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Ukraine and Eastern Europe

Stories under this heading cover Ukraine and Eastern Europe. 

US announced an additional $53 million in support of Ukraine's power transmission and heating infrastructure 

The United States on Tuesday (29 November) announced an additional humanitarian aid package worth $53 million (about €51 million) to repair Ukraine's power grid and to purchase new power grid equipment for Ukraine. This news was announced by the US Department of State in a statement.

“This equipment will be rapidly delivered to Ukraine on an emergency basis to help Ukrainians persevere through the winter. This supply package will include distribution transformers, circuit breakers, surge arresters, disconnectors, vehicles and other key equipment”, the statement reads.

Maximiliaan va… Wed, 11/30/2022 - 00:28
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Monday Commentary
Monday Commentary: Sharing Ukraine's pain

Monday Commentary: Sharing Ukraine's pain

As winter approaches, Vladimir Putin’s strategy in Ukraine is becoming increasingly clear. The war that he initiated in February of this year against the Ukrainian state is now becoming a punitive action against the entire Ukrainian people. The targets of the missile and rocket attacks launched by the Russian army are no longer the military installations of the Ukrainian army, but the civilian infrastructure that helps keep the nation supplied with energy, heating and water, in a false hope that this would bring Ukraine down on its knees. This strategy, like the failed military strategy that Russia pursued in the last nine months, will not succeed. The Ukrainian nation has proved already its determination and resilience in front of Russian aggression. But this heroism does not lessen the pain that the Ukrainians are enduring, and will likely have to endure for some time. "There has never been a moment when it was as important to support Ukraine as now. The question is whether the world, and particularly the people in the countries of Europe and North America that have supported Ukraine generously so far, have the perseverance to stick with Ukraine until victory", writes Dennis Sammut in today's Monday Commentary on commonspace.eu

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"Today Kherson, tomorrow Sevastopol"
Russia's leadership has ordered its troops to withdraw from the Ukrainian city of Kherson. It was the only regional capital Russian forces were able to capture after invading in February. The news was welcomed cautiously in Ukraine, where the government said it will proceed carefully to avoid losses. Some commentators however are saying that it is the first step to forcing a complete Russian withdrawal from Ukrainian territory. "Today Kherson, tomorrow Sevatopol" is what many Ukrainians hope, referring to the port city on the Crimean peninsula. Russia's commander in Ukraine, Gen Sergei Surovikin, said on Wednesday (9 November) it was no longer possible to keep supplying the city. The withdrawal means Russian forces will pull out entirely from the western bank of the River Dnipro. The military's top brass announced the decision on Russian state TV, with Gen Surovikin reporting on the situation on the ground in Kherson. "In these circumstances, the most sensible option is to organise the defence along a barrier line along the river Dnipro," Gen Surovikin told the meeting. Russia's annexation of Kherson, and three other occupied regions, was announced with a lot of fanfare by president Putin at the end of September.
dennis2020 Thu, 11/10/2022 - 08:21
The Orthodox Church of Ukraine allows worshippers to celebrate Christmas on 25 December

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine had already broken away from the Russian Orthodox Church, but now it is going one step further. The Church is allowing its congregations for the first time to no longer celebrate Christmas according to the Eastern calander, as in Russia, on 7 January, but on 25 December.

The decision is a historic new step away from Moscow and closer to the West. The Ukrainian and Russian Orthodox churches used to celebrate Christmas at the same time. Orthodox Christians thus follow the old, Julian calendar, according to which Jesus was born on 7 January.

Maximiliaan va… Mon, 11/07/2022 - 16:45
Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant again disconnected from power grid

On Thursday (3 November), Ukrainian officials announced that widespread Russian shelling close to the Zaporizhzhia power plant in southern Ukraine has damaged its power lines, causing it to be disconnected from the power grid.

patrickn97 Thu, 11/03/2022 - 13:07
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Ukraine strengthens military forces on border with Belarus

Ukraine strengthens military forces on border with Belarus

The Ukrainian army has reinforced its military strength in the north of Ukraine, along the border with Belarus. Ukrainian Deputy head of the General Staff's Main Operations Directorate Oleksii Hromov reported this at a press conference on Thursday morning (27 October). How strong Ukrainian the new units in the north are now and whether those reinforcements will come at the expense of military deployments in the south Hromov did not tell. "Right now we do not see a build-up of an attacking force, but that threat is there and will remain there," Hromov said. "We are responding to it and have reinforced our forces in the north." The Ukrainians have been preparing for another possible attack from Belarus for several weeks. At the beginning of the invasion, Russia tried to capture the capital Kyiv from that direction, and although the Ukrainians chased them away, military activity in the neighbouring country has recently been increasing again.
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Ukrainian parliament recognises independence of Chechnya

Ukrainian parliament recognises independence of Chechnya

In a move likely to create further animosity between Kyiv and Moscow, on Tuesday (18 October), the Ukrainian parliament, known as the Verkhovna Rada, recognised the independence of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, declaring it 'temporarily occupied by Russia'. The Rada also condemned the 'commission of genocide against the Chechen people'. The resolution reads: ‘We declare the recognition of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria as temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation as a result of armed aggression committed in violation of the UN Charter’. The Ukrainian parliament also called on UN member states and international organisations to carry out an independent and impartial investigation into purported crimes committed in Chechnya over the last three decades, to 'ensure that the guilty are brought to justice'. Out of 351 members present, 287 voted for, and 0 voted against or abstained. The remaining 64 did not vote. Chechens have been playing a prominent role in the fighting in Ukrainian, with groups supporting either the Ukrainian government or Moscow.
Belarusian authorities says Russian troops to start arriving in coming days

Belarusian authorities said on Friday (14 October) that Russian military troops will start arriving in the country. The deputy chief of the Belarusian Armed Forces General Staff Viktar Tumar said in a statement that "in the coming days," Russian troops that are part of the group will start arriving.

Maximiliaan va… Fri, 10/14/2022 - 23:10
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Russia isolated

Russia isolated

Russia found itself in the company of only four other countries at a vote at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday (12 October) which condemned its annexation of Ukrainian territory The resolution calls on all States, the UN and international organisations not to recognize any of Russia’s annexation claim and demands the immediate reversal of its annexation declaration. 143 courties supported the resolution that condemned Russia's annexations. The four countries that supported Russia were Belarus, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Syria 35 countries abstained, namely: Algeria, Armenia, Bolivia, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Guinea, Honduras, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Mali, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Pakistan, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe. Ten countries were absent and so their vote was not recorded. They were: Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Sao Tome and Principle, Turkmenistan and Venezuela.
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G7 countries issue tough statement on Ukraine in response to Russian missile attacks against Ukrainian cities

G7 countries issue tough statement on Ukraine in response to Russian missile attacks against Ukrainian cities

Leaders of the G7 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United States, United Kingdom, together with the European Union) met virtually in extraordinary session on Monday to discuss developments in the Ukraine situation, and particularly the recent Russian missile attacks against Ukrainian cities and civilian infrastructure. The meeting was convened by Germany which holds the current chairmanship of the Group. In a tough statement, the G7 leaders said that Russia has blatantly violated the principles enshrined in the UN Charter and called upon all countries to unequivocally reject these violations of international law and demand that Russia cease all hostilities and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its troops and military equipment from Ukraine. The statement also had a word of warning for Russia: "We deplore deliberate Russian escalatory steps, including the partial mobilisation of reservists and irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, which is putting global peace and security at risk. We reaffirm that any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences". Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky also attended the virtual summit and he was assured that the G7 countries are undeterred and steadfast in their commitment to provide the support Ukraine needs to uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity.