Vladimir V. Putin: “The enemy of the United States” Addressing the Kremlin’s Year-Old Invasion of Crimea
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia signed decrees on Friday to declare four Ukrainian regions part of Russia as the Kremlin seeks to solidify its tenuous hold over Ukrainian territory through a widely denounced illegal annexation.
The St. George’s Hall of the Grand Kremlin Palace was the place where the Russian leader declared in March of this year that the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea was part of Russia.
Putin delivered his remarks days ahead of the one-year anniversary of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor. The assembled audience included uniformed soldiers the Kremlin said had come directly from the frontlines of Moscow’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
There is no justification for Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine that has been found by the UN General Assembly and the International Court of Justice.
Mr. Putin declared Western elites “the enemy,” one that is seeking to destroy Russia. They want to see us as a colony. “It is critically important for them that all countries give up their sovereignty in favor of the United States.”
He showed how many Western military actions have taken place over the centuries, from the British Opium War in China in the 19th century to Allied firebombing of Germany and the Vietnam and Korean Wars.
Ukranian annexation of the Donbas and Kherson and Zaporizhia provinces in the wake of Russian-Ukraine military action
The United States concluded years ago that small nuclear weapons are hard to control and are a far better weapon of intimidation and terror than tactical nuclear arms.
Russia launched a wave of deadly strikes across the Ukranian cities Monday, damaging critical infrastructure and killing at least 19 people.
The moves are part of a carefully orchestrated process designed to provide a veneer of legality for the annexation of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in eastern Ukraine and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Provinces in the south.
Russian President Vladimir Putin deployed tens of thousands of troops to protect and “demilitarize” Ukraine, its smaller independent neighbor and former satellite of both the Russian and Soviet empires.
Friday’s events include a celebration on Red Square. The decree will be formally approved next week, according to the Kremlin’s spokesman.
The moves follow staged referendums held in occupied territory during a war in defiance of international law. Since the war began in February, many of the provinces’ civilians have fled fighting and people who did vote often did so at gun point.
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 were drafted who were ineligible based on their age or disability.
Three people briefed on intelligence say that the US is considering how to respond to a range of scenarios, including the idea that Russians could use tactical nuclear weapons. The US developed contingency plans to respond to a range of possibilities since the beginning of the conflict, from the threat of a missile strike on Zaporizhzhi to the possibility that Putin could escalate via a step just short of a nuclear attack on Ukraine.
De Bretton-Gordon: It is all about scale – strategic nuclear weapons are basically Armageddon. Russia and the West (including the United States, Britain and France) both have almost 6,000 warheads each, according to the Federation of Nuclear Scientists, which is pretty much enough to change the planet as we know it. This is called Mutually Assured Destruction, with the rather ironic acronym MAD.
These warheads are fitted to Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) which can travel thousands of miles and are aimed at key sites and cities in the US, UK, France and Russia.
Tactical nuclear weapons have a yield of up to 100 kiloton of dynamite, instead of the roughly 1,000 kiloton for strategic nukes.
The most likely nuclear scenario is, I believe, an attack by Russia on a nuclear power station in Ukraine. It would be harder for the Russians to deny that Ukraine was bombing their own power stations since they are accused of deliberately bombing their own power stations.
De Bretton-Gordon: This is difficult to tell for certain, but my assumption is that Russia’s strategic weapons and ICBMs are probably in good condition and always ready. I expect that the Russian nukes will be well looked after because they now give them parity with NATO and the US in terms of weaponry.
The tactical weapons are likely not to have this kind of situation. The missiles and warheads are in good working order, but the vehicles they are mounted on are in poor condition. The condition of the rest of the Russian Army equipment on show inUkraine is indicative of this assumption.
Since 1945, the United States has not used a nuclear weapon in a nation state. It would be especially appreciated by the people who have been working hard to keep up their support for the war.
Also, it is likely these weapons rely on microprocessors and other high-tech components which are in very short supply in Russia – given international sanctions and the heavy use of precision guide missiles by Russia, which also use these parts.
The crux of the move is to attack civilians rather than opposition forces. The attacks on hospitals, schools and hazardous infrastructure are a result of this. If attacked, these can become chemical or nuclear weapons.
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Volodymyr Zelensky isn’t buying it. “We will not allow Russia to wait out and build up its forces,” he told the G-20 meeting in Bali earlier this month.
Meteorological conditions at the moment indicate that all this contamination would also head west across Europe. This could be seen as an attack on NATO and trigger Article 5 – where an attack on one ally is considered an attack on all allies – which would allow NATO to strike directly back at Russia.
De Bretton-Gordon: The use of strategic nuclear weapons is extremely unlikely in my opinion. The conflict in Europe is unlikely to lead to a global nuclear war, even if it did happen, as nobody can win it.
I am certain the checks and balances are in place in the Kremlin, as they are in White House and 10 Downing Street where we are not going to be getting into a nuclear conflict on a whim.
I hope the private discussions the Biden and Putin administrations have apparently been having are along the lines of, ‘you move your tactical nukes and NATO will take them out with long range precision guided missiles’. Jake Sullivan, the US National Security Advisers to the White House, disclosed the case over the weekend.
De Bretton-Gordon: I believe the Russians developed their unconventional warfare tactics in Syria. In 2015, Russian forces entered Syria’s civil war to support the Assad regime. Had Assad not used chemical weapons, he wouldn’t be in power.
The rebels were stopped from taking over Damascus by the nerve agent attack. The four-year conventional siege of Aleppo was ended by multiple chlorine attacks.
Putin has no morals or scruples. In Syria, Russia attacked hospitals and schools, and it is the same thing inUkraine. Putin appears to be happy to use all means and weapons to achieve his goal of breaking the will of civilians to resist.
According to a research scientist at the Center for Naval Analysis, Russia decided to keep its tactical arsenal. The decision has been driven in large part by what the Russian military sees as a vast gap in conventional weapons technology.
The attempted annexation of four districts through the current sham referendums makes the likelihood of tactical use very high, if these places are attacked. Local commanders should defer to Putin first before pressing their own equivalent of a red button.
Russia has seen public scrutiny of the top brass in Putin’s war. Within limits, of course: Criticizing the war itself or Russia’s commander-in-chief is off limits, but those responsible for carrying out the President’s orders are fair game.
Even in an attack on a power station one assumes Putin would be involved, as the West would likely construe it as an improvised nuclear weapon and act accordingly.
Immediately, our engagement was reduced to the grave Russian threat to Ukraine and the “security guarantees” Russia sought from the United States and NATO. It was apparent to me that the Russians had no intention of negotiating in good faith.
He stressed that Russia was open for a diplomatic solution, like what President Putin had said in recent days about 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.
The numbers that have left Russia pale in comparison to the more than 4.8 million Ukrainians who have registered as refugees across Europe because of the war, but the huge outflow of mostly educated people is having a significant impact on Russian society.
The 40 kilometers of traffic tailbacks at the border with Georgia are just one example of the growing perception that Putin is losing his touch at reading Russia.
Michael Kofman says emphatically he should not be called a Putinologist. He is an expert on Russia’s military, a specialty that nearly vanished during the fall of the Soviet Union. “The field of Russian military studies had almost died or was on life support,” he said. “So I found myself in many respects trying to work to help revive the field.” Kofman does this with his work at the Center for Naval Analyses. He’s also a regular on the podcasts with Alperovitch. He was born in Ukraine when it was still part of the Soviet Union and left at age 10, just before the 1991 Soviet breakup. Kofman went toUkraine in October of last year to view the war. Despite his deep knowledge, he’s wary of making predictions. “Military analysts like myself thought the war was going to come, but got the initial period of war — how the Russian military was going to actually invade and how those early weeks were likely to shake out — wrong ourselves. He spoke about how he spent time updating his views. He expects to return to the country of his birth. They are not planning to visit Russia in the near term. “I would love to go back and see, and just feel how the city and the country are experiencing this war, just to get a pulse, just to get a temperature check,” said Ioffe.
He used the same method of annexation as before, if the Western allies of Ukraine want to take it back, there will be potential nuclear strikes.
Russian stragglers in Lyman, Ukraine, and Putin’s resolve to resolve Ukraine’s war with China and the rest of the world
The first explosion occurred at around 2 a.m.local time and the second at 7 p.m.
Within hours, roiling patches of sea were discovered, the Danes and the Germans sent warships to secure the area, and Norway increased security around its oil and gas facilities.
There are at least four leaking pipes in Russia’sNord Stream, each at the surface resembling a boiling cauldron and each releasing industrial quantities of toxic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Brennan’s analysis is that Russia is the most likely culprit for the sabotage, and that Putin is likely trying to send a message: “It’s a signal to Europe that Russia can reach beyond Ukraine’s borders. So who knows what he might be planning next.”
Nord Stream 2 was never operational, and Nord Stream 1 had been throttled back by Putin as Europe raced to replenish gas reserves ahead of winter, while dialling back demands for Russian supplies and searching for replacement providers.
“I think this is a pretty grim picture, in part because Putin didn’t feel deterred in the first place,” Hill said. China may push Russia to break Putin’s resolve because of his support from the rest of the world.
With Scholz on his way to the diplomatic helm, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky may be forced to resort to revenge against Putin before peace talks can take place. The chancellor of Germany was at the forefront of friendly leaders in wanting a quick end to war and restoration of economic stability in Europe.
The war in Ukraine may have entered a new phase, and Putin may have his back against the wall, but an end to the conflict could still be a very long way off.
KRAMATORSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian forces on Sunday hunted Russian stragglers in the key city of Lyman, which was taken back from Russia after its demoralized troops, according to a major Russian newspaper, fled with “empty eyes,” and despite Moscow’s baseless claim it had annexed the region surrounding the city.
Two powerful Putin supporters railed against the Kremlin and called for using harsher fighting methods after Moscow declared that it would be Russian forever.
In an unusually candid article published Sunday, the prominent Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda reported that in the last few days of their occupation, Russian forces in Lyman had been plagued by desertion, poor planning and the delayed arrival of reserves.
The fall of Lyman was barely mentioned until after an hour of praise for Russia in the coverage of the Sunday political show “News of the Week” on Channel 1.
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The soldiers said they had been forced to retreat because of the fighting with NATO soldiers.
The Institute for the Study of War noted that the Russian Information space was fundamentally changing due to the battlefield setbacks and the unease in Russian society. That has included robust criticism not just from hawkish men of power such as Kadyrov, but from pro-war milbloggers who have often provided a granular picture of battlefield realities for Russian forces.
This nuclear propaganda is meant to “scare the West and appease the audience—and take their mind away from failures,” says Kateryna Stepanenko, a Russia analyst at the US think tank Institute for the Study of War and a frequent watcher of Russian TV.
In an interview with a far-right thinker, he said that Russia was fighting a broader campaign after the death of his daughter in a car bomb.
The European and Russian leaders have accused the western countries of sabotage in the wake of the underwater explosions that destroyed the German portion of the gas line.
He said that the West had accused them of blowing up the gas pipe themselves. “We must understand the geopolitical confrontation, the war, our war with the West on the scale and extent on which it is unfolding. In other words, we must join this battle with a mortal enemy who does not hesitate to use any means, including exploding gas pipelines.”
The nonstop messaging campaign may be working, at least for now. Many Russians feel threatened by the West, said Aleksandr Baunov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who is from Russia.
The United States and its major allies have been steadfast in their resolve to support Ukraine in its fight, and their people have largely accepted the enormous cost. The political resistance in the US has largely been limited to the far right and far left. As the war goes on, questions will be more common. As Representative Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the House, a Republican and a strong supporter of Ukraine, has warned, “There should be no blank check on anything.”
The Kremlin reflected the disarray of its forces on the ground, where territory was rapidly changing hands, acknowledging that it did not yet know what new borders Russia would claim in southern Ukraine. The spokesman of Putin said on Monday that the leader will continue to consult with the population of these regions.
The US believes that Mr. Putin is going to try to stop the Ukrainian counteroffensive by threatening to make some areas of the country unlivable. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe some of the most sensitive discussions inside the administration.
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Editor’s Note: Editor’s note: Frida Ghitis, (@fridaghitis) a former CNN producer and correspondent, is a world affairs columnist. She is a columnist for The Washington Post, and a weekly opinion contributor to CNN. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. There’s more opinion on CNN.
Two groups of protesters came together in London on Sunday. One was waving Ukrainian flags; the other Iranian flags. When they met, they cheered each other, and chanted, “All together we will win.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was never a run-of-the-mill border dispute. Even before it started, as Putin initiated – and continuously denied – his march to war, the importance of preventing Russia’s autocratic regime from gaining control of its neighbor, with its incipient democracy, was clear.
These David v. Goliath battles show bravery that is almost unimaginable to the rest of us, and is inspiring equally brave support in places like Afghanistan.
In Iran, the spark was the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini last month. Known as “Zhina,” she died in the custody of morality police who detained her for breaking the relentlessly, violently enforced rules requiring women to dress modestly.
In defiance, Iranian women have danced around fires and tossed their hijab into the flames, in scenes that were so joyful they could barely contain their laughter.
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.
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After all, it was less than a decade ago that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military entered Syria’s long civil war, helping to save the dictator Bashar al-Assad (as Iran had).
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. There is no sign of the tough guy backing down for the time being.
His forces have planted mines in vast stretches of territory in Kherson from which they’ve recently withdrawn – much as the Khmer Rouge did in Cambodia stretching back to the 1970s. Indeed, Cambodian de-mining experts have even been called in to assist with the herculean task facing Ukraine in 2022. The evidence of atrocities and torture left behind by the Russians is similar to those of the Khmer Rouge.
The repressive regimes in Moscow and Tehran are now isolated, pariahs among much of the world, openly supported for the most part by a smattering of autocrats.
Those adamant denials changed later, with Iran claiming it sold weapons before the war started, but those were not being used in Ukraine. Now, newly-declassified documents show the drones in Ukraine are identical to those Iran has used in the Middle East.
These are two regimes that, while very different in their ideologies, have much in common in their tactics of repression and their willingness to project power abroad.
Niloofar hamedi was one of the first to report what happened to Mahsa Amini. In Russia as well, journalism is a deadly profession. Evaluating Putin is doing the same thing. Putin’s people made charges to keep him in a colony indefinitely after trying to kill Navalny.
There is much more to interest the people in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other countries in the event that the Iranian regime falls. It would be transformative for their countries and their lives, heavily influenced by Tehran. Iran’s constitution calls for spreading its revolution.
Is Putin really in control of power? Rumors are now flying inside the country about another wave of mobilization. The cracks in the wall of state propaganda are starting to show, even as signs of elite competition are emerging in Moscow.
Biden seems to be thinking about how this crisis will end. He seems to have been wrestling over the very same questions about escalation and avoiding a moment of no return that President John Kennedy faced in 1962 in his game of nuclear poker.
Biden’s use of the word “Armageddon” has drawn all the headlines, but the context of that remark is critically important. The idea that Russia can deploy tactical strikes is not a sign of half measure or step below maximum escalation, according to the White House.
He is not joking when he talks about his military being significantly subpar and the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.
A press pool is allowed in for some remarks, but presidents are less guarded during political events, often not on camera. The President’s comments on the nuclear issue, his most stark on the issue since the war inUkraine started, might not have happened in a news conference. The White House has walked back comments it made about how the US would respond to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
We want to figure out what Putin’s off ramp is. Mr. Biden said, adding: “Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself now that he has lost his face and power?
The President may have been thinking of Kennedy’s commencement address at American University in Washington in 1963 in which he reflected on the lessons of the Cuban missile crisis and the risks posed by weapons that could end the world.
“To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy – or of a collective death-wish for the world.”
With that in mind, Biden appeared to be making an argument, which Putin will now be sure to hear about, that the idea that the use of a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine could be contained and not lead to a wider conflagration is wrong.
The entire strategic logic between maintaining nuclear weapons for self-defense is that they are too terrible to be used, and any nation that did would be writing their own death warrant.
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“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Mr. Biden told a crowd at the second of two fund-raisers he attended on Thursday evening.
His comments underscore the most important mission of his presidency – shepherding the world through the most dangerous nuclear brinkmanship in 60 years.
Peter Bergen is an analyst for CNN, a vice president at New America and a professor of practice at Arizona State University. Bergen is the author of “The Cost of Chaos: The Trump Administration and the World.” The views expressed in this commentary are his own. CNN has more opinion on it.
KYIV, Ukraine — Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Wednesday that his “special military operation” in Ukraine is taking longer than expected but said it has succeeded in seizing new territory and added that his country’s nuclear weapons are deterring escalation of the conflict.
Hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing partial mobilize were the reason for Putin to make vague speeches about his distorted view of history.
“There are many things Russia can do to make the war personal, not just for people of Ukraine but around Europe, to try to force pressure on governments to remove their support for Ukraine,” Giles said.
According to an authoritative book called “Afghan Crucible”, the Soviet invaders of Afghanistan wanted to install a puppet government and leave the country as soon as possible.
The US was reluctant to escalate its support for the Afghan resistance because of a larger conflict with the Soviet Union. After the Soviets were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan three years later, it took until 1986 for the CIA to give the Afghans anti-aircraft missiles that ended their air superiority.
As the war gets closer to its first anniversary later this month, Ukraine is pushing the western leaders to give them more advanced weaponry to fight back against Russia. In January, the US, Britain, and Germany agreed to send modern battle tanks, but now Ukraine is pushing for fighter jets and long-range missiles.
The problem is that the Russians have largely figured this threat out. The Russians have pulled their big ammo depots back outside of the range to make up for the presence of American-supplied weaponry on the battlefield.
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The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 was preceded by the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan.
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. The Russian Revolution began after Czar Nicholas II’s feckless leadership during the First World War. The Bolshevik firing squad killed most of the Romanov family.
Asked by a reporter what factors could call for a new round of mobilization, Putin said: “There are no such factors today, we are not discussing them. I told you, 300,000 were called up as part of the mobilization. Let me repeat once again 150,000 (have been deployed to Ukraine). More than half of them are combat units.
The beginning of a new era of global instability, with less freedom, less peace and less prosperity, would be caused by Russia’s win in the war.
Biden’s blunt assessment caught several senior US officials by surprise due to the lack of new intel and the grim language he used.
While most of what Biden says at the fundraisers is familiar, he has made comments previously that went beyond his remarks to larger audiences. It was a fundraiser in Maryland where Biden declared Trump-aligned Republicans “semi-fascist” and where he said the views of the Catholic Church on abortion had changed.
Biden’s remarks serve as a window into a very real, very ongoing discussion inside his administration as the seek to calibrate the response to that environment.
His remarks are usually a short one for 10 minutes, but he’s never been able to go more than half an hour. After the remarks, reporters are ushered out while Biden takes a few questions from the donors.
Biden’s comments about a possible nuclear Armageddon were not scripted and aides in Washington first heard about them from news reports and dispatches from the press pool.
The President’s use of Armageddon served to illustrate that point – there’s no escalation ladder when it comes to nuclear weapons, tactical or otherwise. A cascading response that only has one outcome, can be set off by a move in that direction.
The United States has grappled with the threats and possible use of nuclear weapons since the first days of the war, according to several officials.
One official characterized the speech as “insane,” and while that bolstered the US view of Russian weakness and isolation, it also further increased concern about Putin’s willingness to escalate beyond the level of a rational actor.
White House officials decided not to say anything publicly Thursday night, and there are no plans to address the remarks in isolation so far on Friday morning. If Biden wants to address it himself, he should be able to do so when he leaves for Maryland later in the morning, one official said.
More broadly, the most important element remains that US officials have seen no change in posture or specific intelligence that raises the threat level above where it has been.
There have been direct communications to Moscow in the last several weeks detailing the scale of the US response should Putin decide to go down that path. Officials say that those details will not change anytime soon.
“First of all, we need to stop lying,” said Andrei Kartopolov, a former colonel-general in the Russian military and a member of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party. We brought this up before. It is not getting through to individual senior figures.
Kartapolov complained that the Ministry of Defense was evading the truth about incidents such as Ukrainian cross-border strikes in Russian regions neighboring Ukraine.
The Belgorod region is near the border with Ukraine. When it comes to hitting targets in Russia, Kyiv has adopted a neither-confirm-nor-deny stance.
Russian-appointed quislings who have been installed to run occupied regions of Ukraine have been criticized. In a recent four-minute rant on the messaging app Telegram, the Russian-appointed deputy leader of Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region, Kirill Stremousov, lambasted Russian military commanders for allowing “gaps” on the battlefield that had allowed the Ukrainian military to make advances in the region, which is illegally claimed by Russia.
There is no need for a shadow around the entire ministry of defense of the Russian Federation as long as incompetent commanders are not held responsible for the processes and gaps that exist today. Many think that the Minister of Defense, who allowed this situation to happen, could shoot himself. 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.
“Yes, if it were my will, I would declare martial law throughout the country and use any weapon, because today we are at war with the whole NATO bloc,” Kadyrov said in a post that also seemed to echo Putin’s not-so-subtle threats that Russia might contemplate the use of nuclear weapons.
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With that deal, which came to light only later, a disaster that could have killed tens of millions of Americans and untold numbers of Soviet citizens was averted.
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.
The area fell victim to the worst violence since the fall of the Soviet Union last month and the only thing that stopped it was the Russia-led military alliance.
Russian missiles damaged the glass-bottomed footbridge in a popular tourist site, tore into the intersection in rush hour, and crashed near a children’s playground on Monday. Power outages rolled across the country, in places cutting off water supplies and transport, in strikes that recalled the terror inflicted on civilians in the invasion’s early days but that had largely ebbed in recent months.
Russia is prepared for a big increase. It is gathering everything possible, doing drills and training. When it comes to an offensive from different directions, as of now, I can say that we are not excluding any scenario in the next two to three weeks.”
For several hours on Monday morning Kyiv’s subway system was suspended, with underground stations serving as bunkers. But the air raid alert in the city was lifted at midday, as rescue workers sought to pull people from the rubble caused by the strikes.
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Demys Shmygal, Ukraine’s Prime Minister, said Monday that as of 11 a.m. local time, a total of 11 “crucial infrastructure facilities” in eight regions had been damaged.
As of Monday afternoon, the electricity supply had been cut in Lviv, Poltava, Sumy, and Ternopil, said the Ukrainian State Emergency Services. It was partially disrupted in the rest of the country.
Putin convened the National Security Council to discuss the independence issue on tv, and the image of the Russian leader taking court across a hallway to consult with his closest advisers has become famous.
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.”
The Russian-appointed head of annexedUkraine, Sergey Aksyonov, claimed on Monday that the approach of the Russian military in that country has changed.
“I have been saying from the first day of the special military operation that if such actions to destroy the enemy’s infrastructure had been taken every day, we would have finished everything in May and the Kyiv regime would have been defeated,” he added.
More than one year after he began the largest land war in Europe since World War II, Putin is expected to resume his assault on Ukraine in the coming weeks.
Ukraine’s Western allies doubled down on their support for Kyiv following the strikes, with EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell Fontelles tweeting that “additional military support from the EU is on its way.”
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the escalation of the war was unacceptable and that civilians were paying the highest price.
Ukrainian city of Kyiv has been hit by Russian missile fireballs for the first time since the outbreak of the 24th Ukrainian War of Independence
The G7 group of nations will hold an emergency meeting via video conference on Tuesday, the office of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed to CNN, and Zelensky said on Twitter that he would address that meeting.
Michael Bociurkiw is a global affairs analyst who in summer relocated from Canada to Ukraine. He’s a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and he was a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Even amid irrepressible jubilation here in Ukraine in the aftermath of a massive explosion that hit the hugely strategic and symbolic Kerch Straight bridge over the weekend, fears of retaliation by the Kremlin were never far away.
The significance of the strikes on central Kyiv and close to the government quarter cannot be overstated. Western governments should see the 229th day of war as a red line.
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. Some 17 people were killed and several others were injured.
Russian missiles struck around 30% of the energy infrastructures inUkraine on Monday and Tuesday, the Energy Minister of the nation told CNN. The minister was told by CNN that this was the first time since the beginning of the war that Russia had targeted energy infrastructure.
In scenes reminiscent of the early days of the war when Russian forces neared the capital, some Kyiv media outlets temporarily moved their operations to underground bomb shelters. In one metro station serving as a shelter, large numbers of people took cover on platforms as a small group sang patriotic Ukrainian songs.
Indeed, millions of people in cities across Ukraine will be spending most of the day in bomb shelters, at the urging of officials, while businesses have been asked to shift work online as much as possible.
With many asylum seekers returning to their home regions of Ukranian are starting to roar back to life, and so the attacks could cause another blow to business confidence.
The anniversary of the war would be marked with a military parade and visit by Putin himself to a puppet leader who he installed in a nation under Moscow’s iron fist.
dictators seem to be fond of hardwiring newly claimed territory with expensive 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 $20 billion, 34-mile road bridge opened after about two years of delays.
The Yukawa explosion: Why does the West care? How Putin has invaded Crimea, and how Putin has responded to the Ukranian crisis
The internet went nuts as a result of the explosion, with funny meme’s lighting up social media channels like Christmas trees. Many shared their jubilation through text messages.
The world could see the message. Putin does not intend to be humiliated. He won’t admit defeat. And he is quite prepared to inflict civilian carnage and indiscriminate terror in response to his string of battlefield reversals.
Putin has been placed on a thin ice at home, due to increasing criticism, as an act of selfish desperation.
Before Monday’s strikes, the Chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate at Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, had told Ukrainian journalist Roman Kravets in late August that, “by the end of the year at the minimum we have to enter Crimea” – suggesting a plan to push back Russian forces to pre-2014 lines, which is massively supported by Ukrainians I’ve spoken to.
China is meanwhile injecting its own strategic play into this widening great power brouhaha. It sent its top diplomat Wang Yi – his ears ringing with US warnings not to send Russia arms to use in Ukraine – to Moscow for high-level talks, even as a Sino-American spy balloon feud simmers.
How does the West deal with a Russia that is being affected by sanctions and has suffered a great loss of face in the Ukranian conflict? 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 on Kiev on Monday: Putin’s Strategy for Fighting Ukraine in the High-Tech Energy Frontier and the Emergency Assistance in Kyiv
Furthermore, high tech defense systems are needed to protect Kyiv and crucial energy infrastructure around the country. It’s important that the heating systems are protected this winter.
Turkey and the Gulf states which receive a lot of Russian tourists need to be pressured to support further isolation of Russia with trade and travel restrictions.
The attacks took away the semblance of normal that city dwellers, who had spent a month in air raid shelters during the subways war, had been able to reestablish.
But the targets on Monday also had little military value and, if anything, served to reflect Putin’s need to find new targets because of his inability to inflict defeats on Ukraine on the battlefield.
These two headline packages alone could impact the course of the war. Russia’s most potent threat now is the constant bombardment of energy infrastructure. It is making winter colder and unbearable for some, plunging cities into darkness of up 12 hours a day and sometimes longer, in the hope of sapping high Ukrainian morale.
The deadly attacks on civilians, which killed over a dozen people, has brought up the question of how the US and its allies will respond to the proxy war that has been waged against them by Russia.
The most glaring difference between Biden and Zelensky lies in the kind of weapons the US president is willing to provide. The government in Ukranian is increasing its push to get the West to send F-16 jets and it’s starting to get some support from members of Congress.
John Kirby, the coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, suggested Washington was looking favorably on Ukraine’s requests and was in touch with the government in Kyiv almost every day. “We do the best we can in subsequent packages to meet those needs,” he told CNN’s Kate Bolduan.
Kirby was also unable to say whether Putin was definitively shifting his strategy from a losing battlefield war to a campaign to pummel civilian morale and inflict devastating damage on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, though he suggested it was a trend developing in recent days and had already been in the works.
“It likely was something that they had been planning for quite some time. Kirby did not say that the explosion on the bridge could have sped up their planning.
French PresidentMacron pointed out that the rush-hour attacks in Ukrainian could be the start of another conflict.
He said he wouldn’t allow inspectors to survey those facilities, so they could pass their findings on to the Ukrainians for more attacks. He said that it was a theater of the absurd. The West is directly involved in the attempts by the Kyiv regime to hit the bases.
“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.
The lesson of this horrible war is that everything Putin has done to fracture a nation he doesn’t believe has the right to exist has only strengthened and unified it.
Olena Gnes, a mother of three who is documenting the war on the Internet, told Anderson Cooper she was angry at the return of fear and violence in her home country of Ukranian.
“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.
Lukashenko’s frightened regime in Ukraine: a warning from a terrorist attack in the coming era of nuclear astrophysics
Russia massed tens ofthousands of troops in Belarusian territory before invading the country in February and used it for its failed assault on the Ukrainian capital. Moscow has hundreds of troops in Belarus, which include launching missiles and bombing raids, but the number is now expected to increase sharply.
President Lukashenko told top military and security officials in the capital that this wouldn’t be a thousand troops.
He gave no details on Monday of the size or precise purpose of the new joint force, stirring speculation that Belarus might send troops into Ukraine to help Russia’s flailing military campaign. Alternatively, he could be preparing his country for the arrival of thousands of freshly drafted Russian soldiers, some of them former convicts and many of them ill trained.
Artyom Shraibman, a political analyst from Poland, said that Lukashenko was likely to resist putting his own troops in Ukraine because it would be so dangerous. It would be a big problem politically.
Mr. Sannikov, who was the deputy foreign minister during Mr. Lukashenko’s time in power, said that the leader was frightened because of pressure from Russia.
State television reported on the suffering, as well as 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.
“We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and munitions are running out,” Jeremy Fleming, a UK’s spy chief, said in a rare speech on Tuesday.
Jeremy Fleming, head of GCHQ, said that sentiment last month. “We know – and Russian commanders on the ground know – that their supplies and munitions are running out,” said Fleming.
The strikes follow Putin’s threat of a nuclear retaliation in September after announcing an immediate military escalation.
“I think any talk of nuclear weapons is very dangerous and we need to be very careful about how we’re talking about that,” Fleming said when asked about Putin’s nuclear threats.
If they did go that way I would hope that we could see some indicators. But let’s be really clear about that, if they are considering that, that would be a catastrophe in the way that many people have talked about,” he added.
In a speech on Tuesday, Fleming will say Russians are increasingly counting the cost of the invasion of Ukraine and that Putin has underestimated the severity of the situation.
His decision-making has proved flawed due to little effective internal challenge. It is a high stakes strategy that can cause errors in judgement. Their gains are being reversed,” Fleming will say in an address at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) annual security lecture in London.
“They know their access to modern technologies and external influences will be drastically restricted. And they are feeling the extent of the dreadful human cost of his war of choice,” he will say.
The Tale of Putin and Russia in Italy and Germany: The Case of the CPAC Conference in January, 2014 (after the Ukrainian Attack on Crimea)
Supporters of far-right parties are turning their backs on Putin in Europe and Russia as well. Their leaders are worried about how to navigate the rapids.
The constant images of schools being bombed, hospitals being bombed, and otherUkrainian structures has caused many fans to rethink their admiration for the country.
The leader of Italy’s post-fascist Brothers of Italy and slated to become prime minister has changed her mind about President Putin and will continue to supply weapons to Ukraine. Matteo Salvini used to wear a shirt with Putin’s face on it, but now says he supportsUkraine.
The source of their reconsideration may be found in a separate Pew poll that revealed favorable opinions of Putin and Russia among far-right members have collapsed since Russia invaded Ukraine. The confidence in Putin to do the right thing has fallen among Lega backers.
Pro-Russia positions are so poisonous that the RN’s acting president, Jordan Bardella, threatened to sue anyone who suggests there are financial ties between the party and Russia. (Le Pen’s presidential campaign was partly financed by a mysterious multimillion dollar loan from Russia in 2014. Le Pen said the banks wouldn’t give her a loan.
That’s the case in Germany, where some in the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party have openly expressed support for Russia, but the leadership has tried to tone it down while mobilizing opposition to Berlin’s policies – on the grounds that it creates hardships for Germans.
The conservative political action group, CPAC, made a mockery of the conflict when they advocated for Democrats to stop the gift-giving to the Ukranians and focus on the US. The group soon deleted the post, apologetically, with claims that it didn’t go through proper vetting.
At the far-right America First Political Action Conference (AFPAC) in February, days after Russian started bombing Ukraine, AFPAC founder and notorious White nationalist Nick Fuentes bellowed, “Can we get a round of applause for Russia!”
Donald Trump, who had a liking for Putin, was already under scrutiny at the CPAC conference. As Putin inched toward war, Trump sided with Putin, saying that he knew him well.
Even the leaders of former Soviet Republics, including autocratic ones Putin protected in the past, are letting him down. Only one, the Belarussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, has stood with the Kremlin.
In the US – where 73% of the people want continued support for Ukraine even after Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons – a few prominent far-right figures still defend him.
He said that he began to feel wrong talking about Russians as Americans because he did not agree with Russia’s actions. But saying “Russians” didn’t seem right either. I have some responsibility for what is going on, but I want to be transparent about it.
The wide bombardment mirrored the start of the initial Russian invasion in February and also highlighted how slowly the conflict in Ukraine is moving towards a winter standstill.
Not for the first time, the war is teetering towards an unpredictable new phase. Keir Giles, a senior consultant at Chatham House’s Russia and Eurasia programme, said that this is the third, fourth, or fifth war they have been observing.
The stakes of the war have been raised as winter approaches. “There’s no doubt Russia would like to keep it up,” Giles said. But the Ukrainian successes of recent weeks have sent a direct message to the Kremlin, too. Giles said that they were able to do things that took them by surprise.
Ukrainian troops hoist the country’s flag above a building in Vysokopillya, in the southern Kherson region, last month. The counter-offensive began and Ukrainian officials say they have freed hundreds of settlements.
Russia said Thursday its forces would help evacuate residents of occupied Kherson to other areas as the offensive continued in the region. The head of the Moscow-supported administration in Kherson appealed to the Russians for help to move residents out of harms way, in the most recent sign that Russian forces are having a difficult time resisting the advances of Ukrainian forces.
The counter-offensives have caused a shift in the war’s momentum and proved thatUkraine could seize ground even though they were told it couldn’t.
The Russians would be very happy if they can get the front line to look the same at Christmas.
Ukraine will be eager to improve on its gains before the battlefield becomes too cold and the impact of higher energy prices will be felt throughout Europe.
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. If they are able to defeat Russia, the Ukrainians say they will endure hardship for another two to five years.
Ukraine’s national electricity company, Ukrenergo, says it has stabilized the power supply to Kyiv and central regions of Ukraine after much of the country’s electricity supply was disrupted by Russian missile attacks on Monday and Tuesday. But Ukrainian Prime Minister has warned that “there is a lot of work to do” to fix damaged equipment, and asked Ukrainians to reduce their energy usage during peak hours.
According to experts, Russia will not form a recurrent pattern of aerial bombardment, despite the fact that estimating the military reserve of either army is a murky endeavor.
That conclusion was also reached by the ISW, which said in its daily update on the conflict Monday that the strikes “wasted some of Russia’s dwindling precision weapons against civilian targets, as opposed to militarily significant targets.”
The French newspaper Le Monde has done an analysis using satellite and on-the-ground video corroboration of Russian arms and armourage being destroyed by the Ukrainians.
The flurry of missiles strikes will be a feature that will be used for shows of extreme outrage in the future as the Russians do not have enough precision weaponry to maintain that type of assault.
The impact of such an intervention in terms of pure manpower would be limited; Belarus has around 45,000 active duty troops, which would not significantly bolster Russia’s reserves. It would endanger another attack on the northern flank of the country.
The reopening of the northern front would be a new challenge for Ukraine according to Giles. It would provide Russia a new route into the Kharkiv oblast (region), which has been recaptured by Ukraine, should Putin prioritize an effort to reclaim that territory, he said.
Now Zelensky will hope for more supplies in the short-term as he seeks to drive home those gains. The leader has sought to highlight that more than half of Russian missiles and drones were brought down after a second wave of Ukrainian strikes on Tuesday.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday that Ukraine needed “more” systems to better halt missile attacks, ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.
Ukraine “badly needed” modern systems such as the IRIS-T that arrived this week from Germany and the NASAMS expected from the United States , Bronk said.
Instability of the nuclear arsenal in Ukraine: lessons from the International Crisis Group’s Sgr. Sergei Petrovlevich Oliker
That is not to say that the mobilized forces will not be used. If they are used in support roles, they can ease burdens on the rest of the professional army. They could also fill out depleted units along the line of contact, cordon some areas and man checkpoints in the rear. They are, however, unlikely to become a capable fighting force. Already there are signs of discipline problems among mobilized soldiers in Russian garrisons.
Ukrainian officials have warned for some time of a renewed Russian offensive and have asked for more powerful weaponry from Western allies to counter the threat.
The impact of sanctions is going to develop into a crisis over time. Russia will lose $190 billion in gross domestic product by 2026 because of the war in Ukraine.
Some goods and sectors are still not included in the exemption list. The European Union and private industry have made compromises to maintain consensus, but a look at a few items shows the intense back-room bargaining that goes on between nations and industry to protect certain sectors.
The Belgians have shielded trade in Russian diamonds. The Greeks are allowed to ship Russian oil. France and several other nations still import Russian uranium for nuclear power generation.
The head of a nuclear information project said that Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world with up to 2,000 nuclear weapons. The Russian arsenal is diverse, and Kristensen says the public often imagines tactical nukes as smaller weapons. “They have a very wide range of explosive yields, going up to a couple of hundred of kilotons – so much more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb,” he says.
According to Mr. Oliker, the International Crisis Group’s director of Europe and Central Asia, the Ukraine war has been contained with the help of the classic nuclear deterrence.
She believes that Putin isn’t likely to take the war nuclear. As the drone and cruise missile strikes of the past week illustrate, Russia has plenty of powerful conventional weapons it can use to attack Ukraine.
The Sobolev Threat to Global Thermonuclear War and the Russian War on Nuclear Power: A Rejoinder for the Russian Invasion of Ukraine
To be shocking, you need to make it clear that you will use a nuclear weapon to target and kill a lot of people.
She believes the Russians would see a conventional attack on their nuclear capacity as a nuclear attack. Things could escalate further from there.
But Oliker believes that this is still very theoretical. She hopes that the two sides will still find a way to begin de-escalating the conflict.
“If I try to tell myself a story of how to get there, it requires a whole bunch of leaps and jumps,” she says. “But the path to global thermonuclear war also has some leaps and jumps.”
Some regional officials — including the mayor of Moscow, Sergey Sobyanin — appeared to be taking pains to offer reassurances. Mr. Sobyanin wrote on his Telegram channel that no measures to limit the rhythm of the city are currently being introduced.
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.
“People are worried that they will soon close the borders, and the siloviki” — the strong men close to Mr. Putin in the Kremlin — “will do what they want,” Ms. Stanovaya said.
Gen. Sergei Suryakin, the new commander of the Russian invasion, acknowledged on Tuesday that the position his army was in was difficult and that a tactical retreat might be necessary. The general said he was prepared to make difficult decisions about military deployment but didn’t specify what those might be.
In a signal to the world that the invasion of Ukraine has made Russia less powerful, Russia has redeployed critical military hardware and troops from Syria.
Putin Prolonges War: Energy Price Caps, European Manifold Forgetting, and the German-German War on the Black Hole
Editor’s Note: David A. Andelman, a contributor to CNN, twice winner of the Deadline Club Award, is a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor, author of “A Red Line in the Sand: Diplomacy, Strategy, and the History of Wars That Might Still Happen” and blogs at Andelman Unleashed. He formerly was a correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News in Europe and Asia. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. CNN has more opinion.
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 a host of variables – ranging from the availability of critical and affordable energy supplies for the coming winter, to the popular will across a broad range of nations with often conflicting priorities.
In the early hours of Friday in Brussels, European Union powers agreed a roadmap to control energy prices that have been surging on the heels of embargoes on Russian imports and the Kremlin cutting natural gas supplies at a whim.
There is an emergency cap on the benchmark European gas trading hub called the Dutch Title Transfer Facility.
While French President Emmanuel Macron waxed euphoric leaving the summit, which he described as having “maintained European unity,” he conceded that there was only a “clear mandate” for the European Commission to start working on a gas cap mechanism.
Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, is skeptical of any price caps. Energy ministers will have to work out details with Germany to make sure that caps aren’t used to encourage higher consumption.
These divisions are all part of Putin’s fondest dream. Manifold forces in Europe could prove central to achieving success from the Kremlin’s viewpoint, which amounts to the continent failing to agree on essentials.
Germany and France are already at loggerheads on many of these issues. Though in an effort to reach some accommodation, Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have scheduled a conference call for Wednesday.
Italian Prime Minister Michele Berlusconi and the Israeli Military-Industry Network: The Case for an Enduring Cold War in Italy
And now a new government has taken power in Italy. The first woman to become Italy’s prime minister tried to ignore the post-fascist aura of her party. One of her far-right partners has expressed admiration for Putin.
Berlusconi, in a secretly recorded audio tape, said he’d returned Putin’s gesture with bottles of Lambrusco wine, adding that “I knew him as a peaceful and sensible person,” in the LaPresse audio clip.
The other leading member of the ruling Italian coalition, Matteo Salvini, named Saturday as deputy prime minister, said during the campaign, “I would not want the sanctions [on Russia] to harm those who impose them more than those who are hit by them.”
At the same time, Poland and Hungary, allies against liberal policies of the EU that seemed to reduce their influence, have different opinions on the situation in Ukraine. Poland took offense at Orban’s pro-Putin sentiment.
Kevin McCarthy, the likely Speaker of the House if the Republicans take control, said that people are going to sit in a recession and they won’t write a blank check. They will not do it.
On Monday, 30 Congressional progressive caucus members called on Biden to start talks with Russia on ending the conflict because its troops are still occupying vast stretches of the country and missiles and drones are hitting deep into the interior.
Hours later, Mia Jacob sent reporters a clarification of her remarks in support of Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba to renew America’s support.
Since Biden took office, the US has offered more than $60 billion in aid, but only Republicans voted against the latest aid package.
The West is putting pressure on Russia. Last Thursday, the State Department released a detailed report on the impact of sanctions and export controls strangling the Russian military-industrial complex.
Putin has also tried, though he has been stymied at most turns, to establish black market networks abroad to source what he needs to fuel his war machine – much as Kim Jong-un has done in North Korea. The United States has already uncovered and recently sanction a vast network of shadow companies and individuals centered in hubs across Taiwan, Armenia, Switzerland, Germany, Spain and France to source high-tech goods for Russia.
The Justice Department has accused individuals and companies of violating the sanctions by trying to bring high-tech equipment into Russia.
The strengthening relationship between Moscow and Tehran has drawn the attention of Iran’s rivals and foes in the Middle East, of NATO members and of nations that are still – at least in theory – interested in restoring the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which aimed to delay Iran’s ability to build an atomic bomb.
The historian Yuval Noah Harari believes that a Russia victory would lead to war between Russia and others, something that has happened since the Second World War.
It hasn’t only been about getting tanks, fighting vehicles and air defenses, it has also been about bringing NATO member states along with their politicians. In parliament on Wednesday, he made that point.
A lot of things that happen far from the battlefields still have consequences there. When oil-producing nations, led by Saudi Arabia, decided last month to slash production, the US accused the Saudis of helping Russia fund the war by boosting its oil revenues. There is an accusation that the Saudis deny.
Israel will not send its system to Ukraine because we have to share airspace with Russia, according to the Israeli Defense Minister.
The agreement between the UN and Turkey allows Ukrainian maritime corridors to reopen, but this week it was halted by the Russian Navy because of the strike on their ships at the port of Sevastopol. The wheat prices on the global markets went up immediately after Putin’s announcement. Those prices partly determine how much people pay for bread in Africa and across the planet.
More significantly, the invasion roiled the global economy, including energy and grain markets. The policy choice of Putin in his quest for empire caused the deaths of thousands of innocents and caused terrible suffering for millions of Ukrainians.
Family budgets and individual lives are affected by higher prices. When they come with such powerful momentum, they pack a political punch. Inflation, worsened by the war, has put incumbent political leaders on the defensive in countless countries.
Bringing a big smile to Putin: Comment on a video of a far-right Ukrainian organization claiming to be constructing a nuclear bomb
There are things that are not on the fringes. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader who could become speaker of the House after next week’s US elections, suggested the GOP might choose to reduce aid to Ukraine. The progressive democrats withdrew a letter calling for negotiations. Evelyn Farkas, a former Pentagon official during the Obama administration, said they’re all bringing “a big smile to Putin’s face.”
“Our information on Ukraine’s potential provocations involving the use of a nuclear bomb is sufficiently reliable,” Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov told a press conference on October 24. The leaders of the United States, UK, France, and Turkey were apprised of this reliable information by defense minister Sergei Shoigu according to read-out from the Russian government.
One popular account with nearly 100,000 followers uploaded a video in early February claiming to show a far-right Ukrainian organization constructing such a bomb: Hands clad in black gloves adjusted a radiological meter atop a barrel, supposedly, of nuclear material. In case of an invasion, such a bomb would be used against Russian troops.
The Ukrainian-language video is rife with spelling and other mistakes, which is why the video was quickly debunked. The basic claim remained constant, and it appeared in hundreds of posts over the last eight months, viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
The Perfect Moment to Celebrate the Fourth Cold War: Joe Biden Meets Putin in the USA, in the Ukraine, and in the G20 Summit in Bali
The talks were apparently productive. They were calledthorough, frank, and constructive by the Chinese. Biden agreed to try to avoid a new Cold War, despite being very blunt with one another. The President stated that it wasn’t “Kumbaya”, but that the two sides were less likely to start a war.
Shortly after taking office and with the United States still reeling from the attack on the US Capitol, President Joe Biden declared, “We’ve got to prove democracy works.” Future generations will be doing a PhD on the issue of who succeeded: autocracy or democracy, he predicted.
That’s not the only reason, however, why this was the perfect moment — from the standpoint of the United States and for democracy — for this meeting to occur: There’s much more to this geopolitical moment than who controls the US House of Representatives and Senate.
During the meeting between Biden and China, the president of the Ukranians made a triumphant return to Kherson, the former capital of the province that was conquered by the Russians.
Biden traveled into Kyiv on a train in the middle of the night in order to give a speech in the Polish capital, chosen due to its role on NATO’s frontline. Putin gave a speech to the Russian parliament that was more of a lecture than a discussion of the recent events in the West.
Putin might have anticipated that Xi’s friendship wouldn’t pan out. Publicly, China still refuses to call the Russian military campaign an invasion – and Beijing has never condemned Russia’s unprovoked attack of its neighbor. But China has not armed Russian forces, and has at times issued veiled warnings against Russia’s threat of using nuclear weapons.
Tellingly, Putin chose not to attend the G20 summit in Bali, avoiding confrontations with world leaders as he increasingly becomes a pariah on the global stage.
Xi, Putin, Russia, Russia and the missiles that Landed in Poland – a NATO member after the World Pandemic
Biden is not the only leader who has a strong hand. Xi has just secured an unprecedented third term as China’s leader, and he can now effectively rule for as long as he wants. He does not need to worry about elections, critical press or a vociferous opposition party. He is essentially the absolute ruler of a mighty country for many years to come.
And yet Xi faces a mountain of daunting problems. China is unwilling to reveal economic data since the economy has slowed down. China’s Covid-19 vaccine, once a tool of global diplomacy, is a disappointment. China is imposing lockdowns because it is feeling the effects of the World Pandemic.
And yet, China and Russia remain close, the world’s two leading autocracies determined to challenge the West and undercut the notion that genuine democracy is the most desirable system of government – lest it come for their jobs.
The first missile to have landed in Poland – a NATO member – on Tuesday may well have been a Ukrainian anti-aircraft rocket intercepting an incoming Russian missile a short distance from one of Ukraine’s largest cities, Lviv, as suspected by Polish and NATO leaders. (President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, has insisted the missile was not Ukrainian)
One thing is clear regardless of the missile’s circumstances. NATOSecretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Russia bears ultimate responsibility for its war against Ukraine.
Russia’s fate in the war of Ukraine in light of the U.S. response to Russian attacks on the FACS, one of the most active fighter jets in the world
In its first two months of activity, the hotline and Telegram channel, created as a Ukrainian military intelligence project called “I want to live,” booked some 3,500 calls, with many of them coming from Russia.
One senior Russian journalist, who has settled in Berlin after fleeing in March, told me last week that he is prepared to accept the reality that many of his countrymen will never have the chance to return to their homeland.
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 the conflict has on Western countries is proving unfulfilled despite Putins vision that it would drive wedge into the Western alliance. The project for a next- generation jet fighter at the center of the Future Combat Air System was beginning to move forward as word began to circulate on Monday.
Nine months in, Russian hopes of a swift seizure have been well and truly dashed, its army largely on the defensive across more than 600 miles of battle lines strung along the eastern and southern reaches of Ukraine.
Indeed a truce or negotiations may be the only path to victory possible at this moment for the Russian leader; his manpower exhausted and weapons supplies dwindling.
I asked the director of Russian studies at the CNA think tank if a truce would allow the warring parties to re-arm. Michael Kofman said it was the only thing that would happen.
Russia is currently rearming, according to experts. One of the most important parts of this war wasmunition availability. You can’t make them in a month if you burn through 9 million rounds. The issue is the rate of armory production and its capacity to be mobilized.
The manufacture of weapons has changed from a two-a-day practice to one of three a day, as cited in Kofman’s information. He said that it suggests that they wouldn’t be going to double and triple shifts if they had component parts.
The Russians, the Ukrainians, and the Russians: a possible exit route towards a resolution of Ukraine’s war puzzles
When peace can be achieved, seize the chance to negotiate. Seize the moment,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff said recently.
former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko told the Council on Foreign Relations that they should imagine how Ukrainians comprehend negotiations. You are sitting in your own house and a killer comes to it and kills your wife and rapes your daughter, then opens the door of the second floor and says ‘OK come here.’ Let’s have a negotiation.’ What would your reaction be?
General Mick Ryan, a fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told me that giving the Russians time to regroup and rearm would relieve the pressure on their forces. “They have been at it hard for nine months. Their forces are tired.
The British Ministry of Defense said after the recent strikes that the Russian military has a previous record of unsafe gun storage, but that this incident highlights how carelessness contributes to Russia’s high casualty rate.
But at some point, they’ll also get tired of this war, he added. And the Russian mindset may become “we may not have everything we wanted. We will annex the Donbas into Russia and hold onto the peninsula. I think that is their bet right now.
Any hypothetical momentum towards a deal could result in a reduction of Western military aid to Kyiv. And it would present a possible face-saving exit route for Putin, whose reputation would be severely diminished at home if he returned from a costly war without meaningful territorial gains.
There is a question of whether the US and its allies will be ready to fight another war, even if the war is over in a few months.
Russian Prime Minister Receipts Foreign Direct Expenditure on a “Great War”: “The State of the Art is Ours,” he Adds
Speaking in a meeting with members of his Human Rights Council, Putin said land gains were a significant result for Russia and that the Sea of Azov has become Russia’s internal sea. In one of his frequent historic references to a Russian leader he admires, he added that “Peter the Great fought to get access” to that body of water.
If it doesn’t first use it, it will not be the second if there is a nuclear strike on our territory.
Putin rejected Western criticism that his previous nuclear weapons comments amounted to saber-rattling, claiming they were “not a factor provoking an escalation of conflicts, but a factor of deterrence.”
“We haven’t gone mad. We are fully aware of what nuclear weapons are,” Putin said. He added, without elaborating: “We have them, and they are more advanced and state-of-the-art than what any other nuclear power has.”
In his televised remarks, the Russian leader didn’t address Russia’s battlefield setbacks or its attempts to cement control over the seized regions but acknowledged problems with supplies, treatment of wounded soldiers and limited desertions.
The new concrete anti-tank barriers, which are called “dragon’s teeth”, were posted in open fields by the governor. On Tuesday the governor said a fire broke out at an airport in the region because of a drone strike. In neighboring Belgorod, workers were expanding anti-tank barriers and officials were organizing “self-defense units.” Belgorod has seen numerous fires and explosions, apparently from cross-border attacks, and its governor reported Wednesday that Russia’s air defenses have shot down incoming rockets.
In brazen drone attacks, two strategic Russian air bases more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) from the Ukraine border were struck Monday. The blame was placed onUkraine, which didn’t claim responsibility.
Russian bombs have taken down as much as half of the country’s electrical infrastructure and left the majority of the country without power in the past two months. In Kyiv, more than 200 miles west of the ongoing fighting in the region known as Donbas, Ukrainians are reduced to hunting for generators, storing food outside to prevent it from spoiling, charging their phones and computers during the few hours a day of reliable power, and keeping backup food and water supplies in apartment building elevators in case someone is trapped inside during a blackout. Water supplies and some parts of the country’s rail system have been crippled at times. There are only a small amount of the country’s heating systems operational.
Putin was speaking at a news conference in Bishkek. He described the preemptive nuclear strike as “applied to the control points, deprive the enemy of these control systems and so on,” implying that it could even prevent a retaliatory strike.
Biden administration officials have previously said that Moscow has been warned at the highest levels of the consequences for use of nuclear weapon in the war.
“So if we’re talking about this disarming strike, then maybe think about adopting the best practices of our American partners and their ideas for ensuring their security. We’re just thinking about it. No one was shy when they talked about it out loud in previous times and years,” he said.
“If a potential adversary believes it is possible to use the theory of a preventive strike, and we do not, then this still makes us think about those threats that are posed to us,” he added.
The US Embassy in Kiev on Thursday said the Patriot system would be provocative and that it would prevent a conflict between the Ukraine and the NATO alliance
CNN reported that it requires a fairly large number of personnel to be trained, which is why the US is close to sending the system to Ukraine.
Zakharova said that the rationality of such a step was questioned by many experts, which would increase the risk of dragging the US army into combat.
The system is expensive and requires a lot of training for many people, but it can help protect the country against Russian attacks, which have left millions without power.
Asked Thursday about Russian warnings that the Patriot system would be “provocative,” Pentagon press secretary Brig. The comments would not affect US aid to Ukraine, according to Gen. Pat Ryder.
It is ironic and telling that officials from a country that brutally attacked its neighbor would choose to describe defensive systems that were meant to save lives and protect civilians.
“This is a great show of leadership by President Biden. Good leaders listen to the sound of the guns. But, Anderson added: “The United States needs to make a decision. Is it important to ensure the Ukrainians don’t lose? Are we in this to help them win?
The Kozelsky missile formation was put in motion thanks to the video of the installation of a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile in a silo in the Kaluga region.
Appearing this week on Russian state TV, Commander Alexander Khodakovsky of the Russian militia in the Donetsk region suggested Russia could not defeat the NATO alliance in a conventional war.
Video of Russian Propaganda in the Trenches and Fortifications along Ukraine’s border with Belarus Including an interview with CNN
Unlike smaller air defense systems, Patriot missile batteries need much larger crews, requiring dozens of personnel to properly operate them. The training for Patriot missile batteries normally takes multiple months, a process the United States will now carry out under the pressure of near-daily aerial attacks from Russia.
The system is widely considered one of the most capable long-range weapons to defend airspace against incoming ballistic and cruise missiles as well as some aircraft. Russian missiles and aircraft can be shot down by it because they are far away from their intended targets.
Zelensky said in an interview with The Economist that he didn’t agree with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s suggestion that the United States wouldn’t support the return of territory from Russia that has been under Russian rule since February of 1992 and not from Ukraine.
Old gun. CNN reported earlier this week that a US military official told them that Russian forces had to use 40-year-old projectiles because their supplies of new projectiles were rapidly diminishing.
The official told reporters that when they load the equipment, they cross their fingers that it will fire or explode.
In the trenches. CNN’s Will Ripley filed a video report from trenches and fortifications being built along Ukraine’s border with Belarus, where there is growing concern about Russia once again assembling troops. Ripley talks to the sewing machine repairman.
In an attempt to attract more volunteers to the front, Russian propaganda videos posted on social networks in the past few days are trying to appeal to Russian men through the narratives of patriotism, morality and upward social mobility.
One of the videos, posted on December 14, features a young man who is choosing to fight instead of partying with his male friends and then surprises everyone by buying himself a car with the money he made from fighting on a military contract.
In another video, posted on December 15, the former girlfriend of a soldier is newly impressed with his courage and begs him to get back together with her. A further example shows a middle-aged man leaving the factory job that doesn’t pay him enough to sign a military contract and go to the front.
Another of the videos shows a group of 30-something, well-off Russian men loading a car as they are asked by elderly women where are they going. One of the men replies: “To Georgia. Forever.” When one woman spills a bag of groceries, men just get in the car and leave, while younger men rush to pick up the groceries. “The boys have left, the men stayed,” one of the elderly women concludes.
The war is depicted as an escape for men from their daily reality of drinking a lot of booze and being poor. Meanwhile, reports and complaints of shortages of provisions and equipment in the Russian military continue to emerge.
During a meeting with mothers of the mobilized in November, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was better to be killed fighting for the motherland than to drink oneself to death on vodka.
Putin told a news conference after the summit that there wasn’t any plans to mobilize additional troops.
Questioned about reports of continuing military equipment shortages on the front lines, Putin said he was working closely with the Russian defense ministry and that the issue was being resolved.
The war was something that nobody could imagine. It was not only Putin who made a mistake. The Russian elite largely thought there’d be no way that Putin would actually go to war. Many Ukrainians also didn’t think Putin was actually going to invade, nor did the Europeans. The U.S. did expect Russia to invade, but thought it could win in days. The war was so different from anything that has happened in recent decades that it was impossible to make informed predictions.
Something else that has gone well from the Kremlin’s point of view is the country’s propaganda machine. It helped convince many Russians the war was going well, that the West was to blame, and that they should not have fought in the first place. In addition, sanctions haven’t derailed the Russian economy the way the West had hoped, and much of the world hasn’t turned its back on Russia they way some expected.
It was very long and very detailed. I was trying to get beyond what we already know about Putin and get to some of the nuances surrounding him and his decision to go to war. It is really hard, because it’s something that so few people know for sure. It took a long time and a lot of conversations.
In Paris at the time, I witnessed how Zelensky pulled up to the Élysée Palace in a modest Renault, while Putin motored in with an ostentatious armored limousine. French PresidentMacron hugged Putin but shook hands with Zelensky.
A prisoner swap with Russia shortly after the summit seemed to favor Zelensky, who said at the time it was a first step towards ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which had started in 2014 and claimed the lives of over 14,000 people.
The embodiment of how Putin’s war has turned ordinary Ukrainians into wartime heroes is that he was a former reality TV star turned president.
The founder of the think says that he knew what he needed to do after being bullied by Putin.
This is the leader who when offered to be evacuated from the US as Russia launched a full scale invasion joked that he needed bullets rather than a ride.
It is perhaps easy to forget that Zelensky honed his political muscles earlier in his career standing up to another bully in 2019 – then-US President Donald Trump, who tried to bamboozle the novice politician in the quid pro quo scandal.
Amid the fog of war, it all seems a long, long way since the heady campaign celebration in a repurposed Kyiv nightclub where a fresh-faced Zelensky thanked his supporters for a landslide victory. He looked in disbelief as he stood on stage among the confetti, defeating Petro Poroshenko, a veteran politician.
Despite the strong tailwinds at Zelensky’s back, there are subtle signs that his international influence could be dwindling. For example, last week, in what analysts called a pivotal moment in geopolitics, the G7 imposed a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian crude – despite pleas from Zelensky that it should have been set at $30 in order to inflict more pain on the Kremlin.
Revisiting Zelensky at the time of World War II: From the London Times to the US Senate, from Ukraine to the United Nations
Many of the people in his bubble are from his previous life as a TV comedian. In the midst of the war, a press conference that took place on the platform of a metro station in April featured perfect lighting and camera angles that emphasized a wartime setting.
I remember how comforting his nightly addresses were when there were air raid sirens and blasts in Lviv.
Zelensky the brand is more than just the man. It is almost impossible to get away from the olive green t-shirts that the Ukrainian leader wears when meeting people from all over the world.
It’s possible that he is more comfortable on camera than Putin because he is a digital native. “I believe both of them want to come across as relatable, not aloof or untouchable, although Zelensky is definitely doing a better job balancing authority with accessibility.”
Zelenska has shown herself to be a good communicator when she traveled to where her husband couldn’t. She met with King Charles while at a refugee assistance center at the Holy Family Cathedral in London. Zelenska was not on the cover of Time magazine, and only a passing reference was given to her in the supporting text.
Zelensky said in a recent nightly address that when the world is actually united, it is the world, not the aggressor, that determines how events develop.
Biden’s secret visit, which involved the president leaving the US unannounced and heading to an active war zone, matched some of the colorful stagecraft that Zelensky – a master of public relations – has used to maintain Western support for his people and the multi-billion-dollar pipeline of weapons and aid.
Zelensky compared Britain’s lonely defiance of the Nazis in the days before the US entered World War II, as well as his nation’s resistance against Russia, during a video address to the UK Parliament earlier this year and he will add to the parallels when he arrives in the US capital
His visit is unfolding amid extraordinary security. Nancy Pelosi wouldn’t confirm the reports that she’d welcome Zelensky to the US Capitol in an unexpected coda to her speakership. We just don’t know.”
Timing the War between Russia and the Ukrainians: The Contribution of the USA to Ukraine’s Nod to Patriots
The United States matched its assistance to the new strategy of Russia when it chose to give the nod toPatriots, a long standing Ukrainian request. The system would help the city to counter Russias brutal missile attacks on cities and electricity installations in a bid to break the will of the Ukrainian people.
Zelensky is in a critical stage when it comes to the war between Russia and the Ukranian people, and upgraded US support could be the key to victory, according to a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander.
His visit to Congress will also play into an increasingly important debate on Capitol Hill over Ukraine aid with Republicans set to take over the House majority in the new year. Billions of dollars in US cash sent to Ukranian should instead be used to strengthen the US southern border, which will be flooded with migrants within days, warned a group of pro-Donald Trump members.
Zelensky had a virtual address to Congress in which he evoked the monuments of Mount Rushmore and Martin Luther King Jr. Two days of infamy were created in modern history when Americans were afraid of aerial bombardment.
It was the morning of December 7, 1941, when the sky was blackened from the planes attacking you, remember Pearl Harbor. Zelensky said to just remember it. September 11, 2001 is remembered as a bad day when evil tried to turn your cities, independent territories, into battlefields. When innocent people were attacked, attacked from air, just like nobody else expected it, you could not stop it. Every day, our country experiences the same thing.
Vladimir Putin: Wartime US Assistance for the Ukrainian Air Defense Forces and Joint Direct Attack Munitions. Wartime UK vs. World War II
The wartime British leader sailed to the United States aboard HMS Duke of York, dodging U-boats in the wintery Atlantic and took a plane from the coast of Virginia to Washington, where he was met on December 22, 1941, by President Franklin Roosevelt before their joint press conference the next day.
The foundation of the Western was laid by the two leaders, who plotted the defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and drank 90-year-old brandy before bed.
Churchill, who had pined for US involvement in World War II for months and knew it was the key to defeating Adolf Hitler, said during his visit, “I spend this anniversary and festival far from my country, far from my family, and yet I cannot truthfully say that I feel far from home.”
The leader of Ukraine is more likely to appreciate historical parallels. He told the British members of parliament that he had listened to the most famous wartime speech.
There are two key headline deliverables: first, the Patriot missile systems. Complex, accurate, and expensive, they have been described as the US’s “gold standard” of air defense. NATO preciously guards them, and they require the personnel who operate them – almost 100 in a battalion for each weapon – to be properly trained.
The first are precision-guided weapons for the Ukrainian jets. Russia and Ukraine often have dumb weapons that are fired towards a target. Ukraine has been provided with more and more Western standard precision artillery and missiles, like Howitzers and HIMARS respectively.
The new deal will likely include the supply of guidance kits, or Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), which Ukraine can use to bolt on to their unguided missiles or bombs. This will increase their accuracy and the rate in which Kyiv’s forces burn through ammunition. A lot of the $1.8 billion is expected to fund munitions replacements and stocks.
Whatever the eventual truth of the matter – and military aid is opaque at the best of times – Biden wants Putin to hear nothing but headline figures in the billions, to sap Russian resolve, push European partners to help more, and make Ukraine’s resources seem limitless.
The remnants of the Trumpist “America First” elements of that party have echoed doubts about how much aid the US should really be sending to the edges of eastern Europe.
Washington has a trillion-dollar annual defense budget, and so the bill for the slow defeat of Russia is relatively light.
Zelensky’s historic speech on Ukraine and the problems it poses for the United States, Ukraine, the EU, and the Middle East
The speech connected the struggle of Ukrainian people to our revolution, to our own feelings that we want to be warm in our homes to celebrate Christmas and to remind us of the families that are on the front lines.
She said Zelensky’s historic address “strengthened both Democrats and Republicans who understand what is at stake in this fight against Putin and Russian aggression and now with their ally, Iran, as well.”
“I also think no one is asking for a blank check,” Clinton added. I think the Ukrainians are a good investment for the United States. They are not asking us to be there to fight their war. They are fighting it on their own. They’re asking us and our allies how to win in order to defend themselves.
She hoped they would send more than one. She noted that the US and NATO have not always provided advanced equipment, but that they have seen how effective the Ukrainian military is.
Clinton met Russian President Vladimir Putin while he was US secretary of state, and he said the leader was hard to predict as the war grows in Ukraine’s favor.
Kyiv and its Western allies are “set for a long confrontation with Russia” following President Volodymyr Zelensky’s momentous visit to Washington, Moscow said as the war in Ukraine approaches 10 months.
The Biden administration’s accusation last week that Russia has committed crimes against humanity ensures there will be no return to normality between Washington and Moscow even if the Ukraine war ends.
Zakharova stated that the tasks set within the framework of the special military operation will be fulfilled, taking into account the situation on the ground.
“For me, as president, a just peace is no compromises as to the sovereignty, freedom and territorial integrity of our country, the payback for all the damages inflicted by Russian aggression,” Zelensky said during his joint press conference with Biden at the White House.
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.”
It was the first known time that Putin has deviated from what he described as a special military operation regarding his country’s invasion of Ukraine 10 months after it began.
“Our goal is not to spin the flywheel of military conflict, but, on the contrary, to end this war,” Putin told reporters in Moscow, after attending a State Council meeting on youth policy. We will continue to strive for this.
Nikita Yuferev, a lawmaker who fled Russia because of his antiwar position, asked Russian authorities to prosecute Putin for allegedly spreading fake information about the army.
“There was no decree to end the special military operation, no war was declared,” Yuferev wrote on Twitter. Thousands of people have been rebuked for words about the war.
A US official told CNN their initial assessment was that Putin’s remark was not intentional and likely a slip of the tongue. Officials will be watching to see what figures inside the Kremlin say about it.
Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday declared the Kremlin would make a substantial investment in many areas of 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.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister says the United Nations is the most natural broker for peace talks – but only after russia faces a war crimes tribunal
It does not mean thatUkraine is not interested in peace talks. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the Associated Press on Monday that Kyiv wants UN-brokered discussions to start by February, but only after Russia faces a war crimes tribunal.
Even though he indicated a willingness to negotiate on Sunday, the Russian leader still claimed that it was Moscow that was defending itself with a special military operation and refused to mention that Ukraine was also a relevant party.
As has always been the case during the conflict, a vague conciliatory tone from Putin was quickly overtaken by a message from one of his key officials.
Alexander Rodnyansky told CNN that the comments of Putin were likely an effort to buy time in the conflict.
It makes no sense for the West to entertain the idea of a deal with Putin that will carve upUkraine and reward him for invasion.
Zelensky and his officials have not raised any hope of reaching a truce even though they have said that they would continue to make noises about negotiations.
“Every war ends in a diplomatic way,” Kuleba told the AP on Monday. The actions taken at the battlefield and at the negotiating table bring about the end of war.
The Foreign Minister said the UN would be the most natural broker for those talks. “The United Nations could be the best venue for holding this summit, because this is not about making a favor to a certain country,” he said. “This is really about bringing everyone on board.”
The steps include a path to nuclear safety, a special tribunal for alleged Russian war crimes, and a peace treaty with Moscow. He called on the G20 leaders to impose a price cap on energy imports from Moscow, and to make Russia abandon nuclear threats.
Zelensky’s first overseas trip to the USA in ten months: A warning to all of us against the end of the Cold War
The new year could determine the direction of the war, as both sides are digging into what could become a long and grinding conflict.
Zelensky visited the US in his first overseas trip in ten months, and it shows that he intends to keep his allies focused on the conflict.
“The Putin regime has done a very good job of either forcing out or imprisoning all viable alternatives that are of the more democratic fashion and then on the other side you have fear of going out into the streets if there’s no clear path forward,” she said.
“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.”
Maria asked CNN to not publish her full name because of her personal security concerns. The NGO for which Maria works is deemed a foreign agent under Russia’s recently expanded law on foreign agents, which means she is at risk of being persecuted.
Russians are losing their educated citizens, and the Russian army is reevaluating the situation in the middle-class: Implications for the economic future and for the reconstruction of the country
The military or leadership has been subjected to harsh laws since February. According to a leading independent monitoring group, over 20,000 people have been arrested for demonstrating against the war.
The law was used by a court in Moscow to impose more than eight years of imprisonment on critic of the Kremlin, Ilya Yashin, who spoke up about the alleged deaths of Ukrainian civilians by Russian troops. The Kremlin denied involvement in the killings and insisted 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.
There were 36,271 encounters with Russian citizens by the US Border Patrol. The number includes people who were apprehended or expelled by the border force and is significantly higher than the 13,240 and 5,946 recorded in the two previous fiscal years.
OK Russians, a non-profit helping Russian citizens fleeing persecution, said its surveys suggest those who are leaving are on average younger and more educated than the general Russian public.
If you take the Moscow intelligentsia, and I only talk to the people I know, I would say that 70% left. It’s journalists, it’s people from universities, sometimes schools, artists, people who have clubs and [foundations] in Moscow that got closed down,” Soldatov said.
“If you are losing the educated middle-class portion of the population, then it matters for your economic prospects, but it also matters for the potential political reconstitution of the country,” said Kristine Berzina, a Russia expert at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. She pointed to the exodus of liberal, educated Iranians following the country’s 1979 revolution as an example of what can happen when large numbers from such demographics leave the country.
Maria said she remains determined to stay in Russia, even though all of her friends and her son have left. Maria isn’t willing to leave her elderly mother and she can’t go abroad. “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. She said she was scared by the fact that something else could happen at any moment.
She still believes her work is important, but said she is struggling to see any hope for the future. She said her life was like a constant cycle of panic, horror, shame and self-doubt.
“You’re constantly torn apart: Are you to blame? Did you do enough? Can you do something else or not, and how should you act now?” she said. There aren’t any prospects. I’m an adult, and I didn’t exactly have all my life figured out, but all in all I understood what would happen next. Nobody understands anything. People don’t even understand what will happen to them tomorrow.”
He said that he was questioning 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.
It feels wrong because the Russian army helped win the war against Hitler’s Germany and this message was used by Putin. He said that the favorable reaction to the invasion prompted him to research German pre-war rhetoric.
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 always knew that our country should not be led by a person from the KGB. It is too deeply rooted with horrors, deaths and all that,” she said.
Berzina said that the idea that there will be a wave of protest in the West if people feel like their leaders are doing wrong is not true in Russia.
Almost all opposition and opinion leaders are either in prison or abroad. People have a huge potential for political action, but there is no leader and no power base,” she said, adding that civilians will not come out against the armed police, the National Guard, and other security forces.
The public display of its fatal flaws has reduced the appeal of autocracy, as the contest between democracy and autocracy is far from over. They will make mistakes no matter how you tell them they’re wrong. The more powerful and ruthless the ruler, the higher the likelihood that no one dares challenge his wisdom, even if he leads his nation toward a cliff.
Armed forces and cyberattacks on the country’s Internet: A warning to citizens of the Ukrainian capital, or how Ukraine’s electrical infrastructure is affected
“You can mess with the central nervous system of the human body, it can put all sorts of systems out of whack”, said Rajan Menon, a director of the Defense Priorities think tank who recently returned from a visit to Ukrainian capital. “It’s not only an inconvenience but an enormous economic cost. It’s an attempt to cause pain for the civilian population to show the government can’t protect them adequately.
Menon believes that any one of his comments could apply to the cyberattacks on the country’s internet which took place five years ago. “They’re different in the technicalities, but the goal is the same,” he says. demoralizing and punishing civilians.
Russia’s onslaught on Thursday was aimed at the country’s electrical infrastructure, and knocked out power in several regions. As the holiday approaches, engineering crews are working to restore services.
“Moldova has never been in this situation before,” Ana told me. A war next door, the energy shortage and now rockets falling near our homes are just a few examples of the hardship this country has gone through.
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.
The attack on the city of Kharkiv, Ukraine, launched in March 2015 by the Russia-Augmented Security Service in the Moscow Post-Soviet Era
At least three people, including a 14-year-old, were injured and two people pulled from a damaged home on Thursday, Klitschko said earlier. The city military administration says homes, an industrial facility, and a playground were damaged in the capital.
At least two people were killed in attacks on Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region. Oleh Syniehubov, head of the Kharkiv regional military administration, said four rockets had hit the city — likely S300s — and that critical infrastructure was the intended target.
Senseless barbarism. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said those were the only words that came to mind watching Moscow launch a fresh wave of attacks on Ukrainian cities ahead of the New Year, adding there could be “no neutrality” in the face of such aggression.
At the time, Putin insisted his forces were embarking on a “special military operation” — a term suggesting a limited campaign that would be over in a matter of weeks.
The war has disrupted a post-Soviet period in which the country pursued democratization, and at least financial integration and dialogue with the West.
Russia’s most renowned human rights group, which was a co-recipient of the world’s most prestigious prize, was forced to stop its activities after being accused of violating the foreign agents law.
Russia’s anti- gay laws have been greatly expanded by the state, which argues that the war in Ukraine reflects an attack on traditional values.
For now, repressions remain targeted. Some of the new laws are still unenforced. But few doubt the measures are intended to crush wider dissent — should the moment arise.
New “fake news” laws that criminalized even the appearance of fake news made it impossible for leading independent media outlets to stay in their home countries.
Internet users are subject to restrictions as well. American social media giants such as Twitter and Facebook were banned in March. Since the start of the conflict, hundreds of thousands of websites have been blocked by the internet regulated in the Kremlin.
The War Between the Soviets and the West: What has Russia Learned in the First Hundred Years of the Russian Exodus?
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.
Meanwhile, some countries that have absorbed the Russian exodus predict their economies will grow, even as the swelling presence of Russians remains a sensitive issue to former Soviet republics in particular.
The swift intervention of Russia’s central bank, which jacked up interest rates to 20% after the invasion and implemented currency controls to buttress the ruble, was also a stabilizing force. So was the need for factories to increase production of military goods and replace items that had been imported from the West.
When it comes to Russia’s military campaign, there’s no outward change in the government’s tone. The Russian Defense Ministry provides daily briefings on the successes on the ground. Putin is also confident that everything is going according to plan.
Yet the sheer length of the war — with no immediate Russian victory in sight — suggests Russia vastly underestimated Ukrainians’ willingness to resist.
Russian troops could not defeat the city of Kyiv or the second city of Kharkiv. Russia abandoned Kherson during a counteroffensive by the Ukrainians in November. Russian forces have shelled the city repeatedly since retreating.
The number of Russian losses is officially pegged at just under 6,000, but it’s a topic that isn’t discussed at home. Western estimates place those figures much higher.
“The fear of Russia going into NATO countries and all that, and steamrolling, that has not even come close to happening,” DeSantis said on Fox. They have shown themselves to be a powerful military power, I think.
In Soviet times it would have been unthinkable for longtime allies in Central Asia to criticize Russia for its actions because of their own sovereignty. India and China have been buying Russian oil, but they have not given a full endorsement to Russia’s military campaign.
What do European countries do now that they know Russia is better than the US? Why Putin’s first big press conference in Moscow had to be cancelled until 2023
The state of the nation address was scheduled for April but was delayed and will not happen until next year. Putin’s annual “direct line” — a media event in which Putin fields questions from ordinary Russians — was canceled outright.
The big press conference, which allows the Russian leader to handle questions from mostly pro-kremlin media in December, was tabled until 2023.
There is no reason for the delays. It is thought that the Russian leader has run out of good news after a decade of war and no sign of victory.
It was an oxymoron that nuclear saber-rattling could not be done casually as the destruction they brought was complete for everyone on the planet.
Despite this palpable Russian decline, Europe is not welcoming in an era of greater security. Calls for greater defense spending are louder, and heeded, even if they come at a time when Russia, for decades the defining issue of European security, is revealing itself to be less threatening.
Russia has met a West that, far from being divided and reticent, was happy to send some of its weapons to its eastern border. Moscow knows how limited its non-nuclear options are and that’s why its red lines are constantly changing. None of this was supposed to happen. So what does Europe do now that it has a chance?
How unified the West has been is the key. Despite being split over Iraq, fractured over Syria, and partially unwilling to spend the 2% of GDP on security the United States long demanded of NATO members, Europe and the US have been speaking from the same script on Ukraine. At times, Washington may have seemed warier, and there have been autocratic outliers like Hungary. But the shift is towards unity, not disparity. That’s quite a surprise.
Declarations that Russia has already lost the war remain premature. There are variables which could still lead to a stalemate in its favor, or even a reversal of fortune. NATO could lose patience or nerve over weapons shipments, and seek economic expediency over long-term security, pushing for a peace unfavorable to Kyiv. But that does, at this moment, seem unlikely.
The US Democracy Was Not a Democracy Country During the Cold War, But It Was a “Saw”. The Last 16 Years
This is not the first time America has done this. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the most dangerous nuclear confrontation so far, the Soviet Union’s position shifted in a matter of days, ultimately accepting an outcome that favored the West. If red lines thinking had been popular, America might have accepted a compromise that would have hurt its security.
There was a question that needed to be asked. At the time, many thought that autocracy would prove to be a better system. How many believe that today?
How many believe Russia, China or Iran offer a better model than an open society with all its foibles and challenges? How many believe the US would be better off with a more autocratic president?
Democracy battled back with determination, conviction and a bit of idealism. Autocrats went on the defensive. populism started to fail. There are many positive trends forged with great effort and through large-scale human suffering at the moment.
With the headway democracy just made – a poor showing for election deniers in the US midterm elections, an exodus of Russians from their own autocratic country, an upsurge of support for embattled Ukraine – democratic leaders need to show they can navigate the economic challenges of the coming months. They will face the continued attempts of ambitious autocrats such as Russian President Vladimir Putin to regain the upper hand.
The autocracy brothers wanted the world to think their system was better and that would quiet any doubts at home. For 16 consecutive years, democracy was losing ground according to Freedom House. The research showed that 20% of the population lived in what is called a “Free countries”.
In 2022, as these global strong men struggled, self-assured “geniuses” like Musk, who had previously appeared to side with autocrats, revealed their own weaknesses, and the populations they were meant to serve revolted and demanded change.
The Invasion of the USA: The Cold War Hasn’t Solved Its Eyes. China is Defying the Regime
The invasion strengthened NATO, a democratic defense alliance, in a way nothing had in decades. Even countries that have always been neutral, like Sweden andFinland, wanted to join.
For the past three years, the rules and regulations were tossed aside. But China had not used the time to push for increased vaccination or stock up on certain drugs. There are reports that hundreds of millions of people have been hit by the disease, with various models predicting over a million deaths.
No one expected the “Woman, Life, Freedom” activists to continue defying the regime and its brutality. How far will they go? How far will the regime go to destroy them? How will the rest of the world respond?
How Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen confronted the crisis in the early 2000’s: Why Donald Trump had a new campaign and why he didn’t
Former President Donald Trump launched a new presidential campaign. It was called a lead balloon by the British. He is becoming an increasingly pathetic figure after many of his top choices flopped in the elections. Even though he called on Republicans to unite, the new House Speaker seemed to make little difference to the rebellion this week. And while the struggle over the speakership may have seemed dysfunctional, it was democracy, in all its messy wrangling, on display. The legal troubles of Trump seem endless.
Jair Bolsoniero, Donald Trump’s doppelganger in Brazil, lost his reelection bid. He refused to acknowledge his defeat or even attend the inauguration of the man who defeated him. Instead, a grim Bolsonaro decamped to Florida.
Boris Johnson lost the UK’s premierty and after an embarrassing encounter with the hapless Liz Truss, his replacement was the centrist, Rishi Sunak. When Johnson was leading the country out of the European Union, they wanted their own version of it. We do not hear that anymore. Marine Le Pen had to run from her close ties to Putin because she was defeated by the French President.
On the U.S.-Russia War Between Ukraine and the United States: The Case for Russia’s Communication Violations with the Cell Phones of the New Soldiers
The Russians believe it was the cell phones used by the new troops that allowed the Ukrainians to target them most accurately. Ukraine, however, has not indicated how the attack was executed. Russia’s war implications are broader and deeper.
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 dismissed by both the US and Ukrainians as a ploy to get breathing space while the Russian forces are not doing well.
Russian officials claim that a school where the forces are housed was hit by four rockets from the Ukrainians. (Another two HIMARS rockets were shot down by Russian air defenses).
Chris Dougherty told me that Russia’s failure to break up or move large arms depots is due to the reality that their forces cannot communicate adequately.
Other experts have a similar view. James Lewis, director of the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me in an email that bad security communications are common in the Russian Army.
The troops killed in Makiivka appear to have been recent conscripts, part of a larger picture of Russian soldiers being shipped to the front lines with little training and subpar equipment.
There are inmates freed from Russian prisons who have just been sent 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.
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 how the Ministry of Defense could be so sure that there was no use for drones or local information to determine the location of soldiers in a school building.
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 would be on the watch of Mitztsev.
Sergei Shoigu was defense minister at the time of the Makiivka assault, telling his people in a video: “Our victory, like theNew Year, is inevitable.”
Scholz has stated that Germany is much much in play, and that it wants hands on the controls. He said Germany would “coordinate” supplies of the Leopard 2 from allies to Ukraine, a power invested in him by German legislation preventing any purchaser of the country’s war-fighting hardware to pass it on to a third state.
Russia thought that if Washington blocked Nord Stream 2 it would show that European power no longer flows through Berlin, but via the White House.
The United States didn’t want the new, high-capacity subsea supply to supplant old overland lines that transited Ukraine, providing vital revenue to the increasingly Westward-leaning leadership in Kyiv.
In his words, the Chancellor refused to be pushed and instead demanded the US join him in the endeavor, showing the power dynamic of the US and Germany have shifted.
Europe has been slow to respond to the deep fissures in US politics and the uncertainty another Trumpian-style presidency could wreak on its allies. Decades of a reasonably unshakable reliance, if not complete trust, in the US, has been replaced by stubborn European pragmatism – and Germany leads the way.
Former Chancellor Merkel was Europe’s moral compass. Scholz has found unexpected metal in his ponderous, often stop/go/wait traffic-light governing coalition and won thunderous applause in Germany’s Bundestag on Wednesday as he flashed a rare moment of steely leadership.
Putin’s Russia: Not Just Yet, but It’s Happening. Vladimir Putin Gets It Right, And How Soon Will Ukraine Enter the War?
The Russian government is getting some help from parts of the economy that are not affected by 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%.
The applause was as loud as the speech he was giving. In short, Scholz got it right for Germany, bringing with him a population typically averse to war and projecting their own power, and deeply divided over how much they should aid Ukraine in killing Russians and potentially angering the Kremlin.
Russia will never allow it to be defeated and will use nuclear weapons in the event of a threat, said former president and deputy chairman of its national security council, Dimitry Medvedev.
CNN spoke with some people in Moscow, who said that the mixed messaging was confusing after the announcements from Biden and Scholz. Some people said that Russia would win despite the heavy death toll, while some people said that the US and Germany would be the loser.
It is unclear how much he knows about Putin but his actions now could help ease Putin’s hold on power.
Zelensky could hear longer debates about the next military moves for Ukraine, as well as signal to him that weapons supplies are likely to come from Germany, and less from the US.
This shift in the power dynamic may not change the way the war is fought but could impact the contours of a final deal and shape a lasting peace when it comes.
Russia is gearing up for a “maximum escalation” of the war in Ukraine, potentially as soon as the next few weeks, according to a top Ukrainian national security official.
“These will be defining months in the war,” Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Sky News in an interview broadcast Tuesday.
“We are on the edge of a very active period of fighting, February and March will be very active,” Andriy Yusov said on national television.
The ministry said that military representatives from the two countries would practice joint planning of the use of troops with the prior experience of armed conflicts.
A senior British official told CNN that it was unlikely that Russians would get better organized and that they would be less successful.
A senior Ukrainian diplomat told CNN that they amassed enough manpower to take a couple of small cities. “Underwhelming, compared to the sense of panic they were trying to build in Ukraine.”
Lloyd Austin, the US Defense Secretary, said in Belgium on Tuesday that the US isn’t seeing Russia massing its aircraft ahead of an aerial operation.
Moldova’s Cold War in the Light of Recent Russian Interactions with the EU, NATO, and the United Nations: Is Russia Ready for a Cold War?
Editor’s note: Gherasim is an analyst, consultant and journalist focusing on Eastern and Central European affairs. Follow him on Twitter @Crstn_Gherasim. This commentary is not a commentary of his own. CNN has more opinion.
Concerns about Putin are centered on a small strip of territory in the small country of Moldova. As Ukraine was after Russia’s incursion in 2014, Moldova has been stuck in a “frozen” conflict since the 1990s, with pro-Russia separatists governing the breakaway eastern-Moldovan region of Transnistria.
The trips she makes from the Romanian capital of Bucharest, where Ana has been living for the past decade, to Moldova, have only gotten more frequent since power blackouts and energy shortages hit the small country of 2.6 million people.
Russia has recently fired missiles towards several cities in the Ukraine, including my adopted city of Odesa. Air raid sirens blare as we bolt for shelter into enclosed hallways. My landlady brings me a pot of borscht to help create a sense of normalcy.
Last month, Moldovan President Maia Sandu said border police had found missile debris near the village of Larga in Moldova’s north. It was not the first such incident which left many wondering if the next time lucky will beFka and a stray rocket hits closer to home.
It was obvious that Moldova would not fall prey to Russia and thus set a precedent, but its strategic importance is much more important. It acts like a buffer zone between NATO and Russia. Any invasion of Moldova could bring Putin into a direct conflict with NATO.
If Odesa was Seizing, Russia’s army could connect with that territory where 1,500 of their troops are based, which would allow them to expand into a new area closer to NATO and the EU.
Now, there is fear that Russia could launch a new effort to reach Moldova, and there’s reason to worry about other countries being dragged into the war, if Moscow does. Russian forces might return to Odesa if the war is frozen before a spring assault, as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned.
During a visit to Chisinau earlier this spring, UN Secretary General António Guterres talked about the fragile position Moldova is in, noting that “Moldova is by far the country that has received the most refugees, as proportion of its own population.” He mentioned that the country finds itself on a path of preservation, peace and stability in the world. What does that mean?
Ukrainian refugees have largely been allowed to move freely in Europe, making it more difficult for them to integrate into the rest of the world. Moldova’s culture does share a lot of similarities with Ukraine. The rest of Europe would have to integrate any refugees it didn’t take in.
It has to do with internal factors. The country’s corruption and oligarchic system are decades-long issues that the current pro-EU government has struggled to curb. A recent report from the Council of Europe states that the judicial system inMoldova is poor, with it coming under scrutiny again after a dispute over the top prosecutor job.
Moldova is Losing its People, too. The demographic decline seen in Europe has resulted in the loss of over a 12% of its population since 1991.
Gazprom has slashed its gas exports to Moldova and Ukraine has halted energy exports altogether due to Russian missile attacks. Russian attacks on Ukraine led to power cuts in a large swath of theMoldova. Due to all this, Moldova only has 10% of the electricity it can produce by itself.
Sandu has met with Western leaders and gave an inspiring commencement speech at Harvard in order to spread the word about the plight ofMoldova. She knows that being ignored and forgotten on the world stage could be bad forMoldova.
The Russian Invasion Anniversary, the War of Ukraine, and the Realignment of Power between the United States and the Western (Post-)Cold War
The anniversary of the Russian invasion next week is being used by the US and Western leaders to show unity and strength in order to establish a united NATO for the long haul.
Russia lacks resources for a new nuclear arms race with Washington because of its economy being difficult and its conventional forces under intense pressure. But the collapse of one of the last building blocks of a post-Cold War thaw between Russia and the US exemplifies the almost total lack of communication between the rivals.
The Western rhetorical and diplomatic offensive will ratchet up further as Vice President Kamala Harris heads to the Munich Security Conference this week. In the next week, the President will visit Poland and an ex-warsaw state to bolster his legacy as the most effective leader of the Western alliance since the end of the Cold War.
Some members of the new Republican majority in the US House are hesitant. Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz last week demanded an end to aid to Ukraine and for the US to demand all combatants “reach a peace agreement immediately.” A bipartisan majority for saving Ukraine still exists in the House and the Senate. But it’s not certain Biden can guarantee massive multi-billion dollar aid packages for Ukraine in perpetuity. If Donald Trump is elected, US aid might be in serious doubt.
The outside world knows Putin is not contemplating defeat or an exit from the war because of the complete lack of any diplomatic framework for ceasefire talks.
Fiona Hill, a leading expert on Russia and Putin, who worked in Trump’s White House, said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday that there were few signs Putin’s determination is waning.
The prospect of China leaning on Putin for an end to the war was remote even before the lurch in US-China relations caused by the flight of a Chinese spy balloon across the US this month.
“You’re going to end up with an albatross around your neck,” Sherman said at an event at the Brookings Institution, though admitted the US was concerned about tightening ties between China and Russia at a time when it is locked in simultaneous showdowns with each power.
The leaders of the two nuclear powers vowed to have no limits in their relationship. It looked like a pivotal moment in a global realignment of power.
As a result of President Joe Biden’s success, the US must aim to prevent the creation of a unified force of aggressive antidemocratic regimes.
That means making sure that Russia doesn’t win in Ukraine, but also prying apart Moscow and Beijing (echoing then-President Richard Nixon in the 1970s) and countering China’s efforts to forge stronger bonds with Iran.
The alliance of autocracies would have made a lot of progress if the conflict had turned into a Russian victory. Moscow’s stumbles have slowed its progress. As Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman noted, Russia could become an albatross around Beijing’s neck.
But the rule of the strongest doesn’t work when you can’t win, which is how Russia’s plans started to unravel, and China had to rethink its commitment.
According to the US, Russia has purchased shells from North Korea, a dictatorship that denies any involvement in a war that morality is beyond the pale.
The first 20 years of the Xi-Maeda invasion: Iran’s friendship with the United States is still deeply entrenched
This week, Ebrahim Raisi became the first Iranian president to visit China in 20 years. The trip, at Xi’s invitation, ostensibly aims to implement an agreement for a 25-year strategic cooperation pact the two reached at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2021.
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress believe that China could help Iran evade sanctions related to its nuclear andconventional weapons programs, support for terrorism, and human rights abuses.
There is an internal contradiction in the goals of China’s president. If you want to elevate your standing to that of a respected global leader, it’s hard to create an alliance of rule-breaking autocrats and assorted dictators, and then expect other countries to join enthusiastically.
On February 24, 2022, I was supposed to be in Kyiv. My husband and I had to stay in Moscow after he broke his shoulder. At 9:00 a.m. that day he had surgery.
In the space of a year, the war has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced millions more. It has unleashed unfathomable atrocities, decimated cities, driven a global food and energy crisis and tested the resolve of western alliances.
The End of the Russian Invasion: Writing a Book for Ukrainians in Poland in the Light of the 1918 February 23rd, Zaporizhzhia
February 23, 2022, Zaporizhzhia. I went to bed thinking that I would celebrate my husband’s birthday the next day. Our life was getting better. My husband was running his own business. Our daughter had started school and made friends there. We were lucky to have arranged support services and found a special needs nursery for our son. I had enough time to work. I was happy.
We are trying to live here and now. But the truth is, we are heartbroken. While physically we are in Prague, our hearts have remained in Ukraine.
The opportunities for Ukrainians provided by the Czech Republic resulted in my husband getting a job. I found that my son had 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.
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. Soon it was published, and tens of thousands of Russian citizens added their signatures.
On the third day we, my husband and I, left Russia. I felt that it was some kind of moral obligation. I could not stay on the territory of the state that has become fascist.
We moved to Berlin. There was a refugee camp next to the railway station where thousands of Ukrainians came every day. And I started writing a new book. It starts like this:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine gave the antidote to six years of clumsy populism and the huge economic and psychological shock of the swine flu. It also worked to counter a sense that morality, and the virtue of values, were becoming obsolete in the face of the many challenges posed by the world’s crises.
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.
It has been more than a decade since the Russian invasion began, and I still have trouble sleeping because of the darkness in my father’s eyes. Stories of millions of Ukrainians who starved to death in Stalin’s manmade famine of 1932-33.
My passport is a novel in stamps, a year into the invasion. In London I teach Ukrainian literature, and in Ukraine I get my lessons in courage.
The whole year has been full of worry and tears. I read about people that were killed by Russians, like a teammate, the athletic director, or a friend’s parents.
“That dark night one year ago, the world was literally at the time bracing for the fall of Kyiv,” Biden told Zelensky at a news conference flanked by the Stars and Stripes and Ukraine’s distinctive blue and yellow national flag. The event itself had symbolic meaning in that it didn’t have two leaders cowering in abunker but instead went on in an ornate room like every other leaders’ press conference.
Recent speculations have centered on whether rivals in Russia’s power elite are attempting to remove Prigozhin’s wings. Some considerations are related to the rise of Prigozhin, says Russian political analyst Tatiana Stanovaya. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace wrote about how Prigozhin has rivalries with Russia’s power ministries, and doesn’t have much showing in polls.
We have experienced several eras since February of 2022, it seems. After a lengthy period of stagnant ratings, Putin suddenly became popular with the population, and received over 80% approval.
By stopping the past, he canceled the future. Those who were disoriented, preferred to support Putin: it is easier to live this way when your superiors decide everything for you, and you take for granted everything you are told by propaganda.
It is impossible to adapt to catastrophes like what happened to my family. As an active commentator on the events, I was labeled by the authorities as a “foreign agent,” which increased personal risk and reinforced the impression of living in an Orwellian anti-utopia.
On the evening of February 23 I washed my dog, cleaned the house, took a bath and lit candles. I have a cozy, one-bedroom apartment in a northern district of Kyiv. I loved taking care of it. The life I had was enjoyable. All of it – the small routines and the struggles. The last time I mattered was that night.
The next morning my phone was buzzing from all the messages and missed calls. A red headline in all caps on the Kyiv Independent website read: “PUTIN DECLARES WAR ON UKRAINE.”
Changing the life of a soldier: an army to raise a flag in the fight against Russia and the Russian propaganda in the Second World War
I was trying to get a small army of volunteers to help strengthen the newsroom. And calling my parents to organize buying supplies.
The life I knew was beginning to fall apart. It no longer mattered what cup I used to drink my morning tea, or how I dressed, or whether or not I took a shower. Life itself no longer mattered, only the battle did.
It was already hard to remember the good times of the prewar era when the invasion began. I would remember being upset about my boyfriend, but I could no longer relate. My life didn’t change on February 24, it was stolen from me on that day.
My initial fear of the war became my desire to act through sports. Athletes could help fight against Russian propaganda. It was important for us to tell the true stories about our bravery and strength in the war. How we have united to defend our country.
I no longer cared about my personal ambitions. Only the common goal was crucial – to raise our flag and show that we are fighting even under these circumstances.
I didn’t like my victories on the track. They were only possible because so many defenders had laid down their lives. But I got messages from soldiers on the frontline. It was my top motivation to continue my career and they were very happy to follow our achievements.
The Cold War in Ukraine and Russia: A Case Study for the United States and its Confronting with the New Superpower and the Kremlin
Russia’s war destroyed what little was left of its relationship with the United States and many other countries. We learned that history had not ended and, indeed, that February 24 changed history. This was not just a brutal war on Ukraine, it was a war on Europe.
Editor’s Note: Oleksandra Matviichuk is a Ukrainian human rights lawyer and defender who heads the Center for Civil Liberties. The Center received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022 for its work. In February 2022, she, together with other partners, created the “Tribunal for Putin” initiative to document international crimes taking place in Ukraine. The views expressed in this commentary are not of hers. View more opinion articles on CNN.
Taiwan is learning from the war in Ukraine and keeping an eye on China, according to the country’s foreign minister.
They have an expansionist motivation. They want to expand their sphere of 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.
But this moment finds the United States negotiating worsening foreign policy crises at the same time – with its former Cold War adversaries in the Kremlin and its belligerent new superpower rival led by Xi Jinping. Both these rivals are openly challenging the international rule of law and rejecting norms that have underpinned the international system for decades.
History of the Battle of Stalingrad, the Birthplace of the First Russian War and the Rise and Fall of the Patriotic War: An Empirical Analysis
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 had seven bullets in his body when he was hospitalized for months after the attack.
The audio for this story was produced by Danny Hajek. Additional editing and production help from Carol Klinger, Denise Couture and Nina Kravinsky. Hanna Palamarenko and Tanya Ustova provided reporting and translation help.
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny is fond of a phrase, “the wonderful Russia of the future,” his shorthand for a country without President Vladimir Putin.
The international sanctions have not deterred Putin from brushing them off. Independent media and human rights groups have been branded as foreign agents or shut down entirely.
“Putin arrived in Volgograd, which was renamed Stalingrad for a few days on the occasion of the anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad,” Rogov wrote on Telegram. The Anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad, which is seen as a turning point in the Patriotic War, is being used as a great allusion and patriotic warm-up ahead of the second offensive against Ukraine.
“Those who draw the European countries, including Germany, into a new war with Russia – and all the more irresponsibly declare this as a fait accompli – those who expect to win a victory over Russia on the battlefield, apparently do not understand that a modern war with Russia will be completely different for them,” he warned.
“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 with their feet. In the ethnic minorities regions, police confronted anti-mobilization demonstrators in multiple cities. There was a surge in videos and complaints on Russian social media about the lack of equipment and poor conditions for new recruits.
The first folk hero of Russia: Yugozhin and the inauguration of the Ukrainian war-annihilation organization. Russian journalist M. Mikhail Zygar
Many of those advances have been led by soldiers of the Wagner Group, a private military company headed by oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin. There have been reports about the brutal tactics of the group, including summary execution for deserters.
How close, exactly, is a matter of intense debate. In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Russian author and journalist Mikhail Zygar called Prigozhin’s ambitions “the most hot topic for speculation in Moscow,” noting that he is accumulating a political following that would potentially allow him to challenge Putin.
He is the first folk hero in a long time. “He’s a hero for the most ultraconservative – the most, I would say, fascist – part of Russian society, as long as we don’t have any liberal part in Russian society, because most of the leaders of that part of Russian society have left, he’s an obvious rival to President Putin.”
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, if their surnames were not used over the risks of publicly criticizing the government.
Ira doesn’t have a son, so she does not have to worry about him being mobilized. But she did say that her 21-year-old daughter has started going out to kvartirnik – informal, word-of-mouth gatherings in private apartments, somewhat reminiscent of the underground performances held in the Soviet era.
Ira said she felt acute anxiety in February and March of last year, immediately after the invasion. She had just bought an apartment and was worried that work might dry up and she wouldn’t be able to pay her mortgage.
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 started to buy a lot more wine.”
She stated that the restaurants are now full and that the faces look completely different. The Hipsters, you know what they are? there are less of them.”
Russian Ukrainian War Annihilation: What Do We Have to Do? Olya’s Family Reflected on the First Year of Living in Europe
Olya said that her family decided to take more domestic holidays. Europe is largely closed to direct flights from Russia, and opportunities to travel abroad are more limited.
Olya said life doesn’t stop even though there is a war on. “I can’t influence the situation,” she said. “My friends say, we do what we can, what’s possible. It is not helpful to get depressed.
The people who reorganized quickly are seeing growth. “In January we concluded an unusual number of deals, and most of our activity usually picks up in February.”
He talked about how life has not changed in terms of everyday life. It might be difficult for parts for the Mercedes Benz G-Class.
From Moscow to Europe: The Case of Vladimir Putin and the War Between the Soviet Union and the New Republic of Kazakhstan (Czechnya)
Georgy said he was skeptical of state media, saying he looked for other sources of information. And he acknowledged that he could theoretically be called up in another wave of mobilization.
I should explain. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Chechnya was one of the two autonomous republics of the newly independent Russian Federation that claimed independence. Tatarstan was the other one. But world leaders were by then quite fed up with the discovery that all those union republics that they had for decades regarded simply as administrative units of Russia — Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan and others, still harder to pronounce — appeared to be real things. Ichkeria didn’t have a chance of recognition due to the West’s shock at the new geography.
John J. Sullivan was a US Ambassador to Russia. He worked for the US deputy secretary of state. And is now a partner in Mayer Brown LLP and a Distinguished Fellow at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. Read more opinion on CNN.
For weeks, I had been telling everyone I could reach that Russian President Vladimir Putin was going to launch a war on the continent of Europe, the scale of which had not been seen since World War II.
I wasn’t confident in my assessment before the war started. For two years, I had worked hard as US ambassador to make even modest progress in the few areas in which any dialogue was possible with the Russians.
My approach was reaffirmed following President Joe Biden’s meeting in Geneva with Putin in June 2021. All in our delegation agree that it’s in the interests of the United States to try to make progress on any particular issue.
Russian interlocutors read from their talking points and would not engage in a real dialogue. Russians from the security services kept an eye on every call and meeting. The Russians were going through a diplomatic charade to lay the groundwork for an invasion that Putin had already decided to launch. The only question was when.
The war changed a lot in my lifetime, from where I lived in Moscow to where Russia is today. I had to move onto the Embassy compound because the pace of teleconferences with Washington, combined with an eight-hour time difference, meant I had to be immediately available at all hours.
The Russian violence forced almost 15 million Ukrainians to become refugees or internally displaced and the missile strikes on civilian targets continue. Russia is a permanent Member of the UN Security Council, and their mission is to preserve and defend world peace.
The economic toll alone is staggering and will only get worse until it is stopped and reversed in order to protect its sovereignty and security.
The goals of the Russian military operation cannot and will not be achieved. The Russian government has to negotiate in good faith. Only then will peace return to Europe.
Biden’s Day in Kyiv, Putin’s Confidences on a Cold War Resolution Treaty, and How far is Ukraine to win?
The president of the United States walked through the city of Kyiv in the day while air raid sirens wailed and he stood with the Zelensky in St. Michael’s Square.
Biden’s words might have lacked the poetry of “Ich bin ein Berliner,” or “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” But Biden’s visit instantly went down in history alongside two defining trips to divided Berlin by Presidents John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan that were flashpoints of the Cold War and each of which sent their own image of US resolve to the Kremlin.
Second, trust between the two countries is virtually nonexistent. Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin haven’t spoken in a year. In the time since, both Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin have characterized the Russian leader as a war criminal. Under these conditions, the Senate wouldn’t approve it even if the American officials had negotiated a treaty.
“President Biden has claimed the upper hand … and tomorrow Putin will have to reply to what happened today,” Rudik said, referring to a speech in which Putin is expected to rally the Russian people on Tuesday.
Biden has so far declined to agree to the request, which gets to the heart of a dilemma that defines his war strategy: How far to go to help Kyiv win while avoiding a direct clash between the West and Russia.
“F-16s are not a question for the short-term fight. F-16s are a question for the long-term defense of Ukraine and that’s a conversation that President Biden and President Zelensky had,” Sullivan said.
This is because they would enhance Ukraine’s capacity to potentially strike at Russian jets and air defense systems inside Russia. The use of NATO aircraft in such operations – even with Ukrainian pilots – could prompt the Kremlin to conclude the alliance has directly intervened in the war, increasing the risk of a disastrous escalation of the conflict Biden has tried to avoid.
Why Biden didn’t go to Kyiv, Russia, but instead went to the front lines of Ukraine, and nobody would have guessed
The journey that required energy and endurance was like a jab at some who question if Biden should be thinking of a reelection race at the age of 80.
There are many Americans on the right who agree that Biden has not done enough to secure the southern border and the issue will be at the center of the 2024 election. The decline in civility in US politics can be seen in Greene’s comment. It was found that a pro- Trump Republican supports insurrectionists who tried to destroy American democracy in January of 2021.
It is believed by Moscow that Russia and the US are fighting a proxy war in Ukraine and as a result, Biden’s visit to the capital of the country was provocative.
There may be nothing more presidential than standing for the foundational US values of freedom and democracy and the right of a people to repel tyranny enforced at the point of the gun from a more powerful foreign oppressor whose fight for independence mirrors America’s own.
“Biden, having received security guarantees in advance, finally went to Kyiv,” Medvedev said in a statement on Telegram. “And of course, there were mutual incantations about the victory that would come with new weapons and a courageous people. And here it is important to note that the West already delivers weapons and money to Kyiv quite regularly. In huge quantities, allowing the military-industrial complex of NATO countries to earn money and steal weapons to sell to terrorists around the world.”
“Biden in [Kyiv]. The Russian journalist Sergey Mardan had an idiocy in his reply to the one on Telegram. Children may be able to hear stories of miraculous hypersonics. Just like spells we are making about the holy war in the west.
Russian army veteran and former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Igor Girkin meanwhile suggested that Biden could have visited the frontlines in eastern Ukraine and escaped unharmed.
“Wouldn’t be surprised if the grandfather (he is not good for anything but simple provocations anyway) is brought to Bakhmut as well… AND NOTHING WILL HAPPEN TO HIM,” Girkin said.
A number of hardline militarybloggers have criticized what they believe to be a soft approach to the war in Russia by Putin’s generals.
Jake Sullivan: U.S. Security Advisor to Ukraine and the Battle of our Territoires with Putin and the Kremlin
A few hours before he departed, the United States informed Russia of the plans to visit the Ukrainian capital for “deconfliction purposes,” according to Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, is known for making belligerent pronouncements in an apparent bid to shore up his nationalist credentials.
The debate over Biden’s visit will be unwelcome to Putin, who will on Tuesday make a major speech to the Federal Assembly in which he will discuss the ongoing invasion.
Participants of what Russia refers to as its “special military operation” will be in attendance but foreign guests or representatives will not be invited, the Kremlin’s spokesperson told reporters Monday.
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.
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.
Biden is 80 and walks with a stiff gait. Biden sounded the air raid sirens in the city, and he has no shortage of courage or competence.
Biden made mincemeat of Putin’s strategy to make it look as if the war was a result of a Ukrainian provocation, revealing the plan before it unfolded. After Donald Trump’s presidency, he rallied the NATO alliance.
A joyous Zelensky said Biden’s visit “brings us closer to victory,” adding it will “have repercussions on the battlefield in liberating our territories.”
New START between the United States and Russia: A Day in the Life of the Cold War and a New Vision for the Future of the World
Putin also said that he was suspending Russia’s participation in a critical arms control treaty, New START, with the U.S., though he stressed that Russia is not withdrawing from the treaty.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken described Russia’s decision as “deeply unfortunate and irresponsible.” The U.S. has previously accused Russia of violating the last remaining nuclear arms treaty between the two countries.
But he made clear that the United States would not be inspecting Russian nuclear sites, a central element of verifying compliance with the treaty. And more broadly, he sounded like a leader who was done with arms control at a time of escalating confrontation with the United States and NATO.
If that attitude holds, whoever is sitting in the Oval Office when the treaty expires in a bit more than 1,000 days may face a new world that will look, at first glance, similar to the one of a half-century ago, when arms races were in full swing and nations could field as many nuclear weapons as they wanted.
None of this changes the status quo very much. Nuclear inspections were suspended in the United States and Russia when both sides couldn’t get in. Russian politicians came up with reasons to deny an inspection after travel restrictions were loosened. On Tuesday, Mr. Putin once again pointed out that the United States was not complying with its inspection requirements.
There are a lot of reasons. First, there is virtually no communication between the two countries. The strategic stability talks were suspended at the request of Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin after the invasion of Ukraine.
The treaty doesn’t cover nuclear weapons that the world is worried about most in conflicts such as inUkraine, where Mr. Putin has been threatening to use tactical nuclear weapons against Ukrainian forces. Russia has 2,000 or so; the United States has a few hundred.
Putin acknowledged Russia’s significant losses in the war and called on those present to stand for a moment of silence in their memory. A range of social support package for families of the fallen was promised by the Russian leader.
The Russian Revolution: When Russia and the United States Metretized Their Warfare and How They Have Deployed Their Nuclear Forces
New Start was signed in 2010, it came into effect in 2011. That caps the number of nukes that Russia and the U.S. can deploy. The two countries have more deployable warheads than any other country.
The Russian leader again equated Ukraine’s “neo Nazi” government with Nazi Germany, and said Russia was defending itself just as the Soviet Union defended its territory during World War II.
The author of the book “OK Boomer, Let’s Talk: How My Generation Got Left Behind” is a journalist based in New York. You can follow her on social media. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely her own. View more opinion on CNN.
The threat of nuclear destruction is new and terrifying for Americans who were young when the Cold War started, and it is no doubt frightening for those who spent their formative years in the war.
Biden is right that this is a battle between freedom and oppression. It’s worth nothing, though, that Putin’s emphasis on cultural and gender warfare is also correct, in its own way.
He is of course lying and fear-mongering when he fulminates about same-sex marriage or the prospect of a gender-neutral God and when he says that the West seeks “the destruction of the family, cultural and national identity, perversion and the abuse of children are declared the norm.” There is a clear historical and contemporary correlation between conservatism and autocracy on one hand and liberal tolerance and democracy on the other.
The previous era of Russian autocracy was irreligious, so Conservative religiosity is not a requirement for autocracy. And the autocrats in Beijing, who are expanding their own nuclear arsenals and toying with lending material support to Russia, are not exactly bringing conservative Christian principles to China.
But they are embracing traditionalism, hypermasculinity and a backward-looking national identity. Among analysists of global authoritarians, a familiar refrain has emerged: Make [x country] Great Again. According to Evan Osnos, China is trying to make it great again. “Putin set out to ‘Make Russia Great Again,’” Gen. David Petraeus told CNN earlier this month. We all know the American version.
It is important to realize that a number of right-wing Americans feel comfortable with bringing a strongman in to reestablish the traditional order, as Putin believes the West is getting old and needs to be changed.
The most salient divide is not between East and West; it’s between those who want pluralistic liberal democracies that allow people to live freely no matter what their religious beliefs, sexual orientations and aspirations – and those who prefer autocratic strongmen who use the law to impose conservative, traditional values whether people like it or not.
The Rise and Fall of Russia: What Do We Want to Learn From Its Failures? As Putin and Novak Celebrate the End of Putin’s Crimea
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 his Russia as the leading light for Christian nationalists worldwide, standing against Western secularism and decadence. And many Christian nationalists, including in the United States, have gotten in line.
This is not just a divide between the US and Russia. 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.
Putin said that the Russian economy and system of government were better than the West thought.
Cracks are starting to show and they will get bigger in the next year. The European Union spent more than $100 billion on Russian fossil fuels and has made huge strides in ending purchases. The bloc, which dramatically reduced its dependence on Russian natural gas last year, officially banned most imports of Russian crude oil by sea in December. It enacted a block on refined oil products this month.
Those measures are already straining Russia’s finances as it struggles to find replacement customers. The government reported a budget deficit of about 1,761 billion rubles ($23.5 billion) for January. Expenditure jumped 59% year-over-year, while revenue plunged 35%. Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak announced that Russia would cut oil production by about 5% starting in March.
“The era of windfall profits from the oil and gas market for Russia is over,” Janis Kluge, an expert on Russia’s economy at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, told CNN.
Meanwhile, the ruble has slumped to its weakest level against the US dollar since last April. The weakness of the currency has resulted in high inflation. A recent survey by a Russian think tank found that the majority of businesses can’t grow because of economic uncertainty.
One reason for Russia’s unexpected pluck was its push toward self-sufficiency following Putin’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Through a policy known as “Fortress Russia,” the government boosted domestic food production and policymakers forced banks to build up their reserves. That created a degree of “durability,” said Ash at Chatham House.
The former deputy minister of finance for Russia said that the question is about natural resources. That meant the economy experienced a decline, but “not a collapse,” he added.
The price of a barrel of Urals crude, Russia’s main blend, fell to an average of $49.50 in January after Europe’s oil embargo — as well as a Group of Seven price cap — took effect. The global benchmark stood at $82. That suggests that customers like India and China, seeing a smaller pool of interested buyers, are negotiating greater discounts. Russia has a budget based on a price of more than 70 dollars per barrel.
It will be difficult to find new buyers for processed oil products that are subject to embargoes and price caps. China and India have their own network of refineries and prefer to buy crude, noted Ben McWilliams, an energy consultant at Bruegel.
Russian firms are having trouble planning the future of the economy: a study by the Stolypin Institute of Economic Growth and Russian Business anniversaries
“Whatever energy resources are obtained, they’ll be spent on military needs,” said Gulnaz Sharafutdinova, acting director of the Russia Institute at King’s College London.
Firms are having trouble coming up with a plan for the future. A survey of more than 1,000 Russian businesses by the Stolypin Institute of Economic Growth in November found that almost half plan to maintain production over the next one to two years and aren’t thinking about growth. The group said this contributed to a high risk of “long-term stagnation of the Russian economy.”
“Whether the economy shrinks or expands in 2023 will be determined by developments in the war,” Tatiana Orlova, an economist at Oxford Economics, wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday. She noted that the risk of shortage of workers tied to military enlistment and emigration is a key risk.
Sectors that rely on imports have been particularly vulnerable. It’s hard for domestic car makers to keep up with the demand for key parts and materials.
Russia’s auto industry was already weakened when companies such as Volkswagen halted production and Nissan began to sell their local assets last year. Chinese firms have stepped up their presence, part of a broader trend. Even so, sales of new cars dropped 63% year-over-year in January, according to the Association of European Businesses.
The 2014 Maidan Square Protests against Ukraine: Armed forces and human rights lawyers in a world without a Center for Civil Liberties
It’s normal for the population to protest against that. “But of course, these are not normal times.”
I have met many people around the world since the Center for Civil Liberties was given a prestigious award last year. They ask me what motivates me to keep going. How do I manage to get up every day, eat breakfast, have coffee and then turn to my daily work as a human rights lawyer: documenting the now thousands of hideous atrocities that have been committed — and are being still committed — by the Russian Federation’s armed forces against the people of Ukraine.
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 makes it hard to hide misuses of power. Judicial reform was possible because of changes to our Constitution. There are a lot of things that still need to be done, but we were on the right track.
Over this past year, the emotions I have experienced have evolved. Yes, I still feel anger over the death and destruction inflicted on Ukraine. But I have also felt a rising tide of love.
Because amid so many disappointments — in the ability of the international order to protect us, in the idea that the laws of war protect civilians — I have found we can still rely on people.
This was the spirit I saw before in Maidan Square during the 2014 protests. Those protests kept on, despite the police beatings, and then the killings, because we believed in something better. And it came.
This love extends even further to the belief that a future Ukraine will be able to respect the rights of its citizens. It’s possible that we no longer need a Center for Civil Liberties. Perhaps even to a vision of the world where this spirit of shared humanity prevails.
Russian leader Putin welcomed Wang to the country and said that relations between Beijing and Moscow were on the up and up.
There are always opportunities in a crisis and the two nations could potentially turn into the former.
This foreign policy picture is not just a problem for the American diplomats. Rising challenges abroad as well, as the depletion of US and Western weapons stocks as arms are sent to Ukraine, pose questions about military capacity and whether current defense spending is sufficient. Republicans have accused Biden of snubbing voters facing economic and other problems, even as he tried to position Democrats as protectors of working Americans as the campaign begins for the presidential election in four years.
Biden said that President Putin would fail because of his craven lust for land and power.
Biden showed that the estrangement between the US and Russia is almost complete, a factor that will shape global politics for years.
One reason why the United States was willing to discuss the issue with Russia was because it was dangerous when top two nuclear powers weren’t talking.
The US is trying to reduce its latest conflict with China over what it says is a Chinese spy balloon that flew over the US earlier this month. The US warned China not to give Russia arms that it could use against it in the war in Ukraine as Wang was on his way to Moscow.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield warned on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that such a step would cross a US red line but did not specify what consequences could result.
War is Death in a Mudden Foxhole: Memories of newlywed couples on the Ukraine-Polish border and the destruction of the Baltic Sea pipeline
China, with its own economic problems, may be unwilling to risk US sanctions that could result from sending arms to Moscow. But Beijing may also have an interest in the war being prolonged in the belief that it could distract the US and its military resources from Biden’s growing efforts to respond to China’s dominance in Asia.
A long-dragging conflict could also drive divides between the US and Europe – further playing into China’s foreign policy goals. It could make it more difficult for Biden to fulfill his foreign policy goals.
I will never forget the tales I heard of newlywed couples on the Ukrainian-Polish border who separated after saying their vows. A tax preparer in Boston who quit her job to return to Ukraine with suitcases full of medical supplies. The wife of a border guard, who was stationed in the city of Lviv, made the three-hour round trip from there to the Poland border every day to drop off women and children who had fled their homes.
How sad that human beings who survived the devastating waves of Covid were only able to get back into business and kill someone else. It’s senseless to spend tens of billions of dollars on missiles, tanks and other aid, when more needs to be done to help communities adapt to rising oceans and drying rivers. It’s lunacy that farmers in a breadbasket of the world have gone hungry hiding in bomb shelters. It is madness that Putin declared the people of Ukraine to be his own before sending his army into the country, where Russian soldiers are 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. But in the end, war is death in a muddy foxhole. It’s an existential fight over a frozen field with no strategic value. New generations have atergenerational grudges. The roughly 740-mile pipeline was laid across the Baltic Sea and rendered useless overnight. It is one of the largest steel plants in Europe and unable to produce a single metal sheet. It’s a charming seaside city emptied out by bombings and siege.
From Putin to Russia, from a Russian citizen to a U.S. citizen: “I’ve seen Putin once, but not in Moscow”
“Putinologist” is a good tag line, said Alperovitch. “He feels that he has more power as a leader in Russia than any other leader since Stalin, and he sees himself as a new czar.”
Alperovitch was born in Moscow and came to the U.S. at age 13 in 1994. He’s never returned to Russia, though that country — and Putin — have shaped his life. He was a founder of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike which was known to investigate Russian computer hacks. “I’ve always seen him as a gambler,” he said. Most of the time he’s gotten lucky. (Ukraine) is the one gamble that’s probably his biggest, which has not worked out well so far.”
Critical decisions like invading Ukraine are seen as Putin’s work and he has consolidated his hold on Russia throughout his two decades in power.
The demand for Putinologists like Julia Ioffe who accept the label with some reluctance has increased because of this. Ioffe is a writer for Puck News, and is often interviewed by other news organizations. “But at the same time, people in the West have a really hard time understanding him. Somebody needs to translate him for the West. I’ll do it. At 7 years old, she and her family moved to the US. She thought she was going to be a doctor in college. “But I couldn’t resist Soviet history and switched tracks,” she noted. I kept getting sucked in and trying to do something else. My entire professional life has been done in one form or another. There was a three-year stint in Moscow a decade ago. Her editor at the time suggested she write a column called “Kremlinology 2012.” She said that it was supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek thing because they wanted to know who does Kremlinology anymore. There were less and less ways to understand the system as it became more and more Soviet. It’s back. Ioffe traveled to Russia until a few years ago. She often writes about the way Putin shaped Russian society and prepared it for his military adventures.
“He created this cult around World War II. That glorifies war. That makes war easier to deal with. And then once a war starts, it’s pretty easy to convince Russians that this is a war just like that and that they need to go in and do it,” she said.
Putin’s First Kiss? The War on Crime and the Resilience of Ukrainians During the First Year of the Russian Invasion
If you recall correctly, Europe was a very chaotic place a year ago and the amount to which the West has been reminded of its values and purpose is surprising.
The Russian dead were scruffy, had no sleeping mats or workout gloves and were only rusting armor at their backs as Ukraine advanced in Kherson.
The hope was thatPutin would be friendly to the people of Russia rather than trying to restore an empire that was so old it wouldn’t have lasted much longer if he had ever seen it.
Is that a bad thing? For Ukraine, yes, whose sacrifice should never have had to happen. I remember being inside and cold outside the administration building at the start of the war. When a missile tore it in two, I had no idea how many people were inside.
Putin might be holding back because of the chance Russia could fail in their most destructive use; that the nuclear button will just smoke and whirrs when hit, which is perhaps why he has been so careful.
The United States is prepared to support Ukraine for the long haul in the war against Russia and is confident Kyiv will prevail, senior Biden administration officials told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria at a unique CNN town hall marking the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion.
Putin’s aims as the war has dragged on was another topic that was raised at the town hall. Sullivan was asked about the risk that Putin would turn to nuclear weapons and he said that the US did not see a change in Russia’s nuclear posture.
The US officials praised the resilience of the Ukrainian people as they were questioned by Ukrainians including a 14-year-old girl and a soldier serving on the front lines of the war in the country’s military.
U.S. Security Assistance for Ukraine During the First Year of the Cold War Between Moscow and Kyiv: Senators Sullivan and Power Revisited
“Sitting here today, we do not see movements in Russia’s nuclear forces that lead us to believe that something fundamentally has changed from how things have been over the course of the past year,” Sullivan said.
During the town hall, Sullivan touted the latest US security assistance that the Biden administration has authorized to Ukraine – a $2 billion package of weapons that’s expected to be officially announced on Friday as the war hits the 1-year mark.
The $2 billion package includes new funding for contracts such as the H.M. rifles and 155- millimeter cannon fodder, as well as mine-clearing equipment and secure communications equipment.
Sullivan was asked by a Ukrainian soldier if the US would be able to increase production of weapons for his country such as 155- millimeter shells and.50 caliber machine guns.
Sullivan said that President Biden wants them to increase the production of all of these types of bullets. We are putting huge amount of effort into this, but it is not something we can do with a single finger.
But he also acknowledged that the Ukrainians have often asked for more than the US is willing to give – though in many cases the Biden administration has eventually transferred weapons it had initially resisted sending.
Sullivan reiterated the Biden administration’s position Thursday evening that it’s not currently providing F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, saying the fighter jets “are not the key capability” Ukraine needs for a counteroffensive against Russian forces.
Sullivan’s first reaction was to the 12-point plan Beijing released asking for an end to hostilities in Ukraine and to find a solution to the crisis between Moscow and Kyiv.
Both Sullivan and Power brushed aside criticism from some of Biden’s Republican critics that the billions of dollars the US is spending in Ukraine would be better spent at home.
“I would say to those senators, yes, let’s do these things at home. But are you saying that American is unable to help serve as a force of good in the world? Sullivan said.
There is a pessimism in the arguments made by these senators. President Biden has a positive view that we can do it, we should, and we are doing it.
“The reflection, I think, of how much commonality Americans do feel with Ukrainians is the flow of support that has been sustained over the course of this last year,” Power said. “It is the bipartisanship in a town that isn’t famous for it anymore, but Ukraine has been not only a galvanizing issue, but a uniting issue for our own country.”
We stand with you, not just here on the battle front, but in trying to help you feel safer, when there is someone trying to take something away, Power said.
The First Train of the Ukrainian Railways Arrived in Mariupol, the Black Sea, Two Days after the Russian Resurrection
Power said it will take a long time to rebuild the country after the war is over. She noted that some estimates put the total damage at $130 billion.
Power said that the US Agency for International Development has worked to rebuild Ukraine’s infrastructure, as well as get the private industry to return to peaceful parts ofUkraine.
But she added that major projects are still ahead, and that the Biden administration and other allies are focused on making sure the money that’s dedicated to reconstruction is well spent.
Most big-ticket items will only happen when there is a negotiated peace, Power said.
“But we have to make sure resources are going to be well spent,” she added. When you have massive investments that go well beyond what is available right now you want to make sure that you have the safeguards in place so that everyone knows that it is money that’s going.
Two days after Russian forces retreated from Kherson, Alexander Kamyshin, the CEO of Ukraine Railways arrived in the city with a small team of railway workers. They reached the central train station even before the regular army arrived to secure the city, and got to work. The first train arrived in Kherson six days later.
“It was a magic day,” Kamyshin says. The people who were seeing the train were crying and waving their hands. I trust you, it was unforgettable. It is one of the days to remember.
All that work has taken place under near constant attack. “[The Russians shell] tracks, stations, bridges, power stations, cranes, they shell everything,” Kamyshin says. Two hundred and fifty people died and 800 people were injured. Railwaymen and women are the only ones. That’s the price we paid in this war.”
During the first three weeks of the war last year, as Russian troops pushed into central and southern Ukraine, the railway’s main focus was on evacuations and on moving humanitarian aid into towns and cities being bombed and shelled. The passenger train went toward the Polish border with refugees and then returned to the front filled with supplies.
The port city of Mariupol in the Black Sea, which is close to the Russian border, was bombarded relentlessly until the resistance finally collapsed in May 2022, allowing rail workers to get trains in and out several times. There are still two trains stuck there, but crews were able to leave by road.