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In The News

Glimmers Of Ukraine Hope Despite Offensive Escalation

Kyiv subway stations operate as bomb shelters in Ukraine

Finding shelter from Russian bombings in Kyiv's subway stations

Laure Gautherin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Demat!*

Welcome to Monday, where Ukraine ceasefire talks show signs of progress, despite continued Russian shelling and mounting death toll. Meanwhile, French daily Les Echos looks at the distant ramifications of the Ukraine invasion in the French Riviera.

[*Breton, France]


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• Ukraine update: Russian and Ukrainian officials will meet via videoconference in the latest round of talks, after statements over the weekend signaled progress on both sides. Meanwhile, heavy fighting continues, with several people killed as a residential building was hit by an airstrike in Kyiv. Yesterday, Russia ramped up its offensive with an attack on a base near the border with Poland, a NATO member, that left 35 dead. Ukraine places the current death toll among its military at 1,300 and the UN says at least 596 civilians have been killed so far.

• U.S. warns China: National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has issued a strong warning to China that it should not help Russia avoid punishment from global sanctions. The warning comes ahead of a key meeting in Rome between senior American and Chinese security officials, and after claims from an unnamed U.S. official that Russia has asked China for military help.

• Mariupol maternity woman dies: The pregnant woman, whose evacuation in the wake of the Mariupol maternity ward bombing was pictured last week by AP photographer Evgeniy Maloletkahas, has died with her baby. The photograph has become one of the most heart-breaking images of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

• Iran missile attack on Erbil: Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have claimed responsibility for a number of ballistic missile attacks in Erbil, Iraq, saying it targeted an Israeli “strategic center.” The attacks, which caused only material damage, come a week after an Israeli reportedly killed two IRGC officers near Damascus.

• New investigation into MH17: The Netherlands and Australia are seeking to open a new case against Russia for the July 17, 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, on the basis that Russia breached international aviation law when it shot down the plane over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 aboard.

• William Hurt dies: U.S. actor William Hurt died at his home in Portland, Oregon, at age 71, reportedly from complications of prostate cancer. Hurt had won the Best Actor Academy Award for his role in the 1985 movie Kiss of the Spider Woman.

• Awards season continues: Jane Campion’s Netflix western The Power of the Dog and Denis Villeneuve sci fi blockbuster Dune both won big last night at the 2022 BAFTA Awards. The Power of the Dog also went home with the top statuette at the Critics Choice Awards, while Jessica Chastain and Will Smith emerged victorious.


Gazeta Wyborcza front page

“Russia is provoking NATO”, writes Warsaw-based daily Gazeta Wyborcza on its front page, after Russia’s attack on the Ukrainian military base in Yavoriv — less than 15 miles from the border with Poland, a NATO member. The Yavoriv base is also known for being a NATO training center as well as being near the most direct route to Rzeszow airport, where western arms are being flown in.


+196 %

Online attacks against Ukrainian military and governmental sectors increased by 196% in the first three days following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to Check Point Research (CPR). Yuval Wollman, president of cyber security company CyberProof and the former director-general of the Israeli Intelligence Ministry, reports that some 400,000 multinational hackers have volunteered to help Ukraine.


Oligarchs Au Revoir: Russia's War Drifts On To The French Riviera

The likely defection of Russian tourists this summer is clouding the prospects of tourism professionals in the South of France, whose activity is still recovering from the pandemic. For French economic daily Les Echos, Vincent-Xavier Morvan snaps an emblematic snapshot of the after-effects of Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

🧳🇷🇺 Tourism from Russia and Ukraine had been a godsend which, in the coming months, has every chance of vanishing just as fast. According to the regional tourism committee, the share of Russians and nationals of several republics of the former USSR, including Ukraine, amounted to 6% of foreign visitors to hotels and residences along the French Riviera in 2019.

📉 The outbreak of the war in Ukraine is likely to darken the skies for the local professionals, whose business was just starting up again after successive COVID-19 shutdowns. The Tourist board estimated the volume of stays of Russians alone at 190,000 in 2019, including 83,000 arrivals by plane. They come mainly in summer, with a presence limited to the coast, Nice and the Riviera (Monaco, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat) but also the Cap d’Antibes and Cannes, where this clientele appreciates the posh establishments of the Croisette such as Martinez or the Carlton.

🛥️🏘️ In the yachting sector, the probable defection of Russians in the coming months is an even harder blow: In the segment of 50 to 60-meter vessels and above, which sometimes carry up to 70 crew members, Russians represent up to 25% of the market. The real estate sector will likely not be spared by the Ukrainian conflict either. Estimates are that more than one thousand second homes are owned by Russians in the region today. This rapidly growing figure has fueled price increases, again mainly in the highest luxury sector.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


Instead of giving us an ultimatum or red lines or asking Ukraine to capitulate, they now seem to start the constructive negotiations.

— Ihor Zhovkva, Deputy head of office for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, told BBC Radio 4 as peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv resume this morning.

✍️ Newsletter by Laure Gautherin and Bertrand Hauger

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

A "Third Rome": How The Myth of Russian Supremacism Fuels Putin's War

Tracing the early roots of the concept of the "Russian world" that sees the Russian state as eternal and impervious to change. Its primary objective is the establishment of a robust national state, a realm of expansionism where autocracy is the only form of governance possible.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives a gala reception at the Grand Kremlin Palace

Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives a gala reception at the Grand Kremlin Palace

Alexei Nikolsky/TASS/ZUMA
Vazhnyye Istorii


Looking back at the start of the 16th century, the Grand Duchy of Moscow had emerged victorious over its Orthodox rivals, including principalities such as Tver and the Novgorod Republic. At the time, a significant portion of the eastern Slavic lands was under Catholic Lithuania's control.

So, how did Moscow rise to prominence?

On the surface, Moscow appeared to fill the void left by the Mongolian Golden Horde. While Moscow had previously collected tributes from other principalities, it now retained these resources for itself. There was an inclination for Muscovy to expand further eastward, assimilating fragments of the Genghisid empire. However, aligning the descendants of ancient Rus’ with the heirs of Genghis Khan would necessitate a fundamental shift in the state's identity. This was particularly complex due to the prevalent ideology built around religion, with the Tatar khans, unlike the Russian princes, adhering to Islam.

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In the early 16th century, a Pskov monk named Philotheus introduced a new idea: that Moscow represented the "third Rome."

According to Philotheus, the first Rome had succumbed to Latin heresy (Catholicism), and the second, Constantinople, had fallen to Turkish conquest. He believed Moscow was now the capital of the only Orthodox state remaining in the world. Philotheus presented his worldview to Grand Duke Vasily III, advocating for the unification of all Christian kingdoms into one.

The descendants of ancient Rus’ sought to trace their lineage back to Prus, the legendary brother of the first Roman emperor Augustus Octavian, establishing a link between Russia and the first Rome. Even though historical evidence doesn't support these claims, Ivan IV, better known as Ivan the Terrible, proudly asserted his connection to Augustus Octavian. He took the concept of the third Rome very seriously and became the first Russian ruler to take on the title of the tsar.

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