The weekly update on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by our director, Raffaele Crocco.
A Ukrainian drone strikes a target, only 120 kilometres from Moscow. Five Russian aircraft carriers remain deployed in the Black Sea, with 32 Kalibr missiles ready to destroy Ukrainian territory. On day 375 of the Russian invasion, the limelight is taken over by our media’s perennial amazement at bombs and ordnance, capable of bringing horror even far from the hypothetical front line. Syria, Yemen, former Yugoslavia, Libya, all recent and current wars, seem not to exist or to have existed. We do not remember that, at war, people kill without rules and without honour, and we continue to feed amazement and indignation at the inevitable massacres. In Ukraine, in reality, only the weapons are the protagonists. The massive deployment of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea indicates to experts a probable, major offensive by the Kremlin’s army. The Ukrainian General Staff admits that the Russians are already advancing in the town of Bakhmut in the Donbas. According to CNN, it could capitulate in the next few hours.
Putin does not intend to hold back, quite the contrary. He badly digests Ukrainian resistance and the provocation of drone attacks. Even less, he puts up with Ukrainian actions on Russian territory. A group of armed men, about fifty in number, allegedly penetrated the Russian region of Bryansk, just across the border. They took hostage the inhabitants of a village and then disappeared. A demonstrative action, which, however, according to some sources, was the work of a Russian extreme right-wing formation, opposed to Putin.
These are intolerable situations for the Kremlin leader, so he is on the offensive, not only militarily, but politically. Having gained Beijing’s support once again, he is shaping the Greater Russia project beyond the attack on Kyiv. He seems to want to create a vast territory, surrounded by satellite states, capable of acting as a buffer to the enemy. Thus, the Moldovan nightmares in these hours are turning into reality. The complex balances born of post-Soviet independence are breaking down. In recent weeks, hundreds of protesters from the pro-Russian party Sor have taken to the streets in the capital, Chisinau. They want the government led by Maia Sandu to resign and demand early elections. They even tried to break into the government building: they were stopped.
Vadim Fotescu, Member of Parliament for Sor, explained that the uprising stems from the high utility bills. Moreover, those protesting ask the government ‘to observe neutrality, as written in the constitution, so that our country is not dragged into war operations’. From the government comes another version. The Action and Solidarity Party denounces yet another attempt to ‘destabilise the situation’, which is already in the balance. For three decades, Moldova has been living the contradiction of Transnistria, a state recognised only by Russia, created as an enclave by an army of the former Soviet army, in 1991. A situation that was never resolved, and one which could become the fuse for a new clash.
Cover image: Map of Ukraine (wikicommons)