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Elderly woman in Tainan, Taiwan
Elderly woman in Tainan, Taiwan
Wenchieh Yang
Laura Lin

PARIS — Last month, I made my annual trip back to Taiwan around the Chinese New Year to see my parents. My mother, who is 86, has not being doing too badly even though she has a mild but progressive form of Alzheimer's, diagnosed six years ago. She has continued to do her daily Qigong exercises around five o'clock in the morning, which is very good for her. She has insisted on continuing to cook, but often forgets and burns everything she's put on the stove. She still plants vegetables in the garden, but then forgets to water them. It all leaves my 85-year-old father in despair.

Just before I'd arrived in Taiwan, my sister-in-law, who works near my parents' place and often drops in to check on them, told me that my parents' neighbors have lately been gently but continually telling her that my mother is burning her cooking so often that they worry it is a fire hazard.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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