Russia has been left isolated and struggling by the war against Ukraine

Vladimir Putin vs. Putin in 1999: Forcible Annihilation of the Crimean Peninsula to Make Europe a Global Power

In 1999, the year Putin came to power, he had other plans. The Russian leader says he doesn’t accept Ukraine’s independence, and that it’s part of Russia. He claims that Russia can protect Ukraine.

Russia has said it will annex two of the four regions. The countries are both home to Russian-backed republics and have been involved in fighting in recent years.

There was a suggestion from the ground that voting was done at gun point, but Putin claimed the referendums reflected the will of millions of people.

“One wish for all Ukrainians,” he said. “Let this year be the year of return. The return of our people. To their families. Prisoners — to their homes. Immigrants — to their Ukraine. Return of our land. And the temporarily occupied will become forever free.”

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’s speech echoed his major foreign policy aim: restoring Russia as a major global power charged with protecting the Russian speaking world from the continued threat posed by Western forces.

Russia plans to fly its flag over more than 40,000 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.

Putin was joined by Moscow-backed separatist leaders and Kremlin-appointed officials from the four regions, as senior Russian lawmakers and dignitaries looked on.

Europe is facing a challenge of dealing with Russia in a state of denial and hoping it can evolve into a managed decline. The risk for Europe would be to overstate the threat after they underestimated Moscow’s malice.

Vladimir Putin’s decision to leave Moscow after the first Ukrainian war was declared “the choice of the people made their choice,” he told the Kremlin

He showed off military actions of the Western world, from the British Opium war in China in the 19th century to the 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.

Russia has shown that it can cause enormous damage and ruin in major Ukrainian cities, such as the capital. Monday’s strikes heightens Russia-Ukraine conflict to one of its most dangerous phases since 2014. Putin had made statements suggesting tactical nuclear weapons should remain on the table.

Friday’s events include a celebration on Red Square. Official ratification of the decrees will happen next week, said Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman.

The moves come after staged referendums held during a war in defiance of international law. Many people in the provinces have fled fighting since the war began, and people that did vote were sometimes held at gun point.

A victory by the Kremlin over the eastern regions could allow it to say that they have won their battle against the Ukrainians when hawks in Russia are accusing them of not doing enough.

A recent draft of hundreds of thousands of civilians to join the military service that has encountered opposition in Russia is just one of many hurdles that Mr. Putin has to overcome to reestablish his control over the war.

With even his allies expressing concern and hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing partial enlistment, an increasingly isolated Putin is once again using speeches to offer a distorted view of history.

“The people made their choice,” said Putin in a signing ceremony at the Kremlin’s St. George hall. “And that choice won’t be betrayed” by Russia, he said.

According to Hill, Putin thinks that if he negotiates with Biden and allies, he can bring peace to the world. We need to recognize what we have done on the ground in Ukraine.

Outside the Kremlin, banners were being put up for a concert and rally to show that Russia and the territories are “woven together forever.”

The move caps a week that saw the Kremlin choreograph referendums in Russian-occupied territories that purportedly delivered overwhelming majorities in favor of joining Russia.

“The United States will never, never, never recognize Russia’s claims on Ukraine sovereign territory,” Biden said. “This was an absolutely sham and the results were made in Moscow.”

The decision was framed by Putin as a historical justice, due to the separation of Russian speakers from their homelands after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Western officials have pointed to the timing as evidence of Kremlin desperation to solidify Russian gains before their lines collapse further. Zelenskyy claimed that Moscow wanted to mobilize Ukrainians in annexed areas of the country for the military campaign.

Formal ratification of the territories into the Russian Federation will now move to Russia’s parliament and constitutional court — whose approval is widely seen as a foregone conclusion.

The Russian government’s annexation has unfolded as it works to deploy an additional 300,000 troops to bolster its military campaign amid a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has retaken territory in the south and northeast of Ukraine.

Russian officials have repeatedly warned that the new territories would be entitled to protections under Russia’s nuclear umbrella.

The Kremlin and the Cold War: What do we really want to see in the next Russian war? Is Putin desperate to end the war?

Fiona Hill, who has advised three US Presidents on national security about Russia, also thinks Putin may be attempting an end game. “He feels a sense of acute urgency that he was losing momentum, and he’s now trying to exit the war in the same way that he entered it. He is in charge and framing the whole terms of a negotiation. “

Putin argued it was good riddance, part of a “self-cleansing” of Russian society from traitors and spies. The Russians want to take away the passports of those who left the country. Yet there are questions whether Russia can thrive without many of its best and brightest.

The 40 kilometer traffic tail backs at the border with Georgia, and the long lines at crossings into a few other countries speak to the increasing perception that Putin is losing his touch at reading Russia’s mood.

“The current onslaught of criticism and reporting of operational military details by the Kremlin’s propagandists has come to resemble the milblogger discourse over the past week. The Kremlin narrative focused on general statements of progress and avoided detailed discussions of current military operations. The Kremlin had never openly recognized a major failure in the war prior to its devastating loss in Kharkiv Oblast, which prompted the partial reserve mobilization.”

He used the same playbook annexing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and now, like then, threatens potential nuclear strikes should Ukraine, backed by its Western allies, try to take the annexed territories back.

But to apply the special case of negotiation — with few parameters and a narrow range of outcomes — to a complex, fluid and much wider geopolitical rivalry is a category error. There is no special, separate category of actions the West or Ukraine can take that will automatically cause a nuclear incident between Russia and the West. Russia has no red lines: It only has, at each moment, a range of options and perceptions of their relative risks and benefits. The West should continually aim, through its diplomacy, to shape these perceptions so that Russia chooses the options that the West prefers.

The first two hours of the Nord Stream pipeline detonation: Russia and the end of the Russian-American war in 2019, and Putin feels the pressure to end the nuclear war

The seismology teams from both countries recorded the first detonation at 2 a.m. and the second at 7 p.m.

Within hours, roiling patches of sea were discovered, the Danes and the Germans sent warships to secure the area, and Norway increased security around its oil and gas facilities.

The Nord Stream pipeline sabotage could, according to Hill, be a last roll of the dice by Putin, so that “there’s no kind of turning back on the gas issues. And it’s not going to be possible for Europe to continue to build up its gas reserves for the winter. So what Putin is doing is throwing absolutely everything at this right now.”

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.

Europe raced to replenish gas reserves before the winter and had to dial back demands for Russian supplies while looking for alternatives as Putin held back the opening of the second Nord Stream.

The sharp shift was a sign that domestic pressure was getting to the point where Putin felt that a brutal show of force was needed for his audience at home.

It was 2019. And the successful TV comedian turned commander in chief had traveled to Paris for a summit to negotiate a peace deal with Putin. Despite the doubts of many, Zelensky managed to walk away giving few concessions.

Volker expects Putin to pitch France and Germany first “to say, we need to end this war, we’re going to protect our territories at all costs, using any means necessary, and you need to put pressure on the Ukrainians to settle.”

Putin knows he is in a corner, but doesn’t seem to realize how small a space he has, and that of course is what’s most worrying – would he really make good on his nuclear threats?

The Russian Defense Ministry, NATO Soldiers and the Campaign against Russia in Lyman-Zelensky’s Decay of Lyman

The Russian Defense Ministry said it was forced to cede Lyman or risk encirclement of its troops there, allowing Ukrainian forces to potentially use the city as a staging post to push troops further east.

Whether it is going through with a wedding in the middle of a rocket attack, coming in to make Molotov cocktails, or shifting classes to a Kyiv subway station as missiles fly or keeping a family business open against all odds, one thing Putin’s invasion has done is galvanized the Ukrainian people

Russian forces in Lyman had desertions, poor planning and late arrival of reserves, according to an article published Sunday by Komsomolskaya Pravda.

On Russia’s flagship Sunday political show, “News of the Week,” on Channel 1, the fall of Lyman wasn’t even mentioned until 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.

But the soldiers interviewed on the Sunday broadcast said they had been forced to retreat because they were fighting not only with Ukrainians, but with NATO soldiers.

These are no longer toys for children here. The deputy commander of a Russian battalion told war correspondents that they were part of a systematic and clear offensive by NATO forces. The soldier insisted that his unit had been intercepting discussions by Romanian and Polish soldiers, not Ukrainians, on their radios.

The broadcast seemed intended to convince Russians who have doubts about the war or feel anger over plans to call up as many as 300,000 civilians that any hardships they bear are to be blamed on a West that is bent on destroying Russia at all costs.

An interview conducted with the father of a well-known nationalist commentator, who died in a bomb attack, indicated that Russia is fighting a larger campaign.

Victory will surely depend on the West maintaining a united front against Russia. Zelensky and his envoys abroad have done an enviable job of warning Western leaders that if they don’t support Ukraine in pushing Putin back completely, their own nations’ security could be caught in the crosshairs of Russian aggression.

Mr. Dugin has been accusing the western countries of causing the crisis over the gas pipe, and Mr. Putin is also accusing the western countries of causing the crisis.

“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. We must join this battle with an enemy who will use every means to stop us, from blowing up gas lines to killing us.

The campaign may be working at the moment. A senior Fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from Russia said that many Russians feel threatened by the west.

Moscow and Tehran have sought to foment their ideologies beyond their borders. As a result, the struggles of the Ukrainian and Iranian people will have repercussions outside of their countries.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that he believes Ukraine is “making progress” in Kherson, thanks in part to weapons supplied by Washington.

“What we’re seeing now is a kind of change in the battlefield dynamics,” Austin said. They have done very, very well in the Kharkiv area and have taken advantage of opportunities. The fight in the Kherson region is slower than before but progress is being made.

The Case for a Better World: After G20, Russia is Standing up to the U.S. and Russia in the Light of Recent EU Referendums

The contests failed to meet internationally accepted standards of free and fair elections and have been panned as a farce. Reports from the ground suggested that voting was basically held at gun point.

Diplomatically, Putin finds himself increasingly isolated on the world stage. Zelensky dubbed the G20 session the “G19” because only the head of state stayed away. Though Putin once lusted after a return to the G7 (known as the G8 before he was ousted after his seizure of Crimea), inclusion now seems but a distant dream. The difference between the ban on 100 Canadians including Jim Carrey from entering the country by Russia and the one on North Korea is striking.

The EU started expelling Russian ambassadors in a coordinated manner on Friday to convey strong condemnation of these actions and demand the immediate halt to actions which undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity and violating UN Charter and international law.

Editor’s Note: Frida Ghitis, a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.

Twelve Months of War in the Ukraine and the Disappearance of Persecuted Women in the Regime of Regime in Iran

Two groups of people came together in London. One was waving Ukrainian flags; the other Iranian flags. They cheered each other, and said “All together we will win”.

Twelve months into this war, Ukraine and Ukrainians have transformed. It is believed that tens of thousands of civilians and fighters are dead. Millions of people have left their homes.

These battles show bravery that is unimaginable to most of us, and are inspiring equally courageous support in places like Afghanistan.

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month has sparked controversy in Iran. 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.

In scenes of exhilarated defiance, Iranian women have danced around fires in the night, shedding the hijab – the headcover mandated by the regime – and tossing it into the flames.

Even as the regime kills more and more protesters, men have joined them in large numbers, because they see the peaceful uprising as a way to break the shackles of oppression.

The Russian-Iran War in Syria During Putin’s Cold War: A Challenge for Israel and the Rest of the World, or What Will Putin Say to Putin?

Russia, which has been a dominant military force in Syria since 2015 and helps maintain the government’s grip on power, still keeps a sizable presence there. The change could change the balance of power in one of the world’s mostComplicated Conflict zones and may prompt Israel to rethink its stance on the conflict in Ukraine.

Zelensky has a fresh dilemma as the war is in a new year. How to balance growing pressure from outside for a ceasefire and negotiations with Russia, and expectations within Ukraine for a full Russian withdrawal to pre-2014 lines.

Russia has been called a trail of war crimes with hundreds of bombed hospitals, schools, civilian convoys, and mass graves filled with Ukrainians.

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.

Putin had a trip to Iran for the first time since the start of his war in Ukraine. Is it any wonder that Iran has trained Russian forces and provided them with advanced drones to use against 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.

Niloofar Hamedi is a journalist who first reported on the disappearance of Mahsa Amini in Iran’s prisons. In Russia, journalism can be very dangerous. Is it okay to criticize Putin. After trying and failing to kill opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Putin’s people manufactured charges to keep him in a penal colony indefinitely.

For people in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, there’s more than passing interest in the admittedly low probability that the Iranian regime could fall. It would be transformative for their countries and their lives, heavily influenced by Tehran. After all, Iran’s constitution calls for spreading its Islamist revolution.

The leading autocrats of the world,Putin and Xi, looked unstoppable. Meanwhile, Western democracies appeared unsettled, roiled by sometimes violent protests against Covid-19 restrictions. Putin was preparing for triumph in Ukraine. Xi was hosting the Olympics, basking in attention, and preparing to solidify his control of China.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he expects the situation to stabilize in four war-torn regions of Ukraine after signing legislation to annex them on Wednesday, despite the fact that Russia’s military does not fully control those areas.

While Russian state television hailed Putin’s inking of the annexation process, pro-Kremlin pundits delivered rare dispatches on the growing setbacks faced by Moscow’s troops on the ground.

Russian forces appear to be buckling under growing pressure as Ukraine continues to regain territory in the south, where Russian soldiers have been forced to retreat from previously-held settlements as Kyiv progresses with its counteroffensive towards the Russian-occupied city of Kherson.

Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin Energy Plant and in Moscow: The Russian Response to the Ukrainian Attacks on July 22, 2015, a day before Teachers’ Day

In a bid to celebrate the news, Putin took the opportunity in a televised meeting for Teachers’ Day to congratulate educators from “all 89 regions of Russia,” a number that includes the newly annexed territories.

“Undoubtedly, our work, our destiny, our homes and our future are with Ukraine, as always. We are in agreement with the Ukrainian legislation in the energy system. Don’t doubt it!” Petro Kotin said in a video address to the plant’s employees.

Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov, who spoke while the map was shown full-screen, did not mention the losses. He said that a Russian military destroyed Ukrainian armor and killed Ukrainian forces in the area that was thought to be under control of the Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian president praised the military for their quick and powerful advances in his Tuesday evening address, before he celebrated that many settlements have already been liberated this week.

He said that all the people in the Kherson region had been reclaimed.

Zelensky on Wednesday assembled his top military and security staff to consider plans for “further liberation of Ukrainian territories,” according to the readout of the meeting from the President’s office.

CNN asked Peskov if the decree is legal, to which he replied: “You should read it.” On the whole, of course, we are talking about the territory in which the military-civilian administration operated at the time of its adoption [as part of the Russian Federation].”

The phrase “regrouping” was also used by the Russian Defense Ministry in September to describe the retreat of the Russian military in response to the offensive by the Ukrainians.

Alexander Sladkov, a leading Russian war correspondent, admitted on state TV Tuesday that he had lost 17 settlements in the Kherson region and blamed the loss on US weapons deliveries and intel gathered via satellite.

Russian troops have not been trained enough to deal with enemy attacks, said a person in a video. The recent Russian losses are connected to that. It’s a very difficult period of time on the front line at the moment.”

Russia said Thursday its forces would help evacuate residents of occupied Kherson to other areas, as Ukraine’s offensive continued to make gains in the region. After the head of the Moscow-backed administration appealed to the Kremlin for help moving the residents out of harms way, the announcement came at a time whenRussian forces were struggling in the face of Ukrainian advances.

I’ve been there, but I haven’t been there. We are not going home, but we are waiting for reinforcements to arrive

Intelligence data is always being used, and they don’t have any problems with it. We are just waiting for our reserves to become fighting fit and join the battle.”

The correspondent of Russia 24, the state media arm of the Russian Federation, said Tuesday that they were going through the hardest time on the frontline.

This doesn’t mean that we’ve collapsed like a house of cards These mistakes aren’t gigantic strategic failures. We are still learning. I know this is hard to hear in our eighth month of the special operation. We are reporters, but we are also reporters. We are waiting for reinforcements to arrive.

He added: “It’s as painful as getting thumped on your melon. We have suffered losses. But it’s war. And these kinds of things happen in war. [Reinforcements] are coming, along with their equipment. I don’t lie or engage in propaganda. I am a reporter who is just reporting what is happening.

Sladkov’s admission on State TV was his second in less than a month, after he previously admitted that Russian forces had endured heavy losses on September 13, a Tuesday. At the beginning of this Tuesday’s interview, Sladkov quipped: “I only tell the truth on Tuesdays, and for other days I just make everything up.”

CNN’s Peter Bergen: The Cost of Chaos: The Case of the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and the War Between the United States and the Afghans

CNN national security analyst, New America vice president, and a professor of practice at Arizona State University, Peter Bergen, is an Editor’s Note. Bergen is the author of “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” The views are of his own. View more opinion on CNN.

(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. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan three years after the CIA gave them anti-aircraft missiles for their Afghan allies, ending their total air superiority.

America should pay more attention to three things. First, it should no longer say that there are weapons systems it will not give to the Ukrainians. To make an unforced concession is to signal restraint. Worse, it emboldens Russia to probe for, and try to impose, further limits on U.S. action — making the war more, not less, risky.

He said that many of the incoming missiles were shot down by the Ukrainian air defense systems provided by NATO Allies.

Why Putin fawned about the Russian loss in the Russo-Japanese war in 1917 and 1991?

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. A lot of the Romanov family was killed by the Bolsheviks.

On February 22 – just two days before Russia’s invasion – former US President Donald Trump, who has always fawned over Putin, publicly said that the Russian autocrat was “genius” and “savvy” for declaring two regions of eastern Ukraine independent and moving his troops there in a prelude to full-blown invasion.

The myth of genius has crumbled after seven months in the war. More than 200,000 Russians voted to flee Putin’s order during the past two weeks. They understand – despite the Herculean efforts of Putin’s propagandists – that this war is a bloodbath Russia is losing.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, there was a third dissolution of the Russian empire, which occurred first in 1917 and again in 1991.

The man who was an officer in the Russian military and member of the United Russia party said they need to stop lying. “We brought this up many times before … But somehow it’s apparently not getting through to individual senior figures.”

The ministry of Defense has been evading the truth about Ukrainian cross-border strikes in Russian regions, according to Kartapolov.

Valuyki is in Russia’s Belgorod region, near the border with Ukraine. When it comes to attacking Russian targets across the border, the Ukrainians generally adopt 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. They say that the Minister of Defense could have shot himself, because he allowed this situation to happen. Officer is an unfamiliar word for many.

Kadyrov has been more willing to blame Russian commanders than in the past when it comes to blaming them.

Writing on Telegram, Kadyrov personally blamed Colonel-General Aleksandr Lapin, the commander of Russia’s Central Military District, for the debacle, accusing him of moving his headquarters away from his subordinates and failing to adequately provide for his troops.

“The Russian information space has significantly deviated from the narratives preferred by the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) that things are generally under control,” ISW noted in its recent analysis.

Kadyrov, who just announced that he had been promoted by Putin to the rank of colonel general, has been an ardent critic of the methods of the past. In a previous Telegram post, he said that if he had his way, he would give the Russians extraordinary wartime powers.

“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.

Kiev carpet bombing of a central city in the southern hemisphere: the aftermath of Kiev’s invasion of Zaporizhzhia

On the mountain-flanked steppes of southwestern Kyrgyzstan, the result in just one remote village has been devastating: homes reduced to rubble, a burned-out school and a gut-wrenching stench emanating from the rotting carcasses of 24,000 dead chickens.

All fell victim last month to the worst violence to hit the area since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union — a brief but bloody border conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, both members of a Russia-led military alliance dedicated to preserving peace but which did nothing to halt the mayhem.

Michael Bociurkiw is a global affairs analyst who in summer relocated from Canada to Ukraine. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, as well as the spokesman for the organization for security and cooperation in Europe.

A series of explosions, including along a key bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, have put into question Russia’s ability to defend its own strategic infrastructure.

A video on social media showed hits near the university and just a short walk from the office building. Five people were killed as a result of strikes on the capital, according to Ukrainian officials.

The area around my office in Odesa was quiet after the air raid sirens went off, with reports of three missiles being shot down. (Normally at this time of the day, nearby restaurants would be heaving with customers, and chatter of plans for upcoming weddings and parties).

Following Zaporizhzhia, an southeastern city close to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, which was hit by multiple strikes on apartment buildings, on Monday, there were more attacks. Several dozens of people were injured.

The reason for this action was the carpet bombing of Ukrainian infrastructure by Putin. This is a part of Putin’s misguided, and likely futile, attempt to take the nation down by bombarding critical infrastructure with missiles as winter looms.

Residents in the Northeastern city of Kharkiv stocked up on canned food, gas, and drinking water as they faced more bombardments than what they had seen in Kyiv. The Typsy Cherry is a local bar. The owner,vladyslav Pyvovar, told The Times that the mood was cheerful. “People drank, had fun and wondered when the electricity will resume.” (Power came back hours later.)

According to officials, millions of people in the cities will spend most of the day at bomb shelters, while businesses are asked to shift work online as much as possible.

With so many asylum seekers coming back home, the attacks could cause another blow to business confidence.

The only bridge connecting mainland Russia and Crimea is viewed as symbolism by Putin. That the attack took place a day after his 70th birthday (the timing prompted creative social media denizens to create a split-screen video of Marilyn Monroe singing ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President”) can be taken as an added blow to an aging autocrat whose ability to withstand shame and humiliation is probably nil.

Hardwiring newly claimed territory with expensive, record-breaking infrastructure projects seems to be a penchant of dictators. Putin opened the Kerch bridge by driving a truck. One of the first things Beijing did after it regained Macau and Hong Kong was to connect them with the world’s longest sea crossing bridge. Two years of delays has caused the opening of the road bridge.

The explosion of Kiev and its consequences for Ukraine, as described by Ukrainian journalist Roman Kravets, in a telephone conversation with Vladimir Budanov

The explosion caused a hilarious meme to light up social media channels. Many shared their sense of jubilation via text messages.

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

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

Before Monday’s strikes, the Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate at Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, had told Ukrainian journalist Roman Kravets in late August that, “by the end of the year at the minimum we have to enter Crimea” – suggesting a plan to push back Russian forces to pre-2014 lines, which is massively supported by Ukrainians I’ve spoken to.

What is important is that Washington and other allies use urgent telephone diplomacy to urge China and India to not use more deadly weapons, as they have some leverage over Putin.

The first reason, and the one that prompted an immediate response from the West, is the moral and ethical obligation of the world’s democracies to help a nation whose freedom is threatened by an authoritarian power. National self-determination has long been a guiding principle of American foreign policy. Various U.S. administrations have honored it imperfectly, as is the case with so many guiding principles. It’s still helpful in finding a way forward. In sending an armored column toward Kyiv and seeking to overthrow its government, Mr. Putin clearly violated that principle, and threatens to return Europe to the instability of previous eras, when nations frequently invaded each other and altered the continent’s borders by force.

Furthermore, high tech defense systems are needed to protect Kyiv and crucial energy infrastructure around the country. With winter just around the corner, the need to protect heating systems is urgent.

The Pain of Ukraine: How Well Do They Handle it? The United Kingdom, the Middle East, and the West Embedded in a Cold War

The time is right for the West to impose travel and trade restrictions on Russia, but Turkey and the gulf states should be put under pressure to come on board.

On Monday, state television not only reported on the suffering, but also flaunted it. It showed smoke and bloodshed in the central part of the country, along with empty shelves and a forecast for months of freezing temperatures.

The impact of the war in Poland has had a knock-on effect on the world as energy and inflation price go up. It’s also raised the specter of another possible invasion by a different global power.

The war is in the middle of a new phase that is hard to predict. “This is now the third, fourth, possibly fifth different war that we’ve been observing,” said Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Programme.

“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 will probably escalate further.

Ukrainian troops hoisted the country’s flag above a building in Vysokopillya in the southern Kherson region. Ukrainian officials say they have liberated hundreds of settlements.

The counter-offensives have helped the war to pivot and dispelled the idea that Ukraine was unable to seize ground.

“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 they can get to Christmas with the frontline looking roughly as it is, that’s a huge success for the Russians given how botched this has been since February.”

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

The economy of Ukraine has been impacted by war, missile attacks, and drone attacks, and at least 76 strikes on Friday. Millions of Ukrainians are living without heat, electricity and water during the winter. If Ukrainians are able to defeat Russia, many say they will endure hardship and hardship for another two to five years.

NATO leaders have vowed to stand behind Ukraine regardless of how long the war takes, but several European countries – particularly those that relied heavily on Russian energy – are staring down a crippling cost-of-living crisis which, without signs of Ukrainian progress on the battlefield, could endanger public support.

TheUkrainianElectricity company Ukrenergo says it has kept the power supply up in the central regions of the country after the Russian missile attacks on Monday and Tuesday. Ukrainian Prime Minister has warned that there was a lot of work to be done to fix damaged equipment and asked the people to use less energy during peak hours.

Although experts think Russia won’t form a recurrent pattern of bombardment, they think Moscow won’t be able to keep it up because of the low military reserves of either army.

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

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

Justin Bronk, a military expert with the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), agreed with that assessment, telling CNN that, “Ukrainian interception success rates against Russian cruise missiles have risen significantly since the start of the invasion in February.”

There will be occasional shows of extreme outrage because the Russians don’t have the precision weapons to sustain that kind of high-tempo missile assault into the future.

The psychological impact of any further involvement in the war can be seen according to Puri. “Everyone’s mind in Ukraine and in the West has been oriented towards fighting one army,” he said. Inside Russia, Belarus joining the invasion “would play into Putin’s narrative that this war is about reuniting the lands of ancient Rus states.”

Giles said that the reopening of a northern front would be another challenge for Ukrainians. He said that the new route would provide Russia with a new route into the area, which has been regained by Ukrainians.

Zelensky will be hoping for more supplies to help him drive home the gains. More than half of the Russian missiles and drones launched at Ukraine were destroyed in the second wave of attacks on Tuesday, according to the leader.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that Ukraine needed “more” systems to better halt missile attacks, ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

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

Russian troops and civilians in Ukraine: what will they do in the next ten years? Mr. Putin’s wife, Sergei Sobyanin, and the president of the Ukrainian invasion

That doesn’t mean that mobilized forces will not be used. If used in supporting roles like drivers or refuelers, they could help ease the burden on Russia’s exhausted professional army. They could also fill out depleted units along the line of contact, cordon some areas and man checkpoints in the rear. They are unlikely to be a good fighting force. There are signs of discipline problems among soldiers in Russian garrisons.

The Russians could try to disrupt or deter foreign military assistance to the country. Such efforts might include the attacks on NATO satellites or other assets, which could render them temporarily or permanently inoperable. Russia could potentially launch cyberattacks against Europe and the United States to hurt Kyiv’s supporters. The war then would no longer be confined to the borders of Ukraine.

Struggling on the battlefield in southern and eastern Ukraine, Russia felt war on its own territory on Sunday as more than a dozen explosions ripped through a Russian border region, and a series of blasts severely damaged the offices of Russia’s puppet government in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

The Russian Defense Ministry, in a statement cited by the state media outlets RIA Novosti and TASS, described the shootings as a terrorist attack. It said the two gunmen were from a former Soviet nation and had fired on the soldiers during target practice at a firing range.

Sergey Sobyanin, the Mayor of Moscow, 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.

Despite Mr. Putin’s new powers, the regional governors said they wouldn’t impose entry or exit restrictions.

Moscow has declared martial law since World War II, but many Russians are sure to see a message in the martial law imposed in Ukraine.

The people are worried about the closing of the borders and the men who are close to Mr. Putin in the Kremlin will do what they want.

On Tuesday, the commander of the Russian invasion acknowledged that his army had a hard time in Kherson and that a tactical retreat was possible. General Surovikin said he was ready to make “difficult decisions” about military deployments, but did not say more about what those might be.

Russia has redeployed some of its military hardware and troops from Syria, according to three senior officials in the Middle East.


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

He is going to distract his nation from the obvious, namely that he is losing on the battlefield and failing to achieve even 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.

The EU agreed on a plan to bring down energy prices that have been increasing in the wake of sanctions on Russian imports and a cut in natural gas supplies from the Kremlin.

An emergency cap on the Dutch Title Transfer Facility is one of the things that are included in these.

While the French President said that the summit had maintained European unity, he admitted that there was only a clear mandate for the European Commission to start working on a gas cap mechanism.

Germany, the biggest economy of Europe, is skeptical of price caps. It will be necessary to work out details with Germany as they worry that these caps would encourage more consumption.

These divisions are part of Putin’s dream. Europe has a central role to play in achieving success from the Kremlin’s viewpoint.

Both Germany and France have disagreements over many of these issues. The German and French leaders planned a conference call for Wednesday in an effort to reach some kind of agreement.



And now a new government has taken power in Italy. Giorgia Meloni was sworn in Saturday as Italy’s first woman prime minister and has attempted to brush aside the post-fascist aura of her party. One of her far right coalition partners has an appreciation for Putin.

Silvio Berlusconi, himself a four-time prime minister of Italy, was recorded at a gathering of his party loyalists, describing with glee the 20 bottles of vodka Putin sent to him together with “a very sweet letter” on his 86th birthday.

Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister of the Italian coalition, stated during the campaign that he would not want the sanctions on Russia to hit those who impose them more than the ones who are hit.

Poland and Hungary, two long-time ultra-right-wing allies, have not been on the same wavelength about the EU’s liberal policies. Poland has taken deep offense at the pro-Putin sentiments of Hungary’s populist leader Viktor Orban.

Similar forces seem to be at work in Washington where House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, poised to become Speaker of the House if Republicans take control after next month’s elections, told an interviewer, “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They will not do it.

The influential Congressional progressive caucus called on Biden to open talks with Russia to end the conflict while the country’s missiles and drones are still in use and its troops are still occupying vast stretches of the country.

Hours later, caucus chair Mia Jacob, facing a firestorm of criticism, emailed reporters with a statement “clarifying” their remarks in support of Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to renew America’s support.

Indeed, while the US has proffered more than $60 billion in aid since Biden took office, when Congress authorized $40 billion for Ukraine last May, only Republicans voted against the latest aid package.

This support in terms of arms, materiel and now training for Ukrainian forces have been the underpinnings of their remarkable battlefield successes against a weakening, undersupplied and ill-prepared Russian military.

The West continues to try and crimp Russian energy profits, by capping the amount countries will pay for Russian oil and limiting seaborne oil imports. There are signs that the efforts are cutting into profits.

Russian production of hypersonic missiles has all but ceased “due to the lack of necessary semi-conductors,” said the report. Aircraft are being cannibalized for spare parts, plants producing anti-aircraft systems have shut down, and “Russia has reverted to Soviet-era defense stocks” for replenishment. Thirty years ago the Soviet era came to an end.

A day before this report, the US announced seizure of all property of a top Russian procurement agent Yury Orekhov and his agencies “responsible for procuring US-origin technologies for Russian end-users…including advanced semiconductors and microprocessors.”

The Justice Department also announced charges against individuals and companies seeking to smuggle high-tech equipment into Russia in violation of sanctions.

What do Ukrainians think about its new country, and how they’ve been affected by it, since the invasion of Kherson in March 2003

Hardliners like Gubarev are still present, even though they don’t intend to kill Ukrainians. But if you don’t want to be convinced, we’ll kill you. We have to kill 1 million, 5 million or all of you.

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

CNN journalists had to drive through Diversions and fields for most of their journey through smaller towns and settlements, which was littered with anti-tank mines.

The outskirts of the city, which had been occupied by Russian forces since March 3, were deserted, with no military presence except for a Ukrainian checkpoint around 5 miles outside of the city center, where half a dozen soldiers waved CNN’s crew in.

The city’s residents have no water, no internet connection and little power. The city center felt good as a CNN crew entered on Saturday.

Once the scene of large protests against Russian plans to transform the region into a breakaway pro-Russian republic, the streets of Kherson are now filled with jubilant residents wrapped in Ukrainian flags, or with painted faces, singing and shouting.

The army presence is still limited, but crowds on the street erupt in cheers when they see a truck carrying soldiers, and Ukrainian soldiers are offered soup, bread, flowers, hugs and kisses.

As CNNs crew stopped to regroup, we observed an old man and a woman hugging a young soldier, with their hands on the soldier’s shoulder, exchanging excited “Thank yous.”

While living under Russian occupation, every person we’ve spoken to has had an experience that terrified them: Earlier today, a teenager told CNN he was taken and beaten by Russian soldiers who believed he was a spy. Residents are overwhelmed by what this newfound freedom means.

Everyone wants you to understand what it was like for the occupiers, how happy they feel right now, and how grateful they are to the countries who helped them.

Everyone we have spoken to is aware that there are tougher days to come: that the Russians across the river could shell them here. It is also unclear whether all Russian troops have left Kherson and the wider region. There is still that uncertainty behind this euphoria.

It was an ideal time for Biden to speak frankly to the Chinese president about areas of disagreements between the two countries while trying to prevent the rivalry from getting out of hand as the relationship has deteriorated.

A well- functioning democratic process in the US is likely to be disappointing to Xi and other autocrats who hope that divisions within the country will weaken the country from within, and prove that democracy is chaotic and ineffective. 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.

The Epochal Challenge for the United Kingdom’s Most Powerful Leader: The Return of Volodymyr Zelensky to Kherson

The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a triumphant return to the city of Kherson, after having been liberated by the Russians, as Biden and Xi were meeting.

Biden rallied allies in a muscular push to supportUkraine after Putin’s adventure turned to disaster.

Putin admitted that he had questions and concerns for China about the situation inUkraine when he met with Xi again in September. After the Russian President threatened to use nuclear weapons, Xi rebuked him.

Putin avoided confrontations with the world’s leaders when he decided not to go to the G20 summit.

Even though Biden is the leader with a strong hand, he is not the only one. He can now rule for as long as he pleases after securing his third term as China’s leader. He doesn’t have to worry about elections or a critical press. He is essentially the absolute ruler of a mighty country for many years to come.

And yet Xi faces a mountain of daunting problems. China is hesitant to reveal economic data because of the slowdown in the economy. China had a vaccine that was once used as a tool of global diplomacy. China has put in place lockdowns because of that, and the rest of the world is expected to do the same in the near future.

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.

What Putin has done in his war with Ukraine, and what he wants to do with it: Ukranian, Lviv, and Kiev

The first missile to have landed in Poland – a NATO member – on Tuesday may well have been a Ukrainian anti-aircraft rocket intercepting an incoming Russian missile a short distance from one of Ukraine’s largest cities, Lviv, as suspected by Polish and NATO leaders. Zelensky said that the missile was not Ukrainian.

One thing is clear, regardless of the circumstances of the missile. “Russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against Ukraine,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Wednesday.

A number of Russian soldiers rebelled against what they had been asked to do and refused to fight. The Defense Ministry believes that Russian troops may be able 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.

One of the leading Russians in Berlin, who fled in March but now lives in the capital, told me last week he is prepared to accept the reality that he may never be able to return to his homeland.

It isumbling that the west wants to deprive the country of material resources to pursue this war in lieu of Russian oil and natural gas. “We have understood and learnt our lesson that it was an unhealthy and unsustainable dependency, and we want reliable and forward-looking connections,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission told the G20 on Tuesday.

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

Above all, Putin still does not appear to have learned that revenge is not an appropriate way to act on or off the battlefield and in the final analysis is most likely to isolate and weaken Russia, perhaps irreversibly.

Putin has installed pro-Russian people in Ukranian. Ukrainians pushed back with massive street protests in 2004. And then again a decade later, leading Ukraine’s president to flee to Russia in 2014.

The Russians started their assault on the area in the first days of the war. When the Russians invaded Ukraine, Viatrovych sent his wife and son to westernUkraine for their safety.

The emergency session of parliament in Kyiv declared martial law after he drove there. By 2 p.m. that day, he received a rifle so he could join the security forces defending the capital.

In 1918, Ukraine became independent from Russia and the first place that they moved their offices to was an elegant whitewashed building in the middle of the city called the Kyiv House of Teachers.

As the conflict between Russia andUkrainian approaches its one year mark, Ana is concerned about her parents and anxious about where the next missile will come from.

The building where independence was declared a century ago, and the Ukrainian army ongoing fight to free it self-from-russia (Ukraine)

The blast blew out the windows, as well as parts of the glass ceiling in the hall where independence was declared in 1918. There are boarded up windows. Shards of glass still cover the floor.

“There are, of course, parallels to a century ago,” said Steshuk Oleh, the director of the House of Teachers. “This building was also damaged in the fighting back then. It has been damaged again. But don’t worry. We will 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. A majority of people favored going their own way. The Soviet Union ceased to exist that month.


Why do Ukrainians want to stay in a gray zone if they can’t go, and when they do want to end their wars?

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 might be signaled by the outcome. It’s 21st century. Empires have to go.

When Kasparov entered politics in 1999, he challenged Putin’s hold on power. He left Russia and is now living 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. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and many citizens say they want all Russian troops driven out of the country. Zelenskyy told Time magazine that the powerful state of Ukraine was unwilling to let it go.

He said, “being a buffer zone or gray zone is not a good idea from a political point of view.” Everyone wants to make a move if you’re in a gray zone. This has happened with other countries.

“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.

Zelensky in the Fog of War: Celebrating a World-Wide War with Putin and the Oscillations of Russia

In Paris at the time, I witnessed how Zelensky pulled up to the Élysée Palace in a modest Renault, while Putin motored in with an ostentatious armored limousine. The host, French President, hugged Putin, but didn’t shake his hand.

Zelensky said that the prisoner swap with Russia seemed to favor him, since he said it was the first step towards ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has claimed the lives of thousands of people.

Zelensky achieved something that Putin wanted to achieve in order to distract from his failures at home; he rallied support domestically with a patriotic war. Michael Popow told me that in Putin’s mind it was painful if he was shown up by a comedian.

“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.

This, after all, is the leader who when offered evacuation by the US as Russia launched its full-scale invasion, quipped: “I need ammunition, not a ride.”

It is perhaps easy to forget that Zelensky honed his political muscles earlier in his career standing up to another bully in 2019 – then-US President Donald Trump, who tried to bamboozle the novice politician in the quid pro quo scandal.

Amid the fog of war, it all seems a long, long way since the heady campaign celebration in a repurposed Kyiv nightclub where a fresh-faced Zelensky thanked his supporters for a landslide victory. He looked in a state of disbelief when he stood on the stage and won the election.

In the days leading up to Russia’s full-scale invasion, Zelensky was in a steep, downward trajectory in popularity ratings from the all-time high in the first days of his administration.

Many people from his past life as a comedian in Kvartal 95 are in his bubble. Even in the midst of the war, a press conference held on the platform of a Kyiv metro station in April featured perfect lighting and curated camera 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: Bringing out the kPV out there for the good, the bad, the ugly octet

Beyond the man himself, there is Zelensky the brand. It’s almost impossible these days to dissociate the Ukrainian leader from his olive green t-shirts; worn when meeting everyone from Vogue journalists to military commanders and world leaders.

“He is probably more comfortable than Putin on camera, too, both as an actor and as a digital native,” she added. “I believe both of them want to come across as relatable, not aloof or untouchable, although Zelensky is definitely doing a better job balancing authority with accessibility.”

Journeying to where her husband can’t, Zelenska has shown herself to be an effective communicator in international fora – projecting empathy, style and smarts. 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).

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.”

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

The war has ruined Russian life, disrupting a post-Soviet period that saw the country pursue financial integration and dialogue with the West.

War against Ukraine Has Left Russia Isolated and Strouggling with More Tumult Ahelion: The Perspectives for the Media and Entrepreneurs

The military and leadership have been affected by the harsher laws passed since February. Nearly 20,000 people have been accused of demonstrating against the war and 45% are women, according to a leading independent monitoring group.

High profile opposition voices have been given prison sentences because they questioned the conduct or strategy of the Russian army.

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

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

repressive practices remain targeted for now. There are still some laws that are not enforced. But few doubt the measures are intended to crush wider dissent — should the moment arise.

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.

The internet users are subject to restrictions. A ban was imposed on American social media giants in March. Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin’s internet regulator, has blocked more than 100,000 websites since the start of the conflict.

Technical workarounds such as VPNs and Telegram still offer access to Russians seeking independent sources of information. Older Russians prefer state media for their propaganda, which is spread on TV talk shows.


War against Ukraine has left Russia isolated and struggling with more turbulent than expected: An analysis of Putin’s disappointment with the result of the Russian exodus

Many of the government’s perceived opponents left in the war’s early days due to fears 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.

The ruble regained value thanks to Russian price controls. McDonald’s and others were reborn under new names and Russian ownership. The government reported at the end of the year that the economy had declined 2.5%.

Europe will blink first when it comes to sanctions because it will be furious over soaring energy costs at home, President Putin is betting. 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.

Russia’s military campaign has no outward change in the government’s tone. Russia’s Defense Ministry provides daily briefings recounting endless successes on the ground. Putin also assures that everything is going according to plan.

The length of the war suggests that Russia underestimated Ukrainians’ willingness to resist.

The true number of Russian losses – officially at just under 6,000 men – remains a highly taboo subject at home. Western estimates place those figures much higher.

NATO looks set to expand towards Russia’s borders with the additions of long-neutral states like Finland and Sweden, as Russia’s invasion has backfired in its primary aims.

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.


Ukraine’s president Zelensky: “Every day is a day for a new beginning” after the December 24th Kremlin attack

A state of the nation address was scheduled in April but won’t be happening until next year. Putin’s annual “direct line” — a media event in which Putin fields questions from ordinary Russians — was canceled outright.

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

The Kremlin did not explain why the delays took so long. The Russian leader had a lot of good news to share after the war, but he has since run out of it.

President Zelensky of Ukraine said that the year began on February 24 with fear over Russia’s invasion, but that he was hopeful for victory.

Mr. Zelensky said that the attack on the Maternity Hospital was one of the most important moments from the war.

This year has struck our hearts, he said in a transcript posted on his official website. “We’ve cried out all the tears. All the prayers have been yelled. There are 311 days. We have something to say at a certain time.

What has Russia Learned in a Year of Perturbation? A Survey of Ukraine’s Armed Forces and Diplomacy with the European Parliament

All Ukrainians — those working, attending schools or “just learning to walk” — are participating in Ukraine’s defense, Mr. Zelensky said. He doesn’t think that being a year of losses is the correct 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.

Nuclear saber-rattling is an oxymoron for those who felt the destruction it brought was complete for everyone on the planet and you could not casually threaten people with nukes.

Despite this palpable Russian decline, Europe is not welcoming in an era of greater security. Even though Russia is revealing itself to be less threatening, calls for increased defense spending are louder even if it is at a time when they are most needed.

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. Russia’s red lines appear to change constantly as Moscow realized 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?

The West has been unified unexpectedly. Europe and the US both have been reticent to spend 2% of GDP on security, even though they want NATO members to do so, despite the fact that they all want the same thing. At times, Washington may have seemed warier, and there have been autocratic outliers like Hungary. But the shift is towards unity, not disparity. That is quite a surprise.

The Russians will probably lose against an inferior adversary, though that’s not in the whole picture. Mouthpieces on state TV talked about the need to “take the gloves off” after Kharkiv, as if they would not be exposing a fist that had already withered. For decades, the Russian military will be hard pressed to regain a semblance of peer status with NATO. The year of effort spent rebuilding the reputation of Moscow as a smart, asymmetrical foe with conventional forces has evaporated in about six months of mismanagement.

And finally, Moscow is left with a question nobody ever wants to learn the answer to: if its supply chains for diesel fuel for tanks 40 miles from its border do not function, then how can they be sure The Button will work, if Putin reaches madly to press 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 most dangerous nuclear confrontation so far, the Soviet Union’s position shifted in a matter of days, ultimately accepting an outcome that favored the West. Had “red lines” thinking been in vogue, America might well have accepted an inferior compromise that weakened its security and credibility.

NPR’s State of the Union: Russia’s response to the Crimean Reaction on Ukraine’s MH17 downing and its confrontation with NATO

The Ukrainian President made a surprise Europe tour, meeting leaders in London, Paris and Brussels, and reiterates 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.

According to the international team investigating the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, Russian president Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead to supply anti-aircraft weapons to the rebels in Ukraine.

Here, you can read past recaps. You can see more of NPR’s coverage here. There are updates throughout the day in NPR’s State of Ukraine.

Editor’s Note: Cristian Gherasim is an analyst, consultant and journalist focusing on Eastern and Central European affairs. Follow him on the social media site. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN.

The security guarantees and Western aid that have been provided to the country have never been seen before due to the country’s European-leaning objectives.

The trips she makes from the Romanian capital of Bucharest, where Ana has been living for the past decade, to Moldova, have only gotten more frequent since power blackouts and energy shortages hit the small country of 2.6 million people.

Last month, Moldovan President Maia Sandu said border police had found missile debris near the village of Larga in Moldova’s north. It was not the first instance of missile debris found, and it left many to wonder what will happen if a stray rocket hits close to home.

Even though it is obvious that Moldova does not want to fall prey to Russia, it is important that it is a precedent that will not happen again. It acts like a buffer zone between NATO and Russia. Any invasion of Moldova with its western leading government, pro-European ambitions, and recently gained EU-candidate status, could bring Putin into direct collision with NATO.

Seizing Odesa could have allowed Russia’s army to connect with that territory where some 1,500 Russian troops are stationed—turning the tiny sliver of land into a new Donbas, this time much closer to the doorstep of NATO and the EU.

Making that a bit clearer, during the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest in November last year, officials of member countries offered assurances of support to Moldova without saying what that would mean, exactly, the Associated Press reported. NATO members reportedly offered to help in the face of Russian pressure.

During a visit to Chisinau earlier this spring, UN Secretary General António Guterres talked about the fragile position Moldova is in, noting that “Moldova is by far the country that has received the most refugees, as proportion of its own population.” He mentioned that the country finds itself on the “front line of preservation, peace and stability in the world.” But what does that mean, exactly?

Firstly, Moldova took substantial pressure off Europe’s shoulders in dealing with refugees. The burden is large for a small country, and it alleviates pressure on others in the region, as more than 8 million Ukrainian refugees spread out throughout Europe and beyond.

Some of the troubles of Moldova are also due to internal factors. The current pro-EU government has had difficulty in reducing corruption in the country. In its recent Council of Europe report, it was shown how poorly Moldova’s judicial system works, and how things might get worse after the dispute for the top prosecutor job.

Moldova is also losing its people. The World Bank says that Moldova has lost 12% of its population since 1991, which is due to demographic decline seen throughout post-communist Europe.

All pales compared to Moldova’s current energy problem. The country’s dependence on both Russia andUkraine for energy puts it in probably the most difficult spot it has ever been in since declaring independence from the Soviet Union.

President Maia Sandu is leading a charm offensive and meeting with western leaders to bring attention to their plight. She knows that there would be nothing worse for Moldova than to be forgotten and ignored on the world stage.

The Night of February 23, 2022: A Day in the Life and Times of a Mother in Zaporizhzhia and Kyiv

It is the evening of February 23, 2022, which is when it happened. The boss of the news site relaxes by taking a bath and candles. In Zaporizhzhia, a young woman goes to bed planning to celebrate her husband’s birthday in the morning. In Moscow, a journalist happens to postpone his travel plans to Kyiv.

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.


How Russian Culture Defended Ukraine in February 2022: A Refugee Camp in Odesa. Is Russia Responsible for the Crimes?

Zaporizhzhia, February 23, 2022. I went to bed thinking that I would celebrate my husband’s birthday the next day. Our life was getting better. I know that my husband was running his business. Our daughter started school there and made friends there. Fortunately, we got 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 brace ourselves and come to terms with our displacement. I would like to say thank you to the many people who helped us to adjust to a foreign land.

Thanks to the opportunities for Ukrainians provided by the Czech Republic, my husband got a job. I was able to enroll my son in special needs classes. He is a learning support assistant and attends an adaptation group for Ukrainian children. My daughter is studying in a Ukrainian school, while going to a Czech school.

The invasion started that morning, and we woke up to it. The war was denounced in an open letter by 12 Russian writers, directors and cultural figures. Hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens signed the document after it was published.

On the third day we, my husband and I, left Russia. I felt that it was some kind of moral obligation. I could no longer stay on the territory of the state that has become a fascist one.

We moved to Berlin. My husband went to work as a volunteer at the refugee camp next to the main railway station, where thousands of Ukrainians had been arriving every day. I’m starting to write a new book. It starts like this.

“This book is a confession. I was guilty of not reading the signs sooner. I too am responsible for Russia’s war against Ukraine. My peers and the forebears are also in that situation. Regrettably, Russian culture is also to blame for making all these horrors possible.”

Russia has fired missiles towards several cities in Ukranian, including my hometown of Odesa. Air raid sirens blare as we bolt for shelter into enclosed hallways. My landlady brings me a pot of borscht to help create a sense of normalcy.

If anything, for me, the son of Ukrainian immigrants in Canada, this has been a war of history repeating itself – from the forced deportation of upwards of 2.5 million Ukrainians, including 38,000 children, to the stealing of Ukrainian grain to the wanton destruction of Ukrainians museums, libraries, churches and monuments.

My father is haunted by the darkness in his eyes when he retells the tales of relatives who were sent off to the soviets without ever coming back. Stories of millions of Ukrainians who starved to death in Stalin’s manmade famine of 1932-33.

My passport is a novel in stamps, a year into the invasion. In London I teachUkrainian literature while in Ukranian I get lessons in courage.

I expected our former classmates from Zaporizhzhia to join us in battle against addictions when we were teenagers. My hairdresser, whom I expected to remain a sweet summer child, turned out to have fled on foot from the Russia-occupied town of Bucha through the forest with her mother, grandmother and five dogs.

The capital of Russia has been unaffected by terrorist attacks and energy shortages for the past 12 months. The Russians have managed to bring closer to eternity the stars that can be seen over Kyiv during these dark winter nights.

A senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is Andrei Kolesnikov. He is the author of several books on the political and social history of Russia. Origins of Russian Modernization and Egor Gaidar’s Legacy.”

It seems that since February 2022 we have experienced several eras. After a time of stagnant ratings, Putin got approval from more than 80% of the population.

By aborting the past, he canceled the future. It is easier to live this way if your superiors decide everything for you and you take for granted all you are told by propaganda.

For me personally and my family, what happened was a catastrophe to which it is impossible to adapt. As an active commentator on the events, I was labeled by the authorities as a “foreign agent,” which increased personal risk and reinforced the impression of 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 have a one-bedroom apartment in the north of Kyiv. I loved taking care of it. I had a great life. All of it – the small routines and the struggles. The last time my life mattered was that night.

The next morning my phone was buzzing from all the messages and missed calls. There is a headline on the Kyiv Independent website that reads “PUT IN DECLARES WAR ON UKRAINE”.


The Little Victories of the First World: How Do We Learn to Survive the Trials of Putin and Zelenskyy?

I remember talking to colleagues about getting volunteers to help out in 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 itself no longer mattered, only the battle did.

Just a few weeks into the full-scale invasion it was already hard to remember the struggles, sorrows and joyful moments of the pre-war era. I can no longer relate to how upset I was about my boyfriend. My life didn’t change on February 24, it was stolen from me on that day.

I was no longer concerned with my personal ambitions. The common goal was to raise the flag so that we know we’re going to fight in these circumstances.

I couldn’t enjoy my victories on the track. They are possible because so many defenders have died. I got messages from the soldiers. They were so happy to follow our achievements and that was the main reason I continued my career.

Life values have changed over time. Like never before, I enjoy every opportunity to see or talk to relatives and friends. I believe in our triumph and that we will all return to our beloved country. But we need the world’s help.

Gen. Mark Milley told NPR that he believed this was a critical moment. The battlefield is very difficult as it is, and as bloody as it is, so President Zelenskyy and President Putin may or may not decide to go to it.

“This is something that leads me to a question – for who do we document these crimes?” Oleksandra Matviichuk, the head of the Center for Civil Liberties, told us. I’m a human rights lawyer, and I want to document human pain in order to get these Russians brought to justice.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Learing from Ukraine War-anniversary in a “Revisited” Skyrme-Norway State

The Foreign Minister of Taiwan said his country was learing from the war in Ukraine and keeping an eye on China.

“They have expansionist motivation. They want to increase their influence. They want to increase their power. If they are not stopped, they will continue on.

“We’ve managed to avoid conflict directly between great powers,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NPR. “This system works, even though it is not perfect.” But now, it’s being challenged.


Natalia and Ichkeria’s car hit by Soviet forces in the First Days of World War II: The case of Chechnya and Tatarstan

Natalia believes that the family’s car was hit by Russian forces in the first days of the war. Her husband and nephew were killed. Vova was hospitalized for months after he survived the attack with seven gunshots in his body.

Danny Hajek produced and edited the audio for this story. Additional editing and production help from Carol Klinger, Denise Couture and Nina Kravinsky. Hanna Palamarenko and Tanya Ustova provided reporting and translation help.

I should explain. Chechnya claimed independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. (The other one was Tatarstan.) The world leaders were fed up with the fact that all the unions they had for decades appeared to be real, even though they were still considered to be administrative units of Russia. Ichkeria had not a chance of being recognized because of the West’s shock at the new geography.

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