One hundred days after Vladimir Putin launched an apparent all-or-nothing invasion of Ukraine, the reality is neither all nor nothing. The Russian president is no doubt comforting himself with news that his troops are progressing in the southeastern Donbas region. President Volodymyr Zelensky reported Thursday that Russia by now controls up to 20% of Ukrainian territory.
Of course the Feb. 24 assault was presented as a blitzkrieg, across much of Ukraine, with Kremlin plans to quickly take over Kyiv and push Zelensky’s elected government out of power. The world braced itself for a new era of imperialistic ambitions from Moscow.
That, of course, did not happen. And by all accounts, it won’t happen.
Putin clearly miscalculated both militarily and diplomatically — and historically. The Russian army was supposed to roll over Ukrainian forces, and be welcomed by Russian-speaking locals. But
The Russian president had also hoped his winter invasion would divide Europe, which has divergent attitudes towards Moscow and counts on Russia for its energy supplies. But apart from an outlier or two like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the West is remarkably united in imposing unprecedented sanctions and supplying Ukraine with much needed heavy weaponry.
Now, after 100 days, the view of where the war is heading as blurry as ever. And the nuclear threat, occasionally brandished by voices in the Kremlin, cannot be brushed aside.
But this is also the moment to note what we have seen all too clearly since Putin’s fateful decision to invade: the suffering of ordinary Ukrainians.
Reported by Ukrinform, U.S. Permanent Representative to OSCE Michael Carpenter summed up the war so far: "15 weeks of atrocities. 15 weeks of atrocities. 15 weeks of violence, with so many reports of executions, forced deportations, rapes, filtering camps and destruction that it becomes difficult to fully understand the scale of the massacre by the Russian Federation,” Carpenter said. “And after 15 long weeks there is still no the end of the horrors that Russia is deliberately committing against the civilian population of Ukraine."
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Putin Treated For Cancer, According To U.S. Report
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health is once again stirring the U.S. intelligence community, which recently produced its fourth assessment of the topic at the end of May.
Newsweek reports that U.S. officials believe that Putin seems to have recovered after treatment for advanced cancer in April. On top of that, the U.S. intel sources also indicate that there was an assassination attempt on Putin’s life in March.
This report adds to the whispers about Putin’s health, including rumors of Parkinson’s, his slouched appearance on television, or his suddenly bloated face.
Russian Navy Flexes Muscles In Pacific
The Yunga anti-submarine ship takes part in the Kumzha 2022 naval drills held by the Russian Northern Fleet in the Barents Sea
The Russian Navy started large-scale manoeuvres in the Pacific Ocean, which will carry on through June 10, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.
The exercises will involve more than 40 warships, including the control ship Marshal Krylov, the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov, large anti-submarine ships and corvettes, small anti-submarine ships, minesweepers and missile boats, as well as support vessels.
Within the framework of the exercises there will be worked out "practical actions on overcoming sea areas with mine danger and training artillery firing at mock-up floating mines that bring danger to peaceful navigation," said the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation.
The Russian Navy has faced mines and attacks from Ukrainian forces, most notably the sinking of the warship Moskva, the flagship of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, on April 14.
Russia Stirring Trouble In The Balkans
Skyline of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Even with no end in sight to the war in Ukraine, Russia may be plotting to destabilize the Balkans by the end of this year, reports Alexander Demchenko, for Kyiv-based Livy Bereg. The Foreign Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bisera Turković, warned that the plan for a breakaway Republika Srpska, one of the two entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, may start this autumn. Read more here, in English via Worldcrunch.
UN Aid Chief In Moscow To Negotiate Grain Exports
Grain storage tanks are pictured at the Mariupol commercial sea port
UN aid chief Martin Griffiths, is in Moscow to discuss clearing the way for exports of grain and other goods from Ukraine’s ports on the Black Sea. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is trying to arrange a “package deal” to resume Ukrainian food exports previously disrupted by Russia.
Russia’s defense ministry said on Thursday that vessels carrying grain can leave Ukraine’s ports in the Black Sea via “humanitarian corridors,” and Russia is ready to guarantee their safety, reported Interfax news agency.
Meanwhile in Ankara, Kyiv’s ambassador to Turkey said that is one of the countries buying grain that Russia stole from Ukraine. This comes after Russian forces reopened the port of Mariupol after having fully occupied the city and demining the waters surrounding it.
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has fueled a global food crisis, spiking the prices of grain, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer.
Forced Deportation Of Children Key To Genocide Case Against Russia
Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova at a press conference
Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, leading Ukraine’s war crimes inquiries, said a vital part of the evidence in the case for genocide against Russia is alleged forced deporation of Ukrainian children.
Venediktova told Reuters: "We have more than 20 cases about forcible transfer of people" to Russia from various regions in Ukraine and other neighboring countries since the invasion began on Feb. 24. "From the first days of the war, we started this case about genocide."
Forced mass deportations of people is a war crime, she explained, and may help meet the rigorous legal definition of genocide: "That's why this forcible transfer of children is very important for us."
Return Of Embassies In Kyiv
Volodymyr Zelensky announced in his nightly address the return of 50 more embassies to Ukraine’s capital: “More and more embassies resume their full fledged activities in Kyiv. This is very important not only in practice- for the work of the diplomats, but also on a symbolic level. Every new embassy that returns to our capital is a testament to the faith in our victory.”
These remarks came as the Ministry of External Affairs of India said that its embassy in Kyiv, which was temporarily carrying out operations from Poland, would resume its operations in Ukraine’s capital.