Owen Matthews

Owen Matthews

Owen Matthews writes about Russia for The Spectator and is the author of Overreach: The Inside Story of Putin’s War Against Ukraine.

Matt Ridley, William Cook, Owen Matthews and Agnes Poirier

28 min listen

On this week’s Spectator Out Loud: Matt Ridley argues that whoever you vote for, the blob wins (1:02); William Cook reads his Euros notebook from Germany (12:35); Owen Matthews reports on President Zelensky’s peace summit (16:21); and, reviewing Michael Peel’s new book ‘What everyone knows about Britain’, Agnes Poirier ponders if only Britain knew how it

Zelensky’s peace summit flop

Volodymyr Zelensky’s Global Peace Summit in Switzerland was meant to demonstrate the world’s support for Kyiv and underscore Russia’s isolation. It did the opposite. Russia wasn’t invited. China didn’t send a delegation. Other major countries that might influence the Kremlin – including Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the UAE – refused to sign

Putin’s purge of his top generals

In the past month, Vladimir Putin has had five top generals arrested on corruption charges. More are likely to follow in what looks like a gathering purge by the Federal Security Service (FSB). ‘There is a fierce clean-up under way,’ a source close to the Kremlin told the Moscow Times last week. ‘There is still

The shadow fleet helping Russia to evade sanctions

Economic sanctions were meant to be the West’s secret weapon against Russia, a way of crippling Vladimir Putin’s war machine and bringing his invasion of Ukraine to a halt without Nato firing a shot. Instead, Russia’s economy and military remain in rude health. After recent heavy attacks north of Kharkiv, Putin’s troops have seized more

The US war aid might be too little, too late for Ukraine

At the last possible moment, after months of prevarication and with Russian troops on the brink of a major breakthrough in Ukraine, the US Congress last night voted to approve more than $61 billion (£50 billion) worth of military assistance for Kyiv. In a vote that a vocal minority of Republicans had desperately attempted to

Will Biden support Ukraine’s attacks on Russia?

46 min listen

This week: will Biden support Ukraine’s attacks on Russia? Owen Matthews writes the cover piece in light of the Zelensky drone offensive. Ukraine’s most successful strategy to date has been its ingenious use of homemade, long-range drones, which it has used to strike military targets as well as oil refineries and petrol storage facilities in

Will Biden support Ukraine’s attacks on Russia?

This time last year, Volodymyr Zelensky was touring western capitals, calling for weapons and money to launch a decisive summer offensive. Nato eventually provided Leopard and Challenger tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, M777 howitzers, Himars rocket artillery and Patriot air defences – but too little, too late. The much-vaunted offensive went nowhere, despite a mutiny

The Moscow terror attack is Putin’s 9/11

The Crocus City Hall attack blindsided Putin’s vast security state. Employing nearly a million policemen, 340,000 national guards and over 100,000 spies, that apparatus has proved ruthlessly efficient at terrorising babushkas bringing flowers to Aleksei Navalny’s grave, tracking down lone bloggers and persecuting homosexuals. But as the Crocus attack demonstrated, the Kremlin’s securocrats are utterly

Pope Francis’s unhelpful Ukraine comments

Pope Francis has made a statement on the Ukraine war that has sparked fury among many of Kyiv’s supporters. Asked by a Swiss television interviewer whether the Ukraine should ‘raise the white flag’ Francis replied, ‘When you see that you are defeated, that things are not going well, you have to have the courage to

Navalny’s final agony at the Polar Wolf gulag

One winter’s night before the Ukraine war, I was on a train that stopped at a remote station deep in the Russian arctic. It was late November. The mercury stood at 15 degrees below zero – the hard, dry frost of the far north. The train stood silent, wreathed in the coal smoke of the

The tragedy of Alexei Navalny

I knew and greatly respected Alexei Navalny. The news (as yet not independently confirmed) that he died in prison came today as a physical blow – sickening, but at the same time tragically unsurprising. Navalny’s passion, his intelligence and his refusal to make compromises with the Putin regime made him a colossus in a world

Ukraine’s spirit isn’t even close to broken

Rome and Kyiv have one thing in common – the distinctive whine of motor-scooter engines in the night. The difference is that in Kyiv the high, Vespa-like noise does not rise from the streets but drifts down from among snow-laden clouds. It’s the unmistakable sound made by Iranian-designed Shahed-136 suicide drones, essentially modern-day doodlebugs armed

Ukraine’s new strategy hits Russia where it hurts

Ukraine is fighting not one but two hot wars against Russia. The first, a conventional, bloody land war along an 810-mile front line, has descended into stalemate. But the second – drone and missile strikes and sabotage raids deep into enemy territory – may prove to be a game-changing strategy for hitting Russia where it

Putin’s ‘peace’ is a partitioned Ukraine

52 min listen

On the podcast: In his new year’s address this year Vladimir Putin made no mention of the war in Ukraine – despite missile strikes over the Christmas period – and now Owen Matthews reports in The Spectator this week rumours that Putin could be looking to broker a land-for-peace deal. Unfortunately – Owen says – this deal

Putin’s ‘peace’ is a partitioned Ukraine

Is Vladimir Putin trying to end his war in Ukraine? According to recent reports, the Kremlin has launched a new ‘back-channel diplomacy’ to reach out to senior officials in the Joe Biden administration. Putin’s message: to signal that he could accept a ceasefire that freezes the fighting along current lines. Reactions to the story have

The Ukrainian war can only end in a peace deal

Kyiv In Ukraine, the political mood has become sombre and fractious. As the front lines settle into stalemate, Russia ramps up for a new season of missile and drone attacks, and vital US support for Ukraine’s war effort crumbles under partisan attack in Congress, one existential question looms large. Should Volodymyr Zelensky continue to fight