How the international media covered the Russo-Ukrainian war, September 19

Sasha Sverdlova

The Economist writes about the possible next steps of the Ukrainian Armed Forces: to continue the counteroffensive or to focus on strengthening the conquered territories. Currently, the article says, the General Staff must decide whether to reinforce the advantage gained on the battlefield with another attack. It is still unclear what the purpose of the fighting in the north of the Donetsk region and active partisan activity is to restrain the Russian troops, check their strength or pave the way for a new offensive. Panic is spreading among the Russian military and it is not known whether the command will be able to contain it. Ukraineʼs actions depend on capabilities that Western experts do not know for sure. At the same time, fighting continues in the south of the Kherson Region, where the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation continues to advance slowly and exhaust the Russian forces. In addition, the publication writes that Zelensky wanted to launch an offensive through the Zaporizhzhia region to Mariupol, and Franz-Stefan Gadi from the International Institute for Strategic Studies says that this plan is still being considered for a time when the Armed Forces have enough resources. Meanwhile, the Russians continue to advance in places, but their attacks are predictable, expensive and prolonged and unlikely to change the course of the war. According to one European official, Putin has not given up on the idea of ​​capturing the entire Black Sea coast, focusing on the occupation of Odessa. However, given the personnel problems, demoralization and the growing number of refusers, these plans are unlikely to be implemented.

The Atlantic published an essay by its journalist Elliott Ackerman about the dangers of a possible victory for Ukraine. The author recently visited Kyiv, where he observed the conversations of European, American and Ukrainian officials during the Yalta European Strategy conference. There, Akerman noted such elation against the background of the successful offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine that someone said: "See you next year in Yalta," and President Zelenskyi spoke about the need for victory during his speech. However, Akerman believes that the lack of a common vision of what "victory" is and a certain intoxication in the background of a won battle carries threats. The question is no longer about the end of the war or the restoration of peace, but about victory, which for some means the restoration of borders by February 24, for others the payment of reparations by Russia and Ukraineʼs membership in NATO, and for the third category - control of the return of Crimea. Akerman believes that encroachment on Crimea, for example, can "humiliate Russia", because Russians "have a strong emotional attachment" to the peninsula. Putin can use this to increase Russian support for the war in Ukraine, or even as an excuse to use tactical nuclear weapons. Therefore, according to Akerman, Ukraine should define its goals so that they are achievable, satisfy the majority of the population, but are not so "punitive" as to create a position convenient for Putin.

The Washington Post writes about the painting Saint Javelin, which brought the Ukrainian resistance more than a million dollars. The saintʼs campaign, which became a hit, was launched by Christian Borys, a former journalist from Canada who previously covered events in Ukraine. The sketch of Saint Javelin was drawn by the artist Chris Shaw back in 2013, as part of a series of paintings in which Madonna holds various objects in her hands, such as a bottle of whiskey, a suicide vest or a rifle. The picture with the rifle later turned into a meme, and netizens replaced it with a Javelin. Shaw soon saw the meme and made his own version of the Saint Javelin. Not surprisingly, the campaign has faced criticism and accusations of blasphemy, the article says. Nevertheless, this meme has already brought a million dollars to Ukraine, and Borys continues to develop the campaign and tries to attract wider support.