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Wind turbines near Berlin
Wind turbines near Berlin
Thibaut Madelin

BERLIN - After the initial euphoria, it’s back to earth for Germans. The decision to exit nuclear power was initially quite popular, but today many are having second thoughts. Their main issue with the decision is its resulting cost, which is paid for by households and small businesses but has spared big industrial consumers.

When she decided to quit the atom, just after the Fukushima disaster, Chancellor Angela Merkel had promised that electricity prices would stay affordable. A year later, there is a risk electricity bills will surge to the point where Peter Altmaier, the new environment and energy minister, is working on a project to reform energy financing and subsidies. He intends to present a first draft in the fall for a reform that will take place after the September 2013 elections.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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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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