How the international media covered the Russo-Ukrainian war, June 20

Sasha Sverdlova

“Is the West supplying Ukraine with enough weapons?” is a title of a recent article on The Economist. As the fight in the east and south of Ukraine is severe and Russia is making steady gains in the eastern Donbas, Ukraine desperately needs help, writes the article. One of the reasons for Russian successes is that it has a significant advantage in raw firepower – in some places, Ukraine’s artillery is outnumbered ten to one, according to Ukrainian officials. However, according to Western officials, the Ukrainian appetite for assistance is, in a way, insatiable. Some even hint that what Ukraine demands in public is not the same as what it asks for in private. Ukraine has got what it asked for, claims General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. More weapons are coming shortly, including American HIMARS and British MLRS, and Biden’s administration is considering sending more. According to General Milley, these weapons will show on the battlefield, especially considering Ukrainians are using way better artillery techniques than Russians. In public, writes The Economist, Western leaders are committing to keeping the flow of arms, but in private, there are doubts. As the Soviet-era ammunition is already gone, the plan is to help Ukraine entirely switch to NATO kit, which is an ambitious goal and will take time. The war is impacting defense producers, and with the growing defense budgets of Germany and Poland, the demand will be higher than the producers’ capacities. Fear of escalation is there, too. According to President Macron, NATO has informally agreed not to provide Ukraine with certain types of weapons, like planes or tanks. As the war continues, it is unclear how the Western allies of Ukraine will be able to demonstrate unity and commit to supporting Ukraine until it wins.

China’s import of Russian crude oil hit a record this May, writes The Washington Post. Over the first 100 days of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, China became the world’s leading buyer of Russian fossil fuels, though during the first weeks following February 24, Chinese buyers remained cautious about the risks of being sanctioned. The western sanctions led to a 15% decrease in overall Russian fuel exports, but a global increase in prices led to a rise in Russian profit. China continues to demonstrate solidarity with Putin despite an officially neutral position regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war. According to the outlet, in private Chinese officials say Beijing is willing to cooperate with Russia only until it is not sanctioned.

The New York Times published a video featuring the experience of dozen Mariupol residents forced to go through Russian filtration camps and who have managed to escape to Estonia. Some were filtrated and sent to Siberia or the Pacific coast and were pushed to accept Russian citizenship. The Ukrainians NYT talked to described how they were put in filtration camps located on the cityʼs outskirts. Inside the camps, people told about being held for days and undergoing humiliating checks. Those who seemed “questionable” were taken away, others were brought to the train station Taganrog, Russia. From there, Ukrainians were carried to distant places of Russia, and when they arrived, they were met with TV cameras and humanitarian aid, enabling the Russian propaganda machine to produce cheerful pictures on national TV. While some Ukrainians managed to leave Russia, many more people could not escape the country, which deprived them of their homes and usual lives.