Svitlana Morenets

Svitlana Morenets

Svitlana Morenets is a Ukrainian journalist on the staff of The Spectator. Subscribe to her free weekly email, Ukraine in Focus, here.

Will the Ukrainian army retreat from Avdiivka?

The battle for Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast is a bloodbath. The city, which is also called the ‘gateway to Donetsk’, is semi-surrounded. Some 50,000 Russian troops are trying to advance from three sides while they keep the main supply route into the city under artillery fire. At least 15 per cent of Avdiivka has been

What Tucker Carlson should have asked Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin relished being interviewed by American journalist Tucker Carlson, who doesn’t seem to know much about Russia, Ukraine or the war. The old autocrat turned a two-hour interview into a monologue and spent most of it talking about a fictionalised history of Ukraine. In one of the rare moments when Carlson dared to interrupt

Zelensky has sacked a Ukrainian hero

If you have to ask Ukrainians to name the biggest hero of the past two years, most would probably say Valery Zaluzhny, who has just been fired as the head of the military. Under his command, Kyiv was defended and Ukraine reclaimed more than half of the territory that Russia occupied since February 2022. It

Svitlana Morenets

Ukraine is in a bind over mass conscription

In the second world war, the average age of a combat soldier was 26. In the Falklands, it was 23. For Ukrainian soldiers, it’s 43. The war in Ukraine has been, so far, fought mostly by fathers so their sons and daughters can rebuild the country when the fighting ends. But resisting Russia has cost

Who is persecuting Ukraine’s journalists?

Investigative journalism has often been deadly for the careers of corrupt politicians in Ukraine, with stories leading to resignations and even imprisonment. Now, under the conditions of martial law (including the closure of public data services) and limited opportunities for society to control the actions of the authorities, Ukrainian journalists became the main watchdogs over

Ukrainians can’t trust Putin’s hollow promises

Ukraine’s parliament will soon vote on much-needed conscription regulations which would draft an extra half a million recruits into the army. The categories of eligible men will be expanded, the draft age will be lowered from 27 to 25, and any man caught attempting to evade it will face harsh sanctions or imprisonment. Volodymyr Zelensky

What will it take to stop Putin?

I feel sorry for Volodymyr Zelensky. It’s devastating watching him travelling all around the world, struggling to convince even his closest ally, Washington, to keep helping Ukraine. But that is not his only problem. I bet Zelensky and his speechwriters are tossing and turning in bed at night, wondering what he should say when he

Russia’s plan to freeze Ukraine

Winter hasn’t officially started, but Ukraine is already covered in snow. As temperatures dip a few degrees below zero, the nation is grappling with an electricity deficit. Ukrainians have been urged by the national power company to use electricity sparingly during the day and take measures such as switching on the washing machine at night.

Zelensky must be honest about the state of the war

‘Happy New Year! The year of our victory!’ said Volodymyr Zelensky on 1 January. After the liberation of the Kharkiv region and Kherson, Ukrainians entered the ninth year of the war with hope that they could win. Light will always prevail over darkness, Zelensky likes to say. But now the counter-offensive is nearly over, having

Zelensky’s rival spells trouble for Ukraine

The debate over the necessity of Ukraine’s presidential elections is creating chaos in a nation at war. The ceasefire among Ukrainian politicians is crumbling as some of them start to chase votes. Oleksiy Arestovych, a scandal-hit former adviser to the head of the presidential office, has called Volodymyr Zelensky a dictator and announced he will

Will the new US Speaker spell trouble for aid to Ukraine?

For the past few weeks, the US House Speaker’s chair has sat empty. Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the position on 3 October amid accusations from some Republicans that he was colluding with Democrats in a ‘secret deal’ to assist Ukraine. While the position has been vacant, critical legislation, including aid for Ukraine, has not been able

Is Russia’s latest offensive faltering?

Russia’s latest offensive has exacted a heavy toll on its forces. They have lost 127 tanks, 239 armoured personnel vehicles and 161 artillery systems in the past week, according to Kyiv, with the casualties reaching more than 3,000 military personnel. Vladimir Putin is trying to change the narrative, framing Russian forces’ actions as ‘active defence’

Should Ukraine hold a general election next year?

In the months before Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Volodymyr Zelensky was fighting for his political life. The former comedian was elected in 2019 on a pledge to end the war in Donbas by an electorate exasperated with its political class. Zelensky initially set out to negotiate with Vladimir Putin – but achieved nothing. He

Can Poland and Ukraine end their grain spat?

Poland has said it will no longer supply Ukraine with weapons, that it may cut aid to refugees and that it could restrict the import of a larger number of agricultural products. Polish president Andrzej Duda has compared Ukraine to a ‘drowning man’ capable of dragging his country ‘into the depths’. A month ahead of the Polish

Ukrainian pupils face an impossible dilemma

Today, almost five million Ukrainian pupils have gone to school – in person or remotely. Most didn’t have festive assemblies with flowers, songs and first graders reciting poems by heart, as they would have done before the war. The first of September doesn’t feel like a day to celebrate anymore. Today, every third child in

Why was a Ukrainian fencer punished for not shaking a Russian’s hand?

Must politics stay separate from sport? Ukrainian fencer Olha Kharlan has been disqualified from the World Fencing Championships in Milan after declining to shake hands with her Russian opponent having won the match yesterday. As it concluded, both athletes removed their masks and Anna Smirnova (who competed under a neutral flag) extended her hand. Kharlan responded by