The third month of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine continues. From the very beginning, our struggle has not left the pages of the Western media.
On April 30 — May 2, the media reported about the attempts of congressmen to step up passing an aid package for Ukraine, the loss of combat capability by Russian troops, as well as Lavrov's scandalous statement about a Jewish Hitler when compared to a Jewish Zelenskyy and the anti-Semitism of the Israeli people.
Also, the EU continues to argue about the oil embargo, and Russia itself is already cancelling the performances of its directors for disagreeing with the "party policy" and subjects that are uncomfortable for the Kremlin.
US on aid to Ukraine: Very little time
The Washington Post quotes top lawmakers in Congress from both parties saying about the urgent push to approve President Biden’s proposal for $33 billion in additional aid to Ukraine.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said the Senate will take up the package on Monday, May 2.
"I think we need to push it very, very quickly."
According to him, the aid, he added, despite billions of dollars in previous packages, is necessary to help Ukraine win and beat Russia’s illegal invasion.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), the highest-ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that he expects Congress to pass the package quickly.
He stressed that the next two to three weeks are going to be very pivotal and very decisive in this war.
"I don’t think we have a lot of time to waste in Congress."
McCaul added that every day the USA doesn't send Ukraine more weapons is a day where more people will be killed and a day where Kyiv could lose this war.
Preventing attack on NATO
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) for his part, noted that this is not just about Kyiv:
"I think we will do what it takes to see Ukraine win because it’s not just about Ukraine. It’s about the international order."
Menendez said that stopping Russia from reaching the point at which it attacks a NATO-member country is critically of interest to the USA, as well as the world, so that "we don’t have to send our sons and daughters into battle."
Oksana Markarova, the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, stated that Kyiv looks forward to Congress approving this package:
"This is everything that we need on the ground very much, and we count on the U.S. in this."
Earlier, already reported that the Lend-Lease for Ukraine from the United States was a slap in the face to Putin personally and a reminder of who the Hitler of the new era is.
Russia lost a quarter of its troops
CNBC quotes the U.K.’s Ministry of Defense reporting in its daily intelligence update that at the moment more than a quarter of the troops Russia committed to the war are likely to have been rendered "combat ineffective."
At the start of the conflict, Russia committed over 120 battalion tactical groups, approximately 65% of its entire ground combat strength, and a quarter of them are no longer able to fight.
"Some of Russia’s most elite units, including the VDV Airborne Forces, have suffered the highest levels of attrition," the report reads. "It will probably take years for Russia to reconstitute these forces."
We have already covered how Russia burns through weapons for years to come, not counting how long it will take for it to recover.
Oil embargo: Hungary still resists
The BBC reports that the EU has been agonizing over energy sanctions for weeks.
Member states have already agreed to phase out Russian coal by summer but oil is a tougher ask.
While Poland and the Baltic states have been agitating for action, Germany’s been accused of holding progress up. However, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is now showing an increased willingness to move ahead.
Hungary, in particular, is seen as a potential "road-block". It’s heavily reliant on Russian supplies, while the government of the recently re-elected Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, has voiced clear opposition to sanctions.
Often at odds with Brussels, Budapest’s words will be closely watched this week. And diplomats concede discussions, about a proposed ban, will be difficult.
At the same time, since Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the EU has paid the Russian Federation more than 35 billion euros for energy imports. Some in Brussels plainly refer to it as "blood money".
Israel outraged by statement about Hitler and Zelenskyy
The Guardian reports that that Israel called the comments of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the Jewish origin of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler "anti-Semitic and dangerous."
Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid said the Russian ambassador would be summoned for "a tough talk" over the assertion, which Lavrov made in an interview with Italian television.
The Russian was asked how Russia could say it needed to "denazify" Ukraine, when the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was Jewish.
"When they say ‘What sort of nazification is this if we are Jews’, well I think that Hitler also had Jewish origins, so it means nothing. For a long time now we’ve been hearing the wise Jewish people say that the biggest anti-Semites are the Jews themselves."
This statement caused indignation among Israeli diplomats.
"It is an unforgivable, scandalous statement, a terrible historical mistake, and we expect an apology," Lapid said.
Cancelling for inconvenient Russians
Reuters reports that Russia's Bolshoi Theatre has upset opera and ballet fans by abruptly cancelling a series of shows this week by directors who have spoken out against the war in Ukraine.
The theatre gave no reason for dropping Timofey Kuliabin's production of the opera "Don Pasquale" and Kirill Serebrennikov's ballet "Nureyev".
But Kuliabin has used his Instagram account to express solidarity with Ukraine and ridicule Russia's description of its actions there. In one post, he showed a mocked-up version of the cover of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace", replacing the first word of the title with "Special Operation" — the term used by the Kremlin to describe the invasion.
Serebrennikov told France 24 in an interview in April that "it's quite obvious that Russia started the war", and that it was breaking his heart.
"It's war, it's killing people, it's the worst thing (that) ever might happen with civilisation, with mankind... It's a humanitarian catastrophe, it's rivers of blood."
Play about gays vs Russian intolerance
Both directors are currently outside Russia. The replacement of the two shows with "The Barber of Seville" and "Spartacus" drew hundreds of mostly critical online comments from ticketholders. Many demanded in vain to know the reason.
"What disrespect to the spectators and artists!" one user, Valeria, wrote on the Bolshoi's Telegram channel.
There was particular outrage at the cancellation of Serebrennikov's "Nureyev", a controversial production that premiered at the Bolshoi in 2017.
The story of dancer Rudolf Nureyev, who defected to the West in 1961, included a tender scene with his gay lover that tested the Kremlin's tolerance for what it calls "homosexual propaganda".
Instead of an afterword. The United States is trying to step up its bureaucratic procedures to pass the aid package to Kyiv, while bluntly acknowledging that it's not just about Ukraine. The fears of the Western world that incase of our defeat, or if the Russian troops are not seriously weakened, the war will spread beyond Ukraine's borders to the NATO countries, is now playing into the hands of Kyiv.
At the same time, it is bitter to hear once again how afraid the West is to send its sons and daughters to war, delaying the subject of an energy embargo and paying billions of dollars for bloody oil to the aggressor, while people in Ukraine are dying every day, and the infrastructure is suffering more and more damage.
The complete lack of diplomatic tact in Russia is indicative. It managed not only to equate Hitler with probable Jewish origin with Zelenskyy, but also to declare that the greatest anti-Semites in the world are Jews. Moscow is unlikely to apologize to Israel, but its outrage is understandable.
It is not particularly surprising that Russia itself is already "cancelling" its talented directors amid their anti-war statements, at the same time blocking their ability to freely create on the subjects of LGBT rights that were declared in Moscowia "propaganda of homosexuality" at the legislative level.
While Russia is switching even its own art to totalitarianism, Ukraine has been defending its borders and the right to a free state for 68 days.