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The AC Milan Under-10 Squad
The AC Milan Under-10 Squad

Racism in soccer hit a new low over the weekend when black players from AC Milan's Under-10 team say they were booed and heckled by other parents during a Universal Cup match.

The youngsters were playing their Paris Saint-Germain equivalents for a place in the semi-finals of the Tuscany tournament that features 48 international teams, including Chelsea, Ajax and Benfica.

It's not clear which team the heckling parents were supporting, though event organizers insist that the remarks weren't racist in nature but instead questioned whether the Milan players were over the age limit, La Stampareports.

The organizers added an anti-racism video to their Facebook page Monday morning, followed by a statement Tuesday that their investigation found no evidence that racist or even vaguely discriminatory chants were uttered Sunday.

Sadly, racism in soccer is nothing new, and many talented stars, including former AC Milan players Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng, have been subject to abusive tirades.

On a happier note, the young team from AC Milan went on to defeat Inter Milan 4-0 in the final, winning the overall competition.

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Geopolitics

Minsk Never More: Lessons For The West About Negotiating With Putin

The longer the war in Ukraine continues, the louder calls will grow for a ceasefire . Stockholm-based analysts explain how the West can reach a viable deal on this: primarily by avoiding strategic mistakes from last time following the annexation of Crimea.

"War is not over" protests in London

Hugo von Essen, Andreas Umland

-Analysis-

Each new day the Russian assault on Ukraine continues, the wider and deeper is the global impact. And so with each day, there is more and more talk of a ceasefire. But just how and under what conditions such an agreement might be reached are wide open questions.

What is already clear, however, is that a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine must not repeat mistakes made since the open conflict between the two countries began more than eight years ago.

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Contrary to widespread opinion, the so-called Minsk ceasefire agreements of 2014-2015 were not meant as a definitive solution. And as we now know, they would not offer a path to peace. Instead, the accord negotiated in the Belarusian capital would indeed become part of the problem, as it fueled the aggressive Russian strategies that led to the escalation in 2022.

In early September 2014, the Ukrainian army suffered a crushing defeat at Ilovaisk against unmarked regular Russian ground forces. Fearing further losses, Kyiv agreed to negotiations with Moscow.

The Minsk Protocol (“Minsk I”) – followed shortly thereafter by a clarifying memorandum – baldly served Russian interests. For example, it envisaged a “decentralization” – i.e. Balkanization – of Ukraine. An uneasy truce came about; but the conflict was in no way resolved.

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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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