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     Live coverage of the all the latest developments
     in the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Comment by Michael Grove on May 8, 2022 at 9:36

Putin’s choices filled with peril on eve of Victory Day parade. After repeated military setbacks, the Russian president will have to repackage the conflict to keep his people on-side. Facing setbacks, officials have suggested that Vladimir Putin may use the May 9 holiday to repackage the war in Ukraine. Dramatic options include escalation through a formal declaration of war or general mobilisation – or de-escalating by proclaiming victory. Alternatively, Putin could offer up a “sandwich”, as one analyst put it, that praises the Russian army’s “victory” while preparing the population for a grinding and painful conflict as status quo. Ukrainian officials in particular have warned that Putin is planning to announce a mass mobilisation, or even to declare war against Ukraine, calling up personnel and resources that were untapped under Russia’s so-called “special operation” that began on 24 February.

“Russia has already moved to covert mobilisation and is preparing to announce open mobilisation in the near future,” said Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, in an interview this week with the Ukrainian news outlet New Times. “I’m quite curious: how will they explain this to their own people?”

Since the beginning of the millennium, when Vladimir Putin took power in Russia, authoritarian leaders have come to dominate global politics. Self-styled strongmen have risen to power in Moscow, Beijing, Delhi, Brasilia, Budapest, Ankara, Riyadh and Washington.

Comment by Michael Grove on May 8, 2022 at 10:05

Fearing defeat, Russia may threaten to raise the stakes even further. Top propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov showed a simulation of a nuclear strike against the UK on national television this week. “Just one launch, Boris, and England is gone,” he said. “Once and for all. Why play with us?”

Putin may also hint at the potential for nuclear conflict as he stands before the heavy weaponry, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, that he returned to the Red Square parade in 2008.

“He also knows that we’re going to be listening to him, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some nuclear rhetoric in there as well,” said the CNA’s Edmonds. He said he remained sceptical that Russia could use a tactical nuclear weapon in the conflict, but like others noted that the Kremlin has become more unpredictable. “If Putin sees this as becoming existential, then all bets are off the table.”

Seeing the limited potential for victory, Putin could also seek to de-escalate the conflict. Standing before his military and the country on Monday, Putin could announce that Russia has achieved its major war aims in Ukraine by allegedly destroying Ukrainian military capacity, and by taking near control of several mid-sized cities such as Mariupol and Kherson. But that may also be a tough sell, as the Ukrainian military could try to retake lost ground, leading to further losses even if Russia stakes a defensive position.

Comment by Michael Grove on May 11, 2022 at 12:40

Wounded soldiers trapped inside Azovstal plead for help

A series of photos published on the Azov Regiment’s Telegram channel early this morning purport to show the squalid conditions of wounded Ukrainian defenders holed up under the Azovstal steelworks plant in besieged Mariupol.

The harrowing images reveal the horror of a dimly lit, makeshift ‘hospital’ inside the plant where soldiers receive treatment, many for lost limbs. The photos were published alongside a statement pleading for help.

Comment by Michael Grove on May 11, 2022 at 16:21

Boris Johnson pledges UK support if

Sweden were to come under attack

Asked what would Britain do if Sweden was attacked, Johnson replies that when “faced with the obvious threat to liberal democracies”, both countries would “come to each other’s support”, whether in the event of a disaster or military attack.

What we’re saying today is that upon request from the other party, we would come to the other party’s assistance.

Comment by Michael Grove on May 16, 2022 at 18:25

Turkey is threatening to dampen Finland and Sweden’s hopes of a speedy accession to NATO in a row over arms exports. Speaking after the meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Berlin on Sunday, Turkey’s foreign minister demanded that the two Nordic states immediately end their bans on a number of defence firms exporting to Turkey. Mevlut Casusoglu also blamed their apparent support for a Kurdish terror group for his government’s resistance.

Comment by Michael Grove on May 24, 2022 at 10:03

Boris Bondarev walked away from his 20-year career in the Russian foreign service on Monday, publishing a scathing statement which criticised both the war and his former employer. In the letter, the 41-year-old said the "bloody, witless" war had been "unleashed by Putin" and was designed to keep those behind it "in power forever" - whatever the cost.

Mr Bondarev is one of few to speak out in such a public way, and has been cheered on by people like Kira Yarmysh, the spokesperson for the jailed Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. But he told the BBC he did not think many of his colleagues would follow his lead. Instead, he said, many of them had welcomed the war.

Comment by Michael Grove on May 26, 2022 at 14:09

Vladimir Putin is goading the West into joining  

the war by creating a global food meltdown

Western leaders face the challenge of resolving blockaded exports and the prospect of famine without instigating direct conflict with Russia.

In his desperation to achieve some semblance of a victory in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has demonstrated that he is perfectly willing to employ far from conventional military force to achieve his aims.

The Russian president began the conflict by threatening to cut off Europe’s energy supply if it continued providing military support to Ukraine; a form of blackmail he has subsequently applied against Finland following Helsinki’s decision this week to apply for Nato membership.


Comment by Michael Grove on June 28, 2022 at 12:10

  THE REST of [OUR] so called LORDS & MASTERS

Comment by Michael Grove on June 29, 2022 at 11:19

Finland & Sweden have taken a major step towards NATO membership after Turkey flipped its position to support the countries joining the world's most powerful military alliance. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously voiced concerns over the nations' alleged support of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which Ankara considers terrorists. However, both Finland and Sweden committed in writing not to provide support to the group, and would work together on extraditions, terrorist financing and related issues.

... and I would suggest SEEKING [ALPHA] in[DEED]

Comment by Michael Grove on July 5, 2022 at 11:05

The War in Ukraine has given the relatively unsexy field of international law a moment in the spotlight. An unprecedented global effort to probe and prosecute war crimes is underway, with local and international investigators fanning out across the war-ravaged country to gather evidence of Russian atrocities — even as the fighting grinds on.

The focus on war crimes has also renewed interest in questions about the strengths and limitations of international law in constraining aggression and imposing accountability.

The Russian invasion has breathed new life into an international justice system widely seen as toothless and ineffectual. At its center is the ICC, which celebrated its 20th birthday on Friday. The court was established to prosecute the most egregious international crimes, including genocide. In two decades, the ICC has drawn criticism for netting just three war crimes convictions and five for interfering with justice. It has proved challenging to get suspects to the court’s seat in The Hague. Leaders in Africa have for years accused the court of bias.

The refusal of Russia, China and the United States to accept the court’s jurisdiction hasn’t helped — effectively creating an international legal system that lets the most powerful countries off the hook.

Claire Parker with Sammy Westfall
The Washington Post

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