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Ukraine Crisis

Pro-war “Z” symbol has been seen across Russia – but what does it mean?

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Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, a little-known symbol has gradually creeped into Russia’s arsenal of propaganda tools

The Latin letter ‘Z’ was first seen smeared on Russian military vehicles as they entered Ukrainian territory.

Analysts initially believed the symbol was being used to distinguish between forces and to indicate what district tanks were coming from, but it has since been seen in many other instances.

Increasingly, ‘Z’ is becoming a pro-war symbol – one that shows support for the military, for the Kremlin’s policies, and for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.

The letter has historically had mythical associations but has quickly morphed into what some are calling, a stylised semi-swastika.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence has explained the symbol to stand ‘For Victory’.

Moscow’s concert in Luzhniki stadium displayed wide support for Z and the Kremlin

During a concert in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, Putin appeared in front of a podium that read, “For a world without Nazism”.

He addressed Kremlin’s forces saying “shoulder to shoulder, they help and support each other”, praising Russians for the “unity” within the country.

“There is no greater love than giving up one’s soul for one’s friends,” Mr Putin says.

The concert marked the eight anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, showcasing dozens of Russian singers and celebrities.

Over 200,000 people attended the event with videos showing the crowd chanting “Russia!” while waving the country’s flag. 

Multiple Telegram channels have reported that some students and employees in attendance were pressured by their employers to attend the concert, although this has not been independently verified.

BBC journalist Will Vernon interviewed attendees after the concert finished and says many seemed embarrassed to be there.

Russian barred from calling the invasion a ‘war’

The Kremlin has since banned Russians from calling Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a war, instead labelling it a “special operation”.

Russia’s English state-owned channel, RT, has officially been calling the war in Ukraine “Special Operation Z” and advertising t-shirts with the Z symbol.

One online shop based in Russia has been selling a myriad of products displaying the Z logo, including window stickers for cars.

Many within Russia and abroad have condemned the symbol, which they see as a fascistic emblem of state-mandated blind loyalty and a militarised society.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

Ukraine Crisis

Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests break out in Russia

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Zelensky addresses the U.N. as protests over Putin’s mobilisation plan break out in Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Zelensky says his nation just wants peace and believes Russia should be punished and ostracised for its actions.

“A crime has been committed against Ukraine and we demand just punishment. The crime was committed against our state borders. The crime was committed against the lives of our people,” Zelensky said. “Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory”.

In the powerful speech, the Ukrainian President also called for Russia to lose its U.N. veto power. Russia is currently one of the five permanent members of the Security Council.

He is also seeking more military aid, pleading for more weapons to help liberate his country’s land.

Protests engulf major Russia cities

In Russia, police have arrested hundreds of protestors who are rallying against Vladimir Putin’s military mobilisation.

Human rights group OVD Info estimates more than 1,000 people have been taken into custody so far. The largest number of arrests were made in St Petersburg and Moscow.

As the Kremlin announced its intention to call up thousands of extra troops to fight the warn in Ukraine, flights departing Russia sold out almost immediately.

The mobilisation will likely see at least 300,000 military reservists drafted to bolster Russia’s forces.

In Moscow, the prosecutor’s office is warning that calls on the internet to join protests, or participation in these protests, could result in up to 15 years in jail time.

Russia’s disinformation laws about the war have made public demonstrations rare.

In his first national televised address since the war began, Putin said he will use “all available means” to protect Russian territory.

In theory, this could include nuclear weapons.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance remains vigilant.

“We will make sure that there is no misunderstanding in Moscow about exactly how we will react. Of course it depends upon what kind of situation or what kind or weapons they may use. The most important thing is to prevent that from happening and that is why we have been so clear in our communications with Russia about the unprecedented consequences,” Stoltenberg said.

Meanwhile, Putin’s mobilisation follows weeks of heavy losses for Russia in Ukraine, with Kyiv recapturing a huge area just east of Kharkiv.

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Ukraine Crisis

U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future

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U.S. to provide Ukraine with tanks in the future, but there is a catch

The U.S. will provide tanks to Ukraine in the future, but issues with maintenance and training may delay the rollout.

Ukraine has received billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment, allowing the war-torn nation to defend itself against Putin’s regime.

Russian forces are continuing to “conduct airstrikes that are impacting civilian infrastructure”, most recently striking a “dam near Kryvyi Rih”, according to a top U.S. official.

“This disturbing pattern which includes strikes that hit power stations last week continues to show Russian forces’ disregard for civilian life,” the official added.

When it comes to further military aid, the offical confirmed tanks are “absolutely on the table”, but are not an option for the immediate battle.

Once training, maintenance and sustainment issues are addressed, the roll out is more likely.

This follows verified reports Ukraine has successfully shot down 55 Russian
fighter jets.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed there would be no let-up in fighting to regain
territory lost to Russia.

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Ukraine Crisis

Mass burial site discovered in Ukraine

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A mass grave with over 400 bodies has been found in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region

The price of war is beginning to reveal itself in Ukraine as a mass grave, with over 400 bodies has been discovered in the recently liberated Kharkiv region.

The burial site was found in the city of Izyum, an area captured by Russian forces at the beginning of the war, and a victim to ultimate brutality.

Over recent days, Ukrainian forces have recaptured the area. So far, they have discovered over 1000 bodies in the city, with this number rising every day.

The mass grave site shows the extent of Russia’s atrocities, although Russia denies responsibility.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is launching an investigation and says “Russia leaves death everywhere and it must be held accountable for that.”

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