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

Sasha Sverdlova

The New York Times published a piece on the impact of the full-scale Russian invasion on the Ukrainian coal mining industry. The NYT correspondent traveled to the eastern areas of Donetsk Oblast, where he talked to and took photographs of Ukrainian miners featuring their daily lives and fears in the light of the Russian invasion. Coal mining has always been risky as methane gas is highly explosive, and Russia’s heavy shelling has added another threat to Ukraine’s coal mines. In parallel, global coal prices are hitting their high, and Ukraine largely relies on coal for heating, industry, and steel production. One of the miners, Maryinych, shared that coal means not only warmth and light for people in his village near Dobropillya but is also one of few possibilities for a reliable salary. While this job is dangerous and hard, the mines are what keep many frontline settlements alive.

Daniel W. Drezner, a professor of International Politics, wrote an op-ed on Foreign Affairs discussing the difference between types of power in the world using the example of the Russo-Ukrainian war. While there is no global consensus on the definition or measure of “power,” it has multiple dimensions: military, economic, soft power, etc. Drezner offers an approach to distinguishing countries by whether they expect their future to be optimistic or pessimistic. Optimistic leaders favor strategic patience and invest in global governance, while risky actions and instability accompany pessimistic leadership. Positive expectations also open the window for long-term planning, thus exercising soft power, including cultural diplomacy, global governance, etc. Pessimism, writes Drezner, is the primary factor in the Ukrainian war – Putin’s pessimistic worldview explains his decision to invade. The critical question is whether the war in Ukraine will lead the US to introduce a more positive or negative approach toward its future. On the one hand, growing inflation and global goods crisis might further deepen US pessimism. Conversely, successful US support to Ukraine could spark optimism and strengthen US determination to advance liberal international order.

While the full-scale war in Ukraine is entering its 5th month, the Washington Post refers to western assessments predicting the upcoming exhaustion of Russian military capabilities. Despite the minor progress the Russian army is making in Donbas, at some point, it would have to put the advancement on hold to regroup and sustain supplies. According to experts, the Russians’ advances are possible at the cost of a vast number of ammunition and heavy losses of equipment and men. According to Russian sources, there already is a chronic shortage of manpower, and it is getting worse. Ukrainians are facing challenges, too. However, unlike Russia, Ukraine will increase and improve the number of weapons. Thus, according to a former commander of US forces in Europe, Ben Hodges, Ukraine will be able to engage in a counteroffensive and reverse the tide of war in the upcoming months. At the same time lack of available information about the conditions and strengths of the Ukrainian army due to its’ secretive approach and the unknown extent of Russian artillery and stocks make it difficult for external experts to predict the future developments in Ukraine.