Ukraine, Briefly

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This week, the battle of Adviivka has been a peculiar epicenter of the war in Ukraine. Troops from both sides continued to clash in the town, located in the Russian-claimed Donetsk region but controlled by Ukraine, resulting in heavy casualties – and new brigades continue to arrive amid frozen corpses on the ground. One Ukrainian sniper speaking with CNN called it a “meat assault.”

Meanwhile, Russian missile strikes in major Ukrainian cities, including the capital Kyiv and the country’s second-largest city Kharkiv, killed 18 people on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said most civilians who lost their lives were residents of an “ordinary” high-rise building. The attack came after 27 people died in the shelling of the city of Donetsk on Sunday, and both sides denied responsibility.

As data on Saturday showed that Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier, defying international sanctions, Ukraine has targeted its neighbor’s energy infrastructure. After reportedly carrying out an attack on a fuel export terminal near St. Petersburg, halting the site’s operations, Ukrainian drones hit a refinery owned by Russia’s largest oil producer, Rosneft, located on the Black Sea coast, Reuters reported.

Kyiv was also blamed for striking down a Russian transport airplane on Wednesday, killing all 74 on board. According to Moscow, the plane was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war, the Associated Press reported. This came after an accident involving a Russian private jet in Afghanistan. Russia announced an investigation into potential negligence of air safety, as flight routes usually avoid conflict-torn areas such as Afghanistan, especially since the 2014 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine.

Igor Girkin, a Russian pro-war blogger whom the Netherlands holds responsible for the MH17 crash, was sentenced by a Russian court on Thursday to four years in jail on extremism charges after criticizing President Vladimir Putin’s “cowardly mediocrity,” CNN reported. At the same time, Darya Trepova, 26, accused of killing another pro-war blogger using a bomb, was given the longest prison sentence imposed on a woman in Russia’s modern history, the Associated Press reported.

Zelenskyy and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Monday pledged to ease the political tensions that had arisen over the past months, Reuters reported. The joint declaration came after Polish truckers blocking border crossings agreed to suspend their protest. Tusk added that his government was working on a new aid package for Ukraine, while the Associated Press reported the United States was unable to provide further financial support.

According to Kremlin parlance, achieving a new world order requires revisiting sovereignty over some territories, citing Venezuela’s recent disputed annexation of Guyana’s Essequibo region. Last week, Putin ordered research into Russia’s former territories, including Alaska. The US State Department responded on Monday that Alaska would remain an American state, the Hill reported. Meanwhile, Slovak leader and Putin ally Robert Fico backtracked on Wednesday after doubting Ukraine’s sovereignty earlier this week.

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