Ukraine live briefing: Ukrainians mark Maidan uprising that ousted Putin ally, was precursor to warA Ukrainian serviceman kneels in front of a memorial dedicated to people who died in clashes with security forces during the Maidan protest movement. (Andrew Kravchenko/AP)
Ukrainians gathered Monday to commemorate a protest movement that began in November 2013 and led to the removal of a pro-Moscow president. The Maidan Revolution was followed by a proxy war with Russia, which was a precusor to the current conflict. President Volodymyr Zelensky used the occasion to elevate the spirits of his people, who have faced nearly nine months of brutal warfare and are now in the onset of winter.
“Today is the ninth anniversary of the beginning of Maidan — the Revolution of Dignity,” he said. “Now we have a historic opportunity to defend Ukrainian freedom once and for all.” In the capital, Kyiv, people visited memorials to commemorate those who died in a violent crackdown on demonstrators in Maidan Square in February 2014.
While Kyiv has notched significant recent victories against the Kremlin, the situation on the ground is grim, with the head of a major power provider predicting blackouts until at least the end of March. Meanwhile, Ukrainian prosecutors said that they had uncovered several suspected torture sites in Kherson after Russian forces retreated from the southern city.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
1. Key developmentsThe situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which has faced heavy shelling, continued to alarm international leaders. Zelensky said he spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron about radiation safety and the situation at Europe’s largest atomic energy station, as well as about European energy security. Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency toured the plant and determined
Zelensky said he spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron about radiation safety and the situation at Europe’s largest atomic energy station, as well as about European energy security. Experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency toured the plant and determined Monday that its six reactors remained intact despite heavy shelling.The Kremlin set up “pseudo-law enforcement agencies” in several buildings in Kherson during their occupation, where they allegedly illegally detained and tortured people, according to Ukrainian
, where they allegedly illegally detained and tortured people, according to Ukrainian investigators . Investigators found parts of rubber batons, a wooden bat, an apparatus allegedly used to torture civilians with electric current and bullets in the walls. The Washington Post could not immediately independently verify the claims, but U.N. officials have noted “patterns” of torture committed by Russia in Ukraine.
Systemic damage from a barrage of Russian strikes on Ukrainian energy infrastructure is now so severe that Zelensky is urging residents and businesses to be “very frugal” and spread their power consumption across the day to avoid outages during peak periods. The situation is particularly difficult in the capital Kyiv and surrounds, as well as the Vinnytsia, Sumy, Ternopil, Cherkasy, Odesa regions, he said.
2. Battleground updatesDays of shelling have caused widespread damage to the Zaporizhzhia plant, according to the U.N. nuclear watchdog. Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War
Analysts at the Institute for the Study of War said the artillery strikes are unlikely to penetrate the containment units protecting each nuclear reactor. But they do pose a threat to spent nuclear fuel storage facilities, “which could leak radioactive material and cause a radiological (as opposed to nuclear) disaster if compromised,” the Washington-based think tank said. Moscow and Kyiv have traded blame for the attacks. A radiological incident does not involve a nuclear explosion, but still produces radiation.
Ukrainian forces are conducting a military operation on the Kinburn Spit, the last piece of territory that Russian forces occupy in the Mykolaiv region. Seizing the spit would put Ukrainian forces in a better position to conduct operations on the east bank in the Kherson region, help reduce Russian strikes on the Ukrainian-controlled Black Sea coast and allow Ukraine to increase naval activity in the area, according to ISW.
3. Global impactThe Associated Press fired a reporter behind a widely circulated but inaccurate news alert and story suggesting Russia was responsible for a
suggesting Russia was responsible for a missile strike in Poland last week . James LaPorta, 35, was terminated after a brief probe, people at the news organization confirmed to The Post. Poland has accepted an offer from Germany to deploy Patriot missile defense systems on its territory following the incident, which raised fears of a spillover of the war into NATO territory.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin discussed Russia’s invasion during a Tuesday meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Wei Fenghe. The discussions “underscored how both the United States and China oppose the use of nuclear weapons or threats to use them,” the Pentagon said. The pair met on the sidelines of a meeting of regional defense ministers in Siem Reap, Cambodia.Moscow will not be invited to the 2023 Munich Security Conference, according to chairman Christoph Heusgen. “We will not give them a platform for their propaganda. We want to discuss Russia’s future with Russian opposition leaders and exiled people — THEIR voices need to be heard and amplified,” Heusgen
“We will not give them a platform for their propaganda. We want to discuss Russia’s future with Russian opposition leaders and exiled people — THEIR voices need to be heard and amplified,” Heusgen wrote on Twitter late Monday. Russia skipped the conference this year, which took place as it was amassing troops at Ukraine’s borders. The gathering was founded in the 1960s to provide a way for Western leaders to discuss security threats in an informal setting.Turkey reportedly summoned the Swedish ambassador in Ankara, aftera pro-Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) group staged a protest near Turkey’s embassy in Stockholm,
aftera pro-Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) group staged a protest near Turkey’s embassy in Stockholm, according to Reuters. The United States considers the PKK to be a terrorist organization. Sweden’s support for a PKK-affilated group has been a sticking point as Stockholm seeks to join NATO — a move which requires Turkey’s approval.
4. From our correspondents
What Russia has gained and lost so far in Ukraine, visualized.For weeks, Russia has struggled to make any territorial advances in Ukraine. Russian troops have retreated from key areas in the east and the south, most recently from the city of Kherson.
A Washington Post analysis of data from the Institute for the Study of War shows that, after aggressive advances in the first weeks of war, Russia hasn’t gained more than 1,000 square miles in a week since April, writes The Post’s Júlia Ledur.
After failing to seize the capital, Kyiv, in the early stages of the conflict, the Kremlin was left with “poorly equipped, poorly manned units that aren’t quite fulsome” in the field, said Max Bergmann, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Many of the resources are exhausted and they haven’t been rotated out.”