/ 09 May 2024

From Russia without love

Image source: Getty
Image source: Getty

The Squiz 

Ukrainian authorities say 2 men have been arrested and charged with treason over the latest plot to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky and 2 other senior Ukrainian officials. The men were colonels in Ukraine’s government protection unit – which is responsible for keeping officials safe – but they’re accused of working undercover as moles for the Russian state security service – aka the FSB. Their attempts to assassinate Zelensky involved searching for one of the President’s security guards who would be willing to kidnap and execute him. Ukrainian officials say the assassination plots were devised as “a gift to Putin” before the Russian President’s inauguration on Tuesday.

Not your standard gift…

Nope, and given the plots were foiled, Putin had to make do with a regular swearing-in ceremony at the Kremlin. Just to refresh your memory, this will be a historic fifth term for the 71yo as Russia’s leader after he won a general election in March with a landslide victory – which his critics say was a sham vote given he had no serious opposition. And although many world leaders – including Oz’s – boycotted Putin’s inauguration, the event did draw several of his allies. Speaking of… Chinese President Xi Jinping is in Europe this week, where he’s been trying to walk back claims his country is helping Russia in its war against Ukraine. At a press conference with French President/Ukrainian ally Emmanuel Macron, Xi said, “China is neither the creator of the crisis, nor a party to it”, and has “been actively contributing to reaching peace”.

What’s happening in the war?

Well, as Zelensky has been flagging for months, Ukraine is facing losses on the battlefield as its military deals with ammunition/weapons shortages while also waiting on aid packages to flow through from the US and other allies. And those frontline losses give the Kremlin another reason to celebrate tomorrow, as the country’s annual Victory Day parade kicks off. The celebration marks Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, but it’s taken on new meaning for Putin and his allies since the invasion of Ukraine. This year, Ukrainian tanks and military equipment seized by Russian forces will be on display in Moscow, with reports saying Putin is looking to push the message that his country is saving the world with its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

If you’re keen for a refresh on Putin’s rise to power, check out this Squiz Shortcut.

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