This week we agreed a partnership with Exclusive Books, an exciting project for my inner bookworm. I’ll be sharing my own library – and helping curate yours – by penning a quarterly report featuring three must-read books. Our new partner will also have a pop-up bookshop at BNC#4 so delegates can leave with speaker recommendations in their luggage.
Scott Peck’s chilling People of the Lie will be featured in my first batch. Because it is so apt for the times. Written in 1983, this book came five years after the author’s masterful debut, The Road Less Travelled. In it Peck (above), a psychiatrist, explains in great detail that evil people exist. Tells us why this is so and how to recognise them.
The world’s youngest ever chess champion, Russian hero turned activist Garry Kasparov, clearly supports Peck’s thesis. His brilliant TED Talk delivered yesterday in Canada, is embedded below to providing context for the story which follows.
In my craft, sustainability depends on providing balance. But sometimes – Zuma, Gupta, and multitudes from history – we the sociopaths whom Peck describes as People of the Lie. Diseased minds who believe any action is justified should it promote their selfish ends. Because they “know” what’s best for the rest of us. Kasparov explains why his countryman is a classic example. Please watch it.
More for you to read today:
- Media Bias and Hunter’s Laptop. The press won’t claw back its credibility until it admits why it buried the story.
- Malema and Rupert. Douglas Gibson writes supports Zille’s assertion that SA’s future is DA v EFF; and in describing every white person as a thief, the EFF is displaying its ignorance.
- In Ukraine, a ‘Full-Scale Cyberwar’ Emerges. Russians haven’t pulled off a catastrophic cyberattack but have kept Ukraine’s defenders busy with a relentless campaign.
- Stocks End Lower as Inflation Accelerates. Brent crude rises above $104 a barrel, recouping some losses.
Putin Says Ukraine Peace Talks Hit Dead End, Vows to Continue Fight
Moscow’s forces bombard Ukraine military positions and residential areas in country’s east and unleash new rocket attacks
By Evan Gershkovich, Thomas Grove and Brett Forrest of The Wall Street Journal
Russian President Vladimir Putin said peace talks with Kyiv had reached a dead end, as Moscow’s forces on Tuesday bombarded Ukrainian military positions and residential areas in the country’s east and unleashed new rocket attacks.
In his first extended comments on the war since last month, Mr. Putin said that without an agreement acceptable to the Kremlin, Russian forces would continue their offensive.
Mr. Putin said that peace talks had stalled after what he called a fake situation in Bucha, a town outside of Kyiv where Ukrainian officials reported the discovery of several hundred dead civilians this month after Russian troops retreated.
Ukrainian and Western officials are pursuing investigations into potential war crimes committed there and in other formerly Russian-held towns in northern Ukraine before Moscow’s withdrawal at the end of March.
President Biden on Tuesday, during a visit to Iowa, said Mr. Putin’s actions in Ukraine amounted to “genocide,” marking the first time his administration has used the term. Later, the president told reporters it would be up to legal experts to determine if the term formally applies to Russian actions. “But it sure seems that way to me,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden is expected to announce as early as Wednesday an additional $750 million in military and other support for Ukraine, which would bring U.S. aid to more than $2 billion since Russia’s invasion of the country, according to senior U.S. military officials. The new package would include Mi-17 helicopters and sea drones Ukrainian officials said they need to defend against the Russian forces.
Officials, however, said that details of the package were still under discussion Tuesday and that some elements might not be included in this round.
Mr. Putin also said Ukrainian negotiators had “deviated from agreements” reached in Istanbul. Kyiv had late last month presented its proposal for a neutral status and international security guarantees, but the sides haven’t moved closer toward a potential cease-fire.
“We have again returned to a dead-end situation,” Mr. Putin said. “Inconsistency about essential matters has been creating well-known difficulties in achieving final agreements on the negotiating track which would be acceptable to us. Unless that happens, the military operation will continue until it concludes and the objectives set at the beginning of this operation are achieved.”
Mr. Putin said the main goal of the offensive was “to help people in Donbas,” in another sign that his forces would launch an assault on the eastern region. He added that “there is no doubt” the goal will be achieved, speaking during a visit to the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a Russian spaceport in the country’s Far East, along with his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko.
The U.K. Defense Ministry said fighting was continuing in Ukraine’s south near the cities of Kherson and Mykolaiv and that Russia is continuing to emphasize Donbas in a shifting war effort. British intelligence said Russia would continue to redeploy its troops from Belarus to the Ukrainian east and likely try to take the eastern city of Kramatorsk, the site of a deadly missile attack last week.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Tuesday that high-precision air- and sea-based missiles launched overnight destroyed an ammunition depot and a hangar with Ukrainian aircraft at the Starokostiantyniv military airfield in the western Khmelnytskyi region, as well as an ammunition depot near Havrylivka in the Kyiv region. He added that Russian strikes had targeted Ukrainian positions in Donbas, claiming they had destroyed six strongholds of Ukraine’s 24th Separate Mechanized Brigade.
Ukraine’s General Staff said Russians were boosting air-defense capabilities near Melitopol and Ilovaisk and added that it had repulsed six enemy attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, destroying four Russian tanks and eight artillery systems. The Ukrainian Air Force said it had downed a Russian plane, two helicopters and four drones.
Ukraine’s domestic intelligence agency, meanwhile, said it had detained Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian ally of Mr. Putin, who had been on the run. Mr. Medvedchuk, who headed a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine that authorities shuttered last month, has long had a close relationship with Mr. Putin, who is the godfather to one of Mr. Medvedchuk’s children.
The agency on Tuesday posted a picture of Mr. Medvedchuk in handcuffs and wearing military fatigues on its Telegram channel, saying: “No traitor will escape punishment and will be held accountable under Ukrainian law.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he couldn’t immediately confirm Mr. Medvedchuk’s detention, in remarks carried by the Interfax news agency.
In his nightly video address to the nation, Mr. Zelensky offered to swap Mr. Medvedchuk for Ukrainians held by Russia.
Ukrainian authorities are investigating allegations by Ukrainian forces that they came under a Russian chemical attack in Mariupol, where Russia is still fighting to consolidate gains. Moscow sees the city as crucial to its efforts in taking over eastern Ukraine and pushing westward.
The Ukrainian unit deployed in Mariupol, the Azov regiment, said Russian forces dropped an unknown chemical substance from a drone, causing respiratory and nervous-system symptoms among its troops and civilians. No independent evidence of the attack has emerged from Mariupol.
The Russian government hasn’t commented publicly about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Mariupol. In Washington, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday said the White House couldn’t confirm the allegations and was continuing to gather information.
Railway connections were disrupted overnight in the town of Shebekino in Russia’s Belgorod region, near the Ukrainian border northeast of Kharkiv, the regional governor told Russia’s RIA news agency. There were no casualties, he said, and the cause of the disruption was being investigated. Russia’s Investigative Committee said it is looking into the disruption.
Russia heavily uses the railways to reinforce and resupply its troops preparing the Donbas offensive, and Shebekino sits on one of its main rail connections to the area. Russia last month said two Ukrainian helicopters launched an airstrike on a fuel depot in Belgorod, a claim Kyiv didn’t confirm or deny.
More than 4.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the start of the war in February, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
A majority of the refugees are landing in Poland, with more than 2.65 million making the bordering country their final destination. Refugees are also heading to Romania, Hungary and Moldova. Most are women and children, as Ukrainian law prevents men of fighting age from leaving the country.
The World Bank is preparing a nearly $1.5 billion package to support essential government services in Ukraine, World Bank President David Malpass said Tuesday in Warsaw, raising the bank’s level of support so far to over $2.4 billion. The World Bank said Sunday that Ukraine’s economy is expected to shrink by 45.1% this year, a contraction it said would vary depending on the duration of the war.
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