Occupy Kyiv? Turn to Donbas? Hunt down "Nazis"? Vladimir Putin's intentions have been a moving target.
Two days before the start of the war, the Kremlin said that there were no plans to attack Ukraine, and that there can be no plans to do so. On the day of the invasion, Putin urged the Ukrainian army to go to Kyiv and take down the "neo-Nazi" Vladimir Zelensky.
A week later, when the blitzkrieg was clearly a failure, the "liberation of the Donbas" began, and was cited as the purpose for Russia’s invastion. Each time circumstances required, Putin changed the official reasons for the war, although his original goal was to overthrow the Ukrainian government and occupy the entire territory of Ukraine, a goal he still pursues, according to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
The Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Nikolai Patrushev, confirmed the initial goals of Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the war in Ukraine.
"On July 5, Councilor Nikolai Patrushev stated that the Russian military operation in Ukraine will continue until Russia achieves its goals of protecting civilians from "genocide", "denazification" and demilitarization of Ukraine, and Ukraine's obligation to remain permanently neutral between Russia and NATO, almost exactly repeating the goals that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in his speech on February 24, justifying the war," analysts note.
Ukrainian Soldiers Arrive In UK For Training
The first rotation of Ukrainian soldiers have arrived in the UK for training, according to Britain's defense secretary, Ben Wallace. Some 10,000 Ukrainian recruits will take part in a training program as part of a $2.7 billion military aid package.
Wallace stated that training will take place across the Northeast, Southwest and Southeast regions and will be led by officers from the 11 Security Force Assistance Brigade. The Ukrainian soldiers will receive the same training as UK soldiers, which include weapons use, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft patrol tactics and training on the Law of Armed Conflict.
Ukraine Renews Calls For More Arms, Tries To Hold Off Russian Advances
Heavy destruction in Sloviansk
Ukraine says its military is trying to fight back the Russian forces trying to advance through the eastern Donbas region. The head of the Luhansk region military administration, Serhiy Gaidai, says Ukrainian fighters are doing everything they can to resist the Russian troops, “we restrain the enemy on the border of Luhansk region and Donetsk region — the occupiers are suffering significant losses, as they themselves admit,” Gaidai added.
He repeated calls for additional weaponary from the West, needed to match the dominant Russian firepower. Moscow’s forces now occupy most of the Luhansk region, and are pressing toward the Donetsk cities of Kramatorsk and Sloviansk.
After reports of two civilians killed and seven others injured by Russian shelling in Sloviansk, the head of the Donetsk regional military administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote in a Telegram post, that Russian troops were continuing their attacks on “places where civilians are gathered. This is pure terrorism.”.
Another Russian Oligarch Found Dead
\u201cThread. A Russian businessman with ties to Gazprom has died outside St. Petersburg in the latest in a series of mysterious deaths to grip the country\u2019s gas industry in 2022.\n\nYury Voronov, 61, headed the Astra Shipping transportation firm that worked on Gazprom\u2019s Arctic projects.\u201d— Fuad Alakbarov \u2060\u2060 (@Fuad Alakbarov \u2060\u2060) 1657098674
Yury Voronov, founder and CEO of the transport and logistics company Astra-Shipping, which worked with Gazprom in the Arctic, was found dead in his mansion near Saint Petersburg. He died of a gunshot wound to the head and his body was found in his swimming pool. There are still no reports of whether his death was a homicide or a suicide.
Voronov’s widow reportedly told the police that her husband had been drinking heavily recently due to a falling out with his contractors and business partners.
Since the beginning of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, and as the West imposed more sanctions on Russia, several Russian businessmen have been found dead, some in mysterious ways. His death is at least the sixth linked to the Russian gas industry in recent months.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba: Thank You, Mario Draghi
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda
In a rare in-depth interview, Ukraine's top diplomat described how the country’s EU candidacy came together … also with a major hand from Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi:
“Let me remind you that a month ago, leaving the meeting of the European Council, Draghi commented that he was the only leader of a major European state who directly supported candidate status for Ukraine. Then it flashed in the news and disappeared, but it's true. There was a meeting of the European Council. Everyone was silent, but Draghi took responsibility and said: "I support, I am in favor." He wanted to show that not only our traditional best friends – the Poles, Batlic states, and other countries — support the candidacy, but that there is a large country, traditionally considered more favorable to Russia, that made a strategic decision for itself.
Read the full interview here from Ukrainian news media Livy Bereg, in English via Worldcrunch.
A Drag Queen Making Coffins For Bucha: Another Sad And Crazy War Story
Artur Ozerov from Kyiv is one of hundreds of thousands of volunteers who help the Ukrainian army and civilians during the war. Still, he’s got his own approach. The Ukrainian news outlet Novoe Vremya featured a profile of Ozerov, a Ukrainian civil servant, owner of an apiary near Kyiv, and a drag queen artist.
"When the full-scale war started, my first thought was: I won't go anywhere, I'll stay home. I have a big house — lots of bees and animals,” recalls Ozerov, whose drag name is Aura. “But if God forbid, something happens — a rocket hits, or something catches fire, who will put it out?"
As an employee of one of the utilities in the capital city, he and his colleagues were called on by the army to help about ten days after the full-scale invasion. Since he was good with wood and making frames and beehives for his apiary, it fell to Ozerov to begin making coffins. And soon realized some of them were destined for Bucha, the suburb of the Kyiv where an untold number of civilians were massacred in alleged Russian war crimes.
"After Bucha was liberated, the exhumation of bodies from mass graves was shown on television. Then they were reburied,” says Ozerov.“There is footage showing that people killed in settlements near Kyiv were buried in that same coffins. When we produced the coffins and the number passed 100, I couldn't realize how many people died there, if it's some kind of endless conveyor belt. You chop-chop-chop-chop these coffins, and they tell you they need more and more. It was emotionally hard."
Ukrainian Professor Wins Prestigious Fields Medal For Mathematics
Fields Medal winners 2022
Ukrainian mathematician, Maryna Viazovska, received the prestigious Fields Medal at a ceremony in Helsinki for her work on a 400-year-old puzzle about sphere packing. This prize is often regarded as the Nobel Prize for mathematics and is awarded every four years to outstanding mathematicians under the age of 40. The 37-year-old professor received the award alongside three other winners. She is the second woman ever to have received the prize.
After winning the award, Professor Viazovsk paid tribute to those suffering in her war-torn country, saying "my life changed forever" when Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
The International Congress of Mathematicians, where the prize is awarded, was originally due to be held in Saint Petersburg in Russia and opened by President Vladimir Putin. When Russia invaded Ukraine, hundreds of mathematicians signed an open letter protesting the choice of the host city, as a result, the event was moved to the Finnish capital.