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CLOSER (France), BBC (UK)

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The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton is reportedly "furious" after a French magazine published topless pictures of the Royal couple when on holiday in the south of France.

Closer, a French weekly celebrity magazine, hit shelves on Friday with images of Kate Middleton, along with the headline: "Oh my God! The photos that will go global."

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Closer's website teased French readers yesterday before the publication: "Discover the incredible snaps of the future queen of England like you've never seen her before... and like you would never have dreamt of ... The Duchess topless on the terrace of a guesthouse in the Lubéron! OMG!"

The BBC's Royal correspondent, Peter Hunt, says: "They believe a "red line" has been crossed. The couple cannot believe someone would take such photos and publish them."

I mean. You're the future Queen. Get your baps out on a balcony and someone with a wide angled lens is going to seize the day #katemiddleton

— Emma Smith (@WelshAlienLDN) September 14, 2012

However, there is one country in which the saucy photos of the Princess will not be printed... her dear home nation.

With the British tabloid industry marred by phone-hacking scandals, it seems Fleet Street is still treading on eggshells and are therefore choosing not to publish the photos after being offered them last week, the BBC reports.

Instead, the British press today focused on her current visit to Malaysia, with captions extolling her choice of dress: "Kate's the new Diana," "Kate's a real golden girl" and "A goddess in gold."

The publication is the second headache the Royal family has had to deal with in the past month after American gossip website TMZ published naked pictures of Prince Harry, after a party-filled trip to Las Vegas.

Daily tabloid The Sun was the only newspaper that chose to print the photos of Harry, claiming they were of public interest. The newspaper was subsequently bombarded with thousands of complaints.

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Geopolitics

One By One, The Former Soviet Republics Are Abandoning Putin

From Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Tajikistan, countries in Russia's orbit have refused to help him turn the tide in the Ukraine war. All (maybe even Belarus?) is coming to understand that his next step would be a complete restoration of the Soviet empire.

Leaders of Armenia, Russia, Tajikistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan attend a summit marking the 30th anniversary of signing the Collective Security Treaty in Moscow on May 16.

Oleksandr Demchenko

-Analysis-

KYIV — Virtually all of Vladimir Putin's last remaining partner countries in the region are gone from his grip. Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan have refused to help him turn the tide in the Ukraine war, because they've all come to understand that his next step would be a complete restoration of the empire, where their own sovereignty is lost.

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Before zooming in on the current state of relations in the region, and what it means for Ukraine's destiny, it's worth briefly reviewing the last 30 years of post-Soviet history.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was first created in 1992 by the Kremlin to keep former republics from fully seceding from the former Soviet sphere of influence. The plan was simple: to destroy the local Communist elite, to replace them with "their" people in the former colonies, and then return these territories — never truly considered as independent states by any Russian leadership — into its orbit.

In a word - to restore the USSR.

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