Displaying items by tag: Vladimir Putin

Thursday, 27 April 2023 21:52

Russia: where is Putin’s opposition?

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.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 30 March 2023 22:10

Putin wanted ‘total cleansing’ of Ukraine

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.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 05 January 2023 21:41

Ukraine: Putin should face trial in 2023

The British barrister Sir Geoffrey Nice, who led the prosecution of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, said Vladimir Putin should go on trial in Ukraine this year for war crimes committed there. He expressed his surprise that prosecutors and politicians were not ‘spelling this out much more freely and openly’. He described Moscow's actions during the invasion as ‘crimes against humanity’ as civilian targets were being attacked. Crimes against humanity are considered the most serious offences under the so-called ‘rules’ of war. These laws ban attacks on civilians - or infrastructure vital to their survival - and are set out in international treaties such as the Geneva Conventions. Russia's repeat attacks on the Ukrainian energy grid over the winter are described as war crimes because of the harm done to civilians. Russia claims to be hitting only military targets. Kyiv’s prosecutor-general has reported 62,000+ war crimes, including over 450 child deaths.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 01 December 2022 20:53

India: Modi scolds Putin

Narendra Modi, India's prime minister, has called for the Ukraine war to end. He warned that geopolitical struggles could ‘lead to humanitarian crises’. In a thinly veiled swipe at the Russian president, he said, ‘Our era need not be one of war. Indeed, it must not be one!’ The comments echoed his previous criticism of Mr Putin in September. India has abstained from condemning Moscow’s actions in Ukraine at the UN as the government balances its ties with Russia and the West, but has shifted its stance as the war intensifies and energy and food shortages pose greater global threats. Mr Modi said the world’s greatest challenges ‘can be solved not by fighting each other, but only by acting together’. India hosts the next G20 summit, whose theme is One Earth, One Family, One Future.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 07 October 2022 10:48

Russia: Putin ridiculed by powerful allies

The withdrawal of Russian troops from important Ukraine towns has prompted two powerful Putin allies publicly to ridicule the war machine's top brass. Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov said, ‘Nepotism in the army will lead to no good. The commander of Russian forces should be stripped of his medals and sent to the front line with a gun to wash away his shame with blood.’ Such public contempt for those running Russia's war indicates the growing level of frustration among Putin’s elite with his war tactics. The powerful mercenary Yevgeny Prigozhin congratulated Ramzan’s comments, saying, ‘Ramzan - you rock man! All these ******** should be sent barefoot to the front with automatic guns.’

Published in Europe
Thursday, 22 September 2022 22:02

Putin’s chest pains and intimidation

Vladimir Putin delayed his TV address to Russia to be urgently treated for 'chest pains'. The eventual speech the next day warned of Russia’s use of nuclear weapons and mobilising troops. The delayed broadcast allegedly happened only because doctors had urgently treated him. Comments surrounding his health have intensified in recent months. Russia’s General SVR Telegram channel routinely claims that 69-year-old Putin suffers from illnesses such as cancer or Parkinson’s disease. His mental and physical wellbeing have been in sharp focus since he invaded Ukraine. In the delayed announcement he ranted about purging Ukraine of ‘neo-Nazis’ and wanted referendums in occupied regions. But for thousands of Russians watching TV at home, the most notably worrying elements of the broadcast was the ordering of 300,000 army reservists into battle and preventing 25 million reservists from fleeing Russia. This news has shocked and alarmed even his closest confidants.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 15 September 2022 22:21

Ukraine: regaining territory but reservoir bombed

The Russians have fled vital supply hub cities, saying they have withdrawn ‘to regroup’ and ‘bolster efforts’ on the Donetsk front. Social media images reveal a chaotic retreat. Tanks, armoured vehicles, weapons and ammunition were abandoned on the roadside, proving Ukraine's army can reclaim Russian-occupied territory. As well as gaining ground in the east, Ukraine is making gains in the south, causing Russian forces to dig into defensive positions.Putin, within Russia, enjoys a reputation of being invincible. After these embarrassing defeats, and having to ask other countries for weapons, his aura of invincibility is fading. It has not ended well for past Russian leaders who fought wars and didn't win them. Putin rarely admits to making mistakes or U-turns. After failing to hold Ukraine's cities, on 15 September he took revenge by bombing a reservoir. President Zelensky said, ‘You are weaklings who fight civilians; the reservoir had no military value at all’.

Published in Europe
Friday, 19 August 2022 00:08

Global repercussions of Ukraine war

While explosions rocked a Crimean ammunition depot, disrupting railway services and causing 2,000 people to be evacuated from a nearby village, the Russian defence minister claimed Ukrainian military operations were being planned by the Americans and British while NATO increased its troop deployment in eastern and central Europe ‘several times over’. Vladimir Putin also said the bloc of Australia, UK, and the USA had the potential to develop into ‘a political-military alliance’. Meanwhile Russia’s Black Sea fleet struggles to exercise effective sea control, with patrols generally limited to the waters within sight of the Crimean coast, according to British intelligence reports. The fleet continues to use long-range cruise missiles to support ground offensives, but is keeping a defensive posture. Britain is training 10,000 Ukrainian raw recruits in marksmanship, battlefield first aid, and urban warfare. Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Nordic nations are also providing training.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 17 June 2022 10:07

Russia: land grab

Vladimir Putin's admiration for Peter the Great is well known, but he now has ideas of ‘Great’-ness himself as he openly compared himself to the 18th-century tsar. He is equating Russia's invasion of Ukraine with Peter's expansionist wars three centuries ago, thereby acknowledging that his own war is a land grab. Putin's empire-building ambitions have irked his neighbours; Estonia has called his comments ‘completely unacceptable.’ Putin said he sees a new battle for geopolitical dominance, and that Peter the Great was his role model. ‘You might think he was fighting with Sweden, seizing their lands’, Putin said, referring to the northern wars which Peter launched to forge a new empire. ‘But he seized nothing; he reclaimed it. It has fallen to us, too, to reclaim and strengthen.’

Published in Europe
Thursday, 19 May 2022 23:51

Russia: Putin’s health and blunders

It is well known that Vladimir Putin has had back surgery more than once. He has cultivated a strong action-man image and does not want to appear weak or sick. However, there is talk of Parkinson’s, based on his recent twitches and shaking. An American magazine has released a recorded interview of an unnamed oligarch saying he had to have treatment for blood cancer shortly before ordering the Ukraine invasion. There is evidence of repeated visits by a senior cancer specialist, and a video is being circulated showing him shaking. He appeared frail at Victory Day celebrations, with speculation he is ill with something serious. His erratic, impatient behaviour lately could account for Russia’s many military blunders. It is believed that Moscow has lost a third of its ground forces; there are critical shortages of bridging equipment and surveillance drones, plus increasingly low morale.

Published in Europe
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