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Russia

In Russia, Ultra Nationalists Use Soccer Fan's Death As Rallying Cry

After a Russian soccer fan was killed following an argument with an Azerbaijani, ultra-nationalists held a rally near Red Square in Moscow that led to 100 arrests. Soccer stadiums are increasingly the bastion of xenophobic movements in Russia.

Russian riot police.
Russian riot police.

Worldcrunch *NEWSBITES

MOSCOW - Russian authorities are increasingly worried that soccer fans are feeding a rise in neo-Nazi activities. The latest sign was a large, non-sanctioned ultra-nationalist rally in central Moscow to protest the death of an 18-year-old soccer fan, Andrei Uropina, who was killed in a fight outside a Moscow nightclub last week. An Azerbaijani, Khosruvlo Nail, is wanted on suspicion in Uropina's death.

The ire of ultra-nationalists is most frequently directed towards individuals from the Caucasus region, particularly Chechens, but also Azerbaijanis and Armenians, who have become the most popular ethnic scapegoat for problems in Russian society.

Riot police were dispatched to Manezh Square, next to Moscow's Red Square, to break up the rally over the alleged murder. Wearing track suits and T-shirts proclaiming "I am Russian," the nationalists who gathered stood out from the tourists, making them easy targets for police, who confiscated flares, smokebombs, pistols and metal rods. Some 100 protesters were arrested. Word of the protests spread through social networking sites as organizers said Nail had fled Russia and accused the police of playing down the incident.

Investigators deny there was any racial motive to the murder, arguing that the alleged killer was actually standing up for his friend, a Russian, after an altercation broke out in the line for a disco. They said Nail had been put on a federal and international wanted list and that he was facing charges of murder and attempted homicide.

There have been many calls for another ‘Manezh Square," which has become the traditional place for ultra-right actions. But until the latest rally, those calls had attracted no more than a couple teenagers. Last December, more than 6,000 football fans and nationalists rioted there, demanding an investigation into the killing of a Spartak Moscow soccer fan who was shot in a dispute with several people from the Caucasus.

Maria Rozalskya, an expert on the ultra-right, said that a repeat of the events of last December was possible. "But for that to happen, there needs to be enough of a reason. The nationalists still need enough of a reason to gather en masse in the way they did last year."

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Photo -Rob Lee

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Geopolitics

How Ukraine Keeps Getting The West To Flip On Arms Supplies

The open debate on weapon deliveries to Ukraine is highly unusual, but Kyiv has figured out how to use the public moral suasion — and patience — to repeatedly shift the question in its favor. But will it work now for fighter jets?

Photo of a sunset over the USS Nimitz with a man guiding fighter jets ready for takeoff

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-Analysis-

PARIS — In what other war have arms deliveries been negotiated so openly in the public sphere?

On Monday, a journalist asked Joe Biden if he plans on supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. He answered “No”. A few hours later, the same question was asked to Emmanuel Macron, about French fighter jets. Macron did not rule it out.

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Visiting Paris on Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksïï Reznikov recalled that a year ago, the United States had refused him ground-air Stinger missiles deliveries. Eleven months later, Washington is delivering heavy tanks, in addition to everything else. The 'no' of yesterday is the green light of tomorrow: this is the lesson that the very pragmatic minister seemed to learn.

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