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Neil Hauer

Kyiv, Ukraine
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About Neil
I am a Canadian journalist and analyst focused on the Caucasus, Russia and Ukraine. From 2014 to 2017, I served as Senior Intelligence Analyst at The SecDev Group. My primary focus is Chechnya, violence and politics in the North and South Caucasus, and the Syrian conflict, particularly Russia's role there. I have written for a wide array of prominent publications, including CNN, Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, Telegraph and Eurasianet. I have also consulted on issues of security, governance and radicalization for the European Union, OSCE, US Marine Corps, and other organizations.

I hold an MA in Russian and Eurasian Studies from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, in which I largely focused on the Caucasus. I previously studied at Saint Petersburg State University in Saint Petersburg, Russia, focused on Russian language training. I am professionally competent in Russian and have intermediate proficiency in Armenian.

I am presently engaged as a freelance journalist and analyst based in Kyiv, Ukraine. I travel regularly through the former Soviet Union, including recent work in Ukraine. I am actively searching for new opportunities, so please do feel free to get in touch either here or at ******.
Languages
Armenian Russian
Services
Feature Stories Content Writing Corporate Content
+6
Skills
Politics Current Affairs War Reporter
+3
Portfolio

Hopelessness grows as Azerbaijan’s blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh enters third month

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article discusses the situation in Goris, Armenia, which has become a temporary home for displaced Karabakh Armenians due to Azerbaijan's blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh. The blockade, enforced by Azerbaijani 'eco-activists' and tacitly supported by Russian peacekeepers, has caused severe shortages and isolation for the residents of Karabakh. The international community, including the EU and UN, is pressuring Azerbaijan to reopen the road, but to no avail. The article highlights the psychological and physical hardships faced by the displaced individuals and the local efforts to support them. It also touches on the complex geopolitical dynamics, including Russia's role in the conflict and the perceived indifference of the international community due to Azerbaijan's oil wealth.

Kherson's liberated villages start to revive after horrors of occupation

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
The article discusses recent developments in the war in Ukraine, focusing on the withdrawal of Russian troops from the right bank of the Dnipro river and the liberation of Kherson city, the only provincial capital captured by Russia since the invasion began on February 24. It highlights the fierce battles fought by Ukrainian troops to recapture towns in northeast Kherson, particularly Vysokopillya, and the harsh realities of Russian occupation in the region. Personal accounts from Ukrainian citizens, including a combat medic named Oleksandr and the Balan family, provide insight into the experiences of those living under occupation, including looting by Russian soldiers, the challenges of giving birth during the occupation, and the torture of a local policeman. The article also touches on the psychological impact of the occupation and the resilience of the Ukrainian people, who are now facing the task of rebuilding their homes and lives.

COMMENT: After one year of war, Russia faces new challenges in Ukraine

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
The article reflects on the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, highlighting the resilience and successes of Ukrainian forces in the face of the conflict. Despite expectations of Russian aggression on the anniversary, Ukraine experienced a calm day, signaling a potential shift in the conflict dynamics. The article discusses the significant reduction in Russian military capabilities, including the depletion of precision munitions and the restructuring of their armed forces due to heavy losses. It also touches on the emergence of armed resistance groups, such as those from Belarus and Chechen separatists, who are gaining experience and support with the aim of challenging Russian allies and potentially destabilizing the region further. The author suggests that while Russia maintains control over parts of Ukraine, its military strength is waning, and it faces new internal challenges, with momentum seeming to favor Ukraine as spring approaches.

The endless battle for Bakhmut

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
The article reports on the dire situation in Chasiv Yar, a town near the frontline of the intense battle for Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. Despite heavy shelling and the proximity to Russian forces, some civilians remain, living in basements and relying on humanitarian aid. The town's strategic importance is highlighted by its connection to one of the only two roads to Bakhmut, making it a target for Russian artillery. Ukrainian defenders are described as barely holding the line, with high casualties and difficult conditions. The article also touches on the symbolic significance of Bakhmut, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowing not to surrender the city, despite some foreign allies suggesting a strategic withdrawal. Personal accounts from a local official, civilians, and soldiers, including an American volunteer, provide insight into the human impact of the conflict and the determination to resist the Russian advance.

Fighting Russia from Chechnya to Ukraine – and back again

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article provides an in-depth look at the Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion, a unit of pro-independence Chechen fighters named after the first president of Ichkeria, who are currently fighting alongside Ukrainian troops against Russian forces in the Donbas region. The battalion, which was formed in 2014, is engaged in the defence of Bakhmut, a strategic city in Ukraine. The article features interviews with Maga, a Chechen fighter, and Alexander, an ethnic Ukrainian member of the battalion, who share their experiences and perspectives on the conflict. The piece also touches on the historical context of the Chechen wars and the current situation in Chechnya under the rule of Ramzan Kadyrov, a pro-Putin leader. The fighters express their determination to continue their struggle against Russian aggression, not only in Ukraine but also with the aim of liberating Chechnya in the future.

Ukrainian teachers fight virtual war for children's hearts and minds

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article discusses the efforts of Ukrainian teachers and students to continue education under the Ukrainian curriculum despite the Russian occupation of parts of Ukraine, such as Zaporizhzhia oblast. It highlights the imposition of the Russian curriculum in occupied territories, which emphasizes Russian history and ideology. Ukrainian teachers, such as Anastasia and Oksana Minikova, have been conducting online classes to ensure students can still learn about Ukrainian history and culture. The article also touches on the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia and the differences between Ukrainian and Russian educational content. It mentions the International Criminal Court's arrest warrants against Russian officials for the deportation of Ukrainian children. The piece ends with the hope that the Ukrainian counteroffensive will liberate the occupied territories, allowing education to resume in person.

Ukrainian teachers fight virtual war for children's hearts and minds

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
The article discusses the efforts of Ukrainian teachers to continue educating students in the Ukrainian curriculum despite the Russian occupation of Zaporizhzhia oblast. Russian authorities have imposed their own curriculum, emphasizing Russian history and values, and have created a paramilitary youth movement. Ukrainian teachers, such as Anastasia and Oksana Minikova, are conducting online classes from free Ukrainian territories to ensure students in occupied areas can still learn about their heritage. The article also touches on the deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, a war crime for which the International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants against Russian officials. The Ukrainian education system in occupied territories like Crimea and parts of Donetsk and Luhansk has raised a generation disconnected from Ukraine, and the mental health of children in these areas is severely affected by the occupation and propaganda.

Fighting Russia from Chechnya to Ukraine – and back again

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
The article focuses on the Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion, a unit of pro-independence Chechen fighters named after the first president of Ichkeria, who are currently fighting alongside Ukrainian troops against Russian forces in the Donbas region. The battalion, which includes ethnic Chechens and other nationalities, is engaged in the defence of Bakhmut, a strategic city in Ukraine. The piece highlights the historical context of Chechen resistance against Russian rule, drawing parallels between the Chechen wars of the 1990s and the current conflict in Ukraine. It also touches on the personal stories of Maga, a Chechen fighter, and Alexander, an ethnic Ukrainian member of the battalion, who both see the fight against Russia as a shared struggle for independence and liberation.

Hopelessness grows as Azerbaijan’s blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh enters third month

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
The article discusses the situation in Goris, Armenia, which has become a temporary home for displaced Karabakh Armenians due to Azerbaijan's blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh. The blockade, enforced by Azerbaijani 'eco-activists' and tacitly supported by Russian peacekeepers, has caused severe shortages and isolation for the residents of Karabakh. The international community, including the EU and UN, is involved, but Azerbaijan's leader, Ilham Aliyev, shows no signs of ending the blockade. The article includes personal accounts from displaced individuals staying in Goris and touches on the broader geopolitical implications, including Russia's role and the psychological impact on the affected population.

'In this war, the ordinary infantryman is nothing': Ukrainian soldiers in Donbas feel abandoned and outgunned

04 Apr 2024  |  cbc.ca
The article discusses the intense combat in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces are facing severe challenges against Russian troops. Despite successful defense efforts in other parts of the country, the situation in Donbas is dire, with Ukrainian soldiers feeling abandoned and outgunned. Soldiers report a lack of heavy weaponry and support from Kyiv, contrasting with the advanced arms supplied to other regions. The Ukrainian military is sustaining significant casualties, with President Zelensky acknowledging the loss of 60 to 100 soldiers daily. Western military aid has been delivered, but soldiers on the ground have not seen much of it, leading to frustration and a sense of being expendable. The article includes personal accounts from soldiers who have experienced the harsh realities of the frontline, including those who fought in Mariupol. Despite new pledges of advanced weaponry from the U.S., U.K., and Germany, the immediate outlook for Ukrainian forces in the Donbas remains bleak.

From Donbas to Irpin: one Ukrainian’s journey rebuilding his homeland

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article discusses the opening of Gratsiya, a dance studio in Irpin, Ukraine, by Alexey Ovchinnikov, a dance instructor and entrepreneur with a family history in dance. Ovchinnikov, originally from Sloviansk in the Donbas region, has experience in operating dance studios in post-conflict areas. Despite the challenges posed by the Russian invasion, including a missile attack on Kyiv on the day of Gratsiya's opening and subsequent infrastructure issues, Ovchinnikov persevered in his efforts to contribute to the revitalization of Irpin. The town, heavily affected by the war, has shown signs of recovery with new constructions replacing war-damaged buildings. Ovchinnikov remains optimistic about the future, drawing parallels with the post-2014 rebirth of Sloviansk and expressing hope for the resurgence of Ukrainian towns after the war.

After 32 years, the de facto independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is reaching its end.

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
The article reports on the end of the de facto independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh following a massive Azerbaijani military offensive. The Artsakh Defence Army, the military force of Nagorno-Karabakh, was overwhelmed by Azerbaijani artillery, missile strikes, and infantry, leading to the region's president, Samvel Shahramanyan, agreeing to dissolve the army and surrender control to Azerbaijan. The region had been under a nine-month blockade by Azerbaijan, which ignored international calls to reopen the Lachin Corridor, Nagorno-Karabakh's lifeline. The Russian peacekeepers failed to intervene effectively. The 24-hour conflict resulted in significant casualties and displacement of civilians. Rumors of Azerbaijani atrocities are circulating, but verification is difficult due to limited media access. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has spoken against a mass evacuation, while political unrest has emerged in Armenia, with divided opinions on the government's handling of the situation. Negotiations for the surrender of Nagorno-Karabakh are ongoing without clear outcomes.

Brendan Humphreys and Mykhailo Romanov on how the use of so-called ‘filtration camps’ by Russian forces in occupied Ukraine adds a grim chapter to the history of mass incarceration

04 Apr 2024  |  ridl.io
The article by Brendan Humphreys and Mykhailo Romanov discusses the historical context and current use of mass incarceration sites, focusing on the so-called 'filtration camps' used by Russian forces in occupied Ukraine. These camps have been used to detain, interrogate, and sometimes forcibly deport Ukrainian civilians, including children. The Yale Humanitarian Research Lab and the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group have been monitoring these camps, which are said to serve functions such as registration, holding, secondary interrogation, and detention. The article compares these camps to historical instances of mass incarceration and highlights the human rights abuses occurring within them. It also touches on the Russian 'Compatriot' program and the ethnic cleansing implications of the filtration process. The authors argue that filtration is a form of hybrid genocide, with those failing the process facing detention or worse, and those passing at risk of forced deportation.

Armenia marks new era with French military purchases

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
Armenia has received its first shipment of French military hardware, including Bastion armoured personnel carriers, marking a significant milestone in the country's efforts to rebuild its military after the 2020 Second Karabakh War. With Russia, Armenia's traditional arms supplier, failing to fulfill contracts, Yerevan has turned to France and India for military procurement. The article discusses the details of the French arms sales to Armenia, including Thales-made radars and potential future sales of Mistral anti-aircraft missile systems and VAB MK3 infantry combat vehicles. It also covers Armenia's acquisition of Indian military equipment, such as the Pinaka rocket artillery platform and anti-drone systems. The article highlights the geopolitical implications of Armenia's shift away from Russia and the importance of Western military support in the face of continued threats from Azerbaijan.

Unmentioned in the text

04 Apr 2024  |  localnews8.com
The article by Neil Hauer for CTVNews.ca provides a vivid account of the situation in Druzhkivka, a town in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which has been experiencing regular shelling from Russian forces. The author describes the impact of the conflict on the local population, including a close call for resident Artur Shevkov, whose property was hit by a rocket. The piece highlights the efforts of Ukraine's State Emergency Service (DSNS) in dealing with unexploded ordnance, focusing on the challenges faced by the DSNS team led by Dmitry Zamoreyko and the personal story of Vitaly Borshchov, a retired firefighter who rejoined the service to help his country. The article underscores the destruction in Druzhkivka, including a recent strike on a bank and the constant threat posed by unexploded munitions, emphasizing the need for international support for Ukraine.

Russia's Waning Influence in the South Caucasus

04 Apr 2024  |  ridl.io
The article discusses the decline of Russian influence in the South Caucasus over the past year, particularly in light of military setbacks in Ukraine and the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. It highlights instances where Russia's peacekeeping efforts in the region have been ineffective, such as the inability to prevent Azerbaijani forces from taking control of certain areas and the blockade of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijani 'eco-activists'. The article also notes the growing involvement of the US and France in Armenia, with diplomatic efforts and visits by Armenian officials, and the purchase of military equipment from India. Additionally, it touches on Azerbaijan's nuanced relationship with Russia and Georgia's cautious stance towards the Kremlin. The author suggests that Russia's focus on the conflict in Ukraine has weakened its position in the South Caucasus and may lead to further erosion of its influence in the region.

The endless battle for Bakhmut

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article provides a vivid account of the situation in Chasiv Yar, a town close to the frontline of the war in eastern Ukraine, particularly near Bakhmut, which is under heavy assault by Russian forces. Despite the ongoing conflict, some civilians remain in the town, living in dire conditions and relying on humanitarian aid. The article describes the daily struggles of these individuals, such as Gennady and Vladimir Skripnyk, who cope with the constant threat of shelling. Ukrainian officials, including Serhii Chaus, emphasize the strategic importance of Chasiv Yar due to its road to Bakhmut. The piece also touches on the broader military context, including the contentious decision by Ukrainian generals to hold Bakhmut despite pressure from foreign allies to retreat. Personal accounts from Ukrainian soldiers and an American volunteer highlight the intense and grueling nature of the battle. The article concludes with a historical parallel drawn by Chaus, reflecting on the cyclical nature of conflict in the region.

Rebuilding within sight of the Russians in Donbas

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
The article discusses the extensive damage in the Donbas town of Lyman, Ukraine, which has been a focal point of intense fighting and has changed hands between Russian and Ukrainian forces. Despite the destruction and ongoing military threat, humanitarian groups like Ukraine Aid International (UAI) and Alex21, led by Liz Olegov, are working to rehabilitate the town. UAI has replaced roofs on damaged buildings and is planning further reconstruction. The Sister Cities Initiative, a project by UAI, has successfully paired Ukrainian cities with U.S. cities to facilitate aid and reconstruction. The article highlights the challenges of rebuilding in an active war zone and the dedication of volunteers like Olegov, who has transitioned from a business consultant to a humanitarian worker, finding fulfillment in the tangible impact of her work.

COMMENT: After one year of war, Russia faces new challenges in Ukraine

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article reflects on the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, highlighting the resilience and successes of Ukrainian forces in defending their country and launching counter-offensives. It discusses the significant failures and reduced capabilities of the Russian military, including the depletion of precision munitions and restructuring of their armed forces. The article also touches on the emergence of foreign fighter groups within Ukraine, such as Belarusian and Chechen units, which are gaining experience and could pose future challenges to Russian allies and interests. The author suggests that while Russia maintains a presence in Ukraine, its military strength is waning, and the momentum is with Ukraine as the conflict continues.

Ukrainian Snipers Train with Top-of-the-Line Western Rifles Amidst Donbas Conflict

04 Apr 2024  |  marinecorpstimes.com
The article focuses on the training and experiences of Ukrainian snipers Artyom and Yevhen in the Donbas region, amidst the ongoing conflict with Russia. Artyom, a professional sniper since 2016, and Yevhen, a newer recruit, practice with high-end British and Italian sniper rifles, marking a shift from Soviet-era equipment to Western, NATO-style gear. The snipers discuss their roles in the conflict, including their work as saboteurs and their effectiveness in early engagements against Russian forces. The article also touches on the intense battle for Bakhmut and the limited use of snipers in such a setting, dominated by artillery and infantry. The snipers express their readiness for future assignments, potentially beyond Ukraine's borders. The piece is reported by Neil Hauer, a freelance reporter covering the war in Ukraine.

Russia’s leverage in Moldova – Riddle Russia

04 Apr 2024  |  ridl.io
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Moldova has faced increased security challenges, including threats from energy dependency and public order. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned of Russia's subversive intentions in Moldova. The country is dealing with political instability, economic hardship, and the impact of war, including a strained relationship with the breakaway region of Transnistria and an influx of refugees. Russia is accused of exploiting these vulnerabilities through hybrid warfare, targeting internal politics, the energy crisis, and public perception. The pro-Russian Șor Party, led by fugitive Ilan Șor, is particularly highlighted for its attempts to destabilize the pro-EU government. Despite US sanctions, Șor remains influential on social media. Moldova's energy crisis has led to significant inflation, with the EU providing financial assistance. Russian propaganda continues to affect Moldovan public opinion, with many holding views sympathetic to Russian narratives. Moldova's internal socio-economic issues are seen as the primary vulnerability that Russia could exploit, especially with upcoming local and presidential elections.

Karabakh blockade reaches critical point as food supplies run low

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article discusses the severe humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, where Azerbaijan has blocked the only access to the outside world for over seven months, leading to food shortages and a single meal a day for residents. Azerbaijan has escalated tensions by detaining ethnic Armenians, including a man removed from an ICRC vehicle. The president of the unrecognised Republic of Artsakh, Arayik Harutyunyan, has declared the territory a disaster zone, with imminent food shortages. International organizations like Human Rights Watch have reported war crimes by Azerbaijan, and the International Crisis Group has expressed concern over potential arbitrary detentions. The Russian peacekeepers have been criticized for their inaction. International pressure has been limited to statements, with calls for more decisive action to prevent a worsening crisis.

From Donbas to Irpin: one Ukrainian’s journey rebuilding his homeland

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
Alexey Ovchinnikov, a dance instructor and entrepreneur from Sloviansk, has opened a new dance studio named Gratsiya in Irpin, Ukraine. Despite the challenges posed by the Russian invasion and subsequent missile attacks on Kyiv, Ovchinnikov persevered in establishing the studio as part of the revitalization efforts in the war-affected town. With a family history in dance and experience in post-conflict areas, he is optimistic about the future and the opportunities that will arise post-war. Ovchinnikov has witnessed the destruction of his dance studios in Donbas due to the conflict and has experienced the hardships of living in a conflict zone firsthand. His commitment to dance and rebuilding community spirit is evident in his determination to contribute to Irpin's recovery, which is already showing signs of progress with new constructions replacing the war-damaged buildings.

اضافة اعلان

04 Apr 2024  |  jordannews.jo
The article by Neil Hauer, a security analyst, discusses the current state of the war in Ukraine, one year after the Russian invasion. It highlights Ukraine's unexpected resilience and success in repelling Russian forces from key areas, including Kyiv and Kherson. The author outlines the potential for Ukraine to win the war, despite the lack of major spectacles in recent months. The focus is on the strategic city of Bakhmut and the importance of Western military aid, such as tanks, to Ukraine's efforts. The article also speculates on future Ukrainian offensives, particularly in Zaporizhzhya, which could cut off Russian supply lines and have significant strategic implications. The piece underscores the challenges ahead, including fortified Russian defenses and the likelihood of continued heavy casualties.

Kherson's liberated villages start to revive after horrors of occupation

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article discusses recent developments in the war in Ukraine, focusing on the withdrawal of Russian troops from the right bank of the Dnipro river and the liberation of Kherson city, the only provincial capital captured by Russia since the invasion began on February 24. It highlights the fierce battles fought by Ukrainian troops to recapture towns in northeast Kherson, particularly Vysokopillya, and the harsh realities of Russian occupation in the village of Velika Oleksandrivka. Personal accounts from Ukrainian citizens, including a combat medic and a family that experienced the occupation and Russian soldiers' looting and violence, are provided. The article also touches on the psychological impact of the occupation and the resilience of the Ukrainian people, who are now facing the challenge of rebuilding their homes and lives after the Russians' retreat.

Rebuilding within sight of the Russians in Donbas

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article discusses the extensive damage in the Donbas town of Lyman, Ukraine, due to the ongoing war. Despite the destruction and proximity to active conflict, Ukraine Aid International (UAI), a humanitarian organization, is working on rebuilding efforts, including roof replacements. Liz Olegov, UAI's COO and founder of Alex21, has been instrumental in providing aid to less-attended areas in Ukraine. UAI has merged with Alex21, leveraging strong US political contacts to launch the Sister Cities Initiative, pairing US cities with Ukrainian ones for support. The initiative has seen success, with significant funds raised and more pairings planned. Local Ukrainian community leaders, known as starists, have been crucial in identifying community needs. The article also touches on the military situation, with Lyman's police chief expressing concerns about the timing of reconstruction due to the proximity of the frontline. Olegov reflects on her transition from business consulting to humanitarian work, finding fulfillment in making a tangible impact on people's lives in Ukraine.

After 32 years, the de facto independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is reaching its end.

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article discusses the end of the de facto independence of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh following a massive assault by Azerbaijani forces. The Artsakh Defence Army was overwhelmed, leading to the region coming under Azerbaijani control. The Armenian ally suffered heavy losses, and the international community's indifference to the blockade of the Lachin Corridor by Azerbaijan contributed to the situation. The Russian peacekeeping mission failed to act effectively. The 24-hour conflict resulted in significant casualties and displacement of civilians. Rumors of Azerbaijani atrocities are circulating, but verification is difficult. The future of the local population remains uncertain, with many desiring to leave for Armenia. Political unrest in Armenia has been met with a mix of despair and calls for government resignation, while Russia's media has been instructed to blame Armenia and its Western partners for the conflict. Negotiations between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan are ongoing, with little hope for positive outcomes.

Ukraine’s 3rd Tank Brigade prepares for battle

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
The article provides an in-depth look at Ukraine's 3rd Tank Brigade, stationed near the Russian border in the Vovchansk district of Kharkiv. The brigade, composed of reservists called up to bolster the regular army, has been actively involved in the defense against Russian forces since the invasion began in February 2022. Despite facing challenges such as older equipment, lack of advanced targeting systems, and ammunition shortages, the brigade has participated in key battles, including the successful Kharkiv counteroffensive. The unit currently operates primarily Ukrainian-made T-72 tanks, with one donated by North Macedonia. The brigade's experiences reflect broader issues in the Ukrainian military, such as adapting to Western-donated equipment and dealing with Russian air superiority. The soldiers, including deputy company commander Yuri Kulish and staff sergeant Roman Kryvchuk, express determination to face upcoming challenges in the ongoing counteroffensive, despite not knowing their specific roles yet.

Armenia marks new era with French military purchases

04 Apr 2024  |  intellinews.com
Armenia has received its first shipment of French military hardware, including Bastion armoured personnel carriers, marking a significant milestone in the country's efforts to rebuild its military after the 2020 Second Karabakh War. With Russia, Armenia's traditional arms supplier, failing to fulfill contracts, Yerevan has turned to France and India for military procurement. The French deal includes Ground Master 200 air detection radars and a memorandum for Mistral anti-aircraft missile systems, while India has supplied rocket artillery platforms and artillery gun systems. The article discusses the strategic shift in Armenia's defence policy, the challenges it faces from Azerbaijan, and the importance of military modernization and training in ensuring Armenia's security. Defence analysts and officials highlight the significance of these partnerships and the potential for further cooperation and military reforms.

Ukraine’s 3rd Tank Brigade prepares for battle

04 Apr 2024  |  bne.eu
The article provides an in-depth look at Ukraine's 3rd Tank Brigade, stationed near the Russian border in the Vovchansk district of Kharkiv. The brigade, composed of reservists, has been active since the Russian invasion and played a significant role in the defence of Izyum and the Kharkiv counteroffensive. The unit, equipped with mostly Ukrainian-made T-72 tanks, including one from North Macedonia, faces challenges such as outdated support systems and ammunition shortages, although the latter is less severe for them compared to other units. The brigade has experienced intense battles, including encounters with advanced Russian tanks and helicopters. Despite these challenges, the brigade remains prepared for their role in the ongoing Ukrainian counteroffensive, with a focus on readiness and adaptability in the face of a well-equipped adversary.

Kherson celebrates liberation from Russian occupation

16 Nov 2023  |  cbc.ca
The article covers the liberation of Kherson, Ukraine, from Russian occupation, highlighting the joy and relief of the residents as they receive humanitarian aid and celebrate their newfound freedom. The city, which was the only provincial capital captured by Moscow since the invasion, is now facing the challenges of recovery, lacking electricity and running water, with significant infrastructure damage. The article includes personal accounts from residents who lived through the occupation, detailing their experiences and the oppressive rule of the Russian forces. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's visit to Kherson is also mentioned, where he declared the liberation as 'the beginning of the end of the war.' The article touches on the fear of conscription by Russian forces and the fate of alleged collaborators. Despite the hardships, the focus remains on the future and the rebuilding of the city.

MYKOLAIV/KHERSON FRONTLINE

31 Oct 2023  |  marinecorpstimes.com
The article discusses the ongoing war in Ukraine, focusing on the experiences and perspectives of Ukraine's 59th Motorized Brigade. The brigade, which has been on the frontlines since the Russian invasion, has witnessed a significant change in the battlefield dynamics. Initially equipped with Soviet-era gear, the Ukrainian military has now transitioned to Western-armed and trained forces. The article highlights the degradation of Russian military equipment and personnel, with Moscow resorting to older stocks and conscripts. The use of Iranian drones by Russia and their limited effectiveness against military units is also covered. Ukrainian soldiers express confidence in their ability to counter these threats, citing the effectiveness of Western-supplied anti-aircraft systems like the German Gepards. The article also touches on the strategic impact of American HIMARs and long-range artillery systems in disrupting Russian logistics and supply lines. The soldiers anticipate a major role in the upcoming battle to liberate Kherson and express a need for additional artillery and tanks to break through Russian defenses.

MYKOLAIV/KHERSON FRONTLINE

31 Oct 2023  |  navytimes.com
The article discusses the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, focusing on the experiences and perspectives of Ukraine's 59th Motorized Brigade. The brigade, which has been on the frontlines since the Russian invasion, has witnessed a significant shift in the battlefield dynamics. Initially equipped with Soviet-era gear, the Ukrainian military has now been upgraded with Western arms and training. In contrast, Russia's military capabilities have diminished due to the loss of their best equipment and troops. The 59th Brigade, having defended Mykolaiv and now stationed in Kherson oblast, is preparing for a major offensive to retake Kherson City. The soldiers express confidence in their ability to counter Russian forces, including the use of Iranian drones, which they find less effective against military targets. The article also highlights the effectiveness of Western-supplied weapons systems like the German Gepards and American HIMARs in combating Russian tactics and the challenges Russia faces with logistics and maintaining long-range strike capabilities. The Ukrainian soldiers anticipate needing more artillery and tanks for the upcoming battle to liberate Kherson.

'Everything is on the table' Joly says of potential Azerbaijan sanctions, at Armenian embassy opening

27 Oct 2023  |  ctvnews.ca
Canada has opened its first embassy in Armenia, marking its presence in the South Caucasus region. Foreign Minister Melanie Joly inaugurated the embassy and met with Armenian officials, expressing Canada's support for Armenia's sovereignty and democratic aspirations. The opening follows a humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, leading to an influx of refugees into Armenia. Joly announced an additional $1 million in aid for these refugees and hinted at possible sanctions against Azerbaijan for its aggression. Canada's involvement in the region includes joining the European Union's Mission in Armenia to observe the border with Azerbaijan. Canadian MPs and the Armenian National Committee of Canada have voiced support for the embassy and the need for a consistent foreign policy that supports democracies like Armenia.

Azerbaijan moves to reaffirm control of Nagorno-Karabakh as the Armenian exodus slows to a trickle

27 Sep 2023  |  theglobeandmail.com
The article reports on the recent ethnic cleansing in the South Caucasus, where Azerbaijan ended the de facto independence of the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh, causing most of its 120,000 Armenian inhabitants to flee to Armenia. The author describes the dire humanitarian situation, including starvation conditions and violent military offensives by Azerbaijan. The article criticizes Azerbaijan's leadership and its treatment of ethnic Armenians, highlighting the destruction of Armenian heritage sites and the threat to the Armenian identity of Nagorno-Karabakh. It also touches on the international community's concern over the potential for a new war between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Refugees pour into Armenia as Nagorno-Karabakh conflict escalates

26 Sep 2023  |  ctvnews.ca
The article reports on the influx of refugees into Armenia from the Nagorno-Karabakh region following a military offensive by Azerbaijan. Over 84,000 of Nagorno-Karabakh's 120,000 residents have fled to Armenia, leaving their homes and lives behind. The conflict has historical roots dating back to the Soviet era, with recent escalations leading to a 24-hour war and the unconditional surrender of Nagorno-Karabakh's government. The article describes the dire conditions of the refugees and the indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas by Azerbaijani forces, contradicting Azerbaijan's narrative of targeting only military sites. Despite the challenges, Armenia is managing the refugee situation with some effectiveness. The refugees, however, are left with little hope of returning to their homeland under Azerbaijani control.

On the front lines of a new Armenia-Azerbaijan war

20 Sep 2023  |  intellinews.com
The article discusses the situation in the Armenian village of Sotk, which has become a frontline in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict after the Second Karabakh War. The village was shelled by Azerbaijani artillery, causing civilian displacement and damage to property. The recent Azerbaijani offensive along the Armenian border resulted in casualties and territorial advances. The conflict's escalation is linked to Azerbaijan's pursuit of a corridor through Armenian territory to connect with Nakhchivan. Despite strong resistance from Armenian forces, international support is uncertain. The US, through Nancy Pelosi, has shown support for Armenia, but the effectiveness of this support is questioned. Russia's response, through the CSTO, has been minimal, raising concerns about Armenia's security and the potential for further conflict.

Azerbaijan’s Assault on Armenia: A Sign of a Shifting Regional Order

20 Sep 2023  |  euractiv.com
Neil Hauer, a security analyst based in Yerevan, Armenia, discusses the recent attacks by Azerbaijan on Armenian positions, highlighting the escalation of the conflict and the potential for a humanitarian catastrophe and regional war. The offensive by Azerbaijan included drones, artillery, and armored vehicles, with strikes reaching deep into Armenian territory. Hauer points out that over 200 soldiers were killed and 7,500 Armenian civilians displaced. He criticizes the Russian-led CSTO for failing to support Armenia and suggests that Azerbaijan's actions were enabled by Russia's preoccupation with Ukraine and the lack of intervention from other powers. The article also examines the responses of the European Union, Iran, and the United States, with the latter showing a more robust stance against Azerbaijan's aggression. Hauer emphasizes the importance of international pressure to prevent further attacks and the potential establishment of a buffer zone by Azerbaijan on Armenian territory.

On the front lines of a new Armenia-Azerbaijan war

20 Sep 2023  |  bne.eu
The article discusses the situation in the Armenian village of Sotk, which has become a frontline in the conflict with Azerbaijan following the Second Karabakh War. The village, once peaceful, now faces the threat of artillery fire and has been partially abandoned. The recent Azerbaijani offensive along the Armenian border resulted in casualties and territorial advances. The fighting is linked to Azerbaijan's desire for concessions from Armenia, particularly regarding the 'Zangezur corridor'. Despite strong resistance from Armenian forces, Azerbaijan made some gains. The US, through a visit by Nancy Pelosi, showed support for Armenia, but the article suggests the US may not deter future Azerbaijani attacks. Russia's response, through the CSTO, was limited to a 'fact-finding mission', and President Putin's meeting with Aliyev showed a lack of strong intervention. The article paints a grim picture of the ongoing tension and the threat of renewed conflict in the region.

30,000 Armenians — and counting — flee Nagorno-Karabakh

20 Sep 2023  |  cbc.ca
The article reports on the ongoing exodus of ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh following Azerbaijan's military offensive and the imposition of its control over the region. Nearly 30,000 Armenians have fled since the only road out of the enclave was opened. The conflict has a long history, dating back to the Soviet era, with recent escalations leading to severe humanitarian crises. The blockade by Azerbaijan has resulted in shortages of food, medicine, and electricity. The article includes personal accounts from refugees like Davit Azaryan and journalist Marut Vanyan, who describe their harrowing experiences and the dire conditions in Nagorno-Karabakh. An explosion in Stepanakert has caused further casualties. USAID head Samantha Power visited the region, calling for international access and reporting on violence against civilians. The article conveys the despair of the refugees who feel abandoned by the international community.

30,000 Armenians — and counting — flee Nagorno-Karabakh

20 Sep 2023  |  cbc.ca
The article reports on the exodus of ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh following Azerbaijan's military offensive and the imposition of its control over the region. Nearly 30,000 Armenians have fled to Armenia, leaving behind their homes and possessions. The conflict has a history dating back to the Soviet era, with recent escalations leading to a humanitarian crisis. The blockade by Azerbaijan has resulted in severe shortages of food, medicine, and electricity. The article includes personal accounts from refugees like Davit Azaryan and journalist Marut Vanyan, who describe their harrowing experiences and the dire conditions they faced. An explosion in Stepanakert has caused further casualties. USAID head Samantha Power visited the border and called for international access to Nagorno-Karabakh to address the violence against civilians and severe malnutrition observed among the refugees.

اضافة اعلان

04 Jul 2023  |  jordannews.jo
The article discusses the tensions between the Wagner mercenary group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Wagner, composed of veterans from the Chechen wars, has historically been at odds with Kadyrov. Recently, Wagner forces took over Rostov-on-Don and advanced towards Moscow, challenging the Russian military leadership. Prigozhin agreed to halt the march and go into exile in Belarus. Kadyrov, whose power in Chechnya is heavily reliant on Putin, deployed his forces to confront Wagner but avoided direct combat. The article suggests that Kadyrov's loyalty to Putin is calculated, as he benefits from Putin's support but is also wary of risking his own forces, which are crucial for maintaining his rule in Chechnya.

Ukraine's Counteroffensive: Slow Progress on the Southern Front

02 Jul 2023  |  cbc.ca
The article discusses the progress of Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russian forces, focusing on the experiences and tactics of Ukraine's 68th Brigade. Despite the slow territorial gains, with only a handful of villages retaken, Ukrainian soldiers are making headway through constant assaults and artillery fire. The Russian defenses are described as extensive, with minefields and fortified positions. The Ukrainian forces are employing tactics such as probing for weak points and bypassing frontal defenses. The article also touches on the challenges faced by Ukrainian forces, including heavy losses of experienced soldiers, the rapid training of new recruits, and the lack of air superiority. The morale among the Ukrainian soldiers remains high, with a belief that they are inflicting heavier casualties on the Russians and capturing prisoners, many of whom are unwilling conscripts.

Kadyrov’s Role in the Wagner Mutiny and the Intricacies of Russian Power Play

29 Jun 2023  |  asiatimes.com
The article discusses a dramatic event where Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner mercenary group, led a mutiny against the Russian military leadership, taking over Rostov-on-Don and advancing towards Moscow before agreeing to go into exile in Belarus. Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, rallied around President Vladimir Putin and confronted Wagner's forces without engaging in combat. Kadyrov's loyalty to Putin is highlighted, as well as his reluctance to risk his own forces beyond what is necessary. The article also touches on the historical context of Kadyrov's rise to power, his relationship with Putin, and the complex dynamics between Kadyrov, Wagner, and the Russian military. The piece suggests that Kadyrov's primary interest is in maintaining his own power base in Chechnya, rather than committing fully to conflicts outside its borders.

In Wagner Rebellion, Putin’s Chechen ‘Foot Soldier’ Reveals Limits of Loyalty

28 Jun 2023  |  thequint.com
The article discusses a dramatic event in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, where Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, took drastic action against Russia's military leadership. Prigozhin's forces seized control of the city of Rostov-on-Don and advanced towards Moscow, engaging with and shooting down Russian helicopters. The march was halted 200 kilometers from Moscow, with Prigozhin agreeing to go into exile in Belarus. The full implications of this event are still uncertain.

From Canada With Love

19 Jun 2023  |  foreignpolicy.com
The article reports on the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC), a Canada-based NGO, delivering 25 British-made armored personnel carriers (APCs) to Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces (TDF) to aid in their defense against the Russian invasion. Andrew Potichnyj, a key organizer from the UWC, has been coordinating the delivery of these vehicles, which include FV103 Spartans and FV432 APCs. The TDF, a volunteer and reservist force, has been crucial in Ukraine's defense, and the APCs are expected to play a vital role in protecting soldiers' lives. Despite the loss of some vehicles in combat, the UWC plans to continue these deliveries, with another shipment already en route. The effort is supported by donations from the global Ukrainian diaspora, emphasizing the collective effort in supporting Ukraine's defense.

How Ukraine Drones Russians From a Bakhmut Command Center

15 Jun 2023  |  paradoxpolitics.com
The article provides an in-depth look at the Ukrainian military's use of drones in the ongoing conflict, particularly focusing on the 24th Brigade's operations in Chasiv Yar, near Bakhmut. The primary drone operator, Roman, explains their strategy of identifying and targeting Russian vehicles and infantry with the help of drones. The article also discusses the changing tactics of Russian forces, including the use of Wagner mercenaries and mobilized soldiers. It highlights the challenges faced by Ukrainian drone operators due to Russian electronic countermeasures and the decreasing lifespan of commercial drones like DJI's Mavic 3T and Matrice 300RTK. The reporter witnesses a live operation where Roman coordinates an artillery strike on a Russian squad identified by a drone, showcasing the critical role of drones in the Ukrainian defense.

From the factory to the front line: Volunteers bolster Ukraine's defence in the face of Russian aggression

14 May 2023  |  cbc.ca
The article describes the situation on the front lines in the Donbas region of Ukraine, where fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian troops is ongoing. It focuses on a unit from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), detailing their history and current involvement in the conflict. The OUN, with a controversial past linked to WWII, now consists of volunteers like Vova Myshensky, a former bread factory worker, and Oksana Krasnova, a lawyer-turned-sniper, who have joined the fight against Russian aggression. The article provides personal accounts of the volunteers' experiences and motivations, highlighting the intense combat conditions, the use of artillery, and the psychological toll of war. It also touches on the strategic importance of the Izyum area and the potential implications of Russian advances in the region.

In eastern Ukraine, rockets fall like rain

29 Apr 2023  |  ctvnews.ca
The article describes the situation in Druzhkivka, a town in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which has been experiencing regular shelling from Russian forces. Artur Shevkov, a local resident, recounts a rocket hitting near his home. The State Emergency Service (DSNS) of Ukraine, led by Dmitry Zamoreyko, is tasked with removing unexploded ordnance, such as the remnants of a 300mm SMERCH rocket in Shevkov's yard. The DSNS faces challenges due to limited resources and equipment, as highlighted by the story of Vitaly Borshchov, a retired firefighter who rejoined the service to help his country. The article also touches on the destruction caused by the war, including a recent strike on a bank and the constant threat to civilian areas, emphasizing the need for international support for Ukraine.

Ukraine's Offensive Gains Momentum with Help from NATO-Trained Forces

10 Apr 2023  |  cbc.ca
The article discusses the intensification of the Ukraine-Russia conflict as Ukrainian forces, trained by NATO members and private groups like the Canadian-based Sabre Training and Advisory Group, launch a summer offensive against Russian-held territories. The report highlights the role of Sabre, founded by Canadian Armed Forces veteran Kevin Leach, in providing practical combat training to Ukrainian soldiers, including the 4th Rapid Reaction Brigade. The training focuses on skills necessary for upcoming battles, such as advancing under fire and taking enemy positions. Sabre operates on a limited budget and has trained approximately 800 Ukrainian servicemen. The article also touches on Leach's background and his work with the OSCE in Ukraine prior to the Russian invasion.

Even the world’s best caterers don’t live forever, and Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of Russia’s PMC Wagner mercenary outfit, was no exception.

06 Apr 2023  |  washingtonexaminer.com
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the founder of the Russian PMC Wagner mercenary group, was reported dead after his jet crashed in the Tver region, northwest of Moscow. Prigozhin's rise to power began in St. Petersburg during the 1990s, eventually becoming a favored client of President Vladimir Putin. PMC Wagner was involved in military operations in Ukraine and Syria, often operating separately from the Russian army. Prigozhin's relationship with the Russian military soured, leading to a confrontation that ended with his apparent death. The article suggests that Prigozhin's demise, along with the head of Wagner's military operations, Dmitry Utkin, could signal the end of Wagner's influence and potentially foreshadow the decline of Putin's power.

Putin’s Mobilization Drive and the Unraveling in the North Caucasus

05 Apr 2023  |  timesnownews.com
The article discusses the consequences of Russian President Vladimir Putin's military mobilization and annexation of Ukrainian territories. It highlights the failure of the mobilization plan, with many draft-eligible men fleeing Russia and mass protests erupting in the North Caucasus. The article details the disproportionate recruitment from Russia's ethnic minority regions and the socio-economic issues in the North Caucasus that have been exacerbated by the draft. It also touches on the history of conflict in Chechnya and the potential for renewed insurgency due to the current recruitment drive. The author suggests that the unrest in the North Caucasus could signal a significant challenge to Putin's rule, especially with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky encouraging resistance. The article concludes by implying that the North Caucasus, where Putin's rule was solidified, could be where it unravels.

Chechen Independence Movement Gains Momentum Amid Ukraine War

05 Apr 2023  |  meduza.io
Neil Hauer discusses the resurgence of the Chechen independence movement amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Chechen fighters, such as the Sheikh Mansur Battalion and the Dzhokhar Dudayev Battalion, have joined Ukrainian forces against Russia since 2014. Recently, influential Chechen figures like Anzor Maskhadov, Akhmed Zakaev, and Rustam Azhiev (Abdulhakim al-Shishani) have united to form a 'Chechen Liberation Army'. The Ukrainian government has shown support by recognizing the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria's independence and granting citizenship to Azhiev. Despite the solidarity, Hauer outlines the challenges facing the movement, including limited numbers, geographical barriers, and the well-armed forces of Chechnya's current leader, Ramzan Kadyrov. The article suggests that while the path to Chechen independence is fraught with obstacles, the weakening Russian state and growing discontent in Chechnya could signal a change in the region's future.

Ukraine offensive brings more casualties

05 Apr 2023  |  cbc.ca
The article focuses on the critical role of Ukrainian medics operating close to the front lines in the war against Russia. It highlights the experiences of medics like Oleh Tokarchuk and Lyuba, who provide urgent care to wounded soldiers in makeshift hospitals known as 'stabilization points.' Despite the constant threat of artillery fire and the challenges of working in such conditions, these medics perform life-saving surgeries and stabilize patients before they can be transported to larger military hospitals. The article also touches on the treatment of captured Russian soldiers and the difficulties faced by medical professionals like Sergey Grigorenko, who must adapt to the limited resources available in the field. The medics' dedication is driven by a deep sense of duty to support the soldiers defending Ukraine, and they find solace in the camaraderie among their colleagues.

On the ground in Ukraine: The deadly normality of life under shelling

05 Apr 2023  |  kesq.com
Neil Hauer reports from Druzhkivka, a town in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which has been experiencing regular shelling from Russian forces. The article describes the impact of the conflict on the local population, including a close call for resident Artur Shevkov, whose house was nearly hit by a rocket. Ukraine's State Emergency Service (DSNS) is on the ground to deal with the aftermath, including unexploded ordnance. The DSNS, understaffed and underequipped, struggles to cope with the volume of incidents. The article highlights the personal story of Vitaly Borshchov, a retired firefighter who rejoined the service to help his country. The destruction in Druzhkivka is extensive, with over 100 missiles and shells hitting the city since the war began, affecting both residential and industrial areas. The journalist emphasizes the need for international support for Ukraine.

The Chechen Who Came to Fight Russia in Ukraine

05 Apr 2023  |  washingtonexaminer.com
The article features an interview with Anzor Maskhadov, the son of the late Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Anzor discusses his family's history of resistance against Russian military campaigns, particularly during the Chechen Wars of the 1990s. He compares the Chechen struggle to the current situation in Ukraine, highlighting the shared experience of fighting against Russian aggression. Anzor, who has been living in exile in Norway, expresses solidarity with the Ukrainian cause and shares his insights on Russian war tactics and the dehumanization of enemies. He also touches on the international community's past inaction regarding Chechnya's pleas for help and warns of Russia's imperial ambitions. The article also mentions Chechen units fighting in Ukraine against Russian forces and condemns the pro-Russian Chechen paramilitaries. Anzor is optimistic about Russia's eventual defeat in Ukraine and the implications it will have for Chechen independence and justice against figures like Ramzan Kadyrov.

اضافة اعلان

05 Apr 2023  |  jordannews.jo
The article discusses the consequences of Russian President Vladimir Putin's military mobilization and annexation of Ukrainian territories. It highlights the disproportionate recruitment of men from Russia's remote regions, such as the Far East and the North Caucasus, and the high death tolls these regions have suffered in the war. The mobilization has sparked mass protests, particularly in the North Caucasus, where locals have been resisting the draft. The socio-economic issues and racial discrimination faced by the people of the North Caucasus are exacerbating tensions, with the potential to reignite insurgencies that have been suppressed in the past. The article also notes that Chechen formations in Ukraine plan to challenge the Kremlin-installed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov after the conflict. The author, Neil Hauer, suggests that the unrest in the North Caucasus could pose a significant threat to Putin's rule.

Elite Ukrainian snipers describe their war from the shadows -

03 Apr 2023  |  phuketimes.com
The article details the experiences and perspectives of two Ukrainian snipers, Artyom and Yevhen, as they train in eastern Ukraine near Bakhmut. Artyom, a professional sniper since 2016, and Yevhen, who joined the armed forces after the Russian invasion in 2021, are honing their skills with top-of-the-line Western sniper rifles. The article discusses the shift from Soviet-style equipment to NATO-style loadouts and the role of snipers in the conflict. It highlights the tactics used by Ukrainian snipers during the Russian invasion, including their impact on Russian forces and the adaptation to different combat situations. The snipers discuss their preference for different weapons depending on the combat scenario, with a focus on the ongoing battle for Bakhmut and the limited use of snipers in such artillery-dominated battles. The article also touches on Artyom's personal motivation to join the armed forces due to his experiences in 2014 when Russian-backed separatists occupied his hometown of Kramatorsk.

Inside the Trenches: The Grim Reality for Russia's Mobilized Soldiers in Ukraine

15 Mar 2023  |  militarytimes.com
The article reports on the harsh conditions faced by Russian soldiers mobilized to fight in Ukraine, particularly after President Vladimir Putin's declaration of partial military mobilization on September 21. It highlights the plight of conscripts and soldiers from the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, who have been forced to serve with inadequate supplies, training, and living conditions. The reporter, Neil Hauer, visited the recently liberated village of Novopetrivka in southern Ukraine and observed the remnants of the Russian occupation, including the symbol of the Russian campaign and the living conditions of the troops. The article includes accounts from a local villager, Viktor, and details from a recovered serviceman's notebook that reveal the disorganization and low morale among the Russian forces. The piece concludes with the sudden withdrawal of Russian troops from the area, leaving both the soldiers and locals in shock.

Ukrainian snipers train with top-of-the-line Western rifles as war grinds on

05 Mar 2023  |  militarytimes.com
In the Donbas region of Ukraine, snipers Artyom and Yevhen are training with high-end British and Italian-made rifles, preparing for combat amidst the ongoing conflict with Russia. The article details their training, equipment, and the role of snipers in the war, contrasting their specialized skills with the broader infantry and artillery battles, particularly around the city of Bakhmut. Artyom, a veteran since 2016, reflects on his experiences and the evolution of warfare from the 2014 Russian-backed separatist occupation of Kramatorsk to the current full-scale invasion. Despite the high-tech gear, Artyom finds a Kalashnikov with thermal optics to be the most effective weapon in the current conflict. The snipers discuss the limited use of their skills in the artillery-heavy battle for Bakhmut and contemplate future assignments in other regions affected by Russian presence.

Ukrainian snipers train with top-of-the-line Western rifles as war grinds on

01 Mar 2023  |  airforcetimes.com
In the Donbas region of Ukraine, snipers Artyom and Yevhen are honing their skills at a makeshift firing range, preparing for future engagements amidst the ongoing conflict with Russia. Artyom, a professional sniper since 2016, and Yevhen, who joined the Ukrainian armed forces last year, are practicing with high-end Western sniper rifles, marking a shift from the Soviet-era equipment previously used by Ukraine's military. The article details their experiences and tactics, including their roles in the early stages of the Russian invasion and their current focus on specialized operations. The snipers discuss the limitations of sniper warfare in the battle for Bakhmut, where artillery and infantry play a more decisive role. The piece also touches on Artyom's personal history and motivations for joining the military. Freelance reporter Neil Hauer provides an in-depth look at the snipers' perspectives on the war and their preparation for future missions.

Ukrainian snipers adapt to the evolving war with top-of-the-line Western rifles

01 Mar 2023  |  navytimes.com
The article details the experiences and tactics of Ukrainian snipers Artyom and Yevhen, who are training in eastern Ukraine near Bakhmut. They discuss the shift from traditional Soviet weaponry to Western, NATO-style sniper rifles, such as the .308 calibre Accuracy International and the .338 Victrix Scorpio V. The snipers have adapted to the changing nature of the frontline, engaging in sabotage and reconnaissance when sniper skills are less in demand. Artyom, a professional sniper since 2016, reflects on his experiences during the Russian invasion and the use of simpler weapons like the Kalashnikov with thermal optics for effective combat. The article also touches on the broader context of the war in Ukraine, including the battle for Bakhmut and the strategic use of sniper warfare.

Ukrainian snipers train with top-of-the-line Western rifles as war grinds on

01 Mar 2023  |  armytimes.com
The article details the experiences and tactics of Ukrainian snipers Artyom and Yevhen, who are training near the battle for Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine. Artyom, a professional sniper since 2016, and Yevhen, a newer recruit, are practicing with high-end Western sniper rifles, marking a shift from Soviet-era equipment. The snipers discuss their roles in the conflict, including past operations as saboteurs and their effectiveness in the early stages of the Russian invasion. Artyom reflects on his personal history and motivation for joining the armed forces after the 2014 occupation of his hometown by Russian-backed separatists. The article also touches on the use of simpler weapons like the Kalashnikov with thermal optics, which Artyom finds effective in the current conflict. The snipers express their readiness for future deployments, with Artyom showing interest in operations beyond Ukraine's borders.

Ukraine plots victory across a complex battlefield

26 Feb 2023  |  asiatimes.com
The article reflects on the one-year mark since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, detailing the military events that have unfolded. Initially, Ukraine managed to repel Russian advances in Kiev and the north, later achieving significant victories in Kharkiv and Kherson. Despite Russia's partial mobilization and continued fighting in the Donbas region, Ukraine has been bolstered by the promise of Western armaments, including tanks from Germany, the UK, and the US. The article speculates on Ukraine's potential future military strategies, highlighting the importance of Zaporizhzhia as a strategic front and the possibility of a Ukrainian push to the Sea of Azov. It acknowledges the heavy losses on both sides and the challenges ahead but suggests that Ukraine's armed forces could be moving towards a significant phase in the conflict.

The other European crisis: A humanitarian disaster unfolds in Nagorno-Karabakh

25 Jan 2023  |  theglobeandmail.com
Neil Hauer reports on the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, an unrecognized republic in the Caucasus, where residents have been cut off since December 12 due to a blockade by Azerbaijan, which claims the region. The blockade has led to rationing of food and electricity, and a siege on at least 100,000 civilians. The conflict, with roots in the dissolution of the USSR, has escalated as Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, seeks to control the region, exploiting Russia's preoccupation with Ukraine. The International Crisis Group has ranked the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict as a top concern for 2023. Western countries have condemned Azerbaijan's aggression but have not taken decisive action. The EU's deal with Azerbaijan on gas supplies may have emboldened its actions. The article contrasts the democratic progress in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh with the authoritarian regime in Azerbaijan, highlighting the stakes for the people in the region. The blockade continues with no clear resolution in sight, and international pressure is deemed necessary to end the crisis.

Dispatch from Kherson: Inside Ukraine’s battle to win the infrastructure war

02 Dec 2022  |  themessenger.com
The article reports on the situation in the Ukrainian cities of Kherson and Mykolaiv following the Russian occupation and subsequent Ukrainian liberation of Kherson. Despite the success, the cities face severe challenges with damaged infrastructure, particularly in water, power, and heating systems. Russian forces continue to target these civilian infrastructures, causing rolling blackouts and water shortages. Local authorities and residents are struggling to cope, with makeshift solutions like 'points of invincibility' providing some relief. The article highlights the resilience of the Ukrainian people and the ongoing efforts to repair and maintain essential services amidst the war. It also discusses the possibility of evacuating civilians due to the harsh winter conditions and the continuous Russian bombardment. The article includes comments from Ukrainian officials and residents who emphasize the dire need for modern air defense systems and generators to sustain the cities.

Ukraine’s 59th Motorized Brigade on the Frontline of Change in Warfare

31 Oct 2022  |  militarytimes.com
The article discusses the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, focusing on the experiences of Ukraine's 59th Motorized Brigade. The brigade, initially equipped with Soviet-era gear, now uses Western arms and training. Despite Russia's initial advantage with better equipment and professional troops, the article notes that Russia is now relying on older stocks and conscripts due to heavy losses. The effectiveness of Iranian drones used by Russia has been questioned by Ukrainian soldiers, who claim they are easily countered with the right defenses. The article also highlights the impact of Western-supplied weapons like the American HIMARs and M777 howitzers on the conflict, which have helped Ukraine to degrade Russian logistics and supply lines. The soldiers of the 59th Brigade express confidence in their ability to retake Kherson, noting only a need for more artillery and tanks to break Russian defenses.

On the Frontline: Ukraine's 59th Motorized Brigade and the Shifting War

31 Oct 2022  |  armytimes.com
The article discusses the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, focusing on the experiences of Ukraine's 59th Motorized Brigade. The brigade, which has been on the frontlines since the Russian invasion, has witnessed a significant shift in the battlefield dynamics. Initially equipped with Soviet-era gear, the Ukrainian military has now been upgraded with Western arms and training. Conversely, Russia's military capabilities have diminished due to the loss of their best equipment and troops. The 59th Brigade, which successfully defended Mykolaiv and is now preparing to retake Kherson, has seen a morale boost due to the degradation of Russian logistics and the ineffectiveness of Iranian drones used by Russia. Ukrainian forces have been aided by Western-supplied weapons systems like the German Gepards and American HIMARs, which have proven effective against Russian tactics. The article also touches on the use of conscripts by Russia and the Ukrainian need for more artillery and tanks for the upcoming battle. The reporter, Neil Hauer, provides insights from Ukrainian soldiers on the frontlines and the changing tide of the war.

On the Frontlines in Ukraine: The 59th Motorized Brigade's War

31 Oct 2022  |  airforcetimes.com
The article discusses the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, focusing on the 59th Motorized Brigade's experiences and perspectives. The brigade, which has been on the frontlines since the Russian invasion, has witnessed a significant shift in the battlefield dynamics. Initially equipped with Soviet-era gear, the Ukrainian military has now been upgraded with Western arms and training. In contrast, Russia's military capabilities have diminished due to the loss of their best equipment and troops. The 59th Brigade, which successfully defended Mykolaiv and is now preparing to retake Kherson, has seen a decrease in Russian artillery effectiveness due to targeted Ukrainian strikes on supply routes and bridges. The brigade's soldiers express confidence in their ability to counter Russian tactics, including the use of Iranian drones, which they find ineffective against military units. The article also touches on the use of conscripts by Russia and the Ukrainian need for more artillery and tanks for the upcoming battle. The reporter, Neil Hauer, provides insights from the soldiers on the frontlines, highlighting the changing tides of the war in Ukraine's favor.

Opposition to Ukraine war weakens as young Russians flee conscription and far-right nationalists grow stronger

12 Oct 2022  |  themessenger.com
The article discusses the exodus of Russians fleeing the country in response to President Vladimir Putin's military mobilization order on September 21 to support the invasion of Ukraine. Estimates suggest that between 200,000 to over 700,000 Russians have left, heading to various destinations such as the Caucasus, Central Asia, Finland, and even Alaska. Armenia, a former Soviet republic, has become a primary refuge for these immigrants. The article shares personal accounts of Russians who have left, detailing their fears and the tense situations they faced while exiting. It also touches on the changing attitudes within Russia towards the war and the government, as well as the challenges faced by those who have left, including the desire to one day return to a Russia not ruled by Putin.

Putin faces mobilization backlash in North Caucasus

11 Oct 2022  |  asiatimes.com
The article discusses the recent developments in Russia, particularly the military mobilization announced by President Vladimir Putin in response to the setbacks in the invasion of Ukraine. The mobilization has led to widespread protests, especially in the North Caucasus region, where people are resisting the draft. The article highlights the socio-economic issues and historical conflicts in the North Caucasus, which have been exacerbated by the mobilization. It also mentions the role of private military contractors like the Wagner Group in the war effort. The protests and the discontent in regions like Dagestan and Chechnya are seen as a potential threat to Putin's rule, with the possibility of a renewed insurgency. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's call for resistance among North Caucasians is also noted, as is the precarious position of Chechnya's leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.

Escalation in Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict Raises Fears of Wider War

21 Sep 2022  |  asiatimes.com
The article discusses the recent escalation in the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, with Azerbaijan launching an assault on Armenian positions. The offensive resulted in significant casualties and displacement of civilians. The article suggests that Azerbaijan's actions are part of a broader policy to force Armenia into concessions over the Nagorno-Karabakh region and highlights the lack of effective intervention from Russia and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. It also criticizes the European Union for its tepid response, possibly influenced by energy deals with Azerbaijan. The United States, however, has taken a firmer stance, with State Department officials and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi condemning Azerbaijan's actions. The article implies that further attacks may be imminent and stresses the importance of international pressure to prevent further escalation.

The Nagorno-Karabakh truce: What to expect in the years that follow a bloody six-week war

06 Sep 2022  |  meduza.io
Journalist Neil Hauer discusses the ongoing tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He highlights the recent Azerbaijani military actions in the region, including the capture of the town of Lachin and adjacent villages, which led to the displacement of ethnic Armenians. Hauer points out that these events are part of the fallout from Azerbaijan's victory in the 2020 Second Karabakh War and the subsequent ceasefire agreement that required Armenian forces to return occupied districts to Azerbaijan. He criticizes Azerbaijan's approach under President Ilham Aliyev, suggesting that it aims for the slow-motion ethnic cleansing of Nagorno-Karabakh to eliminate it as a political-territorial unit. Hauer also notes the lack of international attention due to the war in Ukraine and expresses hope that behind-the-scenes diplomacy can prevent further ethnic cleansing.

Russia Has a Plan for Ukraine. It Looks Like Chechnya.

19 Jun 2022  |  theatlantic.com
The article discusses the ongoing conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine, drawing parallels with Russia's past military tactics in Chechnya. It describes the Russian military's slow but steady advance in eastern Ukraine, using overwhelming artillery superiority to conquer territory. The article outlines a grim plan that Russia appears to be implementing in Ukraine, similar to the one used in Chechnya, which includes phases of pacification, obliteration of resistance, and the establishment of a new order with local leaders who are subservient to Moscow. The author warns that the West's abandonment of Ukraine could lead to a scenario where Ukraine faces a fate similar to Chechnya's, with a flawed cease-fire leading to a failing state vulnerable to Russian domination.

The Gruesome Battle of Donetsk

09 Jun 2022  |  newlinesmag.com
The article focuses on the situation in Pryshyb, a village in Ukraine, where local defenders are engaged in a struggle against the advancing Russian army. The narrative follows Hussein, a local fighter of Lebanese descent, and his experiences in the territorial defense unit. The article describes the intense combat situation, the lack of equipment and support faced by Ukrainian fighters, and the overwhelming Russian firepower and numbers. It also touches on the personal stories of the defenders, including Dima, a police officer from Lyman, who feels abandoned by the Ukrainian leadership. Despite the dire circumstances, the defenders maintain a belief in their cause. The article concludes with the fall of Lyman to Russian forces and the continued pressure on Ukrainian positions, while also reflecting on Hussein's desire for a peaceful future.

The Gruesome Battle of Donetsk

09 Jun 2022  |  newlinesmag.com
The article focuses on the experiences of Hussein, a Ukrainian of Lebanese descent, and other local defenders in the village of Pryshyb, Ukraine, amidst the Russian offensive in the Donbas region. Hussein, born in the Donbas and having spent time abroad, has returned to defend his homeland. The local territorial defense unit, composed of volunteers like Hussein, is outgunned and facing a superior Russian force. The article details the intense combat situations, the lack of adequate equipment for Ukrainian forces, and the slow but steady Russian advance. Personal stories of the defenders highlight the human aspect of the war, with a particular focus on the town of Lyman, which fell to Russian control on May 28. Despite the dire situation, the defenders maintain a belief in victory and a desire for a peaceful future. The article also touches on the broader strategic situation in the Donbas and the challenges faced by Ukrainian forces.

Russian Forces Breach Ukrainian Lines in Donbas, Signaling a Potential Turning Point

24 May 2022  |  navytimes.com
Russian forces have made a significant breakthrough in the Donbas region by breaching Ukrainian lines west of Popasna on May 18. Their objective is to cut off the highway between Bakhmut and the cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk, which are the last Ukrainian strongholds in Luhansk Oblast. Despite the Pentagon's belief that Russian successes have been limited, the situation on the ground near Bakhmut is tense, with strengthened checkpoints and direct Russian artillery fire on roads. The town of Soledar is close to becoming a frontline, and the Knauf plant there has been damaged by an airstrike. Ukrainian forces are preparing defenses in Bakhmut, but the momentum appears to be with the Russian forces. The coming week is seen as pivotal for the control of the Donbas region. Ukraine's military intelligence aims to reclaim Crimea and eastern territories, while the U.S. is committed to supporting Ukraine's position both on the battlefield and in negotiations. The article is reported by Neil Hauer, a freelance reporter covering the war in Ukraine.

Russian Forces Break Through Ukrainian Lines in Donbas

24 May 2022  |  marinecorpstimes.com
Russian forces have made a significant breakthrough in the Donbas region of Ukraine, particularly west of Popasna, with the aim of cutting off the highway from Bakhmut to Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. Despite the Pentagon's belief that Russian successes have been limited, the situation on the ground near Bakhmut is tense, with strengthened checkpoints and direct Russian artillery fire on roads. The town of Soledar is close to becoming a frontline, and the Knauf plant there has suffered an airstrike. Ukrainian forces are preparing defenses in Bakhmut and the surrounding area, but the momentum appears to be with the Russian forces. The Ukrainian military is determined to reclaim Crimea and eastern territories, and the U.S. is committed to supporting Ukraine's efforts both militarily and diplomatically, as stated by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. The coming week is expected to be decisive for the control of the Donbas region.

Russian Forces Break Through Ukrainian Lines in Donbas Offensive

24 May 2022  |  armytimes.com
Russian forces have made a significant breakthrough in the Donbas region of Ukraine, particularly west of Popasna, with the aim of cutting off the highway from Bakhmut to Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. Despite the Pentagon's belief that Russian successes have been limited, the situation on the ground near Bakhmut is tense, with strengthened checkpoints and direct Russian artillery fire on roads. The town of Soledar is close to becoming a frontline, and the Knauf plant there has been damaged by an airstrike. Ukrainian forces are preparing defenses in Bakhmut, but the momentum appears to be with the Russian forces. The U.S. is providing military support to Ukraine, but the end-state of the war is expected to be defined by the Ukrainians, according to U.S. military officials.

Russian Forces Break Through Ukrainian Lines in Donbas Offensive

18 May 2022  |  airforcetimes.com
The article reports on the situation in the Donbas region of Ukraine, where Russian forces have made a breakthrough in their offensive by capturing the town of Popasna and pushing towards cutting off the highway between Bakhmut and the cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. Despite the Pentagon's belief that Russian successes have been limited, the situation on the ground near Bakhmut is tense, with strengthened checkpoints and direct Russian artillery fire on roads. The town of Soledar is close to becoming a frontline, and the fate of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk is uncertain as Russian forces aim to cut off their main supply line. Ukraine's military intelligence chief has expressed the goal to reclaim Crimea and eastern territories, while the U.S. emphasizes that the end-state of the war will be defined by Ukraine. The article is written by Neil Hauer, a freelance reporter covering the war in Ukraine.

Russian Forces Break Through Ukrainian Lines in Donbas Offensive

18 May 2022  |  militarytimes.com
Russian forces have made a significant breakthrough in the Donbas region of Ukraine, particularly west of Popasna, with the aim of cutting off the highway between Bakhmut and the cities of Lysychansk and Severodonetsk. Despite the Pentagon's belief that Russian successes have been limited, the situation on the ground near Bakhmut is tense, with strengthened checkpoints and direct Russian artillery fire on roads. The town of Soledar is close to becoming a frontline, and the Knauf plant there has been hit by an airstrike. Ukrainian forces are preparing defenses in Bakhmut and the surrounding area, but the momentum appears to be with the Russian forces. The Ukrainian military is determined to reclaim Crimea and eastern territories, and the U.S. is committed to supporting Ukraine's objectives both on the battlefield and at the negotiation table. The article is reported by Neil Hauer, a freelance reporter covering the war in Ukraine.

Armenia’s new road projects: no simple endeavour

14 Feb 2022  |  intellinews.com
The article discusses the impact of the Second Karabakh War on Armenia's infrastructure, particularly its road connectivity. With 80% of its borders closed due to conflicts, Armenia's reliance on its main north-south highway, which connected to Iran, was severed when Azerbaijan took control of bordering territories and erected customs points. Armenia is now constructing alternative roads, including the Ltsen-Tatev road, to bypass Azerbaijani-controlled areas. The article highlights the challenges of building roads in mountainous terrain and the urgency of these projects due to the economic impact on Armenian imports from Iran. It also touches on the corruption that plagued previous infrastructure projects in Armenia and the hope that current projects bring to local communities, exemplified by a major guest house project in Ltsen village. The article underscores the importance of developing rural areas in Armenia to strengthen the country's resilience.

Armenia Is Still Grieving

24 Apr 2021  |  Foreign Policy
The article reflects on the historical and recent tragedies that have befallen Armenia, focusing on the national symbol of Mount Ararat and the losses Armenia has faced, including the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the recent war over Nagorno-Karabakh. It recounts the 44-day war in 2020 between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, resulting in significant Armenian casualties and territorial losses. The piece also touches on the 1988 earthquake and the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, which shaped the national identity and psyche of Armenians. The author discusses the impact of these events on Armenian society, the displacement of people, and the uncertain future of Armenia, drawing parallels with the history of the Assyrians and quoting William Saroyan's defiant words about the resilience of the Armenian people.

Armenians flee village as Azeris take control

24 Nov 2020  |  The National
Ashot Sevyan, a resident of Charektar in the Kelbajar region of Nagorno-Karabakh, is preparing to defend his village against Azerbaijani forces following a peace deal signed on November 10. The deal, which ended a 44-day war, requires Armenian forces to hand over territories, including Kelbajar, to Azerbaijan. Sevyan, a veteran of previous conflicts, has sent his family to Yerevan and plans to stay and fight, despite the government advising residents to leave. The article describes the desolation in Kelbajar, with homes burnt and valuables stripped by departing Armenians. There is also mention of alleged Azerbaijani war crimes against Armenians, which has intensified the resolve of some like Sevyan to resist. The situation remains tense and uncertain, with Russian peacekeepers and unidentified armed men present in the area.

A sombre mood sweeps across the Kelbajar region, as ethnic Armenians return territory to Azerbaijan as part of peace deal

13 Nov 2020  |  Al Jazeera
The article describes the emotional scenes in the Kelbajar region as ethnic Armenians prepare to return territory to Azerbaijan following a peace deal. The Dadivank monastery, a significant religious site, is a focal point for Armenians coming to bid farewell, fearing its destruction under Azerbaijani control. The ceasefire agreement signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan mandates the return of several regions, including Kelbajar, which was predominantly Azerbaijani before being captured by Armenian forces in 1993. The article captures the distress of the local Armenian population, who are packing up their lives with uncertainty about their future. It also touches on the historical context of the conflict and the atrocities committed by both sides. The fate of the civilians and the monastery remains uncertain as the deadline for the handover approaches.

The main city in the disputed mountain region resembles a ghost town, where people share stories of grief underground.

16 Oct 2020  |  Al Jazeera
The article describes the dire situation in Stepanakert, the main city in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, amidst renewed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The city, once bustling and modern due to diaspora donations, has become a ghost town with most of its population fleeing to shelters or Armenia. Civilians remaining in the city are living underground to stay safe from frequent air sirens and shelling. The Armenian officials report 604 Armenian and Karabakh soldiers killed as of October 15, with civilian casualties also mounting. Azerbaijan has not disclosed its military casualties. The article highlights the destruction of civilian infrastructure, including a citywide blackout caused by shelling on Stepanakert's main power station. Both sides have accused each other of using cluster munitions, which are internationally banned. The International Committee of the Red Cross reports hundreds of buildings destroyed, and analysts suggest Azerbaijan is intentionally targeting civilian areas to wage psychological warfare.

The Russian connection to a Berlin hit job that Germany doesn’t want to talk about

03 Nov 2019  |  CNN
The article discusses a murder case in Berlin where Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian citizen of Chechen descent, was killed by a suspected Russian government hitman. The incident occurred in broad daylight in the city center, which is unusual for Berlin. The suspect was caught after disposing of evidence in the River Spree but has remained silent, and the Kremlin has denied any involvement. The case has highlighted Germany's delicate relationship with Russia and has had a significant impact on the Chechen migrant community in Europe, who fear for their safety and face anti-migrant sentiment. Khangoshvili had been denied asylum in Germany despite previous assassination attempts and his family's respectable background. The murder has shocked the Chechen community, as it is reminiscent of another killing of a Chechen rebel in Vienna in 2009.

Russia’s World Cup Isn’t as Safe as It Looks

20 Jun 2018  |  Foreign Policy
Russia's efforts to secure the 2018 World Cup face significant challenges due to the evolving nature of terrorist threats. While past large-scale militant groups have been largely dismantled, the rise of small, hard-to-detect cells and lone-wolf attackers, often influenced by the Islamic State, presents new security risks. The Federal Security Service's strategy of redirecting potential militants to Syria and Iraq has reduced local recruitment but has not eliminated the threat. Recent counterterrorism operations in the North Caucasus and security measures in host cities reflect a mix of effective and questionable tactics. The involvement of armed Cossacks and the deployment of military hardware in urban areas raise concerns about the appropriateness of these measures.

Russia's failure at Sochi means more war for Syria in 2018

07 Feb 2018  |  Middle East Eye
The failure of the Sochi summit to achieve its goals has led to a shift in Russia's policy towards emphasizing military action in Syria. The Syrian National Dialogue Congress did not produce significant outcomes, with key opposition groups boycotting the event. The Geneva process remains stagnant, and the Astana talks offer limited hope. The Syrian government continues its offensive in Idlib, while Eastern Ghouta faces a humanitarian crisis. The involvement of international actors, particularly Russia, Turkey, and Iran, has not bridged the gap between the Syrian government and opposition. The Kurds' exclusion from talks due to Turkish opposition further complicates the situation. Moscow is likely to increase its military presence in Syria, relying on its North Caucasian military police.

Putin Has a New Secret Weapon in Syria: Chechens

04 May 2017  |  Foreign Policy
The Russian intervention in Syria, led by President Vladimir Putin, has seen significant success, particularly with the deployment of Chechen and Ingush commandos from Russia's North Caucasus region. These units, drawn from elite Spetnaz formations, have taken on various roles, including manning checkpoints, distributing aid, and coordinating defense with regime forces. Their deployment marks a strategic shift, allowing Russia to project power at a reduced political cost and manage battlefield casualties more discreetly. The use of Sunni Muslim troops from the North Caucasus also aims to build better relations with the Syrian populace. The growing role of these brigades highlights Russia's intent to wield greater influence in Syria, despite occasional tensions with its Syrian and Iranian allies. The deployment of private military contractors like Wagner further bolsters Russia's ground strength in the region.
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