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Hope that William is at the wheel ...
Hope that William is at the wheel ...
Andrej Mrevlje

NEW YORK — Four different credit and bank cards, an International press card, a health insurance card and a gym membership card, a monthly MetroCard for the New York subway, a couple of prepaid international phone cards — probably expired — and $32 in cash. In the inside pocket, my Italian driver’s license and a tiny piece of paper from a Chinese fortune cookie with the prophecy, “your ideals are well within your reach.”

This is what my wallet contained last Wednesday night. Nothing irreplaceable, but it would have involved many time-consuming and unnerving phone calls to block the credit cards and get them re-issued. For sure, the most difficult item to replace would have been the Italian driver’s license. I still remember when, years ago, Umberto Eco, the Italian sociologist and writer, got robbed while abroad. It took him many long months of research and calling friends in high places to get the Italian bureaucracy to replace his patente di guida with a temporary certificate that allowed him to drive. In fact, it was only after he described the ordeal in his column for the Italian weekly L’Espresso, that he finally managed to get a replacement license.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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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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