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Last Soviet Leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, Dies Aged 91

Last Soviet Leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, Dies Aged 91

Mikhail Gorbachev, the first and last ever Soviet Union leader, has died at the age 91 after suffering from a “difficult and protracted illness”.

Gorbachev’s office has previously stated that he was undergoing treatment at the Central Clinical Hospital in Moscow.

One of the most important figures in the 20th century, Gorbachev came into power in 1985 and strived to unlock the USSR as well as improve relations between themselves and the West. However, despite is best efforts, he was unable to prevent the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

In the countries abroad, Gorbachev is remembered as the leader who provided freedom to millions of Soviet citizens but has also been blamed for the turmoil that followed on during the years after.


Political leaders and governmental figures from across the world have paid tribute to the former leader. In a statement, U.S. President, Joe Biden, defined Gorbachev for being “a man of remarkable vision” and praised him for the actions he took leading his nation.

“These were the acts of a rare leader – one with the imagination to see that a different future was possible and the courage to risk his entire career to achieve it. The result was a safer world and greater freedom for millions of people,” he continued.

“We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends, and to people everywhere who benefited from his belief in a better world.”

Russian President, Vladimir Putin, whom had a complicated relationship with Gorbachev, also expressed his condolences through a spokesperson and stated he would send a telegram to his family.

French President, Emmanuel Macron, described Gorbachev as “a man of peace whose choices opened a path to freedom for Russians”. While British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said he “always admired the courage and integrity he showed in bringing the cold war to a peaceful conclusion”.

António Guterres, secretary general of the United Nations, recounted Gorbachev as a “towering leader, committed multilateralist, and tireless advocate for peace”.

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Russia Ukraine war explained

The Russian Invasion of Ukraine EXPLAINED

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is also considered the largest military attack in Europe since World War 2 in a significant escalation to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, does not look like it is stopping. It is reported that 596 civilians have been killed, and around 1,000 people have been injured in the invasion. It has also been reported that numerous buildings have been damaged and destroyed. According to reports, on the 18th day of the invasion, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said he is open to talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin if there is a ceasefire.

Reason for war

Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, seeks control over Ukraine and wants to bring down its democratically elected government. Talking to a news channel, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine said that he had been threatened and that he was target number one by the enemy and his family is number two.

On the other hand, Russia has said it aims to free Ukraine from oppression and clean it from the Nazis. Vladimir Putin has also said that “those who committed heinous crimes against the civilians” will be brought to the court and denied occupying Ukraine. An anonymous source said he aims to split the country into two parts.

In an editorial report published on February 26th, it was published that the war aims at a new world order where Russia was restoring its pre-1991 soviet unity, gathering the world of Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians, also known as little Russians.

In 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote a long piece where he described Russians and Ukrainians as “one nation” and represented the collapse of the Soviet Union as the “dissolution of historical Russia” in December 1991.

In the meantime, Russian leaders are demanding Ukraine to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia and recognize the independence of the separatist-run east to stop the war. Russian leaders are also urging Ukraine to change its constitution and guarantee it will not join NATO and Europe.

But this is not it, and the list of demands from the Russian leaders goes further where it wants NATO to reverse its eastward expansion. This would require NATO to remove its forces and military infrastructure from member states that joined the alliance in 1997 and not deploy ‘strike weapons near Russia’s borders’, Central Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Baltics.

German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, believes that this is beyond NATO according to his world view and that the Russian leaders want to take over Europe. He also stated that Russian President Putin wants a Russian empire.

According to Putin, it was promised by the west in the year 1990 that it would not expand an inch to the east, but this was a lie. This promise was made prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, the promise made to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev only referred to East Germany. He also said later that “the topic of NATO expansion was never discussed.”

Meanwhile, Russia has banned the terms invasion and war and threatened journalists with jail if they do so. This invasion is termed a ‘special military operation’ for the Russian president.

The Russian president has claimed that his goal is to protect the people of Ukraine who are subjected to bullying and genocide. Also, he has aimed for the “demilitarization and de- Nazification” of Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian president denied this and said there is no genocide in Ukraine and stressed that it is a growing economy.

Talks between the two nations

Several rounds of political talks between Russia and Ukraine have so far failed to stop the war. The United States and the European Union have decided to impose some of the most challenging economic sanctions ever on the Russian government. A considerable number of western businesses, manufacturers, retailers, and fast-food chains such as McDonald’s have suspended their operations in Russia.

In the meantime, U.S. and European financial penalties and restrictions are attacking banks and other businesses in Russia, resulting in limiting the Russian government’s ability to utilize its substantial foreign currency reserves. This is obstructing millions of Russians from using their credit cards, accessing their credit cards, and travelling abroad.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is affecting the whole world, which was merely trying to stand on its feet post-COVID 19 pandemic. With Russia being the top fuel supplier, there has been a rise in oil prices, which is a considerable challenge, particularly for the developing economies.

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White House

White House Supports UK Decision to Expel Russian Diplomats

The White House supports the UK government’s decision to expel Russian diplomats residing in Britain, it has said.

The UK has concluded that the Russian government is responsible for the attempted assassination of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66 and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, using a dangerous nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.

The statement from the White House reads:

“The United States stands in solidarity with its closest ally, the United Kingdom. The United States shares the United Kingdom’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response. This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behaviour in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit western democratic institutions and processes. The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.”

The supportive statement from the White House comes after the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told the UN Security Council that the US stood in “absolute solidarity” with its ally, the United Kingdom. In a strong rebuttal against the Russian government on the subject, Haley said that the US shared the UK’s assessment of the events that took place.

“The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent,” Haley said.

UK prime minister Theresa May has said that the diplomats, who have been identified as “undeclared intelligence officers”, have a week to leave the country. The UK described the poison as “a weapon so horrific that it is banned in war”.

Russia vehemently denies involvement in the attempted assassination. Mrs May has said that Russia has met the accusations with “sarcasm, contempt and defiance”.

Both victims are currently in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Nuclear Weapons

Putin Unveils ‘Invincible’ Nuclear Weapons

Vladimir Putin has unveiled an array of ‘invincible’ nuclear weapons. Russia’s president made the claims during his annual state of the nation speech that laid out his core policies for another presidential term ahead of the election in just over two weeks’ time.

During the speech to the Russian parliament, Putin presented videos that outlined the development of new nuclear delivery systems including cruise missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles and supersonic jets. One of the nuclear weapons included a cruise missile that Putin claimed could “reach anywhere in the world”.

Another weapon announced included an undetectable missile. Putin explained that it was a “low-flying, difficult-to-spot cruise missile… with a practically unlimited range and an unpredictable flight path, which can bypass lines of interception and is invincible in the face of all existing and future systems of both missile defence and air defence.”

Beyond this, Putin unveiled a nuclear weapon described as a submarine-launched missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. “Russia still has the greatest nuclear potential in the world, but nobody listened to us,” he said. “Listen now.”

Putin claimed that the development of the new arsenal of nuclear weapons were a reaction to America’s move to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

“Efforts to contain Russia have failed, face it,” said Mr Putin. “I hope that all that was said today will sober up any potential aggressor.”

Chairman of the Russian Senate’s foreign affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said Putin’s speech “should, I believe, cool down the minds of all those who are seriously reflecting on the possibility of delivering an unpunished blow to Russia: the answer will be crushing.”

While the threat may seem clear, Putin maintains that Russia’s development of these nuclear weapons is purely defensive. “We’ve never had an intention of attacking anybody,” he said. “Russia will only retaliate if it is attacked.”

Further reading: North Korea Tests Ballistic Missile