Tuesday Reads

irina vitalievna karkabi, Birth of Harmony

Irina Vitalievna Karkabi, Birth of Harmony

Good Afternoon!!

Ukraine continues to dominate the news as Putin levels cities with brutal attacks on civilians. How much longer will western government allow these war crimes to continue? President Voldymyr Zelenskyy continues to reach ask them for help. This morning he addressed the Canadian Parliament and once again begged for a no fly zone.  Tomorrow he will speak to the U.S. Congress.

Today the leaders of three NATO countries are traveling to Ukraine to meet with Zelenskyy.

The Guardian: Polish, Czech and Slovenian prime ministers travel to Kyiv.

The prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia are travelling to meet Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv even as pre-dawn Russian shelling killed more civilians in an apartment building in Ukraine’s capital.

In statements from their respective capitals, the three leaders said they would be offering their support to Ukraine’s president as representatives of the other 24 EU heads of state and government.

The move by Poland’s Mateusz Morawiecki, his Czech counterpart, Petr Fiala, and Slovenia’s Janez Janša was said to be an attempt to bolster Ukraine in its fight for its sovereignty. They will also meet the Ukrainian prime minister, Denys Shmyhal.

Fiala tweeted: “The aim of the visit is to express the European Union’s unequivocal support for Ukraine and its freedom and independence.

“At the same time, we will present a broad package of support for Ukraine and its citizens during the visit. The international community has also been informed of this visit by international organisations, including the United Nations.”

The announcement came as the emergency services in Kyiv said said two people had died in an attack on a 15-storey apartment building shortly before dawn on Tuesday.

The situation in Southern Ukraine is getting increasingly desperate.

The Washington Post: In embattled Mariupol, glimpses of devastation and misery emerge.

In the more than two weeks that it has been cut off from the outside world, Mariupol, the southern Ukrainian port city, has become synonymous with the horror of the Russian invasion.

It is a place of overflowing morgues, newly dug mass graves and bodies in some cases buried under rubble or left in the streets where they fell.

Alexander Roitburd

Painting by Alexander Roitburd

On Monday a convoy of more than 160 cars escaped Mariupol, the city council said on its Telegram channel. It was the first successful attempt to set up a “humanitarian corridor” out of the city, which at one time was home to as many as 400,000 people. But much needed aid was blocked Monday from getting in by Russian forces, Ukrainian officials said.

As conditions in the city have grown more dire and the death count has surged, word of the humanitarian catastrophe has leaked out through intermittent phone calls, shakily shot videos and testimony from the handful of aid groups still working in the city.

“People in Mariupol have endured a weeks-long life-and-death nightmare,” said Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, whose staff was trapped in the city. ICRC officials warned that time was running out for the civilians who remain there.

“In the city center, it’s a real meat grinder: This land is soaked in blood, bitterness and despair,” one Mariupol citizen said in a video posted online Sunday. The video showed empty streets, blocks of broken windows and stores stripped of food by starving citizens. It lingered over men cooking their dinner over a campfire in a city that has endured subzero temperatures and nearly two weeks without heat or water.

“The world doesn’t know what’s happening here,” the narrator said as he navigated past blown out buildings. “It’s terrible.”

Read the rest and see photos of the carnage at the WaPo link.

The Guardian: ‘We’re living a nightmare’: life in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine.

Russian soldiers patrol the streets of Berdyansk in cars and armoured vehicles marked with the “Z” symbol that denotes the Russian occupying force.

Local government officials in this city in southern Ukraine, which has been controlled by Russian troops for the past two weeks, have been kicked out of their offices, and the local radio station plays Soviet ballads and Russian pop songs, interspersed with excerpts from Vladimir Putin’s speeches and news items about Ukraine being “liberated from Nazis.”

“We feel like we’re living a nightmare, and we don’t know when this awful dream will end,” said one local councillor in the city, who asked to remain anonymous, citing security fears. “We still can’t believe that this could have happened.”

Marie Bashkirtseff, spring

Spring, by Marie Bashkirtseff

As international focus remains on Kharkiv, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities that have come under heavy Russian bombardment, there is a less violent but no less important battle for Ukraine’s future going on in a stretch of southern Ukraine that came under Russian control in the first days of the war, without major fighting.

Between Mariupol and Mykolaiv, both of which have come under Russian air attack, there are a number of sizable Ukrainian towns currently under Russian occupation.

In Berdyansk, a port city to the west of Mariupol with a population of a little over 100,000, the majority of city councillors have remained loyal to Ukraine. They continue to run the city, in defiance of the Russian occupation. However, the Russians may be about to transition to more violent methods.

In nearby Melitopol, the similarly defiant mayor was reportedly kidnapped by Russian soldiers on Friday night, marched from his office with a bag over his head, and has not been heard from since.

From The Daily Beast podcast which you can listen to at the link: Putin’s Own Soldiers Are Refusing to Fight in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has two options at this point, says Ukrainian diplomat Olexander Scherba: Either he destroys Ukraine and takes its cities and then withdraws, or “he withdraws without doing that because he cannot accomplish anything here.”

Putin may not realize it, but “everyone outside this very close circle around Putin understands that this campaign is going down the drain,” Scherba adds on this episode The New Abnormal. “The [Ukrainian] soldiers are ready to fight until the last drop of blood here and Russian soldiers increasingly are clueless about what they’re doing here.”

Not only are they clueless, but they’re simply refusing to fight, Scherba, who is currently in western Ukraine, tells co-host Molly-Jong-Fast. He shares that soldiers in Crimea refused to be deployed when they discovered they were ordered to take Odessa, and intercepts of communication between soldiers in Ukrainian cities and their parents indicate that they’re spooked by how many of their own have died.

But we should still “assume the worst,” he says, sharing his opinion on the one thing that Ukraine needs from the U.S. to win.

Three more Ukraine stories to check out:

The Washington Post: How Kyiv’s outgunned defenders have kept Russian forces from capturing the capital.

The New York Times: Russia Deploys a Mystery Munition in Ukraine.

CNN: White House under pressure from Congress and Zelensky to find ways to deliver Soviet-made weapons to Ukraine.

Yesterday, Russian TV producer Marina Ovsyannikova staged a dramatic live protest.

Early this morning, The Washington Post reported that, according to her lawyers, she had disappeared overnight, but later on she did appear in court. The Hill: Russian TV employee who protested Ukraine war on air appears in court.

The Russian journalist who held up an anti-war sign during a state-run news broadcast in Russia appeared in court on Tuesday to be tried on a misdemeanor charge.

Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at the news broadcast service Channel One, appeared in court with her lawyer, according to a series of tweets from Max Seddon, a Financial Times reporter in Moscow.

Ovsyannikova faces up to 10 days in jail, Seddon said, because she is not being charged under the “Fake News” law the Russian parliament passed after the invasion of Ukraine, which can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison….

Russia has enforced strict laws that prohibits news services from even calling the conflict in Ukraine a war, instead publications and channels must refer to it as a “special operation.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday expressed gratitude for Ovsyannikova’s protest, saying he was “grateful to those Russians who do not stop trying to convey the truth.”

Maybe the Russians are afraid of coming down too hard on her after all the publicity? Raw Story reports on the Russian public reaction to the protest: Russian State TV protest ‘sent shockwaves through all of Russian society’ says American on the ground.

Yakov Kronrod went back to Russia to care for his mother months before the invasion of Ukraine, so he was on the ground watching as a Channel One editor took the bold move to stage a protest on live television….

Victor Zaretsky

By Victor Zaretsky

According to Kronrod, even pro-Putin outlets have reported on the story, he said, delivering her message even farther to more people.

“It sends shock waves through all of Russian society. Yandex News had a story about it, and they rarely have anything that’s against the main narrative,” said Kronrod. “Her Facebook page was getting thousands of people commenting every minute. Literally, it exploded. Everyone was texting each other, calling each other saying, did you see? Did you see what happened? And many of the human rights activists that I’m talking to feel this may very well be the start of the wave to see someone like that Channel 1 has 250 million viewers, it’s the number one watched station by most common Russians. For a lot of Russians, this was the first time they saw any dissenting voice.”

Watch Konrad’s interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper at the Raw Story link.

At The Daily Beast, Julia Davis has more on Russia’s crazy state TV: Wild Kremlin TV Hosts Threaten the U.S. With Nuclear Strikes Unless Sanctions End and Reparations Are Paid. It’s a long piece that is well worth reading in full. Here’s a sampling of the insanity:

In the surreal world of Russian state television, Russia is about to prevail in its war against Ukraine, which is being presented as a battle against the United States and NATO. According to top Kremlin propagandists, it’s only a matter of time before the West admits its defeat and pays reparations to Moscow or risks a devastating nuclear strike….

In recent days, Russian state television regressed from Orwellian lies to Kafkaesque nightmares, as pundits started to promote the idea of executing Ukrainians resisting Putin’s war of aggression by hanging. They noted that the so-called “constitution” of the rogue “republics” created in Ukraine by Russian forces conveniently allows for the death penalty. Last Thursday on The Evening With Vladimir Soloviev, after listening to other pundits and experts endorse the idea of executing Ukrainian citizens by hanging, doctor of political sciences Elena G. Ponomareva argued: “Never let morality prevent you from undertaking correct actions. I understand the importance of a humanitarian component… but morality shouldn’t get in the way.”

Sunday’s Vesti Nedeli hosted by Dmitry Kiselyov continued the theme of public hangings, broadcasting the scenes from the public execution of German Nazi soldiers on Kyiv’s Independence Square in 1946. The segment was entitled “Denazification of Ukraine—the new opportunities for growth” and appeared to serve as a tool to desensitize the Russian population for the grotesque war trials and executions the Kremlin is reportedly planning to conduct in Ukraine, perhaps in the same public square captured in the historical video.

Bloomberg previously reported that, according to an unnamed European intelligence official, Russia’s intelligence agency, the Federal Security Service, has drafted plans for public executions in Ukraine after cities are captured. Russian state media appears to be laying the groundwork to normalize such an idea, in order to make it seem acceptable to average Russians.

Three Graces, Irina Vitalievna Karkabi, 1960

Three Graces, Irina Vitalievna Karkabi, 1960

Back in the USA, some January 6 news broke late last night in the case against Proud Boy Enrique Tarrio. The New York Times: Document in Jan. 6 Case Shows Plan to Storm Government Buildings.

A document found by federal prosecutors in the possession of a far-right leader contained a detailed plan to surveil and storm government buildings around the Capitol on Jan. 6 last year, people familiar with the document said on Monday.

The document, titled “1776 Returns,” was cited by prosecutors last week in charging the far-right leader, Enrique Tarrio, the former head of the Proud Boys extremist group, with conspiracy. The indictment of Mr. Tarrio described the document in general terms, but the people familiar with it added substantial new details about the scope and complexity of the plan it set out for directing an effort to occupy six House and Senate office buildings and the Supreme Court last Jan. 6.

The document does not specifically mention an attack on the Capitol building itself. But in targeting high-profile government buildings in the immediate area and in the detailed timeline it set out, the plan closely resembles what actually unfolded when the Capitol was stormed by a pro-Trump mob intent on disrupting congressional certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Many questions remain about the document, including who wrote it and how it made its way to Mr. Tarrio, according to prosecutors, on Dec. 30, 2020, as President Donald J. Trump was engaged in a series of overlapping schemes to keep himself in power. The people familiar with the document said other evidence the government has gathered suggests that it may have been provided to Mr. Tarrio by one of his girlfriends at the time.

Prosecutors have not accused Mr. Tarrio of using the document to guide the actions of the Proud Boys who played a central role in the Capitol attack. Nor do the charges against him offer any evidence that he shared the document with his five co-defendants: Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, Charles Donohoe and Dominic Pezzola.

But the document could help explain why prosecutors chose to charge Mr. Tarrio with conspiracy, even though he was not at the Capitol during the attack. And it appears to be the first time that prosecutors have sought to use evidence of a specific written plan to storm and occupy government buildings in their wide-ranging investigation into the attack and what ledTh up to it.

Read the rest at the NYT.

That’s it for me today. What stories are you following?

16 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a good day today, Sky Dancers!

    • dakinikat says:

      I love your painting selection today! I’m still worried about Brittney Griner. It looks like Marina is at least getting some leniency unless she gets charged under that new act.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Robert Costa at CBS News: In private speech, Romney warns of “extraordinary challenge” to preserve American democracy.

    McLean, Virginia — Senator Mitt Romney, of Utah, offered more than 200 Republican donors a stark message on the fragility of American democracy during private remarks on Monday night at a fundraiser in Northern Virginia.

    According to five attendees, Romney told the crowd that he has a chart in his Senate office tracing the history of civilizations over the past 4,000 years. He said it is a reminder of how they can rise and collapse, and of how unusual American democracy is in global history.

    From the Mongol Empire to the Roman Empire, Romney said, autocracy is the chart’s “default setting,” with authoritarian leaders at every turn.

    “We are really the only significant experiment in democracy, and preserving liberal democracy is an extraordinary challenge,” Romney said, according to the attendees, who gathered at the Hilton Hotel in McLean.

    Attendees described Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee, as delivering the remarks as a warning for the group, which included many longtime members of the Republican establishment, as the U.S. confronts Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and as former President Donald Trump continues to exert power inside the Republican Party.

    Romney was the introductory speaker at a closed fundraiser for Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming.

  3. bostonboomer says:

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Notably missing from this list is supposed billionaire Donald Trump. I wonder why?

  5. bostonboomer says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

  7. dakinikat says:

    Hey Putin! Here are your NAZIs!

  8. NW Luna says:

    • NW Luna says:

      In the UK we are registered as a not-for-profit organization as Network for Animals Limited and registered as a charity with the name Network for Animals Charitable Trust (registered charity number 1142700).

      Network for Animals became a registered charity in the United States on July 17, 2014 (as Network for Animals USA, Inc.) It is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization (tax ID# 47-1431869), donations made to it are tax-deductible to the full extent provided by law.