While high-level discussions about NATO membership dominate global headlines, the grim realities of war continue to play out daily in Ukraine. It’s been 85 days since the Russian invasion began; the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova said this week that in that time, 3,752 civilians (229 of them children) have been killed and 4,062 injured, 424 children among them.
Russia claimed a major victory yesterday after more than 950 Ukrainian fighters were sent to a prison camp in Russian territory after surrendering from a steel plant, the final stronghold in the key port city of Mariupol, which lies between Russia and Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.
It’s not all good news for Russia, though. Russian forces appear to be ceding many of their early gains in the northeastern region of Kharkiv; they’ve been pushed back to the border. Things look bad on the economic and PR front, too. McDonald’s has decided to shut down its franchises in Russia, one of the largest global brands to do so. And Ukraine’s 2022 Eurovision entry, Stefania (performed by the folk-rap group Kalush Orchestra), won the song contest. CNN reported that many in the audience waved Ukrainian flags, their goodwill and a combination of public and jury votes carrying the group to victory. We wonder whether Russian President Vladimir Putin was among those desperately voting for the other favourites, Spain and the UK?