Putin is playing the waiting game and it’s paying off

Ukraine has found itself in a battle for media attention and financial assistance as Putin’s invasion continues into the winter.

Time has never been on Ukraine’s side. A prolonged war has long served to benefit Russia’s tyrannical leader Vladimir Putin. As Ukraine enters its 20th month since the Russian invasion, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s fear that war fatigue would dissuade interest amongst Western countries may be coming true.

What was first believed to be a swift victory for Russia soon became a war of attrition, in which the upper hand belonged to Ukraine. Now, with the eyes of the world shifting to the Middle East, Putin’s patience seems to be paying off.

In early October, Putin launched a noteworthy offensive attack on the territory of Avdiivka in the Donetsk Oblast. This attack led to significant Russian gains around Avdiivka that prevented Ukrainian forces from sending reinforcements in critical areas of the Zaporizhia Oblast. The attack should have made headlines weeks ago, but was barely mentioned in mainstream media.

Media coverage has evolved over the years to cover developing stories all over the world. This shift has forced the media to adapt by covering breaking news faster than ever before. As attention spans shrink, countries like Ukraine fall victim to decreasing air time as demand for coverage of newer events takes over.

American support for the war has been steadily declining as public sentiment in the US shifts against giving financial aid to Ukraine. Some Republican senators have also voiced their concern over continued military and financial assistance to Ukraine. The Israel-Hamas war has pushed this sentiment further as politicians in Congress have put assistance to Ukraine on hold as they send funds to Israel.

This compromises Ukraine’s position, which relies on financial support from countries such as the US, especially now that Putin is increasing the number of attacks on Ukraine’s territory.

Ukraine’s future is being further jeopardized by the increasing cost of oil since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. As a large exporter of oil, Russia has been able to capitalize on this increase. Before Oct. 7, Russian oil was being sold at almost $80 per barrel. Reports from Oct. 20 show that oil from the Russian Eastern Siberia–Pacific Ocean (ESPO) pipeline was selling at over $88 per barrel. With Russia being one of the most sanctioned countries in the world, rising oil prices can only benefit Putin in his quest to destroy Ukraine.

Ukraine has lost entire cities in the Donbas and Donetsk regions. Russia has seen more than 315,000 of its men killed. What’s clear is that Ukraine will need sustained commitment of military and financial assistance if they are to survive this invasion. As it stands, time is on Putin’s side. As the world fails to pay attention, Ukraine will continue to suffer the consequences.


Liking sports for the sake of the game

How sexism prevents women from being part of the conversation in sports and sports coverage

Watching sports is not a quirky personality trait, it’s not a way for women to differentiate themselves from other women, and it’s definitely not unusual that women enjoy it.

I know several men who think the opposite; that women force themselves to learn everything they can about sports—from the rules of the game to the good and the bad teams—for the sake of standing out. Or they think that women just say they like a sport because the players are attractive. Either way, it’s common for people to not take women seriously when they try to talk about sports.

In a group of avid basketball fans with support for two opposing teams, different opinions are sure to be brought up. Maybe this player’s stats haven’t been looking too good the last few games, or maybe this team’s coach has been making bad calls lately. Whatever it is, “sports talk” is bound to happen.

As a Toronto Raptors fan, I’d love to be part of the discussion. But my opinions are quickly dismissed, I’m repeatedly interrupted until my voice is drained out, and facts just aren’t believable when I bring them up. It’s not because I don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s because I’m a woman.

Most sports are controlled by males, from the administration to the professional players to the journalists. In the media, only 4 per cent of sports media coverage is based on women’s sports, and 12 per cent of sports news is given by women. As viewers, we’re used to watching men guide the conversation, participate in the debates and bring up the numbers. We don’t think it’s any different when the men in our lives do the same.

When it’s time for playoffs, the English Football League (EFL), National Hockey League (NHL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and National Football League (NFL) dominate not only sports news, but regular news as well. When a reigning team wins a trophy, it’s everywhere.

In the International Ice Hockey Federation Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship (IIHF), Team Canada and Team USA have played in the finals for all 18 tournaments and are the top two in standings. It’s a proud achievement for both countries, yet it’s still disregarded because it’s a team of women.

In Canada, hockey is a major sport. The Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) has been the main front for female hockey players, but the league will be terminated as of May 1 due to financial reasons. Imagine the reaction if the Montreal Canadiens held the same title as Team Canada in the NHL, or if the team’s operations were to be discontinued.

By being a woman who likes sports, I’m out of the norm. If I want to watch a basketball game with other fans, it’ll probably be with a bunch of guys who will suggest going to a nearby bar. I’m already shunned by sober basketball fans, why would I want to fight harder with the drunk ones? Why should I have to prove my worth by passive aggressively forcing myself into the conversation and talking about how many games I’ve watched and how long I’ve been a fan?

Gender inequality within sports is bigger than the lack of coverage of women’s sports—it boils down to overlooked fans because they’re women. The facts are there, but we shouldn’t have to constantly assert ourselves into the conversation, whether it’s to talk about sports or the imbalance of women in sports media.

Graphic by @sundaemorningcoffee

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