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Tom Balmforth
For Tom Balmforth's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Iranian ballistic missiles in Tehran. Iran's hard-line clerical rulers have steadily sought to deepen ties with Russia and China, betting that would help Tehran to resist U.S. sanctions and to end its political isolation.
WORLD / Politics
Feb 22, 2024
Iran sends Russia hundreds of ballistic missiles, sources say
An Iranian military official said there had been at least four shipments of missiles and that there would be more in the coming weeks.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy greets U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in Kyiv on Feb. 27. Zelenskyy's chief of staff Andriy Yermak said on Tuesday that the postponement of U.S. assistance for Kyiv being debated in Congress would create a "big risk" of Ukraine losing the war with Russia.
WORLD / Politics
Dec 6, 2023
Ukraine sees 'big risk' of losing war if U.S. postpones vital aid
Remarks by Zelenskyy's chief of staff are some of the frankest yet from a senior official as uncertainty swirls over the future of assistance packages.
Almost two years into the grinding war, Ukrainians are coming to terms with the prospect of a much longer and costlier conflict than they had hoped for, and one that some now acknowledge they're not guaranteed to win.
WORLD / Politics
Nov 28, 2023
Ukraine strains to bolster its army as war fatigue weighs
Ukrainians are coming to terms with the prospect of a much longer conflict than they had hoped for and one they may not win.
Outgoing Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov is seen as having built up a strong rapport with allied defense ministers and military officials.
WORLD / Politics
Sep 4, 2023
Zelenskyy moves to replace Ukraine's wartime defense minister
Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has been dogged by graft allegations surrounding his ministry that he has described as smears.
Japan Times
WORLD / ANALYSIS
Jul 14, 2023
Zelenskyy gets less than he wanted from NATO but takes home real gains
The Ukrainian leader left Western leaders in Vilnius with little choice but to publicly snub his demand to set a clear path for Ukraine to join the U.S.-led military alliance.
Japan Times
WORLD
Jun 21, 2023
Ukraine builds layered air defenses as Russia ramps up strikes
Russia has unleashed regular long-distance missile and drone attacks since October, but it seriously increased strikes in May as Ukraine prepared for a counteroffensive this month.
Japan Times
WORLD
Jun 20, 2023
Ukraine preparing 'biggest blow' after reclaiming villages, Kyiv says
A Ukrainian deputy minister said forces had retaken Piatykhatky, a settlement on a heavily fortified part of the front line near the most direct route to the country"s Azov Sea coast.
Japan Times
WORLD
Jun 12, 2023
Ukraine announces gains in 'first results' of counterattack against Russia
Kyiv"s forces posted unverified videos showing soldiers hoisting the Ukrainian flag at a bombed-out building in the village of Blahodatne in the Donetsk region.
Japan Times
WORLD / ANALYSIS
May 25, 2023
Incursion into Russia's Belgorod may stretch Moscow's defenses
Though Kyiv has denied any role, the biggest cross-border raid from Ukraine since Russia invaded 15 months ago was almost certainly coordinated with Ukraine"s armed forces.
Japan Times
WORLD
Apr 28, 2023
Russia digs in as Ukraine prepares to attack
A vast network of Russian fortifications sweeping down from western Russia through eastern Ukraine has been built in readiness for a major Ukrainian attack.
Japan Times
WORLD
Feb 11, 2023
How a band of Ukraine civilians helped seal Russia's biggest defeat
New accounts from Kherson have provided a rare window into how intelligence and sabotage operations are being coordinated with Ukrainian intelligence services behind enemy lines.
Japan Times
WORLD
Feb 6, 2023
Ukraine to replace defense minister in wartime reshuffle, top lawmaker says
Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov"s reshuffle would be the highest profile government change in a slew of resignations and sackings following a corruption scandal late last month.
Japan Times
WORLD
Feb 3, 2023
EU-Ukraine wartime summit to deliver on some issues, disappoint on others
Zelenskyy has called for more punitive measures against Russia by the EU, but new sanctions the bloc is preparing are set to fall short of the Kyiv government"s demands.
Japan Times
WORLD
Jan 31, 2023
Biden says no F-16s for Ukraine as Russia claims gains
Ukraine had planned to push for Western fourth-generation fighter jets such as the F-16 after securing supplies of main battle tanks last week.
Japan Times
WORLD
Jan 21, 2023
Western military aid girds Kyiv for counterattacks despite tank deadlock
Billions of dollars in new Western military aid, including infantry fighting vehicles, will gird Ukraine for counterattacks, but Kyiv needs other weapons systems to win decisively.
Japan Times
WORLD
Jan 19, 2023
Ukrainian interior minister killed in helicopter crash
The crash set off a large fire, and an entire side of the local nursery building was charred. The Kyiv region"s governor said children had been in the nursery at the time of the crash.
Japan Times
WORLD
Jan 11, 2023
Russia's Wagner mercenaries battle Ukrainian resistance in Soledar's town center
Soledar has been the focus of intense fighting as Russia has viewed it as key to its campaign for the nearby strategic city of Bakhmut and Ukraine's larger eastern Donbas region.
Japan Times
WORLD
Dec 17, 2022
Emergency blackouts ensue in Ukraine after major Russian missile strike
Kyiv introduces emergency blackouts across the country as a result of an attack believed to be one of the largest missile barrages since Russia invaded in February.
Japan Times
WORLD
Dec 16, 2022
Russia rains missiles on Ukraine's infrastructure, forcing power shutdowns
The latest Russian assault followed warnings from Ukrainian officials that Moscow plans a new all-out offensive early next year.
Japan Times
WORLD
Nov 28, 2022
Zelenskyy tells Ukraine to brace for more Russian attacks
The Kremlin has said in recent days that Kyiv could "end the suffering" of its population by meeting Russia's demands.

Longform

At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation