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Syria Deadlock, Snowden Tweets, Pope Meets Kim Davis

NEW MOVES ON SYRIAN WAR CHESSBOARD

The diplomatic deadlock over how to end the bloody civil war in Syria is growing deeper by the hour. The upper house of the Russian Parliament has voted unanimously in favor of allowing the use of Russian troops in Syria, paving the way for the Russian air force to carry out airstrikes against ISIS, in support of Syrian troops, Tass reports. According to international law, such a move can be authorized either by a United Nations Security Council vote or following a request from the country's authorities. After the vote, the Kremlin's chief of staff Sergey Ivanov announced that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "has addressed the leadership of our country with a request of military assistance."

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Two Ukrainian soldiers at a military base on the outskirts of the separatist region of Donetsk

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Halito!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where the first war crimes trial against a Russian soldier since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine gets underway in Kyiv, Kim Jong-un slams North Korean officials’ response to the coronavirus outbreak and Mexico’s National Registry of Missing People reaches a grim milestone. Meanwhile, Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg looks at the rise of ethnic separatism across Russia’s federal regions.

[*Choctaw, Native American]

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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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