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#AceNewsRoom With ‘Kindness & Wisdom’ May.12, 2022 @acebreakingnews
The Real Russia. Today. Biden says intel sharing with Kyiv is de-escalatory, evidence of war crimes mounts, and Meduza speaks to a mortician outside Kyiv and visits a Buryatian village: Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2022
In today’s newsletter:
- Latest news
- A mortician outside Kyiv describes the mass graves discovered after Russian occupation
- A history of ‘patriotic sacrifice’ in a Buryatian village
- Russian taxpayers are footing a hefty bill for pro-war entertainment
- Flowers become a political flashpoint in Riga’s memory of WWII and the USSR
Major recent events in Russia and Ukraine
- 🕵️ The Pentagon attempts some damage control: “U.S. officials have limited control on how their Ukrainian beneficiaries use the military equipment and intelligence,” The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, explaining that the Biden administration “has drawn up guidance around intelligence-sharing that is calibrated to avoid heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow.” Additionally, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin assured members of Congress at a budget hearing on Wednesday that the Pentagon is working closely with the Zelensky administration to ensure Kyiv’s “accountability” regarding American weaponry sent to Ukraine.
- 🔎 Further evidence of war crimes mounts: Reporting from Ukraine, Isabelle Khurshudyan describes the work of police investigators compiling evidence of potential war crimes committed by Russian soldiers against civilians. On May 11, CNN released footage from March showing Russian soldiers shooting two unarmed civilians in the back after an encounter in the outskirts of Kyiv. Also on Wednesday, Ukrainian officials announced the first prosecution for war crimes: a case against a 21-year-old Russian soldier who is in custody. The country’s attorney general says her office has opened more than 5,000 cases linked to war crimes and crimes of aggression since the invasion began.
- 👋 A big fish is leaving Russia’s pond: Siemens (a German multinational conglomerate and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe) says it will exit the Russian market “as a result of the Ukraine war.” “The company has started proceedings to wind down its industrial operations and all industrial business activities,” Siemens said in a press release.
- 🪖 In Russia’s borderlands: The governor of Russia’s Belgorod region says artillery fire “from Ukraine” killed one resident and injured seven more.
- 🪖 Threats allegedly from Azov relatives against Zelensky’s adviser: Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to President Zelensky, says he, his wife, and their children have been targeted in death threats for two days straight from people claiming to be the wives and relatives of Azov Battalion combatants still trapped in Mariupol. Arestovych says the people conveying the threats accuse the Zelensky administration of abandoning their loved ones. In the same broadcast, Arestovych confirmed that Ukrainian troops have crossed the border into Russian territory in some places around Kharkiv. He said these movements have been for “symbolic, not military, significance.”
- 🚨 Rise of the ‘neofascists’: While explaining to a constituent why state officials denied a permit for a local concert, the governor of Russia’s Komi Republic said that the event’s organizers planned to incite anti-Putin slogans. Governor Vladimir Uyba also accused State Duma deputy Oleg Mikhailov (who was not involved in the concert planning) of being a “neofascist.” Uyba added that all the “neofascists” deserve a “wooden stake on their graves.”
- ⚖️ A revealing court reading: The judge who rejected Holod Media editor-in-chief Taisia Bekbulatova’s lawsuit challenging her “foreign agent” status read aloud in court on Wednesday a document from Russia’s Federal Financial Monitoring Service that explained Bekbulatova’s designation as the state’s response to Holod Media’s work “to discredit Russia’s political system.” The document is noteworthy because Rosfinmonitoring doesn’t typically use such language and instead pretends that it’s focused solely on foreign financial flows. The woman presiding at Wednesday’s hearing wasn’t the court’s usual judge, raising the odds that this disclosure was an accident.
Igor Sereda buries the dead for living. Now he’s exhuming the bodies of civilians killed outside Kyiv during Russian occupation. (21-min read)
More than a thousand civilians have died in the Kyiv region since the onset of war. Most of these people died in areas that the Russian military temporarily occupied. Igor Sereda, 24, heads a mortuary service in one of these settlements — a town called Nemishaieve. Since February 24, Sereda had to bury the deceased from nearby villages under Russian fire. When the suburbs of Kyiv were finally liberated, he began working in Bucha, exhuming the mass graves and temporary burial sites. Meduza special correspondent Lilya Yapparova spoke to Sereda about wartime funerals, and what he learned about Russian soldiers during the occupation.
A dispatch from a Buryatian village where one percent of residents have joined the war in Ukraine (27-min read)
Yevgeny Konoplev for Lyudi Baikala
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, 23 men from Selenduma (a village in Buryatia) have joined the war; that’s about one percent of the village’s population. In late March, the village buried Andrey Dandarov, the first resident to return from the war in a body bag. A week later, residents held a patriotic motor rally, lining up their cars to form the Z symbol. In early May, the local magazine Lyudi Baikala (LB; “People of the Baikal”) published a report about how young men from Selenduma have been dying in Russia’s wars for four decades now — in Chechnya, Afghanistan, and Ukraine — and how residents nonetheless continue to support the ongoing “special military operation.”
The Russian government’s recent “marathon” of pro-war concerts cost the federal budget 95.3 million rubles ($1.4 million), BBC News Russian reported on Wednesday, May 11. The concert series, meant to drum up support for Moscow’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, marks the largest state contract ever concluded in Russia for such an event (according to public procurement records).
Russia supporters in Riga protest after officials bulldoze flowers left at WWII monument (5-min read)
On May 10, a spontaneous protest broke out in Riga’s Victory Park after city officials used a bulldozer to remove the flowers left at the park’s Monument to the Liberators of Riga. Residents who were upset by the authorities’ actions started bringing new flowers to the monument, and a crowd formed. The impromptu gathering, which included demonstrations of Russian symbols and Soviet songs, spurred outrage among other residents — and the country’s leaders.
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