Saturday 4th of February 2023

it's all about him......

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has told British broadcaster Piers Morgan that inflation and coronavirus are “nothing” compared to Ukraine’s struggle, and Americans should support aid for Kiev “until we win.”

As the US grapples with a 40-year-high inflation rate and record gas prices, multiple polls name these economic concerns as more pressing among Americans than the conflict in Ukraine. Furthermore, nearly five times as many people in the US blame President Joe Biden’s policies for their misfortune as Russian President Vladimir Putin, regardless of the Biden administration’s efforts to brand the soaring cost of living as “Putin’s price hike.”

Speaking to Morgan in a recently-taped TV interview, Zelensky reminded Americans fed up with the flow of aid to Ukraine – more than $56 billion since February – that both countries are “fighting for absolutely communal values.”

“The war in Ukraine is still the war against those values that are professed in the United States and in Europe,” he told Morgan, according to a writeup in the New York Post. “We are giving our lives for your values and the joint security of the world.”

“Therefore, inflation is nothing, Covid is nothing,” he continued. “These things are secondary. The most important thing is to survive and preserve your life, your family, and your country. Therefore, at the moment we are doing this job, but the West has to help us.”

Kiev has said that it needs up to $65 billion in foreign aid this year just to stay afloat, while Zelensky’s advisers have requested increasingly massive arms donations from the West. Earlier this month, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov said that Ukraine’s military needs at least 100 US-made HIMARS rocket artillery systems – around a third of the US’ entire stockpile – to conduct an “effective counteroffensive” against Russian forces.

Zelensky told Morgan that he expects unlimited support from the West, declaring that “the help will not be sufficient until the war is over, and until we win.”

While a majority of Republican lawmakers voted with their Democratic colleagues in May to allocate $43 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine, there are signs that conservatives are growing tired of underwriting Zelensky’s military. Former President Donald Trump has accused Biden of walking the US into “World War Three,” while conservative pundit Tucker Carlson has condemned his administration for propping up a corrupt” and “tyrannical” US “client state.” 

Despite the misgivings of the American right, the US will likely continue to bankroll Ukraine’s military. Together with G7 leaders, Biden pledged last month to keep the money and weapons flowing “for as long as it takes,” while National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan declared last week that no matter how low public support falls at home, there is a “reservoir” of “deep and sustainable support” in the White House and Congress to “to re-up those resources should it become necessary.”

 

 

READ MORE:

https://www.rt.com/news/559736-zelensky-piers-morgan-inflation/

 

 

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slow grind.....

Wagner Group troops have captured the strategic village of Klescheevka in Russia’s Donetsk Region from Ukrainian forces, the head of the private military company Yevgeny Prigozhin has said.

“One can safely say that the settlement of Kleshcheevka, which is one of the important suburbs of Bakhmut (called Artymovsk in Russia), has been completely taken under control by the Wagner PMC units,” Prigozhin claimed in a statement distributed by his press service on Thursday.

But while Kleshcheevka has been reportedly “liberated,” intense fighting continues around the settlement, with “the opponent clinging on to every meter of land,” he pointed out.

The Russian Defense Ministry hasn’t yet commented on the situation in Kleshcheevka.

“Contrary to some opinions that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are fleeing Artyomovsk, this is not the case,” Prigozhin said, but still expressed confidence that Artyomovsk, which is a major Ukrainian stronghold and logistics hub “will be captured.”

Klescheevka is located around 9km southwest of Bakhmut. The village, which was populated by just over 500 people before the conflict, had been heavily fortified by the Ukrainian military.

The claimed capture of Klescheevka follows the Russian takeover of the key town of Soledar last week as well as several other settlements in the area as part of the operation to encircle Artyomovsk.

The Russia Defense Ministry praised “the courageous and selfless actions” of the Wagner Group’s strike teams during the battle for Soledar, but pointed out that victory was achieved by a “mixed group of forces,” including aviation and artillery units.

Late last year, the US Department of Commerce labeled the Wagner Group “one of the most notorious mercenary organizations in the world” and put it on the Military End User List, which could potentially restrict the company’s access to any technology made with American equipment anywhere in the world.

Prigozhin ironically reacted to the move by saying that it will definitely make it tougher for the Wagner Group to get ammunition and repair the M-777 howitzers and other US-supplied weapons that its troops have allegedly seized.

 

READ MORE:

https://www.rt.com/russia/570124-klescheevka-donbass-wagner-ukraine/

 

 

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fighting his own.....

 

ALJAZEERA

 

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy renews war on corruption amid scandals

President promises changes to government after reports of corruption at defence and infrastructure ministries.

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said he will make changes to the government and security services as part of a renewed crackdown on corruption, nearly a year since Russia invaded the country.

In his nightly video address on Monday, Zelenskyy did not name the officials who would be replaced but indicated the reshuffle was imminent.

“There are already personnel decisions — some today, some tomorrow — regarding officials of various levels in ministries and other central government structures, as well as in the regions and in the law enforcement system,” the president said.

Zelenskyy was elected in a landslide in 2019 on promises to reform the government and tackle corruption, which plagued the country long before Moscow sent its troops across the border on February 24 last year.

Ukraine ranked 122 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index in 2021.

Over the weekend, it emerged that the defence ministry had been buying food for soldiers at inflated prices, raising questions about government procurement processes

On Sunday, anticorruption police said they had detained the deputy infrastructure minister on suspicion of receiving a $400,000 kickback to facilitate the import of generators into wartime Ukraine last September. The deputy minister was also removed from his post.

Ukrainian media have reported that a number of cabinet ministers and senior officials could be sacked as Zelenskyy moves to streamline the government.

One of the president’s top allies earlier said corrupt officials would be “actively” jailed.

Zelenskyy also announced on Monday that government officials would be banned from making personal trips abroad.

The move followed revelations that Deputy Prosecutor General Oleksiy Symonenko had gone on holiday to Spain in December and January using a Mercedes belonging to a Lviv businessman. Citing sources in law enforcement, online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda reported that Symonenko had resigned.

A committee of parliament agreed on Monday to toughen regulations on procurement and make some prices public during times of conflict.

Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov, quoted by media, told the committee that the reports of corruption at the ministry were based on a “technical error” with no money changing hands.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau said it was investigating the possible crime of appropriation of funds or abuse of power with regard to the procurement, which it said was valued at more than 13 billion Ukrainian hryvnias ($352m).

Ukraine’s economy shrank by a third last year, and the country is hugely dependent on Western financial aid. Donors, including the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, have repeatedly asked for more transparency and better governance.

 

READ MORE: 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/1/24/ukraines-zelenskyy-renews-war-on-corruption-amid-scandals

 

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