Russia Bombs Russia

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The Week of April 17th - April 24th

This Week's Takeaway in 30 Seconds...
The U.S. Abrams tank which is currently on track to be delivered to Ukraine sometime in the fall. Credit: U.S Army Europe via Flickr
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40 miles northwest of the Ukraine, the Russian city of Belgorod was rattled by a massive bomb blast. While that explosion shook Russians, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg is unshaken that Ukraine’s future will be in the Alliance, just not anytime soon. As rumors of a spring offensive begin to swirl, a cohort of Ukrainian troops are heading to Germany to get trained on U.S. tanks which will hopefully be delivered this fall. The U.S. is upping its military support to Ukraine while hoping to stop essential technology from being sent to Russia via third-parties. Money from the U.S. continues to flow to Ukraine despite protests from the Republicans who are decrying the unending backing Ukraine has received thus far. Will their complaints make a difference?
All this and more in this week's newsletter!

Ukraine Unlocked is a weekly newsletter providing a roundup of the cultural, political, and economic developments in the country. We hope to provide students, professionals, and the casual reader with greater insight into Ukraine as its role on the global stage evolves throughout the 21st century.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Credit: NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Getting Closer
  • So Close but So Far Away: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made a surprise visit to Kyiv this past week where he met with President Zelenskyy and visited the city of Bucha, which saw some of the worst human rights atrocities of the war so far. Stoltenberg and Zelenskyy discussed Ukraine’s modernization of equipment and procedures that will bring the country in alignment with NATO standards. The NATO chief also used the visit to highlight that strong flow of military supplies that alliance members have already provided to Kyiv. 
    • Not Backing Down: But Zelenskyy made a strong press for membership, saying, “we need something more than the kind of relationship we are having now. We will be in their alliance, we believe that is a guarantee of Ukraine’s security and a concrete guarantee.” Stoltenberg did not commit to Ukraine joining the alliance but said “Ukraine’s future is in NATO.”
  • GOP Blockade: Nineteen Republican lawmakers from the U.S Senate and Congress wrote a letter to President Biden, urging him to stop sending aid to Ukraine. The group argues that the supply of weapons has only further escalated the war, adding that the U.S. has no strategic military interests involved in the war. Headlining the signees was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). The letter is a largely a symbolic move as the Biden Administration and the rest of Congress have doubled down on their support for Ukraine.
  • Dropping the Bomb: On Thursday, a Russian fighter jet accidentally dropped a bomb on Belograd, a Russian city located just 25 miles from Ukraine’s border. The explosion left a 66-foot wide crater and damaged several homes, while injuring two civilians. Russian officials and media personalities initially tried to blame the attack on Ukraine, but eventually announced that an accidental discharge caused the explosion.

✡️ Human Moment: ✡️

In downtown Kyiv a duet performs their rendition of Hava Nagila. 

Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk founder and funder of the Pinchuk Art Center. Credit: Igor Kruglenko via Wikimedia Commons
  • Pinchuk Artistic Director Opens Up: In a recent sit-down with Frieze, a publication dedicated to modern and contemporary art, the artistic director of the Pinchuk Art Museum in Kyiv discussed how he keeps the institution operating in wartime. Artistic Director Björn Geldhof has worked at the museum since 2009, giving him an experienced and unique perspective on navigating a country impacted by war. In the interview, he discusses collaborating with President Zelenskyy’s office, archiving galleries and supporting young artists. You can read the full interview here
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Ukrainian soldier setting up a Starlink terminal last July. Credit: via Wikimedia Commons
Cutting-Edge Tactics
  • Targeting Starlink: A document in the U.S. intelligence leak indicated that Russia’s Tobol electronic warfare systems, developed initially to protect Russian satellites, might be used to disable Starlink satellites. The Elon Musk-backed satellites have been a crucial feature of Ukraine’s war campaign. Analysts believe the Tobol systems work by blending the original broadcast with another signal, making the information unintelligible to the intended recipients. Ukrainians experienced several major outages in October during the peak of the autumn counteroffensive, but Russia cannot be definitively linked to the disruptions. 
  • Abrams Training: Back in January, the U.S. and several European allies promised to send tanks to Ukraine within a year. To begin the process, a cohort of Ukrainian soldiers will start a 10-week intensive training program in Germany, meaning the tanks could be on the battlefield by early fall. The tanks are expected to dramatically bolster Ukraine’s battlefield capabilities while modernizing the Soviet-era fleet Ukraine currently uses.

 Human Moment:  

Ukrainian solider makes elaborate mural in the walls of a trench. 

Ukrainian and American flags in conference room. Credit: US army Europe via Flickr

Fixing the System

  • Improving Uniting for Ukraine: The U.S. sponsored-based program for Ukrainian refugees, Uniting for Ukraine, has major shortcomings as we noted several weeks ago. Furthermore, the system only guarantees Ukrainians two years in the U.S., with no path to permanent residency or citizenship. After that, they could be deported, or at the very least unable to work legally. According to George Mason University Law Professor Ilya Somin, Congress could drastically improve the system by passing a Ukrainian Adjustment Act. The legislation would give Ukrainians an avenue to work status and/or permanent residency. The idea is not novel, as Congress passed a similar act for Hungarians fleeing their country after the Soviet invasion in 1956. 
Looking to lend support to Ukraine? Below are some ways you can help:
  • Help forPEACE, which seeks to connect foreign donations with on-the-ground organizations in Ukraine
  • Donate to the Ukrainian military (will need google translate on your computer)
  • Donate to Ukrainian NGO Come Back Alive
  • Help Ukrainian refugees in Poland
Chips used in drones. Credit: Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego
The Economy Behind the Scenes
  • Black Market Chip Sales: The U.S. and other Western allies stopped directly selling electronic chips to Russia, which are used in drones and other weapons. However, over the last year, American chip sales to Kazakhstan, Armenia, and other Central Asian countries have increased dramatically. Western officials have documented that the chips are often routed to Russia and used against Ukrainian forces. For example, one Russian cruise missile contained eight types of chips and components from Western manufacturers. 
To help people pursue their passions about the Eurasian region we are collecting jobs that are connected to the area. If you have a relevant job you would like posted here please contact us. 
Entry Level  Mid-Career Senior Level 
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. We always look forward to engaging with our readers. 

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