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Ukraine Crisis

Russia moves to Donbas after “ineffective efforts” thus far

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After two months of battle with Ukraine, Russia is shifting their tactics to the Donbas region

Senior fellow at the National Security Institute, Lester Munson, explains that Russia was “effectively defeated” by Ukraine.

After a series of unsuccessful attacks across Ukraine’s North, Russia has been forced to re-strategise.

Vladimir Putin is recalibrating his mission to focus on Donbas, the South-East region of Ukraine.

Munson explains that Russia has been present in the Donbas since 2014.

Due to the strong history in the region, both Russians and Ukrainians are familiar with the territory.

Russian troops and pro-Russian rebels are eager to capture the strategically important city of Mariupol. (Reuters: Alexander Ermochenko)

“New weapons have been provided to Ukraine… to provide them with artillery that will be more effective,” Munson says.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said he is not willing to trade land for peace, so Munson believes it is unlikely he will compromise with the Russians.

There has also been increased willingness to support Ukraine by military alliance NATO.

Various members of NATO intend on demonstrating support by providing weapons and financial assistance.

“We’ve also seen that there are possibly two new members of NATO… Sweden and Finland have indicated that they are very interested in joining the alliance,” Munson says.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has forced many European countries to reevaluate their defence strategies.

“Europe is rearming, even the Germans who have been reluctant to increase their defence spending are talking about a massive increase in spending because of the invasion.”

The largest potential threat that Putin has made to Europe is his claim to utilise nuclear weapons.

“It is almost certainly a bluff, but because the stakes are so high, it must be taken seriously,” he says.

If Russia moves towards nuclear weapons, Munson believes that there is a greater likelihood of US soldiers entering Ukraine.

Attacks on Ukraine by Russia continue / Image: File

Recently the US Congress passed a $13 billion dollar assistance package for Ukraine

“The Biden administration has been dolling that out over several days, but it is not going to last forever.”

“Ukraine is going to need more military and financial assistance,” he said.

President Zelensky is currently operating at a $5 billion dollar a month deficit which the West will have to fund in the future.

“For now, Congress is going to have to step up to the plate and spend more money to help Ukraine,”

Russia’s decision to recruit armed forces from Syria demonstrates their desperation, Munson says.

“It is not the move of strong power.”

“This has been a massive failure for Vladimir Putin so far, but that doesn’t mean he is going to stop. He will become more and more desperate.”

Amanda Gunn contributed to this report.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

Media

Body behind Eurovision “understands the disappointment” over next host city

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Ukraine’s Kalush Orchestra won the Eurovision contest in May, capturing the hearts of the world

After taking out the win, that would mean Ukraine would host the competition next year.

But the European Broadcasting Union announced last week it could not be held in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

The body behind Eurovision now says it “understands the disappointment” over its decision not to hold next year’s song contest in Ukraine.

The EBU said it was in talks with the BBC to host the contest in the UK.

That’s because British entrant Sam Ryder came second in this year’s contest with his single Spaceman.

The announcement was met with disappointment by Ukrainians but the E-B-U doubled down on its position, saying in a statement that it “fully understands the disappointment that greeted the announcement”.

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Business

Nike to fully exit Russia

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U.S. sportswear maker Nike is making a full exit from Russia, three months after suspending its operations there, the company said in an emailed statement Thursday

The sportswear giant had said back in March that it would suspend operations at all the stores it owns or operates there.

On Thursday (June 23) the firm said it would leave the country altogether.

In a statement, Nike said it would scale down over the coming months.

The move is largely symbolic for the company, which gets less than 1% of its revenue from Russia and Ukraine combined.

It says any stores that are still open there are run by independent partners.

In May, Russian media reported that Nike had not renewed agreements with Inventive Retail Group, its largest franchisee there.

Now the full exit lputs Nike in line with other major western brands such as McDonald’s and Google.

Foreign companies seeking to leave face the prospect of new laws being passed that will allow Moscow to seize assets and impose criminal penalties.

That has prompted some businesses to accelerate their departure plans.

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Ukraine Crisis

New candidates – Ukraine and Moldova one step closer to joining EU

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Ukraine and Moldova have officially been granted E-U candidate status, moving the nations one step closer to joining the union

At a European leaders meeting in Brussels, the decision comes nearly four months after Ukraine’s Zelensky launched his country’s bid to join the bloc, and deals a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But the Kremlin has been acting as though it’s no big deal, with Putin claiming he has “nothing against” the possible membership, saying it’s Ukraine’s “sovereign decision” to join or not.

Ukrainian President Zelensky has welcomed the move, calling it “a unique and historic moment” and says his country’s future is in the EU.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has declared it “a good day for Europe”.

While candidate status is the first official step toward E-U membership, it can take many years to join and there’s no guarantee the process will be successful.

The process can also go into reverse, if a future Ukrainian government fails to implement certain reforms on the rule of law and its economy.

But the Commission president has hope.

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