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.

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

Inside Ukraine’s drone army

Kyiv ‘We will end this war with drones,’ says Mykhailo Fedorov, deputy prime minister of Ukraine. We meet at the Ministry of Digital Transformation, which he runs in Kyiv. It has become crucial to the counter-offensive. To reclaim occupied land, Ukrainian troops need to remove miles of landmines, and can do so only if kept

Targeting Odesa marks a new turn in the war

The world is waking up to pictures of fresh destruction in the Ukrainian port city of Odesa, which has been under constant Russian fire since the grain export deal collapsed last week. At least one person has been killed and 19 more injured following missile strikes overnight. The roof of the recently-rebuilt Transfiguration Cathedral has

This week’s Nato summit will embolden Putin

The Nato summit in Vilnius has not helped Ukraine. Rather than facilitating the country’s swift accession into Nato, the alliance introduced conditions for membership called the ‘Annual National Programme’: a fudge, in other words. Nato leaders said they would continually ‘regularly assess progress… on [Ukraine’s] path towards future membership’. Ukraine would be invited to join

Exiled Belarusian opposition calls for army to rise against Moscow

With Vladimir Putin facing armed insurrection from Prigozhin’s Wagner Group, the exiled opposition in Belarus has called for its military to assert independence from Russia. Valery Sakhashchyk, Opposition defence spokesman, has released a video where he addressed his countrymen and the 38th Airborne Brigade, which he once commanded and is regarded as still loyal to

Russia’s nuclear blackmail

‘Dear Ukrainians! And all people of the world: everyone! I emphasise this,’ Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised speech yesterday. Russia, he said, is planning a ‘terrorist attack’ using radiation leakage at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest. Ukrainian intelligence repeatedly warned that Russian forces have sown mines in the plant, as it appears that

Key Ukrainian dam destroyed as counter-offensive begins

Hours after the Ukrainian army finally launched its long-awaited counter-offensive, the Nova Kakhovka dam has been blown up – which Zelensky blamed on ‘Russian terrorists’. It belongs to the fifth largest hydroelectric plant in Ukraine, in the occupied part of the Kherson region, which was completely destroyed in the explosion. The flooding has been immediate:

Has Ukraine’s counter-offensive been overhyped?

The talk about a big spring counter-offensive has been beneficial for Ukraine. It has helped persuade western allies to donate arms, while unnerving Russia and offering hope to those longing for the conflict to end. The idea has been promoted by every Ukrainian official from the President downwards, but when hope turns to hype, there’s

Has Ukraine launched a ‘special military operation’ in Russia?

While the world is waiting for Ukraine’s spring offensive, something very different happened this morning: an incursion into Russian territory. The soldiers involved are not from the Ukrainian army, but two legions of exiled Russians (including soldiers who defected from Russian forces) allied with Ukraine but are not part of Kyiv’s official military command. While

Russian-occupied Ukraine is running out of water

In a way, the war in Ukraine is a fight for resources. Water is one of them. For half a century, most of the water in Crimea has been piped in from Ukraine through the North Crimean Canal – but Kyiv stopped the supply when Moscow annexed the peninsula in 2014. Cue panic. Moscow officials

The tragedy of Ukraine’s stolen children

One of the most appalling and perplexing atrocities committed by Vladimir Putin has been the abduction of Ukrainian children. At least 20,000 boys and girls, some just babies, have been separated from their parents and placed in Russian camps, orphanages or foster homes. They are portrayed in Russia as grateful orphans being saved from ‘Kyiv’s

Ukraine’s plan to rain on Putin’s Victory Day parade

The presence of drones over the Kremlin earlier this week was reported widely as the first attack on Moscow since the Napoleonic era: after an explosion, Russian officials claimed that this was an attempt on the life of a suddenly vulnerable Vladimir Putin. But it’s actually more akin to 1987, when an amateur German pilot