How the international media covered the Russo-Ukrainian war, July 8

Oleksiy Yarmolenko

Bloomberg published an opinion piece by the Berlin-based columnist Andreas Kluth titled “Ukraine Has Better Heroes Than This Friend of Fascism”, arguing that Stepan Bandera is not the best choice of a national hero. Kluth acknowledges the absurdity of the Russian official reason for a full-scale invasion and claims that Ukraine is a nation of heroes and heroines fighting for their freedom, not a Nazi-run country. The author also admits the rightfulness of the Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk’s criticism of Berlin for not helping Ukraine boldly and swiftly enough. However, Kluth joins criticism against Melnyk for his fondness of Stepan Bandera, whom the article calls “Ukrainian ultranationalist and quasi-Fascist”. Kluth writes about Bandera’s allyship with Hitler and ethnical cleanses perpetrated by Bandera’s underlings. Following Bandera’s imprisonment by Hitler and later murder by KGB, he became a symbol of Ukraine’s statehood and is specifically popular in western Ukraine, writes the column. In a recent German web show, Melnyk engaged in a discussion about Bandera and said that despite his ambiguous biography, he was a fighter for freedom between the two evils. A vast wave of critics followed: the Polish foreign ministry and the Israeli Embassy negatively commented on the interview. The Ukrainian foreign ministry clarified that Melnyk’s view does not reflect the official position of Ukraine. There are rumours, writes Kluth, that the Ambassador might be recalled to Kyiv.

The Washington Post writes about Ukrainian farmers’ devastation over the Russian blockade of the grain trade. WP correspondent talked to Volodymyr Onishschuk, a farmer from Bashtanka town whose $100,000 grain is stuck in Mykolaiv. If Volodymyer and many other farmers don’t get the money soon, they will not be able to pay for the next crop. Today, the only way to export is through land routes and smaller ports on the Danube River, which means losing profit. Even though wheat prices have skyrocketed because of the long land routes, expensive petrol, and lines on the borders, the money farmers would get from the subsequent sale would not be sufficient to cover their expenses. There are logistical issues when the grain is in the EU, too: for one, Ukraine uses different railway track sizes, which means the cargo has to be transferred from a Ukrainian car to an EU car, which adds costs and takes time. WP cites Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, who says this is a repetition of Holodomor, a forced famine that the Soviet Union inflicted on Ukraine in the 1930s, but this time on a global scale.

The Hill writes that massive destructions in Ukraine might present a historic opportunity to rebuild the country considering climate change challenges. Transitioning toward cleaner, efficient and resilient infrastructure is quite costly, and part of this cost usually comes from stranded assets, writes the outlet. In Ukraine, the transition could be cheaper in Ukraine than in the US, for example, as many of Ukraine’s stranded assets have been destroyed or damaged by war. Ukraine’s climate goal is to use over 20% of its electricity from renewable sources before 2035. Now, there is a chance to rebuild the country’s electric grid by relocating or undergrounding its transmission lines, designed to allow more wind and solar power generation. Climate change and particularly the changing rains and rising temperature are likely to severely influence Ukraine’s agricultural and industrial sector and affect the energy infrastructureʼs reliability. While recovery and rebuilding take time, it is crucial to support Ukraine’s government and administrations’ capacities to oversee the reconstruction effectively and accounting the climate goals.