Ukraine, Russia, Putin discussed on Morning Edition


She told us what she wanted most was peace that she was concerned about her son who's in the harkey region Another area that's close to the front lines She hasn't seen her son in 6 months She said and she wants her grandchildren to be able to visit I can't imagine that she's paying attention to a visit to Ukraine by Nancy Pelosi Nevertheless it's significant right That the Speaker of the House visited Kyiv That's right Pelosi led this congressional delegation that met with zelensky over the weekend And that's the second senior U.S. delegation to do so after the secretaries of state and defense visited about a week ago Now President Biden has requested $33 billion in funding from Congress to help aid Ukraine through the end of September And Pelosi said they were already writing legislation to reflect those initiatives Overnight The White House announced that First Lady Jill Biden will be traveling to Romania and Slovakia to spend Mother's Day with Ukrainian refugees who have fled the country due to violence NPR's Tim Mac thanks so much to me appreciate your reporting as always Thank you So what's it like to watch Putin's war in Ukraine from another country that was also once part of the Soviet Union This year alone the Russian military has been operating in 5 countries outside of its own borders for Russian leader Vladimir Putin it's a way to maintain influence beyond Russia's borders but is it really working And Pierre's Greg myrie has been looking into this and joins us now Hey Greg Hi Rachel Let's just establish where these Russian troops are active right now outside Ukraine Right so after that obvious one we don't have to go very far to find more just a few days ago a couple communications towers were blown up in Moldova and this is a tiny country that borders Ukraine to the southwest Russia has about 1500 troops in a separatist region in the eastern part of Moldova They've been there for the past 30 years and very much against the will of Moldova's government It's still not clear who's behind these explosions but they do raise concerns that the war in Ukraine could spill over into Moldova I mean the most significant support for Russia's war when it comes to former Soviet republics is Belarus right Yes absolutely The leader of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko is closely tied to Putin He's allowed Russian troops into Belarus and then they use the Belarus as a launching pad to invade Ukraine So the specifics of the very widely in these three countries Belarus Ukraine Moldova but there is a common theme here Putin says the west wants to undermine Russia and he wants these former Soviet republics as well as the others to be this protective buffer for Russia But Andrew Weiss a Russia expert at the Carnegie endowment for international peace says a lot of these countries aren't so keen on playing this role Nearly all of the post Soviet countries have a lot of heartburn about looking to Putin as a benevolence security guarantor It left to their own devices None of these countries really wants to be back under the Kremlin's way That's interesting What about the war itself I mean what about people living in these countries Do they support Putin's war Well we haven't seen a lot of that Not only from the people but even from the leaders there's been a lot of ambivalence So when there was a UN resolution many of these former Soviet republics abstained And Putin likes to say in Ukraine and elsewhere that he's trying to protect ethnic Russians who live outside of Russia's borders And that takes us to a fourth country with Russian troops which is Georgia on Russia's southwestern frontier Putin said he was protecting Russians when he sent troops there in 2008 for a brief bloody conflict Russia seized a big chunk of Georgian territory Russian troops are still there to this day in a conflict that is effectively frozen And we should note that some of the Russian troops in Georgia have been sent to help in Ukraine which is an example of how these conflicts overlap Putin also sent troops to prop up friendly leaders He's done this before right When they get in trouble remind us of the situation in Kazakhstan Yeah just back in January Putin sent troops into the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan to help the countries autocratic ruler put down these widespread protests Now the unrest was stamped out and the Russian troops left after just a few weeks So you might think that a grateful Kazakh leadership would stand with Putin when he invaded Ukraine just a month ago but that hasn't been the case Kazakhstan says it supports Ukraine's full sovereignty It's in the humanitarian aid to Ukraine Certainly not the way that Putin expected to be repaid We often hear about Putin wanting to reconstruct the Soviet Union up Soviet reunion if you will but this really seems to be a challenge in a bit of a fantasy NPR's Greg myrie thank you so much for this Greg My pleasure Scientists at the national Institutes of health are now recruiting about 20,000 people as part of an ongoing research project to get to the bottom of long COVID Yes this is pandemic began many people have reported COVID symptoms weeks and months after recovering from their initial illness Last year the national Institutes of health awarded 470 million researchers all over the country to learn why And they're looking at more than just fatigue and brain fog in the weeks after infection They want to know why some so called long haulers go on to develop brain or heart problems metabolic disorders even autoimmune conditions And Pierre's Alison Arbery is with us Alison Good morning I mean we've been hearing about long COVID for a long time Two years after the pandemic has begun have most people improved or recovered from these lingering symptoms Well there's some data to show that most people who were sick enough to be hospitalized with COVID had not fully recovered one year out and that's concerning but not completely surprising given many of these patients were older had underlying conditions but most people Rachel don't fall into this category and many who experience lingering symptoms after COVID do go on to make a full recovery whether it's most is something this.

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