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Old 02-25-2023, 06:59 AM
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Angry A Surreal Evening at the Russian Embassy

A Surreal Evening at the Russian Embassy
By: Amy Mackinnon - Foreign Policy News - 02-24-23

Caviar and vodka on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine.

On FEBRUARY 24, 2023, ~ 6:01 PM
On Thursday evening outside the Russian Embassy in Washington, a small crowd gathered to protest the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Many were wrapped in Ukrainian flags as they chanted, “Shame on Russia! Shame on you!” at the closed gates.

Passing cars on Wisconsin Avenue honked in support of the demonstrators, but another line of cars waited silently to be let in. They were carrying diplomats arriving at the invitation of Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, for a reception to mark Defender of the Fatherland Day, a Russian military holiday.

As officials in Ukraine and the West prepared to mark the anniversary of the largest land war in Europe since World War II, stepping inside the cool marbled halls of the Russian Embassy to commemorate another anniversary altogether was to step into an alternate dimension.

Atop the dual staircase that led up to the embassy’s grand ballroom was an exhibition of photos and testimonies. “Evidence of Ukrainian Nazi Crimes in Donbas” was ostensibly from Ukrainian civilians who claimed to have witnessed atrocities carried out by Ukrainian troops.

Inside the ballroom, bedecked with six chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling satin peach drapes, more than a hundred people sipped wine and vodka. Waiters navigated the room with silver plates of puff pastries adorned with caviar.

So much for Russia’s international isolation. This being a military holiday, many of the guests were military attaches from other embassies, mostly from South and East Asia and Africa. Earlier in the day, 39 countries had either abstained or voted against a United Nations resolution that called on Russian forces to leave Ukraine. (One hundred and forty-one countries voted to support the resolution.)

At one point, the traditional Russian music piped in was paused as Antonov lamented the “disregard for basic principles of international relations that form the basis of the U.N. Charter”—and vowed that Russia would seek to solve rising world problems peacefully. He concluded his remarks with a toast to the armed forces of Russia. U.S. officials estimate that almost 200,000 Russian troops have been killed or maimed in Ukraine; many have been sent into battle poorly trained and equipped. Antonov’s remarks were followed by a wordless rendition of the Russian national anthem.

As I picked over a plate of pickles and Georgian stuffed eggplant rolls, the embassy’s No. 2 diplomat, Deputy Chief of Mission Andrey Ledenev, sauntered over. He was dressed in a sharp blue suit and delivered a steady stream of strict Kremlin talking points in near-flawless British-accented English.

Ledenev complained that reports in the media this month that thousands of Ukrainian children have been held in “reeducation camps” across Russia had been terribly misreported. The U.S. State Department has described the transfers as a potential war crime.

What would it take for Russia to participate in negotiations with a view to ending the war? I asked. This he seemed to think was a distant prospect and laid the blame at Ukraine’s door, noting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree last October ruling out the possibility of negotiations with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Would it help matters at all if Russia removed its troops from Ukraine? It’s about something much bigger than that, Ledenev responded. “It’s about European security as a whole.” If you weren’t listening to what the hosts were saying, the event seemed much like another diplomatic reception in a city full of them.

About this reporter:
Re: Amy Mackinnon is a national security and intelligence reporter at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @ak_mack

Personal note: Putin's day is coming and not long it seems. He will destroy his country
and its people before admitting to a withdraw from Ukraine. However after the first
nuke flies - Russia will suffer the issues as well in retaliation and his people will
suffer from his poor Presidential Management. His mind is corrupted from past wars
and he does not want to suffer another loss.
I suspect he will be knocked off shortly by someone in Russia. Even if he throws
in the towel and withdraws the damage is done and Ukraine will never forgive him
for what he's done to their Nation and it's People!
To: China - North Korea - you guy's better pull in your reins and consider your part
in these ongoing threats. Should you push the button - so will the USA & NATO.
We have but one planet - radiation and the entire environment will suffer tremendous
effects. And so will those who live or die from exposure. Starvation & poisoned water
will take out Billion's of folks. You kingdoms will be dust and you're remaining
people will slowly die a horrible death as will it be worldwide for all.
Let's recall it the End Of Days scenario: We've reached a point in our world that total destruction and loss of life will terminate +90% of the people over the exchange of
nukes. The rest will suffer radioactive fallout and starvation - thus there will be no
future for any of us - any more.
Well Done you bunch of Nut Cases - sorry former: Supreme Leaders!

O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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