Vladimir Putin is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer who is serving as the current president of Russia.
Anyone in Russia who tries to loosen Vladimir Putin’s grip on power typically ends up in prison or dead. Take Alexei Navalny. The 46-year-old lawyer, activist and Kremlin critic has called Russia a “dystopian state run by thieves and criminals”. He attempted to run in the 2018 presidential election on an anti-corruption, liberal agenda but was barred from entering the contest. He was later poisoned, and Philip Short, author of a new biography of Putin, has no doubt who was responsible.
What’s to blame for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? In part, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “toxic masculinity” – according to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in remarks that triggered a dose of sarcasm from the Kremlin and apparent approval from other world leaders.
Nato yesterday branded Russia the biggest “direct threat” to Western security after its invasion of Ukraine and agreed plans to modernise Kyiv’s beleaguered armed forces, saying it stood fully behind Ukrainians’ “heroic defence of their country”.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is determined that Europe will have a cold winter in revenge for backing Ukraine and, having reaped hundreds of billions of euro as a result of high energy prices, he can now afford to turn off the gas taps.
The likely Russian tactical success in the Severodonetsk pocket has come at incredible cost for Vladimir Putin in terms of personnel, equipment and, possibly most importantly, time.
His Holiness Pope Francis must be green-eyed with envy this weekend. He is surely gazing longingly from his Vatican perch, agog at the Irish way of doing things. As the powers of the papacy diminish and he searches for alternative models of exercising undemocratic authority, he should look no further than the office of Ireland’s Attorney General. The pontiff will be dumbstruck with admiration for Ireland’s answer to papal infallibility.
Russia has taken several villages in the last few days, raising fears that its forces will soon be in a position to seize the strategically important cities of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. The Russian advances have led to “hellish battles” in the area, the governor of Luhansk region, Serhiy Gaidai, said.
Russian attacks laid down a curtain of fire across areas of eastern Ukraine yesterday where pockets of resistance are denying Moscow full military control, almost four months after the Kremlin unleashed its invasion.
Chrissie Russell is wrong to compare Dame Edna Everage and May McFettridge with modern drag acts reading to children in libraries (‘Some people think drag acts confuse kids... Oh no they don’t’, Irish Independent, June 21).
The European Union gave its blessing yesterday for Ukraine and its neighbour Moldova to become candidates to join the bloc, reaching out deep into the former Soviet Union for what would be a major geopolitical shift following Russia’s Ukraine invasion.
The ghost of crises past presented itself in news headlines on Wednesday. The European Central Bank (ECB) decided to hold an “unscheduled” meeting at short notice. For “unscheduled”, read “emergency”.
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