As Russia’s war on Ukraine starts to emerge into the news once again from beneath the shadow of the newer conflict in the Middle East, you might have noticed a change. It is a change of mood quite as much as a change of substance – and, as you may also have noticed, it is the opposite of upbeat.
It is evident most conspicuously, and crucially, at the centre of power in Kyiv. Volodymyr Zelensky, for so long the shining hero of Kyiv’s resistance to Moscow, is facing increasingly open criticism, including from some of those hitherto seen as closest to him.
The latest is the mayor of Kyiv, former boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, who told the Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine that Zelensky risked becoming an autocrat, which could mean Ukraine being “no different from Russia, where everything depends on the whim of one man”.
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