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Medvedev's Claim on Ukraine Sparks Controversy Amid Ongoing Conflict

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Dmitry Medvedev's claim that Ukraine is part of Russia and recent battlefield gains by Russian forces bring new complexities as an international peace conference on the Ukraine war approaches.

Russia's Ambitions and Gains in Ukraine Amid Peace Conference and Battles

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has stirred controversy by publicly claiming the entirety of Ukraine as part of Russia. Medvedev posted an animated map on Telegram, showing Ukraine being absorbed into Russian territory, set to the strains of the Russian national anthem. This provocative statement came just days before an international peace conference on the Ukraine war, scheduled to take place in Switzerland on June 15 and 16. The event is expected to gather delegates from 78 countries, a reduction from the initially planned 93.

Russia was notably excluded from the conference, which led to public remarks from Vladimir Putin. Taz quoted him saying, "They simply don't invite us. They didn't manage to beat us on the battlefield. Now they're whistling around and wanting to hold a conference." According to Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis, Russia’s exclusion was due to its repeated declarations of not wanting to participate, especially since the conference's peace proposals were based on suggestions from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Meanwhile, the conflict on the ground remains intense, with Russia claiming new territorial advances. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Monday that they had captured the village of Staromayorské in the Donetsk region. This development marks one of the few sectors where the Ukrainian army had gained ground during their counter-offensive last summer.

Ukrainian forces are reportedly struggling with morale and resources, as detailed by soldiers interviewed by AFP. Danylo Madiar, a 23-year-old soldier, described the situation as “quite tough” and highlighted significant losses and difficulties in holding lines. Oleksandre, a 36-year-old tanker, indicated that the fiercest fighting is concentrated around Pokrovsk and Chassiv Iar, key locations currently impeding Russian advances in the eastern Donbass region.

Despite these setbacks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied recent claims by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov about the fall of the village of Ryjivka in the Sumy region. Zelensky assured that Ukrainian forces remained in control and had destroyed a Russian flag raised in the area earlier.

The ongoing war has also caused disruptions in governance and infrastructure rebuilding efforts in Ukraine. Mustafa Nayyem, a senior Ukrainian official responsible for reconstruction, resigned, citing systemic obstacles and continuous opposition that hampered his efforts. This comes at a time when Ukraine is already grappling with significant power shortages due to recurrent Russian bombings.

  • The situation in Ukraine remains fluid and complex, as both sides continue to jockey for strategic advantage. The upcoming peace conference, while excluding Russia, represents an effort by the international community to seek a resolution. The reduced number of attendees highlights the challenges in garnering unanimous global support.
  • Medvedev’s aggressive stance and depiction of Ukraine as part of Russia underscore the ongoing geopolitical rhetoric that complicates peace efforts. Such claims contradict the Ukrainian government’s goal of reclaiming all annexed territories, including contentious regions like Luhansk, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Kherson.
  • The recent advancements by Russian forces and the capture of strategic positions signify a persistent push by Moscow to consolidate its control over Eastern Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian military's resilience and capability to repel some advances, particularly as seen in the Sumy region, illustrate the dynamic and contentious nature of the conflict.
  • The resignation of key officials like Mustafa Nayyem highlights internal challenges within Ukraine amid the external pressures of war. Rebuilding efforts are crucial for Ukraine’s recovery but are hindered by bureaucratic and political resistance. Addressing these issues is vital for the country’s post-war reconstruction and stability.
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