December 3, 2022

War shouldn’t stop us enjoying sport in Ukraine – or steal our Christmas | Andrey Kurkov

Russia has already taken so much from us. Every festive event, every competition, is an act of defiance for our country’s futureWhile Ukraine lives in fear of the next mass bombing of its energy infrastructure by Russian missiles and Iranian drones, and constantly monitors the actions of troops located in Belarus, there are still small forms of normalcy, small forms of resistance. A blitz chess championship was recently held in Zhytomyr, a city 140km west of Kyiv and a regular target of missile attacks.Blitz chess – because slow chess is impossible in today’s Ukraine, where everything has to be done quickly or very quickly. The games were played according to the Swiss system, and with nine rounds in which players have only three minutes a move. If in peacetime a person appreciates every hour of tranquility, during a war we appreciate every minute. Continue reading...
November 27, 2022

Hundreds of Ukrainians flee Kherson as Russian shelling intensifies

People continue to struggle with no water, heating and electricity two weeks after city was recapturedRussia-Ukraine war – latest news updatesHundreds of Ukrainians streamed out of Kherson city on Sunday to flee Russian shelling, two weeks after its recapture from Russian occupying forces prompted jubilant celebrations.The liberation of Kherson marked a major battlefield gain for Kyiv – reconquered after the Russians retreated to the east bank of the Dnipro River. However, since then inhabitants have struggled with no water, heating and electricity, because Moscow’s troops destroyed thermal and power plants before they left. Continue reading...
November 27, 2022

Russia-Ukraine war live: civilians flee Russian shelling of Kherson; Belarus foreign minister dies ‘suddenly’

Civilians leave Kherson weeks after celebrating its recapture by Ukrainian forces; Moscow ‘shocked’ by Vladimir Makei’s deathAt a glance: what we know on day 277 of the warThe Belgium prime minister, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, is on the second day of an unannounced visit to Ukraine.Accompanied by Belgian foreign minister, Hadja Lahbib, De Croo used the visit to announce additional Belgian support of around 37.4 million euros. Continue reading...
November 27, 2022

Russia-Ukraine war at a glance: what we know on day 277 of the invasion

Fears for safety of Ukraine’s nuclear plants amid repeated attacks; Kyiv launches ‘grain from Ukraine’ scheme; Belarus foreign minister diesSee all our Russia-Ukraine war coverageThere are growing fears Russia’s relentless targeting of Ukraine’s electricity grid will threaten the safety of the country’s nuclear power plants, in the wake of the unprecedented emergency shutdown on Wednesday. Petro Kotin, the president of Ukraine’s nuclear power company, Energoatom, said all safety mechanisms had worked as intended on Wednesday but two generators were damaged in the process.Ukrainian authorities are gradually restoring power, aided by the reconnection of the country’s four nuclear plants, but millions of people are still without heat or electricity after the most devastating Russian air strikes of the war.Russia kept up its onslaught on Ukrainian cities on Saturday with an attack on Dnipro which injured six people and destroyed seven houses, said the regional governor, Valentyn Reznichenko.Thirty-two civilians have been killed in Kherson since 9 November, when Russian forces withdrew from the southern city they had occupied for eight months, the Kyiv Independent quoted Ukraine’s national police chief, Ihor Klymenko, as saying. Since then, Russian troops have shelled Kherson frequently.Ukraine accused the Kremlin of reviving the “genocidal” tactics of Josef Stalin as Kyiv commemorated a Soviet-era famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the winter of 1932-33.Volodymyr Zelenskiy hosted a summit in Kyiv with allied nations on Saturday to launch a “grain from Ukraine” initiative to export $150m worth of grain to countries most vulnerable to famine and drought. Up to 60 Ukrainian grain ships can be sent by the middle of next year to some of the world’s poorest countries in Africa, the Ukrainian president has said in a statement released to the Guardian.Belarus’s long-time foreign minister, Vladimir Makei, has died. Belarus has been an ally of Russia and a base over the border for the invasion of Ukraine. Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova posted on her Telegram channel that “we are shocked by the reports of the death”. Makei had been due to meet Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in Minsk on Monday.The prime ministers of Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine – Ingrida Šimonytė, Mateusz Morawiecki and Denys Shmyhal, respectively – met in Kyiv on Saturday for talks to discuss and reiterate their commitment to work together “in countering Russia’s armed aggression”.Russia is firing ageing cruise missiles stripped of their nuclear warheads at Ukrainian targets because Vladimir Putin’s stocks are so depleted, the UK Ministry of Defence has suggested. An intelligence update from the ministry on Saturday said the desperate improvisation by the Russian president’s struggling forces were “unlikely to achieve reliable effects”. Continue reading...
November 12, 2022

Nobel peace laureate Maria Ressa: ‘In 2024, democracy could fall off a cliff’

The journalist, who is facing prison in the Philippines, talks about the dark side of social media and why truth is being eroded in politics• Exclusive extract: Maria Ressa and her lawyer Amal Clooney on their fight for justiceWhen Maria Ressa jointly won the Nobel peace prize in 2021 with Russian editor Dmitry Muratov, they were the first journalists to be recognised in this way since 1936. Back then, the German reporter Carl von Ossietzky couldn’t accept because he was in a Nazi concentration camp. “The Norwegian Nobel committee got the right sense,” Ressa tells me, over Zoom from her office in Manila. “They gave the awards to journalists last year and this year to civil society.” The 2022 prize went to human rights advocates from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. Her point is that, along with journalists, these are the last ramparts against authoritarianism that’s creeping, not at all slowly, across the globe. “It’s like that Martin Niemöller quote. In the Philippines, as a joke, we’ve been saying since 2017: ‘First, they came for the journalists. We don’t know what happened next.’”Slight, effervescent and with a garish tangerine lipstick that turns out to be a filter – Ressa is both puckish and techy – the 59-year-old apologises: she’s four minutes late because she has come straight from the supreme court of the Philippines. The government has lodged multiple specious charges against her, from cyber libel to tax evasion, which cumulatively carry a maximum sentence of more than 100 years. She had an appeal denied last week and is in the final stages of this “upside-down” process. Continue reading...
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