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Ukraine recap: Putin on top as Kyiv scrambles to play catch-up on the battlefield

By Jonathan Este, Senior International Affairs Editor, Associate Editor
Vladimir Putin has been looking pretty chipper of late. Two weeks ago saw him wearing his trademark vulpine smile as he presided over the Victory Day commemorations in Moscow. It was a rather more upbeat occasion than in the two years previously, given recent Russian successes on the battlefield. Then, pausing briefly to unleash a fresh offensive against the Kharkiv region in northeastern Ukraine, he was off to Beijing where he and the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, agreed on closer ties and deeper military cooperation, “to counter Washington’s destructive and hostile course”.

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