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In The News

Ukraine Plans Counteroffensive In The South

Having been forced to retreat and cede territory in Donbas, Kyiv has its eye on recapturing the key southern port city of Kherson.

Ukraine Plans Counteroffensive In The South

71-year old Vladimir Vasilievich in the yard of the destroyed house of his relatives in Sloviansk

Anna Akage and Emma Albright

The past several weeks have been marked by Ukrainian retreat in the Donbas. The vast eastern part of Ukraine territory has steadily succumbed to fierce and constant bombardment, after Vladimir Putin had shifted near total Russian focus on the strategic eastern part of the country.

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In late April, we wrote about how important it was for the Kremlin to demonstrate at least some kind of victory, and Putin indeed has the proof to bring back to the Russian public with retreat over the past 24 hours of the Ukrainian army from Lysychansk, the latest major city in the Luhansk region that had remained free of Moscow’s troops.


The Ukrainian media Livy Bereg reported that the Russians outnumbered pro-Kyiv troops in Luhansk oblast ten to one. Kyiv continued to await the arrival of long-range weapons needed to dislodge the enemy, said Serhiy Gaidai, governor of the Luhansk Oblast.

Even on the last day of the Lysychansk defense under heavy fire, medics hospitalized the wounded, firefighters rescued the city, and police recorded crimes. Rusia’s army personnel advantage was offset by the skill of Ukrainian fighters.

The American Institute for War Research (ISW) reported that two Russian generals were in charge of the fighting in Lysychansk: Colonel General Alexander Lapin, commander of the Central Military District, and Army General Sergey Surovikin, commander of the Russian Air and Space Forces. The latter also commands Russia's southern group of troops in Ukraine.

Eye on Kherson

According to ISW analysts, the involvement of two high-ranking officers involved in a single battle on a small section of the front probably indicates that it is essential for Putin to capture Lysychansk and reach the border of Luhansk Oblast.

Still, even as they lose land in the east, Ukrainian troops are regrouping to concentrate on regaining control of territories in southern Ukraine. Kherson, among the first cities to fall after Moscow’s invasion, is still under the control of Russian troops there, where fortifications are being built.

But reports say the Ukrainian army is only a kilometer away from the city, even if there are not yet enough forces close by to capture it. In the next few days, we may expect fierce fighting for Kherson.

Still, the map of military operations now is clearly not laid in Ukraine’s favor. Russia has most of the east and parts of the south. The world also watched as Moscow laid siege to the coastal city of Mariupol, finally forcing the last troops to surrender in late May.

Kyiv must now simultaneously protect other strategic port cities in the south like Odessa and Mykolaiv, while trying to reconquer other targets. Yes, now is the time that the morale of Ukraine needs a victory: All eyes on Kherson.

Lugano Conference Aims To Draw “Marshall Plan” For Ukraine

Global leaders in the public and private sectors are meeting at the Lugano conference Monday to try to devise a kind of “Marshall plan” to rebuild Ukraine.

The conference in the Swiss town of Lugano, which was planned before Russia invaded Ukraine, will include a video appearance by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

It is estimated that more than 120,000 homes in Ukraine have been destroyed during the war, creating the need for billions in income to restore the country economically. Ukraine’s candidacy to join the European Union was accepted recently, but growing concerns about corruption in the country remain, and will be a condition for any recovery plan.

The Lugano conference will attempt to lay out the principles and priorities for a rebuilding process even as the war continues to rage on.Around 1,000 people were scheduled to participate in the conference, including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, several government chiefs and numerous ministers.

School Attack In Kharkiv


Russian forces shelled a secondary school in Kharkiv, Oblast on Monday at 4 a.m., reported the head of the regional administration, Oleh Synehubov in a Telegram post. He added that no one had been injured.

According to Synehubov, there were strikes in other areas of Kharkiv, with at least three dead and six injured in the village of Bezruki, Dergachi, a community in the Kharkiv region.

This comes a week after the mall attack in Kremenchuk, amid renewed accusations by Ukrainian authorities that the Kremlin is targeting civilians.

Russian Hockey Player Detained For Allegedly Evading Military Service

Ivan Fedotov

Sergei Fadeichev/TASS/Zuma

Russian goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov was detained in St. Petersburg on the request of the military prosecutor’s office on Friday for evading military service according to Russian media TASS. The 25-year-old Finnish-born Russian signed a one year contract with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers on May 7 and was meant to go to the U.S. in the near future.

He was detained outside the Ice Arena Kupchino in St. Petersburg and was transported to the military registration office, where he said he was feeling ill and was transported to the hospital, Russian media Fontanka reported.

In Russia, all men between 18 and 27 are required to complete one year of military service and evasion of circonscription can be punishable by heavy fines and sentences of up to two years in prison.

Ukrainians Renounce Russian Language, Like Jews Did With German After World War II


More and more Ukrainians who used to use Russian language in everyday life are giving it up in reaction to Moscow’s invasion, reports German TV channel Deutsche Welle, on their Russian-language channel. Among those who gave up speaking Russian are those forced to flee and now living as displaced migrants — they now see the Russian language directly associated with the aggressor country.

Linguist Irina Zaikovskaya says that it is a very rare phenomenon to abandon a language that was considered a native language and simultaneously switch to another. One example was Jews who fled from Germany refusing to speak German after the Nazi reign. A survey of Ukrainians living in Donbas and southern regions shows an interesting fact: although Russian is the main language of communication for most of them, they consider Ukrainian their native language.

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Green

How Climate Change And Ukraine War Have Put Somalia On The Brink Of Famine

In Somalia, four rainy seasons have failed to arrive, leaving the land desiccated and people starving. But drought alone is not enough to cause these numbers. A perfect storm of factors is setting the stage for a monumental human tragedy that most of the world is ignoring.

Photo of a child walking past a carcass of an animal

A child displaced by drought walks past carcasses of animals, who died from hunger

Francesca Mannochi

BAIDOA — When Oray Adan arrived in Baidoa six months ago, she was pregnant, exhausted and undernourished to the point of not even having the strength to eat. Drought had dried out the land in the village of Bakal Yere, in Somalia, where she and her husband had been farmers. But the drought had condemned their livestock to death and driven the family to starvation. In the month before she fled, three of their four children had died from hunger and diseases that, if they had lived practically anywhere else, would have been easily treated with simple antibiotics.

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To save her surviving two-year-old son and the one she was carrying, Oray Adan walked two weeks and reached the nearest urban center in desperate need of care, water and food. She arrived in Baidoa, a city in south-central Somalia, and was referred to a medical center for malnourished children. She was skeletal, as was the child she held by the hand—a thinness that lingers even now, stretching to her now four-month old newborn, Shukri Mohamed, who should weigh eight pounds, but weighs only two.

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