The Year of Return of the Russian People: A Preliminary Address to the First Russian Embedding of the European Union into the Republic of Ukraine
Putin had other plans when he came to power in Russia. The Russian leader doesn’t accept the fact that Ukraine is a part of Russia. He claims that only Russia can protect Ukraine from foreign invaders.
Western weapons are still arriving in Ukraine, with the country’s spirits still high. Since the collapse of the patchwork of forces around the northeastern city of Kharkiv in September, the dynamic has been against Moscow.
Putin, however, attempted to claim that the referendums reflected the will of “millions” of people, despite reports from the ground suggesting that voting took place essentially – and in some cases, literally – at gunpoint.
“One wish for all Ukrainians,” he said. This year will be the year of return. The return of our people. There are soldiers who are sent to their families. People are to their homes. Immigrants — to their Ukraine. Return of our land. permanently free, and the temporarily occupied will become so.
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.
The main aim of Putin’s speech was to restore Russia as a major global power charged with protecting the Russian speaking world from the continued threat posed by Western forces.
Russia will now, despite the widespread international condemnation, forge ahead with its plans to fly its flag over some 100,000 square kilometers (38,600 square miles) of Ukrainian territory – the largest forcible annexation of land in Europe since 1945.
The Russian leader spoke in the chandeliered St. George’s Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace — the same place where he declared in March 2014 that the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea was part of Russia.
Hundreds of Russian members of Parliament and regional governors sat in the audience for Mr. Putin’s speech, as well as many of his cabinet ministers and the four Russian-imposed leaders of the occupied Ukrainian regions.
In his speech, Biden stressed that Putin is the villain rather than Russians, but did not mention that he thinks this is a war between Western liberalism and Russian traditionalism.
He showed how the British Opium War in china in the 19th century was one of many military actions by the Western world.
The United States, he said, was the only country to have used nuclear weapons in war. The leader of the Russian Federation said that they created a precedent.
The First Casualty in War: The Kremlin’s Defense of the Donbas and Vladimir Putin’s Defence of an Illegally Annexed Region
As the Kremlin planned the elaborate ceremony, Russia launched a whirlwind of strikes against Ukrainian towns and cities overnight Thursday to Friday, including an attack on Zaporizhzhia that Ukrainian officials said killed 25 civilians — a reminder of its determination to continue fighting.
Friday’s events include a celebration on Red Square. The decree will be formally ratified next week, said Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman.
The moves follow staged referendums held in occupied territory during a war in defiance of international law. Much of the provinces’ civilian populations has fled fighting since the war began in February, and people who did vote sometimes did so at gunpoint.
Cementing Russia’s hold over the two eastern regions, an area collectively known as the Donbas that Mr. Putin considers his primary prize, could allow the Kremlin to declare a victory at a time when hawks in Russia have criticized Russian forces for not doing enough to prevent recent breakneck gains by Ukrainian forces in the south and northeast of the country.
The military conscription Mr. Putin ordered on Sept. 21 to bolster his battered forces has set off nationwide turmoil and protest, bringing the war home to many Russians who had felt untouched by it. Men who were drafted because of their age or disability have been turned down.
It took more than an hour for the fall of Lyman to be mentioned on the main show of Russia, which is called “News of the Week” on Channel 1.
A day earlier, two powerful Putin supporters railed against the Kremlin and called for using harsher fighting methods because Lyman had fallen just as Moscow was declaring that the illegally annexed region it lies in would be Russian forever.
But the soldiers were forced to retreat because they were fighting with NATO soldiers, as was reported on the Sunday broadcast.
These are not toys anymore. The deputy commander of one Russian battalion mentioned in the show that they are part of an offensive by the army and NATO forces. The soldier insisted that his unit had been intercepting discussions by Romanian and Polish soldiers, not Ukrainians, on their radios.
Truth, the saying goes, is the first casualty in war. Nowhere is that more true than in Russia, where the Kremlin has engaged in a campaign of false advertising to sell its invasion of Ukraine to the public.
The father of a well-known nationalist commentator who died in a car bomb in August said in an interview that Russia was fighting a broader campaign.
In the past year, the West has funneled billions in aid and weapons to Ukraine because the outcome has global consequences. Victory by Russia could mean new rules to the world order that global powers have lived by to avoid a third world war.
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.
He said that the West had accused us of blowing up the gas line. “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 the mortal enemy who is not going to hesitate to use any means to achieve his goals.
The campaign may be working at the moment. Alexander Baunov is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and he said many Russians feel threatened by the West.
Putin was able to weather the unrest with his formidable and well-funded security apparatus, much as he was able to crack down on antiwar protests that broke out right after the February 24 invasion. And in the months that followed mobilization, Russia made some slow, grinding advances in Ukraine’s Donbas region, particularly around the embattled city of Bakhmut.
The Ukrainian military pushed ahead with its offensive in the east and south of the country despite claims by Putin that he had absorbed Russia territories.
The battle of David v. Goliath in Iran: the spark that killed Mahsa Amini in the London night of March 22
Editor’s Note: Editor’s note: Frida Ghitis, (@fridaghitis) a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a weekly opinion contributor to CNN, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post and a columnist for World Politics Review. Her views are not shared in this commentary. There is more opinion on CNN.
The two groups of demonstrators in London came together almost by accident. One of the people waved the Iranian flags while the other one waved the Ukrainian flags. When they met, they cheered each other, and chanted, “All together we will win.”
For decades autocrats have been gaining ground while democracies looked almost spent, in retreat. When we most expected, a ferocious pushback against two of the most brazen tyrannies has burst into view. In Iran and Ukraine the people have decided to fight for themselves because of their dignity, freedom and self-determination.
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 when she broke the rules of modesty that were violently enforced.
In defiance, Iranian women have stripped and flung their headscarves into the flames in the evening, dancing around fires in the night.
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.
The Russian War in Syria: How Has Putin Come to the West? The Case of Mahsa Amini and the Crimes of Vladimir Putin
Russia, which has been a dominant military force in Syria since 2015 and helps maintain the government’s grip on power, still keeps a sizable presence there. Changing the balance of power in one of the world’s most complicated conflict zones may lead to Israel rethinking its stance toward the Ukraine conflict.
Pro-Russian leaders have been installed in Ukraine by Putin. Ukrainians pushed back with massive street protests in 2004. And then again a decade later, leading Ukraine’s president to flee to Russia in 2014.
The worrying thing is that. In Russia’s bellicose information space, the talk isn’t about ending a horrific and wasteful war: It’s about correcting the mistakes that forced a Russian retreat, reinforcing discipline, and doubling down in Ukraine.
A growing list of “foreign agents” and “non-desirable” organizations intended to damage their reputation in Russia are added weekly.
Is it any wonder that Putin’s first trip outside the former Soviet Union since the start of his Ukraine war was to Iran? Iran has trained Russian forces, and it’s believed that Iran has provided Russia with advanced drones to kill Ukrainians.
While very different in their ideologies, these regimes share many things in common, like their willingness to project power outside of their home country and their use of repressive tactics.
Niloofar hamedi is a journalist who first reported on what happened to Mahsa Amini. In Russia as well, journalism is a deadly profession. So is criticizing Putin. After failing to kill Navalny, Putin’s people invented charges to keep him in a colony.
Many people in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen are curious about what could happen to the Iranian regime. It would be transformative for their countries and their lives, heavily influenced by Tehran. The constitution of Iran calls for spreading its revolution.
For the rest of the world, it’s a time of uncertainty and expectation. Seven months ago, some viewed Putin as something of a genius. It has turned into a myth of its own. The man who helped to suppress uprisings, entered wars, and tried to manipulate elections across the planet seems to have been cornered.
Peter Bergen works for CNN as a national security analyst, vice president at New America, and professor of practice at Arizona State University. Bergen is the author of “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” The views he expresses in this commentary are his own. CNN has more opinion on it.
The Soviet War, the Cold War, and the War Between Russia and the Soviet Union: A Trump-Russian Viewpoint on the War in Ukraine
The Ukrainian counteroffensive has taken key areas of Russian-controlled territory in the last few days, including the transportation hub city of Lyman.
With his allies expressing concern and hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing partial mobilization, an increasingly isolated Putin has once again taken to making impromptu speeches offering his distorted view of history.
He says that the reason for the war in Ukraine is because Russia has always been part of the country, even though it broke away from the Soviet Union more than three decades ago.
When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, they planned to install a puppet government and get out of the country as soon as it was feasible, as explained in a recent, authoritative book about the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, “Afghan Crucible” by historian Elisabeth Leake.
The US was hesitant to increase its support for the Afghan resistance because it feared a larger conflict with the Soviet Union. The Soviets had total air superiority in Afghanistan until 1986, when they were forced to withdraw after the CIA gave them anti-aircraft missiles.
War, however, is fluid and unpredictable. The decision by Germany, the United States and others to give main battle tanks to Ukranian may test Putin’s long game.
The rocket system has a range of 80 kilometers. A longer-range 300-kilometer HIMARS has not yet been authorized, despite repeated Ukrainian pleas. The longer-range system is worried that it could expand the war beyond the borders of Ukraine, leading to increased hostilities.
The Crimes of Czar Alexander Bialiatski: From the Russo-Japanese Regime to the Russian Collapse of the Soviet Union
Putin is also surely aware that the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was hastened by the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan two years earlier.
Looking further back into the history books, he must also know that the Russian loss in the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 weakened the Romanov monarchy. Czar Nicholas II’s feckless leadership during the First World War then precipitated the Russian Revolution in 1917. Subsequently, much of the Romanov family was killed by a Bolshevik firing squad.
Lawrence Freedman, the emeritus professor of war studies at King’s College London explains in his just-published book “Command: The Politics of Military Operations from Korea to Ukraine” how Putin plunged his countrymen into the Ukrainian morass.
During the First World War and the time of the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian empire was destroyed in two different ways.
Mr Bialiatski is under investigation, along with other jailed members of Viasna, for organizing protest, extremists and terrorist actions.
Bialiatski was well-wishers by the opposition politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. She said that the prize was an important recognition for the fight for freedom and democracy in the country. Political prisoners should be released without delay.
Though not widely known in the West, Mr. Bialiatski, 60, has been a pillar of the human rights movement in Eastern Europe since the late 1980s, when Belarus was still part of the Soviet Union but, inspired by the reforms of Mikhail S. Gorbachev in Moscow, was slowly shaking off decades of paralyzing fear.
He was active in Tutajshyja, or “The Locals,” a dissident cultural organization that helped lay the groundwork in the late Soviet period for a movement calling for the independence of Belarus.
He served for a time as the director of a museum honoring Maksim Bahdanovic, a poet who is considered a founder of modern Belarusian literature, but was forced out of that post when Mr. Lukashenko, who has now been president for 28 years, started cracking down on the Belarusian language and promoting Russian.
The Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine got the prize on behalf of Matviichuk, who wanted to ensure justice for those affected by the war.
“I hope this sends a strong signal to both Lukashenko and his prison wardens that the world is watching and will definitely punish the perpetrators,” Mr. Sannikov, who now lives in exile in Poland, said in an interview.
The 2011 charges related to money he had received from abroad to help fund the Viasna rights group, of which he was president, and were based in part on confidential banking information provided to Belarusian prosecutors by Lithuania and Poland. Mr. Sannikov said that the case demonstrated how the European authorities had helped Mr. Lukashenko.
Europe and the West in general “do not pay enough attention to human rights in Belarus,” he said, describing conditions in Belarusian prisons as “absolutely terrible,” including frequent use of torture and other abuses.
Natalia Satsunkevich, a Viasna activist who now lives in exile, told Dozhd, an online Russian television channel that has been shut down in Russia and now operates from abroad, that Mr. Bialiatski was being held in “inhuman conditions” in a decrepit prison inside a 200-year-old Minsk fortress.
The Oslo International Center for Civil Liberties (CIPRI) congratulates the Ukrainian president Vladimir Lukashenko on the Nobel Peace Prize 2022
Awarding him the Peace Prize, along with recipients from Ukraine and Russia, she said, was “very symbolic” and highlighted “how closely these countries are now connected by war,” although that concept met with criticism from some in Ukraine on Friday.
The Nobel Peace Prize, she added, had come as a “total surprise.” She said she had received a phone call, apparently from the prize committee in Oslo, early Friday but had been unable to hear what was being said because she was outside on a noisy street.
Noticing a flood of missed calls on her cellphone, she finally learned that her husband had been selected for the award when she called back a friend who had been trying to reach her.
Russian forces were allowed to use Belarusian territory as a staging ground for their invasion of Ukraine after Mr. Lukashenko repaid the Kremlin for its support.
Mr. Sannikov said he hoped that this would translate into support for Mr. Lukashenko’s opponents.
Human rights groups from Russia and Ukraine – Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties – have won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022, along with the jailed Belarusian advocate Ales Bialiatski.
When the winners were announced, the Norwegian committee stated that they had promoted the right to criticize power for many years.
Their win comes seven months after Russia waged a full-scale war on Ukraine, with the assistance of Belarus. That ongoing conflict loomed heavily over this year’s award, and it had been speculated that the committee would seek to pay tribute to activists in the affected nations.
“In collaboration with international partners, the center is playing a pioneering role with a view to holding the guilty parties accountable for their crimes.”
The head of the organization said she was happy that the Center had received the prize together with their friends and partners.
The Memorial Prize: A Prize for Civil Liberties in a Peace-Localized Universe, with a Special Tribunal to Prosecute Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko
She also called for the creation of an international tribunal to prosecute Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko for war crimes.
Memorial was founded in 1987 and, after the fall of the Soviet Union, became one of Russia’s most prominent human rights watchdogs. It has worked to expose the abuses and atrocities of the Stalinist era.
As the war grinds into a new year, Zelensky faces a fresh dilemma. How to balance growing pressure from outside for a ceasefire and negotiations with Russia, and expectations within Ukraine for a full Russian withdrawal to pre-2014 lines.
Dan Smith is the director of the International Peace Research Institute, and he tells CNN that the committee is trying to promote the importance of civil liberties in a peaceful society. That is a very important message according to me.
“This prize has a lot of layers on it; it’s covering a lot of ground and giving more than one message,” he added. The prize is about citizenship, and what is the best kind of citizenship if we want to live in a peaceful world.
“This year we were in a situation with a war in Europe, which was most unusual, but also facing a war that has a global effect on people all over the world,” Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the committee, told reporters.
Reiss-Andersen said the prize was not intended to send a message to Putin or any other individual. But she added that he represents “an authoritarian government that is suppressing human rights activists.”
The three winners will share the prize money of 10,000,000 Swedish krona ($900,000). The Nobel Prizes will be officially awarded to the laureates at a ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death.
When Vladimir Putin explains the Kremlin’s retreat from Lyman Island to Ukraine: Incompetent commanders, official accusations and martial law
The leader of the defense committee in Russia’s parliament demanded that officials stop lying and level with the public, in a recent interview.
Kartapolov complained that the Ministry of Defense was evading the truth about incidents such as Ukrainian cross-border strikes in Russian regions neighboring Ukraine.
Valuyki is in Russia’s Belgorod region, near the border with Ukraine. Kyiv has generally adopted a neither-confirm-nor-deny stance when it comes to striking Russian targets across the border.
It’s not necessary to cast a shadow on the entire ministry of defense of the Russian Federation, because incompetent commanders are responsible for the processes and gaps that exist today. Many say the Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu, could possibly shoot himself as a result of this situation. But, you know, the word officer is an unfamiliar word for many.”
But after Russia’s retreat from the strategic Ukrainian city of Lyman, Kadyrov has been a lot less shy about naming names when it comes to blaming Russian commanders.
Writing on Telegram, Kadyrov personally blamed Colonel-General Aleksandr Lapin, the commander of Russia’s Central Military District, for the debacle, accusing him of moving his headquarters away from his subordinates and failing to adequately provide for his troops.
“The Russian information space has significantly deviated from the narratives preferred by the Kremlin and the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) that things are generally under control,” ISW noted in its recent analysis.
Kadyrov – who recently announced that he had been promoted by Putin to the rank of colonel general – has been one of the most prominent voices arguing for the draconian methods of the past. He recently said in another Telegram post that, if he had his way, he would give the government extraordinary wartime powers in Russia.
Kadyrov said in a post that he would declare martial law throughout the country if it were his will, as he implied that Russia would consider threats against it.
Crossing a Red Line: Vladimir V. Putin’s Wall in Kiev and the Dnipro River, Near a Central Military Base in Kyrgyzstan
The barrage continued on a day when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to human rights activists in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, an implicit rebuke to Russia and its president, Vladimir V. Putin, for his invasion of Ukraine.
Overnight nearly 40 Russian rockets hit Nikopol, on the Dnipro River, damaging at least 10 homes, several apartment blocks and other infrastructure, according to the head of the regional military administration, Valentyn Reznichenko. He said that further shelling on Friday evening killed one man and wounded another.
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 moved to Ukraine during the summer from Canada. He is now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and previously a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
To add to Putin’s sense of humiliation, the bridge explosion came amid a surging Ukrainian counteroffensive that has seized key pockets of Russian-controlled territory, including in regions Putin recently annexed.
The significance of the strikes on central Kyiv, and close to the government quarter, cannot be overstated. Western governments should see it as a red line being crossed on this 229th day of the war.
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 several dozens injured.
In a defiant video filmed Monday, President Zelensky said many of the missiles used in the Ukrainian war were aimed at the country’s energy infrastructure. Some provinces are without power and at least 11 important infrastructure facilities have been damaged, according to the Ukrainian Prime Minister.
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.
Millions of people will be in bomb shelters throughout the day, at the insistence of officials, as businesses have been asked to shift work online as much as possible.
As the regions of Ukraine started to return to life, the attacks on asylum seekers were threatening to further damage business confidence.
The Russian dictator marked the anniversary of his unprovoked aggression – which has killed or wounded close to 200,000 of Russia’s own soldiers and turned some 16 million Ukrainians into refugees – by suspending Russia’s participation in a key nuclear arms deal that kept the threat of nuclear war at bay and giving a 100-minute speech to the country on Tuesday blaming Ukraine and its supporters for the war Putin started.
Hardwiring newly claimed territory with expensive, record-breaking infrastructure projects seems to be a penchant of dictators. In 2018, Putin personally opened the Kerch bridge – Europe’s longest – by driving a truck across it. The world’s longest sea crossing bridge, connecting the former Portuguese and British territories to China, was one of the first things Beijing did after taking control of Macau and Hong Kong. The road bridge opened after two years of delays.
What the West can do about Russia: preparing a new war of attrition for the 2022 Ukrainian revolution, and how Putin’s response to the blast in September 2016 was delicate
The explosion had a quick reaction among Ukrainians, which lit up social media channels. Text messages were used to convey jubilation by many.
Sitting still was not an option for Putin. In the only way he knows how, he unleashed more death and destruction with the force that likely came from a former KGB operatives.
It was also an act of selfish desperation: facing increasing criticism at home, including on state-controlled television, has placed Putin on unusually thin ice.
Ukrainian officials have been warning for weeks that Russia may be preparing a major new assault, perhaps to coincide with the anniversary of the 2022 invasion. 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 the troops went through the training, which is believed to mean that Russia is serious about a manpower intensive war of attrition.
It is important for Washington and other allies to use urgent phone diplomacy to stop China and India from getting even more deadly weapons, because they have leverage over Putin.
The West deals with Russia in a way that is delicate, considering that Russia has lost face in Ukraine and is struggling due to sanctions. Is a weak Russia something to fear, or just weak? This is the known unknown the West must wrestle with. But it is no longer such a terrifying question.
The Attacks of Monday, January 14: Russian Prime Minister Joe Biden, the National Security Council’s Strategic Communications Assistant, and the Defense Strategy for Kyiv
Furthermore, high tech defense systems are needed to protect Kyiv and crucial energy infrastructure around the country. It is important to protect heating systems with winter around the corner.
The time has come for the West to impose restrictions on trade and travel with Russia, but for that to have an impact on the country, it’s necessary for Turkey and the Gulf states to join.
The recent attacks have wreaked havoc on the city, causing them to lose the semblance of normal they had earlier in the war, and raising fears of new strikes.
The targets on Monday were less important than they had been due to Putin’s inability to destroy the Ukrainian army on the battlefield.
The bombing of power installations on Monday appeared to be a way for the Russian President to show how miserable he could be as winter sets in, even as his forces retreat in the face of Ukrainian troops.
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.
During his visit, US President Joe Biden unveiled a $1.8 billion package of assistance for Ukraine that includes a Patriot missile defense system – a longstanding request of Kyiv’s to counter Russian air attacks.
The National Security Council’s strategic communications assistant, John Kirby, suggested that Washington looked favorably on the requests of the Ukrainian government and was in contact with them almost daily. “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’d been planning for a long time. Kirby didn’t say that the explosion on the bridge might have accelerated some of their planning.
If the supply chains for diesel fuel for tanks 40 miles from its border do not work, how can they be sure that The Button will work, if Putin tries to press it? There is no greater danger for a nuclear power than to reveal its strategic missiles and retaliatory capability do not function.
The rush hour attacks in Ukraine may be the start of a further pivot in the conflict according to the French President.
“He was telegraphing about where he is going to go as we get into the winter. He is going to try to force the Ukrainian population to compromise, to give up territory, by going after this infrastructure,” Vindman said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“So imagine if we had modern equipment, we probably could raise the number of those drones and missiles downed and not kill innocent civilians or wound and injure Ukrainians,” Zhovkva said.
If Putin were to launch a campaign against civilians, it would be in an effort to break the faith of the Ukrainian people and possibly unleash a flood of refugees into Western Europe that would cause trouble for NATO allies.
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 Belgorod explosion as a test of the Russia–Ukraine–Russia war campaign: A live interview from the basement of Olena Gnes
Olena Gnes, a Ukrainian mother of three who is documenting the war on YouTube, told Anderson Cooper in a live interview from her basement on Monday that she was angry at the return of fear and violence in her country.
“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.
On Monday, state television not only reported on the suffering, but also flaunted it. It showed plumes of smoke and carnage in central Kyiv, along with empty store shelves and a long-range forecast promising months of freezing temperatures there.
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.
That is not to say that mobilized forces won’t be used. They could be used as support roles like drivers or refuelers, which would relieve the burden on the rest of Russia’s professional army. They could also put out units along the line of contact, cordon some areas, and place man checkpoint in the rear. They are, however, unlikely to become a capable fighting force. There are signs of discipline problems among soldiers who have been sent to Russian garrisons.
The Belgorod region, next to Ukraine, and the destruction of the municipal administration building in the city of Donetsk sent a signal that the chaos unleashed by Putin has spread far beyond the front lines.
The explosions, which Russia said were caused by Ukrainian shelling, occurred a day after 11 Russian soldiers were killed and 15 wounded when two men opened fire at a training camp in the Belgorod region.
Olya said about half of her customers have left the store. 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.
Men have been staying off the streets out of fear of being called up for a draft. As Olya came to work last Friday, she said, she witnessed the authorities at each of the four exits of the metro station, checking documents.
Olya like other women had not want their last name used, so they decided not to talk about it. “It is hard for me to know what to do. We always planned as a couple.”
The Russian invasion of Kherson and the resurgence of human rights in the region of Ukraine, according to Moscow’s mayor Sergey Sobyanin
Some regional officials — including the mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin — appeared to be taking pains to offer reassurances. Mr. Sobyanin said that no measures were being introduced to keep the normal rhythm of the city’s life.
And despite the new power granted them by Mr. Putin, the regional governors of Kursk, Krasnodar and Voronezh 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.
The people are worried that the strong men in the Kremlin will close the borders and they will do what they want.
On Tuesday, the commander of the Russian invasion acknowledged that the position of his army in Kherson was difficult, and that a tactical retreat might be necessary. He said he would make tough decisions about military deployment, but he didn’t give any clues about what those might be.
Russia meanwhile continues to stockpile arms and ammunition in large quantities close to the troops they will supply and well within range of enemy weaponry. Standard military practice dictates that large depots be broken up and scattered and that they be located far behind enemy lines — even within Russian territory that western powers have declared off-limits to Ukrainian strikes.
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 in easternUkraine under Russian control is probably greater than in the Spring of this year, given the length of the occupation, police officials said.
More than 1,000 people have been arrested and taken to police stations and temporary holding facilities across the region, said the police chief of the province. The real figure is probably two or three times that, he said.
People said that torture was not new. The signs of abuse were already apparent in some of the 534 bodies recovered across the region, the police chief said. “There are bodies that were tortured to death,” he said. “There are people with tied hands, shot, strangled, people with cut wounds, cut genitals.”
The French War on the Battlefield – David A. Andelman at the end of his win-win/the-rights era
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 correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View 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.
This ability to keep going depends on so many variables, including the availability of critical and affordable energy supplies for the coming winter, as well as the popular will across a broad range of nations with conflicting priorities.
The European Union powers reached an agreement in the early hours of Friday to control prices for energy at a time when they’ve gone up after embargoes on Russian imports and the cut in natural gas supplies from the Kremlin.
An emergency cap on the Dutch Title Transfer Facility is one of the things that will be included in these.
While President of France said that he had maintained European unity, he conceded there was only a clear mandate for the European Commission to work on a gas cap mechanism.
Germany is skeptical of any price caps. Energy Ministers must work with Germany to come up with details of the caps in order to avoid a burden on constrained supplies.
All of the divisions are part of Putin’s dream. Europe could prove central to achieving success from the Kremlin’s viewpoint due to the fact the continent fails to agree on essentials.
Germany and France are already at loggerheads on many of these issues. The conference call will be held on Wednesday in an attempt to reach some agreement.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the U.S. embassy in Kiev during the 2016 Ukrainian-Putin conflict
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 meanwhile, has expressed deep appreciation for Putin.
At a gathering of his party loyalists, Berlusconi described the 20 bottles of vodka Putin sent to him together with a very sweet letter, at his 86th birthday.
Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister in an Italian coalition, said during the campaign he would don’t want sanctions against Russia to harm those who impose them more than those who are hit.
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. Hungary’s populist leader Viktor Orban had pro-Putin sympathies and Poland took offense.
Kevin McCarthy, if Republicans take control of the House next month, said in an interview he thinks people are going to be sitting in a recession and that they will not write a blank check. They will not do it.
The influential 30-member Congressional progressive caucus called on Biden to open talks with Russia if they wanted to end the conflicts while their troops are still occupying vast stretches of the country and their missiles and drones are striking deep into the interior.
Hours later, caucus chair Mia Jacob, facing a firestorm of criticism, emailed reporters with a statement “clarifying” their remarks in support of Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to renew America’s support.
The US has offered $60 billion in aid since Biden took office and only Republicans voted against the aid package for Ukrainians last May.
Russia’s Nuclear Security and the End of the Cold War: What Do Ukranians Really Want to Learn From Their Mistakes?
In short, there is every incentive for Putin to prolong the conflict as long as possible to allow many of these forces in the West to kick in. A long, cold winter in Europe, persistent inflation and higher interest rates leading to a recession on both sides of the Atlantic could mean irresistible pressure on already skeptical leaders to dial back on financial and military support.
Ukrainians have learned that they are stronger than was expected of them. Have they learned from their mistakes? Military aid has been enough for the Ukranian to survive.
The West continues to try and crimp Russian energy profits, by capping the amount countries will pay for Russian oil and limiting seaborne oil imports. The efforts are cutting into profits.
According to the report, Russian hypersonic missiles have been virtually discontinued due to lack of necessary semi-conductors. Plants that made anti-aircraft systems have stopped making them, as well as aircraft being cannibalized for spare parts. The Soviet era ended more than 30 years ago.
A day before this report, the US announced seizure of all property of a top Russian procurement agent Yury Orekhov and his agencies “responsible for procuring US-origin technologies for Russian end-users…including advanced semiconductors and microprocessors.”
The Justice Department also announced charges against individuals and companies seeking to smuggle high-tech equipment into Russia in violation of sanctions.
Serious raped girls in Novosneens’ke, Ukraine: the story of the Russian puppet in the eastern part of Ukraine
There is still hardliners like the leader of the Russian puppet in the eastern part of the country who is trying to convince the Ukrainians. But if you don’t want to be convinced, we’ll kill you. We’ll kill as many as we have to: 1 million, 5 million, or exterminate all of you.”
How did people imagine Ukraine before Feb. 24, 2022? If pressed, some might have conjured mail-order brides and shaven-head gangsters roaming one big post-Soviet Chernobyl. But most probably didn’t think even that; instead, they didn’t imagine Ukraine at all. The country popped up on most people’s radar only in connection to Western political scandals and Russian war making. The Western journalist confessed to me recently that they had concluded that Ukraine was just like Russia, but without all the nonsense.
As the sun sets at the end of a long day, the two-man team arrives in Novovoznesens’ke, a village where they’ve uncovered two more cases of rape, allegedly by Russian soldiers. The next day, they return to Kyiv, to submit their findings.
Until early October, this area of the country was occupied by Russian troops. Burnt-out cars litter the fields. The letter ‘Z’ – a symbol used by Russian forces – marks the walls.
The UN says it investigated cases in the country of sexual and gender-based violence against people from 4 to 81 years old. 43 criminal proceedings had been initiated as of September.
In two weeks of work in the Kherson region, the team from Kyiv has documented six allegations of sexual assault. They say the number is probably much higher.
She says that they walked around the rooms. The one who raped me came in here. He came in and walked a little around the room, and then he started touching me.
She said he pinned her against the wardrobe and ripped at her clothes. She cried, begging him to stop, but he didn’t listen. I only thought of staying alive.
He warned her not to tell anyone, she recalls. She tells us that she didn’t tell her husband right away. “But I told my cousin, and my husband overheard. He said that he should have been told the truth but didn’t.
She spent three days at home, in a daze, too ashamed to step outside. She says she confronted the Russian soldier’s commander.
“His commander found the head of his unit. He told me that he punished him severely, but that the punishment was going to be the most severe. Like shooting. The commander asked me, ‘Do you mind this?’ I wish they will all be shot.
Shocked by lightning: a woman and her daughter tell Kleshchenko in a village where sexual crimes are not tolerated in Russia or Ukraine
The prosecutor and police officer face the horrors of occupation as they look for evidence of sexual crimes.
The village was behind Russian lines, but never directly occupied. The group of people said they had been abandoned for months with no help from either Russia orUkraine.
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 short drive down roads pockmarked by shelling, in Tverdomedove, a mother and daughter tell Kleshchenko that they have not heard of any sexual crimes in their one-road hamlet.
Months later, after the Ukrainian military liberated her village in a lightning counteroffensive, she returned. Shelling had reduced her roof to its rafters.
The first CNN flight from Kherson to the Russians: how putin invaded the Dnipro River in response to Russian invasion of Crimea
“I don’t know where to put it so that (the ceiling) won’t fall on my head,” she says. “If it would fall and kill me that would be better, so I won’t suffer. I want to see my boy 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.
For a lot of the journey through small towns and settlements, we had to drive through diversions and fields which were full of anti-tank mines.
The Russians left the western bank of the Dnipro River in the southern region of Kherson and the regional capital of that area to the Ukrainians on Friday.
The city’s residents have no water, no internet connection and little power. The crew from CNN entered the city center Saturday, and it was a happy place.
The streets of Kherson are now filled with residents dressed in Ukrainian flags and with painted faces, singing and shouting in celebration of Russia’s plan to turn the region into a pro-Russian republic.
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.
An old man and woman hugged a young soldier, with hugs on his shoulder, as CNN’s crew stopped to regroup.
Russian Escape from the Cold War: What have They Learned and Why? How Many Russians Have Left Russia During the First 10 Months of the War?
Hundreds of thousands of Russians have left the country, some out of principle or because they were facing persecution, others to avoid Western sanctions or the risk of being drafted into the military. Rights groups say that thousands of people have been taken into custody. Many others have been forced to withdraw from public life or lost their jobs, after hundreds of western companies withdrew from Russia and many local and foreign NGOs and campaign groups were shuttered.
With the occupiers gone, everyone wants you to understand what they’ve been through, how euphoric they feel right now, and how much they’re grateful to the countries who have helped them.
Everyone we have spoken to knows that there will be some tough days to come, because the Russians could shell them here. It is also unclear whether all Russian troops have left Kherson and the wider region. There is still uncertainty behind this euphoria.
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. The President has insisted that the missile was not Ukrainian.
One thing is definitely clear: whatever the circumstance of the missile, it is clear. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia bears ultimate responsibility for its war against Ukraine.
Russian retaliation has grown as Ukrainian forces have pushed back Russian units and reclaimed territory they lost in the first weeks of the war.
That said, a growing number of Russian soldiers have rebelled at what they have been asked to do and refused to fight. Amid plummeting morale, the UK’s Defense Ministry believes Russian troops may be prepared to shoot retreating or deserting soldiers.
In its first two months of activity, a Ukrainian military intelligence project called “I want to live” has taken off, booking about 3,500 calls, according to reports.
The clampdown has forced many people to reconsider their future in Russia. According to official statistics published by the Russian government, more than half a million people left Russia in the first 10 months of the year – more than twice as many in the whole of 2021.
One leading Russian journalist, Mikhail Zygar, who has settled in Berlin after fleeing in March, told me last week that while he hoped this is not the case, he is prepared to accept the reality – like many of his countrymen, he may never be able to return to his homeland, to which he remains deeply attached.
The U.S. Embrace in the Cold War: Implications of Putin’s Failure to Take a Leave on the Soviet Union
Rumbling in the background is the West’s attempt to diversify away from Russian oil and natural gas in an effort to deprive the country of material resources to pursue this war. “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 Western countries has not been fulfilled by Putin’s dream of driving wedges into the Western alliance. On Monday, word began circulating in aerospace circles that the long-stalled joint French-German project for a next-generation jet fighter at the heart of the Future Combat Air System – Europe’s largest weapons program – was beginning to move forward.
The winner of the peace prize in 1999 lambasted President Putin in his acceptance speech for the prize.
Ukrainian authorities have been stepping up raids on churches accused of links with Moscow, and some are watching to see if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy follows through on his threat of banning the Russian Orthodox Church in the country.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, and the Norwegian Prime Minister were in Paris for a dinner on Monday.
The conference in France will feature a video address from the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Fans, friends and family are celebrating the basketball player’s return to the US after she was released from a Russian prison. Meanwhile, some Republican politicians have been complaining about the prisoner swap and other U.S. citizens still held by Russia.
The State of the Ukrainian Revolution from the earliest times to the day of the February 1923 bnbb Abelian Collapse of the Second Republic of Ukraine
The measures to target Russian oil revenue took effect. They include a price cap and a European Union embargo on most Russian oil imports and a Russian oil price cap.
The church in the town of Melitopol is said to have been used as a Russian military base. Apparently, the Ukrainian forces used long-range artillery to reach targets in the Zaporizhzhia region.
Zelenskyy said that the city of Bkhamut was turned into burned ruins by Russian forces. Fighting has been fierce there as Russia attempts to advance in the city in the eastern Donbas region.
It was 2019. The commander in chief had traveled to Paris to negotiate a peace deal with Putin. Zelensky managed to get a few concessions even though many doubted him.
Here are the past recaps you can read. There is more of NPR’s coverage here. You can listen and subscribe to NPR’s State ofUkrainePodcast for updates throughout the day.
A Christmas Night in Poland: A Tale of Two Misunderstands Streamed Through the Lens of a News Channel and a Realist Human Rights Lawyer
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 about our life being akin to a dark fairy tale with a happy ending. And now it’s over,” says Ievheniia, a displaced Ukrainian woman in Poland who this December is nursing her two-month-old son – and raw grief for the child’s father.
With a newborn baby, Ievheniia was unable to travel back to Ukraine for her husband’s funeral. She asked relatives to livestream it for her. Russia has attacked critical infrastructure in other countries, making the internet connection unreliable in Ukraine. 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.
I have met a lot of people since the Center for Civil Liberties received the prize last year. They ask me what motivates me to go on. How do i get up in the morning, eat breakfast and have coffee and still be a human rights lawyer because of the terrible things that have been happening to the people of Ukraine?
The festive season is well underway in the streets of Warsaw. “Christmas is coming. Ievheniia said that people do not want to be reminded that someone is in pain. “And yet, they must be aware that this fight is unfolding right next to them.”
After driving westwards across the country under Russian bombardment, Ievheniia finally arrived at an enlistment office. She was interviewed on a Friday and told to return the following Monday to sign a contract with the Armed Forces.
She decided to take a pregnant test on the weekend. “With war and evacuation, the ground was slipping under one’s feet,” she said with a laugh. It was found out that I was pregnant.
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 fairy tale of a Ukrainian woman and her husband: A few days after the wedding of Ievheniia and Denys
The state separated Ievheniia and Denys after war, so they wanted to show their partnership in public. The everyday ingenuity of the country at war was at work; now, Ukrainian servicemen are allowed to marry via a video call. “Instead of (by) boring civil servants, we got married remotely by a handsome man in a uniform. I had nothing to complain about,” Ievheniia said.
In the following months, Denys kept the magic alive using the internet, ordering flower deliveries and professional photoshoots 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. There is a chance that a delay could result in death. A Caesarean section was followed. The father was able to meet his new son because he was born two months early.
Ukrainian men are not allowed to leave the country under martial law. Yet as is appropriate for a fairy tale, Denys got permission, crossed the border, and spent five days with his family.
It was a time of ordinary things, such as shopping and making a doctor’s appointment. He left after that. It was his birthday on November 17 and we sent him greetings,” Ievheniia remembered. “The next day he was killed.”
The fate of the child: a tale of ten months after the Russian army defeats the Russians in a final battle against absolute evil
Italo Calvino, the celebrated Italian journalist and editor of folktales, calls them consolatory fables because a rare fairy tale end badly. If that happens, that means there isn’t yet time to be consoled. Instead, it is time to act.
And we must not be deluded by the narrative logic of a fairy tale. The child won’t use magic to defeat the monster. Ten months ago, the Ukrainians needed military aid enough to bring a decisive victory over Russia, not just prolong the fight with enormous sacrifice. 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 I be able to turn away and proceed with my daily life?” Ievheniia told me. Today is the day that we have a chance to find out.
The First Year of Independence in Ukraine: Volodymyr Viatrovych, the Ukrainian parliament and the Ukrainian director of the House of Teachers
The Russian empire expanded with Ukranian. In the mind of many Russians, their empire cannot exist without Ukraine. Volodymyr Viatrovych, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and a prominent historian, said that they keep coming back because of that.
He lives near the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, which the Russians pulverized in the first days of the war. A man named Viatrovych tells of how he sent his wife and son to western Ukrainian for safety when Russia invaded Ukraine early in February.
He then drove to Kyiv for an emergency session of parliament, which declared martial law. He received his rifle by 2 pm so he could join the security forces.
Ukraine first declared independence from Russia in 1918, doing so in an elegant, whitewashed building in the center of Kyiv that still stands and now serves as the offices for the Kyiv House of Teachers.
As the new year approached, Mr Zelensky spoke of both triumph and despair, and he heralded the resolve of his fellow Ukrainians. He said that the first missiles had destroyed the labyrinth of illusions but also shown Ukrainians what they were capable of.
The windows were blown out, as well as parts of the glass ceiling in the hall where independence was declared in 1918. The windows have been boarded up. Shards of glass still cover the floor.
The director of the House of Teachers said that there are parallels to a century ago. The building was damaged in the fighting. And now it has been damaged again. But don’t worry. We will rebuild everything.”
“If you look at all the hardships that Ukraine experienced in the 20th century, and they’re vast, this is the moment where all the wrongs of the last hundred plus years need to be redressed,” he said.
In December 1991 the Ukrainians held a referendum on their independence. The vast majority of people voted for going their own way. The Soviet Union collapsed later that month.
Zelensky: From the battlefield to Russia to the end of Putin’s era: The story of a scrappy kid living in a rough neighborhood
Because “if he’s losing a war, especially a war of his own making, he doesn’t survive,” he said. The end of Putin’s era might be signaled by the outcome. It’s 21st century. It’s time for empires to go.”
When Kasparov entered politics in Russia 15 years ago, he challenged Putin’s hold on power. He relocated to New York when it became obvious that his safety was at risk.
The war is unlikely to produce a clear resolution on the battlefield according to military analysts. They think that it will require negotiations and compromises.
The region would be more stable ifUkraine joined NATO, said Valeriy Chaly, the former ambassador to the US. This is what Ukraine’s government wants, though joining the alliance is highly unlikely in the near term.
Being a buffer zone or gray zone is not good from a political point of view. “If you are a gray zone between two security blocs, two military blocs, everybody wants to make a step. This has happened with Ukraine.
“I believe we have a chance to end this.” He said that the Ukrainians were more prepared to fight than in 1918.
Zelensky was the leader of the recent memory and he was steelier and inspiring. NATO was more unified, and Europeans were more willing to lend a helping hand to Ukraine than anyone anticipated.
I witnessed Zelensky pull up to the lysée Palace with his modest car, while Putin drove away in an armored limo. The French leader hugged Putin but did not shake his hand.
Zelensky’s popularity ratings fell from the all-time high in the first few days of his administration to the lows leading up to Russia’s invasion.
Zelensky’s upbringing in the rough and tumble neighborhoods of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine shaped him into a scrappy kid who learned how to respond to bullies.
“After the full-scale invasion, once he got into a position of being bullied by someone like Vladimir Putin he knew exactly what he needed to do because it was just his gut feeling,” Yevhen Hlibovytsky, former political journalist and founder of the Kyiv-based think tank and consultancy, pro.mova, told me.
The leader when offered an escape from the US when Russia launched its full scale invasion quipped: “I need Ammunition, not a ride.”
The Voices of Petro Poroshenko: Red, White, and Blue on the Runway: A Conversation with Dan Zelensky in the midst of War
Amid the fog of war, it all seems a long, long way since the heady campaign celebration in a repurposed Kyiv nightclub where a fresh-faced Zelensky thanked his supporters for a landslide victory. Standing on stage among the fluttering confetti, he looked in a state of disbelief at having defeated incumbent veteran politician Petro Poroshenko.
The war appears to have turned his ratings around. After the invasion, Zelensky’s ratings approval went from 70% to 98% in a matter of days. Zelensky was rated highly by Americans for his handling of international affairs, compared to US President Joe Biden.
His previous career as a comedian in the theatrical group Kvartal 95 also includes many people. 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 the solace his nightly televised addresses brought in the midst of air raid sirens and explosions in Lviv, as well as his ability as comforter in chief.
“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. Most recently, she met with King Charles during a visit to a refugee assistance center at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family in London. (Curiously, TIME magazine did not include Zelenska on the cover montage and gave only a passing reference in the supporting text).
Despite the strong tailwinds at Zelensky’s back, there are subtle signs that his international influence could be dwindling. Zelensky wanted the price cap on Russian crude to be set at $30 in order to further hurt the Kremlin, but despite those pleas, the G7 imposed $60 a barrel price cap on Russian crude.
Within Ukraine, the economy continues to stumble from the impact of war and persistent missile and drone attacks on critical power infrastructure – including at least 76 strikes on Friday. As winter bites, millions of Ukrainians are enduring long periods without heat, electricity and water. Many say they are prepared to endure hardship for another two to five years if it means defeating Russia and that is indicative of the resilience that Ukrainians have displayed.
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. The tough man from Kryvyi Rih is sticking to his guns for the time being.
“Paradoxically, Zelensky achieved the thing that Putin most wanted to achieve but failed … to rally support domestically with a patriotic war in order to deflect and distract from his abject failures at home. Michael Popow told me that Putin felt that it was painful for him to see a comedian.
Zelensky said in a recent nightly video address that when the world is truly united, it’s 888-609- 888-609- 888-609- 888-609- 888-609-.
The speech connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to the revolution in our country, and also to our feelings that we want to be warm in our homes for Christmas, and to get us to think about the families of the people who are on the front lines.
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 believe that the Ukrainians have proven that they are a really good investment for the United States. They are not asking us to be there to fight their war. They’re fighting it themselves. They want us and our allies to use the means to win in order to defend themselves.
“I hope that they will send more than one,” she added. She noted there’s “been some reluctance in the past” by the US and NATO to provide advanced equipment, but added “We’ve seen with our own eyes how effective Ukrainian military is.”
Clinton, who previously met Russian President Vladimir Putin as US secretary of state, said the leader was “probably impossible to actually predict,” as the war turns in Ukraine’s favor and his popularity fades at home.
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.
Russia’s foreign ministry condemned what it called the “monstrous crimes” of the “regime in Kyiv,” after US President Joe Biden promised more military support to Ukraine during Zelensky’s summit at the White House on Wednesday.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said that no matter how much military support the West provides to the Ukrainian government, “they will achieve nothing.”
“As the leadership of our country has stated, the tasks set within the framework of the special military operation will be fulfilled, taking into account the situation on the ground and the actual realities,” Zakharova added, referring to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The most capable long-range air defense system on the market is known as the US Army’sPatriot, an acronym for Phased array Tracking Radar, and it has been asked for by the Ukrainian Government many times.
The Kremlin said that the sale of missile systems from the US to Ukraine will prolong the Ukrainian people’s suffering.
There weren’t real calls for peace. Zelensky told the US Congress on Wednesday that he needed peace and that’s what the 10-point plan devised by Ukraine is for.
Peskov told journalists, however, that Wednesday’s meeting showed the US is waging a proxy war of “indirect fighting” against Russia down “to the last Ukrainian.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday used the word “war” to refer to the conflict in Ukraine, the first known time he has publicly deviated from his carefully crafted description of Moscow’s invasion as a “special military operation” 10 months after it began.
Putin said his goal is to end the war rather than spin it. “We have been and will continue to strive for this.”
Nikita Yuferev, who fled Russia because of his stance on war, said on Thursday that he asked Russian authorities to prosecute Putin for spreading fake information about the army.
There was no decree to stop the special military operation, stated Yuferev. Thousands of people have already been condemned for words like that.
A US official told CNN their initial assessment was that Putin’s remark was not intentional and likely a slip of the tongue. However, officials will be watching closely to see what figures inside the Kremlin say about it in the coming days.
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’s claim that he is open to negotiating was roundly dismissed by Kyiv and the West as a ruse.
“We never refused, it was the Ukrainian leadership that refused itself to conduct negotiations … sooner or later any party to the conflict will sit down and negotiate and the sooner those opposing us realize it, the better,” he said.
The war in the Kremlin: bringing back the Russian people and dispelling the ill-afraid of the media
Russian President Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the Kremlin would invest a lot in the military. The initiatives include increasing the size of the armed forces, accelerating weapons programs and deploying a new generation of hypersonic missiles to prepare Russia for what Putin called “inevitable clashes” with its adversaries.
She said the Putin regime had done a great job of forcing out viable alternatives which were more democratic, but on the other side you fear of going into the streets if there isn’t a clear path forward.
“Everyone who is against the war saw their lives simply destroyed,” she told CNN. “We can’t complain now, because someone will immediately tell you – and quite reasonably so – that no one is interested in you right now. It’s Ukrainians who suffered the most. Of course, they are in much worse conditions now. But that doesn’t mean we’re okay.”
CNN is not publishing the woman’s name and is using a pseudonym at her request because of the risks to her personal safety. Speaking to foreign journalists about her involvement in the demonstrations – and even the use of the word “war” as opposed to the Kremlin-approved term “special military operation” – puts her at risk of arrest and potentially a lengthy prison sentence.
The Russian army was accused of “discredit” by high profile opposition voices because of their questions about its conduct or strategy.
The law has been used in Moscow to sentence a Kremlin critic to over eight years in prison, for speaking out about the killing of civilians by Russian troops. The Kremlin has denied any involvement in the mass killings, while reiterating baseless claims that the images of civilians bodies were fake.
Technical workarounds such as VPNs and Telegram still offer access to Russians seeking independent sources of information. But state media propaganda now blankets the airwaves favored by older Russians, with angry TV talk shows spreading conspiracies.
In October and September, the US Border Patrol had over 35,000 encounters with Russian citizens. The number of people who were expelled or apprehended by the border force doubled in the previous two fiscal years.
TheOK Russians, a non-profit helping Russian citizens fleeing persecution, said its surveys suggest those who are leaving are younger and more educated.
“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. Many people, including journalists and artists, got closed down because of their clubs in Moscow.
Maria said she remains determined to stay in Russia, even though all of her friends and her son have left. Her elderly mother can’t – and doesn’t want to – travel abroad, and Maria is not willing to leave her. “If I knew for sure that the borders would not be closed and I could come at any time if my mother needed my help, it would probably be easier for me to leave. But knowing that something else could happen at any moment scares me,” she told CNN.
She is struggling to see hope for the future because she still believes her work is important. Like Olga, she described her own life as a perpetual cycle of panic, horror, shame and self-doubt.
You’re torn apart, are you to blame? Is there more you should have done? Can you do something else or not, and how should you act now?” she said. “There are no prospects. I have no idea what will happen next but I am an adult and I know what will happen. Now nobody understands anything. People do not understand what will happen tomorrow.
He began to question his own identity. “The things we held dear, like the memory of the Second World War, for instance, became completely compromised,” he said, referring to Putin’s baseless claim that Russian forces are “denazifying” Ukraine.
The idea that the Russian army helped to win the war against Germany is part of the national identity of the Russian people, it feels wrong now because Putin used it. He said that he researched pre-war rhetoric in Germany because of a favorable reaction to the invasion by parts of the Russian society.
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. Since I’m a Russian, I also have some partial responsibility for what’s happening, and I do not want to hide it.
Maria, a historian by training, has spent years taking part in anti-government protests, describing herself as a liberal deeply opposed to Putin, a former KGB agent. I knew that the person who led our country should not have had any involvement in the KGB. It is too deeply rooted with horrors, deaths and all that,” she said.
Berzina said that the expectation of some in the West – that “once people start feeling as though their leaders are doing wrong, that there is an immediate wave of protests on the streets and call for government change that actually has an effect” – does not reflect the reality of life in Russia.
Most of the opposition leaders and opinion leaders are either abroad or in prison. People have a huge potential for political action, but there is no leader and no power base,” she said, adding that civilians will not come out against the armed police, the National Guard, and other security forces.
“It is probably difficult for people from democratic countries to understand the realities of life in a powerful autocracy,” she said. “It’s a terrifying feeling of one’s own insignificance and helplessness in front of a gigantic machine of death and madness.”
Ukrainianraine’s Massive Missile Attack: The Night Before the Storms Revisited (by Laura Kovalchuk)
Explosions rattled villages and cities across Ukraine on Thursday, damaging civilian infrastructure and killing at least three people in what Kyiv has called one of Moscow’s biggest missile barrages since the war began in February.
Anna Kovalchuk said she wouldn’t let the Russians ruin her celebrations. I am worried that New Year’s Eve will be spent in the dark, because there is likely to be no electricity. But I began to prepare myself for such a scenario in advance, stocked up on garlands, power banks, so the blackout would upset us, but not stop us,” she told CNN.
Halyna Hladka made breakfast for her family so they could have something to eat when the sirens sounded in the capital. After nearly two hours, they heard the sounds of explosions. She told CNN she thought they were close to her area, but it turned out to be air defense. The new year will be celebrated with the family even if there is an attack.
After the sirens gave the all clear, life in the capital went back to normal, Hryn said: “In the elevator I met my neighbors with their child who were in hurry to get to the cinema for the new Avatar movie on time.” Parents took their children to school and people went to work, while others continued with holiday plans in defiance.
Kiev’s missile assault campaign on Thursday: Russia’s withdrawal from the Ukrainian territory and a “special military operation” after the Zelensky agreement
As the war looks set to stretch into another year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that Moscow will not negotiate with Kyiv on the basis of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s proposed 10-point peace formula, which includes Russia’s withdrawal from all Ukrainian territory, a path to nuclear safety, food security, a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes, and a final peace treaty with Moscow.
Forty percent of Kyiv residents were without power, mayor Vitali Klitschko said, adding that this was due to security measures taken by power engineers during the air raid alarm and that they were now working to resume services. “The city is supplying heat and water in normal mode,” Klitschko said on the messaging app Telegram.
At least three people, including a 14-year-old, were injured and two people pulled from a damaged home on Thursday, Klitschko said earlier. Homes, an industrial facility and a playground in the capital were damaged in attacks on Kyiv, according to the city military administration.
Authorities in Odesa, in southern Ukraine, said that emergency power outages had been rolled out amid the missile attacks. DTEK said the threat of missile attacks to avoid damage to energy facilities is why they introduced them.
The Ukrainian military said that the majority of cruise missiles fired at Ukraine on Thursday were intercepted, with its defense forces shooting down 54 of 69, according to preliminary data. Klitschko said 16 missiles were destroyed by Ukraine’s air defenses over Kyiv.
Putin said his forces were embarking on a “special military operation.” The campaign would last about a week.
The War in Ukraine Has Left Russia Isolated and Struturing with More Tumult ahedriahe: The Legacy of a Fundamentally Unbroken History
If anything, for me, the son of Ukrainian immigrants in Canada, this has been a war of history repeating itself – from the forced deportation of upwards of 2.5 million Ukrainians, including 38,000 children, to the stealing of Ukrainian grain to the wanton destruction of Ukrainians museums, libraries, churches and monuments.
Yet the war has also fundamentally upended Russian life — rupturing a post-Soviet period in which the country pursued, if not always democratic reforms, then at least financial integration and dialogue 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 anti-gay laws have been expanded by the state, which argues that the war inUkraine reflects a broader attack on traditional values.
They are still targeting repressives for now. Some of the new laws are still unenforced. The measures are intended to crush dissent should the moment arise.
New “fake news” laws made it difficult for leading media outlets and innovative, online investigative startups to stay in their home countries.
Restrictions extend to internet users as well. American social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook were banned in March. Since the beginning of the conflict, the internet regulators in the Kremlin have blocked more than 100,000 websites.
Russia’s Military Campaign During the First Seven Years of the Cold Cold War: The Trouble with the External Relations of the Soviet Union and the United States
Thousands of perceived government opponents — many of them political activists, civil society workers and journalists — left in the war’s early days amid concerns of persecution.
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.
Even though Russians remain a sensitive issue to former Soviet republics, some countries that have absorbed Russians predict their economies will grow.
Russia’s ruble lost nearly all of its value and its banking markets looked shaky during the invasion. McDonald’s and ExxonMobil are two of hundreds of global corporate brands that have closed or reduced their operations in Russia.
Europe is betting that it will blink first when it comes to sanctions, as Europeans grow frustrated with rising energy costs at home. It was announced that there would be a ban on oil exports to countries that abide by the price cap.
The government’s tone isn’t changed when it comes to Russia’s military campaign. Russia’s Defense Ministry provides daily briefings on every successes. Everything is going according to plan, says Putin.
Yet the sheer length of the war — with no immediate Russian victory in sight — suggests Russia vastly underestimated Ukrainians’ willingness to resist.
The true number of Russian losses – officially at just under 6,000 men – remains a highly taboo subject at home. Western estimates place those figures much higher.
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.
It wouldn’t have been possible in the Soviet era to criticize Russia’s actions for their own sovereignty. India and China have eagerly purchased discounted Russian oil, but have stopped short of full-throated support for Russia’s military campaign.
Every day of the war has struck our hearts: the word of Vladimir Zelensky from a thousand years of Russia’s occupation and history of the country
The state of the nation address was originally scheduled for April but was delayed and won’t be done until next year. The annual “direct line” in which Putin fields questions from ordinary Russians was canceled.
An annual December “big press conference”, where the Russian leader can handle a lot of questions from pro-Kremlin media, has been tabled until the year 2023.
The Kremlin doesn’t have a reason for the delays. Many believe it could be that after 10 months of war, the Russian leader has run out of good news to share.
President Zelensky of the Ukranian spoke of a year that began with fear over Russia’s invasion but ended with his country hopeful for victory.
Standing in darkness with a Ukrainian flag rippling gently in the breeze behind him, Mr. Zelensky recounted in a videotaped speech many notable moments from the war — including the attack on a maternity hospital, the intense fighting at the Azovstal steel plant, the destruction of a Russian bridge to Crimea, the retaking of Kherson, the sinking of a Russian flagship — as the video cut to footage that underscored his words.
“This year has struck our hearts,” he said, according to a translated transcript posted on his official website. We have cried out all the tears. All the prayers have been said. 311 days. We have something to say about every minute.”
The Crimes of Crime: Crime against Crime, Propaganda in Crime and Discrimination, and the Challenge to Recover the Faith of the West
By March, my initial shock and fear of the war turned into a desire to act through sports. Athletes could make a difference against Russian propaganda. We had to tell the truth about how brave we are and how strong we are. How we have united to defend our country.
The world has risen up around Ukrainians, from the halls of government to the main squares of foreign cities.
To those who thought that nukes were not an oxymoron in 2022, you could not casually threaten people with nukes as the destruction that they brought was complete.
Europe is left dealing with a set of 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 met the West that was willing to give some of its weaponry to the eastern part of the country. 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. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Now that Europe has, what can it do to prepare?
Key is just how unexpectedly unified the West has been. Despite being split over Iraq, fractured over Syria, and partially unwilling to spend 2% of GDP on security for NATO members, Europe and the US have been speaking from the same script on Ukraine. At times, Washington appears warier and there have been outliers. But the shift is towards unity, not disparity. It is quite a surprise.
The prospect of a Russian defeat is in the broader picture: that it did not win quickly against an inferior adversary. Some people on state TV talked about the need to take the gloves off after Kharkiv, as if they wouldn’t expose their fist. The Russian military will fight for decades to regain even a semblance of peer status with NATO. That is perhaps the wider damage for the Kremlin: the years of effort spent rebuilding Moscow’s reputation as a smart, asymmetrical foe with conventional forces to back it up have evaporated in about six months of mismanagement.
America has done this before. The soviet union eventually accepted the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis after changing their mind in just a matter of days. Had red lines been used, the US might have accepted an inferior compromise to its security and credibility.
The Crimes of Makiivka: How Russian Servicemen, Soldiers, and the Military Respond to Putin’s Call for a Stop
Regardless of whether or not Russia lost 400 men in the attack, the result is the same: Russia has the highest death toll since the war started more than a year ago.
If the Russian account is accurate, it was the cell phones that the novice troops were using in violation of regulations that allowed Ukrainian forces to target them most accurately. The attack was executed by Ukraine, but it did not state how. But the implications are broader and deeper, especially for how Russia is conducting its war now.
It is telling that days after the deadliest known attack on Russian servicemen, President Vladimir Putin called for a temporary ceasefire, citing the Orthodox Christmas holiday. The move was a cynical attempt to get breathing space amid a bad start to the year for Russian forces.
Russian officials said that four Ukrainian-launched HIMARS rockets hit the vocational school where its forces were housed, apparently adjacent to a large arms depot. Russian air defenses shot down two more HIMARS rockets.
Chris Dougherty, a senior fellow for the Defense Program and co-head of the Gaming Lab at the Center for New American Security in Washington, has told me that Russia’s failure to break up or move large arms depots is largely a function of the reality that their forces cannot communicate adequately.
It’s a view shared by other experts. James Lewis is the director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Compounding the problem, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said after the recent Makiivka strikes that “the Russian military has a record of unsafe ammunition storage from well before the current war, but this incident highlights how unprofessional practices contribute to Russia’s high casualty rate.”
He is not the only one who believes in doubt. “As expected, the blame for what happened in Makiivka began to be placed on the soldiers themselves,” said a post on the Telegram channel known as “Grey Zone,” linked to longtime Kremlin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group of mercenaries. This is an attempt to throw off the blame, and it is to 99% a lie.
A lot of the inmates from Russian prisons have been freed and sent to the Ukrainian front after arriving in the war. It’s hard to imagine how appealing cell phones would be to prisoners who have spent a long time isolated from the outside world.
Semyon Pegov, who blogs under the alias WarGonzo and was personally awarded the Order of Courage by President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin two weeks ago, attacked the Ministry of Defense for its “blatant attempt to smear blame” in suggesting it was the troops’ own use of cell phones that led to the precision of the attack.
He questioned how the Ministry of Defense could be “so sure” that the location of soldiers lodging in a school building could not have been determined using drone surveillance or a local informant.
A month later, the ministry had a change when the deputy defense minister was appointed and the four-star general was removed from his post. The location of the arms depot, adjacent to the Makiivka recruits, would likely have been on Mizintsev’s watch.
Still, Putin-favorite Sergei Shoigu remains defense minister — as recently as Saturday, before the Makiivka attack, telling his forces in a celebratory video: “Our victory, like the New Year, is inevitable.”
Investigating the nature of forced relocation, deportation and adoption of Ukraine’s children: Russia needs to immediately halt forced transfers and deportations
There seems to be no suggestion that the West will let up on its support of Ukraine. The US and Europe, which recently committed to raising funding by $2 billion in 2023, appear to be determined to see Ukraine through this winter and beyond.
This week the US was said to be considering sending Bradley armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine. Light tanks would be sent by the French President, but Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had been pushing for heavier tanks. All of which puts German Chancellor Olaf Scholz under increasing pressure to add its powerful Leopard 2 tanks to the mix.
“The fact that these are transfers and deportations of children is unconscionable by any standard,” the note said. “Russia must immediately halt forced transfers and deportations and return the children to their families or legal guardians. Russia needs to give lists of relocated and deported children, as well as access for independent observers, to related facilities within Russia-occupied areas of Ukraine and inside Russia itself.
There are 43 facilities in the network that stretch from one end of Russia to the other and include Russian-occupied Crimea, the eastern Pacific Coast and Siberia.
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.
Many children are sent to camp with the consent of their parents for an agreed duration of days or weeks and returned to their parents as originally scheduled, according to a report.
The lack of contact that a child has with her parents, or only intermittent contact, is causing real and possible harm on a daily basis.
The report said it “identified several dozen federal, regional, and local figures directly engaged in operating and politically justifying the program,” and “at least 12 of these individuals are not on U.S. and/or international sanction lists.”
Raymond noted that “we are not here today making the genocide conclusion, but we are saying that this system is consistent with the statutory basis in both the Rome Statute and the Genocide Convention in terms of the prohibition on transferring children from one group to another.”
State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that “Russia’s system of forced relocation, reeducation and adoption of Ukraine’s children is a key element of the Kremlin’s systematic efforts to deny and suppress Ukraine’s identity, its history and its culture.”
The US State Department stated in a media note that the deportation of protected persons is a grave violation of the Fourth Declaration of the Convention on Protection of Civilians and constitutes a war crime.
One Year of Putin-War-UKraine-Russia-Wrap-Opinions-ctpr: What Have I Learned?
I was supposed to be in Kyiv on February 24. My husband broke his shoulder a few days prior and we had to stay in Moscow. At 9:00 a.m. that day he had surgery.
In the space of a year, the war has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more. It has unleashed unfathomable atrocities, decimated cities, driven a global food and energy crisis and tested the resolve of western alliances.
Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin: A New Life in a Strange Land. Memories from a New State of Life in Odesa, Ukraine
Zaporizhzhia, February 23, 2022. I went to bed thinking that my husband would celebrate his birthday the next day. Our life is getting better. My husband was running his own business. Our daughter made a lot of friends at school. We were lucky to have arranged support services and found a special needs nursery for our son. I finally had time to work. I felt happy.
Completely exhausted, crushed and scared, we had to brace ourselves and come to terms with our forced displacement. I will forever be grateful to everyone who helped us adjust to a new life in a foreign land.
My husband got a job in the Czech Republic as a result of the opportunities provided for Ukrainians. The classes my son attended were for special needs. He now attends an adaptation group for Ukrainian children and has a learning support assistant. My daughter goes to a Czech school while studying in her Ukrainian school remotely.
He is a journalist and former editor in chief of the Dozhd TV news channel. He is the author of a book. Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin” and upcoming book “War and Punishment. Zelensky and Putin are involved in the path to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
That morning we woke up to learn that the invasion started. The war was co-signed by a dozen Russian writers, directors and cultural figures. After it was published, tens of thousands of Russians added their signatures.
On the third day we, my husband and I, left Russia. I felt like I had a moral obligation to do it. I could no longer stay in the territory of the fascist state that I now call home.
We moved to Berlin. At the refugee camp next to the main railway station thousands of Ukrainians had been arriving every day, so my husband went to work as a volunteer. I began writing a new book. This is how it begins:
Russia has just fired missiles towards several Ukrainian cities, including my adopted city of Odesa. Air raid sirens blare as we bolt for shelter into enclosed hallways. My landlady has a pot of borscht that I need to use to make me feel normal.
During the re-telling of the stories of relatives shipped off to the Soviet prison camp, I feel the dark shadows in my father’s eyes. Stories of millions of Ukrainians who were starving to death in Stalin’s famine of 1932-33.
A year into the full-scale invasion, my passport is a novel in stamps. I teach Ukrainian literature in London and I get my lessons in courage in Ukraine.
My former classmates from Zaporizhzhia whom, based on our teenage habits, I expected to perish from addictions a long time ago, have volunteered to fight. My hairdresser, who was supposed to remain a pleasant summer child, went for a walk in the forest with her mother, grandmother and five dogs.
It hasPukiWikiPukiWikid 12 months of Russia’s terrorist bombings and energy disruptions, which the Kremlin and the West thought would fall in three days. The Russians have been able to bring the stars closer to eternity because of the dark winter nights.
It seems that since February 2022 we have experienced several eras. The euphoria was created when Putin received more than 80% approval from the population.
He canceled the future by aborting the past. It is easier to support Putin when the superiors decide how to handle you, and you take for granted everything you are told by propaganda.
I believe that what happened was a catastrophe and it is hard to adapt. I was labeled as a foreign agent because I was an active contributor to the events, increasing my risk and making people believe I was living in an anti-utopia.
On the evening of February 23 I washed my dog, cleaned the house, took a bath and lit candles. I have a cozy, one-bedroom apartment in a northern district of Kyiv. I loved taking care of it. I enjoyed the life I had. All of it – the small routines and the struggles. It was the last time my life mattered.
My phone buzzed from all the messages and missed calls. A red headline in all caps on the Kyiv Independent website read: “PUTIN DECLARES WAR ON UKRAINE.”
“For whom do we document all these crimes?” – A quotation from Gen. Mark Milley during the pre-war era as a Ukrainian citizen
I remember talking with my colleagues in a attempt to get a small army of volunteers together to strengthen the newsroom. And calling my parents to organize buying supplies.
The life I knew started to fall apart, mostly due to small things. It no longer mattered what cup I used to drink my morning tea, or how I dressed, or whether or not I took a shower. The battle did everything else and life ceased to matter.
Just a few weeks into the full-scale invasion it was already hard to remember the struggles, sorrows and joyful moments of the pre-war era. I can no longer relate to the way I felt about my boyfriend. On February 24, I lost my life, it was stolen from me.
And besides the obvious battles, there was another one to fight – trying to claim my life back. The life Russia stole from me and millions of Ukrainians.
I was no longer concerned with my personal ambitions. The only important thing to do was to raise the flag and to show that we are still fighting.
I didn’t like my victories on the track. Because so many defenders had perished, they were only possible. But I got messages from soldiers on the frontline. It was my main goal to continue my career because they were so happy to follow our achievements.
Life values have changed. I enjoy seeing and talking to my family and friends. And like other Ukrainians, I believe in our victory and that all of us will return to our beloved country. We need the assistance of the world.
Gen. Mark Milley believed this was a critical moment. “The battlefield, as difficult as it is and as bloody as it is … is something that’s going to play a very major factor in both President [Volodymyr] Zelenskyy and President [Vladimir] Putin’s calculations as to whether or not to go to the negotiating table … and under what conditions.”
“This is something that leads me to the question – for whom 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 – a warning to the people of the neighboring world, or what putin wants to say about the war in Ukraine
Taiwan is keeping a wary eye on China and is learning from the war in Ukraine, according to Taiwan’s Foreign Minister.
“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.
“We’ve managed to avoid conflict directly between great powers,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NPR. “This system, for all its imperfections, works. But now it’s being challenged.
The Battle of Stalingrad, Russia: The Russian Opposition Leader’s Journey to Putin in the First Months of the Cold War and his Ruling with Putin
They tried to flee in the first days of the war, but the family car was shelled, Natalia believes, by Russian forces. Her husband was killed, along with her 6-year-old nephew, Maxim. Vova survived the attack but was hospitalized for months with seven bullets in his body.
The audio for this story was produced by Danny Hajek; edited by Barrie Hardymon and Natalie Winston. Carol Klinger, the production company’s manager, and others helped with additional editing and production help. They provided reporting and translation help.
Russian opposition leader is fond of the term “the wonderful Russia of the future,” a phrase he uses to describe a country without President Putin.
Protests and international sanctions have been ignored by Putin. Independent media and human rights groups have been branded as foreign agents or shut down entirely.
On the commemoration of the Battle of Stalingrad, Putin came to Volgograd which was renamed Stalingrad for a few days. The anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad is seen as a turning point in the Patriotic War, which is being prepared for, and is also used as an allusion to the second offensive against Ukraine.
Those who think a new war with Russia will come about quickly do not understand that a modern war with Russia will happen.
“A return to rapid warfare with tanks ruins this new strategy that Russia has just set its sights on,” Baunov wrote. “New people may also be needed to hold the front, and this is risky.”
Exactly why this is risky should be clear: The first mobilization caused major tremors in Russian society. hundreds of thousands of Russians voted. The police faced off against anti-mobilization protesters in many cities in the ethnic minority regions such as Dagestan. Russian social media saw a surge in videos and public complaints about the lack of equipment for new recruits.
The mercenary group says it doesn’t recruit prisoners, but it does have more success thanks in part to the success of Wagner. While the oligarch has no official government office or administrative power, his ability to deliver some results and his swaggering PR operation have vaulted him significantly closer to Putin.
How close, precisely, is a question of intense debate. Russian author and journalist Mikhail Zygar said in an interview with CNN that his ambitions to challenge Putin is the most hot topic for speculation in Moscow.
Against that backdrop, some Russians have taken refuge in a form of political apathy. CNN recently spoke to several Muscovites about how their lives have changed since last year, on condition that their names not be used while they criticize the government.
Ira, who works for a business publication, said he can’t really make a difference because there are so many changes in Russia. “I just try to keep some internal balance. Maybe I am too a political person but I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Ira said she felt acute anxiety in February and March of last year, immediately after the invasion. She was worried that work might stop and she would not be able to pay her mortgage after she bought an apartment.
She said that 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 of wine.
The restaurants are now full, she said, but added: “The faces look completely different. You know what they’re called. there are less of them.”
Russia’s independence from the Soviet Union and its impact on the world economy during the 2016 Russian War of Inflation and World War II: Olya’s perspective
Olya, a 51-year-old events organizer with two teenage children, said her family had opted for more domestic holidays. Europe is mostly closed to direct flights from Russia, but you can travel outside of Europe.
Life continues even though the war is on, Olya said. She said she could not influence the situation. “My friends say, we do what we can, what’s possible. It doesn’t help to be depressed.
Helping matters for the Russian government is the fact that some parts of the Russian economy are resistant to Western sanctions. The war has been costly for the government – the country’s Finance Ministry recently admitted it ran a higher-than-expected deficit in 2022, in large part due to a 30% increase in defense spending over the previous year – but the International Monetary Fund is projecting a small return to GDP growth for Russia in 2023 of 0.3%.
He said that those who reorganized quickly are seeing growth. In January, we did an unusual number of deals and February is when most of our activity picks up.
The cutoff of Western imports did not change anything, he said. “If we’re talking parts for a (Mercedes Benz) G-Class, it might be trickier.”
Biden’s surprise visit to Ukraine during the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a blow in the arm of the Soviet Union
He said he looked for other sources of information, and was skeptical of state media. And he acknowledged that he could theoretically be called up in another wave of mobilization.
I should explain. Chechnya was one of two new independent republics that sprang up after the collapse of the Soviet Union. (The other one was Tatarstan.) By that time the world leaders were fed up with the fact that all those union republics were still difficult to pronounce and that they had been seen as administrative units of Russia. The West was shocked at the new geography so independent Ichkeria had not a chance of being recognized.
As the world prepares to commemorate the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukranian, President Joe Biden made a historic,unnoticed visit to the capital.
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 unbelievable that the President of the USA is coming to Kyiv at a time like this when there is so much going on in the region,” said Andrei Ketov, a service member.
Recall that in the early days of the invasion, Ukraine said it found Russian forces had brought along their dress uniforms apparently expecting a victory parade.
When Vladimir Biden left the US to join NATO: “Don’t let the Russians take a stand, or do we have to take them seriously”
Biden is 80 and walks with a stiff gait. But he has no shortage of courage (air raid sirens sounded over Kyiv while Biden was there) or, crucially, competence.
Biden showed the plan before the war began, by showing how Putin planned to make it look like the war was caused by a Ukrainian provocation. Then he rallied the NATO alliance, which had been so grievously disparaged by former President Donald Trump.
Who can forget the infamous phone call after which Trump was impeached, when Zelensky implored the US President for help to deter an aggressive Russia? Even though he was scared of Biden, Donald Trump tried to get Ukraine to investigate him even though he claimed that Biden was weak.
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. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene called the trip “incredibly insulting,” a sign of an “America Last” policy. He claimed Biden would not help the US defend its borders and instead would help defend the borders of Ukraine.
The director of the Bashtanka Hospital said last week that several patients were undergoing surgery while others were in the labor ward.
All patients were safely evacuated, but health care workers turned up to work the next morning. They were cleaning up after the rain in the shoulder to shoulder with their friends and family. The facility reopened one day after being closed with plastic wrap for windows and no doors.
“We are the lifeblood of this district,” Barsehian said. Patients asked when the next appointment was for their doctor when she returned to the destroyed buildings, because she realized they had no choice but to carry on. We didn’t have time to deliberate, but we had to do our jobs, because people needed us.
The bomb in Bashtanka occurred just a month after a hospital in Mariupol was destroyed. The hospital was claimed to be a legitimate military target by Russian officials.
Christian De Vos, co-author and research director at Physicians for Human Rights said that the findings should be a wake-up call for the global community.
Nearly 200 medical workers, who at the time of war are protected under international human rights laws, were either killed, injured, kidnapped or arrested, the collaboration between the NGOs revealed.
Researchers documented 707 health care attacks between February and December 2022, including damage to facilities, such as strikes by ground-launched explosives, and other attacks, such as looting, denial of access to health care and disruption of patients’ access to utilities necessary for medical care.
Wille said that the pattern of warfare shown in the data was incompatible with the respect for international humanitarian law and needed to be addressed.
An implicit loss of health inUkraine is vast, according to Pavlo Kovtoniuk, a UHC co-founder. In recently de-occupied territories, there is a huge lack of health care services and pharmaceuticals.
Experts warn that civilians are left with hardly any access to medical care in areas that have seen active combat. Nearly 80% of Mariupol’s health care facilities are destroyed, leaving the city’s remaining population of 100,000, many of them vulnerable or elderly, practically on their own, according to previous research by the Ukrainian Healthcare Center (UHC) think tank, one of the report partners. Over three hundred thousand Mariupol citizens have either been forcibly relocated or died by June of last year, according to the City Council.
The International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over Ukraine’s acute healthcare infrastructure as a war crime: Report to the General Assembly and at a non-binding tribunal
For locations that were impossible to reach due to combat or occupation, a group of Ukrainian and international investigators gathered social media reports and checked them against satellite imagery to verify that the events actually took place, Kovtoniuk said.
Marchuk stated in an email last week that the health care infrastructure in Ukraine was deliberately targeted by Russian forces which amounted to a war crime under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.
The Geneva Conventions qualify indiscriminate bombing in populated areas, failure to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and intentionally directing attacks against distinctively marked medical units, transport, and personnel as war crimes. The UN considers the targeting of civilians a crime against humanity.
The coalition of investigators from the UHC, MIHR, PHR, Insecurity Insight and eyeWitness is urging the international legal community to investigate the evidence it gathered.
The report was damning, said Richard Goldstone, who was a justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He said in an email that it would help bring the criminals responsible for the atrocities to justice.
Evidence from the Tuesday report is likely to be presented at a non-binding tribunal this week in The Hague, Stephen Rapp told CNN. Rapp, a former US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues, is one of three judges hearing evidence on aggression in Ukraine. Rapp says the tribunal will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to confirm an indictment and issue an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. We hope that our proceedings will encourage the General Assembly to authorize the Secretary General to enter an agreement with Ukraine, to establish a tribunal with legal jurisdiction over aggression in the country, Rapp said.
What Do the Attacks in Bashtanka, China, Mean to Weaken, and Why Do We Live in a World Without Nuclear Warfare?
Back in Bashtanka, the hospital was rebuilt by the end of summer 2022 with the help of donors and volunteers from across the country, Barsehian said. And far from scaring the health workers away, the attacks have only made them more determined.
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 social media. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely her own. View more opinion on CNN.
For Americans who were born after the end of the Cold War, the threat of a nuclear war is terrifying and new, and so is it for those who lived through it.
But it’s not just about a renewed nuclear threat. The speech US President Joe Biden gave in Poland after visiting the country during the World War II was much different from the one Putin gave in Moscow because it emphasized a fundamental divide between autocracy and democracy. The world’s democracies have grown stronger, Biden said. “But the autocrats of the world have grown weaker, not stronger.”
Biden is correct that this is a fight 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.” There is a clear historical and contemporary relationship between conservatism and autocracy on one hand, and liberal tolerance and democracy on the other.
Conservatives aren’t required to be autocracy and the previous era of Russian autocracy was decidedly irreligious. The autocrats in Beijing, who are furthering their own nuclear arsenals and toying with providing material support to Russia, don’t necessarily bring conservative Christian principles to China.
They are embracing traditionalism, as well as having a backward-looking national identity. Among analysists of global authoritarians, a familiar refrain has emerged: Make [x country] This is great again. The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos wrote that China was trying to make it great again. Petraeus told CNN earlier this month that Putin set out to make Russia great again. And, of course, we all 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.
The majority of the differences are not between the East and West but between those who want liberal democracies that give everyone the rights they deserve and those who like strongmen who use the law to impose conservative values.
Trump vs. Putin: A Divide Between Russia, the United States, and the Coalition against the Crimes of Crime during the 2016 Ukrainian Revolution
Former US President Donald Trump notoriously praised Putin and trashed NATO, elevating the dictator’s status among pro-Trump conservatives. The Democrats had a more unfavorable view of Putin than the Republicans did, as of a year ago.
Tucker Carlson is a guest on Fox News who spouts pro-Putin propaganda. A newly- elected senator from Ohio said, “I don’t really care what happens to Ukrainian one way or the other.” Meanwhile, a former secretary of state praised Putin and a former Trump economic advisor said that Ukranian is not really a country.
Meanwhile, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene claimed that “NATO has been supplying the neo-Nazis in Ukraine with powerful weapons and extensive training on how to use them.”
Putin has positioned Russia as a beacon of Christian nationalists, standing against the decadence and secularism of the West. And many Christian nationalists, including in the United States, have gotten in line.
This is not just a divide between Russia and the US. It’s a divide within Russia itself, as the nation’s feminists, LGBTQ rights advocates, and democracy activists continue to push (often at great personal risk) for a freer and fairer 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.
Ukraine has made many steps on a democratic path that began during this revolution. Government was decentralized to give more rights to local communities. The legislation made it hard to hide misuses of power. Changes to our Constitution opened the way to judicial reform. There are lots of things that need to be completed, but we are on the right track.
What have we learned from the Maidan Square protests? A cry of human rights for a better understanding of the case of Ukranian
My organization, the Center for Civil Liberties, has been documenting abductions, illegal detentions, rapes, tortures and extra-judicial killings in the occupied territories since 2014. Since February last year, the river of horrors has turned into a flood.
The emotions I have experienced have changed over the past year. There is anger over the death and destruction that occurred in Ukranian. I have felt a rising tide of love as well.
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. Those protests kept on, despite the police beatings, and then the killings, because we believed in something better. And it came.
This love extends to the vision of a Ukraine where human rights are respected and where we can rise from all this. Maybe we don’t need a Center for Civil Liberties to fight for them. Perhaps even to a vision of the world where this spirit of shared humanity prevails.