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In The News

China On Ukraine, Italy Shipwreck Toll, Stuffed Toys For Turkey

Photo of a soccer player walking away from supporters throwing dozens of stuffed toys onto the pitch

Besiktas fans threw stuffed toys onto the field in Istanbul, answering a campaign by the soccer club asking for stuffed toys to be donated to children in regions hit by the Feb. 6 earthquake.

Emma Albright, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Ginevra Falciani

👋 こんにちは*

Welcome to Monday, where China keeps pushing Ukraine negotiations, the death toll in a migrant shipwreck off Italy continues to rise and thousands of stuffed toys are thrown on a soccer pitch in a show of solidarity with children in quake-hit Turkey. Meanwhile, Ukrainian writer Anna Akage raises hard questions about the future of her homeland, a year after Russia’s invasion, from forgiving the Russians to post-war corruption.

[*Konnichiwa - Japanese]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• China urges peace in Ukraine: China said on Monday it attempted dialogue and peace for Ukraine despite U.S. warnings that it might be considering weapons supplies for its ally Russia's invasion. On Friday, the first anniversary of the war, China published a 12-point plan calling for a ceasefire and gradual de-escalation by both sides.

• Death tolls rises to 74 migrants dead in Italy shipwreck: The death toll in the migrant shipwreck near the southern Italian coast has risen to 74. So far 80 people have been rescued and the search for missing people continues. Based on reports from survivors, authorities believe 180 to 200 people in total had been on board the ship.

• Early results Nigeria elections: Nigeria has announced early results from the country’s national elections on Sunday, though a victor to succeed current President Muhammadu Buhari is not expected for several days. The first results, from Ekiki state, showed a majority of votes for president cast in favor of Bola Tinubu of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).

• Israel and Palestinians pledge to reduce violence: The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority have announced a joint commitment to take immediate steps to end a rise in violence. This comes from talks in Jordan, also attended by U.S. and Egyptian officials.

• Northern Ireland Protocol final talks: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, are due to hold "final talks" on a new post-Brexit deal for Northern Ireland on Monday. Northern Ireland has continued to follow some EU laws so that goods can flow freely over the border to the Republic of Ireland without checks and the UK wants to change the current agreement.

• Mexico protests over electoral reform: Huge rallies have been held in multiple Mexican cities against what protesters say are government attempts to undermine electoral authorities. Lawmakers last week voted to slash the budget of the National Electoral Institute (INE) and cut its staffing. Opponents describe the recent vote as an attack on democracy itself, pressing the Supreme Court to overturn them as unconstitutional.

Everything Everywhere All at Once leads SAG Awards: The 29th Screen Actors Guild Awards took place at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles on Sunday, honoring some of the year’s best television and film performances that were voted on by the actors themselves. Last year’s hit film Everything Everywhere All at Once saw the film’s stars Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis and Ke Huy Quan win acting awards in their respective categories.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

Italian daily La Stampa titled “The massacre of the Innocents” their front-page piece on the shipwreck of a boat carrying more than 180 migrants that sank 200 meters off the Ionian coast of Calabria. At least 74 people were confirmed dead so far, mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, but also Iran, Somalia and Palestine.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

6.22 meters

Swedish-American athlete Armand Duplantis broke his own pole vault world record for the sixth time by clearing 6.22 meters (20 ft. 5 in.) at the All Star Perche 2023 event in Clermont-Ferrand in France this weekend. The 23-year-old Olympic and world champion added a centimeter to his own world record previously set last year in Oregon in the U.S.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Hating Russians, trusting ourselves: The hard questions for post-war Ukraine

A year after Russia's invasion of her homeland, Ukrainian writer Anna Akage looks back at recent history, but, above all, forward to a future where her nation must not only win the war, but not lose the victory.

🇺🇦 Of course, we need to talk about yesterday. To analyze and draw conclusions, to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. But today, I want to look at tomorrow. Tomorrow will be hard. Yes the war is as existential as it is brutal — but those first years or even decades after will also be critical for the existence of Ukraine. The fate of the world depends on our victory, which also includes how we Ukrainians overcome these post-war trials we will have to face.

🇷🇺 First, we will have to come to terms with the Russians. Not with Putin, or with Prigozhin, or even with Navalny, but with the people. For all the hatred I feel towards Russia now, I realize that we will have to find a way to forgive and let live, for the sake of peace and security. No one will talk about this in Ukraine today, but we will have to make concessions to Russia, too — not territorially, but morally. We will have to forgive them.

🗳️ Another process is already looming on the horizon: the struggle for power and resources. President Volodymyr Zelensky will likely not run for a second term. When presidential elections are held after the war is over, a fierce struggle will begin for his seat. Whichever wins will face one of the toughest tests for a leader: how not to lose a victory.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

“We paid a lot of attention to our Chinese friends’ plan.”

— Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says that Moscow has been keeping an eye on China's proposal for a political solution in Ukraine, although adding that "for now, we don't see any of the conditions that are needed to bring this whole story towards peace."

✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Anne-Sophie Goninet, Ginevra Falciani and Bertrand Hauger


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Geopolitics

What The West Gets Wrong About Orbán's Stance On Russia

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán appears to be courting Vladimir Putin, and turning his back on the EU. There is a clear strategy behind his rhetoric — but it is not any personal affinity for Russia.

What The West Gets Wrong About Orbán's Stance On Russia

Vladimir Putin with Viktor Orbán on a visit to Hungary in February 2015.

Presidential Press and Information Office, on Wikipedia.
Zsuzsanna Szelényi

-Analysis-

BERLIN — In its latest "public information campaign" just in time for the first anniversary of Russia's attack on Ukraine, Hungary's government portrays its own country as a peacekeeping power fighting against the Western war machine.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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This rhetoric, along with continued attacks on the "Brussels superstate," are prime examples of pure Viktor Orbán propaganda, which Hungary's prime minister has been peddling for years.

Orbán's pro-Russian stance, however, is often misunderstood. It is purely strategic, not personal, aimed at weakening European support for Ukraine for other reasons. It is a relatively new position vis a vis Moscow, an expression of his self-serving political style and his willingness to take risks to strengthen Hungary's position on the international stage.

Ultimately, Orbán is not pro-Russian; he is simply pro-Orbán.

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