When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

LIVY BEREG
LIVY BEREG (Left Bank) is a Ukrainian news analysis and opinion website media founded by the independent Gorshenin Institute in 2009.
Photo of Military parade in honor of the Independence Day of Ukraine
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Victoria Guerra

Ukrainian Women At The Front: Don't Ask Us About Pads, We're Short On Weapons

Almost a year ago, a well-known lawyer, Yevhenia Zakrevska, became a soldier in the Ukrainian Armed Forces and now serves as an aerial reconnaissance officer. She tells her story to Ukrainian news media Livy Bereg.

In an interview with the Ukrainian media outlet Livy Bereg, former lawyer and human rights activist Yevhenia Zakrevska recounts how, after Russia invaded, she volunteered for the territorial defense of Kyiv, learned to fly reconnaissance drones, and now works on the front line.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Women with a military background are serving in the Ukrainian army, but so too are volunteers. Yevgeniya has enlisted in the territorial defense unit in Kyiv, but with her team, she has already been to other cities in Ukraine where there are active combat operations.

Here is her story.

Watch VideoShow less
Limits Of Convenience: Why Russia-China Cooperation Won't Last
Geopolitics
Petro Shevchenko

Limits Of Convenience: Why Russia-China Cooperation Won't Last

Moscow and Beijing may seem like strategic partners, but it's revealing itself clearly as a marriage of convenience. And ultimately they are naturally competitors, wary if the other grows stronger.

-Analysis-

Long before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping were growing closer. China’s goal? To revamp the current world order, significantly weaken the West and its leaders, and to become the world-dominating figurehead over and above the United States.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has become an essential element of this plan to destabilize the global situation.

When the West began imposing stringent sanctions on Russia, China instead chose to economically support Putin and left its markets open to accept raw materials from Russia. But don’t think this means China is Putin’s lapdog. Quite the contrary: Beijing has never helped Moscow to its own detriment, not wishing to fall under the punitive measures of the US and Europe.

At the same time, the Russian-Chinese alliance stirred dissatisfaction amongst the elite in both Beijing and Moscow. China was not expecting Russia’s plans to occupy Ukraine in a matter of days to fail and as a result, China’s aim to destabilize the West alongside its Russian partner failed.

Add to this the various alliances in the West emerging against Beijing and fears for China’s economy on home turf is beginning to grow.

Watch VideoShow less
Photo of a missile in the dirt
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Oleksandr Decyk and Vitaly Alekseev

How The War Is Doing Long-Term Damage To Ukraine's Fertile Soil

Ukraine's fertile soils used to feed the world. But even when the war ends, food production will take decades to recover because of damage to the land.

KYIV — After the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, most of the world's consumers of agricultural products such as wheat, sunflower oil and corn suddenly learned that most of these products were grown in Ukraine. They also discovered that this is a country whose fertile lands feed a significant part of Africa and Europe.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Without its wheat and sunflowers, many all over the world will starve to death. So, the war in Ukraine has become a world war. And even when the hostilities end, Ukraine will not be able to immediately resume feeding the world, as Russian troops are destroying the basis of its agriculture — chernozem soil.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, during the war in Ukraine, significantly degraded agricultural land increased by 13%. A significant percentage of the land is at risk of degradation. Scientists call it ecocide – the deliberate destruction of Ukraine's ecosystem. More than 200,000 hectares of territories in the combat zone are contaminated with mines, shells, and debris.

Watch VideoShow less
Photo of Ukrainian writer, Volodymyr Vakulenko
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Ivanna Skyba-Yakubova

Despair, Love, Betrayal — Then Death: A Ukrainian War Diary

Volodymyr Vakulenko was a Ukrainian writer killed by the Russians during the invasion. He left behind a diary that is intensely personal, yet encompasses much of the tragedy of his nation.

KYIV — Volodymyr Vakulenko lived in the Ukrainian village of Kapitolivka near Izyum, with his 14-year-old son who has autism. Volodymyr was abducted by the Russians back in March, in the weeks after the invasion. For months, his family, investigators, fellow writers, journalists and volunteers searched for him in vain.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Volodymyr recounted in his diary, which was later found, the first weeks of the Russian invasion of the Izyum region in eastern Ukraine. Kyiv-based media Livy Bereg takes a look back at Volodymyr's life and publishes excerpts from his diary, the original of which is now kept in the Kharkiv Literary Museum.

This is his story:

Watch VideoShow less
Photo of employees walking through frozen installations at the Utrenneye field in Murmansk Region, Russia.
Russia
Kateryna Mola

How The War In Ukraine Could Overturn Everyone's Plans For The Arctic

Russia owns 60% of Arctic coastline and half of the region's population. In recent history, NATO has not been overly concerned with the defense of the Arctic region because the U.S. military has been focused on the Middle East. This is all changing since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

-Analysis-

KYIV — As important as the Arctic is for studying climate control and ecology, various states have eyes on it for another reason: resources. Climate change has made the Arctic more accessible for mining, and much of that area is in the Russian Arctic. In order to exploit these potential natural resources, Russia turned to foreign investors and foreign technology, from both the West and China. The war in Ukraine is throwing all of that into question.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine will have a profoundly devastating impact on the development of Russian Arctic infrastructure, as well as shipping routes through the Arctic. Western companies have left or are about to leave the market, and counter-sanctions threaten those who still cooperate with the Russians.

Given that Russia does not produce the sophisticated equipment to operate in such a complex region and soon will not even be able to repair the equipment it possesses, we can expect Russia's activity in the Arctic to slow down.

Yet, Vladimir Putin has continued to emphasize the Arctic as a priority region, and extended invitations to cooperate to both India and China.

Watch VideoShow less
Photo of Makei and Lukashenko
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Oleksandr Demchenko

The Death Of Belarus' Foreign Minister Makei Tightens Kremlin Grip On Lukashenko

Whether or not the 64-year-old died of natural causes, the Kremlin is reinforced now in Minsk — leaving even less wiggle room for Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko.

-Analysis-

KYIVUkraine is closely following the events in Belarus, where the sudden death of Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has sparked much discussion and speculation. Some are convinced that the 64-year-old was poisoned, perhaps targeted by the Kremlin to send a message to Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko that he must increase his support for Moscow, including his readiness to enter the war against Ukraine.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Ukrainian politician and military observer,Alexei Arestovich doesn't back such a theory, taking at face value that Makei died of natural causes: If the Kremlin wanted to remove the president of Belarus, he says, they would have done it long ago. "I do not think that in such a country as Belarus, the death of even a significant politician will change anything if it is not the death of Lukashenko himself," said Arestovich.

Ukrainian newspaper Livy Bereg was focused on trying to understand what comes next after Makei's sudden death.

What was Makei's cause of death?

We probably won't know the cause of death in the near future, although Moscow and Minsk are trying to convince us that the Belarusian Foreign Minister died of natural causes. We will not speculate, but the experience that the special services of Russia and Belarus have in eliminating unfriendly diplomats cannot be ignored.

The death of Makei is an essential signal for Ukraine. His departure means that President Alexander Lukashenko has little to no opportunity to communicate with the West, a link to which the late Makei provided.

Some may say that Makei was an important figure in the system that Lukashenko built, some may even recall that the late Belarusian Foreign Minister was once seen as a successor to the Belarusian president. All this does not matter. Makei, like any Belarusian official, was essentially a nobody: he responded to the whims of Lukashenko, who always depended to some extent on Moscow. Now this dependence has arrived at virtually 100%.

Lukashenko's voice

Makei was the one who for many years was the main channel of external communication for Lukashenko: with Europe, Russia, or the domestic opposition.This changed to some degree after the 2020 protests when the West imposed sanctions against Makei.

Let's remember that Lukashenko has long been adept at making the system work for himself, not for Moscow. He created the means to be able to maneuver, which meant packing the law enforcement agencies of Belarus with those loyal to him, and that included Makei. This would wind up helping the regime survive during the protests nearly three years ago.

Makei was the one who for many years was the main channel of external communication for Lukashenko

For some time, Makei was able to communicate with the Belarusian opposition, which, it should be said, was permeated with KGB agents. He was able to negotiate with Europe to ease sanctions against the regime, which always allowed Lukashenko to blackmail Moscow. Recently, Makei was the one who negotiated with the West to reduce penalties on Belarusian potash production in exchange for the release of some members of the opposition from Belarusian prisons.

It was Makei who recently held 10 separate meetings with foreign officials at the UN General Assembly, offering the terms of this "barter" in particular to the United States. Lukashenko sent signals to the West about his readiness to communicate through Makei. In reality, it was just another deception: the self-proclaimed head of Belarus wanted to mitigate the pressure from Europe and the United States to increase his price in negotiations with Moscow.

Photo of Makei and Lavrov

Belarus' Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei meets with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Ministry Press O/TASS

Is Lukashenko independent of Putin?

The Kremlin recently allocated 105 billion rubles ($1.7 billion) to Lukashenko for the so-called import substitution programs (in fact, for the war) and probably got tired of this game.

Like most of the Belarusian officials put in power by Lukashenko, the late Belarusian Foreign Minister defended the interests not of Belarus but of the regime. It allowed its leaders to enrich themselves and protect their wealth from Moscow oligarchs, which have been gradually taking everything away from them over the past two years.

After the failed attempt to overthrow Lukashenko's regime, Russian officials in Belarus, who were already numerous, gained new powerful positions. Now such Kremlin-friendly figures as the Secretary of State of the Security Council of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Volfovich will be in charge of some of the most critical processes in the country.

It is not simply Makei's death, or how he died, that is important, but the transition of Belarusian power into the hands of the Kremlin. The former Foreign Minister of Belarus was just an executor. And now Lukashenko has almost no room for maneuver.

photo of a man carrying a ukrainian flag at a rally in Warsaw
Ideas
Sonia Koshkina

How To Stop Thinking About Russia — A Message From Eastern Europe To The West

David Stulik, senior research analyst at the Prague-based European Values Research Center, explains the risks of continuing to calculate all our choices according to hypothetical fears of and future compromises with Russia.

-Analysis-

KYIV — There’s a school of thought among some in Europe that the energy crisis is due to the war “between Ukraine and Russia,” not because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s a subtle, but important difference in language — and one that reveals the partial success of Russia's non-stop propaganda and disinformation campaign.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Even some very pro-Ukraine politicians consistently use the phrase “the war in Ukraine” for saying what caused energy prices to increase, or why household incomes in the West are going to drop.

It is of course unfair to blame Ukraine for these problems.

Watch VideoShow less
President Joe Biden speaks on midterm elections results. Live broadcast on CNN TV channel from Clermont-Ferrand, France, November 9, 2022​.
eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

Eyes On U.S. — No 'Vague Rouge,' No Final Results: How The World Makes Sense Of Midterms

While some breathed sighs of relief that the Republicans' predicted "red wave" sweep didn't happen, others chuckle at how long it takes to count the votes. And then there's Senõr Musk...

PARIS — Three full days later, and there's still no real clarity on the U.S. midterms — but the world has gotten used to American elections dragging out for days or even weeks, for both political and technical reasons.

One French journalist wondered if there’s a simpler way.



But whatever the final tally, whoever winds up with majority control of the House of Representatives and Senate, readers learned that — after weeks of forecasts of huge Republican gains — the Democrats have avoided the vague rouge (Montreal)... onda rossa (Rome) ... chervona khvylya (Kyiv).

Elisabetta Grande of Italian magazine MicroMega noted that, while the midterms are not quite a win for the Democrats and President Joe Biden, voters rejected candidates in the "election denier" camp of the Republican party allied with former President Donald Trump.

France’s left-leaning Libération on Thursday was already looking ahead to the Republican battle royale shaping up between Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for the 2024 Republican nomination.

Portugal’s Publicozeros in on the Democrats man of the moment, John Fetterman, the newly elected Senator from Pennsylvania, who they describe as not having “supporters,” but rather “fans.” Publico sees particular relevance in the fact that Fetterman took down Trump’s handpicked candidate, Mehmet Oz.

Brazil’s O Globo gives Fetterman front page treatment, at least in part because he is married to a Brazilian, Gisele Barreto.


With DeSantis' midterms victory, "Trump already has a rival" for the 2024 presidential election, foresees Monterrey-based Mexican newspaper Milenio.

Global right-wing connections

European eyes remain concerned. From Germany, security and foreign policy watcher Marcel Dirsus quips, “it’d be a lot less unnerving to watch Americans vote from Europe if we weren’t so damn dependent on their choices.” No place is that more true today than the war in Ukraine, where Washington is by far the biggest contributor of military aid.

Kyiv-based news website Livy Beregnoted the results of exit polls that showed Americans are focused, above all, on the impact of a growing economic crisis and how it could affect U.S. support for Ukraine in the war against Russia. Notably, 81% of Democrats supported providing additional aid to Ukraine, compared to just 35% of Republicans.

For Jerusalem-based Haaretz, Moshe Gilad sees a dangerous connection between the U.S. far-right, the Israeli far-right, and “Birthright,” an organization that offers young American Jews a "discovery" trip to Israel.

Meanwhile observers from the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which typically monitors elections in countries with weak or no democratic institutions, deplored a state of “generalized disinformation” across the U.S. ahead of the elections.

Which brings us to our next topic, disinformation, and just what the heck is going to happen with Twitter.

📰 UP, FRONT PAGE AND CENTER

Korean daily Dong-a Ilbo

🐦 Monsieur Musk, alors?

Occupying almost just as much global attention this week as the U.S. midterms is Twitter under its new master, Elon Musk.

As An-Nahar sums up from Lebanon, Twitter is seeing a flood of users leaving for other pastures because it “became the place of a notable increase of speeches of hate and racist insults right after Elon Musk’s bought back the company.”

That’s unlikely to change anytime soon — as Germany’s Die Zeit reports, Musk sacked the Twitter team that discovered that Twitter’s algorithm tended to amplify far-right content. “Now that this team has been fired, it is even less likely that change will be possible — or even that these phenomenons could be better understood within the company,” Die Zeit writes.

As a result, many are threatening to leave Twitter (1 million accounts have already been deactivated), and the platform that’s in the running to replace it is not-U.S. based: Mastodon was created in 2016 by German software engineer Eugen Rochko, who is the company’s only employee.

The quirk of Mastodon is that everything is hosted on a series of independently run, decentralized servers; there is no central company, or central organization behind it.

Our continent, our rules.

This week, both Deutsche Welle and Le Monderan explainer pieces, giving readers the rundown on how Mastodon works, and how to create an account. But whether or not the platform shapes up as a true alternative remains to be seen — as Publico’s Karla Pequenino writes, Musk’s ultimate goal is to transform Twitter into a “superapp,” the likes of which exist in southeast Asia — like China’s WeChat or Singapore based Grab.

However, though he is now the sole owner of Twitter, Musk won't necessarily be able to do as he likes with the platform. Twitter’s global reach is a strength, and a constraint, as global regulators intend to make clear.

Stéphane Séjourné, the head of the Renew Europe group — the third largest in the European Parliament — is demanding that Musk come and testify before the EU’s legislative body. “Whatever Mr. Musk chooses to do, our refrain remains the same: our continent, our rules," he tweeted. "We must assure that Twitter continues to act against disinformation and hate speech."


A crashing bird is singing on the front page of French daily Libération.

​🇪🇬 IN BRIEF

COP 27 is happening in Egypt, and the U.S., Canada, and Australia are being called out for contributing far less towards climate finance than they should, considering their share of historic emissions.

But in the case of the US, it’s not just far less, it’s far, faaaaaaaar less. The U.S. is #1 … at doing the least, says Carbon Brief. And developing countries — who will bear the biggest burden despite their lack of responsibility for the problem, are upset.