Displaying items by tag: Vladimir Putin
In an unexpected virtual appearance at the G20 summit, Vladimir Putin called on world leaders to ‘stop the tragedy’ of the war with Ukraine but bizarrely ignored his own role in starting the conflict. In February 2022, after weeks of growing aggression near the Ukrainian border, the Russian president ordered his forces into Ukraine. He claimed it was important to ‘demilitarise’ the country and made baseless neo-Nazi allegations about the Ukrainian government to justify the invasion. Ukraine has only agreed to peace negotiations if Russia agrees to hand back all of the land which it has illegally annexed since 2014 - including the Crimea peninsula, which Putin claims now belongs to Russia. He also broke international law by illegally annexing four other regions in eastern Ukraine in September 2022. In his G20 appearance, Putin also tried to deflect attention from the war by focusing on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, for which he has tried to position himself as a potential mediator.
Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un toasted their friendship with Russian wine after Putin showed Kim around the country's most modern space launch facility. Kim is currently in Russia, where he has vowed to support the Kremlin's ‘sacred war’ against Ukraine, raising concerns that the two nations could bolster their military capabilities. At the end of the reception, Kim courteously invited Putin to visit the DPRK at a convenient time. Putin accepted the invitation with pleasure and reaffirmed his desire invariably to carry forward the history and tradition of the Russia-DPRK friendship. They also held talks alongside their defence ministers and called each other ‘comrades’. The growing friendship has concerned the West that North Korea will supply Russia with weapons. The USA said that this visit has made it clear that Putin will set aside any concern to achieve victory in Ukraine. If an arms deal was reached, the USA would slap additional sanctions on them. In a further surprise development, Kim has extended his stay in Russia: see
Wagner mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin is presumed dead, having been named as one of ten passengers in a private jet that crashed north of Moscow. A key ally of Vladimir Putin, his private military company has played a key role in Ukraine following Moscow's invasion in February 2022. But his relationship with Putin soured after he ordered his troops to march on Moscow in a day-long rebellion against Russia's military leaders in June. The details of the crash are not clear, but claims that it was shot down have not been substantiated. The following day Putin said he had sent condolences to Prigozhin’s family. His death will leave Putin stronger in the short term, removing a powerful figure who had played an important part in the war but had also been openly critical of Russia’s military leaders.
After Ukraine’s recent drone attacks, there have been warnings of tough retaliatory measures. Putin’s closest ally Dmitry Medvedev, of Russia's Security Council, said Moscow must ‘choose unconventional targets for our strikes - not just storage facilities, energy hubs and oil bases.’ He also warned of a global conflict breaking out as nuclear tensions rise and concerns about climate change intensify: ‘The world is sick, and quite probably on the verge of a new world war.’ Officials in Moscow have repeatedly warned that the world faces the most dangerous decade since World War 2. At NATO’s arms control conference recently, the USA said, ‘We have watched and worried that Putin would use his non-strategic tactical nuclear weapon for a managed risk escalation. It’s critical that we remain watchful.’ NATO’s secretary general said Putin’s plan to place tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus was part of a years-long pattern of ‘dangerous, irresponsible nuclear rhetoric’ which intensified with the ‘brutalisation of Ukraine’. See
We can pray into Putin’s situation as he tries to crack down on the increasing resistance by his ex-supporters, the nationalists. Their abandoning him falls in line with the growing war-weariness across Russia. Russian ultranationalist Igor Girkin was arrested after he criticised Vladimir Putin’s handling of the Ukraine war, calling for a transfer of power. He said online that the Russian army is no longer loyal to Putin; he expects the Ukrainian counteroffensive to break the Russian front. He also promised to form an opposition party of ‘angry patriots’ to save Russia from collapse. There are other nationalists and dissenters also criticising Putin’s handling of the war. Putin still depends on Wagner’s generals, which means a weakened Russian military and more mistrust. China supported Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Western sanctions gave Putin economic tensions. Now selling the Chinese yuan indicates his dependence on Beijing.
South Africa’s president says that arresting Vladimir Putin if he attends Johannesburg’s economic summit would be a declaration of war by his country. The August summit brings together Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - developing economies known as BRICS. Putin wants to attend the gathering, but officials are trying to persuade him to stay away to avoid legal and diplomatic fallout because of an international arrest warrant for his alleged war crimes while invading Ukraine. As a signatory to the Rome statute which established the arrest warrant, South Africa would be obligated to arrest Putin if he visits the African nation. President Ramaphosa recently joined a peace mission to Kyiv and Moscow to negotiate ending the war. He does not want to start another war. In an action before the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa’s opposition party has tried to compel the government to pledge to arrest Putin.
The revolt lasted a day but the jealousy, rivalry and ambition that gave rise to it continues. Wagner founder Yevgeny Prigozhin is a criminal who owes his enormous wealth to Putin. His rivals are the military and security elite ruling Russia, while Putin’s ambition is reimposing Russian influence across the globe. Senior Ukrainians are doing their best to manage the summer offensive but believe some Western allies and media supporters have become over-excited about their army and its NATO equipment. Other Ukrainian officials admit they fear a public collapse of Putin's regime might lead to worse danger as his would-be successors jockey for power in a state with the world's biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons. In the uncertainty about what is happening and what it means, we can be certain that God invites us to shape history through prayer and fasting. See also
South Africa's president Cyril Ramaphosa has told Vladimir Putin the war in Ukraine must end. His remarks came when he met Mr Putin on 17 June as part of an African peace mission of seven African countries. President Volodymyr Zelensky had already told the delegation that he would not enter talks with Russia while they occupied Ukrainian land. Mr Ramaphosa also called for both parties to return their prisoners of war, and said children removed by Russia should be returned home. As the African delegation called for the return of children to their families, Putin interrupted their speech, claiming, ‘Children are sacred. We moved them out of the conflict zone, saving their lives and health’. Mr Ramaphosa also warned Mr Putin of the impact of the war on Africa and said it should be settled by diplomacy.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, independent Russian media have received restrictions or threats. News channels TV Rain and Meduza have had to move abroad; Novaya Gazeta remains in Moscow but has stopped publishing newspapers. The authorities have closed talk radio station Echo and others. Countless commentators are in exile, including veteran journalist Nevzorov, branded a ‘foreign agent’ and given a jail sentence in absentia for spreading ‘fake news’ against Russia’s army. People do not need an audience of millions to be targeted. Mathematics student Dmitry Ivanov ran an anti-war Telegram channel and received an eight-and-a-half-year prison sentence. An anti-war picture sketched by a 13-year-old at school warranted Alexei, her father, being jailed for two years. Putin rules Russia virtually unchallenged. Critics who once spoke out have been forced into exile, jailed or killed. By the time he invaded Ukraine, two decades of stamping out dissent had all but annihilated Russian opposition.
Vladimir Putin planned ‘total cleansing’ of Ukraine with house-to-house terror to subdue its people. Chilling emails leaked from within Russia’s FSB intelligence service talk about orders ‘from the very top’ for civilians to be taken to concentration camps in a bid to conquer Ukraine. The emails were leaked to Russian human rights activist Vladimir a week after the International Criminal Court charged Putin with war crimes for alleged deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said that there have been over 16,000 forced deportations carried out by Russia. Meanwhile Russia’s push for the key Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has stalled, despite their claims in early March that the city was surrounded on three sides. Ukraine’s commander-in-chief said that the fight for Bakhmut is stabilising and his troops’ have held back Moscow’s forces. Ukraine is now signalling a counteroffensive to take back territory lost to Moscow. The Wagner mercenaries are losing considerable strength.