Monday, May 23, 2022

Cracks in the Kremlin as close Russian neighbor joins sanctions effort: LIVE UPDATES

A Russian governor blamed a fire at an oil depot in the Russian city of Belgorod on Ukrainian forces. Vyacheslav Gladkov said two Ukrainian helicopters started the fire.

Yet a German journalist claimed that Ukraine’s General Staff has denied having knowledge of the attack, suggesting the attack could have been a Russian false-flag operation to justify attacks on Ukraine.

Fox News has as yet been unable to confirm the report.

Republican governor sends military equipment to Ukraine

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Thursday that his state is sending 9,000 pounds of equipment and supplies to Ukraine in its defensive war against Russia.

“Arizona stands with Ukraine. Everyday citizens are risking their lives, fighting for their freedom, and deserve all the assistance we can give them,” Ducey said in a statement. “These surplus bullet proof vests and armor will help as they defend their country from Vladimir Putin.”

Eleven local, county, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies donated the equipment, which includes 874 bullet proof vests, 77 helmets, miscellaneous tactical clothing, footwear, pads and shields. The Ukrainian Relief Group will transport the 17 pallets of equipment to the besieged European country in the next two weeks, according to the governor’s office.

Georgia joins Western sanctions effort against Russia

Georgia, the country just south of Russia’s border near the Caucasus Mountains — a country which Russia invaded in 2008 — has joined the Western effort to place sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, just over a month after Tblisi said it would not do so.

“We participating in all the international financial sanctions [on Russia]and that really already means something for our financial sector,” Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said Thursday. “As of now, we also participate in all international resolutions that are being created to support Ukraine.”

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said on Feb. 25 that the country did not plan to impose sanctions on Russia. Later, the country’s National Bank restricted the Georgian branch of VTB bank’s ability to serve individuals and borrowers due to Western sanctions on Russia.

The leader of Georgia’s Moscow-backed separatist region of South Ossetia, Anatoly Bibilov, announced Thursday that the region is looking to hold a referendum on joining Russia. Tblisi called this move “unacceptable.”

“I believe that the unification with Russia is our strategic goal,” Bibilov told Russian state television. “It is our path. And the South Ossetia will move on that path.”

Cracks in the Kremlin

It’s been said more than once in recent days that Russian President Putin has likely been misinformed by his security and military services about the war in Ukraine–from the initial prospects for victory to progress on the ground. To date, no one suggests this is part of a conspiracy but rather the result of advisors being afraid to tell Putin things he doesn’t want to hear.

It may be that now finally, Putin has become clear-headed, seeing that a month in, Russia has not achieved its goals that were supposed to have come with lightning speed. It did not take Ukraine in a couple of days. Without regrouping or changing tack, the path ahead looks long and uncertain.

And now Putin’s inner circle, which once appeared to be in lockstep about the war and the officially declared reasons for it, is split quite dramatically between those who want to cut Russia’s losses and run and those who want to fight until the bitter end, to deliver Ukraine in its entirety to the Russian people. “Some think that Russia should be realistic about its goals and about its resources,” Oleg Ignatov of the International Crisis Group, told Fox News.

Read more: Cracks in the Kremlin

Click here for Thursday’s live coverage.

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