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A parade for Republika Srpska's national holiday in Bosnia and Herzegovina, January 2022. Antonio Bronic / Reuters

In the Balkans, and especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, images from Ukraine of besieged cities, massacres, and mass displacement are re-traumatizing a society that has never been allowed to heal after the wars that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991. Along with the rest of the world, Bosnians have watched the razing of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol with horror. But having lived through the siege of Sarajevo and similar atrocities, Bosnians recognize the velocity and brutality of Russia's war on Ukraine more viscerally than others­­—and it puts them on edge.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine comes at a time when the Western Balkans have reached a level of tension and uncertainty unseen in decades.…  Seguir leyendo »

A pro-Russian soldier in Mariupol, Ukraine, May 2022. Alexander Ermochenko / Reuters

Six days before the invasion of Ukraine, a small group of Russian soldiers huddled together in their tents in Belarus. One of them had covertly acquired a smartphone—barred by the military—and together, the group logged on to western news sites. There, they read a story that shocked them: according to Western intelligence reports, Russia was about to invade its neighbor.

One of the soldiers called his mother in shock about what he had read. She told him it was only western propaganda, and that there would be no war. She was wrong. Five days later, on the eve of the invasion, the soldiers’ commanders revealed they would invade Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Reservists of the Karelia Brigade shoot with live rounds during the Etela-Karjala 22 local defense exercise in Taipalsaari, Finland, on March 9. (Lehtikuva/Via Reuters)

Less than three years ago, while President Donald Trump was threatening not to defend allies who didn’t pay enough for the privilege, French President Emmanuel Macron was lamenting the “brain death of NATO”. Things hardly seemed to improve when President Biden pulled U.S. troops out of Afghanistan (a NATO mission) after scant consultation with allies. As Kabul was falling, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial headlined, “How Biden broke NATO”.

It turns out NATO is neither brain dead nor broken. The unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine has given the alliance a new lease on life, making it more politically united and militarily formidable than at any time since the end of the Cold War.…  Seguir leyendo »

What was left of Tetyana's kitchen. (Iuliia Mendel for The Washington Post)

The journey to Ukraine’s northern Chernihiv region is still complicated by the lack of bridges, which the Ukrainian military blew up in late February when the Russian army began its advance on Kyiv. The Russians were expelled from the Chernihiv region in early April, but the memories of that terrible offensive can be seen all around, despite the blooming spring and millions of yellow dandelions.

Along the road, there are remnants of burnt tanks and broken trees, the hits of military ammunition visible on the asphalt.

As we drive into the villages, my fiance and I see destroyed buildings. The school in Novyy Bykiv, about 65 miles from Kyiv, has broken windows; on the other side, we see a shelled kindergarten with a torn roof.…  Seguir leyendo »

Western sanctions are beginning to hit Russia where it hurts most: its energy exports. Over the last few weeks, the European Union, the biggest buyer of Russian oil, has been working on a plan to ban imports by the end of this year, although objections by Viktor Orban of Hungary have slowed progress.

For energy sanctions to work, however, they must be carefully designed to hurt Russia more than they hurt Western states. Their primary goal should not be to cut the volume of oil and gas leaving Russia, which would further drive up world energy prices and endanger domestic support, but to reduce the dollars and euros flowing into Russia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Taiwanese demonstrators staging a pro-Ukrainian "die-in" protest in Taipei, April 2022. Reuters / I-Hwa Cheng

Beyond Europe, the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is being felt most keenly 5,000 miles away, on the island of Taiwan. Many Taiwanese worry that they might be the next to suffer an invasion by a more powerful neighbor. Those fears are not unreasonable. While Ukraine and Taiwan differ in many ways, as relatively young democracies living alongside larger authoritarian neighbors with long-standing designs on their territory, the two face strikingly similar strategic predicaments.

Much as Russian President Vladimir Putin has described restoring the “historical unity” between Russia and Ukraine as a kind of spiritual mission, Chinese President Xi Jinping believes that reuniting mainland China with what he views as its lost province of Taiwan will help cement his place in history.…  Seguir leyendo »

La ciudad ucraniana de Leópolis, hoy parcialmente destruida por los ataques rusos, ha sido en otros momentos históricos y bajo diversos nombres, polaca, rusa o austrohúngara. Guarda para los polacos recuerdos próximos e inolvidables hasta el punto de que la que fuera Lvov polaca, cedida a la URSS tras Yalta, al final de la II Guerra Mundial, sigue siendo para los ciudadanos del Vístula, y en demérito de Cracovia, la «más bella» de sus ciudades. Cabe preguntarse lo que quedará de Lvov, Lviv, Lemberg o Leópolis, bajo todos sus nombres urbe espectacular, tras el intento criminal de Putin y los militares rusos contra Ucrania.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘To see Kalush Orchestra on the world stage flying the flag for Ukraine will be a very powerful moment.’ The Ukrainian band Kalush Orchestra. Photograph: Yara Nardi/Reuters

In 2010, I competed in the Eurovision song contest as Alyosha, representing Ukraine. My song, Sweet People, was about war, ego and finding the political will to save our planet. It feels more relevant now than ever.

Since the conflict broke out, I see the world differently and Eurovision has taken on new meaning. It’s not just a night of frivolity any more, and fans aren’t just music fans – their support means so much more this year.

I’ve been living in New Jersey with my three children and mother-in-law since we fled Kyiv in March. In the blur of the evacuation, I forget exactly when we arrived but my life here is a world away from what my husband, parents, brothers and their families are still experiencing in Ukraine.…  Seguir leyendo »

La CE propuso la semana pasada el veto progresivo a las compras de petróleo ruso en Europa para finales de año. Twitter de Ursula von der Leyen

La sexta ronda de sanciones contra Rusia por parte de la UE incorpora la prohibición de la importación de petróleo ruso e incluiría todo tipo de petróleo: crudo, refinado, importado mediante oleoductos, carretera y cualquier navío registrado bajo la bandera de un país miembro de la UE. Se realizaría de forma progresiva para encontrar fuentes alternativas: se terminaría con la compra del crudo en seis meses y a finales de 2022 con la de productos refinados.

Los principales compradores de petróleo ruso por cantidad son Alemania, Polonia y Países Bajos. Sin embargo, no son los países que más se oponen al embargo, sino una serie de países pequeños del Este de Europa, lo cual genera nuevas fracturas en el bloque.…  Seguir leyendo »

Foto del 27 de octubre de 2017 que muestra el logotipo de la cadena de televisión estatal rusa RT en la ventana de la oficina de la empresa en Moscú, Rusia. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

El presidente ruso, Vladimir Putin, tiene poco más de dos meses librando una guerra contra Ucrania, pero ha estado activo en el frente propagandístico durante mucho más tiempo. Y en América Latina, la maquinaria de desinformación de Rusia ha sido particularmente exitosa.

Actualidad RT, la filial en español del medio estatal ruso Russia Today, tiene más de 3.5 millones de seguidores en Twitter. Antes de que YouTube lo bloqueara, seis millones de personas seguían su canal en español. El alcance de RT en Facebook es aún mayor. En los últimos años, su versión en español ha sido más popular que su contraparte en inglés y ha impulsado de forma efectiva las narrativas predilectas de Rusia en América Latina, ha avivado el sentimiento antiestadounidense y elogiado regímenes autoritario s, todo bajo el velo de una plataforma supuestamente objetiva.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Élysée Palace in Paris on Dec. 9, 2019. (Thibault Camus/AP)

Let’s put the best face possible on French whispers that the United States is too aggressive toward Russia. Let’s avoid the easy (and tempting) jokes about a Gallic flair for surrender. Likewise with any observation that it’s easy — perhaps a bit decadent — to take a moderate view concerning Russia from behind a barrier of Eastern European democracies that find Moscow’s ravaging of their neighbor Ukraine to be an immediate and urgent threat to their own safety.

Let’s assume that France is trying to play good cop to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s bad cop in a joint effort to bring Vladimir Putin’s brutal war to the earliest possible conclusion.…  Seguir leyendo »

Relatives of Mykhailo Romaniuk, 58, who was shot dead while cycling on 6 March, at his burial in a cemetery in Bucha, Ukraine, which suffered many victims of the war with Russia. "These are war crimes and it will be recognized by the world as genocide," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a visit to Bucha, on 4 April. © Yasuyoshi Chiba / AFP

Is what is happening in Ukraine genocide? That has been a burning question in this crisis, as it has been in other recent humanitarian crises in Darfur, Syria, Myanmar, China and with the crises in the 1990s, especially in Rwanda. President Vladimir Putin of Russia invoked the term to justify the invasion of Ukraine, claiming to “de-Nazify” the country. Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky, countered by accusing Russian forces of genocide, and Ukraine brought a genocide case to the International Court of Justice. That Russia has committed genocide has become integral to official Ukrainian rhetoric about the war. Many of Ukraine’s supporters and Russia’s enemies, including President Joe Biden of the USA, have adopted the same language.…  Seguir leyendo »

La participación de Ucrania este año en el Festival de Eurovisión, a pesar de la guerra que asola una gran porción de su territorio, reviste un carácter físico y simbólico de resistencia última de un país a través de unos representantes artísticos que la engrandecen. Al mismo tiempo, se envía al mundo un mensaje de indestructible fortaleza anímica y de ignorancia de una realidad adversa, sustituida por otra de normalidad. Una ficción innegable, pero admitida con la misma consciencia que no la niega y que contribuye a elevar la moral de un pueblo heroico. Ciudadanos de una nación que no se rendirá mientras cante.…  Seguir leyendo »

La invasión rusa de Ucrania muestra una vez más que la memoria puede convertirse en un arma de guerra. El recuerdo mitificado de la II Guerra Mundial por parte de la Rusia de Vladímir Putin sirve de justificación a su agresión: se trataría de librar a sus hermanos eslavos de un Gobierno títere de la OTAN y en manos de neonazis, que predica el revisionismo histórico y niega el inmenso sacrificio soviético de 1941-45, exaltando de paso a unos miles de colaboracionistas profascistas. Este mensaje encaja muy bien con la visión de la Gran Guerra Patriótica que se propaga en la esfera pública rusa desde hace dos décadas: una guerra justa, protagonizada por el pueblo ruso/soviético contra un agresor externo, con inicio el 22 de junio de 1941.…  Seguir leyendo »

A resident of Mariupol on May 12 sits outside a house heavily damaged during the Ukraine-Russia conflict. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Many months of brutal fighting lay ahead in Europe and the Pacific when the United States gathered its partners at Bretton Woods, N.H., in July 1944 to plan the global order that would follow World War II. The Allies knew what institutions the world would need — the future International Monetary Fund, World Bank and United Nations — even before they could see the final victory.

The United States and its NATO partners need to show similar creative imagination now as the war in Ukraine grinds on. The West’s leaders may not be able to describe just how or when the awful battle will end, but they know the building blocks of the future: security, prosperity, law and order, democracy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protesting in support of Ukraine, Bern, Switzerland, April 2022. Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

Russians are fleeing their country in droves. Armenia, Georgia, Uzbekistan; Estonia, Latvia, Montenegro. In the first two weeks of the war alone, Georgia took in 25,000 Russians, and Armenia was receiving some 6,000 Russians per day. By the end of March, 60,000 Russians had gone to Kazakhstan. And many more have sought refuge in a number of different countries in Eastern Europe. Since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began, Russians who have the means to do so have been racing for the border in what has become the largest exodus since the Bolshevik Revolution.

The dramatic flight underscores the far-reaching effects of Putin’s war.…  Seguir leyendo »

The aftermath of a Russian bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 2022. Marko Djurica / Reuters

Perhaps the most enduring legacy of the Marshall Plan, the massive U.S. program to rebuild Western Europe’s economy after World War II, is the endless desire to repeat it. Daunting geopolitical challenges invariably spawn appeals for new Marshall Plans to foster stability and prosperity. The global financial crisis seeded in 2008 brought forth calls for a Marshall Plan in southern Europe. The Arab Spring did the same in the Middle East. Ditto the civil war in Syria.

Today, Ukraine, victim of horrific mass brutality and destruction, is only the latest in a procession of stricken countries spurring calls for the legend’s reapplication.…  Seguir leyendo »

When German diplomats in Brussels recently tried to convince their Hungarian counterparts to sign up to the European Commission’s plan for an embargo on Russian oil, they heard arguments that must have sounded familiar. Until recently, Germany also rejected such calls as unrealistic and economically disruptive. “Geht nicht” (“Can’t do”) was the mantra from the chancellor’s office.

But on April 26th Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy minister, declared that the country could stop all Russian oil imports “within a few days”. What happened? The problem turned out to be less intractable than many had assumed. Mr Habeck’s team had secured alternative supplies of crude for two east German refineries that process Russian oil.…  Seguir leyendo »

On the grounds inside the Kremlin in Moscow. Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine 10 weeks ago, Western governments have tirelessly condemned this egregious act and declared their support for Ukraine. But as united as they have been in their outrage, they have been vague about their goals.

This posture has begun to change. Recently, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that America wanted “to see Russia weakened” so that it could not threaten its neighbors again. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss of Britain said that her country would seek “to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine”. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, declared that “we want Ukraine to win this war”.…  Seguir leyendo »

UK prime minister Boris Johnson speaks in front of a live video feed with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Tate Modern in London, England during the Ukrainian embassy's 'Brave' event. Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images.

‘The UK stands with Ukraine’ blares the message on the home page. ‘Find out how you can help,’ it adds. This is not a charity appeal but the UK government’s microsite proclaiming its assistance in repelling the Russian invasion.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson positioned himself as ‘leading the way’ in helping Ukraine, and was the first world leader to state Vladimir Putin ‘must fail’. In her recent Mansion House speech, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss raised the bar further by saying the UK will ‘keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine’.

Context is the key to understanding why the UK’s approach has been so bullish, namely that Johnson and his ministers seek every opportunity to demonstrate how Brexit enables the UK to act more nimbly.…  Seguir leyendo »