Russia-Ukraine: Two years of war
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Ukraine shows success with long-range drone attacks against Russia
Ukraine's progress in war | Europe In: 60 | GZERO Media

Ukraine shows success with long-range drone attacks against Russia

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on European politics.

How is Ukraine doing in the war?

Well, they seem to be making incremental gains on the ground in the south of Ukraine against the Russian occupation forces. But most spectacular, of course, have been the successes they've had with long-range drone attacks in big numbers, where they have been successful in attacking Russian air bases 700 kilometers away from the territory of Ukraine, causing significant damage to significant Russian assets. That's a new dimension of the war. And it shows that Ukraine has the ability to develop new technology on its own, independent of the very important support that they're getting from Europe and from the United States.

Photo composite of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping

Luisa Vieira

What We’re Watching: China’s budding diplomacy, Biden’s border control, Russia’s big plans

What’s next for Russia & China?

Russia and China broadcast their friendship to the world on Wednesday as the West freaked out about the possibility of Beijing turning to arm Moscow’s troops in Ukraine. After meeting Chinese top diplomat Wang Yi in the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin said that strong Russia-China ties are “important for stabilizing the international situation.” (A tad rich coming from the guy who upended geopolitics by invading Ukraine a year ago.) Putin also confirmed that Xi Jinping would visit Moscow for a summit in the coming months. Wang, for his part, clarified that while their famous partnership “without limits” is not directed against any other nation, it certainly should not be subject to external pressure. He said both countries support “multipolarity and democratization of international relations” – in other words, not a US-led liberal international order. Still, no matter what Western governments say, the Chinese are not so willing to break ties with the US and its allies, mainly because Beijing's trade relations are too important. Meanwhile, we wonder whether the current status of the Russia-China relationship — friends with benefits but complicated — will blossom into a marriage (of convenience) or end in a bad breakup. What we know for sure is that China is getting more involved in the Ukraine conflict generally. Learn more here.

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Ukraine & Moldova are on the path to EU membership
EU Decision to Grant Ukraine & Moldova Status: Will Shape Policies | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

Ukraine & Moldova are on the path to EU membership

Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, shares his perspective from Hostomel Airport, just outside of Kyiv.

What's going to be the impact of the EU decision to grant Ukraine and Moldova the status of candidate countries?

Well, it is a momentous decision because it opens the door for EU membership, something that quite a number of the EU member states have been reluctant to discuss previously, because they considered rightly to be such an enormous undertaking for the future, that it would be sort of too much for the European Union to be able to do in the years ahead. But now that decision will be taken, and that is something that will shape policies for quite some time to come. There's no guarantee. Things can go wrong in the meantime. Turkey is an example of that. And it's a long slog ahead to align with all of the policies and the practices of the European Union in the years ahead. Part of that has already been done with the free trade agreement, the DCFTA, that was after some controversy, to put it very mildly, signed in 2014, but now the door will be open and the road to EU membership will begin. But before that, need to say, the war that was begun here at this very spot, will have to be won. And we are very far from that as of yet.

Ukrainian kids celebrate International Children's Day In Krakow, Poland.

Beata Zawrzel via Reuters Connect

War, reforms & bureaucracy will decide Ukraine’s EU bid

It’s at war for its survival, yet Ukraine’s candidacy for European Union membership has just been endorsed. While success would be a game-changer for Kyiv, getting there won’t be easy, given the required internal reforms, international bureaucracy, and shifting geopolitics.

The European Commission is clear that Ukraine must carry out serious reforms to join the bloc, but some tough questions need to be answered. Does Ukraine deserve to be an EU member? What about the stringent process and requirements? Is there a natural tie-in to NATO membership? And what are the politics at play, given that Moldova, another former Soviet republic Russia considers to be in its sphere of influence, has been approved, while Georgia has not.

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Sri Lankan workers protest in front of the president's office at Colombo.

Tharaka Basnayaka via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: Sri Lanka on strike, trouble in Transnistria, Salvadorans back Bukele

Sri Lankans strike to get president out

Virtually all business activity in Sri Lanka ground to a halt on Thursday, as workers went on a nationwide strike to demand the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. For weeks, Sri Lankans have been protesting amid the country’s growing economic and political crisis. Sri Lanka is on the brink of bankruptcy, having already defaulted on its sovereign debt and depleted its foreign currency reserves used for food and fuel purchases. Officials have been trying to get some relief from China and the International Monetary Fund, but Beijing will only refinance, and the IMF requires deep economic reforms. Meanwhile, trade unions say they'll strike permanently if Rajapaksa doesn't step down by May 6. The president is willing to appoint a new interim government and even drop his brother Mahinda as PM, but Mahinda himself has refused to resign. The opposition, which is close to getting a no-confidence vote to remove both Rajapaksas, hopes to appease Sri Lankans who have lost faith in their political leadership.

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A sign with a hammer and sickle stands in Tiraspol, capital of Transnistria.

Hannah Wagner/dpa

WhAt iS a “TrANsnisTriA”?

As the war in Ukraine rages on, there’s a certain Russian-backed separatist enclave that may soon be in the headlines, and it’s not the Donbas.

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What We're Watching: Bolsonaro's setback, Western Sahara flare-up, Moldova's new president

Bolsonaro allies suffer in local elections: Elections haven't brought great news for Brazil's far-right president Jair Bolsonaro lately. First his gringo pal and ideological trailblazer Donald Trump lost his re-election bid up North. Then, this past weekend, dozens of candidates whom Bolsonaro supported in Brazil's local elections failed to win outright or even make it to runoffs. According to one tally (Portuguese) by the daily Estado de São Paulo, only 9 of the 59 candidates whom the president supported advanced in any way. This is the first Brazilian election to gauge the national mood since the onset of the coronavirus — which has taken more lives in Brazil than anywhere except the US. Overall, incumbent politicians and traditional parties generally fared well. Does that mean the anti-establishment furor that swept Bolsonaro to power in 2018 is fading? It's hard to say just yet — but as Bolsonaro begins to position himself for re-election in 2022, these election results will surely be on his mind, and ours.

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