A detailed look at Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his long standing worry about the West and his efforts to bring back the old Soviet Union starting with the Ukraine thru ANY means possible in a Very Good ‘Frontline’ Special about the Russian President and the American President’s he has dealt with………
The piece paints a sinister view of Putin and strong/untrusting view of Joe Biden as Vice President and President…My only compliant is the exclusion of the Afghan debacle in helping shape Putin’s decision to invade the Ukraine a second time….
You might also read ‘The Story of Russia’ which gives even more of a background on Russia itself and it’s history of what is described as making its history fit the guy running the country over the centuries…..
The Ukraine central government continues corruption ‘crackdowns’….
More weapons are on the way from additional European countries….
A coup in the offering for Putin if his ‘conquest’ fails?
Here’s what we know:
A surge in Russian artillery barrages and a buildup of troops could be the beginning of a new push by Moscow in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, President Zelensky says.
Russia’s bombardment grows, even as its next steps remain unclear.
As fighting intensifies in the east, Bakhmut is mostly deserted except for soldiers.
More searches are conducted in connection with corruption allegations in Ukraine.
Ukraine keeps up the pressure to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from the 2024 Olympics.
NATO’s request highlights how South Korea, a major arms exporter, is not supplying weapons to Ukraine.
Ukraine used banned land mines in the formerly occupied city of Izium, a new report claims.
Kharkiv got some breathing space, but still doesn’t breathe easily…..
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- Ukrainian police raided the home of oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, the head of Ukraine’s ruling party confirmed. Writing on Telegram early Wednesday, David Arakhamia said searches and other actions were also carried out against government offices and officials. Local media, including Ukrainska Pravda, reported that the raid against Kolomoisky — who made his fortune through energy companies, banking, airlines and media — was related to an investigation into embezzlement. Ukraine’s security service said it had conducted searches of construction companies in Kyiv, which it allegedwere involved in laundering money to benefit former pro-Russian lawmakers. Last week, Zelensky dismissed a number of senior figures, including a close adviser, mostly on corruption allegations.
- The high-profile searches, firings and investigations came ahead of the E.U. summit, a meeting Kyiv hopes will help its bid to become a full member of the bloc. More officials were dismissed Wednesday, including leaders in the customs service and the deputy head of the state forestry agency, according to Arakhamia. Ukrainian officials are also “preparing new reforms,” Zelensky said Tuesday. An E.U. official on Wednesday called the earlier dismissals “a signal of their determination and of the functioning of what they have now put in place.”
- President Biden’s blunt “no” when asked whether he would send F-16s to Ukraine was met with skepticism at the Pentagon. One official told The Washington Post that the fighter jets could be “M1-ed,” referring to Biden’s decision to send M1 Abrams tanks after resisting for several months.
- “Russia is preparing for maximum escalation,” the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council said. “We do understand everything is on the table. … I can say that we are not excluding any scenario in the next two to three weeks,” Oleksiy Danilov told Sky News, in reference to the forthcoming first anniversary of the Russian invasion on Feb. 24. “I’m conscious that the main fights are yet to come and they will happen this year, within two to three months. These will be defining months in the war.”
- Russia is preparing to hold elections in the Ukrainian territories it occupies, Russian Federation Council Chairwoman Valentina Matviyenko told reporters Wednesday. Residents of those regions — Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson — are “full-fledged citizens of Russia, and we can’t deprive them of the right to elect and the right to be elected,” Matviyenko said. She added that Russia would establish executive and legislative branches of government there. Ukraine and international allies have called Russia’s annexation claims illegal, and Moscow’s forces do not have control of the entirety of those regions.
- The Dnieper River in southern Ukraine has been subjected to “some of the most intense shelling in the conflict” so far, the British Defense Ministry said. It called Kherson “the most consistently shelled large Ukrainian city” outside the eastern Donbas region. The reason for this military focus was unclear, the ministry said, but was probably intended to sap civilian morale and deter Ukrainian counterattacks.
- Russian shelling in Kherson resulted in civilian casualties, and civilian infrastructure has been damaged in Sumy, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Kherson, the Ukrainian military’s General Staff reported early Wednesday. The Sumy Oblast Military Administration also reported injuries following a Russian attack on the city of Shostka on Tuesday.
- Ukraine’s Defense Ministry responded to a report accusing it of firing rockets carrying banned antipersonnel mines into Russian-controlled territory. In a statement on Telegram, the ministry said Ukraine is exercising its right to self-defense, according to Article 51 of the U.N. Charter. It also urged Human Rights Watch, which released the report, to pressure Russia to end its “criminal war.”
- Ukraine “really” deserves to join NATO, Czech President-elect Petr Pavel said. Speaking to the BBC, the retired general said Ukraine would be “morally and practically ready” to join once the war with Russia ends. While “very few people” could have imagined the level of Western military support to Ukraine, “it’s still not enough,” he added. “If we leave Ukraine without assistance, they would most probably lose this war. And if they lose — we all lose.”
- Italy and France may be close to providing Ukraine with the SAMP/T missile defense system, according the Financial Times. In an interview published Wednesday, Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said his country’s next military package to Kyiv would “probably” include “weapons of defense against Russian missile attack.” While he did not offer any specific details, he said any decision on air defense would be taken in coordination with France. The United States has already begun sending National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) and recently pledged a Patriot missile system to help repel Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure….
Ukraine Intelligence chief, Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov predictions…..
Including Ukraine retaking the Crimea ….
Budanov’s forecast for this year is that Russia will focus on occupying more territory in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions. A renewed offensive from its forces stationed north of Ukraine, in Belarus, is unlikely, he said, and just an attempt to distract and divide Kyiv’s troops. He also said that “we must do everything to ensure that Crimea returns home by summer.”
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