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LES ECHOS

The Kind Of On-The-Job Stress Only Police Officers Know

A record 53 French police officers committed suicide last year. The Courbat, a health facility, treats officers suffering from burnout, depression and alcoholism with a very specific therapy.

Riot control forces in Paris
Riot control forces in Paris
Cécile Deffontaines

LE LIEGEIn his orderly room of this unique establishment in France, where police officers have been treated for debilitating burnout since 1953, David speaks with the soft voice of a child. He still has the taste of metal and death in his mouth as he describes what brought him here.

"I was empty," he recalls. "The only strength I had left was to pull the trigger. I put a cartridge in. I loaded my gun and put it down my throat. With my other hand, I dialed the Courbat phone number. I thought, "Either someone picks up, or I pull the trigger." Someone picked up."

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 90: Three Months Since The Start Of A War That’s Changed The World

Vladimir Putin had planned to roll through Ukraine and splinter the West. While it has not gone according to plan, the destruction and uncertainty left in the path of the invasion has shaken the world.

A soldier of special forces of Ukraine displays his tattoos

Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Few will forget waking up to the news that Thursday morning in February. It was, exactly three months ago, in the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 24, when Vladimir Putin sent his armies, missiles and fighter jets across Ukraine’s borders, from points north and east, launching a full-scale invasion of a sovereign nation of 44 million.

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It has, by all accounts, not gone as Putin had planned: the Ukrainian military resisting the much larger, better-equipped Russian invaders; the West unified in its support of Kyiv, through arms shipments and harsh sanctions against Moscow; steadily rising opposition at home.

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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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