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In The News

Kherson Getting Russian-ized

In early March, Kherson became the first major Ukrainian city to fall to Russian troops. A new report says that Russia has switched communication services to those controlled by Moscow, as an early picture emerges of what can happen to conquered territory. For that reason, perhaps, Ukraine has recently launched a surprise counterattack on Kherson.

Kherson Getting Russian-ized

Roads of Kherson

Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

In the week after the invasion began, Kherson became the first major Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces. Now, reports from the southern city that’s occupied by the Russian military since March 3, say it has been completely transferred to Russian communication structure and services.

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“It is already exclusively Russian Internet and communications,” Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the head of Crimea, told Russian state news agency RIA Novosti .

He added that the pro-Russian authorities in the Kherson and the nearby Zaporozhye region had already requested Moscow's help to restart the communication cables. On Monday, they were damaged as a result of hostilities in the region.

In early May, it was reported that the Kherson region was shifting its currency to the ruble.

These momentous shifts over this city of more than 280,000 residents may play out in other areas where Moscow has gained control, including Mariupol.

Also, in light of the high stakes, Ukrainian military forces have recently launched a counter-offensive near Kherson, both to disrupt the Russian front line and make a symbolic statement that they will not leave any conquered territory behind.

Ahead of its surprise assault on Sunday, the Ukrainian military posted this message on Twitter, “Hold on Kherson, we’re coming.”

Europe Votes To Cut 75%-90% Of Russian Oil Imports, Ukraine Says Not Enough

Charles Michel at the EU summit


European Union countries have approved the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, which include an embargo on 90% of oil by the end of the year.

European Council President Charles Michel called the deal a “remarkable achievement”, noting that the accord will immediately impact 75% of Russian oil imports, which is expected to create funding shortages for Moscow’s war effort.

The package, which also included additional restrictions on Russian banks, is likely to be the most severe hit on the Russian economy since the invasion of Ukraine.

Still, leaders in Kyiv had hoped the shutdown of oil imports would have been total, and more rapid. Ihor Zhovkva, a senior official in the Ukrainian president’s office, said the sanctions are “not enough” and the pace of implementation so far has been too slow.

Western Companies Exiting Russia Tops 1,000

Chart from KSE institue

Kyiv School of Economics

From smaller import/export activities to global giants in retail, tech and entertainment, companies have been pulling out of Russia, one by one, since the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Now, according to data analyzed by Kyiv School of Economics, the list of Western businesses that have exited Russia has topped 1,000, currently at 1,037 companies.

As of May 29, the total revenue of these companies totalled $32.5 billion and $19.9 billion in capital. More than half (50.2%) of foreign companies have already announced their withdrawal from the Russian market, 21.2% have reduced current operations and hold off new investments, but another 28.6% remain in the country.

Death Toll Of Journalists In Ukraine At 8, After French TV Reporter Killed

French television reporter Frederic Leclerc, who worked for the Paris-based TV channel BFM TV, was killed onboard a humanitarian bus fleeing Russian bombing. He is the eighth journalist to be killed since the beginning of the Ukraine war.

The seven others include:

Yevhenii Sakun (working for live Ukrainian TV)

Brent Renaud ( independent documentarian)

Pierre Zakrzewski (Photojournalist for Fox News)

Oleksandra Kuvshynova (Fixer, Fox News)

Oksana Baulina (Correspondent for The Insider)

Maks Levin (Photojournalist for LB.ua)

Mantas Kvedaravičius (Independent documentarian)

War Crimes: Next Trial Will Include Rape Charges

A Russian soldier has been charged with murdering a Ukrainian man and raping his wife, report Ukrainian prosecutors. This latest war crime case follows the first conviction two weeks ago, where a 21-year old Russian soldier pleaded guilty for killing an unarmed man.

Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova announced the upcoming case on social media on Monday, noting this was the first attempt to secure a rape prosecution since the beginning of the war.

Ukrainian authorities say they have recorded 10,000 war crimes committed by Russian forces during the three-month invasion of Ukraine, including hundreds cases of rape and sexual violence.

Earlier, in the second war crime trial, two captured Russian soldiers were sentenced to 11 and a half years in jail for shelling a town in eastern Ukraine.

Joe Biden Won’t Send Rockets To Ukraine That Can Strike Inside Russia

U.S. president Joe Biden

Pool Via Cnp/CNP/ZUMA

U.S. President Joe Biden said he will not send any rockets to Ukraine that could be fired into Russia, despite repeated requests by Ukrainian officials.

This comes a week after the Biden administration was planning on sending heavier weaponry like long-range rockets to Ukraine.

After the news regarding the U.S. sending these potential heavier weapons, Russians warned that the United States will “cross a red line” if it supplies the systems to Ukraine.

Russian Officers Slam Defense Minister Shoigu In Profanity-Laced Tirade

Radio Liberty's "Schemes" project has published audio recordings of Russian colonels discussing the top military leaders of Russia's "special operation" in Ukraine with obscene remarks. A serviceman of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Maxim Vladimirovich Vlasov, can be heard speaking with Vitaliy Kovtun, a military doctor at the Naro-Fominsk Military Hospital in Russia .

Vlasov lambasts Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu : "Shoigu is a completely incompetent f*#king layman. But this is not his f*#king business at all. He’s just a f*#king showman.”

Kovtun responds: “Nobody knows how to fight. Nobody wants to fight.”

"The losses are terrible, our boys … I know a bit of military history, and this is something like the f*#king Russo-Finish war,” Vlasov says.

Kovtun concludes: “I will go with pitchforks, to f*#king Red square … f*#k hese bombs. f*#k the railroads. f*#k you, Putin."

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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