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In The News

Russia Aims Again At Kharkiv, 15 Civilians Killed

Attacks in Ukraine's second biggest city are reminiscent of strategy in Mariupol.

Russia Aims Again At Kharkiv, 15 Civilians Killed

Shell hit homes in Kharkiv

Anna Akage, Shaun Lavelle, Lisa Berdet and Emma Albright

At least 15 confirmed civilian deaths were reported by this morning in Kharkiv, after the Russian army fired multiple Uragan rockets at an industrial area of the northeastern city where there were no military facilities, according to Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the Investigative Department of the Kharkiv Region Police Department.

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"Russian forces are now hitting the city of Kharkiv in the same way that they previously were hitting Mariupol, intending to terrorize the population," Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video address.

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city with a population of 1.4 million, had repelled Russian advances in the early weeks of the war, but has again become the leading target of Moscow outside of the southern Donbas region.

Russian Soldiers Threaten Residents Of Occupied Region With Public Executions

Melitopol, Ukraine

Alexei Konovalov/TASS/Zuma

The mayor of Melitopol, a city in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhya region, said that occupying Russian troops are systematically threatening locals with public executions.

Mayor Ivan Fedorov told Ukrainian media Novoye Vremya that the threats were meant to quell Ukrainian protests and maintain Russian power in the occupied territories. "The opposition only grows, and the peaceful protests grow and the opposition to the armed forces grows,” said the mayor. “That is why they want to go to the next stage.”

Fedorov believes that this is also revenge for the refusal of local officials in the city of 155,000, to surrender.

"For me, it is absolutely obvious why they are doing it. They have not received support from us for three months, they have not received support from the population, and they have not received support from the authorities. That is why today they are committing genocide against our population," he said.

After Kremlin Threats, U.S. Stands By Lithuania In Stand-off With Russia

Freight trains stand at Kaliningrad-Sortirovochny station.

Vitaly Nevar/TASS/Zuma

The United States has reaffirmed its support of Lithuania and other NATO member states afterthe Kremlin promised to retaliate for transit restrictions through the Baltic state. Lithuania restricted the transit of certain goods through its territory from mainland Russia to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave that is surrounded by Lithuania and Poland.

Lithuania said the move was in line with European trade sanctions against Russia. Moscow considers any restrictions on goods between the mainland and the enclave to be illegal, and promised to respond.

Tensions have been high between Moscow and Vilinus since the invasion of Ukraine, with Russia recently proposing to reconsider Lithuania’s independence.

U.S. State Department spokespersonNed Price said Washington “welcomed” the economic measures and reaffirmed his country’s commitment to NATO members in the case of an attack on their soil.

Suspected Ukrainian Drone Attack On Oil Refinery In Russia

A fire broke out Wednesday morning at an oil refinery in a Russian region bordering Ukraine. Vasily Golubev, governor of the Rostov region, reported on Telegram that the fire was possibly caused "by a drone attack on the plant's technical facilities. Fragments belonging to two drones were found on the territory of the refinery.”

Golubev added that the fire was put out and no one had been injured. The oil refinery has suspended all operations for the time being.

It is the latest incident near the border that risks escalating the war if Ukraine strikes inside Russian territory.

Russian Ruble Strongest Major World Currency

Ruble bills

Silas Stein/dpa/Zuma

The Russian ruble is, by all accounts, currently the strongest major world currency. It now stands at its highest level in seven years against the U.S. dollar, gaining over 35% this year and trading at 55.78 to the dollar.

While Western sanctions against Moscow have disrupted key parts of Moscow’s economy, the Russian currency has only gotten stronger since the beginning of the war, with exchange rates plummeting. Despite U.S. and Europe cutting Russian energy imports, Moscow has been able to compensate with record oil and gas exports to Asia.

Moscow Changes U.S. Embassy Address To Honor Ukraine Separatists

Square now named Donetsk People's Republic

Alexander Shcherbak/TASS/Zuma

Moscow City Hall announced Wednesday a change in the official address of the U.S. embassy in Moscow to honor pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, and denounce the U.S. support to Kyiv.

The embassy is now located on the square of the People's Republic of Donetsk, referring to one of the two separatist territories of Ukraine's Donbas, whose independence Russia recognized in February, just before the invasion of Ukraine.

Dagestan Sheep Marked Z As Symbol Of Russian Army

In the southwestern Russian republic of Dagestan, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food reported on the moving of cattle to summer pastures, and accompanied the report with a video of a flock of sheep with the letter Z (the symbol of the Russian war in Ukraine) painted on their fleece.

As a musical accompaniment, the unusual propaganda video featured the composition of the pro-Putin singer "Forward, Russia!" The animals are marching in time, notes Novaya Gazeta.Europe, among the many ironic and sarcastic reactions to the video, which was taken offline after only two hours.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Turkey-Israel Relations? It's Complicated — But The Gaza War Is Different

Turkish President Erdogan has now called on the International Criminal Court to go after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu for war crimes, as the clash between the two regional powers has reached a new low.

Photo of ​Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walking

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Elias Kassem

Since the arrival two decades ago of now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s relationship with Israel has been a mix of deep ideological conflict and cover-your-eyes realpolitik.

On the one hand, Erdogan has positioned himself as a kind of global spokesman for the Palestinian cause. His Justice and Development Party has long publicly and financially supported Hamas, which shares similar roots in the 20th-century Muslim Brotherhood movement.

And yet, since 2001 when Erdogan first came to power, trade between Turkey and Israel has multiplied from $1.41 to $8.9 billion in 2022. Moreover, both countries see major potential in transporting newly discovered Israeli natural gas to Europe, via Turkey.

The logic of shared interests clashes with the passions and posturing of high-stakes geopolitics. Diplomatic relations have been cut off, then restored, and since October 7, the countries’ respective ambassadors have been recalled, with accusations flying between Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Still, over the past 48 hours, Turkish-Israeli relations may have hit an all-time low.

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