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AP, ICN, EL MUNDO

LONDON - In the latest hit for a euro-zone economy, Fitch ratings agency downgraded Cyprus' sovereign credit grade to junk status, lowering the country's rating by one notch to BB+ from BBB-, AP reports.

"Fitch acknowledges that its estimates of the losses and capital needs of Cypriot banks are subject to considerable uncertainty and are conservative," the agency said. "Nonetheless, in Fitch's opinion, Cypriot banks will require substantial injections of capital in order to secure confidence in their financial stability."

The downgrade comes amid concerns after Spain officially asked for an aid for its troubled banking sector which is suffering from large amount of bad loans, ICN reports.

Madrid-based daily El Mundo reported that European officials are set to arrive in the Spanish capital "very soon" to hammer out the details of the conditions that will be attached to the bank rescue.

Worries about Cyprus and Spain are intensifying before this week's much awaited EU summit, where European leaders will try to reach an integrated banking union and more flexibility in how the European rescue fund can be applied.

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Geopolitics

How To Welcome Russians Fleeing Conscription? Europe Should Be Careful

Europe should welcome the exodus of conscientious objectors from Russia. But the conditions vary across the continent, and there needs to be some security precautions.

Russian nationals entering Georgia at the Verkhny Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border.

Jacques Schuster

-Analysis-

BERLIN — Russia's President Vladimir Putin is currently suffering his greatest defeat in the battle for terrain, but also public opinion.

The Kremlin may spread as much propaganda as it likes, but the pictures of kilometer-long lines of cars at the borders and thousands of young men fleeing abroad to avoid the draft with hastily packed bags show clearly what the Russian population thinks of Moscow's war of aggression.

In this sense, one can only hope that the stream will continue to flow for a long time.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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But how should European governments deal with the mass of fleeing conscientious objectors?

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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.

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