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Syrian war planes blow up oil pipeline in Homs

An explosion has struck an oil pipeline in the Syrian protest city of Homs, with activists saying government forces bombed it from the air and the regime blaming "terrorists."

(CNN) Homs - A massive plume of thick, black smoke billowed from the Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday, punctuating the chaos that has plagued the opposition stronghold for months.

According to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition activist group, government war planes flew over Homs and blew up an oil pipeline.

But Syrian state-run TV blamed a "terrorist group" for the assault.

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China's President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin

Alexander Demianchuk/TASS (Photo montage/Worldcrunch)
Anna Akage, Meike Eijsberg, Shaun Lavelle and Emma Albright

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met on Thursday at a summit in Uzbekistan, their first face-to-face encounter since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

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The meeting comes as Russia is reeling from major Ukraine advances on the ground in the six-month-old war, and with the Western alliance holding firm in its support of Kyiv. In their meeting, Russia state media reported that Putin told Xi Jinping he appreciated China’s “balanced position” regarding the conflict in Ukraine. The Kremlin leader also condemned U.S. “provocations” in the Taiwan Strait.

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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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