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Swedish, US Troops Drill on Remilitarized Baltic Sea Island

Having to defend Gotland against a foreign invasion seemed such a far-fetched notion to Swedish decision-makers at the start of the century that they demilitarized the Baltic Sea island.

Now, the Swedish Armed Forces are back, and they are practicing with U.S. troops not just how to defend the island with a population of 58,000, but how to take it back from a foreign aggressor.

U.S. Marines have conducted air drops and amphibious landings on Gotland as part of a NATO exercise in the Baltic Sea.

Though the annual BALTOPS exercise isn’t held in response to a specific threat, this year’s edition comes amid heightened tensions with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. About 7,000 military personnel and 45 ships from 14 NATO countries, as well as Sweden and Finland, took part.

Despite their non-aligned status, the two Nordic nations have practiced regularly with NATO countries, and their governments decided in the wake of the Ukraine war to seek full membership in the Western military alliance.

“I’m feeling really prepared. I mean, we have made a big deployment on Gotland, and we will defend Gotland,” Swedish Col. Magnus Frykvall, the island’s regiment commander, said as military hardware was being deployed on the coast. “It’s a really hard task to take a defended island.”

Strategically located in the middle of the southern part of the Baltic Sea, Gotland has seen foreign invasions throughout its history, the most recent one in 1808, when Russian forces briefly occupied it.

But after the Cold War ended, Sweden felt the risk of a Russian aggression was so remote it refocused its armed forces on foreign peacekeeping operations rather than territorial defense. The Gotland regiment was closed in 2005 as Sweden downsized its military.

Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014 led to a rethink, and a new regiment was established on Gotland in 2018. There are now around 400 Swedish soldiers permanently based on the island. Further reinforcements are planned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nonetheless, many Gotlanders feel Sweden would not be able to defend the island on its own.

“If we were to be invaded, we wouldn’t stand a chance because our defense is too small. We have a really modern and good defense, but it’s too small,” said Lars Söderdahl, a 33-year-old chef in the island’s main town, Visby.

Sweden, which has stayed out of military alliances since the Napoleonic Wars, applied for NATO membership together with Finland in a historic move last month. NATO’s existing 30 members are set to discuss the issue this month. Turkey has threatened to hold up the applications over the two countries’ perceived support for Kurdish groups.

Finland and Sweden have sought security assurances from the U.S. and other NATO countries during the application period.

Kicking off the BALTOPS exercises last weekend in Stockholm, U.S. Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was important for the NATO allies “to show solidarity with both Finland and Sweden.”

Their membership in the alliance would leave Russia in a difficult military position, with the Baltic Sea encircled by NATO members except for in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad and the Russian city of St. Petersburg and its surrounding areas.

The strategic importance of Gotland, a popular summer vacation spot for Swedes, is often viewed in relation to the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which are particularly worried about any Russian aggression following the Ukraine invasion. Gotland is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) from mainland Sweden and 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the coast of Latvia.

“The thing is, from here, you make supplying and supporting the Baltic states a lot easier or a lot more difficult, depending on who is in control of the island,” Mikael Norrby, an Uppsala University academic, told The Associated Press.

Coinciding with the NATO exercises, Russia’s Baltic Fleet launched its own military exercises this week. The fleet’s press service referred to the maneuvers Tuesday as a scheduled exercise focused on “various types of security tasks,” including the tracking and destruction of enemy submarines.

“There are more than 20 warships and boats in the sea ranges of the Baltic Fleet, performing combat tasks both individually and as part of ship search-and-strike groups and ship strike groups,” the press service said in a statement.

It added that corvettes, patrol ships, small missile carriers, anti-submarine vessels, minesweepers, and landing hovercraft were among the vessels taking part in the exercises.

Posted by Ukrap on

Через російський обстріл Лисичанська загинула 6-річна дитина – Гайдай

За даними Сергія Гайдая, російські війська «потужно обстрілюють» Лисичанськ

Posted by Ukrap on

В європейських столицях пройшли антивоєнні акції

Наймасовіші антивоєнні акції відбулися у Лондоні, Варшаві, Берліні, Гельсінкі, Парижі, Празі, Відні, Тбілісі

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Питання лише в рішучості деяких європейських лідерів – Зеленський про статус кандидата в члени ЄС для України

Володимир Зеленський каже, що «Україна зробила все заради позитивної відповіді»

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Far-left Hopes for Win in France’s Legislative Elections 

The French voted Sunday in the first round of legislative elections dominated by a surging left-wing alliance and fears of a historic abstention rate. A strong showing for the far-left NUPES coalition could upend President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist agenda. 

It’s hard to find a supporter of centrist President Emmanuel Macron and his party in a working-class neighborhood in northeastern Paris.

Martine Barratte, leaving a polling station with her husband and eight-year-old daughter, has just cast her ballot for a left-wing coalition and its leading force, Jean-Luc Melenchon.

“I’ve got big hopes…I wish a better world for my daughter. Social issues and ecology are linked together. I think  Melenchon is the one because he’s got loads of teams around him. Men and women who think, who are looking forward to changing things, because we need to change,” she said.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the far-left France Unbowed party, is not on the ballot. But he has managed to forge an unlikely alliance among normally squabbling leftist parties. If they win the majority of National Assembly or lower house seats, Melenchon hopes to force President Emmanuel Macron to choose him as prime minister.

Vianney Mosser voted for the leftist alliance, known as the New Ecological and Social Popular Union, or NUPES. Mosser says he doesn’t agree with everything on their platform. But he doesn’t want Macron to have an absolute majority.

Ahead of this first round, polls showed the NUPES and Macron’s centrist Ensemble or Together coalition neck-and-neck. The far right, which only has a few lower house seats, also stands to gain.

Analyst Lisa Thomas-Darbois, of the Paris-based Montaigne Institute research group, says both the far-right and the far-left want to be a real counter force to proposed and controversial reforms by Macron, who was reelected in April for a second five-year term.

Still a number of voters are underwhelmed with Macron. They backed him only to block his far-right presidential rival.

Retiree Ally Shetty is also voting for the leftist alliance. Shetty says she thinks they’d do a better job fighting unemployment. Her daughter, who has a master’s degree, can’t find work.

Macron and his party warn a far-left win could undermine key reforms and reduce France’s competitiveness. A recent poll shows that while most French want a political counter force to the president’s centrists in parliament, most do not want far-left leader Melenchon as prime minister. 

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NATO Chief: Turkey Has ‘Legitimate Concerns’ Over Terrorism 

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Sunday that Turkey has “legitimate concerns” over terrorism and other issues that need to be taken seriously.

Turkey has accused Finland and Sweden of supporting Kurdish militants and says it will not back the two Nordic nations joining NATO until they change their policies.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Stoltenberg stressed that “no other NATO ally has suffered more terrorist attacks than Turkey” and pointed to its strategic geographic location with neighbors like Iraq and Syria.

“These are legitimate concerns. This is about terrorism, it’s about weapons exports,” Stoltenberg said. “We have to address the security concerns of all allies, including Turkish concerns about the terrorist group PKK.”

He spoke at Finland’s presidential summer residence Kultaranta in western Finland.

After decades of military non-alignment, Russia’s war in Ukraine pushed Finland and Sweden to apply to join NATO in May. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, accuses the Nordic nations of supporting Kurdish militants deemed by Turkey to be terrorists and has vetoed their entry into the 30-member alliance.

“When a vital key ally as Turkey raises concerns on terrorism then of course we have to sit down and take them seriously. And that’s exactly what we do,” Stoltenberg said.

The demands from Ankara to Helsinki and Stockholm also include lifting restrictions on arms exports to Turkey and extraditing members of certain Kurdish organizations that are opposed to Erdogan’s government.

In the past weeks, NATO’s chief has been trying to resolve the dispute but he did not disclose Sunday whether any progress has been made.

He was to attend an annual discussion panel in Kultaranta later Sunday together with Finnish and Nordic politicians, foreign and security policy experts and military representatives.

Stoltenberg will visit Sweden on Monday for talks with the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

Posted by Ukrap on

Війська РФ намагалися відновити штурм в напрямку Золотого, але отримали відсіч і відійшли – Генштаб ЗСУ

На Донбасі основні зусилля противник зосереджує на Сєвєродонецькому та Бахмутському напрямках.

Posted by Ukrap on

Через ракетний удар по Тернопільщині постраждали як цивільні, так і військові – ОВА

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РФ намагається збільшити свої війська в Україні, але це може погано вплинути на їхню бойову міць – британська розвідка

У Міноборони Британії також зауважують, що Росія використовує свою перевагу у співвідношенні сил і артилерії для поступового захоплення території в Сєвєродонецьку та навколо нього.

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Penny Taylor Calls for Griner’s Release at Hall of Fame Induction

Penny Taylor used her induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame to call for the release of her former WNBA Phoenix Mercury teammate Brittney Griner, noting it’s been 114 days since the seven-time WNBA All-Star was detained.

“BG is our family,” Taylor said in asking President Biden’s help freeing Griner. “She’s yours too. The entire global sport community needs to come together to insist that she be a priority.”

The two-time Olympic gold medalist has been detained Feb. 17 after vape cartridges containing oil derived from cannabis were allegedly found in her luggage at an airport near Moscow.

Taylor also wished her wife, Diana Taurasi, a happy 40th birthday after playing Friday night in a Mercury win and then traveling to Tennessee to escort her to the induction ceremony. Taylor helped Australia win two Olympic silver medals in 2004 and 2008. She also won three WNBA titles in 2007, 2009 and 2014 and was a three-time All-Star.

“If you continue to work hard, you too may be up here,” Taylor said to Taurasi.

DeLisha Milton-Jones wrapped up her acceptance speech calling to bring Griner home. DePaul coach Doug Bruno noted Griner has been a big part of USA Basketball’s Olympic success.

“Brittney is a great human being,” Bruno said. “No one deserves what Britney’s going through. Enough is absolute enough. It’s time for the powers that be to bring Brittney home.”

Other inductees included Becky Hammon, Debbie Antonelli, Wayland Baptist star Alice “Cookie” Barron as a veteran player, Paul Sanderford who coached Western Kentucky to three Final Fours and coach Bob Schneider who ranked third all-time with 634 Division II victories.

The hall also honored Title IX as one of the Trailblazers of the Game award at its 50th anniversary. Barron, who flew to games between 1954-1957 with the Flying Queens literally flying to away games while the men traveled by bus, made a call to everyone listening.

“I want to implore all of us to keep a very close watch on Title IX,” Barron said. “The doors are open. We must never let them close.”

Milton-Jones, now head coach at Old Dominion, capped her four-year career at Florida as the 1997 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and All-American. She led the Gators to four straight NCAA Tournament berths, including the Elite Eight in 1997.

The fourth overall pick in the 1999 WNBA draft played 17 seasons in the league. When she retired in 2016, she held the league record for most games played with 499 for Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Washington and San Antonio. She helped the Los Angeles Sparks win back-to-back WNBA titles in 2001 and 2002.

Milton-Jones also helped the U.S. win Olympic gold in 2000 and 2008, missing the 2004 Athens Games with an injury. She played in Spain, Italy, Turkey, South Korea, the Czech Republic and Republic. in 2005, she was interim coach of the Los Angeles Stars in the American Basketball Association, becoming only the second female to coach a men’s pro team.

Her family made T-shirts and visors to help her commemorate this moment, and Milton-Jones said this helped put Riceboro, Georgia, on the map.

Hammon couldn’t attend with her WNBA-leading Las Vegas Aces playing against the Sparks on Saturday night in Los Angeles.

Bruno has coached 36 seasons at DePaul with 24 NCAA Tournament berths. He also has helped win six gold medals with USA Basketball.

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US, China Blame Each Other Over Food Insecurity 

Food insecurity is rising globally because of the war in Ukraine, according to experts, with Africa expected to be hit the hardest. The world’s superpowers, China and the U.S., say they are trying to mitigate the fallout but at the same time are accusing each other of exacerbating the crisis.

A state newspaper, The China Daily, placed blame for the situation partially on Washington, saying: “Food prices have reached an all-time high, as Russian and Ukrainian grain exports are hindered by port disruptions and Western sanctions.”

The U.S., for its part, has accused China of hoarding, after President Xi Jinping said earlier this year that food security in China was a primary concern and urged farmers to scale up production to ensure the world’s most populous country was self-sufficient.

Asked by VOA if the Asian giant couldn’t help combat food insecurity caused by the Ukraine conflict, U.S. Ambassador Jim O’Brien, head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination, replied, “We would love to see China act like the large power it is in helping to address the problem in the global food market.”

“We are concerned that China is building up its domestic stocks and continuing to purchase grain on the global market at a time when we would love to see it be able to help those who are in need,” he added.

China has hit back at the accusations of hoarding. “Currently China supplies over 95 percent of its own needs for grain. It is unnecessary for the country to ‘hoard grains’ in the international market,” an article in the state-affiliated Global Times said. “In contrast to China’s contributions to global food security, the U.S. is the major instigator behind the current global food crisis.”

US rebuts sanctions narrative

The worry about global food insecurity began soon after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.  Russia and Ukraine are the world’s largest and fifth-largest wheat exporters respectively.  Since the war broke out, exports of the grain, as well as maize and sunflower oil, have been severely disrupted.

Many African countries depend heavily on Ukrainian and Russian imports for their food supply, and some say U.S. sanctions on Moscow are to blame for their woes.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in May, “The war in Ukraine and Western sanctions on Russia have also caused shortages of wheat.”

Likewise, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said, “Even those countries that are either bystanders or not part of the conflict are also going to suffer from the sanctions that have been imposed against Russia.”

Current African Union Chair Macky Sall, who met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week, tweeted that the Russian leader was ready and willing to facilitate the export of Ukrainian cereals and suggested the West was hampering him.

“I call on all partners to lift sanctions on wheat and fertilizer,” Sall said.

But at a virtual press briefing organized by the U.S. Embassy in Johannesburg on Thursday, O’Brien said the narrative that sanctions were hurting food exports was misleading.

“The U.S. does not sanction Russian food and fertilizer,” he said. “Russia has disrupted one of the most productive ways that countries received grain. Ukraine used to export 6 million or so tons of grain a month, mostly to the global South. And now that has had to stop; in March and April, it was very small.”

O’Brien said the U.S. and European Union are trying to facilitate exports from Ukraine but that “at best it will probably be about half what it was before, and that’s because Russia has occupied or destroyed 30-odd percent of Ukraine’s grain-producing capability. It is attacking grain storage and processing facilities.”

Cary Fowler, the U.S. special envoy for global food security, said at the same press event, “The situation in the Ukraine has, by all estimates, pushed – is pushing about 40 million additional people into the ranks of the food-insecure.”

Ukraine produces enough food to feed about 400 million people, Fowler said, “and that’s sitting in silos right now in Ukraine, unable to get out” because Russia is blockading the ports.

Resultant food-price spikes are going to have “an impact on Africa first and foremost,” he added. The World Bank said this week that as of June 1, maize and wheat prices were 42% and 60% higher, respectively, compared with January of last year.

More from U.S.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged more money to combat food insecurity globally, noting “32 of the 39 countries at greatest risk from this acute food crisis are in Africa.”

“Just since February, the United States has pledged more than $2.3 billion of food assistance.  And pending final approval from our Congress, we’ll provide more than $5 billion in additional aid, including more than $760 million specifically for global food security.”

As well as the billions in funds, the U.S. is also boosting its domestic fertilizer production, Blinken added. Russia is the world’s largest fertilizer exporter.

Chinese officials have also been speaking about the global food crisis, with some state media, much like the Africa Union’s Sall, blaming Western sanctions.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last month that China already feeds one-fifth of the global population, the Global Times reported. The report also said China had donated $130 million to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization “in recent years.”

This week, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported that “African nations can leverage existing collaboration with China to transform their agricultural systems [and] tackle hunger,” attributing it to Quoqi Wu, a senior official at the U.N.’s International Fund for Agriculture Development.

Wu said that, among developing nations, China is the biggest donor to the IFAD and had helped finance numerous projects to boost agricultural best practices on the continent.

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Володимир Зеленський став лауреатом Премії Бориса Нємцова за сміливість

Фонд Нємцова за свободу цього року ухвалив рішення номінувати на премію лише представників України

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Резніков повідомив про розслідування після того, як чиновник Генштабу ЗСУ влаштував стрілянину в Києві

«Коли людина на військовій посаді, маючи погони й одягнена у форму, застосовує свою зброю у спальному районі столиці – буде реакція. Якщо були очікування на безкарність – це помилка»

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31 Members of White Supremacist Group Arrested Near Idaho Pride Event

Authorities arrested 31 members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front near an Idaho pride event Saturday after they were found packed into the back of a U-Haul truck with riot gear.

The men were standing inside the truck wearing khakis, navy blue shirts and beige hats with white balaclavas covering their faces when Coeur d’Alene police stopped the U-Haul and began arresting them on the side of the road.

“They came to riot downtown,” Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White said at a news conference.

All 31 were charged with conspiracy to riot, a misdemeanor, White said. The men were going through the booking process Saturday afternoon and are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, he said.

Based on evidence collected and documents, authorities found that the group was planning to riot in several areas of downtown, not just the park, White said.

Police found riot gear, one smoke grenade, shin guards and shields inside the van, White said. They wore arm patches and logos on their hats that identified them as members of Patriot Front, he said.

Police learned about the U-Haul from a tipster, who reported that “it looked like a little army was loading up into the vehicle” in the parking lot of a hotel, White said. Officials spotted the truck soon after and pulled it over, he said.

Videos of the arrest posted on social media show the men kneeling on the grass with their hands zip-tied behind their backs.

“Reclaim America” was written on the back of one shirt.

Police led the men, one by one, to the front of patrol cars, took off their masks and then brought them to a police van.

Those arrested came from at least 11 states, including Washington, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Virginia, and Arkansas, White said.

Only one was from Idaho, he said.

The truck was stopped near where the North Idaho Pride Alliance was holding the Coeur d’Alene Pride in the Park event. Police had stepped up their presence in the area during the event.

“It appears these people did not come here to engage in peaceful events,” Kootenai County Sheriff Bob Norris told a Coeur d’Alene Press reporter.

Patriot Front is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “a white nationalist hate group” that formed after the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

“Patriot Front focuses on theatrical rhetoric and activism that can be easily distributed as propaganda for its chapters across the country,” the Southern Poverty Law Center said of the group.

The group’s manifesto calls for the formation of a white ethnostate in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.

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Mo Donegal Wins Belmont Stakes as Rich Strike Misses 

Favorite Mo Donegal romped to victory at the 154th Belmont Stakes on Saturday while Rich Strike, the longshot winner of the Kentucky Derby could not pull off another surprise at Elmont, New York. 

Mo Donegal, fifth at the Kentucky Derby, settled in midpack for much of the mile-and-a-half race then made his move coming onto the home stretch. 

Under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.’s urging Mo Donegal powered away from the field coming home ahead of stable mate Nest to give trainer Todd Pletcher a 1-2 finish and a fourth Belmont win. 

Skippylongstocking finished third. 

“This has been a dream I’ve had for 40 years,” said Mo Donegal owner Mike Repole, a native New Yorker. “This is New York’s biggest race, and to win it here, with family, friends, I’m sort of overwhelmed.” 

Rich Strike had given up a shot at the Triple Crown when owner Rick Dawson decided to skip the second jewel, the Preakness Stakes, in order to rest the chestnut colt for the Belmont marathon known as the “test of a champion.” 

At 80-1 odds Rich Strike was one of the greatest longshots to win the Kentucky Derby but no one was overlooking the chestnut colt on Saturday going off as second favorite. 

The distance proved too much as Rich Strike spent most of the race trailing the eight-horse field finishing sixth. 

“Our biggest change today was that we decided to stay a little out, off the rail and try to give him a good open run when he would take off,” said Rich Strike trainer Eric Reed. “He is a routine horse, and this is the first time he has not been on the inside rail. 

“The whole way. If you watch, his head turned he’s trying to get to the inside I guess we made a mistake not putting him on the fence.” 

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Rudy Giuliani Faces Ethics Charges Over Trump Election Role

Rudy Giuliani, one of Donald Trump’s primary lawyers during the then-president’s failed efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, must now answer to professional ethics charges, the latest career slap after law license suspensions in New York and the District of Columbia. 

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the disciplinary branch of the District of Columbia Bar, filed the charges against the former federal prosecutor and New York mayor alleging that he promoted unsubstantiated voter fraud claims in Pennsylvania. The action was filed June 6 and became public Friday. 

At issue are claims Giuliani made in supporting a Trump campaign lawsuit seeking to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania. That suit, which sought to invalidate as many as 1.5 million mail-in ballots, was dismissed by courts. 

The counsel’s office said Giuliani’s conduct violated Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct “in that he brought a proceeding and asserted issues therein without a non-frivolous basis in law and fact for doing so” and “that he engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.” 

The counsel asked that the D.C. Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility take up the matter. Giuliani has 20 days to respond, according to the filing. An attempt Saturday to reach a lawyer for Giuliani was unsuccessful. 

The step is the latest against Giuliani for his role in Trump’s debunked claims that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent. 

Last June, an appeals court suspended him from practicing law in New York because he made false statements while trying to get courts to overturn Trump’s loss. An attorney disciplinary committee had asked the court to suspend his license on the grounds that he had violated professional conduct rules as he promoted theories that the election was stolen through fraud. 

The D.C. Bar temporarily suspended him last July although the practical implication of that action is questionable, given that Giuliani’s law license in Washington has been inactive since 2002. 

News of the counsel’s action follows the first public hearing by the House committee investigating the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Giuliani met for hours with the committee last month. 

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Kyiv’s Bitter Summer: War, Guilt and Last Kisses

In the outdoor gym on Venice Beach, the name given to an inviting stretch of sand on the majestic Dnieper River that courses through the capital of Ukraine, Serhiy Chornyi is working on his summer body, up-down-up-downing a chunky hunk of iron.

The aim of his sweat and toil isn’t to impress the girls in their bright summer bikinis. Working out is part of his contribution to Ukraine’s all-hands-on-deck war effort: The National Guardsman expects to be sent eastward to the battlefields soon and doesn’t want to take his paunch with him for the fight against Russia’s invasion force.

“I’m here to get in shape. To be able to help my friends with whom I’ll be,” the 32-year-old said. “I feel that my place is there now. … There is only one thing left: to defend. There is no other option, only one road.”

So goes Kyiv’s bitter summer of 2022, where the sun shines but sadness and grim determination reign, where canoodling couples cannot be sure that their kisses won’t be their last as more soldiers head to the fronts; where flitting swallows are nesting as people made homeless weep in blown-apart ruins, and where the peace is deceptive, because it’s shorn of peace of mind.

After Russia’s initial assault on Kyiv was repelled in the invasion’s opening month, leaving death and destruction, the capital found itself in the somewhat uncomfortable position of becoming largely a bystander in the war that continues to rage in the east and south, where Russian President Vladimir Putin has redirected his forces and military resources.

The burned-out hulks of Russian tanks are being hauled away from the capital’s outskirts, even as Western-supplied weapons turn more Russian armor into smoking junk on battlefronts. Cafes and restaurants are open again, the chatter and the chink of glasses from their outdoor tables providing a semblance of normalcy — until everyone scoots home for the 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, less constraining than it used to be when Kyiv had seemed at risk of falling.

Sitting on a lawn, savoring wine with friends one evening this week, Andrii Bashtovyi remarked that it “looks like there’s no war but people are talking about their friends who are injured or who are mobilized.” He recently passed his military medical check, meaning he could soon be thrown into combat, too.

“If they call me, I need to go to the recruiting center. I’ll have 12 hours,” said the chief editor of The Village online magazine, which covers life, news and events in Kyiv and other unoccupied cities.

Air raid alarms still sound regularly, screeching shrilly on downloadable phone apps, but they’re so rarely followed by blasts — unlike in pounded front-line towns and cities — that few pay them much mind. Cruise missile strikes that wrecked a warehouse and a train repair workshop on June 5 were Kyiv’s first in five weeks. Dog walkers and parents pushing strollers ambled unperturbed nearby even before the flames had been extinguished.

Many, but by no means all, of the 2 million inhabitants who Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said had fled when Russian forces tried to encircle the city in March are now returning. But with soldiers falling by the hundreds to the east and south, the surreal calm of Kyiv is laced with nagging guilt.

“People are feeling grateful but asking themselves, ‘Am I doing enough?'” said Snezhana Vialko, as she and boyfriend Denys Koreiba bought plump strawberries from one of the summer-fruit vendors who have deployed across the city, in neighborhoods where just weeks ago jumpy troops manned checkpoints of sandbags and tank traps.

Now greatly reduced in numbers and vigilance, they generally wave through the restored buzz of car traffic, barely glancing up from pass-the-time scrolling on phones.

With the peace still so fragile and more treasured than ever, many are plowing their energy, time, money and muscle into supporting the soldiers fighting what has become a grinding war of attrition for control of destroyed villages, towns and cities.

Trained as a chef and now working as a journalist, Volodymyr Denysenko brewed up 100 bottles of spicy sauce, using his home-grown hot peppers to enliven the troops’ rations. He dropped them off with volunteers who drive in convoys from Kyiv to the fronts, laden with crowdfunded gun sights, night-vision goggles, drones, medical kits and other badly needed gear.

“All Ukrainian people must help the army, the soldiers,” he said. “It’s our country, our freedom.”