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In The News

"No One Is Forcing Us" — Kyiv Pushes Back On Reports About Negotiations

"No One Is Forcing Us" — Kyiv Pushes Back On Reports About Negotiations

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

A senior Ukrainian official said that Kyiv was not being pressured to negotiate with Russia, but would do so under certain strict conditions: restoring Ukraine’s borders, compensation for Russian attacks and punishing those responsible for war crimes.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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Mykhaylo Podolyak, a Ukrainian official advisor to the head of the Office of the President, speaking to Radio Liberty, dismissed reports that the U.S. was forcing Ukraine to sit down at the negotiating table with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Washington Posthad reported on Nov. 5 that the Biden administration wanted Ukraine to signal its willingness for talks, to alleviate concern that Kyiv might harm its position with international support. "No one is forcing Ukraine into an unprofitable negotiation process, or rather, into recognizing Russia's ultimatum," Podolyak said.

Ahead of his speech Tuesday at COP27, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address that he was open to talks with Russia, but only “genuine” negotiations reiterating the conditions stated by Podolyak.

He added that Ukraine had repeatedly proposed talks but "we always received insane Russian responses with new terrorist attacks, shelling or blackmail", he said. "Once again — restoration of territorial integrity, respect for the UN Charter, compensation for all damages caused by the war, punishment of every war criminal and guarantees that this will not happen again. These are completely understandable conditions."

When Russia announced the annexation of Ukrainian territory at the end of September, Zelensky said that Kyiv would never negotiate with Moscow as long as Vladimir Putin remains the Russian president. Kyiv officials have repeated that position in recent days, while saying that Ukraine would be willing to negotiate with Putin's successor.

Biden Administration Denies Kyiv Pressures, Says Midterms Will Change Nothing

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that America’s support to Ukraine was “unwavering” and will persist until the country “wins this war.”

During an unannounced trip to Kyiv, Thomas-Greenfield stated the U.S. 's support, “Europe is unified. NATO is unified. We’ve had bipartisan support in the United States for Ukraine.” The ambassador dismissed recent reports that U.S. officials were pushing Ukraine to open to diplomatic discussions with Russia, amid concerns that public support for the country's war effort could fizzle out. “We’ve been clear,” she said. “No negotiations in which Ukraine is not in the driver’s seat. No negotiations about Ukraine without Ukraine.”

This comes after a press briefing at the White House on Monday where U.S. press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also emphasized the fact that no matter the outcome of the midterm elections, the U.S. would still continue to support Ukraine, “members of Congress — Republicans and Democrat — have been clear about our enduring support for Ukraine.”

U.S. Midterms And Ukraine: German Daily Asks “What If…?”

“What will become of Ukraine if Trump triumphs?,” headlines German daily Der Taggesspiegel on its Tuesday front page.

Russian Soldiers Denounce Commanders And “Incomprehensible” Battle In Donetsk

Russian servicemen in Donetsk

Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

Soldiers belonging to the 155th Brigade of the Russian Pacific Fleet Marines have sent a letter from the front lines to a regional governor in Russia, saying they were sent to fight an “incomprehensible battle” in the Donetsk region of Eastern Ukraine.

The letter, published by a prominent Russian military blog on Monday, was sent to Oleg Kozhemyako, governor of Primorsky Krai. "As a result of the "carefully" planned offensive by the "great commanders" we lost about 300 men, dead and wounded, with some MIA over the past 4 days," the letter said.

"We lost 50% of our equipment. That's our brigade alone. The district command together with Akhmedov are hiding these facts and skewing the official casualty statistics for fear of being held accountable.”

Kadyrov And Prigozhin: Two War Hawks Have Growing Influence Over Putin

Yevgeny Prigozhin and Ramzan Kadyrov, two pro-war figures in Russia, are having ever greater influence over President Vladimir Putin’s decisions, reports the U.S. Institute for the Study of War.

Kadyrov, the head of the Russian republic of Chechnya, has been sending his troops to Ukraine since the beginning of the war. There were not particularly successful in combat, but were good for sowing fear throughout the occupied territories. Kadyrov uses his fierce public image to gain political influence, calling the war a holy jihad.

Much closer to Putin now is Yevgeny Prigozhin, the owner of the Wagner paramilitary group, who has been recruiting military personnel in prisons since the summer, promising an amnesty for six months of participation in the war in Ukraine.

Both military leaders are strengthening the presence of their troops in the occupied territories of Ukraine, effectively undermining formal Russian military structures. Experts believe they plan to enhance their power in the eyes of Putin and influence his decisions during the war.

Poll Finds Declining War Support In Russia

According to polls conducted in September by the independent institutes Russian Field and Chronicle, the number of war supporters has dropped from 65% to 55%. At the same time, most Russians still say that they trust the country's leadership and are ready to support it in both a new offensive and a cessation of hostilities.

Women, young people, and low-income people are the least supportive of the war. And only one-third of supporters of the war are willing to participate in it personally, even by donating money.

The “Evolution” Of Putin’s Biography

Even Russians are unlikely to have noticed that over the 23 years since Vladimir Putin first became president, the biography the Kremlin presents of him has been repeatedly altered.

Having recently celebrated his 70th birthday, independent (and exiled) Russian media Proekt reveals details of how the authorities have hidden facts and evidence about Putin's life and his relationship with his family and friends — and the Russian people.

Read more here in English via Worldcrunch.

North Korea Denies Supplying Russia With Ammo

North Korea has denied recent U.S. allegations that it is secretly providing Russia with artillery shells.

In a statement published by the country’s state-run KCNA agency, the vice director of military foreign affairs at North Korea’s Defense Ministry described the accusation as a “hostile attempt” by Washington "to tarnish the image" of North Korea.

Last week, White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. had obtained intelligence pointing to Pyongyang’s efforts to hide the shipping artillery shells to Russia.

Czech Press Secretary Marries Ukrainian Refugee

Jiří Ovčáček, press spokesman for Czech President

Vit Simanek/CTK/Zuma

According to Czech tabloid Blesk, citing independent sources, Jiří Ovčáček, press spokesman for Czech President Miloš Zeman since 2013, has married a Ukrainian refugee he met in the spring.

Ovčáček reportedly welcomed her and her young son in his home earlier this year, as part of his country’s effort to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

After marrying on Friday, the couple is now reportedly on their honeymoon in the Czech Republic.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

After Abbas: Here Are The Three Frontrunners To Be The Next Palestinian Leader

Israel and the West have often asked: Where is the Palestinian Mandela? The divided regimes between Gaza and the West Bank continues to make it difficult to imagine the future Palestinian leader. Still, these three names are worth considering.

Photo of Mahmoud Abbas speaking into microphone

Abbas is 88, and has been the leading Palestinian political figure since 2005

Thaer Ganaim/APA Images via ZUMA
Elias Kassem

Updated Dec. 5, 2023 at 12:05 a.m.

Israel has set two goals for its Gaza war: destroying Hamas and releasing hostages.

But it has no answer to, nor is even asking the question: What comes next?

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the return of the current Palestinian Authority to govern post-war Gaza. That stance seems opposed to the U.S. Administration’s call to revitalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) to assume power in the coastal enclave.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

But neither Israel nor the U.S. put a detailed plan for a governing body in post-war Gaza, let alone offering a vision for a bonafide Palestinian state that would also encompass the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority, which administers much of the occupied West Bank, was created in1994 as part of the Oslo Accords peace agreement. It’s now led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Yasser Arafat in 2005. Over the past few years, the question of who would succeed Abbas, now 88 years old, has largely dominated internal Palestinian politics.

But that question has gained new urgency — and was fundamentally altered — with the war in Gaza.

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