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Putin Sees “Prolonged” War, Al Jazeera Reporter Killed In Israel, Bye Bye iPod

In Lviv, a funeral is held for two Ukrainian sergeants, who were killed in the town of Popasna, near Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Здравейте*

Welcome to Wednesday, where U.S. intel says Putin is preparing for a “prolonged conflict,” a prominent Al Jazeera journalist is shot dead by Israeli troops, and Apple pulls the plug on the iPod. Meanwhile, Benjamin Quénelle in French daily Les Echos focuses on the few brave Russians voicing their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine, and the many who have fled the country.

[*Zdraveite - Bulgarian]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• U.S. says Putin planning for “prolonged” war in Ukraine: A top U.S. intelligence official is warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for "prolonged conflict," which may increasingly become more dangerous to neighboring countries.

• Oil & Gas blocks between Russia and Europe: Ukraine says it has suspended some of the Russian natural gas it delivers to Europe, blaming Moscow for the interruption. Meanwhile, the European Union may offer financial compensation to Hungary, which is particularly reliant on Russian oil, to sign on to the bloc-wide deal to phase out energy imports.

— Read all the latest at War in Ukraine, Day 77

• Al Jazeera reporter killed in Israel: Shireen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old Palestinian reporter working for Al Jazeera, died after being shot in the head by Israeli forces as she was covering a raid on Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. Reports say Israeli troops fired on a group of journalists who were wearing clearly identified press vests, with several others injured.

• Shanghai’s tightest COVID-19 restrictions yet: With China’s financial capital in its seventh week of strict lockdown, authorities have announced that they will impose the most severe COVID-19 restrictions to date on some parts of the city. This means non-governmental food deliveries will not be allowed, and people must first get an approval to get to the hospital outside of emergency cases.

• Paraguayan anti-mafia prosecutor killed on honeymoon: Two gunmen killed high-profile Paraguayan prosecutor Marcelo Pecci while he was on honeymoon with his pregnant wife in Baru, Colombia. Pecci was well-known for his work against organized crime and drug-trafficking, and the arrest of Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho in 2020.

• Sri Lanka troops enter capital amid violent protests: Armored vehicles and troops have been deployed in Colombo, where violent protests between opponents and supporters of the government have killed 8 and injured more than 200. The army has been allowed to shoot the perpetrators of violence.

• Former Black Panther to be released after 49 years in jail: Sundiata Acoli, 85, the oldest Black Panther still in prison, has been granted parole. Jailed in 1973 for the shooting of state trooper Werner Foerster, Acoli had been denied parole since first becoming eligible 29 years ago and despite his “exemplary” prison record.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“President Yoon promises ‘a country where the people are the true masters’,” titles South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo, reporting on the inauguration speech of the country’s new president Yoon Suk Yeol who was officially sworn in in Seoul. The conservative leader promised an “audacious” plan to strengthen North Korea’s economy, in exchange for denuclearization efforts.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

450 million

Apple has announced it is officially discontinuing the production of its iPod touch, the last remaining of the iPod models. Since its launch in 2001, Apple has sold an estimated 450 million such portable media players that revolutionized the music industry before being overtaken by streaming services.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

Meet the Russians protesting the war at their peril

Despite legal threats or worse, a notable minority of Russians, from students to elected officials, are finding ways to oppose the invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, many others have left the country since the war began, creating a brain drain that could last for many years, reports Benjamin Quénelle in French daily Les Echos.

⚖️ All over Russia, those opposed to the "special military operation" in Ukraine find different ways to express themselves, but many end up in court. Student Valeria Pasternakova was declared guilty and sentenced to $105 in administrative fines. But in the event of another infringement, the case could turn into a criminal one. “The judge’s decision had been made before the trial, as usual in our politicized justice system. The authorities multiply prosecutions and convictions in order to scare simple opponents like Valeria,” says Polina Petrova, her lawyer.

✊🚨 Discreet but determined, young anonymous girls opt for very political nail art, like a Ukrainian flag. Anonymous people have also thrown paint on the letter “Z” displayed everywhere by the authorities that support the army. Such boldness can be costly. In a supermarket in Saint Petersburg, musician Alexandra Skotchilenko replaced the price tags with tiny bills that read “love is stronger than war.” Arrested and taken into custody, Alexandra Skotchilenko faces up to ten years in prison under the new law regarding attempts to “discredit” the armed forces.

✈️ Others, however, have reacted differently: lawyers or computer scientists, communication experts or financial analysts — people in their early forties who had never shown strong opposition to the Kremlin. Opposed to the military offensive, worried about their safety, restrained by the misdeeds of Western sanctions, they now want to flee Russia and start new careers. “This war threatens a whole generation who, through their work and investments in Russia itself, wanted to build a new country,” says Alexandre who, like many others, prefers to remain anonymous.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

I would reverse the permanent ban.

— Elon Musk said he would reinstate Donald Trump’s Twitter account once he takes control of the social media giant. Speaking at a conference, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said the decision to ban the former U.S. president from the social media platform in January 2021 was “foolish in the extreme” and that permanent bans should be rare and reserved for bots or spam accounts, for instance.

✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Geopolitics

Is Odessa Next? Putin Sees A Gateway To Moldova — And Chance For Revenge

After the fall of Mariupol, Vladimir Putin appears to have his eye on another iconic southern coastal city, with a strong identity and strategic location.

Odessa after a missile attack

Vincenzo Circosta/ZUMA
Anna Akage

Air strikes on the port city of Odessa have become more frequent over the past three weeks, most often hitting residential buildings, shopping malls, and critical infrastructure rather than military targets. The missiles arrive from naval vessels on the Black Sea and across the sea from the nearby Crimean coast, with the toll including multiple civilian deaths and a growing sense of panic. In Odessa, fears are rising that it could follow Mariupol as Vladimir Putin’s next principal target.

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Since the beginning of the war, more than half of the population — about 500,000 people — have left the city, even as others are flowing into Odessa from other war-torn regions in southern Ukraine, where the situation is even worse: people from Nikolayev, Kherson, Crimea, and even from Moldovan Transnistria.

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