An excellent essay by Kurt Volker on Ukraine's importance for the US and Europe:
'A Ukraine that is dragged down by Russia will be used by the Kremlin to perpetuate Russia’s current state of authoritarianism at home, and aggression abroad'…
Curiously, Volker mentions Russian pressure on Italian newspaper I wrote about last week.
Yesterday, Italian PM Mario Draghi had a call with Putin, which was described as quite cold in the media. Italy with Draghi seems to be taking a more critical approach to Russia than before
Here's some background on the offensive open letter by Russian MFA spokesman Zakharova to @repubblica editor Maurizio Molinari in reaction to his critical op-ed
An attack on Repubblica editor sparked tensions in the Italian government coalition, after 5 Star Movement MP and head of foreign affairs committee endorsed Zakharova words. Now, Democratic party wants foreign minister Di Maio,who represents 5SM, to explain its position on Russia
An Italian MEP from the centre-left Democratic party is also collecting signatures under an appeal to the European Commission, urging it to react to 'a grave and intimidating interference towards a European and Italian newspaper and its editor on behalf of a third country'

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More from @olgatokariuk

24 Nov
Several thousand people protested in Kyiv today against Covid vaccination and restrictions for unvaccinated people. They also demanded the release of Ostap Stakhiv, one of the leaders of anti-vaccination movement in Ukraine, who was arrested last week 🏮
📷 @herKrieger
Stakhiv was arrested in Lviv last week. He faces from 5 to 10 years on charges of undermining public health and plotting to overthrow the constitutional order. Ukrainian special services SBU earlier accused him of having links to Russia.He said his arrest is politically motivated
Stakhiv is one of the most prominent figures in Ukrainian anti-vaccination movement. He had more than 90k followers on his Facebook page, which was recently taken down due to numerous reports of disinformation shared there. He still has 65k subscribers on YouTube, 25k on Telegram
Read 9 tweets
24 Nov
Ukraine launched a special operation, involving increased air and land patrols, construction of checkpoints at its border with Belarus to protect it in case of potential redirection of migrant flows, the State border guard service said today…
Ukraine's border with Belarus is 1084 km long, more than twice as long as Belarus-Poland border, and is mostly not physically protected by barriers or wire. However a big part of the border is inaccessible for crossing because it's located in areas covered by swamps and rivers
About 270 km of Ukraine-Belarus border are particularly exposed,spokesman of Ukraine's interior ministry told me last week. 'These are areas connected to the border by roads, where people can be brought to in an organized manner. The most vulnerable ones are in the Volyn region..
Read 6 tweets
21 Nov
A personal thread about the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, known as Euromaidan, which began in Kyiv on this day eight years ago.

Just 5 months earlier, I decided to return to Ukraine after my Master studies in Italy. Little did I know about what was going to happen

(📷 mine)
Pro-Russian president Yanukovych was ruling Ukraine at the time. Still, I decided to come back willing to invest my knowledge and skills into Ukraine's better future.

The prospect of Ukraine signing the Association agreement with the EU, promised by the government, gave me hope
On November 21, 2013, Yanukovych announced he was not going to sign the agreement with the EU. Pressure by Russia was the main reason.
This felt like a thunderstorm. Civil society activists decided to stage a spontaneous protest, and journalist @mefimus called everyone to Maidan
Read 17 tweets
20 Nov
Reading all the articles about a possible Russian new offensive in Ukraine, I can't help but wonder what the Kremlin is planning to achieve with it. It is already clear maintaining lands is much costlier than grabbing them - both in financial and political terms
Annexation of Crimea and occupation of parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions didn't make them more prosperous or developed, on the contrary. Especially occupied Donbas has become an unliveable and unsustainable black hole, so much worse than it was pre-2014
There is no chance an eventual Russian attempt to occupy more Ukrainian territory would be welcomed, in no Ukrainian region. Nothing even remotely similar to local support, like in Donbas, is possible. Everybody in Ukraine knows what Russia brings with it
Read 8 tweets
19 Nov
For the second time in two years, Russian officials try to censor/intimidate Italian journalists who publish articles, critical of the Kremlin. This time, Russian MFA spokeswoman Maria Zakharova sent an offensive letter to @repubblica editor-in-chief Maurizio Molinari
In response to Molinari's editorial, condemning Russian hybrid tactics, such as support of migrants' trafficking, military buildup at Ukraine's border and use of gas as a weapon, Zakharova adviced him to 'use copies of Repubblica to heat your house, if you don't like Russian gas'
Russian MFA spokeswoman described @repubblica editorial as "a rant", "a nauseating slander", "blatant lies", an illusion "built to "get into the good graces of Russophobic politicians ". It repeated its usual mantra about 'internal conflict' in Ukraine, etc
Read 6 tweets
18 Nov
I read and reread brilliant investigation by the @bellingcat about Ukrainian sting operation which aimed to arrest Russian Wagner mercenaries, but ultimately failed to do so. Despite this failure, the work done by Ukrainian intelligence is impressive 🧵…
Ukrainian intelligence used fake personas and email addresses to pose as recruiters for Russian oil companies in Syria and Venezuela, managing to attract applications from more than 100 Russian mercenaries who fought - and committed war crimes - in Donbas, Syria and elsewhere
Unsuspicious candidates sent to Ukrainian special services abundant evidence of their fighting as 'rebels' sent from Russia to Ukraine. Their war crimes included shooting down Ukrainian military planes and helicopters in Donbas. Some mentioned complicity in downing #MH17 flight
Read 12 tweets

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