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Xi Jinping and Belgian King Philippe unveil the 300,000th car to be exported to China during Xi's visit at Volvo's plant in Ghent.
Xi Jinping and Belgian King Philippe unveil the 300,000th car to be exported to China during Xi's visit at Volvo's plant in Ghent.
Wang Guoxin and Yang Xiaolin

GHENT — When the Volvo factory in the Belgian city of Ghent hosted China President Xi Jinping last week, along with the Belgian king and queen, the facility was covered in red Chinese knotting, a decorative Chinese folk art. It was a festive touch meant both to welcome the Chinese leader and to celebrate the carmakers’s identity as a Chinese-owned manufacturer.

As the last stop on President Xi’s visit to Europe, the choice of Volvo is particularly symbolic. Its Ghent facility was established in 1965 and is the biggest Volvo assembly plant outside of Sweden, where the company is based. Since China’s largest car company, Geely, bought Volvo from Ford nearly four years ago, production at the Ghent facility has increased steadily, creating more than 600 new jobs and making Volvo Belgium’s largest car manufacturer.

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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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