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Surprise, Vladimir Putin: Why Ukrainians Resisted Russian "Liberation" | Ivan Krastev | GZERO World

Surprise, Vladimir Putin: Why Ukrainians resisted Russian "liberation"

Vladimir Putin has made many mistakes in Ukraine, but for political scientist Ivan Krastev, the biggest one was thinking Ukrainians would welcome the Russian invasion.

Perhaps he expected it would be like when he annexed Crimea, but Ukraine clearly did not want to be "liberated," Krastev tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Why? For one thing, he says that Ukrainian public opinion toward Russia has changed a lot since 2014. For another, Putin loves to talk about feeling humiliated but he cares little about humiliating others.

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Russia Escalates in Donbas in Push To Take Eastern Ukraine | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Russia escalates in Donbas in push to take eastern Ukraine

As Russia is launching a new phase of war, will eastern Ukraine fall? What is the West's last resort if the war further escalates? With US airlines dropping mask requirements for passengers, is this a bold move? Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

As Russia is launching a new phase of war, will eastern Ukraine fall?

Well, first of all, they said they were going to launch the new phase like a few weeks ago. What gives? It's like weeks for the new phase but yeah, they're now really moving into military escalation across the Donbas. Remember, this is the territory that the Russians have declared, recognized as independent. It's about two-thirds more than the territory they had occupied from 2014 until just before the war started, February 24th. And yeah, the Russians clearly have learned some lessons from mistakes that were made in the last eight weeks of the war. They've got new leadership on the ground. They've sent some additional troops, but they also have poor morale. The troops have been depleted and the Ukrainians have an awful lot of military capability. I'll tell you, I think it's very unlikely that east Ukraine will fall by May 9th, which is when Putin wants to make his announcement of victory on Victory Day. I think eventually yes, it's more likely than not that eastern Ukraine will fall, but this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. And that's a very sad thing.

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Putin greets Orbán during their meeting at the Kremlin in 2018.

Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Hungary hearts Russian gas, Israeli government in trouble, Ukrainian exodus

Hungry for Russian gas, Budapest will pay in rubles

Fresh off his decisive election victory last weekend, Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán broke with the rest of the EU on a key point of pressure against Moscow on Wednesday, saying he’s ready to pay for Russian natural gas in rubles if the Kremlin asks him to. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently threatened to cut off gas entirely to the EU — which relies on Russia for 40 percent of its supplies — unless member states pay for the stuff using Russian currency. Although the Brussels says no way, it’s ultimately up to each individual country to decide what it wants to do. Orbán, among the most Russia-friendly leaders in the EU, also runs a country that depends entirely on Kremlin-exported gas. Still, while Budapest may be going rogue against the rest of the EU on this, it wouldn’t make much of a financial difference for Moscow: Hungary accounts for just 3% of Russia’s gas exports to the continent. Meanwhile, stricter US sanctions — which include Russia’s largest bank since Wednesday — are pushing the country closer to a technical default on its sovereign debt.

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