May 24 Buonasera Mag
The battle in Donbas, Lavrov, Patruchev, Microsoft, Lithuania, The Kyiv School of Economics, Volyna, Navalny
EA Worldview’s Ukraine Up-date- hop over to Scott’s amazing hourly Ukraine up-date page. I’ll fill in with some bits and bobs.
Here are some other stories we’re following…
Ukrainian forces liberate 24 settlements in Kharkiv Oblast during major counter-offensive. Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said on May 23 that in villages north of Kharkiv, residents were forced to spend months in basements during the Russian occupation.
President Zelensky: Russian forces have organised a "massacre" in Donbas, trying to destroy "everything living" in the region.
Ukraine’s FM, Kuleba stated in a tweet that the Russian offensive in the Donbas is ‘the largest one on European soil since WWII’ and it was “too early” to conclude that Kyiv already has all the weapons it needs to defend itself against the Russian offensive.
Ukriane’s FAM Kuleba: 580 international companies still operating in Russia. Kuleba said that, while 1,439 companies have left Russia, it is “business as usual” for those that have remained.
Russian forces sets up command centers in Kherson, Zaporizhzhia oblasts. In an attempt to further control the local population, 19 Russian command centers have been established, said the spokesperson for Zaporizhzhia Regional Military Administration, Ivan Ariefiev.
Russian troops demand bribes from citizens evacuating Melitopol. According to Zaporizhzhia’s Regional Military Administration on May 23, Russian troops have been requesting Hr 3,000 to 5,000 ($100-$170) from residents wanting to leave the city.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affair Lavrov has said that Russia will deepen ties with China. though would consider offers from the west to re-establish ties.
The Kremlin is considering a referendum to ‘merge’ Belarus and Russia. Belarus has already signed a protocol with Russia uniting various aspects of governance.
Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev said that Russia will achieve its objectives in Ukraine and is not “chasing deadlines”. ““All the goals set by the president will be fulfilled. It cannot be otherwise,” he said.
Russia has banned 154 members of the House of Lords from entering the country in response to the UK's decision to sanction Russian officials.
In a letter to the European Council’s president, Charles Michel, Orbán said it was “unlikely” a solution could be found by next week’s summit of EU leaders and that leaders should not discuss the issue at the meeting.
Microsoft to assist Ukraine in documenting Russia’s war crimes. Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov made the announcement after meeting with Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, in Davos. Microsoft will also reportedly help rebuild Ukraine’s digital industry.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis proposed a plan for a maritime coalition “of the willing” to lift the Russian blockade of the Black Sea on Ukrainian grain exports during talks with the U.K. Foreign Secretary, the Guardian reported. “
Interfax: Moldova’s ex-president Dodon is detained for 72 hrs amid treason accusation. Dodon had extremely tight connection to Putin.
At Davos: Von der Leyen says that Russian assets frozen overseas could be used to fund reconstruction too: “We should leave no stone unturned, including possibly using the Russian assets we have frozen.”
ISW: Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, May 23
Russian nationalist figures are increasingly criticizing the failures of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine and are calling for further mobilization that the Kremlin likely remains unwilling and unable to pursue in the short term.
The All-Russian Officers Assembly, an independent pro-Russian veterans’ association that seeks to reform Russian military strategy, called for Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin to declare war on Ukraine and introduce partial mobilization in Russia on May 19. The Assembly said that Russia’s “special military operation” failed to achieve its goals in three months, especially after the failed Siverskyi Donets River crossings.
NYT Ed Board, The War in Ukraine Is Getting Complicated, and America Isn’t Ready
That goal cannot shift, but in the end, it is still not in America’s best interest to plunge into an all-out war with Russia, even if a negotiated peace may require Ukraine to make some hard decisions. And the U.S. aims and strategy in this war have become harder to discern, as the parameters of the mission appear to have changed.
Response to the NYT article on Ukraine
On May 19, the New York Times Editorial Board published an Op-Ed: “The War in Ukraine Is Getting Complicated, and America Isn’t Ready.” Concerned by its rhetoric, The Kyiv School of Economics published a response @kse_ua: “The War in Ukraine is Not Complicated.”
Boris Sokolov, Never attacked anyone.» A brief history of Russia's aggressive wars from Ivan the Terrible to the present
Although Russia does have problems with ending wars (we can recall, for example, the fact that Russia has not yet signed a peace treaty with Japan), there are many examples of Russia starting wars against other states. Below are several examples of wars in which Russia was an attacker.
Serhiy Volyna: “Boundless love for Ukraine gives me the strength to hold on”
One of the leaders of Mariupol’s defense is Serhiy Volyna, commander of the 36th Separate Marine Brigade of the Ukrainian Navy. Everyone is watching his video messages from the blocked plant (or rather, what is left of the industrial giant). But Serhiy appeals not only to Ukrainians, but also to world political and religious leaders, as well as leaders of humanitarian organizations.
Navalny’s statements at his sentencing in Moscow
Reuters reports that Navalny lambasted president Putin during his court hearing, casting him as a madman who had started a “stupid war” in Ukraine based on lies.
“This is a stupid war which your Putin started. This war was built on lies.”
“What do you want to achieve - do you want short-term control, to fight with future generations, fight for the future of Russia?” Navalny asked the court. “You will all suffer historic defeat.”
Navalny said Putin’s Russia was run by thieves and criminals who had become enemies of the Russian people.
“One madman has got his claws into Ukraine and I do not know what he wants to do with it - this crazy thief,” Navalny said of Putin.
Russian propaganda in full gear
This is a typical Russian propaganda video that is floating around Telegram channels.
We’re signing off…thanks for reading…
Mo & Scott