Ukraine, Briefly

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This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited Washington, DC to secure more US support for Ukraine as questions loom over continuing American financial aid to the war-torn country, the Associated Press reported. Zelenskyy expressed optimism about Ukraine’s progress in the war with Russia in meetings with congressional leaders and later President Joe Biden. The Ukrainian leader also addressed the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week, seeking sustained global support for Ukraine’s fight, the Washington Post added. Zelenskyy emphasized the escalating destruction and Russia’s actions affecting not only Ukraine but the global community as well. Developing nations, for example, are frustrated that aid to Ukraine diverts resources from their own priorities, like climate change and the alleviation of poverty.

Also this week:

  • Prior to the US visit, Zelenskyy removed all six deputy defense ministers from their positions in a significant leadership reshuffle, the New York Times noted. The move came against a backdrop of the Ukrainian president seeking to demonstrate better management of the defense ministry and address concerns about corruption affecting military aid, but no reason was given for this particular decision, however.
  • Poland halted its supply of weapons to Ukraine amid a diplomatic dispute regarding Ukraine’s grain exports, the BBC reported. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Poland’s focus is now on modernizing its own weaponry. While Poland had previously provided Ukraine with tanks and fighter jets, tensions between the two nations escalated when Ukraine’s Zelenskyy criticized Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia this week for banning Ukrainian grain exports to those countries. Although previously agreed-upon arms deliveries will continue, the suspension underscores the strained relations between the two allies.
  • Russian missile attacks and shelling this week killed two people and injured more than 20 across Ukraine, according to Al Jazeera. Ukraine’s General Staff reported a significant missile attack on civilian infrastructure. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces successfully intercepted and destroyed 36 of 43 Russian cruise missiles.
  • Russia and Ukraine are clashing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands over Kyiv’s claim that Moscow’s 2022 invasion violates the Genocide Convention of 1948, the Wall Street Journal wrote. Russia countered that the invasion isn’t covered by the Convention, while Ukraine claims that Moscow violated the international treaty by falsely accusing Kyiv of committing genocide in the Donbas region to justify the invasion. Russia and its leaders are facing legal scrutiny from various international bodies, including the International Criminal Court. However, these courts have no independent enforcement power and rely on the cooperation of national governments for enforcement. Analysts said the ICJ case could have consequences for allied support for Ukraine and the shape of an eventual peace. If the court declines to dismiss the case, a future round will consider the merits of Ukraine’s claim.
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador defended the participation of Russian soldiers in a recent military parade, an event that drew criticism because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Associated Press wrote. López Obrador cited the participation of a Chinese contingent as well, asserting that all countries with diplomatic relations were invited. Mexico has condemned Moscow’s invasion but maintains a policy of neutrality. Even so, Ukraine’s ambassador to Mexico criticized the presence of the Russian regiment, calling them “war criminals.” Meanwhile, López Obrador’s administration continues to buy Russian COVID vaccines, which have been criticized for their lack of effectiveness.

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