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In The News

Putin Says World Facing "Most Dangerous Decade" Since WWII

Vladimir Putin gave a major speech in Moscow on Thursday, outlining his view of the current stay of geopolitics, declaring that the world has the "prerequisites for a revolution.”

Putin Says World Facing "Most Dangerous Decade" Since WWII

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Article updated Oct. 27, at 12:40 p.m EST

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered an extensive speech Thursday to lay out his geopolitical views, warning that the world is facing major new risks and declaring the war in Ukraine is "almost like civil war."

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

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During the address at the Valdai Club think tank in Moscow, Putin blamed NATO for the war in Ukraine and predicted that the world at large is changing radically. "

“The unipolar world is a thing of the past. We are at a historical frontier," he said. "Ahead is the most dangerous, unpredictable and at the same time important decade since the end of World War II.”

He warned that the conflicts around the world today contained the “prerequisites for a revolution.”

Putin repeated his claims that Russia was forced to invade Ukraine because of NATO aggression. “Changes in Ukraine did not begin with the start of a special military operation," he said. "Tectonic change in the world order have been going on for many years. NATO enlargement with Ukraine was totally unacceptable to us, and everybody knew that."

Putin said Russians and Ukrainians are "one people historically. It’s almost like civil war happening right now.”

The Russian president paid lip service to diplomacy, saying he had no desire to be in conflict with the West.

U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday said he had "no intention" of meeting with Putin at next month's G20 meeting in Bali.

Putin Oversees Nuclear Drill, Doubles Down On “Dirty Bomb” Accusations

Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw training exercises of Russia's strategic nuclear deterrence forces on Wednesday. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin in televised remarks that the drills simulated “a massive nuclear strike in response to an enemy nuclear attack.”

The drills, which are held annually, are the second such exercise this year, (the previous round was held five days before Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine).

According to the state-run news agency RIA Novosti, two types of nuclear missiles were fired: the Yars intercontinental ballistic missile and the Sineva ballistic missile.

Putin also reiterated directly for the first time Moscow’s widely criticized claims that Ukraine is preparing a provocation against Russia using a "dirty bomb."

At a meeting with the heads of the special services of the Commonwealth of Independent Nations, countries from the former Soviet Union: “The desire to get nuclear weapons has been stated publicly by the authorities in Kyiv,” Putin said: “It is also known that they are planning to use the so-called ‘dirty bomb’ as a provocation.”

Zelensky Singles Out “Craziness” In Bakhmut, With Heavy Shelling Across Ukraine

A destroyed residential building after a Russian shelling in the city of Bakhmut.

Jan Husar/SOPA/Zuma

Ukraine faced a night of severe bombardment from Russian forces, reportedly facing a total of 18 air strikes over the past 24 hours.

On Thursday morning, an infrastructure facility on the outskirts of Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine was hit by Russian attacks according to a Ukrainian military official. The attack caused a fire but no casualties. “Windows in 10 apartment buildings and educational institutions were damaged. Roofs, doors, and windows were destroyed in more than 10 private houses. The entire street was left without electricity,” said the head of the region’s military administration, Oleksandr Starukh in a telegram post.

Acting Mayor of Zaporizhzhia Anatoly Kurtev reported that Russian forces struck the city as well as its surrounding area, causing fires. At the same time, Kyiv Oblast Governor Oleksiy Kuleba reported that Russian forces had struck one of the communities in the Kyiv region.

This attack comes as Ukrainian officials believe Russia’s attacks are orchestrated to target important infrastructures as winter approaches. By targeting power stations, electricity sub-stations, transformers and pipelines, Russian forces have been impacting Ukrainians’ ability to access power, water and the internet.

In Donetsk, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko reported that three civilians had been killed by Russian forces in Bakhmut, in the east of the country, while another two had been severely injured. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his nightly address from Kyiv, criticized “the craziness of the Russian command” in Bakhmut: "Day after day, for months, they are driving people to their deaths there, concentrating the highest level of artillery strikes."

Kadyrov Calls For “Holy War” Against Western “Satanism”

In a video posted on the Telegram messaging service, Chechnya’s strongman leader and longtime Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov called for a holy war” against the West’s "Satanism,” lambasting atheism and same-sex families.

Kadyrov added, “Our territory is Odessa, Kiev, Kharkov, all the regions. And the whole of Ukraine is our territory, Russian territory. And those who don’t understand this, must understand it now."

Beyond his trademark online bluster, the Chechen leader is keeping his options open, as Moscow loses ground in the war in Ukraine. For Worldcrunch, Cameron Manley explains that “after pushing for mobilization in Russia last month, Kadyrov then announced that no one from Chechnya would be mobilized. One might conclude that he is saving his men for something else," which depends in large part on what happens in the war in Ukraine. Read Manley’s full analysis on Worldcrunch.

Chechen Battalion Fights Against Russian In Donbas

Battalion of Dzhokhar Dudayev and Ukrainian army

Igor Golovniov/ZUMA

Though the Russian republic of Chechnya is clearly pro-Kremlin, there is a Chechen battalion under Ukrainian command fighting against the Russian army in the Donbas. The goal of the Djokhar-Dudayev battalion is to weaken Moscow and revive Ichkeria, the independent Chechnya, reports French daily Le Monde

Their first victory was when the Ukrainian parliament recognized the independence of the Chechen republic of Ichkeria "temporarily occupied by Russia" on Oct. 18. Ukraine is the first country to take this diplomatic step in response to the illegal annexation of several of its own regions by Moscow.

Le Monde’s Emmanuel Grynszpan meets with these independence fighters opposed to the Russian occupation and to the Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov are fighting in Ukraine. The pro-Kyiv fighters were deployed on Oct. 22 in the vicinity of Bakhmut, in eastern Ukraine, where very intense fighting has been going on since July. The Russian army has deployed a wide range of its arsenal in an attempt to take the town of 20,000 inhabitants, which is blocking its progress in the Donetsk region.

Ukraine Posts More Troops On Border With Belarus

Kyiv is deploying additional troops in the country’s north, near the border with Belarus, to counter the possibility of Russian attacks from that side.

“There are and will be threats. We are reacting, we have already increased our troops in the northern direction,” Deputy Chief of Ukraine's General Staff Oleksii Hromov said during a news briefing.

Meanwhile, Russian military commissariats are mobilizing truck drivers and mechanics in Belarus' Gomel region to maintain Moscow’s military equipment, the Ukrainian National Resistance Center reported.

The Belarusian Defense Ministry recently said about 9,000 Russian soldiers would be stationed in Belarus as part of what Minsk called a "regional grouping" near the Ukrainian border. Russia has used Belarusian territory to attack Ukraine since the start of its full-scale invasion in February.

Russia Frees Ten Ukrainian Soldiers From Captivity, Returns Body Of U.S. Soldier

Ukrainian President's Office Head Andriy Yermak said that a Ukrainian officer and nine soldiers were among those released from Russian captivity. According to Yermak, Ukraine has successfully returned the body of U.S. volunteer soldier Joshua Alan Jones, who was killed fighting for Ukraine.

Following the exchange, the U.S. has already said that the body of its citizen killed in Ukraine, "whose remains have now been identified and released to Ukraine's custody," will soon be returned to the family. The U.S. hadn’t mentioned the soldier's name.

Putin To Use Black Sea Grain Deal As UN Leverage?

One of the bulk carriers that entered the port of Odesa under the ''grain initiative

Yulii Zozulia/Ukrinform/Zuma

An anonymous European diplomat told Reuters that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “likely to use the possible extension” of the UN-backed Black Sea grain deal, which is set to expire on Nov. 19, “to gain leverage and dominate” the G-20 summit that will start on November 15 in Bali.

Russia has previously threatened to withdraw from the grain export agreement, demanding the UN helps with "allowing the exports of Russian grains and fertilizers." However, the U.S. and Europe did not target Russian grain and fertilizer exports by sanctions imposed due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and other UN members are working on expanding the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a four-month-long agreement between Ukraine, Russia, Turkey, and the UN. The deal was signed on July 22 in Istanbul to alleviate a global food crisis over Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports.

Medveded Accuses U.S. Of Using Ukraine As “Bargaining Chip” In Mid-Term Elections

Deputy chairman of the Security Council Dmitriy Medvedev has said that the U.S. is using the lives of Ukrainians as bargaining chips in its own domestic politics ahead of Nov. 8 Congressional elections.

In the context of the U.S. mid-term elections, the former Russian president wrote on his Telegram channel: "For the current team of [U.S. President] Biden, as well as for their Republican opponents, the lives of the citizens of the mythical country of Ukraine is nothing but a currency to them. They are a bargaining chip in the big American game. They are easily placed on the altar of future triumph in political battles overseas."

Big Cats Rescued From Ukraine

Two weeks ago, Gidikumar Patil, a Ukrainian doctor and the owner of a jaguar and a black panther, had to leave his home country and his pets behind, as he was forced to cross into Poland to earn enough money to keep feeding his big cats, which he entrusted with a caretaker.

Now, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has said that four lion cubs and a black leopard cub from Ukraine have been transferred safely to a Polish zoo. Although it remains unclear if any of the cats rescued are Patil’s, the IFAW had good news to share in that it had partnered with a U.S. sanctuary as well as one in Europe to care for the cubs.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Vulnerable Are The Russians In Crimea?

Ukraine has stepped up attacks on the occupied Crimean peninsula, and Russia is doing all within its power to deny how vulnerable it has become.

Photograph of the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters with smoke rising above it after a Ukrainian missile strike.

September 22, 2023, Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia: Smoke rises over the Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters after a Ukrainian missile strike.

Kyrylo Danylchenko

This article was updated Sept. 26, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Russian authorities are making a concerted effort to downplay and even deny the recent missile strikes in Russia-occupied Crimea.

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

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Media coverage in Russia of these events has been intentionally subdued, with top military spokesperson Igor Konashenkov offering no response to an attack on Russian Black Sea Fleet headquarters in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, or the alleged downing last week of Russian Su-24 aircraft by Ukrainian Air Defense.

The response from this and other strikes on the Crimean peninsula and surrounding waters of the Black Sea has alternated between complete silence and propagating falsehoods. One notable example of the latter was the claim that the Russian headquarters building of the Black Sea fleet that was hit Friday was empty and that the multiple explosions were mere routine training exercises.

Ukraine claimed on Monday that the attack killed Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet. "After the strike on the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, 34 officers died, including the commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Another 105 occupiers were wounded. The headquarters building cannot be restored," the Ukrainian special forces said via Telegram.

But Sokolov was seen on state television on Tuesday, just one day after Ukraine claimed he'd been killed. The Russian Defense Ministry released footage of the admiral partaking in a video conference with top admirals and chiefs, including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, though there was no verification of the date of the event.

Moscow has been similarly obtuse following other reports of missiles strikes this month on Crimea. Russian authorities have declared that all missiles have been intercepted by a submarine and a structure called "VDK Minsk", which itself was severely damaged following a Ukrainian airstrike on Sept. 13. The Russians likewise dismissed reports of a fire at the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet, attributing it to a mundane explosion caused by swamp gas.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has refrained from commenting on the military situation in Crimea and elsewhere, continuing to repeat that everything is “proceeding as planned.”

Why is Crimea such a touchy topic? And why is it proving to be so hard to defend?

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