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Tokyo Threatens, Damascus Advances, Shah's Widow Speaks

JAPAN THREATENS NORTH KOREA TO SHOOT DOWN ROCKET

Japan deployed destroyers in the Sea of Japan and missile batteries on land today, warning it would shoot down a satellite set to be launched soon by North Korea, The Japan Times reports. Pyongyang told United Nations agencies yesterday it would launch an "earth observation satellite" some time between Feb. 8 and Feb. 25. But Tokyo has described this as thinly disguised test of a long-range ballistic missile. South Korea also warned the North it would pay a "severe price" if the launch was to go ahead. Pyongyang claims it has a sovereign right to pursue a space program by launching rockets. Last month, tensions rose again in the region after North Korea claimed it carried out a fourth nuclear test.

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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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