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The new situation with the war in Ukraine

• After failing to invade the entire country, during the first week of April Russian troops withdrew from the region near the capital Kyiv and focused instead in Donbas, the province in the east of the country that has strong cultural ties with Russia.

• Investigations were launched by international justice agencies regarding the atrocities against the civilian population in cities that Russian troops have abandoned. At the same time, new videos of Ukrainian soldiers executing Russian prisoners of war continue to surface.

• To counteract censorship in Russia, the Ukrainian army has begun to use facial recognition techniques to identify Russian soldiers who have died and send photos of their corpses to their relatives through social platforms and thus cause a social and media stir in Russia. It is estimated that 15,000 Russian soldiers have already died since the beginning of the invasion on February 24, about 10,000 from Ukraine and 30,000 civilians.

• Everything seems to indicate that Sweden and Finland are going to join NATO. A clear majority of the population wants this to happen and there is a strong consensus of the political parties in the Parliament of both countries about that. The announcement could come in mid-May and this would represent one of the biggest geopolitical changes in history regarding the relationship between NATO and Russia. The Putin government has already threatened five times both Nordic countries that this would have serious political and military consequences.

• The big countries of the European Union, including Germany, are determined to move towards a ban on importing Russian oil and gas. However, many Central European countries have said that they plan to continue to rely on Russia and that they will also do so by paying for it in Russian Rubles, as the Kremlin has demanded after the economic sanctions imposed by the West.

• Ukraine has presumably already attacked at least five military depots on Russian territory; the last of them, a military research center, was located just 200 km away from Moscow. Britain has said that these attacks are legitimate, to which Russia answered by announcing that they might now bomb sites where Ukraine's government leaders are gathering, including President Zelensky.

• Western sources claim that Russia is planning to organize a referendum in the areas it controls militarily in eastern Ukraine to validate the creation of additional separatist republics and eventually annex them as happened with Crimea in 2014.

• Mariupol is a ruined city under total control of the Russian army and there are only about a thousand Ukrainian soldiers left, most of them from the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, who have barricaded themselves together with the civilian population in the underground of a steel plant. Russia wants to use them for a prisoner swap with Ukraine, so Putin has not ordered a final attack against this place.

• This week there were two explosions against government buildings in the pro-Russian separatist republic of Transnistria, located in eastern Moldova. This situation is extremely dangerous since Russia has military bases there and could use these events as an excuse to launch an invasion of this small country located between Romania and Ukraine, and which has become in the last years an ally of the European Union.

• There are strong suspicions that Putin could be seriously ill because of cancer. It has been revealed that in recent years a medical team of experts on this subject has followed him on every trip he has made outside of Russia. These rumors have been strengthened as a result of several recent videos in which the Russian president is seen very weakened.

The possibility that a direct war breaks out between NATO and Russia continues to increase every day. Even now, senior officials on both sides are publicly acknowledging it, and this is always a real cause for concern because it serves to validate any future offensive action that might lead towards this outcome.


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