Putin wants to be sure that he won’t be humiliated

Donetsk and Luhansk: The Moscow Response to a Russian-Continuum Pullout of the Kherson Region and the Ukraine’s Security Service

After Moscow ordered a partial pullout from the Kherson region, Russia’s Defense Ministry said their forces had completed their work.

Lyman had been an important link in the Russian front line for both ground communications and logistics. Located 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, it is in the Donetsk region near the border with Luhansk region, both of which Russia annexed Friday after a local “referendum” was held at gunpoint.

The huge Russian response seemed to be intended to calm Putin’s allies who were growing more upset with his military strategy, as Russian forces have ceded territory to an ongoing Ukrainian advance. Many had been openly lobbying President Putin to strike Ukraine harder.

Dozens of villages and settlements have been captured in Kherson region above the Dnipro by the Ukrainians as Russian forces have fled.

The leader of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, blamed the retreat, without evidence, on one general being “covered up for by higher-up leaders in the General Staff.” He called for more drastic measures.

Meanwhile, on the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula, the governor of the city of Sevastopol announced an emergency situation at an airfield there. Explosions and huge billows of smoke could be seen from a distance by beachgoers in the Russian-held resort. Authorities said a plane rolled off the runway at the Belbek airfield and ammunition that was reportedly on board caught fire.

As the country was starting to hum again, the Russian bombardment struck several cities around the country, including western and eastern Ukraine, which was close to NATO.

If the Zelensky administration succeeds in getting rid of Russia from the Crimean Peninsula, this will add up to a complicated path for the administration. For the time being, and true to form, the tough guy from Kryvyi Rih shows no sign of backing down.

The governor of the Kharkiv region said 24 people were killed this week in an attack on a convoy. He called it “сruelty that can’t be justified.” The dead include 13 children and a pregnant woman.

The Security Service of Ukraine, the secret police force known by the acronym SBU, posted photographs of the attacked convoy. At least one truck appeared to have been blown up, with burned corpses in what remained of its truck bed. Another vehicle at the front of the convoy also had been ablaze. There were people lying on the sides of the road, or still inside the vehicles, which had bullet holes in them.

The Russian Ministry of Defense alleged that the soldiers’ cell phone use exposed their location, just hours after the Ukrainian air strike on the occupied city of Makiivka.

Russian forces took over the director-general of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on Friday, according to the Ukrainian state nuclear company.

Russia did not publicly comment on the report. The International Atomic Energy Agency said Russia told it that “the director-general of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was temporarily detained to answer questions.”

Halushchenko said in a post that the enemy attacked the energy infrastructure of Ukraine. There is damage to power grids.

It is still frightening to see a defeated Russia, even though it is not as bad as seeing thatUkraine has been ruined. Just like a year ago, Ukraine is calling on the world to find courage.

US President Joe Biden is expected to announce an additional $1.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine during President Volodymyr Zelensky’s expected visit to the White House. The aid is going to be boosted by the inclusion of the missile defense systems, a US official told CNN.

Putin’s problems have only deepened in recent days with the surging Ukrainian counteroffensive that has seized key pockets of Russian-controlled territory, such as the transportation hub city of Lyman.

Russian forces were plagued with desertion, poor planning and delayed arrival of reserves in the last few days of their occupation, it was reported Sunday by the Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda.

When Alexander was captured in the eastern city of Lyman last week, he was wearing a red or white flag for Russia, and a blue or yellow flag for Ukraine, but he did not wear an arm band to show his loyalties. To keep him warm, the Ukrainian soldiers gave him a Russian parka they had lying around in their trench.

“He came out of the forest and went to our positions,” said Serhiy, one of the Ukrainian soldiers who had found Aleksandr, recounting the capture to a pair of reporters from The New York Times visiting their position near the front line.

The Institute for the Study of War noted that Russian battlefield setbacks, along with the uneasiness in Russian society, had changed the Russian information space. The criticism from Kadyrov has included strong criticism, as well as from pro-war milbloggers who often give a detailed picture of battlefield realities for Russian forces.

Peter Bergen is a professor at Arizona State University, a vice president at New America and a national security analyst for CNN. 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.

Even though the visit to the White House was years in the making, the Ukrainian president hoped that the image would scare off Putin from attacking his country. The visit would have to wait until a different American president takes office, which would make it impossible to stop Putin.

Despite his allies expressing concern and hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing partial mobilisation, an increasingly isolated Putin has again taken to making speeches offering his distorted view of history.

He asserts in his revisionist account that the reason for the war in Ukrainian was because Russia had always been part of the Soviet Union.

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.

The US initially shied away from supporting the Afghan resistance due to fears of a bigger conflict with the Soviet Union. The Afghans were equipped with the best anti-aircraft missiles in the world by the CIA, which ended the Soviet air superiority and forced them to withdraw from Afghanistan three years later.

The range of the satellite-guidedHIMAPS is currently 80 kilometers. A longer-range 300-kilometer HIMARS has not yet been authorized, despite repeated Ukrainian pleas. (The Biden administration has worried that the longer-range system could expand the war beyond Ukraine’s frontiers and lead to an escalation of hostilities.)

Incompetent commanders: a tragic example of the delusions and illusions of the Russian public during the 1991 invasion of the Soviet Union

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 was in charge of the First World War, which caused the Russian Revolution. The Romanov family was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad.

Zelensky talked of pushing through to the end while acknowledging that freedom comes at a high price.

Freedman writes that Putin is “a tragic example of how the delusions and illusions of one individual can be allowed to shape events without any critical challenge. Autocrats who put their cronies into key positions, control the media to crowd out discordant voices … are able to command their subordinates to follow the most foolish orders.”

In 1917 and 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian empire may be dissolved due to Putin’s gamble.

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.

The Ministry of Defense was skirting the truth about Ukrainian cross-border strikes in Russian regions nearby, argued Kartapolov.

The area of Valuyki is in the Belgorod region. 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. Many people don’t understand the word officer.

When it comes to blamingRussian commanders, Kadyrov has been less shy about naming them.

“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 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 recently said in another Telegram post that, if he had his way, he would give the government extraordinary wartime powers in Russia.

“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 critical infrastructure facility hit by enemy forces: “It’s a tough morning when you’re dealing with terrorists,” said Yanushevych

In the aftermath of fighting in the east of the country, a Russian-installed official says that Ukrainian forces launched the biggest attack on the occupied regions in four years.

Missile strikes are seen as an effective means of intimidation by our enemy. They are not. They are considered war crimes. People are dying and getting injured. Ukraine, with the support of the civilized world, must bring the missile terrorists to justice. Will do it. https://t.co/xXYn3okZOw

A critical infrastructure facility was hit by the enemy. Shell fragments damaged residential buildings and the place where the medical aid and humanitarian aid distribution point is located,” Yanushevych later said in a Telegram video on Thursday.

“It’s a tough morning when you’re dealing with terrorists,” said Zelenskyy in the video, which recalled the selfie he took the night Russia invaded in February. They’re going to harm as many people as possible.

A bus stop in Dnipro, Ukraine, had been hit by an explosion on a high rise building at 8am the morning of Friday morning

Sections of the Ukrainian railway system in Kharkiv, Kirovohrad, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk region were out of power following the strikes, and back-up diesel locomotives were replacing some services. Ukraine’s energy minister, Herman Halushchenko, said that nine power-generating facitilites were damaged in Friday’s attacks, and warned of more emergency blackouts.

There were blasts in the major southern city of Dnipro. One site hit was a bus stop, nestled between high rise apartment buildings. A missile slammed just a few feet in front of a bus on its morning route to pick up commuters, destroying the bus and blowing out the windows in the nearby apartments.

“This happened at rush hour, as lots of public transport was operating in the city,” said Ihor Makovtsev, the head of the department of transport for the Dnipro city council, as he stood by the wreckage. He added that the bus driver and four passengers had been taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

All our transportation is only for civilian purposes, so it’s difficult for me to come up with any logic to their work.

There were windows on the first floor balcony that once held the windows of the bus stop. The ground was covered with shattered glass. He had been watering the plants on his balcony while going to his kitchen to make breakfast.

“The explosion blew open all of my cabinets, and nearly knocked me to the ground,” he said. “Only five minutes before, and I would be on the balcony, full of glass.”

The Kerch Bridge is still jubilating: Russia’s response to the crisis in Ukraine has never been more diplomatic: comment on the comments of Chechen Kadyrov

“We warned Zelenskyy that Russia hadn’t really started yet,” wrote Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a loyalist to Putin who repeatedly has attacked Russia’s Defense Ministry for incompetence in carrying out the military campaign.

Michael Bociurkiw is a global affairs analyst. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He contributes to CNN Opinion. He has his own opinions on this commentary. View more opinion at CNN.

Even amid irrepressible jubilation here in Ukraine in the aftermath of a massive explosion that hit the hugely strategic and symbolic Kerch Straight bridge over the weekend, fears of retaliation by the Kremlin were never far away.

The strikes occurred as people headed to work and while kids were being dropped off at schools. A friend of mine sent me a text that she had just left the bridge when it was struck.

There were some reports of missiles and drones being shot down, but the area around my office in Odesa remained quiet as of midday. Normally, at this time of the day, nearby restaurants would be crowded with customers and chatter of upcoming weddings and parties.

In scenes reminiscent of the early days of the war when Russian forces neared the capital, some Kyiv media outlets temporarily moved their operations to underground bomb shelters. In one metro station serving as a shelter, large numbers of people took cover on platforms as a small group sang patriotic Ukrainian songs.

More than a million people will spend most of the day in bomb shelters, while businesses have been told to shift work online as much as possible.

The attacks on the regions of Ukraine that were starting to come back to life could have a negative effect on business confidence, as many asylum seekers return home.

How Vladimir Putin Opens the Kerch Bridge During the 2018 Winter Olympics – What can Putin and the West do to stop using militarize Russia?

It seems as if dictators like to hardwire newly claimed territory with expensive infrastructure projects. In 2018, Putin personally opened the Kerch bridge – Europe’s longest – by driving a truck across it. After Beijing reclaimed Macau and Hong Kong, it was one of the first things that President XI Jinping did that he built the world’s longest sea crossing bridge. After about two years of delays, the road bridge opened.

The explosion lit up social media channels like a Christmas tree, with hilarious reactions from Ukrainians. Many people shared their jubilation through text messages.

It was also an act of desperation, as Putin has had to face increasing criticism at home, placing him on thin ice.

The leader of Ukraine’s military intelligence has told a local newspaper that he expects Ukrainian forces to make their move into the peninsula in the summer.

What is crucially important now is for Washington and other allies to use urgent telephone diplomacy to urge China and India – which presumably still have some leverage over Putin – to resist the urge to use even more deadly weapons.

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 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.

If measures are not put in place, Putin will be able to continue his violence which will cause the humanitarian crisis in Europe to intensify. A weak reaction will be taken as a sign in the Kremlin that it can continue to weaponize energy, migration and food.

That’s not to say mobilized forces will be of no use. The burden may be lessened on the remaining parts of Russia’s exhausted professional army if they are used in support roles. They could also put in depleted units along with the line of contact and man checkpoint. They’re unlikely to be a capable fighting force. There are signs of problems with discipline amongst soldiers in Russian garrisons.

Kyiv will not strike Russian targets with weaponry provided by the United States. The administration of Biden has pledged to avoid American involvement that could lead to confrontation with Russia. American officials made it clear they will allow Ukraine to strike back with its own weaponry.

Moscow destroyed Ukraine in the early morning: a Russian drone attack on Ukraine’s air defense systems, according to a Kiev prosecutor’s office

At least three people, including a 14-year-old, were injured and two people pulled from a damaged home on Thursday, Klitschko said earlier. The city military administration says homes, an industrial facility and a playground were damaged in the capital.

Anton Gerashcenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Internal Ministry, reported attacks on infrastructure near the city’s main rail station, but lines were operating as normal midmorning Monday.

Mr. Zelensky said that they had not lost anything. “It was taken from us. Ukraine did not lose its sons and daughters — they were taken away by murderers. The homes of Ukrainians were destroyed by terrorists. We were occupied by invaders but we did not lose our lands. The world did not lose peace — Russia destroyed it.”

Zelenskyy’s chief-of-staff, Andriy Yermak, again called on the west to provide Ukraine with more air defense systems. “We have no time for slow actions,” he said online.

Shahed models are known for crashing into the targets with bombs. Russia ordered a number of drones from Iran, which overwhelms the Ukrainian air defense systems. As of 10am, Ukraine’s Air Force claims to have shot down 11 drones.

The photo of “Geran-2,” Russian for “Iranian drones,” was removed from the post after commenters criticized him for confirmation of a Russian strike.

Zelenskyy: Thanking the Ukrainians for their national anthem, but not for Russia’s presence in the Dnieper river

The foreign ministers of the European Union are in Luxembourg. The EU’s top diplomat told reporters prior to the meeting that concrete evidence of Iran’s involvement was going to be looked into.

The people who had survived the Russian occupation descended on Kherson’s central square, hugging Ukrainian soldiers and waving Ukrainian flags.

As the blue-and-gold Ukrainian flag fluttered on a breezy day, Zelenskyy, his entourage, and hundreds of Kherson residents stood at attention as Ukraine’s national anthem played.

As Zelensky pleaded for continuing and growing support, he wouldn’t be so brazen, so blunt to phrase it directly, but we should know the truth: He may be saying thank you, but it is the free world that should be thanking Ukraine. Ukrainians are fighting a battle for freedom, democracy and the very notion of national sovereignty.

“Not a single piece of military equipment or weaponry was left behind on the right [west] bank,” the statement added. The Russians have moved to the left bank of the Dnieper.

It also claimed that the Ukrainian advance had been held back for several days, and that “manpower and military equipment of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the right bank of the Dnieper are being hit by fire.”

Ukraine has not reported any incoming fire from the east bank Friday but said a missile attack on the city of Mykolaiv, close to the border with Kherson, killed seven people early Friday.

Russian forces had been loading into boats that seem suitable for crossing the river and attempting to escape, according to the Ukrainian military.

Russia was warned by the military that it would be cautious through Kherson region and that they would bemining roads and destroying infrastructure.

The Antonivskyi Bridge in the Kherson Region: A Crime against the Russian Army, Is Russia Here for a Reason?

Images and video on social media Friday also showed that the Antonivskyi Bridge, the main conduit over the Dnipro in the Kherson region, had been destroyed.

Alexander Kots, a reporter for the Russian newspaperKomsomolskaya Pravda that is embedded with the Russian forces, posted a video on his Telegram channel showing the whole center section of the bridge destroyed. The two collapsed spans of the bridge are behind me. They were likely killed when the Russian group of troops left the right bank to the left.

A video circulating on social media on Friday, geolocated and authenticated by CNN, showed Ukrainian forces being greeted by residents on the main highway in Tyahinka. the village is 14 miles from the dam on the Dnieper river to Nova Kakhovka.

One video showed a flag flying over a memorial, while another showed residents tearing down billboards with the slogan ” Russia is here forever” written on them.

The scenes of people greeting Ukrainian troops across the region were in sharp contrast to claims by Russian-appointed officials in Kherson six weeks ago that 87% of voters there supported integration into the Russian Federation, in a referendum widely condemned by the international community as a sham. Kherson was one of four Ukrainian regions illegally annexed by Russia in September.

The regional capital of Kherson could be turned into a “city of death” if the Russian troops pulled out, and residents were warned Friday to stay away from liberated areas because of the threat of mines.

“There are a lot of mines in the liberated territories and settlements,” Vitaliy Kim, head of Mykolaiv region military administration, said on Telegram. “Don’t go there for no reason. There are casualties.”

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/11/11/europe/russian-troops-leave-kherson-region-intl/index.html

“The Russian war is coming”: Vienna Petrovich Zelensky during Friday’s “historic day” in Ukraine

Peskov said that this is a subject of the Russian Federation. It has been defined and fixed. There can be no changes here.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Friday was “a historic day” for Ukraine after Russia announced its withdrawal from the west bank of the Kherson region.

The president talked about how people in the city kept their Ukrainian flags even though they had faced threats, as well as abuse from the occupiers.

He told the Americans, “Thank you.” He said it many times. “I hope my words of respect and gratitude resonate in each American heart.” But that was only the first part of his message to the country that has supplied the weapons that have helped enable Ukraine to push back against a much bigger enemy: Zelensky came to explain why this is not just Ukraine’s fight.

The threat of mines will lead to stabilization measures. The occupiers left many mines and explosives at vital facilities. He said they would be clearing them.

Our defenders are followed by police and power engineers. Medicine, communications, and social services are coming back. He said that life is returning.

The Russian Army and the Kherson Retaken Front: “The End of the War” in Kyiv, Ukraine – State of the State

Officials also on Friday warned displaced residents to hold off on returning to their homes in the newly retaken areas of Kherson, saying, “It’s too dangerous here now.”

In Mykolaiv region, the head of the regional military administration went to Snihurivka on Friday to discuss restoration of life in the liberated territories.

I warn local residents to be careful despite the fact that the relevant services have started moving mines in the liberated territories.

In his televised address on Sunday, Zelenskyy said that more than 400 cases of suspected war crimes by the Russian forces were documented by Ukrainian investigators.

But Ukraine says it’s documented thousands of cases nationwide, and a United Nations report in September found evidence the Russians killed, tortured and raped Ukrainian civilians.

Most of the buildings in Kherson remain intact because the Russians did not fight until the beginning of the war.

Food, water and medicine are in desperate need in the city, which lacks electricity and heat. Ukrainian military and government officials are trying to restore a sense of normality in a city that had close to 300,000 residents before the war.

Asked about the latest developments in Kherson, Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov said, “We’ll refrain from commenting. You know the territory is owned by the Russian Federation.

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian and Russian forces traded fire on Monday from across the broad expanse of the Dnipro River that now divides them after Russia’s retreat from the southern city of Kherson, reshaping the battlefield with a victory that Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, declared marked “the beginning of the end of the war.”

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.

The smoke came from the shells that hit near the bridge. The rounds rang out with loud, metallic booms. It was not possible to determine what had been hit.

The mines are dangerous, and people aren’t going to leave. Vladimir Zelensky in Novoraysk, a city across the river from Kherson City

The mines are a significant danger. 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.

Zelensky has risen as the international personification of Ukrainian resistance and has spent much of the year appealing to nations for support. He has remained inside his country for the duration of the war, a reflection both of his desire to rally alongside his besieged country and the precarious security situation he would face outside Ukraine.

Mr. Zelensky said in his speech in the main square of the city that they are going to come to all of our country step by step.

Russian forces continued to fire from across the river on towns and villages newly recaptured by Ukrainian forces, according to the Ukrainian military’s southern command. Two missiles were launched from Russia at Beryslav, which is north of a critical dam. It was not clear if there were casualties.

“Occupants rob local people and exchange stuff for samogon,” or homemade vodka, said one resident, Tatiana, who communicated via a secure messaging app from Oleshky, a town across the river from Kherson City. “Then they get drunk and even more aggressive. We are so afraid of this place. She wanted her name to be not reported for security reasons.

“Russians roam around, identify the empty houses and settle there,” Ivan, 45, wrote in a text message. He wants his name to not be used because he’s concerned about his safety. We try to connect with the owners so we can find someone to stay in their place. Russian people don’t take it because it is not abandoned.

Vladimir Putin, commander of the Ukrainian missile attack force, addressed the attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure via a champagne glass at a Kremlin reception

President Vladimir Putin made rare public comments specifically addressing the Russian military’s attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure Thursday, while clutching a glass of champagne at a Kremlin reception.

He spoke to the group of soldiers that were receiving the awards. He said of the attacks, “yes, we are doing it. But who started it?”

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.

He ended his apparently off-the-cuff comments by claiming that people seem to refrain from mentioning that water has been cut off from Donetsk. “No one has said a word about it anywhere. At all! Complete silence.”

He concluded the speech by adding that “it won’t interfere with our combat missions,” before raising a toast to the listening soldiers and sipping from his champagne glass.

The damage left by Ukrainian strikes on the national power grid is equivalent to genocide: a prosecutor-general and a top Ukrainian official

However, there remains a “significant deficit” in the nation’s power system caused by months of strikes, triggering limits on consumption, the operator said. Ukrainian authorities are engaged in the delicate work of trying to balance the national power grid, leaving many households without electricity.

“The pace of restoration [to household consumers] is slowed down by difficult weather conditions,” it said, with the damage “made worse by the freezing and rupture of wires in distribution networks.”

The attacks on the country’s energy grid amount to genocide according to a top Ukrainian official. The Ukrainian prosecutor-general made comments during an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Nonetheless, he said, the strikes, using Iranian drones, had left many in the dark. The situation in the Odesa region is difficult, with only the most critical infrastructure remaining operational. He warned that although repair crews were working “nonstop,” restoring power to civilians would take “days,” not “hours.”

There are attacks on civilian infrastructure in different parts of the country. The place for festivals was damaged. There are dead and injured people.

The State of Ukraine: NPR’s Breaking the Plight of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky During the December 5 War

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.

The conference in France on Tuesday will have a video address from the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Following Brittney Griner’s release from Russian prison, fans, friends and family are celebrating the basketball player’s return to the U.S. Some Republican politicians are unhappy with the prisoner swap and other citizens still held by Russia.

New measures aimed at Russian oil revenue went into effect on December 5. They include a price cap and a European Union embargo on most Russian oil imports and a Russian oil price cap.

The Institute for the Study of War said that Russian forces began their next offensive in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, attacking defensive lines and making marginal advances. Analysts at the Atlantic Council also said Russian forces are pushing to encircle Bakhmut, a city in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

At a crucial time in the war, Biden and Zelensky will meet in person, after multiple phone and video link-ups, for the first time since the invasion. Biden has been carefully calibrating US arms shipments in a way designed to save Ukraine but to avoid accidentally sparking a war between NATO and Russia. He, for instance, rejected Ukrainian calls for the West to enforce a no-fly zone over the country. The deep dive the US has taken into the conflict so far would be typified by the long range-aerial defense system, thePatriots.

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

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.

Long nights with the promise of a miracle: Ukrainian woman in a dark fairy tale tells her tragic fate at the battle site of Bakhmut

Long nights with the promise of a miracle: December is the month of fairy tales, when we peer into the darkness only to be reassured of the “happily ever after.”

Our life was a dark fairy tale, but we used to joke that we were destined for a happy ending. And now it’s over,” says Ievheniia, a displaced Ukrainian woman in Poland who this December is nursing her two-month-old son – and raw grief for the child’s father.

Ievheniia’s husband was killed while defending Ukraine against Russian aggression. The 47-year-old died at the site of some of the war’s heaviest fighting, near the city of Bakhmut in the east of the country. There are bomb craters and charred trees, but Ukrainian forces have been holding the line there for months.

In this dark Ukrainian fairy tale, pivotal moments – from marriage ceremony to funeral – take place via video link. This is what love looks like during a war because of the digital space and disrupted plot.

If called upon, Ievheniia would be willing to join the army ofUkraine for eight years. She said she was not the kind of person who would flee.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/14/opinions/ukraine-christmas-fairy-tales-death-dovzhyk/index.html

Ievheniia, an enlistment officer in Ukraine and the fate of her homeland in the early 21st century: a story of a girl in the wilderness

As we hurry to bring gifts to our loved ones, enchanted by the flickering of Christmas lights, we must remember the country in Europe plunged into darkness by Russia’s barbaric imperialist war.

After driving westwards across the country under Russian bombardment, Ievheniia finally arrived at an enlistment office. She was interviewed on a Friday and told to return the following Monday to sign a contract with the Armed Forces.

She decided to have a pregnancy test on the weekend just in case. “With war and evacuation, the ground was slipping under one’s feet,” she said with a laugh. “On top of that, it turned out that I was pregnant.”

The pregnant woman who planned to defend her homeland instead joined the flow of refugees in Poland thanks to the pregnancy test.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/14/opinions/ukraine-christmas-fairy-tales-death-dovzhyk/index.html

A magic moment in Ukraine for a man in a warring country: the wedding of Ievheniia, whose father died while leaving Warsaw

The warring Ievheniia and Denys sought to show their commitment to each other 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. “Instead of (by) boring civil servants, we got married remotely by a handsome man in a uniform. Ievheniia said she 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 one morning she did not pick up the phone, Denys raised the alarm all over Warsaw and a rescue squad found Ievheniia unconscious in her rented flat. A delay could have resulted in death. A Caesarean section followed. The father was able to meet his son because he was born two months early.

Under martial law, Ukrainian men of fighting age, let alone servicemen, are not currently allowed to leave the country. Denys was given permission, crossed the border, and spent five days with his family.

It was a magical time, filled with ordinary things, like shopping and registration with a doctor. Then he left. Ievheniia remembered that they sent him a greetings on his birthday. “The next day he was killed.”

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/14/opinions/ukraine-christmas-fairy-tales-death-dovzhyk/index.html

Donetsk, Kherson and other Ukrainian cities that have been annexed by separatists in the last eight years: a memoir of Ievheniia

ItALO Calvino, a celebrated Italian journalist and the editor of Folktales, called them consolatory fables because they are not very good fairy tales. If it does, it means the time to be consoled has not yet come. It’s time to act.

Ukrainians have learned that they are stronger than was expected of them. Have those who have underestimated them learned their lessons? Military aid has been enough for Ukraine to survive but not to crush the enemy.

I wondered how I would act in a fight against evil when I was a teenager. I wondered if I could turn away and just continue with my daily life. Ievheniia told me. Today, we have a chance to find out.

Donetsk has been held by Russian-backed separatists for eight years and it is one of four Ukrainian regions that Moscow attempted to annex in October, in violation of international law.

According to him, there were forty rockets fired at civilians in the city and a key in the city had come under fire.

Meanwhile, artillery and rocket attacks continued in the southern city of Kherson, which was liberated by Ukrainian forces in November, targeting critical infrastructure, residential buildings, medical aid and public transport, leaving four dead, according to the head of the region’s military administration. Shelling also set a multi-storey apartment building ablaze, and the body of a man was found in one apartment, the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office said. The city has a challenge restoring basic services.

A member of the international organization, a volunteer, was one of the victims. During the shelling, they were on the street, they were fatally wounded by fragments of enemy shells,” he added.

United States Embedding in the Defense of the Kherson and Engels Air Bases in the Mid-Atlantic Region after the December 11, 2016 Ukraine Violations

The strikes in Kherson left the city “completely disconnected” from power supplies, according to the regional head of the Kherson military administration, Yanushevych.

Meanwhile, further west Kyiv received machinery and generators from the United States to help strengthen the Ukrainian capital’s power infrastructure amid the widespread energy deficits.

The Energy Security Project, run by USAID, delivered four excavators and over 130 generators, Klitschko said on Telegram. All equipment was free of charge.

Zelensky was brought to the White House to gain clarity on his position on ending the war. The US officials said that the talks would be centered on a desire by the Ukrainian leader for a “just peace” that would end the conflict.

“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.

“They have set a goal to leave Ukrainians without light, water and heat,” Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told a government meeting, adding that 60 of the 76 missiles fired at Ukraine were intercepted by its air defense forces.

The Engels air base, which is home to Russia’s long-range nuclear capable bomber, was hit by a drone attack in early December. Kyiv has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

A supersonic plane capable of carrying a Kinzal hypersonic missile was spotted in the sky over Belarus during the air attacks on Friday in Ukraine. The statement did not make any clear if a Kinzal was used in the attacks.

Russia meanwhile continues to stockpile arms and ammunition in large quantities close to the troops they will supply and well within range of enemy weaponry. The standard military practice is to break up and scattered large depots and make them far behind enemy lines, even in Russian territory that western powers have declared off-limits to Ukrainian strikes.

The Biden administration announced on the day of Zelensky’s arrival that it was sending an additional $2 billion to Ukraine, which Zelensky has been requesting for months.

I hope that they will send more than one. The US and NATO have resisted giving advanced equipment in the past, but she thinks they know how effective the Ukrainian military is.

Zelensky had said that a prisoner swap with Russia would help in ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which had killed thousands of people and started in 2004.

Zelensky drove up to the lysée Palace in a modest car while Putin went in with an armored limo. (The host, French President Emmanuel Macron, hugged Putin but chose only to shake hands with Zelensky).

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.

Failure to demonstrate further progress on the battlefield with billions of dollars worth of military kit could stir unease among Western backers. But capitulation to Russia would be a political death sentence.

The Think Zelensky: After the War, When Vladimir Putin Decided to Leave the State of Ukraine to Run Against the Nazis

Zelensky grew up in the rough and tumble neighborhoods of Kryvyi Rih and learned how to fight back against those who mistreated him.

The founder of the think said that after being bullied by Putin, he knew what he needed to do.

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 all seems a long way since Zelensky thanked his supporters for a landslide victory at a campaign event in a nightclub that was turned into a war zone. Standing on stage among the fluttering confetti, he looked in a state of disbelief at having defeated incumbent veteran politician Petro Poroshenko.

The war appears to have turned his ratings around. After the invasion, Zelensky had his ratings approved by a majority of the population, and remains high today. Even Americans early in the war rated Zelensky highly for his handling of international affairs – ahead of US President Joe Biden.

Many people from his previous career as a TV comedian 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.

What does Zelensky do when the West confronts Ukraine: A pivotal moment in geopolitics for Putin and the Kremlin

Zelensky is projecting his credibility and competence in a modern way by wearing T-shirts and hoodies, as a Silicon Valley leader, to a younger, global audience.

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).

Despite the strong tailwinds at Zelensky’s back, there are subtle signs that his international influence could be dwindling. For example, last week, in what analysts called a pivotal moment in geopolitics, the G7 imposed a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian crude – despite pleas from Zelensky that it should have been set at $30 in order to inflict more pain on the Kremlin.

Zelensky achieved the thing that Putin most wanted to achieve but failed to do, and that was to rouse support domestically in order to distract from his failures at home. In Putin’s mind, to be shown up by a mere ‘decadent’ comedian must be excruciatingly painful for him,” New York-based geopolitical and business analyst Michael Popow told me.

Victory will depend on the West retaining a united front against Russia. Zelensky has warned the leaders of the western nations that if they do not support Ukraine in pushing Putin back, their own countries’ security could be at risk.

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.”

Zelensky flew aboard a US military aircraft out of his country, but US officials wouldn’t provide additional details about his security. Transit in and out of the country has been exceedingly difficult. Western leaders have traveled from Poland to Kyiv on lengthy train rides.

The highly secretive visit – which took place as air raid sirens could be heard ringing out around Kyiv while Biden walked alongside President Volodymyr Zelensky around the gold-domed St. Michael’s Cathedral – comes at a critical moment in the 12-month conflict, with Russia preparing for an expected spring offensive and Ukraine hoping to soon retake territory.

Now, with the war nearing its one-year mark on February 24, Biden is hoping to demonstrate to the world his commitment to Ukraine, even as it remains unclear how much longer US and western resolve can last.

The official said that Zelensky was very keen to visit the US, and decided those parameters met his requirements and the US would execute them. The trip was officially confirmed on Sunday.

The U.S. will continue to support Ukraine, even as the Russian invasion goes a step beyond the Cold War: a senior administration official told CNN that Ukraine will continue a long way

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 the survey 34% of Republicans supported indefinite support.

The senior administration official said that the conflict would continue. “The winter will be hard, and we will continue day-in, day-out to provide critical support to the Ukrainian people.”

Larger crews are needed to properly operate the missiles, which makes them a more suitable alternative to smaller air defense systems. The United States will have to train the Patriot missile batteries under pressure from Russia, a process normally takes several months.

The official said US troops would train Ukrainians to use the system in a third country. CNN reported the training would be held at the US Army base in Germany.

“The President has been very clear that we are going to lean forward and be robust in our support for Ukraine on the military, economic, energy and humanitarian fronts, but we are not seeking to engage in a direct war with Russia. The official said that there wouldn’t be any changes tomorrow.

President Joe Biden slipped into Kyiv on Monday for the first time since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago, demonstrating in dramatic personal fashion his commitment to the country and its struggle as the war enters an uncertain new phase.

Zelensky and the Holocaust: A “Farewell” to a Battle: The 1941 December 22 Conference at the U.S. Capitol

The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin compared Zelensky’s address to one given by Winston Churchill on Boxing Day in 1941 after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Zelensky’s appearance was facilitated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as one of her final acts before relinquishing the speaker’s gavel. She took a surprise visit of her own earlier this year to meet Zelensky.

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 pro-Donald Trump members, who will have significant leverage in the thin GOP majority, have warned that billions of dollars in US cash that have been sent to Ukraine should instead be shoring up the US southern border with a surge of new migrants expected within days.

This is trickier. Kevin McCarthy, expected to be the Speaker of Congress, has warned the Biden administration it can’t expect a blank cheque from the GOP-led House.

Zelensky evoked Mount Rushmore as well as Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream Speech” during a virtual address to Congress in March. He also referred to two days of infamy in modern history when Americans directly experienced the fear of aerial bombardment.

The wartime British leader sailed to the United States aboard HMS Duke of York, dodging U-boats in the wintery Atlantic and took a plane from the coast of Virginia to Washington, where he was met on December 22, 1941, by President Franklin Roosevelt before their joint press conference the next day.

With the help of a number of things, the two leaders plotted the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and laid the foundation of the Western.

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 will be appreciated by the Ukrainian leader. He paraphrased one of Churchill’s most famous wartime speeches in an emotional address to British members of parliament in March.

The End of Ukrainian War: The Story of “America First” and “Frozen Lines” for Washington, the Pentagon, and the Kremlin

If more precision weapons are used, then Ukraine will hit its targets and no civilians will be left nearby. It means that Russia does not burn through the many hundreds or thousands of shells that it uses to bombard places it wants to capture.

The year-end spending bill includes more money for Ukraine, as well as increased defense spending in the US, which will help with the shortage of weapons and equipment in the country.

It appears that Moscow’s nuclear forces are running out of new cards to play, as the city struggles to equip its conventional forces. China and India have joined the West in open statements against the use of nuclear force, which has made that option even less likely.

Western analysts have noted Russia has grumbled consistently about these deliveries, but been relatively muted in its practical response to the crossing of what, as recently as January, might have been considered “red lines.”

Biden wants Putin to hear headline figures in the billions, so that he can get Russian resolve, push European allies to help more, and make Ukrainian resources seem larger than they really are.

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.

He is an inspiring rhetorician and as a former reality TV star turned unexpected president he is the embodiment of how Putin has turned ordinary Ukrainians into wartime heroes.

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

A Day in the Life of Volodymyr Zelensky: Towards a Common Victory in the War Between Russia and Ukraine

The United States Congress, Republicans and Democrats stood to applaud Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky at several points during Wednesday night’s meeting. It was an extraordinary evening, concluding an extraordinary day during a crucial moment in history.

Zelensky made his historic trip at a crucial moment in what future generations may come to view as one of the defining conflicts of our time: the battle between democracy and autocracy, in which Ukraine today is the blazing, blood-soaked, shivering front line.

He told the congress to debate billions more in military and economic support because their money is not charity. It is an investment in global security and democracy, and we handle it in a responsible way.

“We really fight for our common victory against this tyranny that is real life,” Zelensky said in a press conference at the White House — “and we will win.”

He said that the soldiers fighting in the battle for Bakhmut asked him to give the battle flag to the U.S. Congress. Tears were shed in the House.

The speech connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to our own revolution, to our own feelings of warmth and comfort that we want to give to our families in Ukraine, and to let them know that we are thinking about them at Christmas.

Zelensky’s historic addressstrengthened both Democrats and Republicans who know something is at stake in the fight against Putin and Russian aggression, and now with their ally, Iran as well.

Clinton said no one is asking for a blank check. The Ukrainians have proved to be good investments for the United States. They are not asking us to be there to fight their war. They are fighting it on their own. They are asking us and our allies to use all of the means at our disposal to win.

Clinton met Putin as US secretary of state and said that he was almost impossible to predict, as the war in Russia escalates and he loses popularity at home.

Zelensky and the End of World War II: An Intense Memorandum of American History, and What Does It Take to End?

Shrouded in secrecy until the last minute, the historic visit was heavy with symbolism, from Zelensky’s drab green sweatshirt to President Joe Biden’s blue-and-yellow striped tie to the Ukrainian battle flag unfurled on the House floor.

Zelensky left Washington for a dangerous return trip to Ukraine, but it was not clear what a pathway to ending the conflict would look like.

Both men said that they saw the war entering a new phase. As Russia sends more troops to the frontlines and wages a brutal air campaign against civilian targets, fears of a stalemate are growing.

According to Zelensky, the road to end the war would involve not making concessions to Russia.

“For me as a president, ‘just peace’ is no compromises,” he said, indicating he doesn’t see any road to peace that involves Ukraine giving up territory or sovereignty.

Zelensky said in his speech to Congress that he had presented a 10-point peace formula to Biden, though US officials said the same plan was offered to world leaders at the Group of 20 summit last month.

For his part, Biden said it was up to Zelensky to “decide how he wants to the war to end,” a long-held view that leaves plenty of questions unanswered.

Zelensky peppered his address to lawmakers with references to American history, from the critical Battle of Saratoga during the American Revolutionary War to the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

He said he would deliver his address in English and he did just that. Even his attire – the now-familiar Army green shirt, cargo pants and boots – seemed designed to remind his audience they were in the presence of a wartime leader.

Rejoinder: Zelensky and the Lighthearted Response to Putin’s December 31 Christmas Outburst at the Syrian Embassy in Ukraine

Over the course of the conflict, Zelensky has demonstrated an acute ability to appeal to his audience, be they national legislatures or the audience of the Grammys.

On Wednesday, he sought to harness Americans’ emotional response to his country’s suffering, evoking dark winter nights as Russia seeks to interrupt Ukraine’s power supply.

We are going to celebrate Christmas in two days. Maybe candlelit. He said that there will be no electricity and that it was more romantic than that.

He appeared aware that many Americans were wondering why billions of US dollars were necessary for a conflict thousands of miles away. He wanted to make something more than just the cause of his homeland.

Zelensky’s candid request for more Patriots – and Biden’s lighthearted response – amounted to a window into one of the world’s most complicated relationships.

Biden and Zelensky seem to have maintained a close relationship. Zelensky gushed about Biden as he left the Oval Office to go to Capitol Hill.

That hasn’t always sat well with Biden or his team. Biden appeared to be trying to translate physical proximity into a better understanding of his counterpart as he had with other foreign leaders.

It is all about seeing someone in the eye. I mean it sincerely. He said that looking your opponent in the eye is the best way to face them.

Joint victory of Vladimir Zelensky at the White House: The battle of the Bulge for U.S. interests during World War II

Fresh from a trip to the bloody front lines in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky strode onto the ornate US House floor on Wednesday evening in his signature green military wear to shore up his supply line.

On the dais where heads of state usually sport suits, Zelensky embraced the look of a warrior as he used confident English to claim “joint victory” in what he said was the defeat of Russia in the “battle for minds of the world.”

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.

Wednesday was perhaps the last possible day Zelensky could have addressed a joint meeting of Congress before Republicans, some of whom are slowly growing tired with the largesse of America’s support for his country, take control of the House next month. In a year, the US provided more than $21 billion in defense assistance. The new weapons deal was announced when Zelensky met with President Joe Biden at the White House.

He returned to US military history Wednesday, referring to the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, when US troops were surrounded in the snow after gaining a foothold in Europe on D-Day.

Zelensky said that brave Ukrainian soldiers are holding their lines and fighting back Putin’s forces this Christmas.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2022/12/22/politics/zelensky-speech-house-republicans-analysis/index.html


“He’s already established in the American people’s mind we’re in this together, but then pointing out that they’ll do the fighting for us – ‘just give us the tools and we will finish the job.’ That’s what Churchill said,” Kearns Goodwin told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday evening.

An address to Congress is the ultimate platform for a foreign president in the US and maybe around the world. It is in stark contrast to Putin, who canceled his annual year end press conference.

But at the same time, it’s clear to Zelensky, and also to Biden, that this is the time to re-engage the US public as Russia’s war drags toward its one-year marker with no indication there is an end to fighting on the way.

The new money pledged to Ukraine by the White House and in a larger spending bill is important because it is needed by lawmakers before Friday.

Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, met with Zelensky as well as the other three congressional leaders in order to gather votes for him to become House speaker.

One of the members of Congress who is Ukrainian-American is concerned about corruption in Zelensky’s administration.

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.

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 Russian public mostly buying this line from the Kremlin, according to a Russian history professor.

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?

In a Christmas address, Zelensky called on Ukrainians to have faith andpatience after the Russian strikes in Kherson.

He called on the nation to stay strong and stand up against the threats ofRussian attacks, the cold and absence of loved ones.

“There may be 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.”

“One wish for all Ukrainians,” he said. This year will be the year of return. The return of our people. Soldiers, to their families. Prisoners — to their homes. Immigrants to their country of origin. We will return to our lands. When the temporarily occupied are gone, they will be free.

Addressing the Ukrainian people directly, he said the country would sing Christmas carols louder than the sound of a power generator and hear the voices and greetings of relatives “in our hearts” even if communication services and the internet are down.

“And even in total darkness – we will find each other – to hug each other tightly. And if there is no heat, we will give a big hug to warm each other.”

Zelensky said that they will celebrate their holidays. As always. We will smile and be happy. As always. The difference is one. We will not wait for a miracle. We create it ourselves.

The Orthodox church in Ukranian announced in November that it would allow their churches to celebrate Christmas on December 25. And many younger Ukrainians are now choosing to observe the holiday on December 25 in a bid to move away from Russia and towards the Western world.

Defense Minister Dmytro Kuleba: “This is not war for fear, but for pleasure” – the exclusion of Russia from the UN Security Mission

“These are not military facilities,” he wrote on Telegram Saturday. “This is not a war according to the rules defined. It is killing for fear and pleasure, that is how it is described.

The missiles on the ground at the Russian airfields are vulnerable to being destroyed by strikes because they are launched from bomber flights.

“If somebody attacks you, you fight back,” Andriy Zagorodnyuk, a former Ukrainian defense minister who now advises President Volodomyr Zelensky, said in an interview earlier this month, after the first Ukrainian long-range strike on Russian military targets hit Engels and another airfield in central Russia.

The most sophisticated missile in Russia’s arsenal, the Kinzhal, a hypersonic weapon that can reach targets in minutes and is all but impossible to shoot down, is in even shorter supply, Mr. Budanov said.

The foreign minister stated that the government wants to have a peace summit by the end of February, with the Secretary-General Guterres as a possible mediator, around the anniversary of Russia’s war.

But Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told The Associated Press that Russia could only be invited to such a summit if the country faced a war crimes tribunal first.

Kuleba revealed that the U.S. government had made a plan to put the Patriot missile battery in place prior to President Zelenskyy’s visit. The training can take a year.

Kuleba said during the interview that diplomacy is always an important factor when winning a war and that he would do whatever it takes to win the war.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine: The U.N. Security Council should know about Kuleba’s negotiating experience with Guterres

“The United Nations could be the best venue for holding this summit, because this is not about making a favor to a certain country,” he said. “This is really about bringing everyone on board.”

About Guterres’ role, Kuleba said: “He has proven himself to be an efficient mediator and an efficient negotiator, and most importantly, as a man of principle and integrity. So we would welcome his active participation.”

He said that they often say that they are ready for negotiations, but everything they do on the battlefield proves the opposite.

“This shows how both the United States are important for Ukraine, but also how Ukraine is important for the United States,” said Kuleba, who was part of the delegation to the U.S.

He said that the program developed for the missile battery by the U.S. government was designed to complete the training quickly, without having a negative effect on the quality of use of this weapon on the battlefield.

While Kuleba didn’t mention a specific time frame, he said only that it will be “very much less than six months.” He stated that the training will be done outside of Ukranian.

During Russia’s ground and air war in Ukraine, Kuleba has been second only to Zelenskyy in carrying Ukraine’s message and needs to an international audience, whether through Twitter posts or meetings with friendly foreign officials.

On Monday, the U.N. member states were urged to deny Russia’s status as a permanent member of the Security Council and exclude it from the world body. They had been prepared for this step to uncover the fraud and deprive Russia’s status.

The Foreign Ministry says that Russian never went through the legal procedure for acquiring membership and taking the place of the USSR at the U.N. Security Council after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy facilities during the New Year: a response of Ukrainians to the sirens, air defense, and censorship

Anna said she wouldn’t let the Russians ruin her celebrations. I am more concerned that there will be no electricity on New Years Eve and that the holiday will have to be spent in the dark. But I began to prepare myself for such a scenario in advance, stocked up on garlands, power banks, so the blackout would upset us, but not stop us,” she told CNN.

Elsewhere in the capital, Halyna Hladka stocked up on water as soon as the sirens sounded and quickly made breakfast for her family so they would have something to eat. After nearly two hours, they heard the sounds of explosions. She told CNN that it appeared to her that they were close to our area but it turned out to be air defense. “Not a single attack will cancel the fact that we will celebrate the new year with the family.”

Hryn said that life in the capital returned to normal after the sirens went off, and that he met his neighbors and their child in the elevator who were going to see the new movie. Parents took their children to school and people went to work, while others continued with holiday plans in defiance.

In western Ukraine, Lviv Mayor Andrii Sadovyi said 90% of the city was without power, cautioning that the city’s waterworks could also to stop working with electricity down.

Authorities in Odesa, in southern Ukraine, said that emergency power outages had been rolled out amid the missile attacks. “They are introduced due to the threat of missile attacks to avoid significant damage if the enemy manages to hit energy facilities,” DTEK, a utility company, said in a statement.

I like the term Senseless barbarism. The Foreign Minister of Ukranian said that there could be no neutrality if Russia launched another wave of attacks onUkrainian cities before the New Year.

The commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Valery Zaluzhny, said his air defenses successfully intercepted a total of 12 incoming attacks, six of which were in Kyiv. The total number of incoming attacks was unclear.

Emergency services were dispatched to a number of locations in the city. Videos published to social media and geo-located by NPR show several apparent injuries, including partially severed limbs and bloodied faces on one residential street.

Russian Prime Minister Sergei Zelensky speaks of the Russian Revolution in Ukraine and a Warning from the War on the Violation of Human Rights in Ukraine

The Russian leader later bestowed the country’s highest military honor – the Order of Saint George – on the commander of its forces in Ukraine, Gen. Sergei Surovikin.

The Defense Ministry in Russia said that negotiations were occurring with “territories under control of the Ukrainian regime.” It also said that the return of more than seventy Russian prisoners of war would be announced soon.

In his nightly address on Saturday Zelensky switched to speaking Russian as Moscow launched a series of deadly strikes that killed many people inUkraine ahead of New Year.

“All this war that you are waging, you – Russia, it is not the war with NATO, as your propagandists lie,” Zelensky said. “It is not for something historical. It’s for one person to remain in power until the end of his life.

Three people died and three more were wounded in the Donetsk region, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram.

A person was wounded in the region. There are two deaths and one wounded in the region. Two people were wounded in the Kherson region, while one died in the Chernihiv region.

“26 of the enemy’s air strikes were on civilian infrastructure. The Shahed-136 drones were used, but all of them were shot down. The General Staff said in its latest operational update that the enemy did 80 attacks and also hit civilians.

The Russian invasion of Crimea and the death of a maternity hospital: a tragic anniversary of the end of the Russian war, and how Ukraine has been affected

It said that Russia “continues to conduct offensive actions at the Lyman and Bakhmut directions and is trying to improve the tactical situation at the Kupiansk and Avdiivka directions.”

“The municipal ‘life support system’ of the capital is operating normally. Currently, 30% of consumers are without electricity. He stated on Telegram that he was due to emergency shutdowns.

Klitschko also reported that the restrictions were applied to check the open section of the red metro line in the city “for the presence of remnants of missile debris.”

I want to win, and also to have new feelings from then on. I miss it very much. I also want to travel and open borders. 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 Year’s Eve, cities should be filled with joy and hope. Zelenska said thatUkrainian cities are covered by missile wave from Russia.

The attack on a maternity hospital was one of the highlights of the war, according to a videotaped speech by Mr. Zelensky.

The translated transcript shows that he said that this year has struck their hearts. “We’ve cried out all the tears. All the prayers have been yelled. 311 days. We have something to say about it all the time.

The First World War Wired: Jay Parini, Tom Zelensky, Jeremy Luis Borges and Tim Johnson, Daniel Johnson, Dan Johnson and Daniel Johnson

By March, my initial shock and fear of the war turned into a desire to act through sports. Athletes could fight against Russians in a way that works for them. We just had to tell the truth about the war and Ukrainians – how strong, kind and brave we are. How we have united to defend our country.

Mr. Zelensky said the world rallied around Ukraine from the big squares in foreign cities to the halls of government.

Jay Parini is a professor at the college. His most recent book is “Borges and Me,” a memoir of his travels in the Highlands of Scotland in 1971 with Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentine fabulist. The views expressed in this commentary belong to the author. View more opinion at CNN.

It is an unprecedented conflict in modern times, as Thomas L. Friedman notes in The New York Times. Friedman writes that, “Welcome to World War Wired, the first war in a totally intertwined world,” pointing to TikTok and other social media platforms.

Daniel Johnson, an Iraq War veteran and journalist wrote in Slate that the invasion is being streamed live all over the world. People who are far away from the missile strikes, gunfire and shelling are able to watch the events on their smart phones and other screens.

Zelensky, Putin, and the Ukraine: The Russian War after the Makiivka Abrupt Decrees is Coming to an End

Zelensky lost his popularity after a couple of years. Polls showed his approval ratings would fall into freefall.

Even though his army has a lot of resources, he is still a formidable opponent for Putin because of his gifts for communication and social media.

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

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. Ukraine, however, has not indicated how the attack was executed. But the implications are broader and deeper, especially for how Russia is conducting its war now.

It is telling that days after the deadliest known attack on Russian servicemen, President Vladimir Putin called for a temporary ceasefire, citing the Orthodox Christmas holiday. Ukraine and the US saw the move as a ploy to get some breathing space for their troops, who are having a hard time.

Russian officials said that four rockets were launched at the school where the forces were housed near the arms depot. Russian air defenses shot down two of the HIMARS rockets.

According to the senior fellow at the Defense Program and co-head of the gaming lab at the Center for New American Security, there is a reality that Russia’s failure to break up or move its large arms depots is a function of.

It is a view shared by many experts. “Bad communications security seems to be standard practice in the Russian Army,” James Lewis, director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), told me in an e-mail exchange.

Compounding the problem, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said after the recent Makiivka strikes that “the Russian military has a record of unsafe ammunition storage from well before the current war, but this incident highlights how unprofessional practices contribute to Russia’s high casualty rate.”

The recent conscripts killed in Makiivka appear to be part of a larger picture of poorly trained and poorly-equipped Russian soldiers being deployed to the front lines.

The most recent arrivals to the war are inmates from Russian prisons, which were freed and immediately given over to the Ukrainian side. One can only imagine how appealing the use of cell phones would be to prisoners accustomed to years of isolation with little or no contact with the outside world.

Semyon Pegov, who is also known as WarGonzo, and who received the Order of Courage by President Putin two weeks ago, attacked the Ministry of Defense for an attempt to implicate them in the use of cell phones.

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.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: defending Ukraine’s independence from the Russian attack on the Makiivka front

When the blame will shift to Putin himself is a question, since he seems ill-prepared to change the leadership at very the top. The last change was the appointment of Sergei Surovikin as the first person to be placed in overall command of all Russian forces on the Ukraine front — an army general formerly in charge of the brutal Russian bombardment of Aleppo in Syria.

A month earlier, the defense ministry underwent a shakeup, with the butcher of Mariupol being named deputy defense minister. The arms depot is close to the recruits of the Makiivka.

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.”

With Russia threatening to destroy Ukraine, many European leaders have said that they will support the country in its fight for survival.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a heartfelt appeal to lawmakers in Brussels on Thursday to allow his country to become part of the European Union, insisting that Europe is Ukraine’s “home.”

Zelensky stated that the European standard of life and the European rules of life are the same as they are in his country.

The president warned European lawmakers that Russia wants to return Europe to the xenophobia of the 1930s and 1940s. The answer is no, he said. We are defending ourselves. We have to defend ourselves.

“We need artillery guns, ammunitions, modern tanks, the long-range missiles and modern fighter jets,” Zelensky said. He said they had to enhance the dynamic of their cooperation and act faster than the other side.

I’m very inspired by your statements that Europe will be with us until we win. I have heard it from a number of European leaders and I am very grateful to them for this,” Zelensky said during a press conference following the European Council meeting.

I was told that the necessary weapons and support would be provided to us. And I’ll have a number of bilaterals now and we are doing to raise the issue of the fighter jets and other aircrafts,” he said. We are working and we will continue in Brussels.

But despite Zelensky’s optimism, behind closed doors he is likely being warned that without a fully functioning air defense system, NATO’s expensive fighter jets could be easy prey for the Russians, and that any fighter jet commitment needs to be sequenced with better air defense.

‘Etude d’une d’ecision de l’Union ukrainienne en faveur de la Russie,” Macron a la rencontre avec le XIXe sie

The leader of the Ukrainian republic has a proven track record of persuading allies to give him what he wants and I think that our visit to London has achieved results.

His meeting in Paris with the German Chancellor and French President also appears to have extended that conversation. “I see this meeting as a positive one and talking about concrete decisions. Indeed, I would not want to announce many things publicly, but all I can say is that we will working towards the enhancement of our capabilities.”

He was emotional in his plea, with so many Ukrainians dying. I don’t have the right to come home without the results.

Earlier, Macron told Zelensky that France is “determined” to assist Ukraine in its war against Russia. “We stand by Ukraine, determined to help it to victory,” Macron said. Russia should not win the war, but Ukraine should, because they have the support of France.

We know that Russia will lose. We know victory will change the world, and this will be a change the world needed. The United Kingdom is with us on the road to victory. The victory over the very idea of war.

When did Zelensky lose his job? How Ukrainians dealt with the scandals after the February 14 Ukrainian Referendum on Ukraine’s Anomalous Democracy

At the time, one of the major complaints against Zelensky was that he’d let pledges to reform the judicial system slide — a delay that threatened to derail Ukraine’s aspirations of joining the European Union.

For Ukrainians, it was an emotive issue. Protesters taking to the streets in freezing temperatures in the winter were the main motivation for becoming part of the bloc.

Even a war can’t convince a nation to stop their dirty actions, it seems. Since the start of February, serious allegations have surfaced of senior officials either profiting off of the war or conducting themselves with gross incompetence.

In one case, defense ministry officials reportedly allowed foodstuffs for the military to be purchased at heavily inflated prices (a well-known ploy to skim off money).

The deputy prosecutor general was dismissed after he was photographed with his family in Spain. He went there in a Mercedes that a wealthy businessman owned.

The scandals couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Zelensky administration, which is reportedly grappling with a monthly budget deficit of $5 billion.

People had wondered if Zelenskyy would flee. Zelenskyy downplayed the threat of war and seemed unprepared, pointed out the Anti-Corruption Action Center that is run by him. She says that she was surprised that he stood his ground.

But as some Ukrainian commentators have noted, many officials were allowed to gracefully resign rather than face sacking and further punishment. The shakeup, which comes almost a year into the war, was questioned whether it was a real step in the battle against corruption by a person with a large social media following.

In the recent crackdown, Zelensky may also be opening himself up to accusations of overreach. When a member of the Zelensky faction in Parliament was discovered sunning himself on a Thai beach while his country is in the midst of a war, the government responded by promptly booting the lawmaker from the ruling party.

Zelensky was able to amplify his call for more military aid by banning lawmakers from traveling overseas, at a time when they should be seen to be ambassadors for the country.

Oleksiy went so far as to say that it was an illegal move that violated the Ukrainian constitution. He said that the rights of MPs are not limited even during martial law.

It is a bad decision in the interest of the country. Many of us are doing frontline work and building up support for Ukraine,” he said, adding that he just came back from the US where he gave several talks at universities and met with senators and member of Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Most Ukrainians have heard about corruption at the highest level of government. It’s important to note that the new allegations come at a time when millions of them have left for safe haven abroad and are not likely to come back soon.

Many young Ukrainians I’ve spoken to agree that the government should not see the war as a pass to suspend the battle against corruption — even with the economy in shambles.

“I don’t want to turn a blind eye against corruption and find excuses such as the economy or the war.” We should continue investigating, prosecuting and fighting corruption,” Olga Kearley, a 29-year-old Kyiv-based Ukrainian entrepreneur told me.

The war started and I have not stopped recycling. It’s my fundamental belief and moral standard. As a country, we are fighting the outside demons, but at the same time, we should continue fighting our inner demons — and corruption is one of the big ones,” she added.

U.S. Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova during a State of the Union Address on February 24, 2022

Life values have changed over time. Like never before, I enjoy every opportunity to see or talk to relatives and friends. I believe that all of us will come back to our beloved country, despite what some people may think. But we need the world’s help.

At a minimum, Zelensky needs to respond to allegations of wrongdoing with the same determination that Ukrainian servicemen have demonstrated on the battlefield.

This is an opportunity for the creation of a nation where corruption isn’t accepted and where the economy can’t be taken for granted.

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.

I was supposed to be in Ukranian on February 24, 2022, but it didn’t happen. We had to stay in Moscow after my husband broke his shoulder. At 9:00 a.m. that day he had surgery.

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.

The third day of the February 23rd anniversary of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine: Vladimir and the Kremlin’s Men inside the Court of Vladimir Putin

February 23, 2022. I went to bed thinking that I would celebrate my husband’s birthday the next day. The lives of us were getting better. My husband owned 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 had time to work. I was happy.

We came to terms with our displacement after we were exhausted, crushed and scared. I will always be grateful for all the help we received when we came to a new land.

My husband was able to get a job thanks to the opportunities provided by the Czech Republic. I was able to find special needs classes for my son. He has an assistant that helps him with learning. My daughter goes to a school in the Czech Republic but stays in her home country to study.

Mikhail Zygar is a journalist and 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. Putin, Zelensky, and the Path to Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine.”

That morning we woke up to learn that the invasion started. The war was denounced in a letter written by 12 Russian writers, directors and cultural figures. Thousands of Russian citizens added their signatures when the story was published.

We left Russia on the third day. I felt like it was a moral obligation. I could not stay in the area of the state that has become fascist.

We moved to Berlin. The refugee camp was next to the main railway station and had many Ukrainians coming every day. And I started writing a new book. It begins like this.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/18/opinions/one-year-anniversary-putin-war-ukraine-russia-wrap-opinions-ctpr/index.html

Infected with imperialism – how has Russia adapted to the modern world? What have Ukrainians learnt since February 2022?

I know that Russian people are infected with imperialism. We failed to spot just how deadly the very idea of Russia as a “great empire” was – now we have to come a long way, healing our nation from that disease.

Russia has just fired dozens of Kalibr missiles towards several Ukrainian cities, including my adopted city of Odesa. We run for shelter as air raid sirens blare. My landlady brings me a pot of borscht to help create a sense of normalcy.

Time and again since the Russian invasion started, I’m haunted by the darkness in my father’s eyes during the re-telling of chilling dinnertime stories of relatives shipped off to the Soviet gulag, never to return. Stories of millions of Ukrainians who starved to death in Stalin’s manmade famine of 1932-33.

What’s changed since Russian missiles first began falling on February 24, 2022? Ukrainians have become angry as they stand up to the rockets and drones.

A year into the full-scale invasion, my passport is a novel in stamps. My life is split between London, where I teach Ukrainian literature, and Ukraine, where I get my lessons in courage.

My former classmates from Zaporizhzhia who were similar to me in their teenage lifestyles have volunteered to fight addictions. 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 my country has been unaffected by Russia’s terrorist attacks over the last 12 months. These dark winter nights, one sees so many stars over Kyiv which the Russians have only managed to bring closer to eternity.

It seems that since February 2022 we have experienced several eras. Putin received over 80% approval from the population when he was suddenly given a new lease on life after considerable time of stagnant ratings.

He canceled thefuture by aborting the past. It is more convenient to live this way when your superiors decide what to do and you don’t pay any attention to what they tell you.

It is impossible to adapt to a catastrophe like that for me and my family. I was labeled a “foreign agent” because of my active commentary on the events, and this made me think that I was living in a world far from reality.

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 northern district of the city. I enjoyed taking care of it. I loved the life I had. All of it – the small routines and the struggles. That night was the last time my life mattered.

My phone was always busy from all the messages and missed calls. There was a red headline on the Kyiv Independent website about the conflict in Ukranian.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/18/opinions/one-year-anniversary-putin-war-ukraine-russia-wrap-opinions-ctpr/index.html

The Battle of Varshin, the Cold War, and the Birth of a Nation. In the First Battle of Ukraine, I Voted Against Russia

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. I no longer cared about anything other than whether or not I took a shower or what cup of coffee I used to drink. 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 remembered being upset about my boyfriend but I no longer feel that way. My life didn’t change on February 24, it was stolen from me on that day.

There was also trying to claim my life back, in addition to the obvious battles. The life Russia stole from me and millions of Ukrainians.

I was not interested in my ambitions at all. Only the common goal was crucial – to raise our flag and show that we are fighting even under these circumstances.

I couldn’t enjoy my victories on the track. Many defenders have been killed, so they were only possible. I received messages from soldiers. They were happy to follow our success and it was my primary motivation to continue my career.

Biden and his wife, Jill, visited Ukraine for a surprise one-year war-anniversary intl-hnk

Biden said that a half billion dollars would include military equipment, including more javelins and Howitzers. He said new sanctions would be imposed on Moscow later this week.

On Saturday evening, before he departed, Biden went out to dinner with his wife in Washington. He arrived in Kyiv on Monday morning and didn’t stay in public for long.

Biden was shrouded in a state of secrecy when he went to the Ukranian capital. Reporters on the plane weren’t allowed to carry their electronic devices with them as they flew out of Joint Base Andrews at 1:45 am on Sunday.

Biden is traveling with a relatively small entourage, including national security adviser Jake Sullivan, deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon and personal aide Annie Tomasini.

Biden was prevented from doing a similar trip because of security precautions. When he visited Poland in April last year, the White House did not even explore the potential for a trip across the border, even though Biden said he had voiced interest.

The Secretary of State, Defense Secretary and several other members of the Biden staff have gone to Ukrainian capital to pledge new assistance. Senior administration officials, including CIA Director Bill Burns and top White House officials, visited Kyiv last month.

Even Biden’s wife, Dr. Jill Biden, paid a surprise visit on Mother’s Day last year to a small city in the far southwestern corner of Ukraine. She met with Zelenska at a school that was converted into temporary housing for displaced Ukrainians.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/20/politics/biden-ukraine-zelensky-visit-one-year-war-anniversary-intl-hnk/index.html

The Servant of the People: The First Chinese Foreign Adviser Since the First World War II. Wang, the Foreign Minister, and the Relations Between China and Russia

But it remains unclear what parameters Zelensky might be willing to accept in any peace negotiations, and the US has steadfastly refused to define what a settlement may look like beyond stating it will be up to Zelensky to decide.

American officials told CNN that the US has recently begun seeing disturbing trends and that there are signs that Beijing wants to quietly give military aid to Moscow without being caught.

The US has seen a recent shift in the posture of China and has shared its intel with its allies and partners, but they are unwilling to give any details about the intelligence.

Wang, who was named Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s top foreign policy adviser last month, is expected to arrive in Moscow this week, in the first visit to the country from a Chinese official in that role since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to China’s Foreign Ministry, Wang’s visit will provide an opportunity for China and Russia to continue to develop their strategic partnership and “exchange views” on “international and regional hotspot issues of shared interest” – a catch-all phrase often used to allude to topics including the war in Ukraine.

Oleksiy Arestovych, a former advisor to the office of the president, was with Zelenskyy at the beginning of the war. He says he and others urged the president to move somewhere safer.

Arestovych explained, “We asked, what about cruise missiles?” “He said, ‘I’ll stay here.'” He mentioned Russian saboteurs and assassins. He says Zelenskyy again refused.

It is about a teacher who was upset with the corrupt and corrosive politics of his country. Zelenskyy’s character becomes famous when a student captures and posts a rant on video, then posts it on social media.

Zelenskyy was a sensation when he was a real-life candidate, winning with 73% of the vote. He named his political party Servant of the People.

Zelenskyy promised to end the war in the east of the country and boost the economy during the campaign. Many had hoped that he would govern better.

But his decision to stay in Kyiv in the early days of the war quickly turned public opinion around. He was approved by almost all of Ukrainians by August. The character actor understood what the Ukrainian people were going through.

Zelenskyy rallied international support. He spoke to the parliament by video and brought the English translator to tears.

Speaking to the U.S. Congress in December, this time in English, he quoted another wartime leader, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, drawing huge rounds of applause.

Volochinskyy: president of the Ukrainian parliament, Kyiv, in the Kherson region during the November-April 1939 invasion

I was in the Kherson region less than a week before the invasion. He was observing drills to defend against Russian sabotage. Afterward, Zelenskyy gave an impromptu news conference in which he was defensive and confusing. U.S. officials had warned Russia would launch a massive invasion, but Zelenskyy downplayed it.

“I believe that today in the information space there is too much information about a full-scale war,” said the president, standing in the middle of a street before a table stacked with microphones.

Chornovol was a lawmaker in the parliament of Ukraine. She joined the military later. I met her in the Kherson region last fall, where her job was to fire small missiles at Russian armor.

Chornovol says the Ukrainian army left the route open to invasion before the war because they failed to mine bridges to stop the Russians.

“What was done was simply criminal,” said Chornovol, who proudly showed me her missile launcher which was camouflaged with Astroturf. There wasn’t anything to prepare for the invasion. Kyiv was not protected.

Jack Watling, senior researcher in land warfare at the Royal United Services Institute in London, says a brigade and a half of troops were supposed to be deployed to the area, but weren’t. Ukrainian officers told higher ups that they were vulnerable to a Russian attack.

Parliamentarians are careful not to attack each other because of the war in Ukraine. She said that she and others in the EU Solidarity party would be asking tough questions about what happened in the south if Ukrainians beat Russia.

People here blame the swift loss of the region on the SBU, Ukraine’s intelligence service. In July, Zelenskyy fired the head of the SBU, Ivan Bakanov, a longtime friend who had no security experience.

Source: https://www.npr.org/2023/02/20/1158150926/volodymyr-zelenskyy-president-ukraine-russia-war

The good, the bad and the ugly: Why Zelenskyy made a good president in the late 1940s, when Soviet Union became anarchic

“He’s a good president during war,” she says. During a non-war period he’s not a very good president. He is not tolerant of different opinions, which is his biggest weakness.

Alina Fialko-Smal was an actor there at the time. She says Zelenskyy was a fan of her troupe and wanted advice on becoming a dramatic actor. She discouraged Zelenskyy, who is under 5-foot-6.

Zelenskyy studied law at Kryvyi Rih Economic Institute, where his father is a renowned educator. Natalya Voloshanyuk, a finance professor, recalls Volodymyr as clever, funny and self-confident.

“She told him that he should be proud that he studied here, and that one day he will be proud that he taught him,” says Voloshanyuk.

The anarchy of the Soviet Union allowed for the creation of something new. I think Zelenskyy is one of those people. The good thing is that these people think that impossible is nothing and you can create anything.”

“People identify themselves with him or heidentifies himself with the people.” I think this is the most important thing.

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