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July 3, 2022 9:48 am

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mikenov on Twitter: Azeri and Armenian leaders meet on Nagorno-Karabakh reuters.com/world/azeri-ar…

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mikenov on Twitter: Vladimir Putin’s forever war in Ukraine: ‘The Russian military does not have to be effective in order to cause serious damage,’ analyst cautions. newsweek.com/2022/05/27/vla…

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Russia Could Actually Lose Territory Amid Ukraine War Disaster

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A debate has reportedly emerged within NATO circles over the possibility Ukraine could seize the momentum in its fight against Russia and take back Crimea and the Donbas region.

Following Russia’s withdrawal from the Kyiv region to focus on the Donbas in Ukraine’s east, NATO expects a “standstill for a while,” an unnamed alliance official said.

But in comments also reported by Ukrainian media, the official told CNN: “I think [Ukraine] could [retake Crimea and the Donbas], yes. Not now, not soon, but if they can keep up the fight I think so.”

Talk of the future of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, was ramped up by Kyiv on Monday. It leapt upon a statement by Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, who said Moscow had “no territorial disputes” with Finland or Sweden, which are seeking to join NATO.

However, Peskov did say that Ukraine joining the bloc would mean Russia would have a “territorial dispute” with an alliance member.

Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky, said this was a significant change in language, with local news outlet Unian reporting that it suggested Russia is “morally preparing the population for the surrender of the peninsula.”

Arestovych said that previously Crimea was not considered a “territorial dispute” for Moscow and that its status as part of Russia, which the world community disputes, had been secured by a “referendum of the people.”

He said either Peskov “misspoke” or he is “changing the political vocabulary,” which means “changing the political position.” This could mean “a future peace agreement in which Crimea will be a ‘territorial dispute.'”

Despite Arestovych’s optimism, Joshua Tucker, director of the NYU Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia said that he did not expect Crimea to be a feature of any deal to end the war.

“I would be shocked if Peskov was suggesting that Russia is prepared to acquiesce to Ukrainian control of Crimea as part of peace talks,” he told Newsweek.

“From Russia’s perspective, Crimea is not a territorial dispute with Ukraine—it is Russian territory,” he said. “More likely he was referring to the Donbas region.”

However, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Kristina Kvien has also given an upbeat assessment of the chances that Ukraine could win back territory.

According to a translation, she told Ukrainskaya Pravda that given that Kyiv’s forces had driven Russian troops back from the capital and from Kharkiv, “the assumption that it will expel the Russians from other occupied regions is not devoid of logic.”

British magazine The Spectator reported that some in the U.K. security establishment believe Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky should try to push Russia out of Crimea, “not because the aim is realistic,” but because it would tie up Russian forces and stop them “from recovering and re-arming.” This came with the caveat that Ukraine using western-supplied equipment in Crimea would risk escalation.

“We are now at a critical juncture in which Ukrainians will have to decide whether to take Crimea back on the battlefield or be content with the victory against Russia they currently have,” said Mai’a Cross, politics professor at Northeastern University, Boston.

“I don’t think Russia will willingly give up Crimea because this would represent a serious blow and would be very difficult for Putin to explain domestically,” she told Newsweek.

“There are a range of opinions emerging amongst Western powers on how this should end, but the Ukrainians will ultimately have the power to decide. I think they should act quickly and avoid having the war drag out.”

Vladimir Putin‘s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is about to enter its fourth month with intelligence assessments painting a picture of a faltering Russian campaign.

On Wednesday, the U.S. think tank the Institute for the Study of War said Putin’s forces would continue “to prioritize holding positions around the Russian border to prevent further Ukrainian advances north of Kharkiv City.” Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-biggest city and is located in the Donbas.

On Thursday, the British defense ministry said that senior Russian commanders who are considered to have performed poorly in the war have been fired.

Senior Russian officials are scrambling to avoid culpability for the stalled invasion, which will put “further strain on Russia’s centralized model of command and control” and make it “difficult for Russia to regain the initiative,” the U.K. defense officials said.


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mikenov on Twitter: Russia could actually lose territory amid Ukraine war disaster newsweek.com/russia-ukraine…

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Russia presses Donbas attacks as Polish leader praises Kyiv

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Published Sunday, May 22, 2022 | 3:18 p.m.

Updated 17 minutes ago

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia pressed its offensive in eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Poland’s president traveled to Kyiv to support the country’s European Union aspirations, becoming the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian parliament since the start of the war.

Lawmakers gave a standing ovation to President Andrzej Duda, who thanked them for the honor of speaking where “the heart of a free, independent and democratic Ukraine beats.” Duda received more applause when he said that to end the conflict, Ukraine did not need to submit to conditions given by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Unfortunately, in Europe there have also been disturbing voices in recent times demanding that Ukraine yield to Putin’s demands,” he said. “I want to say clearly: Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its future. Only Ukraine has the right to decide for itself.”

Duda’s visit, his second to Kyiv since April, came as Russian and Ukrainian forces battled along a 551-kilometer (342-mile) wedge of the country’s eastern industrial heartland.

After declaring full control of a sprawling seaside steel plant that was the last defensive holdout in the port city of Mariupol, Russia launched artillery and missile attacks in the region, known as the Donbas, seeking to expand the territory that Moscow-backed separatists have held since 2014.

To bolster its defenses, Ukraine’s parliament voted Sunday to extend martial law and the mobilization of armed forces for a third time, until Aug. 23.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stressed that the 27-member EU should expedite his country’s request to join the bloc. Ukraine’s potential candidacy is set to be discussed at a Brussels summit in late June.

France’s European Affairs minister Clement Beaune on Sunday told Radio J it would be a “long time” before Ukraine gains EU membership, estimating it could take up to two decades.

“We have to be honest,” he said. “If you say Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year or two, you’re lying.”

But Poland is ramping up efforts to win over other EU members who are more hesitant about accepting Ukraine into the bloc. Zelenskyy said Duda’s visit represented a “historic union” between Ukraine, which declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and Poland, which ended communist rule two years earlier.

“This is really a historic opportunity not to lose such strong relations, built through blood, through Russian aggression,” Zelenskyy said. “All this not to lose our state, not to lose our people.”

Poland has welcomed millions of Ukrainian refugees and become a gateway for Western humanitarian aid and weapons into Ukraine. It is also a transit point for some foreign fighters who have volunteered to fight the Russian forces.

“Despite the great destruction, despite the terrible crime and great suffering that the Ukrainian people suffered every day, the Russian invaders did not break you. They failed at it. And I believe deeply that they will never succeed,” Duda told the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s legislature.

Duda credited the U.S. and President Joe Biden for unifying the West in supporting Ukraine and imposing sanctions against Moscow.

“Kyiv is the place from which one clearly sees that we need more America in Europe, both in the military and in this economic dimension,” said Duda, a right-wing populist leader who clearly preferred former President Donald Trump over Biden in the 2020 election.

On the battlefield, Russia appeared to have made slow, grinding moves forward in the Donbas in recent days. It intensified efforts to capture Sievierodonetsk, the main city under Ukrainian control in Luhansk province, which together with Donetsk province makes up the Donbas. The Ukrainian military said Sunday that Russian forces had mounted an unsuccessful attack on Oleksandrivka, a village outside of Sievierodonetsk.

Sievierodonetsk came under heavy shelling, and Luhansk Gov. Serhii Haidai said the Russians were “simply intentionally trying to destroy the city… engaging in a scorched-earth approach.”

Haidai said Moscow was concentrating forces and weaponry there to try to win control of Luhansk, bringing in forces from Kharkiv to the northwest, Mariupol to the south, and from inside Russia.

The sole working hospital in the city has only three doctors and supplies for 10 days, he said.

In a general staff morning report, Russia also said it was preparing to resume its offensive on Slovyansk, a city in Donetsk province that saw fierce fighting last month after Moscow’s troops backed away from Kyiv.

In Enerhodar, a Russian-held city 281 kilometers (174 miles) northwest of Mariupol, an explosion Sunday injured the Moscow-appointed mayor at his residence, Ukrainian and Russian news agencies reported. Ukraine’s Unian news agency said a bomb planted by “local partisans” wounded 48-year-old Andrei Shevchuk, whose lives near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest.

With Russia claiming to have taken prisoner nearly 2,500 Ukrainian fighters from the Mariupol steel plant, concerns grew about their fate and that of the remaining residents of the city, now in ruins with more than 20,000 feared dead.

Relatives of the fighters have pleaded for them to be given rights as prisoners of war and eventually returned to Ukraine. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Ukraine “will fight for the return” of every one of them.

The complete seizure of the Azovstal steel plant, a symbol of Ukrainian tenacity, gave Putin a badly wanted victory in the war he began nearly three months ago, on Feb. 24.

Denis Pushilin, the pro-Kremlin head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, vowed that the Ukrainian fighters from the plant would face tribunals. He said foreign nationals were among them, although he didn’t provide details.

Ukraine’s government has not commented on Russia’s claim of capturing Azovstal. Ukraine’s military had told the fighters their mission was complete and they could come out. It described their extraction as an evacuation, not a mass surrender.

Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko warned that the city faces a health and sanitation “catastrophe” from mass burials in shallow pits as well as the breakdown of sewage systems. An estimated 100,000 of the 450,000 people who lived in Mariupol before the war remain.

Ukrainian authorities have alleged Russian atrocities there, including the bombings of a maternity hospital and a theater where hundreds of civilians had taken cover.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian court was expected to reach a verdict Monday for a Russian soldier who was the first to go on trial for an alleged war crime. The 21-year-old sergeant, who has admitted to shooting a Ukrainian man in the head in a village in the northeastern Sumy region on Feb. 28, could get life in prison if convicted.

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has said her office was prosecuting war crimes cases against 41 Russian soldiers for offenses that included bombing civilian infrastructure, killing civilians, rape and looting. It said it was looking into more than 10,700 potential war crimes involving over 600 suspects, including Russian soldiers and government officials.

In other developments, Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, gave a rare interview to national broadcaster ICTV alongside her husband and said she has hardly seen him since the war began.

“Our family, like all Ukrainian families, is now separated,” she said, adding that she speaks to him mostly by phone.

“Unfortunately, we cannot sit together, have dinner with the whole family, talk about everything,” she said.

Zelenskyy called the interview itself “a date on air,” and the couple, who have two children, joked in front of the journalists.

“We are joking, but we are really waiting, like everyone else, to be reunited, like all families in Ukraine who are separated now, waiting for their relatives and friends who want to be together again,” he said.

___

Becatoros reported from Donetsk. Associated Press journalists Yuras Karmanau in Lviv, Andrea Rosa in Kharkiv and other AP staffers around the world contributed.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: <a href=”https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine” rel=”nofollow”>https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine</a>


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mikenov on Twitter: Russia presses Donbas attacks as Polish leader praises Kyiv. http:/news/2022/may/22/russia-presses-donbas-attacks-as-polish-leader-pra/#.Yoq9F4ByU18.twitter via @LasVegasSun

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Russia presses Donbas attacks as Polish leader praises Kyiv. http:/news/2022/may/22/russia-presses-donbas-attacks-as-polish-leader-pra/#.Yoq9F4ByU18.twitter via @LasVegasSun


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mikenov on Twitter: Former MI6 Chief Predicts Vladimir Putin Will Be radaronline.com/p/mi6-chief-pr…

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Former MI6 Chief Predicts Vladimir Putin Will Be

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May. 22 2022, Published 6:20 p.m. ET

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The former head of British intelligence agency MI6 is predicting Russian President Vladimir Putin may not be in power very much longer as the Russia/Ukraine conflict continues.

Sir Richard Dearlove also addressed the rumors that the leader’s failing health could be what spells the end of his decades-long political career.

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In a conversation with One Decision Podcast, Dearlove explained committing Putin to a long term medical facility could be an “elegant” way to remove him from power as opposed to a more violent or dramatic solution.

“I’m really going to stick my neck out. I think he’ll be gone by 2023,” he predicted. “Probably into the sanatorium, from which he will not emerge as leader of Russia.”

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He also noted Moscow doesn’t have a plan in place for who will immediately replace Putin, but suggested Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev would likely be involved in the transition.

“If my thesis were fulfilled and Putin did disappear into a sanatorium, I think he’s the likely stand in,” he added. “And of course the stand in this scenario probably becomes permanent. I mean, you know there is no succession in the Russian leadership. They certainly don’t succession plan.”

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Dearlove isn’t the only one speculating on the state of Putin’s health. As Radar previously reported, a Russian oligarch stated the politician was “very ill with blood cancer,” as other sources claimed he is suffering from a number of illnesses from Parkinson’s disease to various forms of dementia.

Ex British spy Christopher Steele alleged Putin is so unwell at the moment that he needs to be under nonstop medical care as he struggles to continue his political duties.

“He’s constantly accompanied around the place by a team of doctors,” Steele said in an interview with LBC Radio, noting his security council meetings are reportedly being broken up into much smaller increments so that he can receive medical treatment in between them. “And so clearly he is seriously ill, I mean how terminal or incurable it is not clear, we can’t be entirely sure.”


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mikenov on Twitter: Current News from Michael Novakhov on Inoreader inoreader.com/stream/user/10… kgw.com/article/news/h…

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mikenov on Twitter: Russia News from Michael Novakhov on Inoreader inoreader.com/stream/user/10… defense.gov/News/News-Stor…

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