Why the U.S. Should Rethink Its Russia-centric Ukraine Policy

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Nicolai N. Petro – Sept. 9, 2021) Nicolai N. Petro is a professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island, specializing in Ukraine and Russia. His latest book, “Ukraine in Crisis,” was published by Routledge in 2017. Ahead of this month’s visit to Washington, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy gave a sense of his […]

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Russia Says Ukraine Organized Gas Pipeline Attack In Crimea

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Oilprice.com – Charles Kennedy – Sept. 7, 2021) Russia accused on Tuesday Ukraine’s military intelligence of having organized an attack on a natural gas pipeline in Crimea at the end of last month, in another escalation of tensions between Moscow and Kyiv. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine back in 2014, straining the bilateral relations between one of Europe’s key natural […]

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West Using Ukraine to Undermine Russian National Identity and Dismember Russia, Markov Says

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, July 15, 2021) “Putin’s main mistake,” Sergey Markov says, was not introducing Russian military forces into Ukraine in the spring of 2014, a failure that has led to the rise of “an occupation regime” there and the formation of an “anti-Russia.” With his new article, the Kremlin leader has laid the foundation […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Some Investors Sense Buying Opportunity in Russia-U.S. Détente” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Outdoor Electronic Sign with Russian Exchange Data

Russian market could benefit from geopolitical calm, but Black Sea skirmish shows Russia has a habit of delivering negative surprises […]

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Russians Evenly Split on Whether Attacking Ukraine would Help or Hurt Putin, Lev Gudkov Says

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The head of the Levada Center … says that 43 to 44 percent of Russians think another invasion would boost Putin’s ratings, but 40 percent say that it would have precisely the opposite effect and spark mass dissatisfaction and protests […]

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Zelenskiy Warns That Russian Troops Can Return At ‘Any Moment’

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

… Zelenskiy has urged the Ukrainian military to remain on alert despite Russia’s drawdown of its troops from the country’s borders, saying they could return “at any moment” […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia withdraws troops from Ukraine’s border” – bne Intellinews

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Fears of an imminent invasion have been stoked by the large build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s eastern border and additional forces sent to Crimea. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the announcement and thanked his international partners for their support. … [E]stimates … vary from around 40,000 new troops largely stationed in the city of Voronezh some 130 km […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Could Putin Launch Another Invasion?” – Politico/ Leon Aron

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“The same factors that led up to his incursion into Ukraine are in place again, including domestic protests, a struggling economy and a desire for glory” “… [O]n the seventh anniversary of the Crimean Anschluss, many of the same vectors that produced the invasion of Ukraine are here again. … There are at least two reasons for Putin to be […]

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‘Enemy Of My Enemy:’ In Ukraine, Mixed Feelings About Kremlin Foe Navalny

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Article text ©2021 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Dan Peleschuk – KYIV, Feb. 24, 2021 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/navalny-ukraine-attitudes-mixed-feelings-russia-nationalism-putin/31120106.html) Few patriots would appreciate an outsider comparing a chunk of their country to finger food. But when Russian opposition politician Aleksei Navalny did just that to Ukrainians in 2014 — saying that Moscow-annexed Crimea […]

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Banning Pro-Russian Media: Fighting Disinformation, Silencing Dissonant Opinions, or Both?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

The basic questions at play … are not unique to Ukraine, though they are sharpened by Russia’s aggression in the Donbas and Crimea: Who defines the boundary between disinformation and dissonant opinions? […]

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Baku’s Success in Using Turkish Drones Raises Question: Could Ukraine Use Them Against Russia in Crimea?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 17, Issue 179 – Paul Goble – Dec. 16, 2020) The Azerbaijani military’s use of Bayraktar TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), purchased from Turkey, played such a prominent role in Baku’s victory over Armenian forces during the Second Karabakh War (September 27–November 9, 2020) that defense analysts around the world are […]

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Is Crimea Now Costing Russia More Than It Is Worth?

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

… Not only did that aggressive breach of international law trigger Western sanctions … the authorities in Moscow also never gave the public an honest estimate of just how much money would need to be spent, nor for how long […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “UN urges Russia to immediately withdraw forces from Crimea” – AP

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“The U.N. General Assembly approved a resolution … urging Russia to immediately withdraw all its military forces from Crimea ‘and end its temporary occupation of the territory of Ukraine without delay.’ The vote in the 193-member world body was 63-17 with 62 abstentions …. Russia sent troops into Crimea and annexed the peninsula in 2014. It has supported separatist rebels […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Lawmakers Offer Bill to Boost Aid for Ukraine Military” – Reuters

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“… [S]enators [from both parties] introduced legislation to back Ukraine with $300 million of annual military financing …. The bill also authorizes up to $4 million to train Ukrainian military officers, requires a [DOD] … and State Department report on the requirements of Ukraine’s armed forces and a plan to supply security assistance and requires the appointment of a special […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Cease-Fire Begins in Tense Climate” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

A cease-fire between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists … offer[s] the prospect of an end to a slow-burning conflict … claim[ing] thousands of lives in Eastern Ukraine … [Remaining] [p]oints of friction … includ[e] Russia’s control of … Crimea and Kyiv’s resistance to holding elections in separatist strongholds […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “How Russian imperialism could bring down Putin” – The Hill/ Janusz Bugajski

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… Putin has based his domestic support on economic growth and restoring the ‘Russian World.’ With the Russian economy in a nosedive, the Kremlin looks increasingly likely to attack a former Soviet neighbor to revive its imperial credentials. … Russia invaded Georgia to divert public attention from the 2008 financial crisis, and … invaded Ukraine to help quash growing protests […]

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New Russian Policy Toward Ukraine: Citizenship Beyond the Borders

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Kennan Cable No. 54 – Igor Zevelev, Global Fellow; Former Professor at George Marshall European Center for Security Studies; Former Director, MacArthur Foundation, Moscow Office – July 9, 2020) A major change in Russian policy towards Ukraine is underway. Policymakers, experts, and the media across the world have focused mostly on the conflict in eastern […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Where Can I Travel in Russia This Summer?” – Moscow Times

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

Russia opened its domestic tourist season … as it continues to grapple with the deadly coronavirus pandemic … the world’s third-highest number of infections […]

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Kremlin Denies Eyeing Territorial Claims After Putin’s Comments In Documentary

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The Kremlin has denied it has any territorial claims on former Soviet republics after … Putin appeared to question the redrawn borders of Russia after the breakup of the Soviet Union […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Pentagon announces $250 million in security assistance to Ukraine” – CNN/ Ryan Browne

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… ‘[DOD] announced … plans for $250 million in Fiscal Year 2020 Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds for additional training, equipment, and advisory efforts to strengthen Ukraine’s capacity to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression,’ the Pentagon said in a statement …. the ‘funds — $125 million of which was conditional on Ukraine’s progress on defense reforms — […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Global Ambitions Are Upended by Coronavirus’s Heavy Toll in Russia” – Wall Street Journal/ Yaroslav Trofimov, Thomas Grove

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

Russian president’s efforts to showcase the country’s strength abroad backfired amid virus troubles at home […]

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Zelenskiy’s First Year: He Promised Sweeping Changes. How’s He Doing?

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

“… the first year since the 42-year-old comedic actor’s election has been chock full of ups and downs and twists and turns, with plenty of serious criticism … from constituents and international observers, not to mention an array of opponents. …”

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “With the World Distracted by Coronavirus, Hopes for Peace in Ukraine Are Dimming” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“Sound of gunfire and shelling has become part of everyday life in the city of Mariupol as hopes fade for an end to the war.” “… in eastern Ukraine … hopes for an end to the long-running war between Russian-backed separatists and Kyiv have faded since this winter’s tentative detente between … Putin and … Zelensky. … The conflict has […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “NATO enlargement: evaluating its consequences in Russia” – International Politics/ Kimberly Marten

NATO Meeting file photo

“… There is no question that Russia – its leaders, expert analysts, and public – reacted negatively to NATO enlargement right from the start. … But …. Russia’s unhappiness is overdetermined, and there is no evidence that if NATO enlargement had been avoided, delayed, or altered (while nothing else changed), that Russia could have been reconciled to the idea of […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s moment of truth” – Kyiv Post/ Kurt Volker

International Monetary Fund Logo Over Ukraine Flag

“… As the novel coronavirus increasingly impacts the country, the Verkhovna Rada must finally pass the banking legislation necessary to free up $8 billion in International Monetary Fund lending, and a further $1.5 billion from other sources. … Achieving peace and restoring Ukrainian sovereignty in eastern Ukraine and Crimea will never come as the result of a military victory. Peace […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian Priests, Cossacks Negotiated Ukraine’s Surrender During Crimean Annexation – Meduza” – Moscow Times

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 16, 2020) Priests from the Russian Orthodox Church and Cossacks followed Defense Ministry orders to negotiate the Ukrainian army’s surrender during Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, the independent Meduza news website has reported ahead of the sixth anniversary of the land grab. On Feb. 27, 2014, masked troops in unmarked uniforms seized the Crimean parliament […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s population falls behind Poland’s for the first time, electronic census says 5mn people lost since 2000” – bne Intellinews

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“Ukraine’s population fell behind that of Poland … [with] an electronic census reveal[ing] the number of citizens … dropped by … 5mn … 37.289mn since the last census in 2000. Poland’s population was 37.98mn in 2018, according to Eurostat. The … Ukrainian number does not include … Crimea or [the] Donbass regions, which would add roughly another million …. The […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Kremlin wants to ‘understand’ Ukrainian leader’s approach to conflict settlement” – Interfax

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Interfax – Dec. 1, 2019) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has said that the expected meeting between Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris would be “very useful” for understanding the Ukrainian leader’s vision for the implementation of the east Ukraine conflict settlement plan known as the Minsk accords. The meeting will “certainly be very useful because we […]

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Zelenskyy’s High-Stakes Russia Game

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Vitaliy Syzov – October 9, 2019 – wilsoncenter.org/blog-post/zelenskyys-high-stakes-russia-game) Vitaliy Syzov is chair of the Donetsk Institute of Information, an NGO working in the media field in Ukraine. He worked for ten years a journalist in regional and national media and graduated from the Political Science Department, History Faculty, at Donetsk National University in 2012. The […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Is Russia Winning the Ukraine Scandal?” – Council on Foreign Relations/ Stephen Sestanovich

File Photo of Zelenskiy Extending Handshake, adapted from image at a subdomain of senate.gov

“U.S. military and economic support for Ukraine has so far weathered the widening impeachment inquiry into … Trump’s contacts with Kyiv. This backing could strengthen Ukraine in the next round of diplomacy with Russia. … Trump’s suspension of military aid to Kyiv was opposed both within his own administration and by Congress, and the move was reversed even before details […]

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Kremlin Sees Role For U.S. In Helping Resolve Conflict With Ukraine

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Oct. 8, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/kremlin-sees-role-for-u-s-in-helping-resolve-conflict-with-ukraine/30205596.html) The Kremlin says the United States could play a role in helping resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict given Washington’s influence in Kyiv. “The U.S. can undeniably use the influence it has over Kyiv to make Ukraine fulfill its Minsk […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine-Russia Prisoner Swap: Necessary, Not Sufficient” – International Crisis Group

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Moscow released 35 Ukrainian citizens. … includ[ing] four Crimeans arrested shortly after Russia’s … takeover of the peninsula, along with 24 sailors … Russian security forces apprehended [on] the Black Sea …. Russian courts had charged them with crimes including terrorism, espionage, conspiracy to violate state borders, and, most bizarrely, killing Russian troops in Chechnya in the mid-1990s. Human […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump slow-walks Ukraine military aid meant to contain Russia” – Politico/ Caitlin Emma, Connor O’Brien

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“The Trump administration is slow-walking $250 million in military assistance to Ukraine, annoying lawmakers and advocates who argue the funding is critical to keeping Russia at bay. … Trump asked his national security team to review … the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative … to ensure the money is being used in the best interest of the United States, a senior […]

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National-Security Adviser Bolton Arrives In Ukraine To ‘Underscore U.S. Support’

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Aug. 27, 2019 – article text also appeared at voanews.com/europe/bolton-arrives-ukraine-underscore-us-support) White House national-security adviser John Bolton has arrived in Kyiv — the most senior U.S. official to visit Ukraine since the election of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in April. Speaking to reporters in […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky, U.S. reps hope Donbas truce enacted on July 21 to be comprehensive, permanent” – Interfax

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

KYIV. July 26 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker and U.S. Representative to the European Union Gordon Sondland have discussed the current situation in the area of Kyiv’s Joint Forces Operation in Donbas, including the disengagement of forces and military hardware near Stanytsia Luhanska. “The sides expressed hope that the ceasefire enacted […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ukraine Seizes Russian Tanker Over Kerch Incident, Frees Crew” – Moscow Times

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 25, 2019) Ukraine has seized a Russian oil tanker in the Ukrainian port of Izmail over a November 2018 incident between the two countries in a strategic strait near Crimea. The Ukrainian security services (SBU) said that the tanker had been involved in the Kerch Strait incident in which Russia captured a Ukrainian ship […]

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Russia’s FDI Outlook Grim, with No Chinese Rescue in Sight

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Matters – russiamatters.org – Nicholas Trickett – July 11, 2019) Nicholas Trickett is editor in chief of BMB Russia and an associate scholar with the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He specializes in the domestic and international political economy of the Russian energy and infrastructure sectors and Russian foreign policy, and is currently finishing an MSc in international political economy […]

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West Now Wants Rapprochement with Moscow More than at Any Time since 2014, Inozemtsev Says

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 6, 2019) Ukraine faces a serious problem, Vladislav Inozemtsev says. The West as recent events show is more ready for a rapprochement with Moscow than at any time since 2014, and Kyiv over that period has based almost its entire strategy on the idea that it is “defending democratic Europe from […]

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VIDEO: Ukraine’s President Promises NATO Referendum As Part Of Path To West

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – BRUSSELS, June 5, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/ukraine-president-promises-nato-referendum-as-part-of-path-to-west/29982943.html) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has promised to hold a referendum on NATO membership — a move strongly opposed by Moscow — as the country embarks on a path of European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Speaking in an interview […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Zelensky calls for tightening anti-Russian sanctions at meeting with U.S. delegation” – Interfax

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

KYIV. May 20 (Interfax) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has received representatives of the Administration and Congress of the United States who came to Kyiv to attend an official presidential inauguration ceremony. Zelensky thanked the U.S. for its leading role in regaining Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and for the assistance in promoting domestic reforms, according to the official presidential […]

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Expectations for Kyiv-Moscow Relations After Ukraine’s Presidential Election

Mariyinsky Palace file photo, adapted from image at cia.gov

(PONARS Eurasia – Emmanuel Dreyfus – May 13, 2019 – ponarseurasia.org/memo/expectations-kyiv-moscow-relations-after-ukraines-presidential-election) Emmanuel Dreyfus is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at the George Washington University. (PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo) At first glance, Ukraine’s recent presidential election further confirmed the dramatic decrease of Russian influence in Ukraine. Not a single candidate based his or her […]

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Ukraine and NATO: Disconnect Between State Policy and Public Opinion Is Less Dangerous Than Russia

NATO Meeting File Photo

“… Zelenskiy has repeatedly reaffirmed his predecessor’s policy of bringing Ukraine ever closer to Europe and has said that, as a citizen, he supports … accession to NATO. However, unlike … Poroshenko, Zelenskiy insists the question of joining the Western military alliance should be decided by a popular referendum. …”

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Key to Putin’s Passport Offers to Ukrainians? Russia’s Shrinking Labor Force

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Russia Matters – Simon Saradzhyan – April 30, 2019 – russiamatters.org/blog/key-putins-passport-offers-ukrainians-russias-shrinking-labor-force) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent decree to make it easier for residents of some separatist-controlled parts of Ukraine to get Russian citizenship has drawn criticism not only from Kiev but from key partners of the Ukrainian government, such as the U.S., EU and individual EU states. His subsequent statement […]

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Poroshenko has Suffered Fate of Winston Churchill, Khandurin Says

Petro Poroshenko file photo, with additional men in background, adapted from image at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 22, 2019) Just as British voters rejected Winston Churchill after he had led the country to victory in World War II because they wanted a new leadership for peacetime, so too Ukrainian voters have rejected Petro Poroshenko after he led his country in standing up to Russian aggression over the last […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Ukraine’s Election Result Pleases Both Russia’s Opposition and the Kremlin; The two sides have for once found something they agree on – for different reasons” – Moscow Times

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Moscow Times – Evan Gershkovich – April 11, 2019 – themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/22/ukraines-election-result-pleases-both-russias-opposition-and-the-kremlin-a65325) Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a comedian and actor with no political experience, swept to victory on Sunday in the second round of Ukraine’s presidential election, in a race that has fascinated the country’s looming neighbor to the north. The victory triggered speculation in Russia on Sunday that relations between the neighboring […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A Shadow over Ukraine’s Presidential Election” – International Crisis Group/ Katharine Quinn-Judge

File photo of statue of St. Volodymyr in Kyiv overlooking the Dnieper River, adapted from image at cia.gov

“With Ukraine’s establishment forecasting doom after the presidential runoff, the far right’s influence on politics is impossible to ignore. Its resurgence is both a symptom and a cause of the country’s ills: there is less daylight between it and the political mainstream than either admits.” “… Zelensky’s campaign has hinged on shying away from policy specifics …. appealing to voters […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia hopes Ukraine’s administration is ‘negotiable’ after election” – Interfax

Sergei Lavrov file photo

(Interfax – April 21, 2019) Moscow is most hopeful that the winner in Ukraine’s presidential election will possess an ability to negotiate and a willingness to implement ceasefire commitments in Donbass, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. Speaking in the lead-up to the second round of voting, Lavrov suggested Russia gave little weight to campaign statements made by either […]

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