While his forces are rocket bombing Ukraine cities….
The Russian President repeats his line about wanting negotiate a settlement withthe Ukraine…
The Washington Post points out that Russia is having its own infrastructure problems….
Russian’s stealing Ukraine children….
President Vladimir V. Putin insisted on Sunday that he was willing to negotiate over his invasion of Ukraine, an oft-repeated line that U.S. and Ukrainian officials have dismissed as lip service, as air-raid sirens sent Ukrainians already on edge from months of war and bitter cold to seek shelter on Christmas Day.
One nationwide alert in the morning and a second in the afternoon were each lifted within about two hours, and there were no immediate reports of Russian strikes landing in the country. But the air-raid warnings added to the anxiety of Ukraine’s first Christmas since Russia’s invasion, after days of warnings from officials that Mr. Putin’s forces would unleash a new wave of strikes targeting energy infrastructure.
As Ukrainians marked the holiday with resilience, gathering despite the sirens in churches and chapels for Christmas services, Mr. Putin repeated the claim that his war was in defense of Russia’s national interests, and that Ukraine and its allies were to blame for the conflict that has entered its 11th month.
“We are ready to negotiate with all the participants in this process about some acceptable outcomes, but this is their business — it’s not we who refuse negotiations, but they,” Mr. Putin told an interviewer on state television in Russia….
In late October, two sewer pipes burst in the southern city of Volgograd, flooding several streets with feces and waste water, and leaving 200,000 of the 1 million residents without water or heating for several days.
Ilya Kravchenko, a local lawmaker who collected testimony from more than 1,000 victims of the incident and filed a lawsuit against the corporation that owns the sewer system, said the sight was “not pretty.”
“This is the worst year on record. The city has never had so many problems,” Kravchenko said.
A few weeks later, a similar, though less drastic sewage problem in the town of Pervouralsk, a small city west of Yekaterinburg, provoked residents to drag buckets of fecal water to the offices of the local water council in protest, claiming authorities had neglected the problem for years.
While disasters now raise suspicions of sabotage linked to the war in Ukraine, poorly maintained infrastructure is a long-standing and persistent problem in Russia — the result of old Soviet-era systems in need of repair and costly maintenance, decades of endemic corruption, and the government’s prioritization of defense and security budgets, as well as the development of major cities over regional towns….
While Ukrainians face daunting logistical barriers to recover children taken to Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree last May making it quick and easy for Russians to adopt Ukrainian children.
The policy is vigorously pursued by Putin’s children’s rights commissioner, Maria Lvova-Belova, who openly advocates stripping children of their Ukrainian identities and teaching them to love Russia. Last spring, Lvova-Belova personally adopted a Ukrainian boy — an orphan who had been evacuated from the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which was under heavy bombing by Russia, first to Donetsk and then to a sanitorium near Moscow. Lvova-Belova has also spoken publicly about her efforts to change his views….
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