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Zelensky Says Battle For Severodonetsk May Decide Fate Of Donbas

It was another fierce night of combat in the eastern Ukrainian city, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the fate of the battle could be decisive.

Zelensky Says Battle For Severodonetsk May Decide Fate Of Donbas

A Russian Akhmat special unit serviceman walks in Severodonetsk

Meike Eijsberg, Cameron Manley, Lisa Berdet and Emma Albright

In Severodonetsk, the eastern Ukrainian city, the battle raging is looking increasingly decisive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night that the city remains the epicenter of hostilities in the region. “It’s a very fierce battle. Perhaps, one of the most difficult ones of this war,” he said. “In many respects, the fate of the Donbas is being decided there.”

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According to local officials, Russia now controls most of this key city. “The night was difficult,” said Oleksandr Striuk, head of Severodonetsk’s city military administration, on national television Thursday morning. But, “our armed forces control part of the city – the industrial zone, and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Russia has been gaining ground for more than a week, utilizing a torched-earth approach. Serhiy Haidai, governor for the Luhansk region, said that special forces had pulled back after Russia “started leveling the area with shelling and air strikes.” The industrial zone, where some 800 people were said to be sheltering in the Azot chemical plant, did come under heavy shelling, though no immediate casualties were reported.

In addition to heavy fire, Russia is also reportedly strengthening its psychological and information operations to try to demoralize Ukrainian troops, using threatening messages and disinformation, the U.S. think tank Institute for the Study of War reported. They are sending these messages to the personal devices of Ukrainian servicemen, calling on them to betray their service oaths, lay down their arms, surrender, or defect to Russia.

Nevertheless, the tide could turn. According to Haidai, Ukraine could have the firepower it needs to push back the Russian forces if the West would supplied long-range artillery. He said that if Ukraine gets Western long-range weapons, Russia would “lose to the West, and our defenders will be able to clean up Severodonetsk in two or three days.”

Ukraine Has Opened Nearly 500 Cases Of Treason

Ukrainian flag


In a war with a neighboring country that shares a language and history, Ukraine is particularly focused on weeding out potential traitors, often referred to as “Gauleiters,” a reference to Nazi officials.

Tetiana Sapian, spokesperson for the State Bureau of Investigations says Ukrai ne has opened hundreds of cases of treason and collaboration since the start of the war, with multiple investigations underway concerning individuals suspected of collaborating with Russian forces, Ukrinform news agency reports."In total, since the beginning of the War, almost 480 cases of treason and collaboration have been opened, more than 100 suspects have been handed over, four indictments have been sent to court, and the first verdicts have already been handed down," Sapyan said.

Polish President Compares Putin To Hitler, Says No Point To Negotiate With Him

Polish President Andrzej Duda

Sarsenov Daniiar/Ukraine Preside/Planet Pix/Zuma

Polish President Andrzej Duda sees no reason to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin and believes that Western leaders are wasting their time talking to the Kremlin leader. "I am shocked by all the negotiations with Putin now. Chancellor Scholz, President Emmanuel Macron. These talks are futile,” Duda said in an interview with German newspaper Bild.

What are they doing? They are only legitimizing the person responsible for the crimes committed by the Russian army in Ukraine. He is responsible for that. He accepted. The decision to send troops there is under the command of Vladimir Putin, did anyone talk to Adolf Hitler during World War II, did anyone say that Adolf Hitler should be saved, and that we should act so as not to humiliate Adolf Hitler? I heard that, " Duda said, apparently referring to a recent comment by Macron about not humiliating Putin..

Death Sentence For Two British And One Moroccan Soldiers For Fighting For Ukraine

Two Britons and a Moroccan, captured while fighting for Ukraine, were sentenced to death Thursday by a court in the pro-Russian self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), report several Russian news agencies.

This comes after they were first sentenced to 20 years in prison for “mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the DPR”.

Former French Soldier Makes Ukrainian War Crimes Claims On Russian TV

Claims by Adrien Bocquet, a former French soldier, that he had witnessed war crimes committed by the Ukrainian army have been largely already debunked or ignored by French media. But this week, the 31-year-old retired soldier appeared on Russian TV channel Vremya to spread his stories.

Bocquet claims he traveled to the Donbas region in mid-April for a humanitarian mission and that he witnessed war crimes and torture perpetrated against Russian soldiers by the Ukrainians, especially the Azov battalion. During the interview, he commented on the video appearing on screen in which Russian soldiers are shot dead by Ukrainian ones, saying “I saw this man alive. And a few minutes later, his head exploded.”

However, there is no proof Bocquet was in Donbas at that time, and contradictions have been flagged as Ukrainian authorities are denying he entered the country. Also the would-be crimes came before the Russian army was occupying the region. Several media sources declared that he also lied about his past as a commando, which he wrote about in a book: He was only part of the commando training before suffering an injury and becoming paraplegic.

“Other” Slavs And The Russian Mindset

Photo of the book "Rusija in Slovanstvo" written by Andrej Benedejčič

Andrej Benedejčič

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, history has resurfaced in myriad ways. And the question of the Slavic people is on the minds of Slovenian-born writer Andrej Mrevlje, who retraced both his own relationship with Russians, and how others see a sense of “superiority” emanating from Moscow and Saint Petersburg:

“After a Russian discovered my identity, they would begin speaking Russian to me in most cases. They always wondered why I did not answer them back in Russian. If we got involved in more intense conversation, I observed that Russians often had an air of superiority toward other Slavs; they felt more intelligent than the rest of the world. They seemed convinced that they were right and were a chosen people since they belonged to an empire state, no matter if it was Romanoff or socialist.

They only showed an appreciation for us, their minor cousins, when they needed support for their imperial attitude. Why? Just because I or any other minor Slav should, if nothing else, they thought, understand the Russian way of thinking. According to this principle, Slavs are wired to the Russian mind, yet it was evident that no other Slav would ever be equal to them.

Read the full piece here.

Russia Exports Grain From Ukraine

Armored barriers stand in a grain field between Odessa and the border with Moldova

Kay Nietfeld/dpa/Zuma

According to Russian-appointed officials in the occupied south of Ukraine, Russia is exporting grain from Ukraine overseas. This claim comes after Ukrainian officials accused Russia of stealing 600,000 tons of its grain and exporting some of it.

Being able to access the blocked grain in Ukraine is becoming an urgency. But the Russian navy is blocking Ukraine’s Black Sea Ports and says Ukraine must de-mine waters off the Black Sea coast for corridors to export the grain to become operational.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the grain problem with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on Wednesday, but there was no breakthrough.

$1.7 Billion In Losses For Ukrainian Retailers

Boy in front of destroyed shopping center in Bucha

Ondrej Deml/CTK/Zuma

It’s a different kind of civilian infrastructure that Russia has been targeting: shopping centers, the heart of Ukraine’s retailing business, has been particularly hard hit since the invasion.

According to the Retailers Association of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Council of Shopping Centers, 295 Ukrainian retailers, represented by 28,549 stores, suffered a total loss of $1.7 billion since the start of Russia’s invasion n on Feb. 24 to April 23.

On Wednesday another shopping center was damaged from shelling. A Reuters video showed the entrance to a supermarket inside the mall completely destroyed, surrounded by piles of rubble. Supermarket manager Svitlana Diulina said no one was injured.

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Tales From A Blushing Nation: Exploring India's 'Issues' With Love And Sex

Why is it that this nation of a billion-plus has such problems with intimacy and romance?

Photo of Indian romance statues

Indian romance statues

Sreemanti Sengupta

KOLKATA — To a foreigner, India may seem to be a country obsessed with romance. What with the booming Bollywood film industry which tirelessly churns out tales of love and glory clothed in brilliant dance and action sequences, a history etched with ideal romantics like Laila-Majnu or the fact that the Taj Mahal has immortalised the love between king Shahjahan and queen Mumtaz.

It is difficult to fathom how this country with a billion-plus population routinely gets red in the face at the slightest hint or mention of sex.

It therefore may have come as a shock to many when the ‘couple-friendly’ hospitality brand OYO announced that they are “extremely humbled to share that we observed a record 90.57% increase in Valentine’s Day bookings across India.”

What does that say about India’s romantic culture?

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