Atlantic Council

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Mikhail Khodorkovsky Calls for General Strike in Russia to Protest Invasion


The Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former chairman of Yukos, once Russia’s biggest oil company, is speaking out against the toll that the Kremlin’s 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 “We could and can stop this.” In it, he says a general strike can change the situation.

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Russian military officials stood at a cemetery surrounded by forest in far northwestern Russia, early Tuesday morning, and carefully vetted the army officers, soldiers and family members arriving for a funeral to be held in secrecy. Two paratroopers from Russia’s 76th Airborne Division were to be buried. They died last week – no one would say where or how – just a day or two after President Vladimir Putin decorated their unit for “carrying out combat missions with courage and heroism.”

Putin was silent on what that mission is.

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As Media Harden Their Accounts of Russia’s Assault, Will the West Harden Its Response?



Russia’s attacks into Ukraine this week (exactly six months after its troops began their invasion of Crimea) are bringing the actual word ”invasion” 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 “Putin is again raising the ante,” with just the latest of many escalations in Russia’s attack on Ukraine, said Atlantic Council Senior Fellow Adrian Karatnycky. “If the West does not respond with significant lethal military aid to Ukraine and with broad sanctions on entire sectors of Russia’s 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.”

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Residents Recount Their Struggle to Survive Daily Shells and Gunfire


Building by building, daily artillery explosions are blasting and burning Ukraine’s southeastern-most provincial capital, Luhansk, into a ruin whose remaining residents are those too poor or aged to escape. Roughly half of the city’s pre-war population of about 450,000 has fled—to 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.

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‘No Political Will’ for a ‘Large-Scale War’ Against Graft, Tetiana Chornovol Says


Ukraine’s most prominent anti-corruption campaigner, Tetiana Chornovol, has quit her post as head of the government’s National Anti-Corruption Committee, writing on the prominent Ukrainian news website, Ukrainska Pravda, that the government is unprepared for “an uncompromising, large-scale war against corruption.”

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Rebels Parade Prisoners to Declare That Ukraine Is Nazi-Inspired


Ukraine’s government marked the country’s twenty-third anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union yesterday with a military parade and a vow by President Petro Poroshenko to sustain Ukraine’s 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’s government of being Nazi-inspired.

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Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has designated Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to be its new leader and the country's 26th prime minister when current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is inaugurated as president next week. Davutoğlu will become the third prime minister to hail from the ranks of the AKP since it first came to power in 2002.

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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.

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The Islamist militant group ISIS executed US journalist James Foley as a political message aimed at changing US policy, with its recent air attacks on the group’s forces, says Atlantic Council resident fellow Faysal Itani. It also is meant to portray ISIS as a newly powerful player in the Middle East and thus to win new recruits, Itani said in an interview at the Council. Itani, a former risk analyst on the Middle East, now focuses on Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan at the Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. He spoke after President Barack Obama condemned the killing of Foley and announced that the US would sustain its current policies in Iraq and Syria.

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Deadliest Fighting in 20 Years is Encouraged by Crisis in Ukraine


The often-forgotten conflict between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh has flared this summer into the worst violence since a 1994 truce, killing at least eighteen soldiers in recent weeks. The surge in fighting not only shows that renewed, all-out warfare is a danger; it also lets Russia step in as mediator to secure its own role in the Caucasus. The government of President Vladimir Putin, driven by its nationalist, imperialist foreign policy, is unlikely to want truly to resolve the fight, which keeps the region from serving as a secure transit route for oil, gas or other Western interests.

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