How the international media covered the Russo-Ukrainian war, May 26

Sasha Sverdlova

The Guardian writes about a group of anarchists from Ukraine and abroad who decided to join the fight for Ukraine. The outlet talked to several anarchists who explained their motivation to fight and how it allied with their views. Ukrainian left activists are a relatively small group, and its anarchist component is even smaller. At the same time historically, the movement has deep roots in Ukrainian history, and The Guardian recalls Nestor Makhno and his movement, which is one of the most famous anarchist movements in the world. Following the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, about 100 anarchists signed up for the armed forces of Ukraine, in addition, there are about 20 foreign anarchists, and others who came to work as paramedics. The group efforts are coordinated, and according to one of the members, there is a strict screening process – people who come have to prove they understand what they are fighting for. Despite rooted negativity towards leftist activists related to Soviet communism and to Putin’s “anti-fascist” justification for his invasion of Ukraine, the anarchists are fighting for freedom and against totalitarianism, leaving domestic disputes for the post-war times.

Putin is repeating the mistakes of his predecessors, writes Israeli newspaper Haaretz. According to the outlet, Putin despises the last leaders of the USSR for failing the empire and the system of repression inherited from Stalin. Yet, he has repeated their mistakes. For one, Putin can’t comprehend the limitations of a fear-based regime. The loyalty to him bought at the expense of the state resources is not translating into a strong army or effective intelligence. His kleptocracy cost him a modern equipped army as much of the army budget found itself in the pockets of defense officials. Just like it was in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Moreover, just like Soviet leaders, Putin lives in the delusion that “vassal states” would be happy to live in Moscow’s shadow. Russian leader sees himself as a follower of Stalin and his “Great Patriotic War”, but in reality, the Russian society is sucked in the dysfunction and corruption. Some Western leaders including Israel, writes Haaretz, still, exaggerate Putins’ power and strategic vision, and that is why they urge Ukraine to give up its territories in exchange for peace. They don’t get the point, that Putin simply does not care how many more Russians die and if he causes a global food crisis, as he is not capable of comprehending that his attempt to turn the clocks backward failed.

The War Zone explores what’s behind Russians deploying antiquated T-62 tanks to Ukraine. As numerous cold-war era, T-62 tanks were recently photographed in southeastern Ukraine, it is becoming evident that Russia has pulled these machines out of long-term storage. The T-62 was designed in the 1960-s, the model has a slow rate of fire and issues with aiming the main gun. In the early 1980-s, the tanks were modernized with improved armor and upgraded fire control system, these modernized tanks are those deployed to Ukraine now. Additionally to how outdated the model is, the tanks apparently have been kept in disastrous conditions, at times even in an open-air environment. The outlet lists several reasons that might have motivated Kremling to “dig the tanks from the grave” and bring them to the frontline in Ukraine. First, the number of more modern tanks deployed to Ukraine (T-72, T-80, and T-90) is decreasing due to Ukrainian drones, artillery, and anti-tank missiles, therefore Russia is in need of additional armor. Second, Russia’s ability to retain the readiness of their more modern tanks is under question following a cut in supplies of some key tech components due to sanctions. Third, Russia has used these tanks in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia, and Syria relying on quantity over quality, and this might be their strategy in Ukraine too. Fourth, it is possible that T-62 will go to separatists in “D/LPR”, as they always get the “leftover” equipment, including even more antiquated designs. Overall, writes War Zone, this is a bright sign of the sheer impact Ukrainian forces have had on destroying Russia’s heavy armor force.