Russia may be in Ukraine to stay after 100 days of war | AP News


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  4 weeks ago  •  10 comments


Russia may be in Ukraine to stay after 100 days of war | AP News
When Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in late February, the Russian president vowed his forces would not occupy the country. But as the invasion reached its 100th day Friday, Moscow seemed increasingly unwilling to relinquish the territory it has taken in the war.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

When Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in late February, the Russian president vowed his forces would not occupy the country. But as the invasion reached its 100th day Friday, Moscow seemed increasingly unwilling to relinquish the territory it has taken in the war.

The ruble is now an official currency in the southern Kherson region, alongside the Ukrainian hryvnia. Residents there and in Russia-controlled parts of the Zaporizhzhia region are being offered expedited Russian passports. The Kremlin-installed administrations in both regions have talked about plans to become part of Russia.

The Moscow-backed leaders of separatist areas in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region, which is mostly Russian-speaking, have expressed similar intentions. Putin recognized the separatists' self-proclaimed republics as independent two days before launching the invasion, and fierce fighting has been underway in the east for weeks as Russia seeks to "liberate" all of the Donbas.

The Kremlin has largely kept mum about its plans for the cities, towns and villages it has bombarded, encircled and finally captured. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said it will be up to the people living in seized areas to decide their status.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this week that enemy forces now control almost 20% of the country's territory. Before the war, Russia controlled 7%, including the Crimea Peninsula and parts of the Donbas.

But in a video message marking the war's first 100 days, Zelenskyy made it clear Ukraine will not submit easily.

"We have defended Ukraine for 100 days already. Victory will be ours," he said.

U.S. President Joe Biden, meanwhile, said he believes "there's going to have to be a negotiated settlement" to end the war. Asked if Ukraine should give up territory in exchange for peace, the president said, "It's their territory" and "I'm not going to tell them what they should and shouldn't do."

Initially, at least, annexing more land from Ukraine was not believed to be the main goal of the invasion. It was widely thought that the Kremlin intended to install a pro-Moscow government in Kyiv that would prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and pulling further away from Russia's influence.

But now, Moscow is unlikely to let go of its military gains, according to political analysts.

"Of course (Russia) intends to stay," said Andrei Kolesnikov, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. To Russia, "it's a pity to give away what has been occupied, even if it was not part of the original plan."

Russian forces captured much of Kherson and neighboring Zaporizhzhia early in the war, gaining control over most of Ukraine's Sea of Azov coast and securing a partial land corridor to the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. They completed the takeover last month with the capture of the port city of Mariupol following a three-month siege.

Residents of the cities of Kherson and Melitopol took to the streets to protest the occupation, facing off with Russian soldiers in plazas. Ukrainian officials warned that Russia might stage a referendum in Kherson to declare the region an independent state.

Petro Kobernyk, 31, an activist with a nongovernmental organization who fled Kherson with his wife, said Russian security forces are cracking down on pro-Ukrainian activists.

"Hundreds of pro-Ukrainian activists, including my friends, are being held in the basements of security services," Kobernyk said by phone. "Those who actively express their position are kidnapped and tortured, threatened and forced out of the region."

Russian forces keep people in an "information vacuum," with Ukrainian websites no longer available, Kobernyk said.

His claims could not be independently verified.

But some in captured areas of Ukraine have welcomed a Russian takeover.

"I've wanted to live in Russia since I was little, and now I realize I don't even have to move anywhere," said Vadim Romanova, a 17-year-old from Mariupol.

In Russian-occupied cities in southern Ukraine, people with pro-Kremlin views replaced mayors and other local leaders who disappeared in what Ukrainian officials and media said were kidnappings. Russian flags were raised, and Russian state broadcasts that promoted the Kremlin's version of the invasion supplanted Ukrainian TV channels.

The Russian ruble was introduced as the second official currency in both the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions — at least in the parts under Russian control — and pro-Russian administrations started offering a "one-time social payment" of 10,000 rubles (roughly $163) to local residents.

An office of Russia's migration services opened in Melitopol, taking applications for Russian citizenship from residents of the captured southern regions through a fast-track procedure. The procedure was first implemented in 2019 in the rebel-controlled areas of the Donbas, where more than 700,000 people have received Russian passports.

Top Russian officials started touring the regions, touting the territories' prospects for being integrated into Russia. Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin visited Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in mid-May and indicated they could become part of "our Russian family."

A senior official in the Kremlin's ruling United Russia party, Andrei Turchak, put it even more bluntly in a meeting with residents of Kherson: "Russia is here forever."

Members of the pro-Kremlin administrations in both regions soon announced that the areas would seek to be incorporated into Russia. While it remains unclear when or if it will happen, Russia is appears to be digging in.

Oleg Kryuchkov, an official in Russia-annexed Crimea, said this week that the two southern regions have switched to Russian internet providers. State media ran footage of people lining up to get Russian SIM cards for their cellphones. Kryuchkov also said that both regions are switching to the Russian country code, +7, from the Ukrainian +380.

Senior Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, a member of the Russian delegation in stalled peace talks with Ukraine, said that referendums on joining Russia could take place in the Donbas, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions as early as July.

Kremlin spokesman Peskov was evasive when asked Friday whether Russian authorities planned to hold votes in those areas, saying that it would depend on the course of Russia's offensive.

Tatyana Stanovaya, founder and CEO of R.Politik, an independent think tank on Russian politics, said she believes Putin doesn't want to rush the referendums and run the risk of them being denounced as shams.

"He wants the referendum to be real, so that the West can see that, indeed, Russia was right, the people want to live with Russia," Stanovaya said.

Ukrainian experts say it will not be easy for the Kremlin to rally genuine support in Ukraine's south.

Volodymyr Fesenko, of the Kyiv-based Penta Center think tank, said most residents of the southern regions identify as Ukrainians much more strongly than the people in areas that are closer to Russia or have been led by the Moscow-backed separatists for the past eight years.


All contents © copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


jrDiscussion - desc
Professor Quiet
1  Ed-NavDoc    4 weeks ago

Vladimir Putin has already proved he has zero interest in a negotiated settlement with Ukraine except one that caves in to all his demands for territorial expansionist demands and he does not care who has to die to achieve his dreams of recreating the Soviet Union and I doubt he will stop with just Ukraine. Other countries will be attacked before he stops or is stopped in turn when NATO and the rest of Europe have had enough. Big question is when is enough going to be enough? As far as Putin using nuclear weapons, I think that is a huge bluff meant to scare the rest of the world. He known full well that if he launches a nuke first at the West he guarantees much of Moscow and Russia becoming a radioactive glass parking lots. I just pray saner heads will prevail.

Split Personality
Professor Principal
1.1  Split Personality  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1    4 weeks ago
Big question is when is enough going to be enough?

His mouthpieces on RT and in Chechnya have already threatened Poland, Sweden, Finland and the UK.

They describe this as WWIII against the US & EU & NATO.

It will get worse until this mentality of Putin is eradicated.

Professor Quiet
1.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Split Personality @1.1    4 weeks ago

Agreed. I wonder if there is any validity to the stories about Putin having terminal cancer?

Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
2  Thrawn 31    4 weeks ago

They have no idea what they are there for. As an Iraq war vet I can spot a lack of mission when i see one. 

Professor Principal
3  Kavika     4 weeks ago

Some countries, namely the NATO countries that were once part of the Soviet iron curtain, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Baltic countries have been telling us (NATO and the EU) that Russia was a huge danger and t we have blinders on but for whatever reason most of Europe thought that the Russians had changed when the wall fell... most of them made themselves dependent on Russian oil and gas and are now paying price. The Western Balkan countries have been telling us the same, Macedonia, Montenegro et al. The Russians have been meddling there for years with Serbia as an ally in the Balkans. 

IMO, if Putin gets away with this then Moldova will be next and Georgia before he goes after the Baltic states and Finland. Turkey trying to veto both Sweden and Finland from joining NATO is a huge problem and Turkey is no friend of ours or NATO. Erdogon has turned Turkey into a shithole with inflation running at 60% the loss of civil rights and now he is threatening to invade Syria and attack the YPG in violation of the agreement between Turkey and the US. 

Russia has not changed and is simply echoing the past and the aims of the Tsars and Stalin. There is a great article named ''Decolonize Russia'' that was published that shows exactly what Russia was and is.

Here is a link to the article and it's well worth reading. 

Professor Quiet
3.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Kavika @3    4 weeks ago

In my opinion, Sweden and Finland would be much more effective and reliable partners for NATO than Turkey has been. Turkey has proved itself to be two faced and double dealing with Russian, the US, and NATO, and being more favorable to Russia lately. NATO courted Turkey for membership primarily because of it's strategic position in controlling access in and out of the Bosporus Straits. Now other members are not sure it is worth the effort as Turkey has been stabbing the US and NATO in the back for years.

Professor Quiet
4  Ronin2    4 weeks ago

For those alarmists that fear Russia retaking all of the former Soviet States- have you been watching this war? Seriously Russia is struggling with Ukraine. They are going to be fighting Ukraine for decades over the territory they have taken (that is after they finally gain control over the regions they are occupying now). They are going to have to spend billions hardening that territory both rebuilding it economically and militarily. 

Russia should have been able to wipe the floor with Ukraine in days- I don't care how well trained their military and fascist militias by the US forces. Russia has far more military assets, troops, and flat out more money. Instead they failed miserably. Their supply chain planning is non existent. No gas, no parts (including spare tires), and no food (Remember all those wonderful articles of Ukrainian civilians poisoning Russian troops? We applauded them then; and Russian troops killed them all when retreating for redeployment.) Russia had 3 separate military command centers; and piss poor communications between overall command (which was in Russia); and their generals and troops in Ukraine. Russia is still fighting like it is WWI; and at times WWII. They finally consolidated command with their top military mind leading their forces in Southern Ukraine- who is very well versed in Russian tactics of siege warfare.

Russia has had US/NATO examples in Iraq, Serbia, Libya, and Syria of how to fight a modern war. Yet they have failed to secure the air above Ukraine. They have not removed vital Ukrainian assets to secure air dominance. Ukraine should not have a viable airport; runway; road long enough and flat enough to land any planes; or air defense systems. All military bases and training grounds should have been bombed flat. All Ukrainian armor vehicles, transports, etc should be in hiding for fear of being destroyed any time they moved. Bridges and mass transportation systems should be destroyed preventing movement by civilians around the country. Oil reserves, electrical grids, cell rowers, etc should have been destroyed. The US/NATO forced Serbia to surrender; and removed Quadaffi and Saddam from power just by air superiority alone using these tactics. 

Wake me when Russia gets a clue on how to fight a modern war. Until they they are a third world shithole; with the only scary thing about them being enough nukes to destroy the planet several times over.

Professor Principal
5  Kavika     4 weeks ago
Wake me when Russia gets a clue on how to fight a modern war. Until they they are a third world shithole; with the only scary thing about them being enough nukes to destroy the planet several times over.

Russia is fighting the same war that they have fought for centuries yet they have taken parts of Georgia and Moldova with this technique and it won't change. They have no interest in rebuilding anything that they conquer just look at the former Iron Curtain they were shit holes for decades after they were conquered by Russia. 

You make want to present your view to the Syrians, Georgians, Chetchyans, and Ukrainian civilian population, oh wait tens of thousands are dead you probably won't get an answer.

Freshman Guide
5.1  Gulliver  replied to  Kavika @5    3 weeks ago

They want the land and they don't care about the people on it.

I understand that American manifest destiny also cared little for the people already on the land they had designs for but something about the Russian way seems even more psychopathic.

Freshman Guide
6  Gulliver    3 weeks ago
Russia May Be In Ukraine To Stay After 100 Days Of War 

Many of them hoping for a ride home.


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