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Tag: War

In anticipation of a new world

Despite being neighbours, the societies of Ukraine and Belarus know very little about each other. The Kremlin’s use of Belarusian land in its invasion of Ukraine suggests that this divide may persist into the future. However, it is clear that the two countries’ democratic populations will have great potential for cooperation in the years ahead.

The analytical group “BELARUS-UKRAINE-REGION” was established at the end of 2020 at the University of Warsaw. At that moment it was already quite clear that the Belarusian revolution of 2020 would not lead to a quick change of power in Minsk. There was also not yet much talk of a full-scale war in Ukraine, which is Belarus’s neighbour. In fact, analysts and observers who spoke about such a threat in 2021, or even early 2022, would usually add a disclaimer that in their view, the breakout of a war was a very unlikely scenario.

December 7, 2022 - Oleksandr Shevchenko

What the Russian invasion has cost Ukraine

Ukraine has now experienced half a year of war with no end in sight. Despite this, numerous individuals and groups are now attempting to calculate the real cost of the brutal Russian invasion. Whilst the fog of war makes such studies difficult, they will prove pivotal in understanding the true level of suffering in the country.

Withstanding six months of onslaught from one of the world’s most powerful militaries comes at a price – and Ukraine is learning about that cost in real time. Of course, Ukraine has been at war for far longer than just six months. Russia’s capture of Crimea and the eight-year war in Donbas must also be included when looking at the price Ukraine has paid for defending its sovereignty. Ukraine’s losses go far beyond the significant loss of life and livelihoods of tens of thousands of Ukrainians. At its peak, Russia occupied nearly one-fifth of all Ukrainian land, depriving the country of its resources and industry.

October 3, 2022 - Lee Reaney

How Russia’s war estranged us, probably forever

Differences of views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have not only split two nations, but also many families as well. The stories of Sasha and Daniil offer just two examples of how families have been split by toxic propaganda and war, with little chance for reconciliation.

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th, it brought much more than political and ideological discord. For thousands of Ukrainians, who had family connections in Russia, it was a turning point. The ground of common understanding that had been eroding since the occupation of Crimea and parts of Donbas in 2014, completely cracked in one night, when Russian forces crossed the Ukrainian border in an attempt to take Kyiv. What had been thought of as western exaggeration prior to February 24th, became real, and the wall of misunderstanding split many friendships and family connections; some of them forever broken.

October 3, 2022 - Iryna Matviyishyn

The bees of war

Ukraine’s honey business is one of the largest in the world. Sadly, as a result of the war, dozens of apiaries and beehives are being destroyed every week. In some cases, beekeepers are able to get some financial support from the government, but it is not enough. Yet, the beekeepers remain optimistic. They share everything they have: their honey, knowledge and optimistic spirit.

The honey that you enjoy so much might be one that is produced in the Donbas region. Ukraine’s eastern and southern territories contain rich melliferous plants. Most people who produce this honey had to flee their homes and move to safer regions following the outbreak of the war. Their families might now even be living in your neighbourhood. Some have attempted to save their bees and take them to a new place. This is very difficult, as it is not as easy as transporting a cat. But those beekeepers who were able to stay found themselves at risk, trying to visit beehives despite the constant Russian shelling.

October 3, 2022 - Alisa Koverda

Why Ukraine needs debt forgiveness

The long months of war have given Ukraine the chance to think about its future reconstruction effort. Despite this, large amounts of debt may ultimately mean that this goal is unobtainable in any meaningful sense. States, international organisations and businesses must now recognise the reality on the ground and work with Ukraine to manage its debt obligations.

On July 20th 2022, Ukraine made a long-expected U-turn and finally asked international creditors to freeze its debt payments for two years. The Ukrainian government argued that it could use financial resources saved this way in the war against Russia. The request was quickly followed by a statement from the Group of Creditors of Ukraine, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Noting the exceptional circumstances and “acknowledging Ukraine’s exemplary track record of honouring debt service to date”, they agreed to provide a coordinated suspension of bilateral debt service until the end of 2023, with the possibility of extending it by an additional year.

October 3, 2022 - Dorota Kolarska Magdalena Milenkovska

Sovereignty kills. Lessons learnt from the war

An interview with Andrey Makarychev, a visiting professor at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies at the University of Tartu in Estonia. Interviewer: Maciej Makulski

MACIEJ MAKULSKI: Would you agree that the region has lost a sort of stability and predictability that it has enjoyed for over 30 years (with significant turbulence though in 2008 and 2014)? Or was it only an illusion of stability in which people wanted to believe?

ANDREY MAKARYCHEV: Of course, the security landscape in this part of Europe has drastically and dramatically changed. I think the changes are very much related to the fact that we, in Europe, have lost many of the illusions that were inherited from a relatively peaceful and very liberal mindset from the beginning of the 1990s. First of all, this relates to the way we understand security. There were many expectations that security would transform from its military version into something softer and more related to issues such as people’s well-being, environmental protection and climate change, etc.

September 29, 2022 - Andrey Makarychev Maciej Makulski

Women will shake and reverse public opinion about this war

An interview with Liliya Vezhevatova, a coordinator of the Feminist Anti-War Resistance in Russia. Interviewer: Anna Efimova

ANNA EFIMOVA: According to recent research by the Russian human rights project OVD-Info, more than half of Russian protesters are women. How have feminists, who have never been a leading public and social force in Russia, managed to unite against the war in Ukraine?

LILIYA VEZHEVATOVA: Feminist organisations have been burgeoning in Russia over the last two decades. Activists have been deeply involved in internal and external discussions. However, we were not treated seriously during this time. We subsequently remained intact as the war started, while prominent Russian political activists were either in prison or in exile. We mobilised fast at the right time – our movement started on February 25th.

September 29, 2022 - Anna Efimova Liliya Vezhevatova

Putin’s mobilisation. Too little, too late

Given the systemic difficulties of the Russian army, the mobilisation announced by Vladimir Putin on September 21st may not change the situation on the front very much at all. And when considering the economic and social costs of the war for Russia internally, which are growing at an alarming rate, Putin may have gained some time, but he has not solved the problem.

September 26, 2022 - Agnieszka Bryc

What’s behind the new round of clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan

The September clashes were the most serious armed incident between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the 2020 Karabakh war. Experts are speculating whether Azerbaijan is gearing towards a bigger offensive in southern Armenia or just trying to pressure Yerevan.

September 20, 2022 - Natalia Konarzewska

The massacre of prisoners of war from Mariupol. International organisations are helpless in the face of Russian crimes

Fifty-three Ukrainian POWs were killed as a result of an explosion in the internment camp in Olenivka on July 29th 2022. A war crime the Kremlin offered to Russian public opinion which demanded a show of force against the members of Azov instead of a prisoner exchange.

September 14, 2022 - Dmytro Rybakov

Russia’s anti-war opposition: a thing of the past?

The first days and weeks of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine saw western media place great emphasis on internal protests in Russia. However, this factor has seemingly disappeared from reporting in recent months. A nuanced understanding of today’s internal opposition is crucial to combatting images of a population fully supportive of the Kremlin.

July 26, 2022 - Joshua Kroeker

Germany’s Russia policy must change

While Germans are slowly learning that Ukraine is a nation with a unique language and culture now threatened with annihilation by Russia, the country’s traditional longing for accommodation with Moscow is already starting to re-emerge in national discourse. In Germany, we have yet to understand that it is a Russian war against which the Ukrainians are defending themselves militarily. Russia must lose and Ukraine must win in order for it to have a future.

There is one key thing that I have learned since Vladimir Putin openly declared war on Ukraine and attacked it by land, sea and air. In Germany, people prefer to speak of peace rather than talk about war. In many conversations and discussions that I engage in privately or publicly, I not only need to explain, but often have to justify myself for being in favour of Germany and the EU supporting Ukraine in its defence against this attack. I am often accused of being emotional. Of course I am emotional. I too, take this war personally. This is what a Ukrainian friend said about herself a few weeks ago.

July 15, 2022 - Rebecca Harms

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