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Beginning of Putin’s End | Russia's Catastrophe & Ukraine's Advantage | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Beginning of Putin's end

On May 9, Vladimir Putin marked the 77th anniversary of Russia's Victory Day in World War II by co-opting its narrative to justify invading Ukraine and paint itself as a victim of Western aggression.

Russia, it seems, hasn't moved on much since 1945 — and still hangs on to perceived outside threats — like Finland and Sweden joining NATO. But if the West goes too far, there's a much bigger risk: World War III.

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer speaks to Michael McFaul, who knows a thing or two about Russia and Putin from his days as the former US ambassador in Moscow.

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Putin Couldn’t Declare Victory in Ukraine – So He Changed the “War” Objectives | GZERO World

Putin couldn't declare victory in Ukraine - so he changed the "war" objectives

For Michael McFaul, Vladimir Putin's May 9 Victory speech was a "nothing burger."

But there was something in there that signals his intentions in Ukraine, the former US ambassador to Russia tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

McFaul says Putin changed the "phraseology" he's been using for the last two months when referring to the Donbas, where perhaps he now knows he can't prevail.

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Putin Keeps His War Cards Close | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Putin keeps his war cards close

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hey, everybody, Ian Bremmer here, and a Quick Take to start off your week. It is, of course, May 9th, and that means Victory Day. It's when the Soviets were celebrating their defeat of the Nazis in World War II. The Russians of course, continued that after 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.

And today even more important in the context of Russia's invasion into Ukraine, not in any way victorious and Putin, wasn't trying to claim it was, rather, it was all about justifying what he referred to as a preemptive rebuff to NATO aggression. He talked about the Ukrainians as a Nazi regime, that they were trying to get nuclear weapons, that NATO and Ukraine were going to take Crimea back from Russia. All of which was made up from a whole cloth, but nonetheless was the basis of Putin's speech.

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Sri Lankan protesters demanding the president's resignation clash with police in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Tharaka Basnayak via Reuters.

What We're Watching: Sri Lanka's political turmoil, Putin's low-key Victory Day speech, drug cartel riots in Colombia

One Rajapaksa resigns in Sri Lanka

Following months of protests over government mismanagement and the country’s economic collapse, Sri Lanka’s embattled Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has announced his resignation. Violent clashes broke out in the capital city, Colombo, on Monday between anti-government protesters and supporters of the Rajapaksa regime, which is headed by the PM’s brother, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. At least 150 people were taken to hospital after authorities used heavy-handed tactics to try to disperse the demonstrators. This political shake-up comes amid unrest over soaring fuel and food prices and constant blackouts. Sri Lanka’s foreign currency reserves have entirely dried up, prompting Colombo to print more money, which further pushed prices up and the currency value down. The Rajapaksa brothers had overseen the country’s warming ties with China in recent years, which has seen Sri Lanka become embroiled in a relentless debt trap set out by Beijing. Until now, Mahinda Rajapaksa had refused to step down. We're watching to see if protesters go home, or if they continue demanding the ouster of his brother.

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Vladimir Putin watches a military parade on Victory Day in Moscow.

Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS

Putin declares ... nothing

In the end, Russian President Vladimir Putin threw the experts for a loop again.

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Annie Gugliotta

Victory Day in Russia?

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, speculation has grown about how Vladimir Putin will use the May 9 Victory Day celebration, which commemorates the Soviet triumph over Nazi invaders in 1945. Each year, Russia’s president makes a speech to mark the occasion. For obvious reasons, this year’s address will be analyzed line by line across Russia and around the world.

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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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