2000: Vladimir Putin elected Russian president
2002: Steven Seagal stars in Half Past Dead, his last film to get a theatrical release
2003: Seagal meets Putin
2013: Putin asks Obama to make Seagal a Russia-US diplomatic envoy
2016: Putin gives Seagal a Russian passport
2022: ...
Finnish PM @MarinSanna: “It’s not right that at the same time as Russia is waging an aggressive, brutal war of aggression in Europe, Russians can live a normal life, travel in Europe, be tourists. It’s not right.”
Ответ на публикацию @Nat_Vasilyeva
Russia: the west is cancelling Russian culture
Also Russia: bans one of the leading websites popularizing *checks notes* Russian culture
The first ship has left Odesa’s port under a deal to end a global food crisis.

But how long Russia will lift its Black Sea blockade is an open question – especially given it bombed that same port right after the deal was struck

@MehulAtLarge @laurapitel
Another major rollback of the west’s sanctions on Russia – important story by ⁦@thomas_m_wilson⁩ ⁦@harrydemps⁩ ⁦@oliver_ralph
Ответ на публикацию @francis_scarr
Sanctioned by your own country – a remarkable achievement
Ответ на публикацию @rianru
Turkey yesterday: Russia denied to us that they have anything to do with the strikes on Odesa’s port, which they just promised not to do

Russia today: Russian missiles “destroyed a military infrastructure target” in a “high-precision strike” that sunk a Ukrainian military vessel
Ответ на публикацию @GoncharenkoUa
A day after Russia committed not to attack Odesa’s ports, Ukraine says it did just that.

The UN-brokered grain deal doesn’t cover parts of the port not involved in grain exports. But it’s not exactly going to be easy to export grain while missiles are flying
Medvedev says Ukraine “may lose what remains of its state sovereignty and disappear from the map of the world,” as if Lavrov’s remarks yesterday on Russia’s aims weren’t sufficiently clear
Lavrov gives the biggest official signal yet that Russia is planning to annex southern Ukraine.

"Now the geography has changed. It's not just Donetsk and Luhansk, it's Kherson, Zaporizhia, and several other territories. And this is an ongoing process, consistent and insistent."
Russia's parliament introduced a bill today to make already draconian laws against "gay propaganda" even stricter.

A few hours later, Daria Kasatkina, Russia's top female tennis player, came out as gay:
Whoa. Russian police have arrested Vladimir Mau, one of the technocrat economists who's been unsuccessfully trying to reform Russia from within for decades.

Mau was just reappointed to Gazprom's board today – which suggests this case has come from high up
Putin’s table at the Caspian Sea summit in Turkmenistan yesterday. You could probably fit an entire hockey rink in the middle
Blockbuster FT investigation into the illicit Crimean grain trade – which is helping Russia skirt western sanctions and could be a conduit for stolen Ukrainian grain.

Amazing work by @xtophercook @polinaivanovva @laurapitel @EmikoTerazono & @felschwartz
Estonia’s prime minister has criticised “premature calls for a ceasefire” in Ukraine by other EU leaders, saying the bloc has to be “prepared for a long war”.
Ответ на публикацию @ru_rbc
Russian media reports "the first ship to enter Mariupol's port after the fighting ended has left harbor carrying a load of steel."

Translation: after destroying the city, Russia is now appropriating metal from the steelworks
“Putin is now hurling men and munitions at the last remaining major population center [ . . . ] as if taking it would win the war for the Kremlin. He is wrong,” writes ⁦@TheStudyofWar
Ответ на публикацию @TPKanslia
After decades of neutrality so stringent the country became a byword for it, Finland – which has a 1340km border with Russia – is applying to join NATO.

Yet more blowback from Moscow’s war in Ukraine
Putin laid flowers at the monuments to “hero cities” from World War II – including Kyiv and Odesa. Amazing chutzpah to do this when you’re still firing missiles at them constantly
Contrast Putin's speech with Zelensky's today:

"Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine. And someone won't have any.

We won then. We will win now. And Khreshchatyk will see the victory parade – the Victory of Ukraine!"
Putin: "If anyone decides to meddle in ongoing events and create unacceptable strategic threats for Russia, they must know our response will be lightning-quick.

"We have all the instruments for this, ones nobody else can boast of. And we will use them, if we have to."
Video of the US and Russia swapping former marine Trevor Reed, formerly imprisoned in Russia, for convicted drug smuggler Alexei Yaroshenko on a runway in Turkey. Real bridge of spies Cold War vibes
Putin meets UN secretary general António Guterres in the Kremlin. The long table is back!
Vladimir Putin has lost interest in diplomatic efforts to end the war, according to three people briefed on conversations with the Russian president.

Instead, he appears set on seizing as much Ukrainian territory as possible.

New, with @HenryJFoy:
Russia's "liberation" of Mariupol looks like this, according to Ramzan Kadyrov's Telegram channel
Putin is hailing Russia's "liberation" of Mariupol after his forces completely destroyed during a two-month siege.

He told defense minister Sergei Shoigu to block off the Azovstal metallurgical plant, where the last Ukrainian troops are holed up, "so that a fly can't get in."
Ответ на публикацию @kromark
If you didn't believe the Ukrainian intercept of a Russian soldier's wife telling him to rape Ukrainian women, here both of them are on record confirming it's true. Amazing work
Putin’s justifications for the war in Ukraine:

– “the main goal is to help people”
– “we were forced to do it”
– “we couldn’t put up with it any longer”
– “a clash was inevitable”
– “it was just a matter of time”
– “we didn’t have a choice, this was the right thing to do”
Russia's defense ministry initially said it used high-precision rockets on three railway stations in the Donbas today.

But after the scale of the casualties in Kramatorsk became clear, it claimed the strike was a "provocation" that "has nothing to do with reality."
At least a thousand Russian national guardsmen are disobeying orders to go fight into Ukraine, wary of meeting the same fate as others wiped out in the war’s early days. ⁦@polinaivanovva⁩ reports:
Ответ на публикацию @ru_rbc
Russia claims two Ukrainian helicopters carried out a strike on a fuel depot in Belgorod, just over the border from Kharkiv.

Would be the first major Ukrainian sortie into Russia if true, and pretty humiliating for Russia
Russia’s deputy defense minister says Moscow has decided to “fundamentally cut back military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernigiv” in order to “increase mutual trust for future negotiations to agree and sign a peace deal with Ukraine.”
'Austria is a “veritable aircraft carrier” of covert Russian activity... Its BFV agency is so compromised that for a time it was cut out of much European intelligence sharing... The country’s defence ministry is “practically a department of the GRU”'
Russian deputy defense minister Yunus-Bek Evkurov gave a soldier who lost a leg fighting in Ukraine a medal yesterday and told him: “I hope you’ll get back on your feet”
I think this is the first major admission of how taken aback Moscow was by western sanctions.

Lavrov: "When they [froze] the central bnak reserves, nobody who was predicting what sanctions the west would pass could have pictured that. It's just thievery."
Ответ на публикацию @Buchenwald_Dora
Russia’s “denazification” of Ukraine continues apace by *checks notes* killing a Holocaust survivor
“They packed us into a bus and drove us here,” one woman tells @SotaVision
Something extremely odd just happened. Putin was halfway through his speech. He said, “By pure coincidence, the start of the special operation was on the birthday of…” – and then the feed suddenly cut out
Chechens continue to lead the way among Russia’s forces in Ukraine of producing snazzy videos in which they don’t actually do anything
Here's video of Putin suddenly vanishing mid-sentence. Where is he?!
Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium, which hosted the World Cup final in 2018, is packed out for a pro-war rally on the anniversary of Russia’s Crimea annexation.

Lots of reports of state employees being bussed in. They’re watching a video with Ukrainian flags being thrown to the ground