As things heat up in eastern Ukraine, I spoke to friends and sources in Ukrainian controlled Avdiivka and Mariinka, and Russia-controlled Donetsk and Luhansk. All described seeing more military vehicles and soldiers on the move; increased shooting and shelling around them.
In Mariinka: 'There's tension in the air, fear and uncertainty in the eyes of people. But we're living & waiting [for whatever's to come].'

Avdiivka: 'Loud explosions daily. There was an intense battle for 6-8 hours; it caused a big fire. We worry about Russia massing forces.'
Donetsk: 'Men being ordered to the front; a surge of military vehicles clogging the roads. Everyone's talking about a big war. Hospitals are full of COVID patients; we can't treat many wounded ppl.'

Luhansk: 'More vehicles from Russia coming across border now than in past year.'
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Zelensky says he's on his way to the war zone in Donbas. Another soldier killed in combat overnight, he says.
Zelensky wore his commander-in-chief garb today and visited troops on the front line in the Donbas, where fighting has escalated in recent weeks. (Sign on the dugout reads “Vietnam.”) 📷 via @APUkraine

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More from @ChristopherJM

9 Apr
NEW: For years I've researched men who go to fight with Ukraine's far-right units. This story of a US Army vet charged with killing a Florida couple and an examination of his exploits provides a stark example of the impact of one American’s radicalization…
Since Russia invaded the Donbas and sparked a war in 2014, Ukraine has attracted Americans who want to fight alongside far-right paramilitary forces. Now people are beginning to ask: What happens when radicalized soldiers like Craig Lang return home?…
Lang deserted the Army & later traveled to Ukraine to fight with Right Sector, an extremist paramilitary force that welcomed volunteers. By the time he returned to America, he had grown increasingly radicalized & relished violence, fellow fighters & friends told me. 📸Timo Vogt Image
Read 22 tweets
5 Apr
My reporting worlds are colliding. Far-right Proud Boys channels on Telegram are beginning to share Ukraine-Russia content as the war in the Donbas heats up again.
Oh no. Q channels, too.
Proud Boys and Q followers don’t seem to know quite who they’re rooting for, Ukraine or Russia. There are some contradicting statements in the channels’ and commenters’ posts. However, some are indeed on Putin’s side.
Read 4 tweets
4 Apr
With things getting hot in Ukraine again — & by that I mean Russia dialing up pressure with rhetoric, overt military threats, & ceasefire violations — here are some great threads that help understand what’s going on. First, @CITeam_en compiled evidence of Russia’s military moves.
Analyst @KofmanMichael considers what the Kremlin is up to (and explains what many of us who know the Ukraine war intimately). Hint: readying for all-out war doesn’t always mean an all-out war is imminent.
Read 4 tweets
24 Mar
NEW, with @TTP_updates, 100s of far-right militias, including some whose members were charged in the deadly insurrection on the Capitol, continue to organize, recruit, and promote violence on @Facebook.…
200+ militia pages an groups are on Facebook as of March 18, according to @TTP_updates and @BuzzFeedNews research. Of them, at least 140 included the word “militia” in their name. Not exactly trying to hide! Here's the TTP report:…
Facebook banned some militant groups and other extremist movements tied to violence. But dozens persist and some have opened new pages in recent months, even after Jan. 6.…
Read 6 tweets
2 Feb
For Ukraine watchers, this is an intriguing development: President Zelensky has imposed sanctions on MP Taras Kozak, a proxy of Putin ally Viktor Medvedchuk, and his TV channels, NewsOne, Zik, 112, which are notorious pushers of Russian disinformation.…
The move was signed by Zelensky after approval from National Security and Defense Council. Kozak faces a slew of restrictions and bans now, including asset freezes. His TV channels—which really are controlled by Medvedchuk, who is Putin's lackey in Kyiv—are already off the air.
Many Ukrainian progressives, political analysts, and even journalists have long supported measures like those imposed today against what are essentially Kremlin disinfo networks in Ukraine. Poroshenko blocked Russian social networks and other sites.
Read 19 tweets
2 Feb
LIVE STREAM via @SvobodaRadio:

Judge is about to rule in the case of Alexei Navalny, who was just let back into court. He's now standing in a glass holding dock surrounded by armed police.
@SvobodaRadio Navalny looks to his wife Yulia in the courtroom and makes a heart gesture with his hands before the court rules. He could get 3.5 years behind bars (with roughly a year knocked off) or be released on parole.
Judge now reading out the ruling as Navalny looks on with a slight smirk on his face. His fate will be known imminently.
Read 10 tweets

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