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"Unlikely" Ukraine War, Netanyahu's Lies, Fight Peanuts With Peanuts

WAR AGAINST UKRAINE “UNLIKELY,” PUTIN SAYS
Photo above: Mikhail Metzel/TASS/ZUMA
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in an interview with Russian television that war against its neighbor Ukraine was “unlikely,” expressing his hope that this “apocalyptic scenario” would “never happen.” Asked about the Minsk agreement, he said that if fully implemented it would see the situation in Eastern Ukraine “gradually stabilize,” the BBC reports. Putin’s television appearance was followed by news this morning that pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine said they had begun to withdraw heavy weapons from the front line. Read more from The Moscow Times.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5
At least five drones were spotted overnight flying above sensitive Paris landmarks, including the Elysée Presidential Palace and U.S. Embassy. A source close to the investigation told AFP they couldn’t catch the operators. A drone was seen flying over the Elysée last month as well. Similar devices were noticed last year flying over French nuclear power plants.

LEAKED SPY CABLES SHOW NETANYAHU LIED TO UN
Top-secret intelligence documents leaked to Al Jazeera show that one month after Benjamin Netanyahu warned the 2012 UN General Assembly that Iran was 70% on the way to completing its "plans to build a nuclear weapon," Mossad informed South Africa in a cable that this was not the case. The Israeli secret services noted in the secret cable that Tehran had not in fact begun the work needed to build any kind of nuclear weapon, thus confirming previous findings from the U.S. National Intelligence Agency.

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In The News

War in Ukraine, Day 92: Is Severodonetsk The Next Mariupol?

Russian troops are attempting to encircle Severodonetsk, the last key city remaining under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk region, as Vladimir Putin looks to claim victory in a war that is not going Moscow's way. But will the toll be for civilians?

Inside a shelter in Severodonetsk.

Meike Eijsberg, Shaun Lavelle and Cameron Manley

Severodonetsk, the last key city remaining under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk area, is now the focal point of Russia’s war. In 2014, it had been recaptured from the pro-Russian separatists in a hard-fought battle by Ukrainian forces. Now, eight years later, Moscow is launching an all-out attack to try to take it back again.

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Alex Crawford, a Sky News correspondent in the region, says Russian forces have the means to conquer the city that in normal times has a population of circa 100,000 — and Moscow will be eager to cite it as the “victory”. But, Crawford wrote, “the path to victory comes – like the capture of the port city of Mariupol – strewn with the broken and battered bodies of the city's citizens.”

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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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