Vladimir V. Putin, the Kremlin, and the U.S. Stand Up: The Forcible Annexation of Crimea
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia signed decrees on Friday to declare four Ukrainian regions part of Russia as the Kremlin seeks to solidify its tenuous hold over Ukrainian territory through a widely denounced illegal annexation.
The disarray of its forces on the ground, where territory was rapidly changing hands, reflected the fact that it did not know what new borders Russia would claim. “In terms of the borders, we’re going to continue to consult with the population of these regions,” Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters on Monday.
Reports from the ground suggested that voting took place at gunpoint, but Putin tried to claim that the referendums showed the will of millions.
Now, a full year later,Kyiv andUkraine are the same. Democracy stands,” he declared, adding, “The Americans stand with you, and the world stands with you.”
The Russian president framed the annexation as an attempt to fix what he sees as a great historical mistake that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Putin said in the annual address that the war in Ukraine is a battle for the future against the West. The speech of Putin made it clear just how long the US will be withUkraine, and raised the prospect of more years of war.
Russia will now, despite the widespread international condemnation, forge ahead with its plans to fly its flag over some 100,000 square kilometers (38,600 square miles) of Ukrainian territory – the largest forcible annexation of land in Europe since 1945.
The leader of Russia spoke in the same place where he stated in March of last year that the territory of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea was part of Russia.
Many politicians, including the four Russian-imposed leaders of the Ukrainian region, sat in the audience for Mr. Putin’s speech.
To Western ears, Putin seems to be living in an alternative reality. And Biden contradicted his claims of Western imperialism, saying, “I speak once more to the people of Russia. The United States and the nations of Europe do not seek to control or destroy Russia. The West was not plotting to attack Russia, as Putin said today.”
He mentioned the British Opium War in China in the 19th century as well as Allied firebombings of Germany and the Vietnam and Korean Wars.
The United States, he said, was the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war. “By the way, they created a precedent,” Mr. Putin added in an aside.
Russia’s practice of carrying out missile and artillery strikes on civilian targets has already become notorious, from the Mariupol theater airstrike in May that killed 600 people to the bombings of multiple sites in central Kyiv that Russia carried out in October in retaliation for the destruction of the Kerch bridge linking the Crimean peninsula to Russia. The Kremlin’s preference for softer, nonmilitary targets has been intensified due to the repeated failures of Russia’s military in the face of the Ukrainian counteroffensive. “We are fighting against a terrorist state,” Reznikov wrote.
The Fall of Lyman: The Challenge for Russian Security and Security in the Continuum of the Ukrainian War, as Monitored by the Daily Observer
There is a celebration on Red Square on Friday. Official ratification of the decrees will happen next week, said Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman.
The moves follow staged referendums held in occupied territory during a war in defiance of international law. Many of the provinces’ Civilian populations have fled the fighting since the war began and people who did vote were often held at gun point.
At a time when Russian forces are under fire for not doing enough to prevent the recent gains by Ukrainian forces, cementing Russia’s hold over the two eastern regions would allow the Kremlin to declare victory.
A recent draft of hundreds of thousands of civilians into military service that has encountered opposition in Russia will be a huge roadblock to Mr. Putin regaining control over the war.
IZIUM, Ukraine — Russian forces in Ukraine were on the run Monday across a broad swath of the front line, as the Ukrainian military pressed its blitz offensive in the east and made gains in the south, belying President Vladimir V. Putin’s claims to have absorbed into Russia territories that his armies are steadily losing.
The sharp shift was a sign that domestic pressure over Russia’s flailing war effort had escalated to the point where President Vladimir V. Putin believed that a brutal show of force was necessary — as much for his audience at home as for Ukraine and the West.
In an unusually candid article published Sunday, the prominent Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that in the last few days of their occupation, Russian forces in Lyman had been plagued by desertion, poor planning and the delayed arrival of reserves.
After more than an hour of praising Russia’s annexation of most of the world, the fall of Lyman wasn’t even mentioned on the main political show in Russia, “News of the Week” on Channel 1.
The soldiers told the broadcast they had been forced to retreat due to their battles with NATO soldiers.
We thought we’d be fighting Poles. Germans. We didn’t think anyone was left in the Ukrainian army there. One said they thought they had left the country.
The broadcast was intended to convince Russians that any hardship they suffer in the war will be blamed on the West, even if they aren’t doing anything wrong.
The idea that Russia is fighting a broader campaign was repeated in an interview with Aleksandr Dugin, a far-right thinker whose daughter, also a prominent nationalist commentator, was killed by a car bomb in August.
The dismemberment of the Soviet empire was duly halted at the borders of the Russian Federation — at the cost of two devastating Chechen wars, for which the Kremlin was given a free hand both domestically and internationally. Chechnya- Ichkeria became a testing ground for the military strategy that was applied against Ukraine.
Mr. Dugin, like Mr. Putin, has accused Western countries of damaging the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which ruptured after underwater explosions last month in what both European and Russian leaders have called an act of sabotage.
“The West already accuses us of blowing up the gas pipeline ourselves,” he said. “We must understand the geopolitical confrontation, the war, our war with the West on the scale and extent on which it is unfolding. We have to join this battle with an enemy who will use any means, including blowing up gas lines.
At this point, the nonstop messaging campaign may be working. Many Russians feel like they are in danger from the west, said a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who is from Russia.
The United States and its major allies have been steadfast in their resolve to support Ukraine in its fight, and their people have largely accepted the enormous cost. Most of the political resistance in the US is limited to a few voices on the right and left. But questions will become only more common as the war drags on. Representative Kevin McCarthy, who is the speaker of the House, has warned that there should not be a blank check.
But when Aleksandr was captured outside the eastern city of Lyman last week, he was thinly dressed, without the customary armband denoting his allegiance — usually red or white for Russia and blue or yellow for Ukraine. The Ukrainian soldiers gave him a Russian parka to keep him warm.
“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.
Since the Ukrainians have little time for reflection, they focus on keeping the pressure on the Russians to prevent them from regrouping. Yet after months in the trenches never seeing the faces of the enemy, Ukrainian soldiers and commanders have now engaged the Russians up close and gotten a chance to size up their opponent.
The David v. Goliath War: When Two Ukrainians Meet in London, and two Iranians are in exhilarated defiance
Former CNN producer and correspondent, Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. View more opinion on CNN.
Two groups of people in London came together on the same day. One waved Ukrainian flags while the other waved Iranian flags. When they met, they cheered each other, and chanted, “All together we will win.”
Because they hold the moral high ground, the struggles of the Ukrainian and the Iranian people have inspired support around the globe among backers of democracy and human rights. Their anthem against fascists and the brutality of their opponents have gone crazy in this era of social media.
These David v. Goliath battles show bravery that is almost unimaginable to the rest of us – and is inspiring equally courageous support in places like Afghanistan.
In Iran, the spark was the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month. She died in the custody of morality police who had arrested her for breaking the rules that required women to dress modestly.
In defiance, Iranian women have stripped to their underwear and thrown them into the flames, in scenes of exhilarated defiance.
It’s why women are climbing on cars, waving their hijab in the air, like a flag of freedom, and gathering crowds of supporters in city streets, and in universities, where security forces are opening fire to try and silence them.
Russian Military Operations in the Syria Civil War: The Implications for Moscow and the Rest of the World, as Revealed by CNN
After all, it was less than a decade ago that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military entered Syria’s long civil war, helping to save the dictator Bashar al-Assad (as Iran had).
The US and other countries that have been involved in the war have increased the amount of arms and equipment they have sent to the country. It’s not enough for Zelensky, who wants heavier weapons and fighter jets.
His forces have planted mines in vast stretches of territory in Kherson from which they’ve recently withdrawn – much as the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia stretching back to the 1970s. Indeed, Cambodian de-mining experts have even been called in to assist with the herculean task facing Ukraine in 2022. At the same time, Russian armies have also left behind evidence of unspeakable atrocities and torture, also reminiscent of the Khmer Rouge.
The repressive regimes in Moscow and Tehran are no longer welcome in most of the world, thanks in part to a small group of autocrats.
Now, CNN has reported Iran is about to start sending even more – and more powerful – weapons to Russia for the fight against Ukraine, according to a western country closely monitoring Iran’s weapons program.
These are two regimes that, while very different in their ideologies, have much in common in their tactics of repression and their willingness to project power abroad.
Multiple Putin critics have suffered mysterious deaths. Many have fallen out of windows. The Freedom House and other democratic advocacy groups say that Russia and Iran have become leading practitioners of international repressive practices.
For people in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, there’s more than passing interest in the admittedly low probability that the Iranian regime could fall. It would have a big impact on their countries and their lives. After all, Iran’s constitution calls for spreading its Islamist revolution.
It is believed that the coming weeks are crucial for both the battlefield and Europe. Giles said that where Putin goes next depends on how the rest of the world responds. Russia’s attitude is shaped by the failure to confront and deter it.
An abandoned Russian armored vehicle with its engine running was found by the battalion commander racing down a road with his men in pursuit of retreating Russian soldiers. Inside there was a sniper rifle, rocket propelled grenades, helmets and belongings. The men were gone.
The commander used the code name Swat and said that they dropped everything. “I think it was a special unit, but they were panicking. They dropped everything because the road was bad and the rain was very hard.
The Cost of Chaos: The CNN Perspective on the Soviet War in Afghanistan and the Status of the Russian Response to the Invasion of the Soviet Union
Editor’s Note: Peter Bergen is CNN’s national security analyst, a vice president at New America, and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. Bergen is the author of “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.
With even his allies expressing concern, and hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing partial mobilization, an increasingly isolated Putin has once again taken to making rambling speeches offering his distorted view of history.
His revisionist account describes his rationale for the war inUkrainian, which he claims has always been a part of Russia even if it is no longer 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.
During the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US was initially reluctant to escalate its support for the Afghan resistance, fearing a wider conflict with the Soviet Union. After the CIA supplied the Afghans with powerful anti-aircraft missiles in 1986, the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan three years later.
US officials hope that the huge increase in weaponry to the Ukraine will help the country prevail on the battlefield, as well as help to put them in a better position to negotiate an end to the war.
The satellite-guided HIMARS — short for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System — currently have a range of 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.)
When Russia Started to Fall, the Revolutionary War In Ukraine And Its Implications To The Russian Army And The State of the State Of Russia
The collapse of the Soviet Union was accelerated by the pullout of the soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1992 according to Putin.
The Romanov monarchy was weakened by the loss of the Russian army in 1905, and he must know about it. The Russian Revolution began because of Czar Nicholas II’s feckless leadership during the First World War. Subsequently, much of the Romanov family was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad.
Russian President Vladimir Putin cast the campaign as a “special military operation” – not a war – and told citizens that they could, essentially, forget about the conflict in Ukraine. Draftees, he promised falsely, would not fight, and military operations would be left to the professionals. Russia’s state TV parroted talking points from the Ministry of Defense about progress on the battlefield.
The economic damage has already put an end to Putin’s two-decades strong reputation for providing “stability” — once a key basis for his support among Russians who remember the chaotic years that followed the collapse of the USSR.
As a member of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, he said that they needed to stop lying. We brought this up before. However, it is not getting through to individual senior figures.
The Ministry of Defense was avoiding the truth about Ukrainian cross-border strikes in Russian regions, according to Kartapolov.
Valuyki is located in Russia’s Belgorod region near the border with Ukraine. When it comes to striking Russian targets across the border, the Ukrainians tend to adopt a neither-confirm-nor-deny stance.
There isn’t need to cast a shadow over the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation because of incompetent commanders, who didn’t bother and weren’t accountable, for the processes and gaps that exist today. Many people believe that the Minister of Defense could shoot himself if he wanted to. But, you know, the word officer is an unfamiliar word for many.”
The retreat of the Russian troops from the Ukrainian city of Lyman has changed Kadyrov’s approach to blaming the Russians.
Writing on Telegram, Kadyrov personally blamed Colonel-General Aleksandr Lapin, the commander of Russia’s Central Military District, for the debacle, accusing him of moving his headquarters away from his subordinates and failing to adequately provide for his troops.
“The Russian information space has significantly deviated from the narratives preferred by the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) that things are generally under control,” ISW noted in its recent analysis.
One of the more prominent voices arguing for the use of harsher methods was Kadyrov, who recently was promoted by Putin to the rank of colonel general. He recently said in another Telegram post that, if he had his way, he would give the government extraordinary wartime powers in Russia.
Kadyrov said in the post that he would declare martial law throughout the country because they are at war with the entire NATO bloc.
Kiev attack on the Dnipro River kills at least 10 people and injures in southwestern Kyrgyzstan
On a day when the world was celebrating the awarding of a Peace Prize to human Rights Activist in Russia and others, there was still plenty of anger toward Russia for the invasion of Ukraine.
According to the head of the regional military administration, at least 10 homes, several apartment blocks, and infrastructure were damaged overnight after Russian rockets hit the Dnipro River. He said that on Friday evening, a man was killed and another was wounded.
On the mountain-flanked steppes of southwestern Kyrgyzstan, the result in just one remote village has been devastating: homes reduced to rubble, a burned-out school and a gut-wrenching stench emanating from the rotting carcasses of 24,000 dead chickens.
All fell victim last month to the worst violence to hit the area since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union — a brief but bloody border conflict between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, both members of a Russia-led military alliance dedicated to preserving peace but which did nothing to halt the mayhem.
Michael Bociurkiw is a global affairs analyst who in summer relocated from Canada to Ukraine. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former spokesperson for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
In some ways, Monday’s attacks were not a surprise – especially after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday accused Kyiv of attacking the Kerch bridge, calling it an “act of terrorism.”
Two days after an explosion damaged the Kerch bridge, the strikes began and lasted for weeks. That blast, which was used as a justification for the onslaught on Monday, was a major blow to the Russians and gave them a strategic boost.
As of midday local time, the area around my office in Odesa remained eerily quiet in between air raid sirens, with reports that three missiles and five kamikaze drones were shot down. (Normally at this time of the day, nearby restaurants would be heaving with customers, and chatter of plans for upcoming weddings and parties).
Monday’s attacks also came just a few hours after Zaporizhzhia, a southeastern city close to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, was hit by multiple strikes on apartment buildings, mostly while people slept. At least 17 people were killed and many were injured.
The energy minister of Ukraine told CNN that 30% of his country’s energy infrastructure was hit by Russian missiles on Monday and Tuesday. The minister told CNN that this was the “first time from the beginning of the war” that Russia has “dramatically targeted” energy infrastructure.
In 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.
Indeed, millions of people in cities across Ukraine will be spending most of the day in bomb shelters, at the urging of officials, while businesses have been asked to shift work online as much as possible.
Just as many regions of Ukraine were starting to roar back to life, and with countless asylum seekers returning home, the attacks risk causing another blow to business confidence.
These attacks began at the outset of the war and have only increased in scope and virulence since Ukrainian forces last month attacked a bridge – one particularly close to Putin’s heart – between mainland Russia and Crimea, which the Russians annexed in 2014.
dictators seem to like hardwiring newly claimed territory with expensive, record-breaking infrastructure projects. In 2018, Putin personally opened the Kerch bridge – Europe’s longest – by driving a truck across it. One of the first things China did after it reclaimed Macau and Hong Kong was to build the world’s longest sea crossing bridge. The road bridge took two years to open.
Putin’s Smile and the Crimes of Repression: The Case for an End to Russia’s War on Ukraine, and the Implications for the Security and Security of the West
The explosion made people laugh so much that social media channels lit up like a Christmas tree. Many people shared their joy with text messages.
For Putin, consumed by pride and self-interest, sitting still was never an option. He unleashed more death and destruction with the force that comes naturally to a former KGB worker, to respond in the manner he knew how.
Putin is on thin ice because of the criticism he faces at home and on state-controlled television.
The Ukrainian officials warned for weeks that Russia may be preparing to launch a new attack on its soil, perhaps to coincide with the anniversary of the invasion of the country. Back in September, Putin ordered a “partial mobilization” after a swift and unexpected Ukrainian counteroffensive that chased Russian forces out of the northeastern Kharkiv region and set the stage for Ukraine’s recapture of the southern city of Kherson. Many of those troops have now gone through the training pipeline, further fueling speculation that Russia is committed to a manpower-intensive war of attrition.
There’s good news and bad news in this situation and it’s that Washington and other allies have a chance to use urgent phone diplomacy to keep China and India from using even more deadly weapons.
Third, the West should make clear to a wide range of Russian audiences that it is safe to end the war by leaving Ukraine. An orderly withdrawal is unlikely to lead to regime change, let alone the breakup of Russia. Both outcomes are not an official goal of Western policy and the talk of them is counter-productive. Some in the West do not want to be reassured. But if Russia’s elites conclude that it is as dangerous for Russia to leave Ukraine as to stay, they have no incentive to press for an end to the war. Reassurance does not mean compromise.
Living in Kyiv during Russia’s war on Ukraine is about being prepared. Kateryna and Oleg have cupboards full of batteries, power banks and flashlights. The scheduled power outages may become less predictable if the Russian missile campaign against Ukrainian infrastructure continues.
The time has come for Russia to be isolated by trade and travel restrictions, as well as for Turkey and Gulf states to be pressured to do so, in order to have enough impact to deter Russian tourists.
The attacks on Monday night killed 14 people: Russian response to Putin’s losing war and his campaign to pummel civilian morale, with an eye toward the US
The attacks snatched away the semblance of normality that city dwellers, who spent months earlier in the war in subways turned into air raid shelters, have managed to restore to their lives and raised fears of new strikes.
But the targets on Monday also had little military value and, if anything, served to reflect Putin’s need to find new targets because of his inability to inflict defeats on Ukraine on the battlefield.
These two headline packages alone could impact the course of the war. Russia’s most potent threat now is the constant bombardment of energy infrastructure. It is making winter colder and unbearable for some, plunging cities into darkness of up 12 hours a day and sometimes longer, in the hope of sapping high Ukrainian morale.
The attacks on civilians, which killed at least 14 people, also drove new attention to what next steps the US and its allies must take to respond, after already sending billions of dollars of arms and kits to Ukraine in an effective proxy war with Moscow.
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 increase in aid is thought to be the result of the systems in the package, according to a US official.
John Kirby, the leader of strategic communications at the National Security Council, suggested that Washington was looking favorably on Ukraine and was in contact with the government almost every day. “We do the best we can in subsequent packages to meet those needs,” he told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
Kirby was also unable to say whether Putin was definitively shifting his strategy from a losing battlefield war to a campaign to pummel civilian morale and inflict devastating damage on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, though he suggested it was a trend developing in recent days and had already been in the works.
It was something that they had been planning for a long time. Kirby said that the explosion on the bridge might have caused some planning to be sped up.
Russia lacks resources to start a new nuclear arms race with Washington because of its lagging economy and heavy pressure on its conventional forces. But the collapse of one of the last building blocks of a post-Cold War thaw between Russia and the US exemplifies the almost total lack of communication between the rivals.
But French President Emmanuel Macron underscored Western concerns that Monday’s rush-hour attacks in Ukraine could be the prelude to another pivot in the conflict.
A retired lieutenant. The former director of European Affairs on the national security council said that by attacking targets, Putin was sending a message about how he will prosecute the war in the coming months.
If we had modern equipment, we could probably shoot down more of those drones and missiles and prevent the deaths of civilians or injuries to Ukrainians.
The Kremlin, reticent so far to escalate the war beyond Ukraine, could also aim to directly disrupt or deter foreign military assistance to Kyiv. NATO satellites and other military assets may be attacked to render them temporarily or permanently useless. Russia could also conduct cyberattacks on the United States and Europe in order to harm the supporters of Kyiv. In the future, the war would include the borders of other countries.
Above all, Putin still does not appear to have learned that revenge is not an appropriate way to act on or off the battlefield and in the final analysis is most likely to isolate and weaken Russia, perhaps irreversibly.
The return of fear and violence to Ukraine from a new round of Russian terror’: Olena Gnes, the president of Belarus, and Andrei Sannikov
Olena Gnes, a mother of three who is documenting the war on YouTube, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper live from her basement in Ukraine on Monday that she was angry at the return of fear and violence to the lives of Ukrainians from a new round of Russian “terror.”
“This is just another terror to provoke maybe panic, to scare you guys in other countries or to show to his own people that he is still a bloody tyrant, he is still powerful and look what fireworks we can arrange,” she said.
WARSAW — President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus announced on Monday that Russian troops would return to his country in large numbers, a replay of the military buildup there that preceded Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine.
The president told senior military and security officials that this will be more than a thousand troops.
He did not provide details on the size or purpose of the new joint force on Monday, sparking speculation that it could be used to aid Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. He could be preparing for the arrival of thousands of Russian soldiers who were not trained and some who were formerly convicts.
The strongman of the country who has resisted pressure to send in his own troops accused Ukraine of planning attacks from the south without citing evidence.
The establishment of a joint force with Russia will reinforce the view in Ukraine that Belarus is clearly a “co-aggressor,” a label that Mr. Lukashenko has rejected but which took on new force on Monday after a barrage of Russian missile attacks on Kyiv and elsewhere, some of them launched from Belarusian territory, according to Ukrainian officials.
During his visit to St. Petersburg, Belarusian state media reported that Mr. Lukashenko had “stressed the need to take measures in case of the deployment of nuclear weapons in Poland,” a remark that some analysts interpreted as preparing the ground for the possible deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Belarus, something that he has long said would never happen.
Andrei Sannikov, who served as deputy foreign minister under Mr. Lukashenko during his early period in power but fled into exile after being jailed, said Mr. Lukashenko was “running scared,” caught between pressure from Russia to help its demoralized forces in Ukraine and the knowledge that sending in Belarusian troops would be hugely unpopular, even among his loyalists.
The suffering of Kyiv: How the bombs hit the Donbas: a story of my childhood playground and the playground of my adopted city
On Monday, state television not only reported on the suffering, but also flaunted it. There was a picture of smoke and carnage, empty store shelves, and a long-range forecast of cold weather in the city.
Editor’s Note: Nonna Stefanova is a journalist at Channel 5-TV in Kyiv. She is a professor of TV and cinema at the Karpenko-Kary University of Theatre, Cinema, and Television. The views that are articulated in this commentary are her own. Read more opinion on CNN.
A reminder of that history came a couple of months ago. A Russian missile hit the street outside the Kyiv House of Teachers.
In the past two months, Ukraine’s power grid has come under relentless bombardment by Russian bombs, taking down as much as half of the country’s electric infrastructure and at times leaving the majority of the country without power. In Kyiv, more than 200 miles west of the ongoing fighting in the region known as Donbas, Ukrainians are reduced to hunting for generators, storing food outside to prevent it from spoiling, charging their phones and computers during the few hours a day of reliable power, and keeping backup food and water supplies in apartment building elevators in case someone is trapped inside during a blackout. Water supplies have been paralyzed at times, too, along with portions of the country’s electrified rail system. Only a small percentage of the country’s heating systems are operating, so winter is still months away.
As I write, Russia has just fired dozens of Kalibr missiles towards several cities in Ukraine, including my adopted city of Odesa. Air raid sirens are playing as we run for shelter. My landlady brings me a pot of borscht to help create a sense of normalcy.
Our playground is in Shevchenko Park in the center of the city, and is very well known to every Kyivan. The park is close to my parents’ home and was where I went for my first walk with my son. We visited almost daily in the years since, currently doing so.
The park itself, named after Ukraine’s national poet, Taras Shevchenko, has become Askold’s main playground, remaining so, eerily deserted, in late February and March, when Russian tanks stood a mere 25 kilometers away.
Askold would go to the usually empty playground with his wooden sword, and the bemusement of the National Guard. He was given an abundance of choice but it was hampered by the lack of playmates and the merry-go-round.
On some days the only human in the park was the monument of Taras Shevchenko, not protected by a concrete enclosure, which would come later.
The statue is located a short distance from Askold’s playground, overlooking the striking entrance to the largest university in the country.
The writer’s son, Askold, holds his wooden sword alongside grandparents Roman Weretelnyk and Halyna Stefanova in Shevchenko Park earlier this year. The statue of poet Taras Shevchenko can be seen in the background.
One of the core themes in Shevchenko’s poems, is the resistance of Ukrainians and other peoples to the Russian empire. Is the Russians trying to destroy his monument as a sign of disrespect? The missiles hitting the capital city center had people desperately trying to deal with the shock on social media.
Is it possible that I would tell him that Russia uses old maps? Because it wants to destroy monuments of Ukrainian history and culture? Or, simply, because it can?
Why does Russia do that? Askolds’s first question: Why is Russia so upset about Crimea when Russia invades Ukraine, and why does it destroy the country?
The first question my son had asked was this one. We weren’t surprised by the war but it was a huge shock.
Askold was 7 months old when the Euromaidan began. A few months later, Russia annexed Crimea and started a war in the east of Ukraine. We knew war was on the way, and it occurred in our home in Kyiv in 2022.
Why does Russia do that? Askolds was devastated after looking at pictures and videos of the crater where his favorite swing used to be.
I told him that the Russians don’t want us to exist. I felt that I was ready to say these words to my son – after all, we had taken him to visit the sites of mass graves in Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel, where he saw what no 9 year old should see. But I knew we had to.
It’s because he needs to understand why Russia wants to destroy the country and why he goes to a bomb shelter instead of his classroom. And why the weapons in the hands of the National Guard in the park are not wooden – but utterly real.
The Russian Road to War with Ukraine: Making Sense of the Recent Progress in the Region of Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson
The war is close to a new phase for the first time. “This is now the third, fourth, possibly fifth different war that we’ve been observing,” said Keir Giles, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia Programme.
Beyond the reality of living through war inside Ukraine, people around the world have felt the knock-on effect of the conflict as inflation and energy prices spike. It raises the possibility of a new invasion by a different global power.
The stakes of the war have been raised once more as winter approaches. Giles said Russia would like to keep it up. But the Ukrainian successes of recent weeks have sent a direct message to the Kremlin, too. Giles said that since they could do things that were unexpected, let’s get used to it.
Oleksii Hromov, a senior Ukrainian military official, said last week that Kyiv’s forces have recaptured some 120 settlements since late September as they advance in the Kharkiv, Donetsk and Kherson regions. On wednesday, Ukraine said it had liberated more settlements in Kherson.
Russia said Thursday it would help evacuate the residents of Kherson to other areas, as the offensive continued to make gains in the region. The announcement came shortly after the head of the Moscow-backed administration in Kherson appealed to the Kremlin for help moving residents out of harm’s way, in the latest indication that Russian forces were struggling in the face of Ukrainian advances.
Ukrainians fought and pushed Russia’s troops back, despite expectations that the capital would fall in a few days. They’ve continued to fight. Russia recalibrated and is now focused on taking land in Ukraine’s east. Both sides have gained and lost territory over the course of the year, but now the war appears to be at an inflection point.
“The Russians are playing for the whistle – (hoping to) avoid a collapse in their frontline before the winter sets in,” Samir Puri, senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the author of “Russia’s Road to War with Ukraine,” told CNN.
“If they can get to Christmas with the frontline looking roughly as it is, that’s a huge success for the Russians given how botched this has been since February.”
Russia will be able to replenish troops and regain its strength more easily by moving to the east bank. Any attempt by Ukrainian forces to cross the Dnipro would be costly to the point of prohibitive, as Russian forces are well dug in along a stretch of the river. Pillbox guardhouses have become a common sight; trenches appeared on satellite imagery and civilians were unceremoniously removed from homes close to the river.
With temperatures going to plummet on the battlefield, Ukraine will be eager to improve on its gains and Europe will feel the impact of rising energy prices.
There are a lot of reasons why the Ukrainians want to get things done quickly. The winter energy crisis in Europe and energy infrastructure being destroyed in Ukraine itself, is always going to be a test of resilience for Ukrainians and its Western backers.
Several European countries rely on Russian energy and could be staring at a cost-of-living crisis if Ukrainian progress is not seen on the battlefield.
Ukraine’s national electricity company, Ukrenergo, says it has stabilized the power supply to Kyiv and central regions of Ukraine after much of the country’s electricity supply was disrupted by Russian missile attacks on Monday and Tuesday. The Prime Minister of Ukranian urged the people of his country to use less energy during peak hours to fix damaged equipment.
Russia’s aerial bombardment will probably not form a pattern; while estimating military reserves of the two armies is unclear, western assessments suggest Moscow might not have the capacity to keep it up.
That sentiment was voiced last month by Jeremy Fleming, head of Britain’s top-secret electronic espionage agency GCHQ. “We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and munitions are running out,” said Fleming.
“Russia’s use of its limited supply of precision weapons in this role may deprive Putin of options to disrupt ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensives,” the ISW assessed.
Justin Bronk, a military expert with the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), agreed with that assessment, telling CNN that, “Ukrainian interception success rates against Russian cruise missiles have risen significantly since the start of the invasion in February.”
“The barrage of missile strikes is going to be an occasional feature reserved for shows of extreme outrage, because the Russians don’t have the stocks of precision munitions to maintain that kind of high-tempo missile assault into the future,” Puri said.
The impact of such an intervention in terms of pure manpower would be limited; Belarus has around 45,000 active duty troops, which would not significantly bolster Russia’s reserves. But it would threaten another assault on Ukraine’s northern flank below the Belarusian border.
Giles said that the reopening of the northern front would be a new challenge. It would provide Russia a new route into the Kharkiv oblast (region), which has been recaptured by Ukraine, should Putin prioritize an effort to reclaim that territory, he said.
Zelensky faces a fresh dilemma as the war moves into a new year. How to balance pressures from the outside, as well as Ukrainian expectations for a full Russian withdrawal to pre-Putin lines.
Ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Ukraine needed more systems to stop missile attacks.
Germany and NASAMS have arrived in the United States with Ukrainian systems that are badly needed. Bronk said that.
State of Ukraine: NATO’s First Nuclear Deterrent Exercise, and the First Russian Soldier Convoys in Belarus During a Cold War
More than 300,000 Russians were mobilized as the war in Ukraine failed to make progress, after Putin announced a partial military deployment. The exact number of Russian soldiers killed and injured fighting in Ukraine has not been made public.
The war in Ukraine ramped up further south as Russia also launched fresh assaults on Kherson overnight, after a wave of fatal shelling in the region earlier this week. The war has seen many significant successes but last month, the Ukrainian forces regained control of the city.
The blasts, which Russia attributed to Ukrainian shelling, came a day after another sign of disarray in Russia’s once-vaunted military machine: Two men opened fire on fellow Russian soldiers at a training camp in the Belgorod region, killing 11 and wounding 15 before being killed themselves.
NATO will hold nuclear deterrence exercises starting Monday. The NATO alliance told Russia not to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, but insisted that the ‘Steadfast Noon’ exercises are a regular training activity.
Russian agents detained eight people on Oct. 12 suspected of carrying out a large explosion on a bridge to Crimea, including Russian, Ukrainian and Armenian citizens.
The United Nations General Assembly roundly condemned Russia’s move to illegally annex four regions of Ukraine. In the Oct. 13 session, four countries voted alongside Russia, but 143 voted in favor of Ukraine’s resolution, while 35 abstained.
Russian troops began arriving in Belarus Oct. 15, which Minsk said were the first convoys of almost 9,000 service members expected as part of a “regional grouping” of forces allegedly to protect Belarus from threats at the border from Ukraine and the West.
You can read past recaps here. For context and more in-depth stories, you can find more of NPR’s coverage here. Also, listen and subscribe to NPR’s State of Ukraine podcast for updates throughout the day.
Russian troops in Ukraine are not afraid to leave. Vladimir V. Putin’s re-election campaign as a propaganda campaign against the Kremlin
“We would usually be full right now, but about half of our customers have gone,” said the manager, a woman named Olya. Many of the clients — along with half of the barbers, too — have fled Russia to avoid President Vladimir V. Putin’s campaign to mobilize hundreds of thousands of men for the flagging military campaign in Ukraine.
Some men have been avoiding the streets because of the fear of a draft notice. Olya came to work Friday and saw the authorities at all the exits of the metro station.
Olya did not want her last name used, so that she wouldn’t be in danger. It is difficult for me to make a decision. We always planned as a couple.”
Some regional officials — including the mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin — appeared to be taking pains to offer reassurances. Mr. Sobyanin wrote that there were no measures to restrict the normal rhythm of the city’s life.
Despite Mr. Putin giving them new power, they said no entry or exit restrictions would be imposed.
But many Russians are sure to see a warning message in the martial law imposed in Ukraine, the first time that Moscow has declared martial law since World War II, analysts say.
“People are worried that they will soon close the borders, and the siloviki” — the strong men close to Mr. Putin in the Kremlin — “will do what they want,” Ms. Stanovaya said.
The question is when Putin will be blamed, especially since his inability to change the leadership at the top has made him so unpopular in the military. The last change was the appointment of Sergei surovikin as the first person to be in overall command of all Russian forces on theUkraine front, a position that was previously held by an army general.
Russia has redeployed military hardware and troops from Syria as a signal that it no longer holds sway elsewhere in the world according to senior officials in the Middle East.
Events in Kherson and Kharkiv have shown that the Ukrainians possess tactical agility that seems alien to the Russian way of war, as well as far superior battlefield intelligence.
Police officers who have returned to towns and villages to re-establish a Ukrainian administration have been overwhelmed by complaints of theft and property damage, but also accounts of detentions, torture and missing relatives.
The scale of abuse of the population in eastern Ukraine under Russian occupation is most likely greater than that seen in the spring in Bucha and other areas around the capital, Kyiv, given the breadth of the territory and the length of the occupation, police officials said.
More than a thousand cases of people being held in police stations and temporary holding facilities have been recorded by police officers so far. The real figure is probably two or three times that, he said.
Torture was routine, according to witnesses. The police chief said that some of the 534 bodies recovered in the region were showing signs of abuse. He said that there are bodies that were tortured to death. “There are people with tied hands, shot, strangled, people with cut wounds, cut genitals.”
What Have We Learned about War, Inflation, and Wartime? Commentary of Simonetta Belardi on the “The Crucial Failure of the Second Order Revolution”
ROME — The retired women wheeled their canvas shopping carts to the fresh pasta counter of an outdoor market in Rome this week and commiserated about how the price of tagliatelle, oranges, napkins, utility bills — you name it — had gone through the roof.
Simonetta Belardi, a self-proclaimed Marxist who believes that inflation erodes her savings and that her support for the war in Ukraine wore her down, said that prices have gone up on everything. She was no fan of Russia, she said, but the time had long passed for an end to military support for Ukraine and a shift to diplomatic negotiations for peace. She said more and more people she knew, in need of economic relief, were losing their patience, too.
It is a sentiment — impatience, even inchoate anger, at the inflation fueled by the war — that transcends the shoppers in Rome’s piazzas and can be found among the weekly protests in Germany or in the swelling ranks of French strikers. It has leaders worried.
Editor’s Note: David A. Andelman, a contributor to CNN, twice winner of the Deadline Club Award, is a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, author of “A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen” and blogs at Andelman Unleashed. He was a CBS News correspondent in Europe and Asia. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. There is more opinion at CNN.
First, he’s seeking to distract his nation from the blindingly obvious, namely that he is losing badly on the battlefield and utterly failing to achieve even the vastly scaled back objectives of his invasion.
Putin Prolonge War UKraine Winter andelman: An EU roadmap from Brussels to Brussels for a decisive solution to the crisis
This ability to keep going depends on a host of variables – ranging from the availability of critical and affordable energy supplies for the coming winter, to the popular will across a broad range of nations with often conflicting priorities.
In the early hours of Friday in Brussels, European Union powers agreed a roadmap to control energy prices that have been surging on the heels of embargoes on Russian imports and the Kremlin cutting natural gas supplies at a whim.
There is an emergency cap on the benchmark European gas trading hub and permission for EU gas companies to create a monopoly on the international market.
The French President said that there was only a clear mandate for the European Commission to start working on a gas cap mechanism after he left the summit.
Still, divisions remain, with Europe’s biggest economy, Germany, skeptical of any price caps. Now energy ministers must work out details with a Germany concerned such caps would encourage higher consumption – a further burden on restricted supplies.
These divisions are all part of Putin’s fondest dream. Manifold forces in Europe could prove central to achieving success from the Kremlin’s viewpoint, which amounts to the continent failing to agree on essentials.
Some of these issues are already at odds between Germany and France. The conference call was arranged to try to reach some sort of agreement.
Italy’s First Lady Michelle Meloni, a Ubiquitous Conservative Prime Minister and a Favorable Candidate of Putin
And now a new government has taken power in Italy. Giorgia Meloni was sworn in Saturday as Italy’s first woman prime minister and has attempted to brush aside the post-fascist aura of her party. One of her far-right coalition partners is a big fan of Putin.
Berlusconi said in an audio tape that he had returned a gesture by Putin with bottles of Lambrusco wine, and he knew him as a peaceful and sensible person.
The other leading member of the ruling Italian coalition, Matteo Salvini, named Saturday as deputy prime minister, said during the campaign, “I would not want the sanctions [on Russia] to harm those who impose them more than those who are hit by them.”
At the same time, Poland and Hungary, longtime ultra-right-wing soulmates united against liberal policies of the EU that seemed calculated to reduce their influence, have now disagreed over Ukraine. Poland took offense at Orban’s pro-Putin statements.
Similar forces seem to be at work in Washington where House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, poised to become Speaker of the House if Republicans take control after next month’s elections, told an interviewer, “I think people are gonna be sitting in a recession and they’re not going to write a blank check to Ukraine. They won’t do it.
The influential Congressional progressive caucus, which has 30 members, called on Biden to open talks with Russia on ending the war in order to stop the missiles and drones that are striking inside of the country.
Hours later, caucus chair Mia Jacob, facing a firestorm of criticism, emailed reporters with a statement “clarifying” their remarks in support of Ukraine. Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian counterpart of Secretary of State Antony Blinken, was also called to discuss renewing America’s support.
In the US, some conservative Republicans have balked at providing any more aid to Ukraine, though the party’s leaders appear unwavering in their support. A change in the White House’s policy towards Ukraine could result from Biden’s announcement that he is running for reelection.
Unlike Biden’s last appearance in Warsaw, which came as Putin’s forces appeared in retreat and observers expected the Russian economy to crumble under the weight of Western sanctions, the war now appears poised to stretch at least another year. There are currently no serious efforts at negotiating an end to the fighting.
At the same time, the West is turning up the pressure on Russia. The impact of sanctions and export controls on the Russian military-industrial complex was studied by the State Department last week.
The lack of necessary semi-conductors led to the complete suspension of Russian production of hypersonic missiles. Aircraft are being cannibalized for spare parts, plants producing anti-aircraft systems have shut down, and “Russia has reverted to Soviet-era defense stocks” for replenishment. The end of the Soviet era was more than three decades ago.
Kim has been able to establish black market networks overseas to get what he needs to fuel his weapons of mass destruction. The United States has recently begun to sanction the shadow companies and individuals that were centered in hubs from Taiwan to Armenia, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, and Luxembourg to source high tech goods for Russia.
The Justice Department is accusing people and companies of trying to smuggle high tech equipment into Russia in violation of sanctions.
The Russia’s puppet: How do we see Ukrainians today? What do they think about Russia and what they don’t want to tell us?
The leader of the Russia’s puppet in DONETSK expressed his intentions toward Ukrainians: “We are not coming to kill you, but to convince you.” We will murder you if you don’t want to be convinced. We’ll kill as many as we have to: 1 million, 5 million, or exterminate all of you.”
How do people view Ukrainians today? As brave fighters who are standing up to a bully, perhaps, defiant modern-day Cossacks in their colorful embroidered shirts, a bit wild but still safely European. Ukrainians are the ultimate underdog, righteous warriors winning an unequal battle. Most of the population knows that there are a lot of Ukrainians and that they are not like the Russians.
The strengthening relationship between Moscow and Tehran has drawn the attention of Iran’s rivals and foes in the Middle East, of NATO members and of nations that are still – at least in theory – interested in restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which aimed to delay Iran’s ability to build an atomic bomb.
The historian Yuval Noah Harari has argued that no less than the direction of human history is at stake, because a victory by Russia would reopen the door to wars of aggression, to invasions of one country by another, something that since the Second World War most nations had come to reject as categorically unacceptable.
Much of what is going on today far from the battlefields still has consequences. When Saudi Arabia and other oil- Producing Nations decided to cut production last month the US accused them of helping Russia fund the war by increasing its oil revenues. The Saudis deny the accusation.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently reiterated that “Israel supports and stands with Ukraine, NATO and the West,” but will not move those systems to Ukraine, because, “We have to share our airspace in the North with Russia.”
A UN and Turkey-brokered agreement allowed Ukraine’s maritime corridors to reopen, but this week Moscow temporarily suspended that agreement after Russian Navy ships were struck at the Crimean port of Sevastopol. Putin’s announcement was immediately followed by a surge in wheat prices on global commodity markets. Those prices affect how much bread is bought by people in Africa and across the planet.
In fact, the war in Ukraine is already affecting everyone, everywhere. A global explosion of inflation can be attributed to higher fuel prices caused by the conflict.
Higher prices affect a lot more than family budgets. When they come with such powerful momentum, they pack a political punch. Inflation and the war have put political leaders on the defensive in many countries.
War Remnants: When Russian Soldiers Get Their Own Regime and Their Role in Crimea: Evelyn Farkas and the Nazis
It isn’t all on the fringes. Kevin McCarthy might become speaker of the House if Republicans win next week’s elections. Progressive Democrats released and withdrew a letter calling for negotiations. Evelyn Farkas, who was in the Pentagon during the Obama administration, said they were bringing a big smile to Putin.
There are scars of war here. Russia has used sexual violence as a “weapon of war” – a deliberate “military strategy” – in its conquest of Ukraine, United Nations investigators have said. They have relayed stories of Viagra being carried by Russian soldiers.
Six allegations of sexual assault have been documented by the team from Kyiv. They say the real number is much higher.
“They walked around those rooms,” she says. “One stayed there, and the other one, who raped me, came in here. He walked a while around the room and then started touching me.
He pinned her against the wardrobe, she says, and tore at her clothes. She was crying, begging him to stop, but it didn’t work. “The only thought I had was to stay alive.”
He warned her not to tell anyone, she recalls. She was in tears as she said she didn’t tell her husband right away. My cousin and my husband were listening as I told them. He said, ‘You should have told me the truth, but you kept silent.’”
She widowed more than 30 years ago after her husband died in a motorcycle accident and her son joined the military days after Russia invaded. About three months after Russian troops occupied her village, she decided to leave.
When Kateryna and Oleg returned to their home in Tverdomedove, Ukraine, in the aftermath of the Russian invasion
The head of his unit was found by his commander. I was told by him that he had punished him severe, but the most severe punishment was yet to come. Like shooting. I was asked by the commander, “Do you mind this?” I wished that all of them would be shot.
Even though the prosecutor and police officer look for evidence of sexual crimes, they are also confronted with the reality of being a police officer.
When the invasion began last February, Kateryna and Oleg moved to a safer area of western Ukraine, where they now live. But they never wanted to leave the country. And soon they felt the draw of home pulling them back to the city.
A man in the crowd tells the investigators that he was held by Russian soldiers and subjected to mock execution. It’s hard to hear, tales of torture like this are common here, but that’s not the subject of their work today.
A mother and daughter tell Kleshchen that they haven’t heard of any sexual crimes in the one- road hamlet of Tverdomedove.
She returned after the Ukrainian military liberated her village. She had reduced her roof to the rafters.
Russia’s attacks on the front lines of the Ukrainian war in Ukraine remain a mystery, according to the Institute for the Study of War (IASW)
She is not sure where to put it because the ceiling can fall on her head. “If it would fall and kill me that would be better, so I won’t suffer. I would like to see my son again.
Of course, many of these allegations will be impossible to prove; many do not even have a suspect. For now, the team files its reports, and its investigators continue their work, hoping to be able to file charges in the future.
Russia is sending conscripts to the front line of the war in eastern Ukraine but so far, according to Ukrainian general and Western analysts, Russia’s new intensified attacks have proven useless and high Russian casualties are expected.
In Russian news media, there have been reports of soldiers telling relatives of high casualty rates, as well as videos filmed by Ukrainian drones that show Russian infantry being struck by Artillery in poorly prepared positions. The videos were not independently verified and their location on the front line was not determined.
The commander of the Ukrainian military said that Russian forces had tripled their intensity of attacks along some parts of the front. He did not say what the time frame was or where the attacks were coming from.
“We discussed the situation at the front,” General Zaluzhnyi wrote. He said he told his colleague in the US that the Ukrainian forces were fighting back and that they had the courage to do so.
The Institute for the Study of War said that the increase in infantry in the east had not led to Russia gaining new ground.
Ninety of us were present. Sixty died in the first assault. A few were still wounded from his first attack near the village of Bilohorivka. “If one group is unsuccessful, another is sent right away. They send another group if the second one fails.
Russia said that hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a Russian air strike in Kramatorsk in response to the Ukrainian attack on Russian-occupied Makiivka.
With Russian and Ukrainian forces apparently preparing for battle in Kherson, and conflicting signals over what may be coming, the remaining residents of the city have been stocking up on food and fuel to survive combat.
Artyom’s mother lived in a neighborhood of Kherson, Iraq, for 25 years before escaping into the jungle with his wife
“I still can’t believe that I left there,” says Viktor, while pulling a red suitcase from the black car he rode to Zaporizhia, about 25 miles from occupied territory. “The madness.”
His home is outside of Kherson. The man and his wife raised their three daughters there. A neighbor told Viktor that the Russians broke into their house after they left.
A volunteer at a shelter who wanted to be known as Artyom helped care for evacuees as if he were his own family. Artyom wanted us not to use his full name in order to protect his relatives.
His wife generally stays home as much as she can. But to earn money, she sells potatoes and vegetables she grows in her own garden at a local street market.
Artyom and his wife, Natalyia, and a Syrian refugee in Kherson, Bosnia, after the Second World War
But Artyom says it’s not fine. He has many fears, and he worries that the Russians will stop his wife. He worries that she’ll get sick. She’s four months’ pregnant. He is worried about the baby.
Some of the people who are collaborating are called by a person who is living in Kyiv. Some people can’t leave. Many are older. Others have limited resources. His life right now is “very intense,” he says.
Since the war began, the local street markets have sprung up around the city which has led to little public interaction. Local farmers and bakers have been doing business at the street markets because most of the stores in Kherson are closed or have empty shelves.
“You can buy most things if you start with medicine and then finish with meat” said Natalyia, who fled Kherson this summer. “But it’s not really good to watch.” They cut meat on the side of the car while they sold medicine on the hood.
Schevchenko, who is volunteering at an Odesa nonprofit called Side-by-Side to evacuate residents from Kherson and other occupied territories, remains in contact with those in the city. She says that her grandma gives her regular updates.
Artyom and his wife talk whenever they can get a decent connection. They generally try to keep their conversations light; they worry that Russians are listening in.
Yuba overflow in the devastated city of Kherson, Ukraine: A triumphant return from the Russian invasion of the Zaporizhia province
Everyone we have spoken to is aware that there are tougher days to come: that the Russians across the river could shell them here. It is unclear if all the Russian troops have left Kherson. There is still uncertainty behind this euphoria.
Scenes of jubilation broke out in Ukraine’s southern Kherson city on Friday as Ukrainian forces advanced through much of the city and its surrounding area, apparently encountering little or no resistance as they regained the only regional capital captured by Russia this year.
The two sides are facing each other across the Dnipro river, which runs through the vicinity of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and the edge of the Black Sea.
The Russian withdrawal was ordered on Wednesday during a choreographed meeting in Moscow between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and General Sergey Surovikin, the commander of Russia’s forces in Ukraine, which was shown on Russian state media.
The withdrawal would protect the lives of civilians and troops who faced a punishing Ukrainian counteroffensive, which targeted Russian armories and command posts, and disrupted their supply lines.
As Biden and Xi were meeting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made an emotional, triumphant return to the devastated, now liberated city of Kherson, the one provincial capital that Russian invaders had conquered.
Zelensky was the most inspiring and steelier leader in recent memory. NATO is more united, and Europeans are more willing to support Ukraine than anyone anticipated.
As well as allowing exhausted Ukrainian units some respite, Kherson’s success could allow redirecting the focus of fighting to the rest of the country, where fierce fighting continues in Luhansk and Donetsk.
Ukranian authorities also have a massive task of reconstruction ahead in Kherson, where Russian forces destroyed critical infrastructure and left a huge number of mines behind.
At least seven bridges, four of them crossed the Dnipro river, were destroyed in the last 24 hours, according to Maxar Technologies satellite images and other photos.
There is damage to the dam that spans the Dnipro in the Kherson region city of Nova Kakhovka. Both sides had accused the other of trying to destroy the dam to cause flooding in the east bank and deprive the nuclear power plant of water to cool its reactor.
Some people in the crowd of locals sung the national anthem while others shouted “Slava Ukrayini!” as the crew filmed them in the central square.
Locals have also been climbing onto the tops of the buildings, including the cinema, in the square to erect Ukrainian flags. Soldiers were asked to sign autographs on flags after they were greeted with cheers.
We were terrified by soldiers from the Russian army who can come any moment in our house, just open the door and steal and torture us, our home is our fortress, we are so afraid of it, we are living here.
Everyone is celebrating in the square. Robertson said that people were hugging the soldiers and coming out to see what it was like to have freedom.
After eight months of being under Russian occupation, Katerina describes the liberation as the best day of her life. “Our town is free, my street is free,” she told CNN.
A family that had fled the frontlines earlier in the war were helped by them. The mother had given birth in the midst of Russian shelling of their hometown of Kreminna in eastern Luhansk region. When the family moved to the suburb, Oleg and Kateryna gave them warm clothes and food.
Speaking Saturday on the next steps for the Ukrainian military, CNN military analyst said that it was going to be a major urban operation. You will be able to observe a methodical operation to clear buildings of potential mines and booby traps.
There was a video of celebrations posted on the President’s Facebook page on Friday night, where the crowd was waving flags and chanting “ZSU” in support of the armed forces.
Russian forces loaded boats that appeared to be suitable for crossing the river as the Ukrainian military said earlier that day.
Bridges over canals and roads filled with anti-tank mines were some of the things our team was forced to drive through for a large part of the journey.
The city’s residents have no water, no internet connection and little power. But as a CNN crew entered the city center on Saturday, the mood was euphoric.
The military presence is still limited, but huge cheers erupt from crowds on the street every time a truck full of soldiers drives past, with Ukrainian soldiers being offered soup, bread, flowers, hugs and kisses by elated passersby.
As CNN’s crew stopped to regroup, we observed an old man and an old woman hugging a young soldier, with hands on the soldier’s shoulder, exchanging excited “thank yous.”
With the occupiers gone, everyone wants you to understand what has happened, how happy they are, and how grateful they are to the countries who helped them.
The first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine: Vladimir Bespalaya and his wife Maria Bespulim, a family of three children
When Russian forces invaded their country in late February, Vladimir Bespalov and Maria Bespalaya feared their long-held dream of starting a family through adoption was over.
He said that he remembered the first day of the war very clearly. We thought that we were late. We realized we were already in a state of war, and we thought we could no longer adopt.”
He said the situation pushed the couple to try to do it sooner. We were waiting for something to give our children first, then we would be able to afford better cars and houses. We decided to adopt a child when the war started because we wanted to accomplish these things together as a family.
A volunteer aiding people leaving Mariupol soon got the message that it was a Russian campaign to take Ukrainian land regardless of the cost.
The roads are covered in mud and debris from incoming rounds. The few vehicles must swerve around water-filled craters where bombs fell. Some of the upper floors of the apartment blocks have been torn down and a single window on the street is missing. Telephone and electrical wires snake along the ground, long dead.
His mother was struck down by Russian artillery after she left home to find food for her family, Bespalov and Bespalaya were later to learn from police.
“The men were drinking alcohol and the children of those neighbors bullied him. He was in a bad condition, according to Bespalaya. She is careful not to bring up Ilya’s traumatizing experience in front of him unprompted, but he has told the woman he now calls “mama” everything about his three terrifying weeks in the basement, she says.
Bespalaya and Bespaulim are now the legal guardians of Ilya. They have been a family for more than six months and they plan to adopt him soon. All adoption processes are currently suspended in Ukraine due to martial law.
The young couple are very protective of the young man, shielding him from war and trying to give him a sense of security.
“You try to take your mind off the fighting and immerse yourself in spending time with your child. We try to make good memories of childhood. Bespalov, who works for the railroad but has not been called up to military service, said that work takes time, but they spend every free moment together.
There is nothing normal about war. After they posted their appeal on Instagram, the couple set up two spare rooms for the possible arrival of a child – one a nursery with a white crib and blue bedding, the other equipped with a bunk bed and lots of toys.
I stopped being afraid of adoption. I was confident that we would have a child, and I was confident that I could care for anyone and deal with their character,” she told CNN.
The displaced family of Sultyansk, Ukraine, has come to terms with the defeat of Kherson in the April 1917 Ukrainian Revolution
But that plan was shattered as well. The pair had to flee their home in Ssultyansk, which is a city in the frontier region of the country.
They were finally contacted by a volunteer in Mariupol in April asking if they could care for a little boy with no parents.
They started their journey from Dnipro to meet the boy who was going to become a part of their family the next day.
“Now we have that love, that love that makes you a family. We did not have this baby, but our love is real,” Bespalaya said, with Ilya cuddled between her and Bespalov on a playground bench in Kyiv.
Little Ilya is learning to cope. As he played with the couple in a living room lit by candles during one of the power outages, he looked up and said: “I am not afraid of the dark anymore. I know the light will come back on.
Russian and Ukrainian forces were fighting across the Dnipro River that divides them after Russia retreated from the southern city of Kherson.
The Dnipro has become the new front line in southern Ukraine, and officials there warned of continued danger from fighting in regions that have already endured months of Russian occupation.
The southern part of the city was hit by shelling through the day and there were fears that Russia would retaliate for the loss of the city with a bombardment.
Mortar shells struck near the bridge, sending up puffs of smoke. Near the riverbank, shots rang out with loud booms. It was impossible to assess what had been hit.
The dangers of mines: a frightening visit to Kherson City by Mr. Yanushevich and his country’s southern commander, Gen. Zelensky
The mines are dangerous. Four people, including an 11-year-old, were killed when a family driving in the village of Novoraysk, outside the city, ran over a mine, Mr. Yanushevich said. Another mine injured six railway workers who were trying to restore service after lines were damaged. And there were at least four more children reportedly injured by mines across the region, Ukrainian officials said in statements.
As Mr. Zelensky made a surprising visit to Kherson, the deaths underscored the threats still on the ground.
Hundreds of jubilant residents celebrated in the city’s main square on Monday, as Mr. Zelensky said that they were coming 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 Russian missiles struck the town of Beryslav, which is just north of a critical dam, the military said. It was not immediately known if there were any casualties.
According to one resident who communicated via a secure message app from Oleshky, the people who live in Kherson City are prone to robbing local people and exchanging stuff for homemade vodka. “Then they get drunk and even more aggressive. We’re so scared here. She asked that her surname be withheld for security.
The perfect moment for Putin to avoid a new Cold War, and why he chose not to attend G20 summits in Bali, avoiding confrontations with world leaders
The talks were productive. They were called thorough, frank, and constructive by the Chinese. Biden said, “We were very blunt with one another” but agreed to try to avoid a new Cold War. It wasn’t “Kumbaya,” the President said, but the two sides are perhaps less likely to start an accidental war against each other.
After years of turmoil and anxiety, there are signs that the democratic world may just be starting to reverse the tide of autocracy, or at least its most dangerous elements. But it’s too early to tell how strong the global democratic push will be.
That’s not the only reason, however, why this was the perfect moment — from the standpoint of the United States and for democracy — for this meeting to occur: There’s much more to this geopolitical moment than who controls the US House of Representatives and Senate.
Biden overshadowed Putin this week, with his daring overnight train journey into Kyiv and speech in the Polish capital, a location chosen for its role on NATO’s frontline. Putin used his speech to the Russian parliament to lay out his nuclear threats and conspiracy theories about the West.
China did little to support Russia by September, when Putin and Xi met for the second time. The Russian President was rebuked by the Chinese President after he threatened to use nuclear weapons.
Tellingly, Putin chose not to attend the G20 summit in Bali, avoiding confrontations with world leaders as he increasingly becomes a pariah on the global stage.
Why is China so proud of its vice president? Observational warnings on the shooting of a Soviet missile off Lviv on Tuesday
To be sure, Biden is not the only leader with a strong hand. The third term of China’s leader is a historic one as he can rule for as long as he wants. He doesn’t have to worry about things like elections or the press. He is the absolute ruler of a mighty country.
And yet there are a lot of difficult problems for him to deal with. The economy has slowed down so much that China is reluctant to reveal economic data. The Covid-19 vaccine, once used as a tool of global diplomacy, is disappointing. And partly because of that, China is imposing draconian lockdowns as the rest of the world gradually returns to normalcy after the pandemic.
It is crucial that the two systems show that democracy works and that wars of aggression won’t hurt it, as they are trying to undermine it in China and Russia.
The first missile to have landed in Poland – a NATO member – on Tuesday may well have been a Ukrainian anti-aircraft rocket intercepting an incoming Russian missile a short distance from one of Ukraine’s largest cities, Lviv, as suspected by Polish and NATO leaders. President Zelensky insisted that the missile was not Ukrainian.
It’s clear that there’s one thing clear about the missile. NATO Secretary General Jens Spalltenberg said that Russia bears ultimate responsibility for its illegal war against Ukraine.
The Russian War in Ukraine: What Do We Really Need to Know Now? The Case of a Future Combat Air System Experiment for a Next-Generation Jet
Indeed a hotline and Telegram channel, launched as a Ukrainian military intelligence project called “I want to live,” designed to assist Russian soldiers eager to defect, has taken off, reportedly booking some 3,500 calls in its first two months of activity.
It is unclear how many have left for political reasons, but almost 50,000 Russian citizens requested asylum in another country in the first six months of the year, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR. It is more than the yearly figure for each of the past 20 years.
One of the leading Russian journalists who fled in March told me last week that he is prepared for the worst and may never return to his homeland.
The west is trying to prevent the country of material resources to pursue the war by decreasing dependence on Russian oil and natural gas. “We have understood and learnt our lesson that it was an unhealthy and unsustainable dependency, and we want reliable and forward-looking connections,” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission told the G20 on Tuesday.
The burden it has been on the Western countries, along with Putins dream that this conflict would drive further wedge into the alliance are proving unfulfilled. On Monday, the long-stalled joint French- German project for a next- generation jet fighter at the heart of the Future Combat Air System was starting to move forward after years of delays.
Nine months in, Russian hopes of a swift seizure have been well and truly dashed, its army largely on the defensive across more than 600 miles of battle lines strung along the eastern and southern reaches of Ukraine.
Still, he stressed Russia was open for diplomatic solutions, echoing comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent days that he wanted an end to the war. Putin claimed he was open to negotiations, but the West did not view it that way.
“And because Russia is the most disadvantaged now, it will benefit Russia the most and then renew the war. So all a truce buys you is a continuation of war. It wouldn’t resolve any of the underlying issues of the war,” he added.
Russia is starting to rearm experts say. “Ammunition availability” was one of the “most determinative aspects of this war,” said Kofman. If you burn through 9 million rounds, you can’t make them in a month. The issue is the rate of production of ammunition and the ability to mobilize.
Kofman cited available information showing that the manufacture of munitions – which have been the staples of the exchanges so far along Ukrainian front lines – has gone from two, and in some factories to three, shifts a day in Russia. He said that this suggests that they wouldn’t double and triple shifts if they had component parts.
Vladimir Putin’s bet: Negotiating the outcome of the Ukrainian-Russian war and the prospects for the future of the US and its allies
The opportunity to negotiate is when peace can be achieved. Seize the moment,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff said recently.
He said, “We never refused, the Ukrainian leadership refused itself to conduct negotiations, the sooner those opposing us realize it, the better.”
“As well as giving the Russians time to regroup and rearm, importantly it would relieve the pressure on their forces at the moment,” General Mick Ryan, a fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told me in an email exchange. They have been working very hard for nine months. Their forces are exhausted.
According to the images, at least 52 Russian depots have been hit by the Ukrainian military. It is a part of the 100 to 200 Russian depots analysts believe are on the Ukrainian side.
The Russians are willing to trade soldiers and shells. The Russians are expecting that “over time, NATO and the Western allies and Ukrainians won’t be willing to continue to make those trades. And eventually it’ll push them to negotiate. It is believed that is Putin’s bet.
It is known that any kind of truce with Putin on the back of negotiations would be meaningless. From my experience communicating with Putin, I would recommend that you don’t trust him. Certainly not to adhere to any agreement if it does not suit his ultimate end of seizing control of Ukraine.
He said they will get tired of this war at some point. The Russian mindset could change to be “we may not have everything we wanted”. But we’ll have a big chunk of the Donbas and will annex that into Russia and we’ll hold onto Crimea. And I think that’s kind of their bet right now.”
But were the war to resume months or years from now, there’s a real question as to whether the US and its allies would be prepared to return to a conflict that many are beginning to wish was already over.
The Latest on Ukrainianraine a Weekly Review and Look Ahead at Russias War Dec. 12 (A-Weekly)
Ukrainian authorities have been raiding churches suspected of links with Moscow, and people are curious to see if President Zelenskyy follows through on his threat to ban the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukranian.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will be in Paris for a dinner with the prime minister of Norway.
A video address from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is scheduled for Tuesday in France and will be used to promote a conference in support of Ukrainians.
The U.S. basketball star has been in Russian custody for a lengthy period of time. Her release came in exchange for the U.S. handing over convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. A woman is back in the United States with her husband. He is said to have joined an ultranationalist party.
New measures targeting Russian oil revenue took effect Dec. 5. They include a price cap and a European Union embargo on most Russian oil imports and a Russian oil price cap.
The Year 2019: From Russia’s War in Ukraine to the Mass Shooting at an Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, to the Death of Queen Elizabeth II
Ukraine hit targets in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol, including a church reported to be used as a Russian military base. Officials said Ukrainian forces used long-range artillery to reach targets in the city in southeastern Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region.
The city of Bakhmut was turned into burned ruins by the Russians. Russia is trying to advance in the city in the eastern Donbas region.
It was 2019. And the successful TV comedian turned commander in chief had traveled to Paris for a summit to negotiate a peace deal with Putin. Despite the doubts of many, Zelensky managed to walk away giving few concessions.
The world witnessed a number of news events. It was a year that captured historically significant and surprising moments, triggering disbelief and despair. Yet some days offered joy and pride. From Russia’s war in Ukraine to the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, these are some of the remarkable stories of the year. The year started calmly as the world slowly came out of a long, drawn out Pandemic. There was a full-blown war that started in Ukraine in February as Russia invaded the country, ending and killing many, including civilians and children. Photographer Evgeniy Maloletka captured one of the most vivid pictures of the war for the Associated Press, showing a photo of an ashen-face pregnant woman, holding her lower abdomen, being carried on a stretcher moments after a bomb was launched at a maternity hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine. The woman and baby died in the next few days. This image has come to symbolize one of many Russian atrocities in the war in Ukraine. The attack on March 9 was one of the most brutal days of the conflict and is still going on today. In June, the United States once again witnessed a school shooting, this time in Uvalde, Texas. Young elementary students ran for safety outside the school as Pete Luna of the Uvalde Leader-News snapped pictures. And on September 8, Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, sending shockwaves around the world. The 96-year-old monarch had worked with 15 British prime ministers, from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss. She died two days after inviting Truss to form a new government. The Queen’s funeral drew crowds by the tens of thousands as they paid their last respects to a monarch who reigned for an unprecedented 70 years. This was the first year in history where there were firsts. The United States saw the confirmation of the country’s first Black woman Supreme Court justice, Ketanji Brown Jackson. At the Winter Olympics, American Erin Jackson became the first Black woman to win an individual medal in speedskating. The first all-female refereeing crew at a men’s World Cup made history. Another notable moment this year was the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision that guaranteed the federal constitutional right to an abortion in the United States. The court’s decision this year led to protests by abortion-rights activists and celebrations in the streets by anti- abortion groups. Americans went to the polls in November and produced results that exceeded expectations. As all these moments unraveled, the Earth continued to warm up, melting and separating glacial ice ridges while much of the Northern Hemisphere dealt with a historic drought that scorched soil, dried up rivers and triggered mass crop failure. Far above the Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope captured magnificent images of space in great, crisp detail. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock in the middle of the show, irregardless of what the comedian said about his wife. The moment was witnessed live on television by millions around the globe. Sports fans were rooting for Judge to break Roger Maris’ American League home run record, as he did this summer. Snapshots of daily life were included with these big news events to remind people of the quiet, and sometimes hilarious, moments in their lives. Behind the photos is the hard work of people who take pictures. They document wars and conflicts away from their homes. It is thanks to their perseverance and dedication that these images come to light, offering a window to the world and helping us understand it through photography. CNN Digital has a story on the year in pictures.
A Dark Ukrainian Fairy Tale: From Weddings to Funerals, to the Death of a Mumma in Warsaw, Ukraine, via a Video Call
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.”
“We used to joke that our life was like a dark fairy tale inclined towards a happy ending. Ievheniia, a displaced Ukrainian woman in Poland who is nursing her 2-month-old son, says the war is over and that it was hard for the child’s father.
With a newborn baby, Ievheniia was unable to travel back to Ukraine for her husband’s funeral. She asked her relatives to stream it for her. Russian attacks on critical infrastructure have resulted in the unreliable internet connection in Ukrainian. Denys was buried in a closed coffin.
In this dark Ukrainian fairy tale, pivotal moments – from marriage ceremony to funeral – take place via video link. This is what love looks like in a time of war, shifted to the digital space and disrupted mid-plot.
And so it was via a video call that Ievheniia, a 36-year-old PhD candidate working as an IT consultant, told me her story. She relied on a stranger with her pain to raise awareness about the fight that has claimed the lives of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
During the festive season, her temporary home is the streets of Warsaw. Christmas is on the way. People don’t want to be reminded that someone somewhere is suffering,” Ievheniia said. They need to be aware that this fight is next to them.
After driving across the country under 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 take a pregnant test on the weekend. She said that the ground was slipping underneath one’s feet during war. I was pregnant, on top of that.
The pregnancy test provided that plot twist: the woman who planned to defend her homeland instead joined the flow of refugees looking for safety in Poland.
The story of Ieveniia and Denys in Ukraine: a fairy tale tale of death in the arms of a young man
Separated by war, Ievheniia and Denys sought to validate their partnership in the eyes of the state. The everyday ingenuity of the country at war was taking place and now Ukrainian servicemen are allowed to marry via video call. “Instead of (by) boring civil servants, we got married remotely by a handsome man in a uniform. I had nothing to complain about,” Ievheniia said.
Denys kept the magic going via the Internet, with professional photoshoots and flower deliveries ordered 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 section from the Caesarean section followed. Because the baby was born two months early, the father was able to meet his new son.
Under martial law, Ukrainian men of fighting age, let alone servicemen, are not currently allowed to leave the country. Yet as is appropriate for a fairy tale, Denys got permission, crossed the border, and spent five days with his family.
It was a magical time and we were all happy about it. Then he left. It was his birthday on November 17 and we sent him greetings,” Ievheniia remembered. “The next day he was killed.”
Italo Calvino “consolatory fables”: How Ukrainian forces killed a key in the city’s intersection center
Italo Calvino, the celebrated Italian journalist and editor of folktales, among other works, called them “consolatory fables” because it is that a rare fairy tale ends badly. If it does, it means the time to be consoled has not yet come. Instead, it is time to act.
And we must not be deluded by the narrative logic of a fairy tale. The kid won’t use magic to defeat the monster. Like ten months ago, Ukrainians need military aid sufficient to bring a decisive victory over Russia, not just prolong the fight with enormous sacrifices. Ukrainian victory depends on our collective effort.
“As a teenager, I was reading a lot of fantasy books and wondering how I would act in a fight against absolute evil. Would it be possible for me to turn away and continue my daily life? Ievheniia told me. “Today, all of us have a chance to find out.”
The official in charge of Russia’s support for Ukrainian forces said that Ukrainian forces launched the biggest attack on the region since the fall of the Soviet Union.
He said that a key in the city’s intersection center was hit by fire.
The Kherson military administration said that the city had been hit 86 times in the past 24 hours.
“One of (the victims) was a volunteer, a member of the rapid response team of the international organization. During the shelling, they were on the street, they were fatally wounded by fragments of enemy shells,” he added.
The destruction of Kherson by the invasion of February 24, 2014, according to Yanushevych, the regional head of the Kherson military administration
The strikes in Kherson left the city “completely disconnected” from power supplies, according to the regional head of the Kherson military administration, Yanushevych.
The 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.
The city received equipment from the U.S. government, according to the mayor.
Four excavators and over 130 generators were delivered by the Energy Security Project. All of the equipment was free of charge.
“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.
The Russian Federation has claimed to have annexed several areas, among them Kherson and Luhansk.
The country has been in turmoil since Feb. 24 when Russia invaded Ukranian. Ukrainians have had to recalibrate their idea of what normal is monthly, weekly, daily — or even hourly.
Elena Dyachkova and her family used to live in a Avdiivka neighborhood that was close to the front line. Their house had taken several direct artillery hits since 2014, and yet they were reluctant to abandon it. They had maintained it as best they could — with a plastic covering instead of a roof, pieces of chipboard where they used to have a ceiling, and closed doors to rooms that didn’t exist anymore.
Currently, it is obvious that Avdiivka is no longer around. Soon after the beginning of the invasion, the town turned into an active battlefield, day after day methodically razed to the ground by Russian artillery. Nearly the city’s entire population, about 25,000 people, has been forced to flee for their lives.
Olga and Nikolay Grinik not only stayed in Avdiivka throughout the first phase of the war but brought their two children into the world since the conflict began. Nikolay used to joke about it: “In 2014, we were sitting without electricity for three months because of fighting. Nine months later, our daughter was born. Nine months later, we had a son, Kirill, after we had no light for a month. We are praying that there isn’t another electricity outage.
The large extended family from the Griniks were introduced to us during our summer visit. They took us fishing, picnicking and mushroom-picking at their favorite spots. The land mines covered the forests and lakes of Avdiivka, but the family had learned how to navigate safely.
“In mid-March, several shells landed in our garden but didn’t explode. We were in need of bread and I went to the grocery store the next day. As I was on my way, a Russian fighter jet flew very low, and then it was shot down a little further away. I panicked and began running, but a Ukrainian soldier stopped me and asked whether I’d seen a parachutist. What about a parachutist? I was so scared I couldn’t see a meter ahead of myself! ‘ The soldier said, “if you see him, hit him with a spade.” After I got home, I took the kids to the bus and evacuated them from the area.
Leaving Opytne to Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine: A story of two Ukrainians and their struggle for survival
Elena and Rodion were heartbroken to leave Opytne and its elderly inhabitants, whom they’d been taking care of all this time, behind, but returning was not viable, either. Eventually, they relocated to the city of Kryvyi Rih, in central Ukraine, where they continue to struggle to find work and housing, as displaced people from Donbas are often discriminated against by society and the authorities. About 30 of their elderly neighbors still remain in Opytne, which is now an active front line and has recently been captured by the Russian forces. Elena and Rodion say they haven’t been able to get in touch with some of them.
After Elena was hit by a blast in the backyard, the couple moved to Opytne. The shrapnel landed a fraction of an inch from her spinal cord, and only by a miracle, the couple managed to get out of danger and to a hospital in time to save her life.
Lord was a sweetheart and Aleksander told us the dog had even saved his life once. The night that Aleksander was asleep, shelling came close to their home. At some point, Lord began to pull Aleksander out of bed by the arm until he woke up and followed the dog. A shell collapsed the wall after it struck.
The family was shattered after the full-scale invasion began. Elena and her family moved to Poland. Aleksander stayed behind to look after Lord and the house, living in a basement and helping to distribute water for the residents under never-ending bombing, until his heart began to fail from the constant stress.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Kyiv: Is Ukraine a Free State? Volodymyr Viatrovych, president of the House of Teachers, and Ukrainian ambassador to Ukraine, in 1991
He said it took him forever to get there from 500 meters away. “You begin walking, then hear a whistle in the air and run for cover into the nearest building. This means that you have heard an explosion when you stand there. So you continue walking — but only until the next whistle.”
Russia started to expand withUkraine. Many Russians think that the empire can’t exist without Ukraine. That’s why they keep coming back,” said Volodymyr Viatrovych, a member of Ukraine’s parliament and a prominent historian.
The suburb of Bucha was destroyed by the Russians in the first days of the war. When the Russians invaded Ukraine before dawn on Feb. 24, Viatrovych says he immediately sent his wife and 6-year-old son to western Ukraine for their safety.
He drove to Kyiv for an emergency session of the parliament, which declared martial law. He received a rifle the day before so he could join the security forces.
In 1918, the first year that the country was free from Russia, it broke away in an elegant, whitewashed building in the center of Kyiv that still stands and now serves as the headquarters for the House of Teachers.
The blast blew out the windows, as well as parts of the glass ceiling in the hall where independence was declared in 1918. The windows are boarded up. Shards of glass still cover the floor.
The director of the house of teachers said there were parallels to a century ago. The building was damaged in the fighting. It has been damaged again. Don’t worry. We are going to rebuild everything.
He said thatUkraine’s hardship in the 20th century was so huge that all the wrongs of the last hundred years need to be fixed.
Ukrainians thought this matter was finally resolved in December 1991, when they held a referendum on independence. Ninety-two percent of voters supported the idea of going their own way. The Soviet Union fell that month.
The time for empires to go. Vladimir Putin’s last surviving war with Ukraine: an example of the Europeans mobilizing to fight back
He said if he’s losing a war, he doesn’t survive. “The outcome may signal the end of Putin’s era, but also the era of the empire.” It is the 21st century. It’s time for empires to go.”
Kasparov was still living in Russia 15 years ago when he entered politics and challenged Putin’s hold on power. When it became clear his safety was at risk, he left Russia, and now lives in New York.
The change in the power dynamic can have an effect on the final deal when it comes, but may not change the way the war is fought.
Being a buffer zone or gray zone is not a good thing from a political point of view. Everybody wants to make a step when you are in a gray zone between two security blocs. This has happened with Ukraine.”
“I believe our generation has an opportunity to put an end to this. Ukrainians are more united, more mobilized, more ready to fight than in 1918,” he said.
Moscow has begun a new campaign to encourage Russians to enlist in the armed forces and fight in Ukraine, despite the Kremlin having denied needing more recruits.
Fighting for the Motherland: Video of a Marine Officer Leaving the Marines to Fight for the Freedom of His Country and the Defense of his Country
A video posted on December 14 has a young man with money from fighting in the Marines going to buy himself a car, and surprise everyone, because he chose to fight instead of partying with his male friends.
In another video, posted on December 15, the former girlfriend of a soldier is newly impressed with his courage and begs him to get back together with her. A further example shows a middle-aged man leaving the factory job that doesn’t pay him enough to sign a military contract and go to the front.
One of the videos show a group of men in their 30s loading a car with elderly women asking where they are going. One of the men said, to Georgia. Forever.” Younger Russians rush to pick up the groceries when a woman spills a bag because the men just leave and not help. One of the elderly women says that the boys and the men have left.
Many of the videos portray the war as an escape for men from a bleak daily reality of drinking vodka, poverty and helplessness. Meanwhile, reports and complaints of shortages of provisions and equipment in the Russian military continue to emerge.
During a meeting with mothers of the mobilized in November, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was better to be killed fighting for the motherland than to drink oneself to death on vodka.
Earlier this month, addressing a news conference after a summit of Eurasian countries in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Putin attempted to reassure the public that there were no plans for additional mobilization.
Questioned about reports of continuing military equipment shortages on the front lines, Putin said he was working closely with the Russian defense ministry and that the issue was being resolved.
Zelensky spoke about a 10-point peace formula and summit that he told Biden during a meeting at the White House. The leader of the Ukrainians claimed Biden supported their peace initiatives.
I saw Zelensky pull up to the lysée Palace in a small car while Putin drove up with an armored limousine. France’s president shook hands with Zelensky instead of hugging Putin.
Zelensky went to Washington to remind Republicans of the importance of the fight between the US and Russia, and how the US would be dragged into a NATO- supported war if it lost the fight for Ukrainians.
“There was a transformation,” says Volodymyr Yermolenko, a philosopher and journalist who runs the website Ukraine World. Zelenskyy is a person who enjoys empathizing with others. He creates this image that I’m one of you. The war only enhanced this feeling.”
He knew what he needed to do when he got into a position of being bullied by Putin, says the former political journalist.
The leader who offered to leave the US when Russia began its full-scale invasion joked: “I need Ammunition, not a ride.”
The Voices of Zelensky: A Portrait of a Successive, Young Global Star in the epoch of World War II
It feels like a long, long time ago when Zelensky had a campaign celebration in a renovated nightclub where he thanked his supporters for his victory. He looked in disbelief when he stood on the stage and saw that he defeated Petro Poroshenko.
His ratings seem to have improved due to the war. After the invasion, Zelensky received a ratings boost to 90 percent, which remains high today. Even Americans early in the war rated Zelensky highly for his handling of international affairs – ahead of US President Joe Biden.
His bubble includes many people from his previous professional life as a TV comedian in the theatrical group Kvartal 95. 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.
I remember well how comforting his nightly televised addresses were during the aftermath of air raid sirens and explosions in Lviv.
“By wearing T-shirts and hoodies, the youthful, egalitarian uniform of Silicon Valley, rather than suits, Zelensky is projecting confidence and competence in a modern way, to a younger, global audience that recognizes it as such,” Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, a fashion historian and author of “Red, White, and Blue on the Runway: The 1968 White House Fashion Show and the Politics of American Style,” told NPR.
Journeying to where her husband can’t, Zelenska has shown herself to be an effective communicator in international fora – projecting empathy, style and smarts. She met King Charles during his visit to the refugee assistance center at the Holy Family Cathedral in London. (Curiously, TIME magazine did not include Zelenska on the cover montage and gave only a passing reference in the supporting text).
There are signs that Zelensky’s international influence may be waning. Zelensky, the singer, wanted the G7 to set a price cap on Russian oil at $30 so that it would cause more pain to the Kremlin.
All this adds up to a complex path ahead for the Zelensky administration, especially if liberating Crimea from Russia is part of the definition of victory envisioned by most Ukrainians. For the time being, and true to form, the tough guy from Rih shows no sign of backing down.
Zelenskyy became a household name in Ukraine as a comedic actor, TV star, film producer and entertainment mogul. He ran for office in 2019 based on a character he’d created for a TV show called Servant of the People.
Zelensky said in a recent video address that if the world is united, it is the world that determines how events develop.
The Russian Air Defense Campaign in the Light of the Warsaw Castle: How the US National Security Council, the Russian Central Command, and the European Parliament are ready to respond to Ukraine
Kyiv has repeatedly asked for the US Army’s Patriot – an acronym for Phased Array Tracking Radar for intercept on Target – system, as it is considered one of the most capable long-range air defense systems on the market.
There are two types of precision-guided munitions for Ukrainian jets. A lot of Russia and Ukraine’s weaponry is “dumb”, which means it is fired towards a target. More and more Western standard precision military equipment has been provided toUkraine.
The supply of guidance kits and Joint Direct Attack Missiles, known as JDAMs, will likely be part of the new deal. They will be able to increase their accuracy and burn through more projectiles. Many of the $1.8 billion is expected to be used for munitions replacements.
Western analysts have said Russia has complained about these deliveries a lot, but has refrained from taking any action due to the fact that it might have been considered a red line.
From the Warsaw castle, Biden wants to keep supporting Ukraine, even as costs and public support seem to be waning. And in Moscow, Putin will deliver a major speech to the Federal Assembly, in which he will discuss his own views of the ongoing war, which US and European officials believe has reached an important juncture.
The remnants of the America First elements of the Trump party think that the US should not send a lot of aid to 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.
Vladimir Zelensky made a “responsible” pledge to end the Russian war in Ukraine and promised a long fight against Russia
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.
It was noted that the speech connected the struggles of Ukrainian people to their own revolutions, to our own feelings of being warm in our homes to celebrate Christmas and to know that all the families in Ukrainian will be huddled in the cold.
Her comments came after Zelensky delivered a historic speech from the US Capitol, expressing gratitude for American aid in fighting Russian aggression since the war began – and asking for more.
“I also think no one is asking for a blank check,” Clinton added. I am positive that the Ukrainians are a good investment for the United States. They don’t want us to fight their war. They are fighting it on their own. They are asking us for the means to actually win in order to defend themselves.
She hopes that they will send more than one. She noted there had been reluctance from the US and NATO to provide advanced equipment but that they had seen how effective Ukrainian military is.
Clinton was secretary of state when he met Putin, and said that it was difficult to predict what would happen as the war turned in Putin’s favor.
Kyiv and its Western allies are “set for a long confrontation with Russia” following President Volodymyr Zelensky’s momentous visit to Washington, Moscow said as the war in Ukraine approaches 10 months.
If there was ever a point when Biden and his aides hoped to avoid personalizing the Ukraine conflict, it was over long before this week’s anniversary. Biden called Putin a war criminal, and a “pure thug” in his speech at the castle, while also calling for regime change.
Maria Zakharova said no matter what the military support the West provides to the Ukrainian government is, they will achieve nothing.
The tasks set within the framework of the special military operation will be fulfilled, Zakharova said, referring to the war in Ukraine.
Peskov added that “there were no real calls for peace.” But during his address to the US Congress on Wednesday, Zelensky did stress that “we need peace,” reiterating the 10-point plan devised by Ukraine.
Peskov told reporters that the meeting showed the US is in a proxy war against Russia.
The word war has effectively been illegal in Russia since March of this year, when Putin signed a law that makes it a crime to distribute fake information relating to the invasion of the Ukraine.
Putin said that the goal was to end the war, but he didn’t mention military conflict. “We have been and will continue to strive for this.”
Nikita Yuferev, a municipal lawmaker from St. Petersburg who fled Russia due to his antiwar stance, on Thursday said he had asked Russian authorities to prosecute Putin for “spreading fake information about the army.”
“There was no decree to end the special military operation, no war was declared,” Yuferev wrote on Twitter. A number of people have already been reprimanded for their words about the war.
According to a US official, Putin’s comment was likely a slip of the tongue and not intentional. However, officials will be watching closely to see what figures inside the Kremlin say about it in the coming days.
“All conflicts, armed conflicts too, end one way or another with some kind of negotiations,” Putin said as he accused Zelensky of refusing to negotiate.
The “War of Ukraine” explains why Ukrainians and Russians live in a jovial paradise during the summer months of Kiev’s revolution
Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday declared the Kremlin would make a substantial investment in many areas of the military. Increased size of the military, accelerated weapons programs and deployment of a new generation of hypersonic missiles are all part of the initiatives.
During the summer months, at first glance, outward signs of the war were less apparent. “Normal” then meant bustling restaurants and bars — at least until curfew — and the mood throughout the city was jovial, as people celebrated Russian withdrawals and Ukrainian victories.
The summer’s chorus of birds and street musicians gave way in the fall to more ominous sounds, like the steady purr of generators. Nowadays, Kyiv’s winter “normal” consists of electricity, water and connectivity outages — both scheduled and spontaneous — loosely correlated with Russia’s near-weekly drone and missile assaults on the city.
As Ukraine waits for the one-year anniversary of the invasion, it’s not hard to see that life went on: Volunteers sew camouflage netting and build power banks, soldiers go to church, and people visit Christmas markets.
She said that the Putin regime has done a good job of forcing out alternatives that are more democratic and then on the other side, they also have fear of going into the streets if there is no clear path forward.
She said that when the war broke out, she grew more worried about attending demonstrations and stopped when it became too dangerous. She doesn’t see a scenario under which the regime in Russia could be overthrown any time soon, she said, pointing out that all of the opposition leaders “are in jail or have been killed.”
CNN is not publishing the woman’s name and is using a pseudonym at her request because of the risks to her personal safety. Her use of the word “war”, a term that is approved by the Kremlin, puts her at risk of arrest and potentially lengthy prison sentence if she speaks to journalists about her involvement in the demonstrations.
Since February, the military or leadership have been prohibited from being criticized. Nearly 20,000 people have been detained for demonstrating against the war — 45% of them women — according to a leading independent monitoring group.
The law was used by the court in Moscow when it sentenced Kremlin critic Ilyya Ysik to more than eight years in prison for speaking about the alleged killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha. The images of civilians corpses were fake, and the Kremlin denied any involvement in the killings.
Since the war began, no left of a free press has existed. Western publications and social media sites have been blocked online, forcing Russians seeking alternatives to the official propaganda to go underground using virtual private networks, or VPNs, which allow people to browse the internet freely by encrypting their internet traffic. The top 8 PureVPN apps in Russia were downloaded more than 80% of the time this year, despite the government’s efforts to keep them off the internet.
The US Border Patrol recorded 36,271 encounters with Russian citizens between October 2021 and September 2022. The two previous fiscal years had 13,232 and 5,946 people who were caught or expelled by the border force.
OK Russians, a non-profit helping Russian citizens fleeing persecution, said its surveys suggest those who are leaving are on average younger and more educated than the general Russian public.
“If you take the Moscow liberal intelligentsia, and of course, I’m talking only about the people I know and I know of, I would say that maybe 70% left. Journalists and other people who are from universities and colleges, as well as painters and musicians, are the ones who got closed down in Moscow.
Maria said that despite her friends and son leaving she is determined to stay in Russia. Maria doesn’t want to leave her mother because she can’t travel abroad. If I knew the borders would not be closed and I could help my mother when she needed it, it would probably be easier for me to leave. She told CNN that she was scared because she knew that something else could happen.
She still believes her work is important, but said she is struggling to see any hope for the future. Like Olga, she described her own life as a perpetual cycle of panic, horror, shame and self-doubt.
Are you to blame? Did you do enough? Can you do something else or not, and how should you act now?” She said so. “There are no prospects. I have no idea what will happen next but I am an adult and know what will happen. Now nobody understands anything. People don’t even understand what will happen to them tomorrow.”
Soldatov said he had begun to question his own identity. He said that, like the Second World War, the memories of it became compromised by Putin.
“It’s part of the Russian national identity that the Russian army helped to win the war (against Hitler’s Germany) and now it feels absolutely wrong because this message was used by Putin. You start questioning the history,” he said, adding that the favorable reaction by some parts of the Russian society to the invasion prompted him to research pre-war rhetoric in Germany.
Speaking about Russians as “us” had begun to feel wrong because he deeply disagreed with Russia’s actions, he said. But saying “Russians” didn’t seem right either. I have some responsibility for what is going on, but I don’t want to hide from it.
Maria has spent years participating in anti-government protests, describing herself as a liberal who is deeply opposed to Putin. “I always knew that our country should not be led by a person from the KGB. She said it is too deeply rooted with horrors and deaths.
Berzina said that the idea of people in the West getting angry and calling for a change in the government doesn’t reflect reality in Russia.
Almost all opposition and opinion leaders are either in prison or abroad. People have a huge potential for political action, but there is no leader and no power base,” she said, adding that civilians will not come out against the armed police, the National Guard, and other security forces.
“It is probably difficult for people from democratic countries to understand the realities of life in a powerful autocracy,” she said. It is a terrifying feeling to feel powerless in front of a monster of death and madness.
The director of the Defense Priorities think tank spoke about the central nervous system of the human body when he came back from a trip to the Ukrainian capital. “It’s not only an inconvenience but an enormous economic cost. It is an attempt to create pain for civilians to show that the government can’t keep them safe.
Menon notes, however, that every one of his comments could just as easily apply to Russia’s earlier waves of cyberattacks on the country’s internet—such as the NotPetya malware released by Russia’s GRU hackers, which five years earlier destroyed the digital networks of hundreds of government agencies, banks, airports, hospitals, and even its radioactivity monitoring facility in Chernobyl. “They’re different in the technicalities, but the goal is the same,” he says. It’s degrading and punishing civilians.
Russia was planning to launch an all-out assault on the power grid in December to plunge the country into darkness as Ukrainians celebrate the New Year and Christmas at the same time.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “Second Amendment” to the Human Rights During the First Year of the War: The Crisis in Odesa, Ukraine
After the sirens gave the all clear, life in the capital went back to normal, Hryn said: “In the elevator I met my neighbors with their child who were in hurry to get to the cinema for the new Avatar movie on time.” People went to work despite the holiday plan, with parents taking their children to school.
She told CNN from her home in the Kyiv suburbs she tried to sleep on New Year’s Eve. “But I woke to the sound of explosions, and they went on through the night. The sirens were off until 4:30 a.m.
Emergency power cuts were instituted in Odesa, in southern Ukraine, after 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.
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 said that homes, an industrial facility and a playground were damaged in attacks on the capital.
At the time, Putin insisted his forces were embarking on a “special military operation” — a term suggesting a limited campaign that would be over in a matter of weeks.
The war has destroyed the post-Soviet period in which Russia pursued democratic reforms, and also brought about financial integration with the West.
Even Russia’s most revered human rights group, 2022’s Nobel Prize co-recipient Memorial, was forced to stop its activities over alleged violations of the foreign agents law.
Russia’s already restrictive anti- LGBT laws have vastly been expanded by the state in order to argue that the war in Ukraine was an attack on traditional values.
In the future, repressions will be targeted. Some of the new laws are not enforced. Measures intended to crush wider dissent should arise in the future.
Leading independent media outlets and a handful of vibrant, online investigative startups were forced to shut down or relocate abroad when confronted with new “fake news” laws that criminalized contradicting the official government line.
The internet users have restrictions of their own. American social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook were banned in March. Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin’s internet regulator, has blocked more than 100,000 websites since the start of the conflict.
The Russian Army in the Cold War: What Have We Learned about Putin’s First Militional Invasion of the Soviet Union?
There were many perceived government opponents left in the war’s early days due to concerns of persecution.
Yet Putin’s order to mobilize 300,000 additional troops in September prompted the largest outflow: Hundreds of thousands of Russian men fled to border states including Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Georgia in an attempt to avoid the draft.
Meanwhile, some countries that have absorbed the Russian exodus predict their economies will grow, even as the swelling presence of Russians remains a sensitive issue to former Soviet republics in particular.
In the initial days of the invasion, Russia’s ruble currency cratered and its banking and trading markets looked shaky. Hundreds of global brands, including Mcdonald’s and ExxonMobil, have reduced or closed their operations in Russia.
Europe will blink first when it comes to sanctions, President Putin believes because they will be used to protest soaring energy costs at home. He announced a five-month ban on oil exports to countries that abide by the price cap, a move likely to make the pain more acute in Europe.
There is nothing new in the government’s tone about Russia’s military campaign. Russia’s Defense Ministry provides daily briefings recounting endless successes on the ground. Putin, too, repeatedly assures that everything is “going according to plan.”
The length of the war suggests that Russia vastly underestimated the willingness of the Ukrainians to resist.
The real number of Russian losses, officially just under 6,000 men, is a highly taboo subject at home. Western estimates are much higher.
Indeed, Russia’s invasion has — thus far — backfired in its primary aims: NATO looks set to expand towards Russia’s borders, with the addition of long-neutral states Finland and Sweden.
Russia’s actions are being criticized by longtime allies in Central Asia out of concern for their own sovereignty, which would never have been done in Soviet times. India and China purchased discounted Russian oil, but they stopped supporting the military campaign of Russia.
Zelensky: A Year in the Life of the War and a Chance for a Victory in the First Presidency of the Russian Parliament
A state of the nation address, originally scheduled for April, was repeatedly delayed and won’t happen until next year. Putin’s annual “direct line” — a media event in which Putin fields questions from ordinary Russians — was canceled outright.
An annual December “big press conference” that is semi-staged to give the Russian leader time to handle questions from mostly pro-Kremlin media was also tabled until 2023.
The Kremlin has given no reason for the delays. Many think it might be that after 10 months of war, the Russia’s leader has run out of good news to share.
President Zelensky said in his New Year’s Eve speech that he was so fearful of Russia that he said the year had begun on Feb. 24, but that he was hopeful for victory.
The second day of the war, Zelenskyy and his chief of staff stood next to a baroque building in the heart of Kyiv, next to that of the prime minister. The defiant message was recorded on Zelenskyy’s phone.
He said that this year has struck his hearts, according to a transcript posted on his website. “We’ve cried out all the tears. The prayers have been said. 311 days. Every second we have something to say.
What do Ukrainians and Russians really have in common: The 21st Century Ukraine is going through a “grinding war of attrition”?
All Ukrainians are participating in the defense of the country, Mr. Zelensky said. And although 2022 could be called a year of losses, he said that was not the right way to think of it.
Mr. Zelensky said that the world had come together around Ukraine, from foreign cities and their halls of government to the top of Google’s search results.
And finally, to those who felt nuclear saber-rattling was an oxymoron in 2022 – that you could not casually threaten people with nukes as the destruction they brought was complete, for everyone on the planet.
Still, as 2022 closes, Europe is left dealing with a set of known unknowns, unimaginable as recently as in January. To recap: a military once considered the world’s third most formidable has invaded its smaller neighbor, which a year ago excelled mostly in IT and agriculture.
Russia has also met a West that is more open and willing to allow some of its weapons to be sent to its eastern border. Western officials might also be surprised that Russia’s red lines appear to shift constantly, as Moscow realizes how limited its non-nuclear options are. None of this was supposed to happen. So, what do Europe do now that it has?
The West has been unified unexpectedly. The United States and Europe do not agree on Iraq, but they both agree on something: the need to maintain security for NATO members. At times, Washington may have seemed warier, and there have been autocratic outliers like Hungary. There is a shift towards unity. That’s quite a surprise.
The surprising resilience of the Ukrainian people, along with the unexpected ineptitude of the Russian forces, have prevented a full takeover. Instead, the war has become what NATO’s chief Jens Stoltenberg described last week as a “grinding war of attrition” without a discernible end.
The U.S. Navy in the Light of the 2023 Ukrainian Missile Crisis: Kateryna, Oleg and her fiances in Kyiv
This is not the first time America has done this. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the most dangerous nuclear confrontation so far, the Soviet Union’s position shifted in a matter of days, ultimately accepting an outcome that favored the West. America might well have agreed on an inferior compromise that did not meet its standards if red lines had been in place.
But as they begin 2023, they are also preparing for the arrival of twin boys. Kateryna, who is 34, is eight months pregnant. CNN agreed to use their first names only, as they fear for their privacy.
When the sirens aren’t wailing, Kateryna said, there is another noise that is new to her neighborhood: the chattering of generators as homes and businesses try to compensate for being without electricity twelve for as much as 12 hours a day.
Despite the risk and the imminent arrival of the twins, Kateryna still travels into central Kyiv twice a week to use one of the co-working spaces that have popped up across the Ukrainian capital.
These spaces have become professional with their furniture, lighting, internet and Starlink terminal bought from the company owned by Musk.
She is not afraid of becoming a wartime mother. She and Oleg want their sons to grow up in an environment that would be the polar opposite of what life would be under Russian occupation.
Kateryna and Oleg have a small generator at home but don’t use it often. There is always the risk of running out of diesel to power it – it uses a liter of fuel every hour and needs to cool down every four hours. They have to choose which appliances to run: it’s lights or laundry, they said.
Kateryna says there is enough food in the stores. Sometimes she has to shop with a flashlight. They keep about two months’ worth of food supplies stacked in the house, just in case the situation goes from bad to worse.
“I have a job here; Oleg has a job here and he cannot work remotely. We have many friends here, our home. Kateryna said it was a nightmare to move somewhere else.
“The company my husband works for has a fund and they help the Ukrainian fighters who are on the front line with equipment like drones and pick-up trucks. She said that they helped collect money for equipment.
“I really want my children to live in a free Ukraine, I want them to be safe. They are as safe and protected as any other child in the world. I don’t want them to live in fear of dying from a Russian rocket, they should be happy and carefree,” she said.
Her one concern – beyond giving birth to healthy children – is that she might find herself lying in the hospital amid another wave of missile attacks. She said that at that point she will pray very hard.
How Russian forces were able to execute the Makiivka massacre? The consequences for the war and the government of Russia: Comments on the case of the Ukrainian troops
Regardless of whether Russia lost 400 men as Ukrainians claim or 89 as Moscow insists, the result is the same: Russia’s highest single-incident death toll since the war began more than 10 months ago.
If the Russian account is accurate, it was the cell phones that the novice troops were using in violation of regulations that allowed Ukrainian forces to target them most accurately. 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’s certain that days after the most lethal Russian attack, President Putin called for a temporary truce. The move was rightly dismissed by Ukraine and the US as a cynical attempt to seek breathing space amid a very bad start to the year for Russian forces.
The Russian officials said that four rockets launched from the Ukrainians hit the school where the forces were housed. (Another two HIMARS rockets were shot down by Russian air defenses).
Chris Dougherty, a senior fellow for the Defense Program and co-head of the Gaming Lab at the Center for New American Security in Washington, has told me that Russia’s failure to break up or move large arms depots is largely a function of the reality that their forces cannot communicate adequately.
It is a view shared by other experts. James Lewis, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’s Strategic Technologies Program, told me in an e-mail exchange that bad security communication is common in the Russian Army.
The recent conscripts killed in Makiivka appear to be part of the larger picture of Russian soldiers shipped to the front lines with little training and sub-standard equipment.
Indeed, a number of the most recent arrivals to the war are inmates from Russian prisons, freed and transferred immediately to the Ukrainian front. It would be amazing how appealing using cell phones would be to prisoners used to years of isolation with little outside contact.
Semyon Pegov, who blogs under the alias WarGonzo and was personally awarded the Order of Courage by President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin two weeks ago, attacked the Ministry of Defense for its “blatant attempt to smear blame” in suggesting it was the troops’ own use of cell phones that led to the precision of the attack.
He wondered if the location of soldiers in the school building could not have been determined using a local source.
The defense ministry underwent a restructuring a month earlier when Maj. Gen. Mikhail Y. Mizintsev became deputy defense minister for overseeing logistics. The location of the arms depot, adjacent to the Makiivka recruits, would likely have been on Mizintsev’s watch.
Sergei Shoigu, Putin’s defense minister, told his forces in a celebratory video that their victory is inevitable.
From being late to recognize Russia’s threat, reorient Germany, reinvigorate its military, and ramp up weapon supplies to Ukraine, the pragmatist Scholz has now signaled Germany is very much in play – and, indeed, wants hands on the controls. Germany will coordinate supplies of the Leopard 2 from allies to Ukraine due to German legislation preventing any purchaser of the country’s war-fighting hardware from transferring it to a third state.
Every few minutes the ground shakes as blasts echo through the ravaged streets of Siversk in eastern Ukraine. Sometimes it’s outgoing Ukrainian fire, sometimes the Russians firing back.
An elderly woman in black pants, heavy shoes, and a dirty grey overcoat and headscarf shuffles up the street. Another explosion rings out. She flinches, her eyes open wide, but she doesn’t miss a step. She joins a crowd of several dozen, mostly elderly residents bundled up against the cold.
On the edge of the crowd, standing alone, is 72-year-old Lubov Bilenko. Her face is flat, devoid of emotion, her dark eyes have no expression.
The bravery of war zone: A woman’s voice in a war zone with a pension handed out from the mobile unit of Ukrposhta
“Of course, we were very scared before,” she says in a low voice. “Now we’re used to it,” she says of the shelling. “We don’t even pay attention anymore.”
Bilenko tells CNN she has ventured out of her apartment, where she lives alone, to the main road to collect her monthly pension, brought to town by a mobile unit of Ukrposhta, the Ukrainian Postal Service. His pension is less than $80 a month. It’s enough to buy food at one of the shops that are still open.
Anna Fesenko, a blonde woman with a quick smile, heads the mobile unit. As she and her colleagues check documents against a list of recipients and hand out cash, Anna coaxes a smile and an occasional chuckle from weary town residents.
Fesenko used to work at the post office in Bakhmut, which is 22 miles south of Siversk. But in mid-fall the fighting around the town became so intense that she and her colleagues there had to evacuate.
She understands her job is not just to hand out pensions: It’s to remind the people in Siversk they haven’t been forgotten. She believes that we are the only one connection between them and the world.
“I live within a 20-minute walk from here, but my wife is afraid to come here,” says 63-year-old Volodymyr, who declined to give his full name, pulling on a cigarette before joining the line.
Olha, 73, has made it to the front. Like so many living in the war zone, she has spent months huddling with others in the basement of her apartment building. It’s cramped and uncomfortable. Yet she is willing to put up with it.
The head of the Siversk military administration is watching the operation. He’s nervous that so many people have gathered out in the open.
Russian forces are just across a wide valley with hills visible from the pension distribution point. They are about six miles from the north.
We are trying to find the right location for the pension handout. That means every time the mobile unit comes, it’s a different place and time to avoid being targeted by the Russians.
The Ukrainen Crisis: When Russia Becomes More Truncated and Less Abrupt: the Case of Chancellor Wolfgang Scholz
No one was injured, she said, but she and her colleagues dispensed with formalities. They quickly handed out the cash they could to those still waiting, she said, and left.
Ukrainian officials on Sunday dismissed Moscow’s claim that a large number of Kyiv’s soldiers were killed in a Russian attack last week in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine.
A CNN team on the ground has seen no indication of any massive casualties in the area. There is no unusual activity in and around Kramatorsk, including in the vicinity of the city morgue, the team reported.
A reporter in Kramtorsk reported no signs of a Russian strike on college dormitories that were claimed to house hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers.
In the aftermath of the strike, there was a rare public blame game between the Russian government and some pro-Kremlin leaders and military experts.
The account was angrily dismissed by an influential military post, and later contradicted by the leader of the self-proclaimed DPR in easternUkraine, suggesting there was a divide in the Russian command over the response to the attack.
Russia wanted to increase global sales and leverage it’s power-hungry industries in Europe, and invested heavily in a 750- mile undersea line connecting it to Germany. Germany, a leading consumer, was on board from the get-go. Washington was not.
The United States didn’t want the new, high-capacity subsea supply to supplant old overland lines that transited Ukraine, providing vital revenue to the increasingly Westward-leaning leadership in Kyiv.
Responding to Biden and Scholz’s decision on tanks, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it adds “tension to the continent, but it cannot prevent Russia from reaching our goals.”
Europe has been slow to respond to the deep fissures in US politics and the uncertainty another Trumpian-style presidency could wreak on its allies. Decades of a reasonably unshakable reliance, if not complete trust, in the US, has been replaced by stubborn European pragmatism – and Germany leads the way.
The moral compass of Europe was the former Chancellor of Germany. Scholz won thunderous applause in Germany’sBundestag on Wednesday, as he flashed a rare moment of steely leadership after finding unexpected metal in his ponderous, often stop/go/wait traffic-light governing coalition.
Russian War in Ukraine: From Biden to Medvedev, Moscovich, Zelensky, Putin, not the Kremlin
Helping matters for the Russian government is the unexpected durability of parts of the Russian economy, despite heavy Western sanctions. The war has been costly for the government of Russia, with a higher-than-expected deficit in 2022, but the International Monetary Fund forecasts a small return to GDP growth for the country.
The applause at each step of his speech was much louder than what he said. Scholz was the right man for Germany because he brought with him a population that was typically reluctant to wage a war and split over how much they should aid the Ukrainian government to kill Russians.
Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian president and deputy chairman of its national security council, has said Russia would never allow itself to be defeated and would use nuclear weapons if threatened.
CNN spoke with people in Russia who were confused by the conflicting messages from Biden and Scholz. Some people said that Russia would win and that the US and Germany would be the winners, but a lot were concerned about the war, dismayed by the death toll and frustrated that Putin ignored their concerns.
How much Scholz is aware of Putin’s softening popularity or whether he believes it relevant at this moment is unclear, but his actions now, sending tanks, may help ease Putin’s iron grip on power.
Zelensky will likely get the signal that there will be weapons supplies on a German leash, and less done by Washington, when longer debates are held about the next military moves for Ukraine.
Two former fighters of the Russian private military company Wagner have told CNN of their horrific experiences on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine, and how anyone who faltered was immediately shot by their own commanders.
The two fighters were captured by the Ukrainians. CNN does not want to give out their identities for their own safety. Both are married with children and were recruited while in prison. One was serving a 20-year sentence for manslaughter.
The Ukrainians were present in the room where the interview took place for security reasons. CNN told the fighters that they could end the interview at any time they wished. They spoke for more than an hour.
The other fighter was involved in an assault lasting five days, through a forest near the city of Lysychansk on the Luhansk-Donetsk border in eastern Ukraine.
“You can’t help the wounded. The Ukrainians were firing heavily on us, so even if their wounds were minor, you’ve got to keep going, otherwise you’re the one getting hit by the fire.
The prisoner said his self-preservation instincts kick in and others didn’t. “Some stop right there in the forest and drop their weapons. But to drop your weapons is to come under sniper fire and die.”
The wounded were not evacuated, he said. “If you’re wounded, you roll away on your own at first, any way you can, somewhere neutral where there’s no fire, and if there’s no one around, you administer first aid to yourself,” he said.
There were a lot of casualties, the men said. “When the casualties arrive, you get orders to load them, and you don’t really think who’s dead and who’s wounded,” one of the fighters said.
The casualties and the killings of the Ukrainian soldiers were so devastating that they became numb to them. “You’d think you’d feel something [after killing someone], but no, you just keep going.”
The other fighter reported a similar situation: “Our commander was told that if anyone gets cold feet, he would have to be eliminated. If we didn’t eliminate him, we would be eliminated.
But it is also a way back to a terrible part of Soviet history. Prigozhin has recruited thousands of prisoners with the promise of amnesty or a pardon, a practice that mirrors Stalin’s use of penal battalions and convicts to take on desperate or suicidal missions in the toughest sectors of the front, using human-wave attacks to overwhelm enemy defenses, regardless of the human cost.
One of the fighters said that only a handful in his unit came for money and most came because they had long sentences. “But there were also some who had only 12 days of their sentence remaining, and they went anyway.
The process to find prisoners was so poor that older inmates only needed to demonstrate their ability to march a few yards. Most of the people they took were taken.
Since the Russian invasion started, I have been haunted by the idea of my father telling me the stories of my family members that were shipped to the Soviet Gulag, never to return. Millions of Ukrainians died in the famine of 1932-33.
Hundreds of prisoners were taken by plane and bus to a training ground in the Rostov region of Russia, according to two men.
The training included handling guns for terrible assaults that they would soon be ordered to carry out. The men said it was clear they were being prepared for missions they’d not signed up for.
U.S. President Biden visited a network of camps in Crimea, Ukraine, during the July 1 anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
“He did not mention anything about danger,” one said. “He talked about expunging all convictions, we would serve six months, all convictions would be expunged, an advance payment of 240,000 roubles (around $3,300) and also that our task was to hold the defense on the second line.”
“The command ordered me to dig in at my position, so I dug in at my position, awaiting evacuation. They sent one group of 10, and the sniper eliminated all 10,” he recalled.
“I think it was the wrong choice… I’d never participated in any military operation, especially fighting against the AFU, which refuses to give up its land. They brought us here because they thought we were special. We are at war but I don’t think it is a just cause, said one.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a surprise Europe tour, meeting leaders in London, Paris and Brussels, and reiterating his call for allies to send fighter jets to Ukraine.
Biden’s historic visit came days before the one-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, providing a symbolic boost to Kyiv at a crucial juncture in the conflict.
The Russian government is operating an expansive network of dozens of camps where it has held thousands of Ukrainian children since the start of the war against Ukraine last year, according to a new report released Tuesday.
The network is stretching from one end of Russia to the other, including Russian-occupied Crimea, the eastern Pacific Coast and Siberia, according to Raymond.
According to Raymond, a camp in Chechnya and a camp in Crimea “appear to be specifically involved in training children in the use of firearms and military vehicles,” but the researchers have not seen evidence at this point that the children trained in these military camps are being sent into conflict.
The report found that “many children taken to camps are sent with the consent of their parents for an agreed duration of days or weeks and returned to their parents as originally scheduled,” but noted that “in many cases, the ability of parents to provide meaningful consent may be considered doubtful, as the conditions of war and implicit threat from occupying forces represent conditions of duress.”
“It’s also critically important to understand that these are children who – the lack of contact that they have, or the only intermittent contact that they may have with their parents, is causing very real and potential harm on a very daily basis,” said Caitlin Howarth, also of Yale Humanitarian Research Lab.
Several dozen federal, regional and local figures are identified in the report but at least 12 of them are not on U.S. or international sanctions lists.
Raymond said that the system was consistent with the Rome Statute and the Genocide Convention’s prohibition on the transfer of children from one group to another.
Ned Price said that Russia’s forced relocation, reeducation and adoption of Ukraine’s children was a key aspect of the Kremlin’s efforts to deny and suppress Ukraine’s identity.
The US State Department said in a media note that the unauthorized transfer and deportation of protected persons is a war crime.
Moldova’s security services and defense system are under Russian scrutiny, as announced at the NATO summit in Bucharest in December last year during a visit to Moldova
Editor’s Note: Cristian Gherasim is an analyst, consultant and journalist focusing on Eastern and Central European affairs. Follow him on Twitter @Crstn_Gherasim. The views expressed are of his own. View more opinion at CNN.
The country has reason to be anxious: Last month, the head of its Security Service warned there is a “very high” risk that Russia will launch a new offensive in Moldova’s east in 2023. Last Friday, a Russian cruise missile crossed over Moldovan territory, the country’s defense ministry said and Ukraine’s military confirmed. (Ukraine’s top general said another missile crossed over Romania.) The outgoing Prime Minister of Moldova cited a lot of crises brought about by Russian pressure. President Maia Sandu had warned of a Russian plan to undermine her country. (Last year, Russia denied having designs on Moldova, following a series of attacks in Moldova’s pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria.)
Since the power shortages and energy insufficiency inMoldova have hit the country, Ana has become more frequent in her trips to the small island nation.
Last month, Moldovan President Maia Sandu said border police had found missile debris near the village of Larga in Moldova’s north. It wasn’t the first incident of missile debris being found in December, and it left many wondering if a stray rocket will hit close to home next time.
Moldova sits to Ukraine’s south, relatively close to Russia’s front lines along Ukraine’s southern, Black Sea coast. To the west is a part of southern Ukraine, which is part of NATO.
Seizing Odesa could have allowed Russia’s army to connect with that territory where some 1,500 Russian troops are stationed—turning the tiny sliver of land into a new Donbas, this time much closer to the doorstep of NATO and the EU.
Making that a bit clearer, during the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Bucharest in November last year, officials of member countries offered assurances of support to Moldova without saying what that would mean, exactly, the Associated Press reported. NATO members reportedly offered to help with security and defense training in the face of Russian pressure.
During a visit to Chisinau earlier this spring, UN Secretary General António Guterres talked about the fragile position Moldova is in, noting that “Moldova is by far the country that has received the most refugees, as proportion of its own population.” The country is on the forefront of preservation, peace and stability in the world. But what does that mean, exactly?
Secondly, since Ukrainian refugees have been largely allowed to move freely in Europe, those who did choose to stay in Moldova are usually those having a harder time integrating anywhere else. Moldova’s culture does share a lot of similarities with Ukraine. If the rest of Europe were unable to integrate refugees, they would refuse to accept them.
Internal factors are what has caused Moldovas troubles as well. The current pro-EU government is struggling to address longstanding issues of corruption in the country. In a report by the Council of Europe, there were concerns over the judicial system inMoldova, with the system coming under scrutiny after the contest for chief prosecutor.
Moldova is also losing its people. According to World Bank statistics, Moldova has lost more than 12% of its population since 1991, as it has been hit hard by the demographic decline seen throughout many parts of post-communist Europe.
All pales compared with the energy problem of Moldova. The country’s dependency on both Russia and Ukraine for energy puts it in probably the most difficult spot it has ever been in since declaring independence from the Soviet Union in August 1991.
Maia Sandu, the President of Moldova is leading a charmoffensive, and has met with western leaders, helping to bring attention to her country. She knows that forgettingMoldova would be worse on the world stage.
February 24, 2022: Putin’s Year in the War in Ukraine (Russia Wraps Against Communism and Nuclear Attacks in the 21st Century)
On February 24, 2022, I was supposed to be in Kyiv. But a few days before that, my husband broke his shoulder and we had to stay in Moscow. At 9:00 a.m. that day he had surgery.
Within hours, their lives are dramatically and radically transformed. The next day, Russian President Vladimir Putin launches his full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
In a year, tens of thousands of lives and millions of other people have been lost in the war. It has unleashed unfathomable atrocities, decimated cities, driven a global food and energy crisis and tested the resolve of western alliances.
Invasion of Crimea and Human Rights: The Last Fate of the Second Nation in the Czech Republic and the Birth of the Polish Revolution
February 23, 2022, Zaporizhzhia. I went to bed thinking that I would celebrate my husband’s birthday the next day. Our life was getting better. My husband owned his own business. Our daughter had started school and made friends there. We found a special needs nursery for our son after we arranged support services. I had some time to work. I was feeling good.
Completely exhausted, crushed and scared, we had to brace ourselves and come to terms with our forced displacement. I will be forever grateful to all those who helped us come to Prague and adjust to a new life in a foreign land.
Thanks to the Czech Republic, my husband got a job. I found special needs classes for my son. He has a learning support assistant as well as attending an adaptation group for Ukrainian children. My daughter goes to school in the Czech Republic while studying in her home country.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has a senior fellow named Andrei Kolesnikov. He’s written several books on the political and social history of Russia. Origins of Russian Modernization and Egor Gaidar’s Legacy.”
We woke up to the news that the invasion had begun. I wrote an open letter denouncing the war, which was co-signed by 12 Russian writers, directors and cultural figures. Soon it was published, and tens of thousands of Russian citizens added their signatures.
On the third day we, my husband and I, left Russia. I felt that it was some kind of moral obligation. I could no longer stay on the territory of the state that has become a fascist one.
We moved to Berlin. The main railway station was the location of thousands of Ukrainians arriving every day, and my husband volunteered at the refugee camp next to it. And I started writing a new book. It begins like this.
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.
Since February 22nd, we have seen several eras. After a time of stagnant ratings, Putin got approval from more than 80% of the population.
He canceled the future by stopping the past. Those who were disoriented, preferred to support Putin: it is easier to live this way when your superiors decide everything for you, and you take for granted everything you are told by propaganda.
The catastrophe that happened to me, and to my family, is impossible to adapt to. As a commentator on the events, I was labeled as a foreign agent by the authorities, which increased personal risk and made people think I was living in an Orwellian anti-utopia.
On the evening of February 23 I washed my dog, cleaned the house, took a bath and lit candles. I have a one-bedroom apartment in the north of Kyiv. I loved taking care of it. I enjoyed the life I had. All of it – the small routines and the struggles. My life was over that night.
I remember talking to colleagues, trying to assemble and coordinate a small army of volunteers to strengthen the newsroom. My parents need to organize buying supplies.
The life I knew started to fall apart soon after. I don’t need to know how I dressed, what cup of tea I drank or whether or not I took a shower. Life itself no longer mattered, only the battle did.
Trying to claim my life back was one of the battles that I had to fight. Russia stole the life of me and millions of Ukrainians.
I was no longer concerned with my personal ambitions. The only way we could show that we are still fighting is by raising our flag.
I couldn’t enjoy my victories on the track. They were only possible because so many defenders had laid down their lives. The soldiers were on the frontline. They were so happy to follow our achievements, and it was my primary motivation to continue my career.
After being hit by a vehicle in October, an officer in the Ukrainian national guard knew the car he was riding in was on fire. He suspected Russian gun fire.
Pinned in the back seat, Orlov says he was initially unable to get out of the vehicle – his feet had been crushed by the car and his legs had been wounded by the explosion. After he finally did, he and his team were in disbelief that they had survived, as they laid in the grass watching the flames.
Since he arrived in the United States in January, Orlov has already undergone “two very lengthy procedures to begin the major step for reconstruction of both his right and his left foot” with care that has involved multiple specialists, Fufa explained.
The story of Orlov and Matkowsky: How Human Rights Matter in the War on Drugs, Crimes, and Democracy in the Cold War
That video caught the attention of some US volunteers and eventually made its way to Gary Wasserson, a retired American businessman from New York who was already coordinating volunteer aid resources to the region.
Matkowsky, meanwhile, was working with the Ukrainian government to get permission for Orlov to leave, and helped to arrange transportation to Poland. They were able to get a plane ticket to New York.
Fufa is optimistic about the fact that Orlov will be walking again, but cautions that it is only one step in the healing process.
The complexity was caused by the wounds he had, as well as the missing bone from the explosion and broken feet, FuFAS told CNN.
FuFA warned that this was a long road that he wouldn’t be surprised if at some point we hit roadblock where it feels like this is taking too long.
He wants the world to know that this is not simply about two countries fighting each other, he wants his country to be more important than that.
This is “not just about war in Ukraine and Russia,” he said of the women and children’s lives that have been lost or upended by the fighting. It is about human rights.
“I do think this is a critical moment,” Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told NPR. The battlefield can be very difficult and bloody, which will be a big factor in the decisions of both President Zelenskyy and President Putin.
“This leads me to the question of who do we document all these crimes?” Oleksandra Matviichuk, the head of the Center for Civil Liberties, told us. “Because I’m not a historian, I’m a human rights lawyer, and we document human pain in order sooner or later to have all these Russians … brought to justice.”
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu: “It’s a fight for the right power, but for the wrong side of the law”
Speaking to NPR’s Leila Fadel, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said his country is learning lessons from the war in Ukraine and keeping a wary eye on China.
“They have expansionist motivation. They want to expand their influence. They want to continue to expand their power. And if they are not stopped, then they will continue to march on,” Wu told us.
Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, told NPR “We’ve managed to avoid conflict directly between great powers.” The system works for all its flaws. But now it’s being challenged.
The Great Patriotic War and the Russia of the Future: Natalia and Violating the Death of a Family Car in Volgograd
Natalia thinks the family’s car was hit by Russian forces in the first days of the war. Her husband was killed along with her nephew. Vova was hospitalized for months after he was shot seven times in the attack.
The audio for this story was produced by Danny Hajek; edited by Barrie Hardymon and Natalie Winston. Additional help from Carol Klinger and other people. Reporting and translation help was given by a couple of people.
The phrase “the wonderful Russia of the future” is what Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny likes to call it.
The protests and sanctions have not deterred Putin. Human rights groups have been closed down entirely or branded as foreign agents.
Putin went to Volgograd, a southern Russian city, on February 2nd to commemorate the 80thanniversary of the victory at Stalingrad in the Great Patriotic War.
“Those who draw the European countries, including Germany, into a new war with Russia – and all the more irresponsibly declare this as a fait accompli – those who expect to win a victory over Russia on the battlefield, apparently do not understand that a modern war with Russia will be completely different for them,” he warned.
The first occurrence of a major earthquake caused significant tremors in the Russian society. Many Russians cast their votes with their feet. Police faced off with anti-mobilization demonstrators in multiple cities during riots in ethnic minority regions. Russian social media saw a surge of videos and public complaints about the lack of equipment and appalling conditions for newly mobilized recruits.
Vladimir Putin and the ‘Ironics’: What have they learned in the last few months? Ira, one more Russian to join the conversation
Many of those advances were the work of soldiers of theWagner Group, a private military company led by Yevgeny Prigozhin. Many reports on Wagner have focused on the group’s brutal tactics, including human-wave attacks and summary execution for waverers or deserters.
Part of the fascination with Prigozhin has to do with the fact that Putin, until a year ago, enjoyed a secure monopoly on power. The authorities were well practiced in quashing street protests, and any meaningful political opposition had been effectively neutered. That has led to speculation that the collapse of Putinism might be brought on by a problem within the elite. The siloviki in Putin’s inner circle are publicly loyal, but the recent setbacks in Ukraine could cause a possible power scramble.
Some Russians have taken refuge in political apathy. CNN recently spoke to several Muscovites about how their lives have changed since last year, on condition that their surnames not be used over the risks of publicly criticizing the government.
Ira, a 47-year-old man who works for a business publication is not able to make a difference in Russia despite the fact that there have been many changes. “I just try to keep some internal balance. Maybe I am too political, but I do not believe that it will happen again.
Ira felt anxious in February and March of last year, just after the invasion. She worried that work might dry up, and she wouldn’t be able to pay her mortgage, because she just bought an apartment.
She said it got worse in the spring. “Now it seems we’ve gotten used to a new reality. I started to meet and go out with girlfriends. I bought a lot more wine.
The restaurants are now full, she said, but added: “The faces look completely different. What is the name of the people that are referred to as the ‘Ironics’? There are fewer of them.
Living in a war-torsion-shaped world: A memoir of Olya, a teenage girl and her two teenage friends
Olya, who organizes events with two teenagers, said that the family had decided to have more domestic holidays. Europe is largely closed to direct flights from Russia, and opportunities to travel abroad are more limited.
Life carries on, Olya said, even though there is a war on. “I can’t influence the situation,” she said. My friends say that we do what we can. It doesn’t help to be depressed.
“Those who adapted quickly reorganized, they are seeing growth,” he said. In January we concluded an unusual number of deals and the activity usually picks up in February.
“In terms of everyday life, practically nothing has changed,” he said, talking about the cutoff of Western imports. “If we’re talking parts for a (Mercedes Benz) G-Class, it might be trickier.”
Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin’s Special Military Operations, and the Crimes of the Kherson Region: An Observational Perspective
Georgy said he was skeptical of state media, saying he looked for other sources of information. And he acknowledged that he could theoretically be called up in another wave of mobilization.
I need to explain. Chechnya claimed independence from the Russian Federation after the fall of the Soviet Union. (The other one was Tatarstan.) But world leaders were by then quite fed up with the discovery that all those union republics that they had for decades regarded simply as administrative units of Russia — Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan and others, still harder to pronounce — appeared to be real things. The West’s shock at this new geography meant that independent Ichkeria had not the slimmest chance of recognition.
The Russian leader will be interested in the war between conservatives in the US and Biden. On Monday, for instance, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the future of Ukraine would not be a priority if he were to win the White House.
“Biden in [Kyiv]. Russian journalist Sergey Mardan wrote on his Telegram channel that he had seen humiliation of Russia. “Tales of miraculous hypersonics may be left for children. It’s just like spells about the war we’re fighting.
It was suggested that Biden could have visited the frontlines in eastern Ukraine when he was alive, and escaped unharmed.
I don’t think it’s much of a surprise that the grandfather is brought to Bakhmut, and that there will be nothing that will happen to him.
Some hardline military blogger, such as the one that has over one hundred thousand followers and provides analysis of the conflict for a large swath of the Russian population, have criticized what they consider a “soft” approach on the battlefield by the generals.
In an apparent attempt to shore up his nationalist credentials, the deputy head of the Security Council, was known for making controversial statements.
Participants of what Russia refers to as its “special military operation” will be in attendance but foreign guests or representatives will not be invited, the Kremlin’s spokesperson told reporters Monday.
I saw him in the Kherson region less than two weeks before the invasion. He was there to observe drills to defend against Russian sabotage. Zelenskyy gave an impromptu news conference which was defensive and confusing. Zelenskyy downplayed warnings of a huge invasion by Russia, despite the U.S. warnings.
People were afraid Zelenskyy would flee. Zelenskyy downplayed the threat of war and seemed unprepared, according to the Anti-Corruption Action Center, a public watchdog group. She says that he stood his ground in Kyiv, but that she was surprised.
It’s about an earnest high school history teacher who rails against Ukraine’s corruption and corrosive politics. Zelenskyy’s character is swept into office when a student takes a video of himself making a rant and posts it on social media.
As a real-life candidate, Zelenskyy was also a sensation, winning in a landslide with 73% of the vote. He named his political party Servant of the People.
Zelenskyy promised to attack corruption, boost the economy and end the war with Russia during his campaign. He did not do what the people wanted him to do.
He made a decision to stay in Kyiv during the early days of the war that turned public opinion around. By August, about 90% of Ukrainians said they approved of his job performance. The actor in the movie was aware of the needs of the people in the country.
Zelenskyy rallied international support. The English speaker of the European parliament had tears in her eyes as he addressed them by video.
He quoted another leader during his speech to the U.S. Congress in December, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
There is too much information regarding a full scale war right now in the information space, said the president while standing in the middle of a street.
“What happened in the Kherson region”: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of the Ukrainian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine
Chornovol was a member of the parliament of Ukraine from 2014 to 2019. Later, she joined the military. I met her in the Kherson region last fall, where her job was to fire small missiles at Russian armor.
Chornovol claims that the Ukrainian army left the route north of Kyiv open to invasion, even failed to mine bridges to stop a Russian advance.
“What was done was simply criminal,” said Chornovol, who proudly showed me her missile launcher which was camouflaged with Astroturf. “There was no preparation for the invasion. In no way was the city fortified.
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 warned higher-ups the south was vulnerable to a Russian attack.
Parliamentarians are careful not to attack each other because of the war in Ukraine. IvannaKlympush-Tsintsadze, a lawmaker with the European Solidarity party, said that she and her colleagues will ask tough questions about what happened in the south as soon as Ukraine defeats Russia.
The people blame the SBU for the loss of the region. The head of the SBU was terminated by Zelenskyy because he had no security experience.
During the Cold War, Alina Fialko-Smal and Vladimir Volodymyr: Two Faces of the Same Face
“He’s a good president during war,” she says. He’s not a good president during a non-war period. His largest weakness is that he trusts people who are his friends and he is not tolerating different opinions.”
An actor named Alina Fialko-Smal was there at the time. She says Zelenskyy looked for advice on becoming a dramatic actor when she watched her troupe perform. Zelenskyy is under 6 feet and discouraged by her.
Zelenskyy studied law at Kryvyi Rih Economic Institute, where his father is a renowned educator. Volodymyr was remembered as clever, funny and self-confident by a finance professor.
“She said, ‘You should be proud that you study at this university,’ ” Voloshanyuk recalls, “to which he replied, ‘One day you will be proud that you taught me.’ “
“After the fall of the Soviet Union, you can create something new,” said Yermolenko. “I think Zelenskyy’s one of one of those people. The good thing is that these people think that impossible is nothing and you can create anything.”
“People really recognize themselves in him, identify themselves with him, or he identifies himself with the people. And I think this is the most important thing.”
Joe Biden in Poland: A Year after the Invasion of Kyiv and Russia, and Why It’s Worst to Be Here
The last time President Joe Biden spoke from the courtyard of the Royal Castle in Poland, the content of his 27-minute speech was mostly obscured by what he ad-libbed about Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end.
Nearly a year later, Biden returns to the Royal Castle this week to mark the anniversary of a war that has increasingly put him directly at odds with the Russian leader, a Cold War dynamic underscored by Biden’s highly secretive visit to Kyiv a day earlier.
This week, Biden is going to fight for supremacy against his counterpart in the Kremlin. Each will deliver important speeches to mark a year since Russia’s invasion on Tuesday, during a remote rhetorical contest.
Biden announced Monday he would join European nations in announcing new sanctions on Moscow and unveil another security assistance package on top of the tens of billions already committed this year.
The White House said ahead of his trip that Biden would speak by phone over the course of the week with other Western leaders, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom and President Emmanuel Macron of France.
Freedom is priceless. For as long as is necessary, it is worth fighting for. Biden told Zelensky on Monday that they were going to be with him for as long as it took.
Biden hasn’t been able to say exactly how long that will be, making this week as much about the year ahead as it has been in the past 12 months.
Biden has left his mark on the war in almost everything he has done as President, from the billions of dollars in arms shipments to the newly invigorated Western alliance. It has caused convulsions in the global economy and created political problems at home while still providing Biden an opening to demonstrate his oft-recited claim that “America is back.”
White House officials have been making the point that one year ago, when Russian troops were massing at the border with Ukraine, there were plenty of people including inside the Biden administration who predicted the fall of the city.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told CNN that it is wise to be prepared for a long war.
The Warsaw Warfare and the US$nu$ Warsaw Puzzle”: Implications for the United States and the Rest of the World
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.
There are new concerns that the West cannot provide an endless supply of support for the war due to the fact that polls show support for the war is waning.
“I do have to say that there is a concern, both in Poland and in Ukraine, about the staying power of the US beyond this administration. The managing director of Warsaw of the German Marshall Fund says that this war would be different if the US hadn’t supported it.
“The fact is that we are fighting with time, right?” Baranowski said. It is not so much whether time is on the side of Russia who is losing but has a lot of resources in the west. That’s what gives me pause. I hope we have the staying power.”
White House officials said that in Biden’s upcoming speech from Warsaw’s castle marking the anniversary of the war, the president plans to speak to the costs the war has inflicted on the rest of the world. He and his aides have sought to downplay the prospect Republicans might sharply reduce American aid to Ukraine, noting GOP leaders are largely aligned in their support.
His remarks will be translated into both Ukrainian and Polish, in an indication of the huge number of refugees Poland has absorbed.
Kirby, Zelensky, Perry, Ketov, Kielev, Perry and other lawmakers criticized the U.S. President for going to Ukraine
John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator at the National Security Council, said the president’s message would be for “people all around the world.”
The risky trip on Monday to an active war zone was not just a powerful symbol of American support, it was a shot in the arm to a population that has endured Russia’s devastating attacks on civilian apartment blocks, hospitals, schools and the power stations that provide heat and electricity.
“It’s just something unbelievable that at a time like this the President of the United States is coming to Kyiv,” Andrei Ketov, a 48-year-old Ukrainian service member, told CNN.
In the early days of the invasion, Ukrainians said they found Russian forces in dress uniforms expecting a victory parade.
Biden walks with a stiff upper body. While Biden was there, air raid sirens sounded over Kyiv, he had a lot of courage and competence.
Zelensky made the famous phone call to the US President after he was impeached, wanting him to help deter Russia. Trump sought to push for an investigations against Biden even though he knew Biden was weak, even though he knew Biden was the most effective opponent.
A joyous Zelensky said Biden’s visit “brings us closer to victory,” adding it will “have repercussions on the battlefield in liberating our territories.”
Of course, some GOP members criticized Biden for going to Ukraine. The trip was called incredibly insulting by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. And Rep. Scott Perry — at the center of a legal dispute with the Justice Department over his cell phone in the special counsel’s January 6 probe — described as “breathtaking” that Biden would help Ukraine defend its borders and not do the same for America.
What Putin Set out to Make Russia Great Again: A Counterexample to the Cold War and the Rise of Right-Right Symmetry
Editor’s Note: Jill Filipovic is a journalist based in New York and author of the book “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind.” Follow her on Twitter. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely her own. View more opinion on CNN.
For Americans who came of age after the end of the Cold War, this renewed threat of nuclear annihilation is both new and terrifying; for those who lived through the original Cold War, this is no doubt a hair-raising reboot.
Biden is correct that this is indeed a battle between freedom and oppression. It’s worth nothing, though, that Putin’s emphasis on cultural and gender warfare is also correct, in its own way.
He is of course lying and fear-mongering when he fulminates about same-sex marriage or the prospect of a gender-neutral God and when he says that the West seeks “the destruction of the family, cultural and national identity, perversion and the abuse of children are declared the norm.” It is true, though, that there is a clear historical and contemporary relationship between conservative religiosity and autocracy on the one hand, and liberal tolerance and democracy on the other.
Conservative religiosity is of course not a requirement for autocracy – just look at the previous era of Russian autocracy, which was decidedly irreligious. And the autocrats in Beijing, who are expanding their own nuclear arsenals and toying with lending material support to Russia, are not exactly bringing conservative Christian principles to China.
But they are embracing traditionalism, hypermasculinity and a backward-looking national identity. Among analysists of global authoritarians, a familiar refrain has emerged: Make [x country] Great again. Xi Jinping is trying to make China great again, writes the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos. “Putin set out to ‘Make Russia Great Again,’” Gen. David Petraeus told CNN earlier this month. We know the American version.
It’s informative, though (and scary) to realize the extent to which a number of right-wing Americans believe Putin has a point about the West being degenerate, and seem comfortable bringing a strongman in to restore the traditional order.
If you think about it, most of the reason for the divide is not between East and West but between those who want a pluralistic liberal democracies that allow people to live freely no matter what their religious beliefs, sexual orientations or aspiration, and those who prefer autocratic strongmen who use the law to
Propaganda, Politics and Human Rights in Ukraine: From Trump to Putin and the Kremantis-Klein era (The Case of Ukraine)
Former US President Donald Trump notoriously praised Putin and trashed NATO, elevating the dictator’s status among pro-Trump conservatives. The Americans had a different opinion of Putin than of Biden, Harris, Pelosi and the Democrats a year ago.
Tucker Carlson has used his influential spot on Fox News to spout pro-Putin propaganda. Newly-elected Sen. JD Vance of Ohio has said, “I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another,” while former Trump economic advisor Peter Navarro has declared Ukraine “not really a country,” and former Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has praised Putin by saying, “I have enormous respect for him.”
The NATO supply of weapons and training to the neo-Nazis in Ukraine was claimed byGeorgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Russian President Putin has positioned Russia as the leading light for Christian nationalists around the globe, standing against Western decadence. A number of Christian nationalists in the US have gotten in line.
This is more than just a divide between the US and Russia. Russia has a divide as feminism, LGBTQrights advocates and democracy activists push for a freer and fair country. And it’s a divide within the US, too, between the Americans who want liberal democracy to thrive, and those who want their ideology to rule us all.
The democratic path that began with this revolution has been made by the Ukrainians. Government was given more rights by the people. It is difficult to hide misuses of power when anti-corruption legislation is adopted. Judicial reform was opened up thanks to the changes to our Constitution. There are lots of things to be done but we were on the right track.
A Rising Tidal of Love During the 2014 Maidan Square Protests: Why the United States and Russia Can Surely Adopt a Humane World
Since 2014, the Center for Civil Liberties has documented abductions, rapes, tortures, and extra-judicial killings in the occupied territories. The river of horrors has turned into a flood since last February.
Over this past year, the emotions I have experienced have evolved. Yes, I still feel anger over the death and destruction inflicted on Ukraine. I feel a rising tide of love.
Because amid so many disappointments — in the ability of the international order to protect us, in the idea that the laws of war protect civilians — I have found we can still rely on people.
This was the spirit I saw before in Maidan Square during the 2014 protests. We believe in something better than what we’ve seen, and that’s why the protests kept on. And it came.
And so this love extends further, perhaps, to the vision of a country that can rise from all this — of a future Ukraine where human rights are respected. Where perhaps we no longer need a Center for Civil Liberties to fight for them. Perhaps a vision of the world where the spirit of shared humanity prevails.
Russian President Putin welcomed Wang and told him that relations between Beijing and Moscow had entered a new phase.
Wang told Putin that the two nations often face “crisis and chaos, but there are always opportunities in a crisis and the latter could possibly turn into the former.”
China may not risk US sanctions that could result from sending arms to Moscow because of its own economic problems. But Beijing may also have an interest in the war being prolonged in the belief that it could distract the US and its military resources from Biden’s growing efforts to respond to China’s dominance in Asia.
And this new and complicated foreign policy picture is not just a problem for American diplomats. Rising challenges abroad as well, as the depletion of US and Western weapons stocks as arms are sent to Ukraine, pose questions about military capacity and whether current defense spending is sufficient. Republicans claim Biden snubbed voters facing economic and other problems even as he tried to position Democrats as protectors of working Americans.
And Biden vowed, “President Putin’s craven lust for land and power will fail, and the Ukrainian people’s love for their country will prevail,” he added.
Biden’s trip showed that the estrangement between the US and Russia is almost over.
Putin, for example, announced Tuesday that Russia would suspend participation in the New START nuclear treaty with the United States. Since Moscow stopped fully implementing the deal, it was not clear what impact this would have.
Any time the top two nuclear powers are not talking is dangerous — one reason why US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday Washington was willing to discuss the nuclear situation with Russia no matter what else was going on.
The US Ambassador to the United Nations warned on CNN Sunday that any steps taken to cross the US red line would be met with consequences.
A long-dragging conflict could lead to a split between the US and Europe. It could cause political dissent in Washington that would make it harder for Biden to fulfill his foreign policy goals.
So, there are many reasons why China – which has long seen the war in Ukraine through the prism of its rivalry with the US – may not be in a hurry to see the war in Ukraine end.
I’ll never forget the stories I heard on the Ukrainian-Polish border one year ago: Newlyweds who separated hours after saying their vows so the groom could return to the front. A tax preparer in Boston decided to leave her job and go back to her nativeUkraine with suitcases full of medical supplies. In addition to dropping off the fleeing women and children in the morning, the wife of the border guard would also pick up weapons and supplies at the Polish border.
It’s sad that people can survive waves of Covid but end up killing one another. It makes no sense to spend tens of billions of dollars on missiles, tanks and other aid when there is a need to help communities adapt to rising oceans and drying rivers. It is laughable that farmers in a breadbasket of the world have gone hungry. It was crazy that Vladimir Putin would want his own people to be part of him when he sent his soldiers into the country.
Governments gussy up war. Soldiers see victory as a way of hope and will to fight on. It’s death in a muddy foxhole. There is a fight over a frozen field. It is a new generational grudge that is decided by a generation. It cost $11 billion to lay a 970-mile route across the Baltic Sea. It’s some of the largest steel plants in Europe unable to produce or ship a single metal sheet. It’s a charming seaside city emptied out by bombings and siege.