Diane Francis

  • When Javelins Aren’t Enough

    Russia’s war with Ukraine has entered its sixth year, and despite the asymmetrical nature of the conflict, it has reached a stalemate. Russian President Vladimir Putin has clearly breached all international laws, but nobody wants to do the heavy lifting required to dislodge Putin from the occupied territories.

    To Ukrainians, now entering the second round of their presidential election, the war is second only to corruption as the most important issue facing their nation. Each candidate must now detail his blueprint to resolve the lingering and costly conflict. President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to fight until the territories are returned and join NATO, and frontrunner Volodymyr Zelenskiy wants the territories returned, has pledged to hold a referendum on joining NATO, and says he’s willing to talk with Putin.

    Several US military experts were asked about the best way forward and were divided as to priorities: More


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  • Want Justice? In Ukraine, You May Have to Do It Yourself

    Viktor Handziuk speaks softly about his only child, daughter Kateryna, and how she defended classmates from bullies when growing up.

    Kateryna grew and took on Ukraine’s bullies by participating in the Orange and Euromaidan Revolutions and by becoming a lawyer and public administrator in Kherson, a city of 290,000 just one hour from Crimea.

    But on the morning of July 31, her valiant efforts ended when a young man poured a liter of sulfuric acid on her as she got into her car. The motive was to silence her public accusations that top local officials were making tens of millions of dollars from the illegal harvesting of wood from public lands.

    “We talked about the dangers, but this was her life, her personality,” said Dr. Handziuk in an interview in Toronto last week. Canadian Ukrainians flew him over to talk with politicians and the press about Katya’s final months and his efforts, along with others, to try and get justice.

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  • Why Poroshenko Doesn’t Deserve a Second Term

    Ukraine needs a change.

    The latest scandal, involving allegations of massive profiteering from the war against Russia by well-connected Ukrainians, proves the need for a new leader in the upcoming presidential election.

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  • Francis in the Kyiv Post: If Chicago can defeat corruption, so can Ukrainian capital

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  • What Ukraine Needs Now

    A prominent Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Gnap just threw his hat in the ring as a presidential candidate, and threw a spanner in the best laid plans of the country’s corrupt politicians and oligarchs.

    He has been an activist and a victim of the country’s corruption and is running because he’s fed up. He has exposed graft in high places and been beaten by thugs, threatened, and disinherited from his Donetsk birthplace. His disgust matches that of the publics, which is pervasive. Among his journalistic achievements was he led a team that exposed corruption by President Petro Poroshenko and others concerning offshore holdings.

    “We are at an important historical moment because we now see huge demand for reforms and my colleagues and I will try to do our best to answer this strong civic demand,” he said in a...

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  • Hunger Strike Points to Missed PR Opportunity for Putin Regime

    The World Cup in Russia is a Potemkin football extravaganza or a fancy façade designed to depict the country as advanced and civilized.

    In reality, it’s neither.

    Facts are that in recent international sporting events Russia’s athletes have been caught doping on a massive scale, or, alternatively, Putin has used festivities to camouflage the invasion of neighboring nation-states Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014.

    Since the World Cup began on June 14, Russian tanks have not rolled into any smaller countries, but the Games have been blemished by a more than month-long hunger strike by Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker unjustly sent to a Siberian prison camp. The 41-year-old has been starving himself for more than forty days to raise world opinion during the World Cup about the torture and unjust imprisonment of himself and 64 Ukrainian political prisoners.

    These human rights abuses, and the fact that no one has access to him to determine...

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  • Francis in The American Interest: Three Glimpses of the Future

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  • Ukraine’s Devastating Problem Is Only Getting Worse

    Ukrainians continue to “vote” with their feet by leaving, and the numbers are escalating due to pessimism at home and active recruitment by Europe.

    Fresh polls register a devastating rejection by 71 percent of Ukrainians regarding the country’s political direction and even greater distaste for its leaders.

    The 81 percent polled disapprove or somewhat disapprove of President Petro Poroshenko; 73 percent feel the same about Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman; 88 percent feel the same way about parliament; and 77 percent feel that way about the judiciary.

    Those polled, aged between 18 and 35, are even more disaffected. The poll also...

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  • Time to Cut Out the Middlemen in Ukraine Gas Trade

    Four years after Ukrainians protested in the streets against jaw-dropping corruption, the most odious scheme of all—the corrupt natural gas market—continues to siphon billions from Ukraine. These proceeds underwrite a sophisticated bribery scheme in Russia and Ukraine, and more recently help subsidize Russia’s war and occupation against Ukraine.

    The heist was devised years ago by mafia kingpin Semion Mogilevich, and has been fronted by Dmytro Firtash with the blessing of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his insiders. It was simple: A foreign intermediary company was established to buy gas from Gazprom, then sell it to Ukraine’s utility Naftogaz for huge profits that would then be diverted to Russian and Ukrainian politicians and officials.

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  • Unreality TV: Why the Kremlin's Lies Stick

    In 2014, Russian-backed rebels used a Moscow-supplied missile to shoot down Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Russian state TV made wild claims such as the passengers were already dead, a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down the plane, and the CIA was behind the plot.

    Since 2016, Russian hacking, influence, money laundering, and collusion in US elections has been the subject of headlines and Congressional or legal probes against dozens of individuals, including President Donald Trump and his team, as well as social media companies. “So what if they’re Russians, said Putin in an interview. “They do not represent the interests of the Russian state.”

    In 2018, a Russian military intelligence officer, convicted of being a double agent for Britain, was...

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