range when they arrive in Ukraine.
And there would incomparably greater numbers of vastly more capable unmanned systems (some remotely piloted, others operating according to algorithms) in every domain – not just in the air, but also at sea, sub-sea, on the ground, in outer space, and in cyberspace, and operating in swarms, not just individually!
I recall an adage back in the Cold War days that stated, “If it can be seen, it can be hit; if it can be hit, it can be killed.” We did not possess the capabilities needed to truly operate that adage in those days. In the future, however, just about everything – certainly every platform, base and headquarters – will be seen and thus be susceptible to being hit and destroyed (unless there are substantial defenses and hardening of those assets).
It underscores that we need to change our forces and systems. We must deter future conflict by ensuring that there are no questions about our capabilities or our willingness to employ them – and also by doing everything possible to ensure that competition among great powers does not turn into conflict among them.
Thanks to Putin, the French President’s claim that NATO was suffering from brain death has turned out to be a bit premature.
All of the above, and more, is what the commander in chief said. The list is long, including poor campaign design; wholly inadequate training (what were they doing for all those months they were deployed on the northern, eastern, and southern borders of Ukraine?); poor command, control, and communications; inadequate discipline (and a culture that condones war crimes and abuse of local populations); poor equipment (exemplified by turrets blowing off of tanks when fires ignite in them); insufficient logistic capabilities; inability to achieve combined arms effects (to employ all ground and air capabilities effectively together); inadequate organizational architecture; lack of a professional noncommissioned officer corps; a top-down command system that does not promote initiative at lower levels and pervasive corruption that undermines every aspect of their military – and the supporting military-industrial complex.
Petraeus: Not at all. Russia has enormous military capacity and is a nuclear power, as well as a country with great energy, mineral and agricultural blessings. It has a population that’s nearly double that of the next largest European country, Turkey, with 80 million.
How Did Russia End its War? Comment on “How Ukraine Can Become More Popular than Russia” by E.R. Bergen, S.S. Stalin, and E.P. Schur
It is lead by a dictator who embraces an extreme revanchist view of the world that can seriously undermine his decision-making.
Bergen: You know the observation sometimes attributed to Stalin: “Quantity has a quality all its own.” Russia has a far bigger population than Ukraine: Will that make a critical difference to the Ukraine war over the long term?
Nonetheless, it is estimated that as many as 300,000 new recruits and mobilized reservists are being sent to the frontlines, with up to 100,000-150,000 more on the way. And that is not trivial – because quantity does, indeed, matter.
It’s unclear whether the same is true of many Russians who are from ethnic and sectarian minorities, but Ukrainians know what they are fighting for.
And the Ukrainians also have demonstrated a very impressive ability to learn how to employ new weapons systems and vehicles much more rapidly than anyone anticipated, as they want to master new capabilities as quickly as is possible and get back to the fight.
Sometimes I feel that we should have decided to give various capabilities (eg, tanks, long range precision munitions, etc.), because they are times when I feel like we should have. We have sooner than that.
Eventually, for example, Ukraine is going to have to transition from eastern bloc aircraft (e.g., MiG-29s) to western ones (e.g., F-16s). They have more pilots than aircraft at the moment, because there aren’t any more MiGs to give them.
The transition will take a number of months regardless, and we should start the process now. I think the Administration has done an impressive job, and it’s clear that they’re the indispensable nation in this situation, with important ramifications around the world.
Can Russia stop the Wagner Group? Petraeus: How Ukraine ended the Moskva? What do the Chinese think about the invasion of Taiwan?
Bergen: The quasi-private Wagner Group is the force that Putin sends into the meat grinder of the toughest battles. Is it possible to use mercenaries, many of whom are convicts, as a tactic?
Petraeus: What Russia has done with what are, in essence, mercenaries, as you note, is somewhat innovative – but also essentially inhumane, as it entails throwing soldiers (many of them former convicts) into battle as cannon fodder, and with little, if any, concern for their survival.
These are not the tactics or practices that, at the end of the day, foster development of well-trained, disciplined, capable, and cohesive units that have trust in their leaders and soldiers on their left and right.
Bergen: What are the lessons of Ukraine for the Chinese if they were to stage an invasion of Taiwan, which would not be over a neighboring land border but over a 100-mile body of water? Does the sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea navy, reshape how the Chinese might think about this question?
And especially if the target of such an operation has a population willing to fight fiercely for its survival and be supported by major powers – not just militarily but with substantial economic, financial, and personal sanctions and export controls.
Petraeus: Yes, I believe it is. The war is the first in which phones and social media have been used so widely. Open sources are where the transparency and information comes from.
“PUT In Longy War On UKRUCES”: The 2003 Ukrainian War in Iraq During the 2004 Irreversible Annihilation
That said, there does not seem to be a particularly innovative new plan, given the limitations of the professional capabilities of the Russian forces and their demonstrated inability to generate “combined arms effect” – to integrate the actions of tanks with infantry, artillery/mortars, engineers, explosive ordnance disposal, electronic warfare, fixed and rotary wing close air support, air defenses, effective command and control, drones, etc.
Beyond that, I believe we will see Ukrainian forces that are much more capable than the Russians at achieving the kind of combined arms effects that I described earlier and that thus enable much more effective offensive operations and can unhinge some of the Russian defenses. Given the time it takes for the Ukrainian forces to receive and train on new western tanks and other systems, we might not see all this until the spring or summer.
In 2003 at the start of the Iraq War, you asked rhetorical questions such as “Tell me how this ends.” How does the war in Ukraine come to an end?
On February 24, 2022, I was supposed to be in Kyiv. My husband broke his shoulder a few days before that and we had to stay in Moscow. At 9:00 a.m. that day he had surgery.
My phone was ringing from all the calls, and there were missed calls. The headline on the website was: “PUT IN LENGTHY WAR ON UKRUCES.”
In the space of a year, the war has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more. It has unleashed unfathomable atrocities, decimated cities, driven a global food and energy crisis and tested the resolve of western alliances.
A Year in the Life After the First Russian Missiles: I’m Moving to Budapest, Ukraine – What Have I Learned?
February 23, 2022, Zaporizhzhia. I thought I would celebrate my husband’s birthday the next day. Our life was beginning to improve. My husband was running his own business. Our daughter had started school and made friends there. We were lucky to have arranged support services and found a special needs nursery for our son. I finally had time to work. I felt happy.
We were completely exhausted, crushed and scared and had to come to terms with the displacement. I will be forever grateful to all those who helped us come to Prague and adjust to a new life in a foreign land.
My husband was given a job thanks to the Czech Republic. I found special needs classes for my son. He is currently attending an adaptation group for Ukrainian children. My daughter is studying remotely in her Ukrainian school.
We were woken that morning to find out that the invasion had begun. I wrote an open letter that was signed by 12 Russian writers, directors and cultural figures. Soon it was published, and tens of thousands of Russian citizens added their signatures.
We left Russia on the third day. I felt like it was a moral obligation. I could no longer live in the area that has become fascist.
We moved to Berlin. My husband volunteered at a refugee camp near the main railway station where thousands of Ukrainians were arriving every day. And I started writing a new book. It begins like this.
As I write, Russia has just fired dozens of Kalibr missiles towards several cities in Ukraine, including my adopted city of Odesa. Air raid sirens blare as we bolt for a place to stay. My landlady brings a pot of borscht to make me feel normal.
What’s changed since Russian missiles first began falling on February 24, 2022? Ukrainians are angry as they stand up to volleys of rockets and drones.
My passport is a novel in stamps, one year into the invasion. My life is split between London, where I teach Ukrainian literature, and Ukraine, where I get my lessons in courage.
In the past year, the capital of Russia has suffered from terrorist bombings, energy shortages and the fall of the Kremlin. These dark winter nights, one sees so many stars over Kyiv which the Russians have only managed to bring closer to eternity.
A senior fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is Andrei Kolesnikov. He is the author of several books on the political and social history of Russia, including “Five Five-Year Liberal Reforms.” The history of Russian modernization and Egor Gaidar.
It seems that since February 2022 we have experienced several eras. After a time when his ratings were stagnant, Putin was given more than 80% approval from the population.
He canceled the future by going back to the past. It is easier to live this way when your superiors decide what you should do, and you take for granted everything they tell you.
It’s impossible to adapt to a catastrophe like that for me and my family. I became a foreign agent as a result of my active commentary on the events, which led to increased personal risk and made me believe I was living in an Orwellian anti-utopia.
On the evening of February 23 I washed my dog, cleaned the house, took a bath and lit candles. I live in a nice one-bedroom apartment in the north of the city. I loved taking care of it. I loved the life I had. The small rituals and struggles are all part of it. That night was the last time my life mattered.
I remember talking to colleagues, trying to assemble and coordinate a small army of volunteers to strengthen the newsroom. And calling my parents to organize buying supplies.
The life I knew started falling apart soon after, starting with the small things. It no longer mattered what cup I used to drink my morning tea, or how I dressed, or whether or not I took a shower. Life no longer mattered because of the battle.
And besides the obvious battles, there was another one to fight – trying to claim my life back. We were the victims of the life Russia stole from us.
I was not concerned with my personal ambitions anymore. To raise the flag and show that we’re fighting even under these circumstances is what was most important.
I didn’t like the way I won on the track. The only possible outcome was because so many defenders had died. I got messages from soldiers on the frontline. They were so happy to follow our achievements, and it was my primary motivation to continue my career.