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Breaking news about the war between Ukraine and Russia: live updates

KRYVY RIG, Ukraine – Appeal to commit treason came to Alexander Vilkul on in second day of war, in telephone call from an old colleague.

Mr. Vilkul, heir of a powerful political family in southeastern Ukraine, which has long been considered a supporter of pro-Russian views, took in call since the Russian troops were advancing with an accuracy of several miles of his native city of Krivoy Rog.

“He said: “Alexander Yuryevich, you look at the map, you see, the situation is predetermined,” Mr. Vilkul recalls the conversation with boy minister in a former pro-Russian Ukrainian government.

“To sign an agreement of friendship, cooperation and defense with Russia and they will have good connections with you, former a colleague said. “You’ll big Human in in new Ukraine.”

Offer failed effectively. As soon as the war started, said Mr. Vilkul, gray area leaked out of Ukrainian politics for his. Missiles hit his hometown made the choice is obvious: fight back.

“I replied with profanity,” Mr. Vilkul said. in interview.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for New York Times

If a first months of war in Ukraine has become military fiasco for Russian army – depreciation of reputation of his commanders and troops in forced retreat from Kyiv – Russians invasion also singled out another egregious failure: an erroneous analysis of Moscow of in politics of the country he attacked. The miscalculation led to errors of at least costly in life for Russian army than faulty tactics of tank operators who driven into swamps.

The Kremlin entered the war expecting a quick and painless victory, predicting that government of President Volodymyr Zelensky will break down and what leading officials in predominantly Russian-speaking eastern region with pleasure switch sides. That did not happen.

Political myopia was most significant in east of the country, political analysts say.

In all but a tiny number of villages, Russia failed turn local politicians on their own side. Ukrainian authorities opened 38 cases of treason, all aimed at low-level officials in separate instances of betrayal.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for New York Times

“None wanted be a part of this thing behind in wall”, – said Konstantin Usov, former member of parliament from Krivoy Rog, referring to an isolated, authoritarian Russia system.

He said that system had a dark attraction in Ukraine and noted the absence of wide cooperation with Russia, including among Ukrainians who speak Russian and share cultural values ​​of the country.

“We are part of of anything bright,” he said of Ukraine. “It’s here, with us, in our group. And they have nothing to offer.”

Other well-known, once pro-Russian politicians, including mayor Igor Terekhov. of Kharkiv and Gennady Trukhanov, mayor of Odessa, also remained loyal and became fierce defenders of their cities.

Along with leaders in southeast, Ukrainian people also resisted. street protests against Occupation in Kherson continues despite mortal danger for participants. One person stood in front of tank. Krivoy Rog miners and metallurgists showed no signs of life of turn to allegiance to Russia.

“Before the war, we had ties with Russia,” said Sergei Zhykhalov, 36, a steel mill engineer, referring to family, language and cultural ties. But no more, he said. “Not one there are doubts that Russia attacked us”.

Southeastern regions of Ukraine, space of steppes and ruined industrial and mining cities are now in the spotlight of fight in war.

If you go south from Kyiv, the highway leaves behind dense pine forests and reed marshes of in the north of Ukraine, and the landscape opens up with vast plains. farm fields stretch out to the horizons in brilliant, yellow blooming rapeseed or tilled black earth.

IN many respects region intertwined with Soviet and Russian history. The metallurgical and coal industries have shaped the southeast of Ukraine. In and around city of Krivoy Rog – iron ore deposits; coal further east, near the river. city of Donetsk.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for New York Times

The two mineral basins known as Kryvbas and Donbass spawned a steel industry that attracted in many nationalities from all over the tsarist and soviet empires since the end of the 19th century century forward, with Russian becomes the lingua franca in mining towns. The villages remained mostly Ukrainian-speaking.

region for years elected pro-Russian politicians such as Mr. Vilkul, favorite villain Ukrainian nationalists for popularization of the cultural heritage of the Soviet model. events which angered many Ukrainians. He put for e.g. singing party in Krivoy Rog to belt out Katyusha, Russian song connected with Soviet victory in World War II.

More specifically, Mr. Vilkul has ascended in politics under former pro-Russian President Viktor F. Yanukovych, in whose government he served as Deputy prime minister until street protesters toppled Yanukovych in 2014.

Lot of rest of The cabinet of Mr. Yanukovych fled with him to Russia. And Mr. Vilkul stayed in Ukraine as de facto political boss of Krivoy Rog during aging father served as citymayor.

And he attracted the attention of Moscow. In 2018, Mr Vilkul said in an interview with him through an intermediary said that “time of chaos over and what it is should Now follow orders from Moscow, if he wished to remain in politics in southeast. He said he refused.

The Russians, according to him, did not even bother to look after him, they only put forward demands. He said Moscow took same approach to other policies in east of Ukraine. “They didn’t even try to convince us,” he said. “They just thought that we would, a priori, on them side”.

Credit…David Guttenfelder for New York Times

the day before of war, Mr. Vilkul was most likely a Russian politician in Ukraine with the most popular support. “I was alone on at this level,” he said. He was also viewed by Moscow as a promising potential converter in its side when he invaded Ukraine.

That’s when call Vitaliy Zakharchenko, a Ukrainian, came to Mr. Vilkul’s mobile phone in exile in Russia who served as an interior minister under Mr. Vilkul in Mr. Yanukovych government. He recommended Mr. Vilkul to cooperate with Russians.

“I told him to disappear,” Mr Vilkul said. “I didn’t even consider it.

Mr. Vilkul said he was misunderstood – the Russian leadership and its nationalist opposition in home. BUT great-grandfather, according to him, fought with white Russians in Civil War. Vilkul family, he said, “is fighting the Russians on this land for a hundred years”.

The Kremlin, he says, misinterpreted his respect for veterans of the Great Patriotic War and support for rights of Russian speakers as potential support for renewed Russian Empire, something, according to him, was mistake. He called the Russians “classic maniacs of grandeur.”

Credit…David Guttenfelder for New York Times

“They were wrong common language and values like attitude towards the Second World War and Orthodoxy as sign that someone loves them,” he said.

BUT second a proposal, this time publicly presented by another Ukrainian émigré Oleg Tsarev, in a post on The telegram came about a week later, when Russian troops approached six miles of in city. “My friend party the deputies and I have always taken a pro-Russian position.” post said, referring to Mr. Vilkul and his father added ominous that “collaboration with Russian army means preservation city and lives.”

Mr Vilkul replied with obscene post on Facebook.

On the first days of in invasionMr Vilkul ordered the regionRussian mining companies to suspend work equipment on runway strip of at the city airport, disrupting an airborne assault, and on access roads slowing down columns of tanks. Then the tires were burst and the engines disabled.

cityRussia’s steel industry has begun to transform out tank barriers and plates for body armor. Mr. Zelensky, whose hometown is Krivoy Rog, appointed Mr. Vilkul military governor of in city on the third day of war even though they were both political opponents in peacetime.

Mr. Vilkul accepted wearing uniform and camouflage bandanna. Parade of Ukrainian nationalists, including the leader of paramilitary formation of the “Right Sector” Dmitry Yarosh and a well-known activist and military officer Tatyana Chernovol, once sworn in enemies of vilkul familyrevealed up in his office shake his hand.

“If we fight Russians,” he said, “have we ever been truly pro-Russian, in entity?”

Maria Varenikova made a report.

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Tyler Hromadka
Tyler is working as the Author at World Weekly News. He has a love for writing and have been writing for a few years now as a free-lancer.

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