# Ukraine



Thoughts on what’s happening in Ukraine and political implications

Emily Silliman shares what she’s learned while closely following events in Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

Three months after the Russian Federation invaded a sovereign country with more than 40 million residents, it’s clear Ukrainians are winning this war

This past month was supposed to bring a major push by Russia in the east, after having lost the battle of Kyiv, withdrawn, and re-deployed forces to the eastern theater. Russia appears to want to capture more of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (regions), and control as much of the Black Sea coast as possible, as well as maintaining control of Crimea. 

Although that plan made some sense, the Russian armed forces didn’t stick to it. Instead, they wasted effort on multiple lines of attack, including a push toward Kryvyi Ryh, the home town of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Ukraine has very effectively stopped the invaders on all fronts, with a couple of exceptions, with some towns going back and forth between Ukrainian and Russian forces. 

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Chuck Grassley absent from Russia's expanded sanctions list

The Russian Federation’s Foreign Ministry announced on May 21 that it was expanding the list of U.S. citizens who are permanently banned from entering Russia.

In addition to President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and other Biden administration officials, Russia has sanctioned hundreds of members of Congress. All four Iowans who serve in the U.S. House were on the initial sanctions list, which Russia released last month. The expanded “stop list” also includes U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, who welcomed the news.

Iowa’s senior Senator Chuck Grassley is absent from Russia’s updated list. His communications staff did not respond to Bleeding Heartland’s inquiry about the matter.

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Doors swinging outward?

Kurt Meyer writes a weekly column for the Nora Springs – Rockford Register, where this essay first appeared. He serves as chair of the executive committee (the equivalent of board chair) of Americans for Democratic Action, America’s most experienced liberal organization.

I’m primarily of Nordic ancestry, somewhere between 62 and 83 percent. Let’s say, approximately three-quarters. Despite my Germanic name, my family tree is rooted in Norway, as is my wife Paula’s. Mindful of this heritage, Paula and I traveled to Norway with my parents in 1998, to visit locations from which our ancestors departed almost 150 years earlier to begin their new lives in the U.S.

One community we sought out was Grue, population 5,000. As we entered town, in the best Norwegian tradition, we made for a local coffee shop. The waitress asked if our visit was linked to the Grue Church fire.

Not really. But wait, what Grue church fire? (Clearly, we had not done our homework.) No, we were there mostly to gaze upon tombstones of distant relatives. But tell us a bit about this fire…

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Russia sanctions Iowa members of Congress

All four Iowans serving in the U.S. House of Representatives were among 398 members of Congress the Russian Federation sanctioned on April 13. The Russian Foreign Ministry described the move as a reaction to the Biden administration’s sanctions against hundreds of Russian parliamentarians.

U.S. Representatives Ashley Hinson (IA-01), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02), Cindy Axne (IA-03), and Randy Feenstra (IA-04) have all voted for military assistance to Ukraine in recent weeks. And it’s unlikely any are bothered by the prospect of being denied entry to Russia.

In fact, Hinson tweeted that the sanctions were a “badge of honor,” adding,

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A contrast of presidents

Steve Corbin is emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and freelance writer who receives no remuneration, funding, or endorsement from any for-profit business, nonprofit organization, political action committee, or political party.

“Today in History” compiled by the Associated Press is my favorite daily newspaper column. The cogent lessons allow me to recall – with surprise – many historical events but usually I learn new facts.

The posting on March 20, recalling 2014 and 2018 events plus a March 20, 2022 article speaks volumes:

-March 20, 2014: “President Barack Obama ordered economic sanctions against nearly two dozen members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and a major bank that provided them support, raising the stakes in an East-West showdown over Ukraine.”

-March 20, 2018: “In a phone call to Vladimir Putin, President Donald Trump offered congratulations on Putin’s re-election victory; a senior official said Trump had been warned in briefing materials that he should not congratulate Putin.”

-March 20, 2022: “President Biden has called Mr. Putin a war criminal. . . . (Biden) must declare that the sanctions crippling Russia will remain in full force, with no exit ramps, as long as Mr. Putin remains in power” (Wall Street Journal).

What a contrast of presidents!

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Believe it or not, Donald Trump told the "truth"

Herb Strentz: Trump’s lies may be troubling, but the failure of our elected GOP leaders to speak up against them should be even more troubling.

The aphorism “If a man bites a dog, that’s news,” has been attributed to a few newspaper characters. One was John Bogart (1848-1921), city editor of the New York Sun, one of that city’s liveliest newspapers in the late 19th century.

That’s why some 100 years later, I named our Sheltie puppy “Bogie.” That was much easier than making something out of Alfred Harmsworth — a British newspaper guy also credited with the line.

“Man bites dog!” defined news as something out of the expected or quite contrary to our daily experiences. You know, like Donald Trump telling the “truth.”

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