Mikhail Khodorkovsky Calls for General Strike in Russia to Protest Invasion
The Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former chairman of Yukos, once Russia‚Äôs biggest oil company, is speaking out against the toll that the Kremlin‚Äôs undeclared war on Ukraine is taking on Russians. Khodorkovsky, a Putin foe who spent nearly ten years in prison on politically motivated tax charges, published a statement on his website today entitled ‚ÄúWe could and can stop this.‚ÄĚ A general strike, he says, could do so.
Putin was silent on what that mission is.
As Media Harden Their Accounts of Russia‚Äôs Assault, Will the West Harden Its Response?Russia‚Äôs attacks into Ukraine this week (exactly six months after its troops began their invasion of Crimea) are bringing the actual word ‚ÄĚinvasion‚ÄĚ into media headlines. Atlantic Council analysts and others say the key question now is how hard a response the US and its allies will muster, notably by the NATO Summit in Wales that opens in seven days.
Russian President Vladimir ‚ÄúPutin is again raising the ante,‚ÄĚ with just the latest of many escalations in Russia‚Äôs attack on Ukraine, said Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Adrian Karatnycky. ‚ÄúIf the West does not respond with significant lethal military aid to Ukraine and with broad sanctions on entire sectors of Russia‚Äôs economy, Putin will view it as open license to expand his now-transparent invasion. By contrast, such a focused reaction from the West can open the door to a real negotiation between Russia and Ukraine.‚ÄĚ
Residents Recount Their Struggle to Survive Daily Shells and Gunfire
Building by building, daily artillery explosions are blasting and burning Ukraine‚Äôs southeastern-most provincial capital, Luhansk, into a ruin whose remaining residents are those too poor or aged to escape. Roughly half of the city‚Äôs pre-war population of about 450,000 has fled‚ÄĒto other locales in Ukraine or to Russia, and those who remain describe a daily struggle to find food, water, and the receding cellphone signals that offer their only chance at communicating with the world outside.
‚ÄėNo Political Will‚Äô for a ‚ÄėLarge-Scale War‚Äô Against Graft, Tetiana Chornovol Says
Ukraine‚Äôs most prominent anti-corruption campaigner, Tetiana Chornovol, has quit her post as head of the government‚Äôs National Anti-Corruption Committee, writing on the prominent Ukrainian news website, Ukrainska Pravda, that the government is unprepared for ‚Äúan uncompromising, large-scale war against corruption.‚ÄĚ
Rebels Parade Prisoners to Declare That Ukraine Is Nazi-Inspired
Ukraine‚Äôs government marked the country‚Äôs twenty-third anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union yesterday with a military parade and a vow by President Petro Poroshenko to sustain Ukraine‚Äôs war against Russian-sponsored separatists in the southeast. In Donetsk, the separatists paraded bruised and dirty Ukrainian soldiers, their hands bound behind them. Bystanders threw eggs at the prisoners, accusing them and Ukraine‚Äôs government of being Nazi-inspired.
As NATO leaders prepare for their annual summit conference in two weeks, they should be ready to re-affirm the importance to the Alliance of nuclear weapons, including US nuclear warheads deployed in Europe, several Atlantic Council analysts say in two new essays.