Russian President Vladimir Putin may declare war on Ukraine as early as May 9, allowing Russia to fully mobilize its reserve troops if invasion plans stall. However, in Russia, May 9 is celebrated as “Victory Day” for defeating the Nazis in 1945. Officials in the West have long assumed that Putin would use the day’s symbolic and propaganda importance to proclaim a military victory in Ukraine or a massive escalation of hostilities. Officials have focused on one scenario: Putin launched a war on Ukraine on May 9. Putin refers to the months-long struggle as a “special military operation,” thereby barring terms like invasion and war. According to British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, he will strive to shift from his special operation.’ “So he has been tossing the dice, preparing the groundwork for a battle against Nazis that requires more people. “More Russian artillery fodder.”” The invasion of Ukraine — a nation led by a Jewish president — has been described as “denazification” by historians and political analysts alike.
He would not be astonished if Putin said on May Day that ‘we are now at war with the world’s Nazis and need to mass organize the Russian people, Wallace continued. An official war declaration on May 9 might enhance popular support for the invasion. Officials claim Russia urgently needs conscripts due to a rising labor shortfall. Since Russia attacked a little over two months ago, authorities in the West and Ukraine believe 10,000 Russian troops have died.
When Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited his family’s Holocaust-era history in explaining a matter of U.S. foreign policy on Monday, it was far from the first time he has done so.
“One of my responsibilities as Secretary is determining, on behalf of the United States, whether atrocities have been committed,” Blinken, who is Jewish, said Monday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, where he announced that the Biden administration had determined that the Burmese military had committed genocide against the Rohingya. “It’s an immense responsibility that I take very seriously, particularly given my family’s history.”
That family history involves his stepfather, Samuel Pisar, the Holocaust survivor who became a renowned legal scholar and philosopher. Blinken has often described the late Pisar’s recounting of his rescue by American soldiers, saying it shaped his own idea of what the United States symbolizes worldwide.
“That’s the story that I grew up with, about what our country is and what it represents, and what it means when the United States is engaged and leading,” Blinken said.
Now America’s top diplomat contends with a conflict that puts these values to the test: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has involved mass killings of civilians.
He is also dealing with appeals from Ukraine’s Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelensky — who similarly cites the Holocaust as shaping his outlook — to do more to stop Russia’s attacks.
Zelensky has additionally made direct comparisons between the Russian onslaught and the Holocaust, while Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated his goal is to “de-Nazify” Ukraine.
Talking to American Jewish leaders, Zelensky called Putin’s actions “pure Nazism;” talking to Israelis, he likened Russian tactics to the “final solution”; and in his address to the U.S. Congress, he called the Russian invasion “the worst war since World War II.”
The Biden administration has imposed crippling sanctions on Russia. In addition, it is funneling billions of dollars in defense and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and deploying U.S. troops to NATO allies adjacent to Ukraine. But President Joe Biden will not accede to Zelensky’s top demands — including creating a no-fly zone over Ukraine to protect it — saying they could provoke a world war.’
On Wednesday, however, Blinken formally declared that the United States’ position is that Russian forces have committed war crimes.
“Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians,” he said. “This includes the Mariupol maternity hospital, as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressly noted in a March 11 report. It also includes a strike that hit a Mariupol theater, clearly marked with ‘дeти’ — Russian for ‘children’ — in huge letters visible from the sky.”
Does Blinken feel the pressures of family history as he contemplates Ukraine? The State Department did not respond to multiple requests for an interview. But his speech at the Holocaust museum on Monday showed that it was on his mind.
“One of the unsettling truths of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is that there’s never a time I visit here when its lessons do not feel deeply resonant,” he said. “But I have to tell you, I can recall a few times when that history felt so urgent or the responsibility it imparts on us so pressing. As we meet, the Russian Government continues to wage its unprovoked, brutal war on Ukraine. Each day brings more brutal attacks, more innocent men, women, and children killed.”
The war’s risk to Holocaust survivors in Ukraine was especially poignant in Blinken’s telling.
“Ukraine is home to nearly 10,000 Holocaust survivors, including an 88-year-old woman, Natalia Berezhnaya of Odesa,” he said. “Here’s what she said in a recent interview, and I quote: ‘It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that in 1941, I had to hide in the basement of this building, and that I’m going to have to do that again now.'”
Blinken stopped short of accusing Putin of genocide as he did the Burmese military. Instead, he cast Russia’s predations as part of a welter of human rights disasters now proliferating.
“Even as we are working to increase international pressure on the Kremlin to end this unjustified war, we know there are many other places where horrific atrocities are being committed,” Blinken said. “Over recent weeks, as I’ve spoken with diplomats worldwide about Ukraine, I’ve also heard a constant refrain. Many of them say, ‘Yes, we stand with the people of Ukraine. But we must also stand with the people suffering atrocities in other places.'”
On Wednesday, the move to accuse Russia of war crimes is notable; noted Jewish foreign policy experts had been frustrated with Blinken’s language.
Josh Rogin, an influential foreign policy opinion columnist for The Washington Post, wrote that the hesitancy in Ukraine is reflective of a West that has allowed atrocities to be committed in China, Syria, and Burma. “The Ukraine example shows that ignoring atrocities anywhere is morally and strategically bankrupt,” he said this week before Blinken announced his war crimes designation.
Aaron David Miller, a longtime Middle East peace negotiator and a scion of one of Cleveland’s most prominent Jewish families, sounded a despairing note on Twitter.
“Never Again is Ever Ever Again,” he said. “The International Community has failed to even try to prevent any of the planet’s genocides/mass killings over past 100 years; Armenians; Holocaust; Cambodia; Rwanda; Congo; Sudan; Darfur; Myanmar; Uighurs; Syria….. Ever ask yourself why.”
Asked to expand on the tweet on CNN, Miller, now a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment, a foreign policy think tank, admitted that he understood Blinken’s predicament.
“A president of the United States weighing the consequences of humanitarian intervention in the case of Ukraine has more than just moral factors to take into account and the consequences of an intervention or not an intervention at least for American interests, that could affect millions of humans in the United States and in Ukraine, so it’s it’s a moral hazard,” Miller said. “It’s a complicated problem. And frankly, I think Ukraine will be another example of confirmation of the rule.”
Abe Foxman, the retired national director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, argued that Blinken’s approach made sense: One’s views on the Holocaust may shape policy but should not necessarily determine what the procedure is.
He was pleased to see Blinken knows, understands, is informed and instructed by his family history, by his Jewish experience, Foxman said in an interview. It does make a difference, but it cannot be determinative of action. This is a war. It’s not a holocaust or genocide. And it’s very, very important that if you know your history, you see the difference.
Petr Aven, Mikhail Fridman, and German Kahn, three Russian billionaires, have resigned from the board of Genesis Philanthropy Group, a Jewish grantmaking charity they formed in 2007. Sanctions on the three oligarchs were imposed by the EU and UK in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
From French vineyards to English football teams, sanctioned billionaires are scurrying to relocate and sell Western assets to escape confiscation. According to the release, the oligarchs’ resignations would have no effect on a $10 million payment that GPG had previously agreed to make to the Ukrainian Jewish community. Mikhail Fridman, a Ukrainian-born Jew, was one of the first Russian billionaires to speak out against the conflict in Ukraine, according to a statement addressed to LetterOne staff. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, he said that sanctioned oligarchs like him had little influence on Putin and that challenging him on Ukraine would be “death.” Despite mounting criticism from Russia’s elite, which has lost billions since the conflict began, analysts have told Insider that Putin is likely unconcerned with the oligarchs’ pushback, with just his small inner circle having his ear.
According to activists working with imprisoned Putin opponent Alexei Navalny, a mystery superyacht whose owner has not been publicly identified is manned by numerous personnel of a Russian state agency entrusted with defending Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Scheherazade, one of the world’s biggest boats of its type, is a private superyacht, according to The New York Times. According to a personnel roster received by Pevchikh and Alburov in December 2020, all permanent crew members are Russian except for the ship’s commander. The United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union have imposed economic sanctions on Russia and confiscated several Russian billionaires’ luxury assets, including superyachts, in response to Russia’s continuing military attack on Ukraine. Navalny’s team is pleading with Italian authorities to confiscate the yacht if they discover that Putin owns it. Guy Bennett-Pearce, the superyacht’s skipper, told The Times that Italian investigators boarded the vessel early this month as part of an investigation launched by the Italian financial police. As a result, he was “forced” to turn over paperwork disclosing the owner’s name. Bennett-Pearce, a British native and the ship’s only non-Russian employee, would not rule out the possibility that the superyacht’s owner is Russian but could not comment more owing to a “watertight nondisclosure agreement” and said that the superyacht’s owner is not on any sanctions list.
US President Joe Biden has condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for his country’s invasion of Ukraine. He then referred to Putin as a “murderous despot” and “pure thug.” Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, says he is “prepared for conversations” with Putin. The concern today is what Biden’s views — and those of others — signal for the future of the Ukraine conflict. What does President Putin anticipate when he behaves adolescent-like? The Ukrainian people have historically been fearless. Some Ukrainians have relatives in Russia, but they cannot obtain accurate information due to state-controlled media. The Ukrainian people and the Russian people in Russia should be free to think for themselves. Why should one individual dictate what they should consider? One day, the Russian people will rise up against such activities and liberate themselves from their ignorance.
Several officials of the Orthodox Church have expressed their opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. With the noteworthy exception of the Orthodox patriarch of Moscow, the military intervention has been rejected by the majority of people.
The leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin for an “early cessation of the fratricidal conflict.” According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian invasion of Ukraine was the greatest conventional military operation in Europe since World War II. With staunch defiance, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has resisted Russian military intervention in his nation since 2014. As a result, the death toll has risen to tens of thousands, with 2.5 million people fleeing to neighboring nations like Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, and Romania.
Theodore II, the Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria and all of Africa, has said that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “drunk on power” and “the emperor of our times.” Patriarch Daniel of Romania, the patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, has called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” in Ukraine. On February 24, Georgian Patriarch Illia II issued a dire warning about a “global calamity” and remembered Russia’s invasion of his nation in 2008. In early March, more than 275 Russian Orthodox priests and deacons from all across the globe signed an open letter. The Russian Orthodox Church has produced a series of remarks in which it expresses implicit support for the Ukrainian invasion while refraining from condemning the Russian government in any manner.
After giving an anti-war sermon in Moscow, Father Ioann Burdin, a Russian Orthodox priest, was detained. He appealed for the restoration of peace and unity with Metropolitan Onufry in a sermon delivered on February 27. He did not mention the separatist Orthodox Church in Ukraine, which he described as “a schism.” Many of Putin’s justifications for invading Ukraine, particularly those related to NATO expansion, received backing from the Russian patriarch. According to reliable sources, Orthodox clergy and faithful in Ukraine have voiced their displeasure of Patriarch Kirill’s stance on the issue. Father Stefano Caprio said that the Ukrainian conflict generates a “deep divide” in the Orthodox Church in the United States.
Patriarch Kirill cannot break away from Putin because “he would bring the whole palace crashing down,” as he puts it. Some other autocephalous Orthodox churches, particularly those politically and ecclesiastically aligned with the patriarch, support the patriarch.
Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, tanks and other military equipment massed at the border with the letter “Z.”
A Russian gymnast is being disciplined for wearing a ‘Z’ sign on the podium. St. George’s ribbons, which are black and orange in color, are tokens of commemoration for World War II veterans. “Z” has become a symbol for domestic and international support for Russia’s continuing conflict in Ukraine. Patients and employees of a children’s hospice in Kazan construct the sign in a snow-covered courtyard, according to a widely circulated photograph. A video with over a million views has gone viral showing individuals waving the Russian flag behind a group wearing Russian flag sweatshirts.
Three Russian billionaires have resigned from the board of directors of a $22-billion investment company during their country’s escalating invasion of Ukraine.
This follows LetterOne’s decision last week to freeze out Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, who are subject to Western-imposed sanctions, by barring access to their premises and prohibiting them from communicating with workers. German Khan, Alexei Kuzmichev, and Andrei Kosogov — none of whom are sanctioned – all resigned from their jobs at the business on Monday. “While none of these three people have been sanctioned, they think that taking this action is in the long-term best interests of LetterOne, its workers, and the many jobs supported by its portfolio firms,” the company stated in a statement to Insider. Khan, 60, a cofounder of LetterOne and a partner in Alpha Group, said in a statement that he backed the board’s decisions and urged an end to the fight. “The bulk of LetterOne’s founders have strong roots in Ukraine, and the devastation of the places where I spent my youth and which are now home to our forefathers’ graves is sad,” added Khan, who has a net worth of almost $6.9 billion, according to Bloomberg. Kuzmichev, 59, is a cofounder of Alfa-Bank, Russia’s largest private bank, and has an estimated net worth of around $5.2 billion, according to Bloomberg. Kosogov, 60, is a member of the Alpha Group’s board of directors and is worth $1.2 billion, according to Forbes.
Additionally, LetterOne said in Monday’s statement that Fridman and Aven, who stepped down from the company’s board of directors last Wednesday, had their shares “frozen permanently” and are no longer eligible to receive dividends or other financial funds from LetterOne. Mervyn Davies, the former chairman now CEO of LetterOne, told the Financial Times that they were shut out of offices, denied access to records, and prohibited from communicating with staff. LetterOne gives $150 million to aid those devastated by Ukraine’s conflict, and shareholders have decided that all dividends would go toward relief efforts, according to a corporate statement.
US authorities have made it plain that American soldiers would avoid confrontation with Russian forces, and NATO countries have resisted requests to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, saying that it might result in a “full-fledged war in Europe.”
If Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine crossed into a NATO member state, the situation could quickly deteriorate, triggering a response following NATO’s Article 5 policy. What is Article 5, and how does it pertain to Ukraine’s continuing conflict? What you need to know is as follows: What is the purpose of Article 5? Article 5 states that an assault on one NATO member constitutes an attack on all NATO members. The idea serves as a deterrent to prospective enemies targeting NATO countries.
Given that the US is NATO’s most prominent and most powerful member, every state inside the alliance is essentially protected by the US. Article 5: How does Russia’s aggression on Ukraine apply? Because Ukraine is not a NATO member, the US is not obligated to defend it in the same manner that it would if a NATO member nation were attacked. However, many of Ukraine’s neighbors are NATO members, and if a Russian invasion extends into one of them, Article 5 may spark direct US and NATO member intervention. What is the definition of an attack against a NATO member state? Article 5 wording stipulates that collective action is triggered by an “armed assault” against a member country. NATO members choose what constitutes an “armed assault,” and Russia’s hostile stance has already raised concerns about the country’s propensity to provoke a NATO reaction. Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, recently warned The Washington Post that a Russian assault on Ukraine might have ramifications that extend beyond the intended “geographical limits” and threaten NATO nations. While local officials have said that “no change in radiation levels” has occurred in the region, what if there had been a radioactive leak that spread to a NATO member nation? “That is a decision for the alliance to make,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby previously told CNN.