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China demands apology after escaped activist emerges from US Embassy

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng has left the U.S. embassy in Beijing to seek medical care and join his family, as China demanded an apology from the United States on the eve of key talks between the two powers.

(CNN) BEIJING - Chen Guangcheng's presence in the U.S. Embassy had prompted a flurry of diplomatic activity between the United States and China. The situation has threatened to overshadow U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's scheduled meetings with senior Chinese leaders this week.

"The U.S. handling of this was interference in Chinese domestic affairs, and this is totally unacceptable to China," Liu Weimin, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said in comments reported by the state-run news agency Xinhua.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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