Ukraine 2022

Written by  //  August 10, 2022  //  Europe & EU, Ukraine  //  No comments

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Official website
Map Explainer: Key Facts About Ukraine
The Forgotten Potential of Ukraine’s Energy Reserves

9-10 August
Crimea airfield blast was work of Ukrainian special forces, official says
(WaPo) A powerful attack on a Russian air base in occupied Crimea was the work of Ukrainian special forces, a Ukrainian government official told The Washington Post on Wednesday, suggesting an increasingly important role for covert forces operating deep behind enemy lines as the country expands efforts to expel Russian troops.
Deadly Crimea blasts are ‘just the beginning,’ Ukraine warns Russia
The attack, if conducted by Ukraine, would amount to a dramatic escalation in the nearly six-month-old war. It would demonstrate a remarkable ability by Ukrainian forces, or their allies, to strike at Russia far from front lines, deep inside territory where Russian tourists are so comfortable with their security that they lounge near the base on sandy Black Sea beaches.
Ukrainian resistance grows in Russian-occupied areas
(AP) — In a growing challenge to Russia’s grip on occupied areas of southeastern Ukraine, guerrilla forces loyal to Kyiv are killing pro-Moscow officials, blowing up bridges and trains, and helping the Ukrainian military by identifying key targets.
The spreading resistance has eroded Kremlin control of those areas and threatened its plans to hold referendums in various cities as a move toward annexation by Russia.
Ukrainian troops recently used a U.S.-supplied multiple rocket launcher known as HIMARS to hit a strategic bridge on the Dnieper River in Kherson, severing the Russians’ main supply link. The city of 500,000 people, seized by Russian troops early in the war, has been flooded with leaflets from the resistance, threatening Moscow-backed officials.
Just before the bridge attack, leaflets appeared, saying, “If HIMARS can’t do it, a partisan will help.”
“We are giving the Ukrainian military precise coordinates for various targets, and the guerrillas’ assistance makes the new long-range weapons, particularly HIMARS, even more powerful,” Andriy told the AP. “We are invisible behind the Russian lines, and this is our strength.”
As Ukrainian forces step up attacks in the region and reclaim some areas west of the Dnieper River, the guerrilla activity also has increased.

8-9 August
Ukraine’s nuclear chief warns of ‘very high’ risks at occupied power plant
(Reuters) – The head of Ukraine’s state nuclear power firm warned on Tuesday of the “very high” risks of shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the Russian-occupied south and said it was vital Kyiv regains control over the facility in time for winter.
Energoatom’s chief, Petro Kotin, told Reuters in an interview that last week’s Russian shelling had damaged three lines that connect the Zaporizhzhia plant to the Ukrainian grid and that Russia wanted to connect the facility to its grid.
UN Chief Calls For International Access To Ukrainian Nuclear Plant After New Attack
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for international inspectors to be given access to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant after Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over the recent shelling of the facility.
Safety at Ukraine nuclear plant not designed with ‘full-scale war in mind’: expert
(The Current CBC Radio ) “This has never happened before that such a large civilian nuclear facility would be trapped in the middle of a full-scale war,” said Mariana Budjeryn, who has researched nuclear power in Ukraine and is a senior research associate at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center in Cambridge, Mass.
Russia has controlled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station since March, but it is still run by Ukrainian workers. Both countries blamed the other for shelling near the plant over the weekend, prompting calls for inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to be given access to monitor the station.

6-7 August
Amnesty regrets ‘distress’ caused by report rebuking Ukraine
Amnesty International apologized on Sunday for “distress and anger” caused by a report accusing Ukraine of endangering civilians which infuriated President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and triggered the resignation of its Kyiv office head. The rights group published the report on Thursday saying the presence of Ukrainian troops in residential areas heightened risks to civilians during Russia’s invasion. “Amnesty International deeply regrets the distress and anger that our press release on the Ukrainian military’s fighting tactics has caused,” it said in an email to Reuters. “Amnesty International’s priority in this and in any conflict is ensuring that civilians are protected. Indeed, this was our sole objective when releasing this latest piece of research. While we fully stand by our findings, we regret the pain caused.” Zelenskiy accused the group of trying to shift responsibility from Russian aggression, while Amnesty’s Ukraine head Oksana Pokalchuk quit saying the report was a propaganda gift for Moscow. (Reuters https://buff.ly/3vM1dke)
Amnesty is morally bankrupt
(The Telegraph UK) For anyone who has followed Amnesty International in recent years, its attack on Ukraine for daring to defend itself against Russia and thus “putting civilians at risk” was entirely in character.

3 August
UN nuclear chief: Ukraine nuclear plant is `out of control’
(AP) — [Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency] warned that Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine “is completely out of control” and issued an urgent plea to Russia and Ukraine to quickly allow experts to visit the sprawling complex to stabilize the situation and avoid a nuclear accident.
There is “a paradoxical situation” in which the plant is controlled by Russia, but its Ukrainian staff continues to run its nuclear operations, leading to inevitable moments of friction and alleged violence, he said. While the IAEA has some contacts with staff, they are “faulty” and “patchy,” he said.

31 July
‘The money is gone’: Evacuated Ukrainians forced to return
(AP)…tens of thousands of people have returned to rural or industrial communities close to the region’s front line at considerable risk because they can’t afford to live in safer places.
The Pokrovsk mayor’s office estimated that 70% of those who evacuated have come home. In the larger city of Kramatorsk, an hour’s drive closer to the front line, officials said the population had dropped to about 50,000 from the normal 220,000 in the weeks following Russia’s invasion but has since risen to 68,000.
It’s frustrating for Ukrainian authorities as some civilians remain in the path of war, but residents of the Donetsk region are frustrated, too. Some described feeling unwelcome as Russian speakers among Ukrainian speakers in some parts of the country.
But more often, lack of money was the problem. In Kramatorsk, some people in line waiting for boxes of humanitarian aid said they were too poor to evacuate at all. Donetsk and its economy have been dragged down by conflict since 2014, when Russian-backed separatists began fighting Ukraine’s government.

22 July
Russia, Ukraine sign grain export deal at Istanbul ceremony
Agreement set to allow grain to be exported from Ukrainian Black Sea ports amid fears of a global food crisis.

20 July
Zelenskyy is the problem, not his friends
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired leading security officials in the middle of a war. But the president’s public rebuke only obscures the real problem: lack of reform, says Eugen Theise.
(DW Opinion) G7 ambassadors have repeatedly criticized the fact that Ukraine’s election oversight commission has done nothing for two years. So far, the president has largely ignored Western demands for action. Just as he has ignored criticism over Kyiv’s lack of political will when it comes to finally wrapping up the glacial reform of Ukraine’s bloated and scandal-ridden intelligence services.
But now, Zelenskyy can no longer ignore criticism from his Western partners, as he was able to do before the war. Without guns and money from the EU and the US, Ukraine would have gone broke long ago and would scarcely be able to resist Russia’s onslaught. The reforms that are so essential for the strengthening of the Ukrainian state will now have to be implemented in the middle of a war. For this, the most experienced professionals are crucial, and not the president’s kindergarten pals.

18 July
Build Ukraine Back Better
Reconstruction Is an Opportunity for Democratic Renewal
By Alexander Vindman and Dominic Cruz Bustillos
(Foreign Affairs) …in the immediate aftermath of the war, Ukraine will be in desperate need of reconstruction. That is where the United States and its allies must help. With their assistance, Ukraine’s unyielding and resolute democracy can also become a thriving economy. Together, the democratic world and Ukraine will share the responsibility of converting Ukraine’s hard-won freedom into a century of mutual prosperity.
… Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and the Kyiv School of Economics have estimated that war reconstruction costs will total nearly $750 billion—a colossal sum that will only increase as the conflict continues. …
Together with other allied and partner governments, Washington must therefore create a series of multibillion-dollar reconstruction funds for Ukraine. Western countries should provide the capital and technical expertise; Ukraine should provide the vision. …
Given the history of corruption in Kyiv, some may balk at making such sweeping donations. … The country’s population now shares a collective purpose that, in the postwar period, will help forge a sense of unity around European values and integration. Those entrenched political forces seeking to resist reforms and anticorruption efforts will find themselves facing the iron resolve of a Ukrainian people hardened by the struggle to preserve their democracy and independence. … U.S. President Joe Biden can aid Zelensky by couching reconstruction in terms his administration holds dear: build back better. Merely replacing destroyed infrastructure with more of the same should not be the end goal. Refurbishing an outdated Soviet-era airfield makes less sense than striving to connect satellite cities around Ukraine’s largest metropolitan centers with a high-speed rail system.
Irrespective of U.S. contributions, the most important element of a potential recovery program will be a new EU-Ukraine reconstruction fund. … The success of an EU-Ukraine reconstruction fund will not depend solely on the EU, however. As part of this arrangement, Ukraine will need to meet a series of EU benchmarks, including setting up new anticorruption institutions and a court system capable of delivering accountability. Ukraine also should receive a massive influx of European capital that is contingent on it purging graft.

The War in Ukraine Is Dividing Lifelong Friends
After Russia’s invasion, many post-Soviet immigrants in the U.S. are estranged from or barely speaking with longtime friends back home.
By Ruth Madievsky

9 July
Ukraine and the Contest of Global Stamina
By Peter Baker and David E. Sanger
(NYT) The conflict’s long-run trajectory seems increasingly likely to be shaped by whether the United States and its allies can maintain their military, political and financial commitments to holding off Russia.
More than four months after Russia invaded Ukraine, a war that was expected to be a Russian blitzkrieg only to turn into a debacle for Moscow has now evolved into a battle of inches with no end in sight, a geopolitical stamina contest in which President Vladimir V. Putin is gambling that he can outlast a fickle, impatient West.
President Biden has vowed to stand with Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” but neither he nor anyone else can say how long that will be or how much more the United States and its allies can do over that distance, short of direct military intervention. At some point, officials acknowledge, U.S. and European stocks of weapons will run low; while the United States has authorized $54 billion in military and other assistance, no one expects another $54 billion check when that runs out.

Ukraine’s Implausible Theories of Victory
The Fantasy of Russian Defeat and the Case for Diplomacy
Barry R. Posen, Ford International Professor of Political Science, MIT
(Foreign Affairs) As Russian forces gain ground in Ukraine, that country’s president and allies all seem to agree: Ukraine must fight on to victory and restore the prewar status quo.
Ukraine’s leaders and its backers speak as if victory is just around the corner. But that view increasingly appears to be a fantasy. Ukraine and the West should therefore reconsider their ambitions and shift from a strategy of winning the war toward a more realistic approach: finding a diplomatic compromise that ends the fighting.
A negotiated solution to the war would no doubt be hard to achieve, but the outlines of a settlement are already visible. Each side would have to make painful concessions. Ukraine would have to relinquish considerable territory and do so in writing. Russia would need to relinquish some of its battlefield gains and renounce future territorial claims. To prevent a future Russian attack, Ukraine would surely need strong assurances of U.S. and European military support, as well as continuing military aid (but consisting mainly of defensive, not offensive, weapons). Russia would need to acknowledge the legitimacy of such arrangements. The West would need to agree to relax many of the economic sanctions it has placed on Russia. NATO and Russia would need to launch a new set of negotiations to limit the intensity of military deployments and interactions along their respective frontiers.

4-5 July
Meeting to create road map for Ukraine reconstruction opens
(Al Jazeera) Two-day conference begins in Switzerland with representatives from dozens of countries and several international institutions.
The government of war-ravaged Ukraine is due to outline for the first time its priorities for the country’s reconstruction following Russia’s invasion, during a conference in Switzerland.
The two-day event in the southern city of Lugano begins on Monday and will be attended by representatives of dozens of countries, as well as several international organisations and financial institutions. It will include hashing out a plan to rebuild Ukraine and distributing tasks among delegates.
Ukraine Recovery Conference (URC 2022)

1-4 July
Zelenskiy says Ukraine is in talks with Turkey, UN on grain exports
(Reuters) – Ukraine is holding talks with Turkey and the United Nations to secure guarantees for grain exports from Ukrainian ports, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday.
“Talks are in fact going on now with Turkey and the U.N. (and) our representatives who are responsible for the security of the grain that leaves our ports,” Zelenskiy told a news conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
Zelenskiy said Ukraine was working “directly” with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the issue and that the organization was “playing a leading role, not as a moderator.”
Turkey halts Russian ship, investigates Ukrainian claims -senior official
(Reuters) – Turkey has halted a Russian-flagged cargo ship off its Black Sea coast and is investigating a Ukrainian claim that it was carrying stolen grain, a senior Turkish official said on Monday.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey said on Sunday the Zhibek Zholy was detained by Turkish customs authorities. Ukraine had previously asked Ankara to detain it, according to an official and documents viewed by Reuters.
Ukraine requests Turkey detain Russian-flagged ship it says carrying Ukrainian grain
By Jonathan Saul and Jonathan Spicer
Ukraine says ship involved in illegal export of grain
Kahakh based owner says ship chartered to Russian company
Kremlin previously denied Russia stolen any Ukraine grain
(Reuters) – Ukraine has requested that Turkey detain and arrest the Russian-flagged cargo ship Zhibek Zholy carrying a cargo of Ukrainian grain taken from the Russian-occupied port of Berdyansk, according to a Ukrainian official and document seen by Reuters.

27 June
Russia and Ukraine’s war over grain
The war that is keeping Ukrainian grain from the world

23 June
Ukraine takes step toward EU membership as battle in east enters ‘fearsome climax’
By Pavel Polityuk and Vitalii Hnidyi
(Reuters) – Ukraine will formally become a candidate to join the European Union on Thursday, a boost for the devastated country’s morale as Russian assaults wear down the defenders of two cities in the eastern Donbas region.
Although the approval of the Kyiv government’s application by EU leaders meeting in Brussels is just the start of what will be a years-long process, it marks a huge geopolitical shift and will anger Russia as it struggles to impose its will on Ukraine.

1 June
Western Support for Ukraine Has Peaked
The honeymoon that Ukraine’s leaders have enjoyed with the West will not last.
Andrew Exum, a contributing writer for The Atlantic. From 2015 to 2017, he was the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy.
(The Atlantic) We’ve likely reached the high-water mark of the grand alliance to defeat Russia in Ukraine. In the coming months, relations between the Ukrainian leadership and its external supporters will grow strained, and the culprit will be economic pain exacerbated by the war.
When our children and grandchildren study this conflict, they will marvel at the speed and audacity with which the Western powers—Europe and the United States, primarily—mobilized to arm the Ukrainian people in the face of Russia’s onslaught. In stark contrast to the Winter War of 1939–40, when Russia invaded Finland and various Western powers hemmed and hawed before providing only token assistance to the plucky Finns, Europeans have fallen over themselves to provide lethal aid to the Ukrainians.
…the economic costs of the war are starting to seriously concern American and other Western policy makers. Eurozone inflation is up to 8.1 percent for the year, while in the United States, inflation is at a four-decade high. Leading economists worry about a recession next year, while business leaders with whom I speak fret that one may arrive sooner.
Putin’s war on Ukraine didn’t cause all of this pain in the global economy, but it certainly doesn’t help, and it has played an outsize role in the pain we are about to feel in the global supply of food.

1 May
Gwynne Dyer: A remarkable reversal of expectations in Ukraine
Ukraine has seen off the initial Russian attack, a simultaneous offensive on far too many fronts with inadequate numbers on each. But the war is far from over.
The initial Russian strategy could only have succeeded if Ukraine was what Russian President Vladimir Putin imagined it to be: a fake country with useless armed forces that would collapse at the first push. It wasn’t like that, and it was Russia who turned out to have the Potemkin army.
… More and better weapons are on their way to the Ukrainians, but it will take time to crew them and get them to the front. It’s unlikely, but Ukraine still could lose this war.
The rival scenario, in which the Ukrainians eventually stop and drive back the Russian advance, is more likely, but it would bring its own difficult, dangerous choices.
If the Ukrainians start retaking territory, where do they stop? On the line where the war began, leaving Crimea and some of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in Russia’s hands? That would make sense, but it would be hard to convince bitter, vengeful Ukrainians to stop short of their pre-2014 border.
Far better to stop at the 2022 border, declare a unilateral ceasefire, and let Putin twist in the wind. Russia would get rid of him eventually, and you could end sanctions in return for reparations for Ukraine.

23 April
As Western Arms Pour Into Ukraine, Zelensky Promises Victory
President Volodymyr Zelensky, bolstered by an influx of heavy weapons from Western nations, expressed increasing confidence on Saturday that Ukraine was prepared to defeat Russian forces in what is expected to be a long and brutal battle for control of the eastern industrial heartland.
“We will be able to show the occupiers that the day when they will be forced to leave Ukraine is approaching,” Mr. Zelensky said in an overnight address to the nation.
The statement seemed to mark a decisive shift for Mr. Zelensky, who has spent months begging and shaming allies around the world to provide Ukraine with longer-range, heavy weapons to repel Russian forces as they assault the east in the latest offensive in the two-month-old war.

6 April
Zelenskyy wants Ukraine to be ‘a big Israel.’ Here’s a road map.
By Daniel B. Shapiro
(Atlantic Council) Gone, he said, are hopes for “an absolutely liberal” state—replaced by the likely reality of armed defense forces patrolling movie theaters and supermarkets. “I’m confident that our security will be the number-one issue over the next ten years”.
…if Zelenskyy really does have Israel in mind as a model for Ukraine, here are some of the key features he might consider for adoption (some of which are already applicable today):
Intelligence dominance: Ukraine will need to upgrade its intelligence services to compete against Russian capabilities and ensure that it’s prepared to prevent and repulse Russian attacks.
Technology is key: Although it relies on US assistance, Israel also chooses homegrown technology solutions for many of its greatest challenges. Multi-layer rocket and missile defenses, counter-drone systems, and tunnel detection technology are just recent examples. Ukraine—already home to bright technological minds—will know what threats it faces more than any partner; investing in its own solutions will allow it to be most responsive and adapt to new threats.
Build an innovation ecosystem: Ukraine has no lack of talented coders and engineers (many of whom are employed by Israeli startups). Encouraging the free flow of talent and ideas between the civilian and security innovation spaces will pay long-term security and economic dividends.
Maintain democratic institutions:

5 April
Ukraine’s performance on the battlefield stems from both national resolve and a massive overhaul of the military
(The World) When Ukraine’s military entered the Donbas region in 2014 to put down a separatist uprising, a Ukrainian general described his forces as decrepit, “an army in ruins”. Starting in 2016, Ukraine enlisted the US military to help overhaul its defense systems — everything from recruitment to command-and-control, to how to manage field hospitals. Marco Werman talks about the goals of that reform effort with retired US Army Col. Liam Collins, who spent 2016-2018 advising Ukraine’s defense establishment, and how it has translated into Ukraine’s impressive performance today against the much larger and better-equipped Russian military.

Ukraine president calls for Russia’s removal from UN Security Council
At a meeting of the UN Security Council, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for Russia’s removal as a permanent member and an investigation into possible war crimes in his country by Russia’s military. The World’s Marco Werman spoke with Yuval Weber from Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government and Public Service about Russia’s veto power at the UN Security Council being a fundamental problem.

31 March
Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-chief
Why Ukraine must win (paywall)
A decisive victory could transform the security of Europe
(The Economist April 2 edition) Our cover this week draws on a series of interviews my colleagues and I did in Kyiv with the people running Ukraine, starting with its president, Volodymyr Zelensky. From our reporting, and the army’s progress on the battlefield, it has become clear that Ukraine is thinking about victory. That is remarkable in a war that many people, including President Vladimir Putin, assumed would greatly favour Russia. But for victory to come about, Mr Zelensky told us, Ukraine needs more powerful weapons to retake territory and more sanctions to deplete Russia’s ability to fight a long war. Unfortunately, Ukraine’s Western backers are dragging their feet–reluctant, it seems, to provoke Russia or bear the cost of sanctions. That is reprehensibly short-sighted. A decisive Ukrainian victory is more likely to lead to a stable peace. And by dealing what may be a terminal blow to three centuries of Russian imperialism, it could also transform the security of Europe.

20 March
‘Why won’t Israel give Ukraine weapons?’ Zelensky criticizes Knesset
Zelensky praised the Iron Dome as the best missile defense system, asking why Israel was not supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons.
(Jerusalem Post) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky used his address to MKs and cabinet ministers by videoconference on Sunday evening to complain about Israel not doing enough to help his country since Russia invaded.
Pleading for Israel to impose sanctions on Russian businesses, he asked, “Why has Israel refrained from sanctions on Russia? Israel needs to give answers to these questions, and after that, live with them.”
Zelensky begged Israel to send its Iron Dome missile-defense system to protect Ukrainian civilians from Russian airstrikes. He praised the Iron Dome as the best missile-defense system in the world and complained that Israel was not even supplying Ukraine with defensive weapons.

9 March
Paul Heinbecker: NATO has cards to play against Russia — like sending Ukraine those Polish aircraft
Are we to let Vladimir the Terrible intimidate and dominate Europe and the democracies of the wider world with his threats?

8 March

Volodymyr Zelensky: the comedian who defied the might of Putin’s war machine
(The Conversation) Heading into battle in Ukraine, Russian forces mark their equipment with a single letter signifying their objective. There have been different interpretations of the letter “Z” being used on Russian vehicles – one is that it represents the first letter of “Za pobedy”, which means “For victory” in Russian. But for others, who saw Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky describe himself as Russia’s “target number one”, the giant “Z” would seem to confirm that toppling Zelensky is first and foremost on Vladimir Putin’s otherwise unreadable mind.
Outside Ukraine, Zelensky has become the global figurehead and focus of Ukrainian resistance, something underlined by the British parliament’s recent decision to ask the Ukraine president to address MPs in the House of Commons via videolink.
How Zelensky Gave the World a Jewish Hero
As the Ukrainian president captivates the world with his bravery, he offers a reminder of the inroads Eastern and Central European Jews have made in overcoming their status as perpetual outsiders.
By Gal Beckerman

8 March
Zelensky echoes Churchill in historic address to U.K. Parliament
(Axios) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday became the first foreign leader to virtually address the U.K.’s House of Commons, where he channeled Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill while detailing Ukraine’s experience under 13 days of Russian assault.
Why it matters: The U.K. has been among the leading suppliers of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as Zelensky recognized in his address. But his central plea — for the West to impose a “no-fly” zone over Ukraine — appears likely to go unanswered.
“We did not want this war. We did not want to lose what we have, what is ours, Ukraine. Just the same way that you once didn’t want to lose your country when the Nazis started to fight and you had to defend Britain,” Zelensky told a packed House of Commons.
“The question for us now is to be or not to be. The Shakespearean question. For 13 days this question has been asked. I can give you a definitive answer — yes, to be,” the former actor-turned-president declared.
Echoing Churchill’s famous June 1940 speech, following the miraculous evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk, Zelensky said: “We will not give up, and we will not lose. We will fight till the end — at sea, in the air, we will continue fighting for our land whatever the cost. We will fight in the forests, in the fields, on the shores, in the streets.”
Zelensky addressed U.S. lawmakers on Saturday and made a direct appeal for additional military aid, including by helping him secure more Soviet-era fighter jets to counter Russian air raids.
During the call over Zoom attended by more than 280 members of the Senate and House, Zelensky described “the urgent need” for more military support and humanitarian aid, as well as for a worldwide ban on the purchase of Russian oil, according to statements and people on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.

7 March
Putin’s Bloody Folly in Ukraine
The Russian leader’s assault on a sovereign state has not only helped to unify the West against him; it has helped to unify Ukraine itself.
(The New Yorker print edition) Putin’s assault on a sovereign state has not only helped to unify the West against him; it has helped to unify Ukraine itself. What threatens Putin is not Ukrainian arms but Ukrainian liberty. His invasion amounts to a furious refusal to live with the contrast between the repressive system he keeps in place at home and the aspirations for liberal democracy across the border.
Meanwhile, Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, has behaved with profound dignity even though he knows that he is targeted for arrest, or worse.

2 March
Assassination plot against Zelensky foiled and unit sent to kill him ‘destroyed,’ Ukraine says
(WaPo) A recent alleged assassination plot against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was foiled over the weekend and the Chechen servicemen sent from Russia were “destroyed,” a Ukrainian security leader said Tuesday.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, said during a broadcast marathon airing on Ukrainian TV channels that officials were recently tipped off that a unit of Kadyrovites, elite Chechen special forces, was on its way to kill Zelensky. After Ukrainian officials were informed by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the Chechen special forces were killed Saturday on the outskirts of Kyiv, Danilov said.

6 March
‘Legendary’ Ukraine medic who helped both sides killed by Russian shelling
Valentina Pushich, a brave battlefield medic in the 72nd brigade, is reported to have been killed in action – she has been buried at a Kyiv cemetery with her coffin draped in the Ukraine flag

28 February
Why Vladimir Putin has already lost this war
Yuval Noah Harari
The Russians may yet conquer Ukraine. But Ukrainians have shown in the past few days that they will not let them hold it
(The Guardian) Putin knew he had the power to conquer Ukraine. But would the Ukrainian people just accept Moscow’s puppet regime? Putin gambled that they would. After all, as he repeatedly explained to anyone willing to listen, Ukraine isn’t a real nation, and the Ukrainians aren’t a real people. In 2014, people in Crimea hardly resisted the Russian invaders. Why should 2022 be any different?
With each passing day, it is becoming clearer that Putin’s gamble is failing. The Ukrainian people are resisting with all their heart, winning the admiration of the entire world – and winning the war. Many dark days lie ahead. The Russians may still conquer the whole of Ukraine. But to win the war, the Russians would have to hold Ukraine, and they can do that only if the Ukrainian people let them. This seems increasingly unlikely to happen.

Russia’s War of Self-Destruction From Ukraine’s fierce resistance to the unified global backlash, Putin’s adventure is blowing up in his face.
By Jonah Shepp
(New York) Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, whom many observers (myself included) judged to be in over his head at the start of this war, has quickly become one of the most admired people in the world, as he has remained in Kyiv to lead the country’s resistance to the invasion, fully cognizant of the risk that he might not make it out alive. The fierce, near-universal resistance on the part of the Ukrainian people has also been something to behold. While it remains difficult to grasp the full scope and scale of what’s happening inside Ukraine, reporting and footage emerging from the country has captured numerous acts of defiance — from individual civilians berating or heckling Russian soldiers to their faces, to people standing in the path of advancing Russian tanks, to hopelessly overmatched Ukrainian border guards telling a Russian warship “go fuck yourself” — and spawning a new national motto.
Zelenskiy Calls For Ukraine’s Immediate EU Membership But Bloc Cool On Idea
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has called on the European Union to grant Ukraine membership under a special procedure immediately, a move bloc officials said was unlikely.
Zelenskiy appealed to EU on February 28 “for the immediate accession of Ukraine via a new special procedure.”
“Our goal is to be with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be equal. I’m sure that’s fair. I am sure we deserve it,” he said in a video speech shared on social media.
Bloc officials quickly played down the likelihood of any such move for a number of reasons, including the fact that no such fast-track procedure exists.

It’s Not ‘The’ Ukraine
The country is much more than a sphere of influence.
By Franklin Foer
(The Atlantic) Not so long ago, most Americans didn’t know better. They spoke of a country called The Ukraine. By appending the article to the name, they were inadvertently insulting the nation, as if Ukraine were merely a region, an object of subjection. For most of Ukraine’s history, that’s how much of the outside world treated it: as a swath of black earth ripe for conquest, whose fertile fields could feed empires.
Even now, as Russia threatens to invade Ukraine, it is talked about as an abstraction—a passive victim of great-power politics. Perhaps this explains why many foreign-policy realists and much of the American public are so willing to readily sacrifice the country to Russian President Vladimir Putin. They see Ukraine as part of a sphere of influence, not a collection of human beings.
Why did Putin cling to Ukraine? In 2014, his fear wasn’t Ukraine’s drift toward NATO. It was its drift toward the European Union, with its insistence on rule of law. To preserve his hold on Ukraine, Putin tried to instigate a counterrevolution in cities with large Russian-speaking populations. He invaded Crimea and the Donbas, threatening to carve the country into two. What he feared most was Ukrainian democracy, which would deprive him of influence over the colonial possession that he felt was his birthright. (17 February 2022)

26 February
Refugee crisis in Ukraine could see more than 5 million people flee, UN refugee agency says (video)
(CBC) Tens of thousands of Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have crossed into Poland, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia as Russian missiles pounded the capital, Kyiv. Fuel, cash and medical supplies are running low, which could drive up to five million people to flee abroad, UN aid agencies say.
The Economist: On the morning of February 26th Volodymyr Zelensky posted a video of himself on Twitter. After a night of the worst fighting Kyiv had seen since the second world war, and of propaganda from Moscow claiming that he had fled the capital in fear, Ukraine’s president emerged from his office red-eyed and unshaven. He was holding a smartphone in his right hand as he filmed himself walking past the House with Chimaeras, a famous Kyiv landmark that serves as the presidential residence. He smiled at the camera and declared: “Good morning to all Ukrainians! There are a lot of fakes out there…[but] I am here.”
Mr Zelensky looked exhausted, but happy: happy to be alive, happy that Kyiv had not fallen and happy to play the role of a national leader, holding his nerve and his country together in the darkest hour of its 30-year history as an independent state. That was not the role he had chosen, but the one that was thrust upon him when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th. He has carried it off with dignity, strength and a dash of humour. When America offered to airlift him to safety, he retorted: “The fight is here; I need anti-tank ammo, not a ride.

24 February
Ukraine’s Jewish President Zelenskiy asks Putin: ‘How could I be a Nazi?’
Ukrainian president calls on Russians to consider the cost of war.
By Zoya Sheftalovich
(Politico Eu) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday declared war on Ukraine and pledged to oversee a “demilitarization and de-Nazification” of the country — which is led by a Jewish president.

23 February
The Crushing Loss of Hope in Ukraine
Putin has declared that history is destiny, and that Ukraine will never get away from Russia.
By Masha Gessen
(The New Yorker) Are you listening to Putin?” is not the kind of text message I expect to receive from a friend in Moscow. But that’s the question my closest friend asked me on Monday, when the Russian President was about twenty minutes into a public address in which he would announce that he was recognizing two eastern regions of Ukraine as independent countries and effectively lay out his rationale for launching a new military offensive against Ukraine. I was listening—Putin had just said that Ukraine had no history of legitimate statehood.
Ukraine has long represented hope for a small minority of Russians. Ukraine shares Russia’s history of tyranny and terror. It lost more than four million people to a man-made famine in 1931-34 and still uncounted others to other kinds of Stalinist terror. Between five and seven million Ukrainians died during the Second World War and the Nazi occupation in 1941-44; this included one and a half million Jews killed in what is often known as the Holocaust by Bullets. Just as in Russia, no family survived untouched by the twin horrors of Stalinism and Nazism.
Calamity Again
No nation is forced to repeat its past. But something familiar is taking place in Ukraine.
By Anne Applebaum
(The Atlantic) So much has been written about Russian views of Ukraine; so many have speculated about Russian goals in Ukraine. The president of Russia on Monday even informed us, in an hour-long rant, that he thinks Ukraine shouldn’t exist at all. But what does Ukraine mean to Ukrainians?
The Ukrainians emerged from the medieval state of Kyivan Rus’—the same state from which the Russians and Belarusians also emerged—eventually to become, like the Irish or the Slovaks, a land-based colony of other empires.
Yet during those same centuries, a sense of Ukrainianness developed too, linked to the peasantry, serfs, and farmers who would not or could not assimilate. The Ukrainian language, as well as Ukrainian art and music, were all preserved in the countryside, even though the cities spoke Polish or Russian. To say “I am Ukrainian” was, once upon a time, a statement about status and social position as well as ethnicity. “I am Ukrainian” meant you were deliberately defining yourself against the nobility, against the ruling class, against the merchant class, against the urbanites. Later on, it could mean you were defining yourself against the Soviet Union: Ukrainian partisans fought against the Red Army in 1918 and then again in the dying days of the Second World War and the early years of the Cold War.

10 February
A Ukrainian Sociologist Explains Why Everything You Know About Ukraine Is Probably Wrong
The Ukraine crisis is extremely complex and little understood. Sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko explains the crisis’s origins, the fictions that surround it, and why war is still far from inevitable.
Dr Volodymyr Ishchenko, a sociologist and research associate at the Institute for East European Studies, has spent years writing about Ukrainian politics, the country’s 2014 Euromaidan Revolution, and the messy intersection of protests, social movements, revolution, and nationalism. He recently spoke with Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic about what Western audiences need to understand about Ukraine and the ongoing international standoff over it.

Snopes: Much of the data included in the viral “why Ukraine matters” posts were true. Some of the items on the list had become outdated, but more recent numbers still showed that the country had a strong standing in various categories of reserves, production, and exports. However, we were unable to find figures to confirm a few of the claims, and a small number of them were flat-out false.
For those who ask:
“Why does Ukraine matter?”
It’s the biggest European country, bigger than France.
Donbass territories are as big as Switzerland.
1st in Europe in proven recoverable reserves of uranium ores;
2nd place in Europe and 10th place in the world in terms of titanium ore reserves;
2nd place in the world in terms of explored reserves of manganese ores (2.3 billion tons, or 12% of the world’s reserves);
2nd largest iron ore reserves in the world (30 billion tons);
2nd place in Europe in terms of mercury ore reserves;
3rd place in Europe (13th place in the world) in shale gas reserves (22 trillion cubic meters)
4th in the world by the total value of natural resources;
7th place in the world in coal reserves (33.9 billion tons)
Ukraine is an agricultural country:
1st in Europe in terms of arable land area;
3rd place in the world by the area of black soil (25% of world’s volume);
1st place in the world in exports of sunflower and sunflower oil;
2nd place in the world in barley production and 4th place in barley exports;
3rd largest producer and 4th largest exporter of corn in the world;
4th largest producer of potatoes in the world;
5th largest rye producer in the world;
5th place in the world in bee production (75,000 tons);
8th place in the world in wheat exports;
9th place in the world in the production of chicken eggs;
16th place in the world in cheese exports.
Ukraine can meet the food needs of 600 million people.
Ukraine is an industrialized country:
1st in Europe in ammonia production;
2-е Europe’s and 4th largest natural gas pipeline system in the world (142.5 bln cubic meters of gas throughput capacity in the EU);
3rd largest in Europe and 8th largest in the world in terms of installed capacity of nuclear power plants;
3rd place in Europe and 11th in the world in terms of rail network length (21,700 km);
3rd place in the world (after the U.S. and France) in production of locators and locating equipment;
3rd largest iron exporter in the world
4th largest exporter of turbines for nuclear power plants in the world;
4th world’s largest manufacturer of rocket launchers;
4th place in the world in clay exports
4th place in the world in titanium exports
8th place in the world in exports of ores and concentrates;
9th place in the world in exports of defence industry products;
10th largest steel producer in the world (32.4 million tons).

Source: Andriy Futey
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America Ukrainian World Congress – Свiтовий Конґрес Українців

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