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LES ECHOS

French 'Industrial Tourism': Swapping The Chateaux For Shipyards

The Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in the French port of Saint Nazaire on the Atlantic Coast has opened its doors to the public. It is just one of a growing number of French industrial sites catering to a new kind of tourism.

Queen Mary 2 near the port of Saint Nazaire
Queen Mary 2 near the port of Saint Nazaire
François Bostnavaron

SAINT NAZAIRE - Stéphanie Obadia and Romain Amousso seem a little out of place in this coach full of elderly sightseers heading for the famous Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard in this industrial port on France's Atlantic Coast. This 30–something Parisian couple were staying up the road in the swanky beach resort of La Baule for a friend's wedding.

"We're not particularly into industrial tourism," says Obadia. "But we are very curious by nature. And a friend had recommended it."

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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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