This past July 3, I found myself commuting homeward alongside hundred of protesters, waving volunteer battalion flags as they marched down Kyiv’s central streets. The protesters were on their way to burn a pile of tires. Many wore facemasks and chanted nationalist slogans, and their ferocity stood in jarring contrast to Kyiv’s tranquil cafe culture backdrop. The marchers were members of some of Ukraine’s many somewhat-official volunteer battalions. These groups’ presence and frustration highlights one of the Ukrainian government’s newest challenges.
Latest in Kyiv Dispatches
Vladymyr Khlepitko and his fiancée Yana Marek look like a normal couple sitting outside the Boulangerie Artisan café in downtown Kyiv. Two trendy young Ukrainians sipping lemonades in the hot summer sun, discussing chess and graphic design classes. But the backpacks slipped behind their chairs reveal their other life. They are two of the more than 1.3 million Ukrainians uprooted and displaced by their country’s current turmoil.
For the next two months, I’ll be sending dispatches from Kyiv on what’s happening within this country that has become a flash-point in Russia’s relationship with the West. I will report back on my conversations with people, take pictures of the things I see, and to try to give Lawfare readers a flavor of what is happening in the country on the front lines of Vladimir Putin’s confrontation with the United States and Europe.