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In The News

Ukrainian Flag Rises In Kherson After Nine Months Of Occupation

This is among the most important signs of how the war has turned against Russia in the past three months.

photo of ukrainian flags at Kherson city hall

Ukrainian flags flying over Kherson city hall soon after midday

Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Several reports say Ukrainian forces have arrived in central Kherson, after Russian troops made a chaotic retreat from the strategic southern city. The Ukrainian flag was seen flying from administrative buildings, and residents were photographed tearing down pro-Russian billboards.

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Though Moscow has explained the surrender of the city as an effort to avoid casualties, most military analysts consider it a major turning point in the war.

Kherson was the first major Ukrainian city occupied by Moscow’s forces soon after the Feb. 24 invasion, and has been a key objective in Kyiv’s major autumn counter-offensive that has forced unexpected retreats by Russian forces.

The latest gains by Ukrainian forces hold potentially enormous strategic consequences. The Kherson region borders Crimea and provides Moscow with a land corridor to the Black Sea peninsula that it seized in 2014.

Photos have also emerged of two collapsed spans of the Antonovsky bridge, the only nearby crossing from the southern Ukrainian city of Kherson to the Russian-controlled eastern bank of the Dnipro River.

Russian War Correspondent, Alexander Kots, said in a video posted on his Telegram account, which shows the remains of the explosion, that “It was probably blown up during the withdrawal of the Russian troops from the right bank to the left.” Kots added that there were no Russian troops left on the right bank of the Dnipro. Russia-installed chairman of the Kherson region Sergey Eliseev, denied that the Antonovsky bridge had been blown up.

Still, Ukrainian officials warn that Moscow’s intentions are still not entirely clear, and caution against the risk of mines that Russian troops have left behind.

Deputy Chairman of the Kherson Regional Council Yuriy Sobolevskyi, warned residents of Kherson "To all residents of the city of Kherson and other settlements of the right-bank Kherson region! In the coming days, you must be extremely careful! Minimize movement in the city, do not touch any suspicious objects, including abandoned vehicles and Orc equipment," he wrote.

Kremlin Spokesman: Kherson Still Part Of Russia, No “Humiliation” Here

Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters that the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Kherson region to the left bank of the Dnipro River does not change the status of the Kherson region as part of the Russian Federation.

Referring to the results of the sham referendum carried out in September, in which residents of Kherson supposedly voted unanimously to become part of Russia, Peskov said: “[Kherson] is a subject of the Russian Federation. Its status has been legally fixed and defined. There can be no changes here.”

When asked explicitly whether Russia’s retreat was “humiliating” for Putin, Peskov had a curt response: “No.”

Pro-Kremlin media are calling the situation in and around Kherson a “regrouping.”

Erdogan Says Kherson Pullout Is “Positive,” Staying In Touch With Putin

Photo of Recep Tayyip Erdogan with his hands crossedMeeting with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan • President ...en.kremlin.ru

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan commented on Russia’s announced withdrawal from Kherson, saying it was "a positive... important decision," reports Turkish news outlet TRT Haber.

Erdogan, who has helped negotiate the grain export deal and several prisoner exchanges between Moscow and Kyiv, said he would continue to maintain telephone diplomacy with Vladimir Putin.

Turkey's "mediation work continues uninterruptedly," Erdogan said, adding that he was unable predict when the war would end.

Ukraine Preparing In Case Musk Cuts Starlink Satellite Support

Angular Momentum — SpaceX Starlink Deployment


Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov told Reuters that should SpaceX cut its donations of Starlink satelites to Ukraine, Ukraine will turn to its foreign partners for help in financing the Internet systems.

“We will try to find the funds. (We) have partners in different countries. We will ask them to help us, to assist us with finance aid also," he said

SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet network stations are vital to the Ukrainian army, as well as to maintain other energy, telecommunications, healthcare, and agricultural facilities.

SpaceX Owner Elon Musk, who is struggling after his purchase of Twitter, has complained that it cost too much money in Ukraine, though later said he would continue to fund the satellites.

Poland has recently delivered 1570 Starlink satellite systems to Ukraine. Ukrainian Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov wrote on Telegram that “This is especially important now because we have problems with electricity due to Russian shelling.” So far, roughly 20,000 Starlink satellite units have been donated to Ukraine, 5,000 of which were dispatched by the Polish government, according to Fedorov.

New $400 Million U.S. Security Package For Ukraine, And More Via South Korea 

The U.S. Department of Defense has announced it will provide Ukraine with up to $400 million in security assistance. The new package will include air defense contributions, such as missiles for Hawk air defense systems and four Avenger air defense systems. Additional ammunition for HIMARS' will also be included in the package.

"This increased air defense will be critical for Ukraine as Russia continues to use cruise missiles and Iranian-made drones to attack critical civilian infrastructure," National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reports that the U.S. is set to purchase artillery shells from South Korea to send to Ukrainian. U.S. officials said Washington would purchase from Seoul 100,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition to be delivered to Ukraine, "enough to supply Ukraine’s artillery units for at least several weeks of intensive combat."

Photo of a McDonald's in Russia

File photo of Mcdonald's in Russia


All McDonald’s in Belarus will be taken over by the Russian imitation chain (Vkusno & tochka) "Tasty & That’s It," which had replaced the global fast food franchises in Russia last spring after the U.S. company left Russia.

The decision by Minsk to convert the country’s 25 McDonald’s, which employ more than 2,000 people, is yet another sign of Belarus leader Alexander Lukachenko’s full commitment as an ally of Russia.

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Migrant Lives

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

An orchid rehabilitation project is turning a small Mexican community into a tourist magnet — and attracting far-flung locals back to their hometown.

They Migrated From Chiapas When Opportunities Dried Up, Orchids Brought Them Home

Marcos Aguilar Pérez takes care of orchids rescued from the rainforest in his backyard in Santa Rita Las Flores, Mapastepec, Chiapas, Mexico.

Adriana Alcázar González/GPJ Mexico
Adriana Alcázar González

MAPASTEPEC — Sweat cascades down Candelaria Salas Gómez’s forehead as she separates the bulbs of one of the orchids she and the other members of the Santa Rita Las Flores Community Ecotourism group have rescued from the rainforest. The group houses and protects over 1,000 orchids recovered from El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, after powerful storms.

“When the storms and heavy rains end, we climb to the vicinity of the mountains and collect the orchids that have fallen from the trees. We bring them to Santa Rita, care for them, and build their strength to reintegrate them into the reserve later,” says Salas Gómez, 32, as she attaches an orchid to a clay base to help it recover.

Like magnets, the orchids of Santa Rita have exerted a pull on those who have migrated from the area due to lack of opportunity. After years away from home, Salas Gómez was one of those who returned, attracted by the community venture to rescue these flowers and exhibit them as a tourist attraction, which provides residents with an adequate income.

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