‘The photographs of murdered civilians, their hands tied behind their backs, shot in the head and tossed like animals on to the street… we will not forget, and no one will let us forget,’ wrote Russian journalist and author Yevgenia Albats last week. ‘The guilt for this will lie on our children and grandchildren. Bucha, Irpin, Motyzhin – we will now have to live with them for ever.’
Powerful words and moving nostra culpa for Russian atrocities in Ukraine.
In the week before Orthodox Lent began, some 233 Russian
Orthodox priests published a petition calling for peace. The signatories spoke
of the ‘fratricidal war in Ukraine’, with a call for an immediate ceasefire,
and deplored ‘the trial that our brothers and sisters in Ukraine were
undeservedly subjected to’. Anyone who knows how authority is exercised in the
Russian Orthodox church, and how closely it has allied itself with Putin’s
authoritarian state, will recognise the clerics’ courage.
Palm Sunday in Perugia. Umbrians were scuttling around with twigs and leaves, but I was in town to celebrate another faith. It was the annual International Journalism Festival, which hasn’t been ‘annual’ for the past two years due to Covid. Happy reunions were applauded with the sound of countless clinking glasses, but the mood was often mournful. In the first panel I was on, the moderator, Natalia Antelava, asked for a moment of silence for the 18 journalists already killed in Ukraine.
David Petraeus is a former CIA director who, as a four-star general, led US military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. He speaks to the historian Niall Ferguson about the war in Ukraine.
NIALL FERGUSON: General, I wanted to ask you to give your assessments of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. If you were grading Russia’s military performance and Ukraine’s, what grades would you give?
DAVID PETRAEUS: Clearly Russia has failed.
In my wife’s home city of Wroclaw, there’s a luxury
hotel named after John Paul II. It has always seemed strange that the Catholic
church sanctioned this. Giant chandeliers and glitzy bathrooms weren’t really
what St John Paul stood for, and since the hotel opened in 2002 it had seemed
as much a monument to the church’s decline as a tribute to a saint. But
everything changed with the war in Ukraine. Some 2.5 million Ukrainians have
fled to Poland since Russia’s invasion and the hotel is currently home to more
than 100 refugees.
This is a delicious way to cook lamb with a distinctly Mediterranean feel. It’s super fresh, easy to prepare and would be perfect for Easter Sunday. I would serve it with pitta bread and chilli sauce. It pairs well with a chilled bottle of Sangiovese.
– 2 lamb shanks
– 1-2 sprigs rosemary
– 1-2 sprigs oregano
– 1-2 sprigs mint
– 2 tbsp dried oregano
– 2 tbsp dried mint
– 1 tbsp smoked paprika
– ½ tbsp ground cumin
– ½ tbsp ground coriander
– ½ tbsp Aleppo chilli powder
– 500ml lamb stock (or chicken stock)
– 1 small red onion, sliced
– 5 garlic cloves, sliced
– 1 lemon, sliced
– 1 tbsp Maldon salt
– 100ml olive oil
– 250g Greek yogurt
– ½ large cucumber
– 2 garlic cloves
– 2 sprigs dill
– 2 sprigs mint
– salt and white pepper
– drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
– 200g vine cherry tomatoes
– ½ large cucumber
– ½ red pepper
– ½ small red onion
– 30g black olives
– 90-100g feta cheese
– pinch dried oregano
– 1 tbsp poppy seeds
– salt and white pepper
– 1 lemon
– splash sherry vinegar
– large glug of extra virgin olive oil
Slice the red onion, lemon and garlic, roughly chop the herbs, salt and pepper, and then mix in a bowl with the olive oil.
The Russian atrocities against civilians in Ukraine have been met with silence from Dar es Salaam, Harare and Juba. Not a word from Addis Ababa, Maputo or Khartoum. On Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the Ugandan President’s son, lieutenant general Muhoozi Kainerugaba, is clear: ‘Putin is absolutely right!’
Nearly half of Africa’s 54 nations refused to vote against Russia at the United Nations last month. Not only African governments but multitudes of Africans, even in countries that opposed Russia, such as Kenya, enthusiastically support Vladimir Putin.
The English Rock Garden, the magnum opus of the great gardening writer, horticulturist and plant collector Reginald Farrer, is an indispensable A to Z guide to alpine flowers. When he finally reaches V, Farrer writes: ‘Viola brings this alphabet to the last great dragon in its path.’ But rather than offering fire-breathing terror, he presents a family of flowers containing both beauties and ‘dull and dowdy species’.
There are between 400 and 500 species in the viola family.