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Michael Sheitelman

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Photo of a big letter Z in steel, overlooking the Kerch bridge that links Crimea to mainland Russia
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Just Let Them Have Crimea! On The Risks Of Russian "Resentment" — And Ukraine's Too

Russian-born, Kyiv-based writer Michael Sheitelman writes that while everybody is afraid of Russia's bitter wrath should it be forced to relinquish Crimea, the same should go for Ukraine. Imagine that scenario now...


For several months now, we have been getting trickles of news from Crimea, the big dab of white-out on the geopolitical map of Ukraine and this war.

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Since its annexation in 2014, the peninsula has been isolated not only from Ukraine, but also by the rest of the world. Russian security services and Putin-appointed local authorities have arrested or forced Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar activists to leave. There are no Ukrainian or international journalists on the territory of Crimea, and all Russian media news about what is happening in Crimea is censored.

What we do know is that the military and naval bases in Crimea and the peninsula are used for the transfer, treatment and training of military personnel before they are sent to the front in Ukraine. It is also where the most iconic military diversions since early 2022 have taken place: the bombing of the Crimean bridge, the attack on military airbases, and the sinking of the pride of the Russia's Black Sea fleet, the Moskva cruiser.

Crimea remains a hot spot and a non-negotiable goal of liberation for the Ukrainian side. Only with the return of Crimea, say Ukrainians, will this war end.

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Soldiers walking by a shopping mall after it was hit by a missile strike carried out by Russian troops in the Podilskyi district of Kyiv

My Fellow Russians, Our Children Will Pay (Literally) For Putin’s War Crimes

Just look at post-War Germany and the reparations that had to be paid out for generations. Russian-born writer Michael Sheitelman notes from Kyiv, where he is documenting events and reflecting on the war and its aftermath.

KYIV — Russian soldiers and officers treat Ukraine as a free shooting gallery.

The other day, they blew up a shopping mall in Kyiv with a Kinzhal hypersonic missile. In Kreminna, a city in the eastern Luhansk Oblast, a nursing home was shot at from a tank for fun, killing 56 elderly people. In Mariupol, a maternity hospital and a theater shelterting children were bombed.

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There was also the shelling of homes in Odessa by Russian warships, with the names and registration numbers of the vessels plastered over — naive Russian officers expecting to dodge responsibility for war crimes.

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Photo of an anti-Ukraine war protest with a placard that reads "Ban Russia from Swift"

How Sanctions Can Hit Even Harder: Guidance From A Russian In Kyiv

Europe’s addiction to Russian energy paid for the assault against Ukraine. And in spite of crippling sanctions, it is inadvertently continuing to fund the war by not cutting two major Russian banks from SWIFT.

In Kyiv, currently enduring constant airstrikes, there are not only those who cannot leave but also those who decided to stay. One of them, a hostage of circumstances who decided to remain to witness the events of the defense of Kyiv, is the Russian-Israeli writer and political consultant Michael Sheitelman. Since the beginning of the war, the St. Petersburg native has been recounting how the Ukrainian capital and the entire political and Ukrainian and world community live in light of this war.

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KYIV — While they are destroying cities one by one, we can look at the Russian business people, CEOs and Vladimir Putin allies who have been placed under sanctions — or we can do more useful things with our time.

People ask me: Will people in Russia take to the streets if there is absolutely nothing to eat? I answer that the sanctions and the withdrawal of foreign companies from the market are not intended to reeducate the Russian people.

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