Ukraine, Briefly

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This week, there were more signs that Russia’s hold on gains in Ukraine is tenuous at best. For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared martial law in four of Ukraine’s illegally-annexed regions at the same time that Russia began evacuating large numbers of citizens from one of those areas – indicating it might not be able to maintain control for much longer, NBC News reported. After weeks of pressure from Ukrainian soldiers attempting to recapture territory, Moscow-appointed authorities in Ukraine expressed fears that the next city to fall to the Ukrainians will be the strategically important city of Kherson in the south.

In other Ukraine-related news:

  • As the war in Ukraine enters its eighth month, the Iranian leadership says it is willing to talk to Ukrainian officials about charges that it is arming Russia and plans to increase military cooperation with its ally, according to Al Jazeera. Iran’s foreign ministry issued a statement late Tuesday reiterating Tehran’s denials of having provided drones to Russia to be deployed in the conflict, and for the first time expressed a willingness to engage in “dialogue and negotiation with Ukraine to clear (up) these allegations.” Iran’s announcement came after Russia unleashed a barrage of exploding drones on the Ukrainian capital earlier this week, CNN added. At the same time, the European Union imposed sanctions on three Iranian generals and an arms manufacturer accused of supplying Russia with drones, Radio Free Europe wrote.
  • Putin announced last week that Russia’s partial mobilization of reservists to fight in Ukraine will end in around two weeks, saying that the country was able to mobilize 222,000 people of the planned 300,000, Politico noted. Even so, the newly mobilized recruits are already being deployed to the frontlines with only a few days of training, according to the New York Times. Many of those recruited were either too old, infirm or lacked any military training.
  • The five former Soviet countries of Central Asia are increasingly standing up to Moscow, cognizant of their newfound leverage as Russia looks to their markets and trade channels to avoid Western sanctions, Al Jazeera reported. At a summit in Kazakhstan last week, Putin was subjected to a seven-minute tirade from the leader of Tajikistan, one of the region’s smallest and poorest countries. “We want respect. Nothing else. Respect,” said Emomali Rahmon, Tajikistan’s president since 1994, complaining that Moscow’s attitude had not improved since the Soviet era.
  • Meanwhile, Estonian legislators passed a resolution this week calling Russia a “terrorist regime” and condemning its recent annexation of the four Ukrainian regions, Al Jazeera wrote.

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