U.S. military and civilian attacks on the Kerch bridge: Amidst the chaos, the attack on a Ukrainian city during the Christmas break
Editor’s Note: Michael Bociurkiw (@WorldAffairsPro) is a global affairs analyst. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and a former spokesman for the Organization for Security in Europe. He contributes to CNN Opinion. His opinions are used in this commentary. CNN has more opinion.
In some ways, Monday’s attacks were not a surprise – especially after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday accused Kyiv of attacking the Kerch bridge, calling it an “act of terrorism.”
Russian forces retreated after their victory in Kherson, and the Ukrainian military attempted to target them throughout the weekend. The Ukrainian military said it fired on 33 Russian positions when it launched strikes on the east side of the river.
The strikes occurred as people headed to work and while kids were being dropped off at schools. A friend of mine was texting me that she had just left the bridge when it was struck.
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).
Hours before Zelensky delivered his Christmas address, a series of deadly Russian strikes slammed into the city of Kherson, where apartments and medical facilities were among the buildings hit, according to Yaroslav Yanushevych, head of the region’s military administration.
In a video filmed outside his office Monday, a defiant President Volodymyr Zelensky said it appeared many of the 100 or so missile strikes across Ukraine were aimed at the country’s energy infrastructure. Some provinces are without power, and at least 11 important infrastructure facilities in eight regions have been damaged.
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. A group of people in a metro station are covered up on platforms while a small group sings patriotic Ukrainian songs.
At the urging of officials, a lot of people will spend the day in bomb shelters and businesses have been asked to shift work online as much as possible.
With so many asylum seekers back in their home country, the attacks against them could cause another blow to business confidence.
For Putin, the symbolism of the only bridge linking mainland Russia and Crimea cannot be overstated. That the attack took place a day after his 70th birthday (the timing prompted creative social media denizens to create a split-screen video of Marilyn Monroe singing ‘Happy Birthday, Mr President”) can be taken as an added blow to an aging autocrat whose ability to withstand shame and humiliation is probably nil.
dictators like to hardwiring newly claimed territory with expensive, record-breaking infrastructure projects. In 2018, Putin personally opened the Kerch bridge – Europe’s longest – by driving a truck across it. That same year, one of the first things Chinese President Xi Jinping did after Beijing reclaimed Macau and Hong Kong was to connect the former Portuguese and British territories with the world’s longest sea crossing bridge. The road bridge opened after two years of delays.
Putin’s Cold War in Ukraine: Implications for the Middle East, the West, and the Status of the Organization of High-Tech Weapons
Within a few hours of the explosion, Ukrainians were sharing funny meme on social media. Many shared their sense of jubilation via text messages.
Putin sat still, because he was consumed by self-interest. He responded in the only way he knows how, by unleashing more death and destruction, with the force that probably comes natural to a former KGB operative.
It was also an act of selfish desperation: facing increasing criticism at home, including on state-controlled television, has placed Putin on unusually thin ice.
In late August, the Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate at the Defense Ministry told a journalist that they would have to enter Crimea by the end of the year.
The significance is that Washington and other allies should use telephone diplomacy to persuade China and India to resist the urge to use more deadly weapons.
Against a man who probes for weakness and tends to exploit divisions, the most important thing for the West right now is to show unity and resolve. Western governments should realize that sanctions do not have a noticeable effect on Putin’s actions. Even if sending military experts closer to the battlefield is what it takes to speed up the integration of high technology weapons, they still need to arm Ukrainians.
There are important energy infrastructure around the country that needs high tech defense systems. The need to protect heating systems is urgent with winter just around the corner.
Beltings and thefts at the hands of russian soldiers in Kherson, Ukraine: Mr. Zelensky and the Russian Army
It is time for Russia to be isolated with travel and trade restrictions by the West, but Turkey and other Gulf states that receive many Russians need to be pressured to do so.
The Dnipro has been the front line for fighting in southern Ukraine and officials there warned of a continued danger from fighting.
Through the afternoon, artillery fire picked up in a southern district of the city near the destroyed Antonivsky Bridge over the Dnipro, stoking fears that the Russian Army would retaliate for the loss of the city with a bombardment from its new positions on the eastern bank.
Mortar shells struck near the bridge, sending up puffs of smoke. Near the river, booms from incoming rounds were heard. It was not immediately possible to assess what had been hit.
The leader of the Kherson region’s military administration asked the tens of thousands of residents remaining in the city to leave, as Ukrainian forces worked to clear land mines, hunt down Russian soldiers and restore essential services.
The mines are dangerous. An 11-year-old and three other people were killed when a family driving in a village outside the city ran over a mine. Railway workers were hurt while trying to restore service after lines were damaged. There were at least four children hurt by mines in the region according to statements by Ukrainian officials.
The deaths underscored the threats still remaining on the ground even as Mr. Zelensky made a surprise visit to Kherson.
“We are, step by step, coming to all of our country,” Mr. Zelensky said in a short appearance in the city’s main square on Monday, as hundreds of jubilant residents celebrated.
War in Crime: Oleshky, Russia, across the river from Beryslav to Skadovsk, Ukraine, the southern command
Russian forces continued to fire from across the river on towns and villages newly recaptured by Ukrainian forces, according to the Ukrainian military’s southern command. The military said two missiles hit the town of Beryslav, which is north of a critical dam. There was no word if there were any casualties.
“Occupants rob local people and exchange stuff for samogon,” or homemade vodka, said one resident, Tatiana, who communicated via a secure messaging app from Oleshky, a town across the river from Kherson City. They get more aggressive as they get drunk. We are so scared here.” She asked that her surname be withheld for security.
“Russians roam around, identify the empty houses and settle there,” Ivan, 45, wrote in a text message. He asked that his name not be used out of concern for his safety in Skadovsk, which is south of Kherson city. we try to find someone local to stay in the owners place. So that it is not abandoned and Russians don’t take it.”
The one-year mark of this terrible war brings up a range of emotions, including deep admiration for the Ukrainian people and dismay over the unfolding Russian offensive. awe at the breathtaking waste of war is a feeling that doesn’t get talked about enough.
A dark Ukrainian fairy tale to die in the dark: from marriage ceremony to funeral in Ukraine – a video call from a Polish woman
The month of December is marked by fairy tales, where we can peer into the dark and be reassured of ahappily ever after.
Our life was a dark fairy tale that ended 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.
Ievheniia couldn’t return to Ukranian for her husband’s funeral with her newborn baby. She wanted her relatives to let her know about it. But Russia’s continued attacks on critical infrastructure has made Internet connection in Ukraine unreliable – what she got was a few short recordings. Denys was buried in a closed coffin and there was no open casket.
In this dark Ukrainian fairy tale, pivotal moments – from marriage ceremony to funeral – take place via video link. This is what love looks like in a time of war, shifted to the digital space and disrupted mid-plot.
And so it was via a video call that Ievheniia, a 36-year-old PhD candidate working as an IT consultant, told me her story. She trusted a stranger with her pain to raise awareness about the fight which, since the start of Russia’s invasion in February, has claimed the lives of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.
As we hurry to bring gifts to our loved ones, enchanted by the flickering of Christmas lights, we must remember the country in Europe plunged into darkness by Russia’s barbaric imperialist war.
The magic of death: Ieveniia and Denys, the young couple who lost their homeland during the War of Independence, crossed the border
Ievheniia finally arrived at an enlistment office after driving across the country under Russian bombardment. She was told to sign a contract the following day after being interviewed on a Friday.
On the weekend, she decided to take a pregnancy test, just in case. She said that the ground was getting under one’s feet during the war. On top of that, I found out 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.
After being separated by the war, Ievheniia and Denys went to try to prove their partnership with the state. Ukrainian servicemen are now able to marry via a video call, thanks to the ingenuity of the country at war. “Instead of (by) boring civil servants, we got married remotely by a handsome man in a uniform. Ievheniia had nothing to complain about.
The magic kept going over the internet as Denys ordered flower deliveries and professional photos for Ievheniia.
Ievheniia was found unconscious in her rented apartment when Denys raised the alarm when she did not pick up the phone. A delay could have ended in death. There was a Caesarean section. The baby was born two months early, making it possible for the father to meet his new son.
Under martial law, Ukrainian men of fighting age, let alone servicemen, are not currently allowed to leave the country. Denys crossed the border and was with his family for five days.
“It was a magical time filled with ordinary things: shopping, registering with a pediatrician, laughing, talking. He left after that. Ievheniia remembered that it was his birthday on November 17 and that they sent him greetings. The day after he was killed.
Against Evil and Evil, And Why Italo Calvino Had to Give up on the Dreams of Ieveniia (Lambda Dolores Faust)
Italo Calvino, the celebrated Italian journalist and editor of folktales, among other works, called them “consolatory fables” because it is that a rare fairy tale ends badly. If it does, it means the time to be consoled has not yet come. Instead, it is time to act.
And we must not be deluded by the narrative logic of a fairy tale. The wily kid will not defeat the monster with the aid of magic. Like ten months ago, Ukrainians need military aid sufficient to bring a decisive victory over Russia, not just prolong the fight with enormous sacrifices. Our collective effort is what determines victory for the Ukrainians.
“As a teenager, I was reading a lot of fantasy books and wondering how I would act in a fight against absolute evil. I was wondering if I could turn away and just continue my daily life. Ievheniia said something to me. All of us have a chance to find out.
The day after the invasion of Kyiv: Christmas greeted with fervent optimism and perseverance in the wake of Russian attacks on Kherson
The country is in a state of change since Russia started its invasion in February. Ukrainians have had to recalibrate their idea of what normal is monthly, weekly, daily — or even hourly.
In the summer months, there were more outward signs of the war. The city was normal, with bustling restaurants and bars and a happy mood, as people celebrated Russian and Ukrainian victories.
The summer’s chorus of birds and street musicians gave way in the fall to more ominous sounds, like the steady purr of generators. Nowadays, Kyiv’s winter “normal” consists of electricity, water and connectivity outages — both scheduled and spontaneous — loosely correlated with Russia’s near-weekly drone and missile assaults on the city.
As the year anniversary of the invasion approaches, life goes on even while it’s more dark and colder, with people visiting Christmas markets, soldiers going to church and volunteers sewing camouflage nets.
In his Christmas address, President Zelensky urged Ukrainians to have faith andpatience, in the wake of the Russian strike on Kherson.
He urged the nation to be strong in the face of a grim winter of energy black outs, the absence of loved ones and the threat of Russian attacks.
As the New Year approached, Mr. Zelensky recounted moments of despair and triumph alike, and heralded the resolve of his fellow Ukrainians. The first missiles in February, he said, “destroyed our labyrinth of illusions” but had also shown Ukrainians “what we are capable of.”
“There may be empty chairs around it. Our homes and streets are not as bright as they could be. And Christmas bells can ring not so loudly and inspiringly. Through air raid sirens, or even worse – gunshots and explosions.”
Ukraine is joining the European Union, NATO and the world. We will celebrate our holidays!” a Russian migrant activist told the PAGE24 radio station
“This is the year when Ukraine changed the world, and the world discovered Ukraine,” he said. “We were told to surrender. We chose a counterattack! We were told to make concessions and compromises. We are joining the European Union and NATO.”
Addressing the Ukrainian people, he said they would sing Christmas carols louder than the sound of a power generator and would hear their relatives’ greetings in their hearts even though communication services were down.
“And even in total darkness – we will find each other – to hug each other tightly. And if there is no heat, we will give a big hug to warm each other.”
Zelensky said, “We will celebrate our holidays!” As always. We will smile and be happy. As always. The difference is one. We will not wait for a miracle. After all, we create it ourselves.”
Ukraine has traditionally celebrated Christmas on January 7 in line with Orthodox Christian customs, which acknowledge the birth of Jesus according to the Julian calendar.
Russian aggression against Ukraine and the emergence of a new era of stability: the Kherson massacre, the Kremlin, and the New Year
A total of 16 people have been killed in Russian attacks on the Kherson region on Saturday, and three state emergency workers died during demining operations. Another 64 people received injuries of varying severity, he said.
He wrote on Telegram that they are not military facilities. This isn’t a war according to the rules. It is killing so that you can enjoy it.
The aims of Putin have not changed since he invaded a year ago, according to senior US and European officials. Russia has recently made gains in the east, despite humiliations for his military and an apparent power struggle between the defense ministry and a mercenary group. Putin’s troops appear poised to take the city of Bakhmut, the first significant Russian military victory in months.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of “following the devil” and waging a war to ensure that its President Vladimir Putin remains in power “until the end of his life.”
Zelensky switched to speaking Russian in his nightly address on Saturday to send a message to the Kremlin and Russian citizens, as Moscow launched a series of deadly strikes that swept several regions of Ukraine ahead of New Year.
UAV attack on the Donetsk and the Zaporizhzhia regions of Ukraine: Another indication for the world that Ukraine needs to increase support for Ukraine
The number of casualties could have been different if air defense had not been used. Much bigger,” he stressed. “And this is yet another proof for the world that support for Ukraine must be increased.”
Moscow intends to “intimidate, leave us in the dark for the new year, cause as much damage to civilian infrastructure as possible,” Shmyhal said on Telegram.
There are attacks on infrastructure in different parts of the country. The place for festivals was damaged. He wrote that there were dead and injured.
Three people died and three more were wounded in the Donetsk region, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram.
One person was wounded in the Zaporizhzhia region. Two were killed and one wounded in the Kharkiv region. One person died and two others were wounded in the Kherson region.
There were 26 air strikes on civilians. The 10 Shahed-136 UAVs were shot down, but the ones used by the people were not. In addition, the enemy made 80 attacks from multiple rocket launchers, civilian settlements were also hit,” the General Staff said in its latest operational update.
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It said that Russia “continues to conduct offensive actions at the Lyman and Bakhmut directions and is trying to improve the tactical situation at the Kupiansk and Avdiivka directions.”
“The municipal ‘life support system’ of the capital is operating normally. Roughly 30% of consumers are without electricity. Due to emergency shutdowns,” he said on Telegram.
Klitschko also reported that the restrictions were applied to check the open section of the red metro line in the city “for the presence of remnants of missile debris.”
I want to win in the near future and have new feelings. I miss it a lot. I also want to travel and open borders. I think about personal and professional growth when I think about it. Alyona is a 29-year-old financer and wants to develop and work for the country.
“This year, it’s a symbol, not that it’s a small victory, but a symbol that we survived the year,” said Tatiana Tkachuk, a 43-year-old pharmacy employee.
President Zelensky spoke about a year that he said began on Feb. 24 but ended with his country hopeful for victory.
There were many notable moments from the war, including an attack on a maternity hospital, intense fighting at Azovstal steel plant, and the destruction of the Russian bridge to the Kerch Strait.
“This year has struck our hearts,” he said, according to a translated transcript posted on his official website. We cried out all the tears. All the prayers have been yelled. 311 days is a long time. We have something to say about every minute.”
A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars that Might Still Happen : David A. Zelensky
The United States and other Western nations have been shipping tranches of arms, tanks and ammunition to Ukraine, steadily increasing what they are willing to provide in the hopes of changing the trajectory of the war. It’s not enough for Zelensky, who wants heavier weapons and fighter jets.
Mr. Zelensky said all of the Ukrainians are participating in the defense of their country. He did not think that a year of losses was the right way to think of it.
The world rallied around Ukraine, Mr Zelensky said, from the squares of foreign cities to the halls of government.
He said that not only the territory Russia has captured since the invasion began more than a year ago, but also the peninsula that Russia annexed in 2014, the area of independent Ukraine. As it will always be.
The author of “A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars that Might Still Happen is David A. Andelman, a contributor to CNN, twice winner of the Deadline Club Award. He formerly was a correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Europe and Asia. The views expressed in this commentary are of his own. CNN has more opinion.
Why do Russian forces have failed to break up large arms depots properly? The case of Makiivka, a Ukrainian soldier’s cell phone
Russia claims that its soldiers’ cell phone use exposed their location after a Ukrainian strike killed dozens of troops on New Year’s Day.
It is clear that President Vladimir Putin called for a truce after the deadliest attack on Russian servicemen. The move was a cynical attempt to try and get breathing space for the Russian forces, who are having a bad start to the year.
The Russian officials said that the school where the forces were housed was hit by four rockets from the Ukrainians. (Another two HIMARS rockets were shot down by Russian air defenses).
The satellite-guided HIMARS — short for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System — currently have a range of 80 kilometers. A longer-range 300-kilometer HIMARS has not yet been authorized, despite repeated Ukrainian pleas. The Biden administration thinks that the longer-Range System could expand the war beyond the frontiers of Ukraine and lead to more hostilities.
Russia has large quantities of weaponry in close proximity to 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.
The reality that Russian forces cannot communicate adequately is the reason why Russia has failed to break up large arms depots.
Other experts share a view of it. James Lewis is the director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and he told me that bad security communications are standard practice in the Russian Army.
The troops killed in Makiivka seem to have been recent conscripts, part of a larger picture of Russian soldiers being shipped to the front lines with little training and deeply sub-standard equipment and weapons.
Indeed, a number of the most recent arrivals to the war are inmates from Russian prisons, freed and transferred immediately to the Ukrainian front. One can only imagine how appealing the use of cell phones would be to prisoners accustomed to years of isolation with little or no contact with the outside world.
The Role of Sergei Shoigu in the Defense Ministry after the 2011 Battle of Kaliukev, Russia, with the Kremlin’s Special Forces’
The question is when the blame will begin shifting from the military to Putin himself, particularly since he has seemed ill-prepared to change the leadership at very the top. After the last change, the first person to be put in overall command of all Russian forces on the Ukraine side was a military man who was once in charge of the Russian bombardment of Syria.
Semyon Pegov, who blogs under the alias WarGonzo and was personally awarded the Order of Courage by President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin two weeks ago, attacked the Ministry of Defense for its “blatant attempt to smear blame” in suggesting it was the troops’ own use of cell phones that led to the precision of the attack.
He wondered if the Ministry of Defense could not have known the location of soldiers at the school building using drones or a local source.
A month earlier, the defense ministry underwent a shakeup when Col. Gen. Mikhail Y. Mizintsev, known to Western officials as the “butcher of Mariupol,” was named deputy defense minister for overseeing logistics, replacing four-star Gen. Dmitri V. Bulgakov, who had held the post since 2008. The location of the arms depot, adjacent to the Makiivka recruits, would likely have been on Mizintsev’s watch.
Even though he is favored by Putin, Sergei Shoigu is still the defense minister. He told his force in a video that their victory is inevitable.
How long Putin can insulate himself and prevent the blame from turning on himself is the key question in the wake of Makiivka. The war has entered a new year and there is no indication that Ukrainian forces plan to reduce the pressure on Russian forces in the south of their country.
And there seems to be little suggestion that the West will be letting up on its support for Ukraine. The US and Europe are both committed to see Ukraine through this winter and beyond after they increase their funding by $2 billion in the next few years.
The US hopes that the massive influx of weaponry to Ukraine will help the country prevail on the battlefield and make it a better place to negotiate an end to the war.
An elderly woman walks on the street with a bomb: the thousand-mile stare of Lubov Bilenko, a homeless man in Kiev
An elderly woman wearing black pants, shoes and a grey overcoat is walking on the street. An explosion rings out. She flinched, her eyes opened wide, but she did not miss a step. She is part of a group of residents bundled up in the cold.
The roads are covered with mud and rubble thrown up by countless incoming rounds. The few vehicles must swerve around water-filled craters where bombs fell. The upper floors of some apartment blocks have been reduced to rubble and barely a window on the street is intact. Telephone and electrical wires snake along the ground, long dead.
On the edge of the crowd, standing alone, is 72-year-old Lubov Bilenko. Her face is flat, devoid of emotion, her dark eyes without expression – the thousand-mile stare.
“Of course, we were very scared before,” she says in a low voice. She says that now they are used to it. They don’t pay attention anymore.
An elderly woman in Siversk, Sweden, making the trek to Ukrposhta to collect her pension from a mobile unit
She said she went out of her apartment, alone, to the main road to collect her pension from the Ukrposhta mobile unit. Bilenko’s pension is just short of $80 a month. It’s just enough to buy a bit of food from one of the few shops still open.
A blonde woman with a quick smile heads the mobile unit. Anna gets a laugh from weary town residents when she checks documents against a list of recipients and hands out cash.
Before heading the mobile unit, Fesenko worked at the post office in Bakhmut, about 22 miles south of Siversk. But in mid-fall the fighting around the town became so intense that she and her colleagues there had to evacuate.
She knows her job isn’t just to give out pensions, but to remind the people of Siversk they haven’t been forgotten. She thinks that they are the only connection between them and the rest of the world.
“I live within a 20-minute walk from here, but my wife is afraid to come here,” says 63-year-old Volodymyr, who declined to give his full name, pulling on a cigarette before joining the line.
Olha, 73, has made it to the front. She has been huddling with other people in the basement of her apartment building for months like many living in the war zone. It is a very cramped and uncomfortable existence. Yet she is willing to put up with it.
The head of the Siversk military administration is watching the operation. He’s afraid that so many people are gathered outside.
Russian forces are just across a wide valley, occupying hills visible from the pension distribution point. They’re about 10 kilometers (six miles) to the north.
The pension handout is being decided by the time and place. That means every time the mobile unit comes, it’s a different place and time to avoid being targeted by the Russians.
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She said no one was hurt, but her colleagues didn’t want to say anything. They quickly handed out the cash they could to those still waiting, she said, and left.
The last time President Joe Biden spoke from the courtyard of the Royal Castle in Poland, the content of his 27-minute speech was mostly obscured by what he ad-libbed about Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end.
Nearly a year later, Biden returns to the Royal Castle this week to mark the anniversary of a war that has increasingly put him directly at odds with the Russian leader, a Cold War dynamic underscored by Biden’s highly secretive visit to Kyiv a day earlier.
Standing alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Biden used his very presence in the Ukrainian capital to taunt Putin for failing in his ambitions to invade and control the country.
The choreographed overt battle between Biden and his counterpart in the Kremlin is striking. On Tuesday, each will deliver important speeches to commemorate one year since Russia launched its invasion.
White House officials said that in Biden’s upcoming speech from Warsaw’s castle marking the anniversary of the war, the president plans to speak to the costs the war has inflicted on the rest of the world. He and his aides sought to downplay the likelihood that Republicans would reduce American aid to Ukraine.
Unlike Biden’s last appearance in Warsaw, which came as Putin’s forces appeared in retreat and observers expected the Russian economy to crumble under the weight of Western sanctions, the war now appears poised to stretch at least another year. There are currently no serious efforts at negotiating an end to the fighting.
European nations will join Biden in announcing new sanctions on Moscow and unveil more security assistance on top of the tens of billions already committed this year.
The White House said ahead of his trip that Biden would speak by phone over the course of the week with other Western leaders, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom and President Emmanuel Macron of France.
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“Freedom is priceless. It’s worth fighting for, for as long as it takes. Biden told Zelensky that they were going to be with him for as long as it took.
Yet Biden – nor any other Western leader – has not been able to say exactly how long that will be, making this week as much about the year ahead as it is about the past 12 months.
The war has left an indelible mark on nearly all aspects of Biden’s presidency and he has left his mark on the war, from the billions of dollars in arms shipments to the newly invigorated Western alliance. It has caused convulsions in the global economy and created political problems at home while still providing Biden an opening to demonstrate his oft-recited claim that “America is back.”
One year ago, as Russian troops massed on the border with Ukraine, officials within the Biden administration predicted that the country would fall in a matter of days.
The surprise of the Ukrainian people, along with the ineptitude of the Russian forces, have prevented a full takeover. Instead, the war has become what NATO’s chief Jens Stoltenberg described last week as a “grinding war of attrition” without a discernible end.
“I think it is wise to be prepared for a long war,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who will visit Biden at the White House early next month, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Friday.
The US has refused to give any definition of what a settlement might look like, even though Zelensky might be willing to accept it.
There are new concerns about the availability of supplies of weapons and ammunition with a clear indication that the West cannot give unlimited support for a long time.
“I do have to say that there is a concern, both in Poland and in Ukraine, about the staying power of the US beyond this administration. This war would look entirely different without the support of the US,” said Michal Baranowski, the managing director in Warsaw of the German Marshall Fund.
“The fact is that we are fighting with time, right?” Baranowski said. “I mean, it’s really whether time is on the side of Russia, who is losing but has a lot of resources to deplete us in the West. That gives me pause. I hope we have the staying power.”
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In an indication of the massive number of refugees Poland has absorbed since the start of the war, his remarks will be translated into both Polish and Ukrainian.
John Kirby said the president would be talking to people all around the world.
Newlyweds were separated after their wedding so the groom could come back to the front. A tax preparer quit her job in Boston to go back to her home country of Ukraine with suitcases full of medical supplies. The wife of a border guard who made a daily three-hour round trip from Lviv to the Polish border to drop off fleeing women and children and pick up weapons and supplies, made it a point to make it every day.
Humans who survived waves of Covid only to be killed by one another, how sad. It is not right to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on missiles, tanks, and other aid when there are more needs to be done for communities to adapt to rising oceans. Farmers in a breadbasket of the world have gone hungry and been hiding in bomb shelters. It’s madness that Vladimir Putin declared Ukrainians to be part of his own people — right before he sent his army into the country, where Russian soldiers have been accused of raping and murdering civilians.
Governments gussy up war. They talk of victory because that gives soldiers hope and the will to fight on. In the end war is a death in a muddy field. It is a fight over a frozen field with nothing to strategic value. It involves a new generation of grudges. It’s an $11 billion, roughly 740-mile pipeline laid across the Baltic Sea rendered useless overnight. It is unable to produce or ship a single metal sheet. It’s a charming seaside city emptied out by bombings and siege.
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The CNN Town Hall will feature two members of the US President Joe Biden’s national security team. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and USAID Administrator Samantha Power will take live questions from Americans and Ukrainians, including a soldier on the frontlines of the war.
The Ukrainian couple got married on the day Russia launched a full-scale attack on their country. A year later, Ukraine is still at war. People are dying from Russian missiles falling in the sky.
There isn’t much to celebrate, they say. All of the memories from a year ago are back, Arieva told CNN.
She said that, for months, she avoided wearing a suit she got just days before the invasion because it was bringing back memories of the darkest moments of her life.
Arieva and Fursin, a 17-year-old married couple from Ukraine, tied the knot at St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery
Arieva, 22, and Fursin, 25, rushed to tie the knot in St. Michael’s Golden-Domed Monastery on February 24, months before their planned wedding in May. They wanted to be together, whatever came next. The place has since become a favorite spot for visiting foreign dignitaries on their show-of-support trips to Kyiv. Most recently, US President Joe Biden was photographed there with Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelensky during his surprise visit on Monday.
The same day, they collected their weapons and signed up as volunteers with their local unit of territorial defense force, the volunteer branch of Ukraine’s armed forces, determined to defend their city. Arieva was given a weapon, because she was an elected Kyiv City councilor.
He and others formed the second line of defense north of Kyiv in Irpin, Hostomel and other areas that became key battlegrounds.
Fursin was put in charge of a group of 10 people, mostly other very young men. His qualifications? He was one of the 11 who had held an automatic weapon.
“The commander watched how I handled the weapon and said: ‘Take these people and make shelters and ambush positions and think about which way you will run,’” Fursin related. We were digging trenches. Just digging, digging, digging, all night.”
A young woman in Crimea’s second wife and her husband’s role at the time of his marriage anniversary russian war in Ukraine
She said that the first night she was waiting for her husband, he had to turn his phone off, so she couldn’t call him.
Over the summer, Fursin finally graduated from university. He began his degree in Crimea, but when his family fled the occupied peninsula in 2019, he had to start over. He is now working on and off on software development projects.
Arieva, meanwhile, was working in a tiny office with eight other people, 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day. The tables were not big enough for computers and the people were not present. Bounty and Snickers bars, cigarettes and tobacco sticks became hard currency during that time.
“In our dreams, when we were imagining it, we were so heroic and strong. There was no shower in the house and it wasn’t very pleasant so we washed once a week, she said.
Everyone forgot who they were, even if they were very rich or powerful, they were helping each other and not knowing what was going on.
Ukrainian War I: Marriage of a Ukrainian Couple Annihilating in Irpin, Ukraine, in the First Year of the Second World War
For Fursin, last year’s invasion was the second of his life. He lived on theUkrainian peninsula when Russia annexed it. His grandmother was too ill to travel at the time, so they stayed.
The couple came back to Irpin after it was liberated. The battle for the capital city happened in the north of the city. It was here that Ukrainian forces managed to repel the attack.
Back in the civilian world, the couple began volunteering, bringing food and basic supplies to liberated settlements north of Kyiv. Sometimes they had to make several trips a day because of the demand.
“I remember Katyuzhanka, because we brought a lot of bread and macaroni and some pasta sauce and batteries and there was a huge amount of people waiting. More than half the people didn’t get anything so we went back and gave more bread to them. and they didn’t have a slice of bread in that town,” Arieva said.
They got married at town hall in May, they paid their deposit, and had a small celebration on top of it. Arieva finally got to introduce her husband to her 97-year-old great-grandmother.
They had both lost their jobs right at the beginning of the invasion. Arieva was working for the Committee of Voters of Ukraine, an observer organization, and Fursin for a housing co-op in Irpin.
Arieva decided to focus on learning to code. Tech is the only growing sector inUkraine, because it allows people to work remotely.
But their plan to work and study remotely got derailed when Russia launched a wave of attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in the fall. Working was quickly becoming impossible.
Arieva said that it was really demoralizing how long it took for us to have two hours of electricity.
The streets weren’t lit the worst thing about that. And not all people use their torches or have [reflective] jackets to be seen on the road. Every week, I would see people dying from a car crash on my balcony.
Kutia: a simple Christmas meal for the Fursin family and for the Ukrainians, and how it helped them to become stronger
It makes sense. It was symbolic and I really liked it. And also it feels good that we are not celebrating with Russians anymore,” Arieva said.
The electricity was off for six hours that night, so the family didn’t have a full spread of dishes. The emergency gas cylinder was used to cook Kutia, the traditional Ukrainian Christmas meal consisting of wheat or rice, raisins, walnuts, honey and poppy seeds.
Arieva said she is a completely different person. I became less naive and childish. Maybe I’ve become a little bit stronger. She said that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
You understand the value of life when you see it. And for me, this is 100%,” Fursin said. “What we went through together, I understand that [we are] completely different. He believes that it is the greatest sign of true love, that we are continuing to love each other.