How the international media covered the Russo-Ukrainian war, April 27

Anton Semyzhenko

Several Russian oligarchs, as well as Ukrainian one Dmytro Firtash, are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the services of American PR people to convince the West that they have nothing to do with the current Russian government. The purpose of this, according to Politico, is not to fall into the sanctions lists of the West. Leonid (now Leonard) Blavatnik is most actively opposed to this. Born in Odessa, he emigrated to the United States during his student years. However, he conducted active business in Russia ― in particular, in the aluminum industry. Most of Blavatnikʼs fortune is now in the United States, including a stake in Warner Music. Rightly fearing the closure of his American business, Blavatnik uses the services of one of the most expensive PR companies in the world Hill + Knowlton. The company is now actively sending letters to journalists who have written or are writing about the Kremlin oligarchs, trying to convince that Blavatnik is not in that group. According to Politico, Firtash paid Davis Goldberg & Dalper $150,000 for a six-month contract that expires on October 31. Thanks to the press releases of American PR people, the businessman appears not as a former mediator between Gazprom and Naftogaz, but as a fighter for the freedom of Ukraine. The sanctions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine against him are not mentioned.

The future of the democratic world is now determined by "an anonymous soldier, a shameless politician and a soulless leader," said influential columnist Thomas Friedman, who gave this title to his column in The New York Times. By nameless soldiers, Friedman means Ukrainians ― both the military, who are now holding the front against Russia, and the countless civilians who are helping Ukraine survive the war. "Including babushkas who help to adjust the fire using old mobile phones," the columnist said. By shameless politician, he means the leader of the Republican majority in the US House, Kevin McCarthy, who was caught lying that he allegedly did not tell Donald Trump about his resignation shortly after the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2020. And the soulless leader is Putin, who wants to prove at all costs that the West is weak and divided, and that Ukraine has no right to exist. For now he is humiliated ― but, Friedman warns, there is little more dangerous than a humiliated leader with nuclear weapons. "A sign of the present is that some political leaders do not stop at teh red lights," Friedman says. And hopes that the world will teach such leaders to follow the rules ― thanks, in particular, to the work of "nameless soldiers".

"No weapons, NATO and the United States," thatʼs how Philip Breedlove, a former commander of NATO forces in Europe and a general in the United States military, characterized Putinʼs demands from the states neighboring Russia. The irony is, according to the Associated Press, that the Russian dictator as a result of the invasion of Ukraine got exactly what he doesnʼt want: the Ukrainian army is rapidly switching to Western standards. The process became particularly intense after leading NATO countries decided to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons. Many Ukrainian servicemen are now learning to work with it. Tuesdayʼs meeting of defense ministers from 40 countries showed that the process would be large-scale and irreversible, and that support would continue after the war ends. So, in the end, what Putin was so wary of will happen: a large country right next to Russia will have a state-of-the-art, well-trained and motivated army.