by Raffaele Crocco

General Kyrylo Budanov, head of the military intelligence in Kyiv, said that Ukraine is in a military crisis. What many analysts have predicted is happening. Kyiv is short of men and can no longer withstand Russian pressure. It is not the entire front that is in danger, but in large areas, Putin’s army is advancing, thanks to the new tactic of small assault groups – five men at most – infiltrating between the lines and wreaking havoc. The Kyiv army retreated to more defensive positions to slow the Russian advance towards Kharkiv.

The villages of Lukiantsi and Vovchansk have been taken by Putin’s troops, as has Robotyne in the Zaporizhzhya region. This is of course bad news for Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky. He has cancelled the planned tour between Spain, Portugal and Belgium, while he is multiplying his appeals to his allies: “We need weapons to stop Putin.” The Russian president, on the other hand, seemed more optimistic. On the eve of his trip to China to meet President Xi Jinping, the Kremlin leader insisted that “all the goals Russia set itself with its intervention in Ukraine are being achieved”. Words that, paradoxically, appear to many to be a precondition for the opening of negotiations. Many observers argue that the Russian president now wants to achieve victories on the ground to be in a better position to open a future and inevitable negotiating table, as opposed to two years ago when Putin’s goal was to conquer as much Ukrainian territory as possible and overthrow Zelensky.

On the other hand, the need to negotiate at least an end to the fighting is becoming an international priority. An uncontrollable and dangerous situation of chaos is emerging in the countries of the region. In Georgia, street protests have exploded again after the parliament passed the law against ‘foreign influence’, backed by the pro-Russian Georgian Dream party. In Moldova, tensions continue over the unrecognised pro-Russian republic of Trans-Dyniester. On the other hand, the Baltic states are increasingly on alert, worried about possible military action by the Kremlin.

A real powder keg, therefore, could increase tensions between opposing blocs in the world. The pro-American and anti-American sides continue to dance in the Red Sea. The Houthis keep attacking merchant ships heading for Suez in the name of solidarity with the Palestinian people. And around Gaza, the macabre dance continues. Almost eight months after the beginning of this war, in the northern part of the Strip, in Jabalya, there are again fierce clashes in the expanded operation launched by the army against Hamas, which is regrouping, in the days that commemorate the ‘Nakba’, the catastrophe of the Palestinian exodus from Israel in 1948. Israeli military operations against Lebanon have continued, with the killing of a senior Hezbollah commander. The Shiite group responded by firing 60 rockets at northern Israel.

The military action continues despite Israel’s political crisis – both at home and abroad. Labour Defence Minister Yoav Gallant launched a direct and public attack on Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, arguing that Israel should not remain to govern the Strip after this war. Netanyahu’s response was succinct: “As long as Hamas remains in Gaza, no one else will govern the Strip: certainly not the Palestinian Authority.”

Beyond the declarations, the international community seems deadlocked, unable to find solutions. Solutions that are also lacking in Myanmar, where another part of the game between blocs is being played out. Once again, much is at stake: control of the Indo-Pacific, the country’s vast mineral resources, including rare earths, very cheap labour for big brands, and the trade in precious stones, valuable timber and drugs. The military coup of 2021, in which the junta was supported by China and Russia, destroyed the democratisation process that had been painstakingly initiated ten years earlier. The popular uprising has turned into a terrible civil war. At least 3 million people have been displaced and the humanitarian crisis has pushed nearly 18.6 million people into poverty. It is the fifth worst emergency in the world. Meanwhile, there is fighting. The rebels have captured many regions and towns. The junta effectively controls the central part of the country. During the week, the military attacked everywhere, dropping bombs in densely populated areas. They arrested civilians and used them as human shields, particularly in Magway region, Kachin State and Rakhine State. By the end of April, the army’s heavy and light artillery attacks killed more than 20 people and injured more than 70. Four children were among the dead and seven were injured.