Ukraine, Briefly

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This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed documents annexing four areas of eastern Ukraine – Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson – even as Kyiv pushed the Russian army further out of three of those areas, the BBC reported. The annexation followed “shotgun” referendums in those regions last week, that most of the world refused to recognize. In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a decree officially declaring that any negotiations between Kyiv and Rusia would be “impossible,” Radio Free Europe noted. He gloated over humiliating retreats by the Russian army and said the Ukrainian military had retaken more villages in two of those districts, Luhansk and Kherson. Between Sunday and Tuesday, Ukraine reclaimed at least 10 villages in the Kherson region, Axios noted. Kherson is the only regional capital to have fallen since the invasion began, and recapturing it is a major priority for Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russian troops retreated from the city of Lyman, in Donetsk, over the weekend, as Ukraine’s military inched closer to re-capturing the annexed city, Axios wrote separately.

In other Ukrainian-Russian conflict news:

  • On Wednesday, a group of the world’s most prominent oil producers – including Russia and Saudi Arabia – agreed to impose substantial cutbacks to production to encourage a recovery in petroleum prices, despite appeals from the US to pump more to boost the global economy, CNBC reported. The US and Europe have urged more oil production to ease gasoline prices and punish Moscow for its aggression in Ukraine, the New York Times added. The move comes as European Union nations agreed to slap price caps on Russian oil and other additional penalties after Moscow’s annexation, according to the Associated Press.
  • On the diplomatic front, Russia used its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to derail a draft resolution condemning its takeover of Ukrainian land, Al Jazeera added. But Moscow’s closest allies, China and India, opted to abstain rather than vote against the resolution condemning the Kremlin’s actions, a significant slap for Russia. In the meantime, the Kremlin is lobbying for a secret ballot rather than a public vote when the 193-member UN General Assembly debates whether to condemn Moscow’s annexations, Reuters wrote.
  • Meanwhile, Zelenskyy engaged in a spat with Elon Musk on social media this week, after the billionaire weighed in on a plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine by asking Twitter users for their views, drawing immediate condemnation from Ukrainians and much of the Internet, Reuters reported.

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