rnd's website logothe war in Ukraine

Since Twitter is now blocked by some ISPs in Russia, this page will link to nitter.net, a third-party viewer, to display people's tweets.

So, yeah, apparently our government, after weeks of reassuring everyone that there will be no invasion, after several increasingly obviously false-flag attacks on the "separatist" Donbass republics and areas within the Russian border, decided to actually do an invasion.

If the Russian government and media is to be believed, then Ukraine deliberately caused a series of attacks in the "separatist"-controlled East right when hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers were performing military drills next to Russia and Belarus' border with Ukraine, right when everybody else was afraid these forces will invade. (Which, of course, they eventually did.)

Russian position also suffers from bad timing in another way: if metadata on several of the declarations by the Donetsk and Luhansk leaders is to be believed, then it turns out they recorded the evacuation orders two days beforehand on the 16th of February, at a time before the major attacks occurred. Similarly, Russian TV news anchor Vladimir Soloviev tweeted about an explosion in the Donetsk People's Republic as if it happened on Thursday, whereas it actually happened on Friday, using "Amplifr", a social media scheduling service.

On the 21st of February, Putin held a speech (video with subtitles) in which he spent a substantial amount of time claiming common Russian nationalist talking points about Ukraine -- that Ukraine is not a legitimate country, that it was "created" by the Soviet Union, that Ukrainians seeking to be politically and culturally independent from Russia are far-right nationalists (occasional reminder that, between 2014 and 2022, Ukrainian nationalist movements have had single-digit poll results, and LGBT people have significantly more rights in Ukraine compared to Russia), which ended with a declaration of recognition for the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, the two Russia-backed states formed in the east of Ukraine.

At first, when Putin signed the declarations to recognize the two separatist republics, everyone (including me) expected it to be a middle-of-the-road solution in which Russia continues to defend the "separatist" republics without sending its troops further into Ukraine's territory. Then the shellings started.

And in Russia, of course, it's not called a "war" or an "invasion", it's called a "special military operation", and anyone who spreads "false information" about it (which includes calling it a war or an invasion) is now being blocked both on the internet and in physical media. The "Echo of Moscow" radio station, which has only been previously shut down during the August Coup in 1991, is now shut down from radio broadcasting and blocked online -- its Twitter account now just posts headlines without any links.

Since then, despite claims of Russia only attacking military infrastructure, Russian attacks have hit schools, hospitals, kindergartens and civilian homes. Ukrainian forces, which have spent the last 8 years preparing for war, are repelling a lot of attacks (seems like Russia's military, despite superior firepower, is incompetently run).

The reaction from the rest of the world, particularly the U.S. and Europe, has been significant. New sanctions have been imposed, several of Russia's state-involved banks have been sanctioned or cut off from the SWIFT payment system, Germany's long-awaited Nord Stream 2 project has been cancelled and since filed for bankruptcy. Russian teams have been banned from major sports. The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution condemning the war, with only 5 countries voting against it: Russia, Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea and Syria. Meanwhile, Ukraine is gaining lots of financial and military support, is about to get candidate status in the European Union and even Hungary, otherwise one of the biggest supporters of Putin's policies and opponents of European ideals, voted in favor of it.

And the war is causing opposition and protests in Russia as well. Daily anti-war protests have happened in Moscow and other cities, with over 6000 people detained. Imprisoned opponent Alexey Navalny has similarly called for daily protests. TV host Ivan Urgant spoke out against the war on social media, and in response, his shows were removed from the schedule.

I'm pretty bad at providing regular updates on stuff, so instead I'll link to Meduza's English-language online coverage, which updates regularly.

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