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TOPIC: kherson

In The News

Top European Leader Pushes Xi Jinping To Use His Influence On Putin

European Council Chief Charles Michel used much of his face-to-face meeting Thursday in Beijing with Xi Jinping to urge the Chinese President to use his sway over Russian President Vladimir Putin “to end the war and to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine.”

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Michel’s visit was the first official trip to Beijing by a top EU leader since the pandemic. The three-hour sit down (considered quite long for Xi) also included discussion of human rights, Taiwan, trade relations and climate change.

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War In Ukraine, Day 279: New Kherson Horrors More Than Two Weeks After Russian Withdrawal

While retreating from Kherson, Russian troops forcibly removed more than 2,500 Ukrainians from prison colonies and pre-trial detention centers in the southern region. Those removed included prisoners as well as a large number of civilians who had been held in prisons during the occupation, according to the Ukrainian human rights organization Alliance of Ukrainian Unity.

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The NGO said it has evidence that these Ukrainians were first transferred to Crimea and then distributed to different prisons in Russia. During the transfer of the prisoners, Russian soldiers also reportedly stole valuables and food and mined the building of colony #61.

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Kyiv Adds New Charge To Genocide Case Against Russia

Ukraine’s case for pursuing Russia and its leadership for war crimes now includes Moscow’s current strategy of trying to cut off energy supplies to Ukrainian civilians by destroying the country’s power grid. Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Andriy Kostin told the BBC that strikes on key energy infrastructure targeted "the full Ukrainian nation," which fall under the purview of attempted genocide.

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In contrast to other war crimes, genocide is the intention to physically destroy members of a particular population group or ethnicity. Kostin says the evidence of genocide against Russia has already included its forcibly taking Ukrainian children to Russia and giving them for adoption to Russian families; organizing so-called “filtration camps,” torturing and killing civilians — and now Moscow’s waging war against the entire population of Ukraine by trying to deprive millions of light, heat, and water in the winter.

Emergency power cuts continue throughout the country Monday, with the situation aggravated by the onset of winter: Nighttime temperatures have dropped to -8 °C, and -5 °C during the day.

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Zelensky Says "No Schism," Trying To Keep West United At Key Juncture

Fears of European discord over energy prices, as Ukraine is facing what the UN calls "appalling conditions of life" amid Russia's onslaught timed with the arrival of winter.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky declared Friday that Europe remains unified in its support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression. In a virtual address to “The Idea of Europe” conference in Lithuania, Zelensky said “There is no split. There is no schism among Europeans. We have to preserve this so this is our mission number one this year.”

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Zelensky made the case that both Europe and Ukraine are suffering from Russia’s military aggression and manipulation of energy markets.

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Ideas
Dominique Moïsi

Why Ukraine-Russia Peace Talks Are Now More Impossible Than Ever

The reconquest of Kherson seemed like a turning point in the Ukraine war. But while Kyiv and the West can see it as an encouraging sign for the long-term fate of the war, it makes negotiations a veritable non-starter now. A cold, hard analysis from French geopolitical expert Dominique Moïsi.

-Analysis-

The liberation of Kherson two weeks ago brought Ukrainian forces closer to Crimea and pushed the Russian army further from Odessa. It was a strategic and symbolic turning point. The images that emerged evoke the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Although it is a show of strength from Ukraine and a sign of Russian weakness, it does not mean that the time has come for negotiations to begin.

Far from it, in fact.

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Up until the Ukrainian army retook Kherson, it was still possible to imagine that Russia and Ukraine might reach a compromise on territory, redrawing the borders as they were on Feb. 23, 2022. That is no longer the case today. For Kyiv, there is no longer any question of going back to February 2022, but rather to January 2014: before Moscow seized Crimea by force.

In nine months of war — with nearly 100,000 victims on both sides — millions of Ukrainians have been displaced, towns and cities have been systematically targeted and infrastructure has been destroyed.

Russia has committed multiple war crimes, perhaps even crimes against humanity. Unable to compete on the ground with the Ukrainian forces — who outnumber the Russians, are better equipped (thanks to Western aid) and above all are more motivated — Moscow has had no other choice than to try and bring the Ukrainian people to their knees through hunger and cold, while hoping to sow division among Kyiv’s allies.

So far, this strategy has had the opposite of the desired effect. Now that Ukraine has retaken Kherson, and after the G20 summit in Bali, Russia is more isolated than ever on the global stage.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Anna Akage

Putin’s Kyiv Obsession, From Failed Feb. 24 Blitz To Coming Winter Siege

Kremlin war aims in Ukraine have never been entirely clear. Part of that is due to the setbacks the Russian army has suffered; and now it appears that both the strategic and symbolic objective of reducing the capital of Kyiv to its knees is again very much on Vladimir Putin's mind.

The notion that Vladimir Putin was only interested in the contested southeastern regions of Ukraine vanished on Feb. 24. His so-called “special military operation” was in fact an all-out invasion of the nation — with Kyiv as the central objective.

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Russian forces attacked the capital from the direction of the Chernobyl exclusion zone and Belarus. In addition to regular troops, OMON special police units and troops loyal to Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov were directed toward Kyiv.

High among the orders was the assassination of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, along with his family and top advisers. Oleksiy Danilov, a top military chief, Russian special forces tried in vain several times to pierce the presidential quarters in the first days of the war.

Those efforts, as well as the wider attempt to capture Kyiv, were repelled by Ukrainian forces, with the battles for the city and its surroundings lasting just over a month. By early April, Moscow was diverting its war effort elsewhere, and the capital would gradually regain some semblance of daily normality.

Nearly nine months later, Russian troops have gained then lost much of the territory they have occupied, and are moving steadily back closer to the border of the 2014 conflict. During this time, the south and east of the country suffered heavy losses, and entire cities were destroyed. The retreat of Russian forces from Kherson earlier this month marked another low moment, with signs that the Ukrainian army is ready to move farther east — and perhaps even head toward the Crimean peninsula.

So where is the Kremlin looking now? Yes, Kyiv again.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Nuclear Risks Rise As Zaporizhzhia Shelling Multiplies In 24 Hours

At least 12 missiles over the past 24 hours were fired at or near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine.

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The surrounding territory and the plant itself, also known as ZNPP, are currently controlled by Russian forces, but the plant is a crucial source of energy for much of Ukraine. The Ukrainian nuclear energy company, Energoatom, reports Monday that the latest barrage of attacks has damaged parts of the plant’s infrastructure, including water storage tanks and two stationary diesel generators.

Ukraine Defense Ministry official Yuriy Sak placed the blame squarely on Moscow in what he called a “genocidal campaign to freeze Ukrainians to death, to deprive Ukrainians of electricity.”

ZNPP is the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe, and a serious accident there risks exceeding the consequences from Chernobyl or Fukushima. The IAEA mission continues to monitor the operation of the plant, as Ukraine and Russia trade accusations of who is to blame for the rising risk of a nuclear accident.

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In The News
Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Why Are There No Peace Talks? Kremlin And Kyiv Trade Blame

Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted that Russia has no choice to continue the war because of Ukraine’s "unwillingness to negotiate."

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“First they negotiate, then they refuse to negotiate, then they pass a law that prohibits any kind of negotiations, then they say they want negotiations, but public ones,” Peskov told reporters.

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In The News
Anna Akage and Emma Albright

First Snow In Ukraine Falls On Second Day Of Mass Air Strikes On Power Grid

Is this what Vladimir Putin's winter plans look like?

For the second straight day, Russia has launched a massive nationwide air attack against the infrastructure targets of major Ukrainian cities. Reports of explosions, buildings on fire and energy cuts were reported in Kyiv, Donbas, Dnipro and other cities around Ukraine.

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Russians fired at least 16 cruise missiles and launched five drones in the overnight hours and early morning, with Ukrainian defense forces managing to shoot down four cruise missiles and five Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones over Kyiv.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Sophia Constantino and Emma Albright

G20 Pushing China To Join Resolution That Would Isolate Russia

French President Macron used his bilateral meeting with Xi Jinping to try to convince China to take a tougher line with Moscow.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave the clearest indication Tuesday that the G20 members are moving toward a resolution critical of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which would also denounce any threats about using nuclear weapons.

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"This is a consensus that is gaining ground here," Scholz told journalists in Bali.

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In The News
✍️ Newsletter by Sophia Constantino, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Zelensky At G20, China COVID Riots, 8 Billion Humans

👋 Grüezi!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukraine is the focus as G20 meeting kicks off in Bali, protests against COVID restrictions turn violent in China, and human population crosses the 8-billion threshold. And hold that green smoothie: for German daily Die Welt, alternative medicine specialist Edzard Ernst dispels misconceptions about all things detox.

[*Swiss German]

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In The News
Sophia Constantino, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Zelensky In Kherson, Xi And Biden Meet, Paris Olympics Mascots

👋 Bula!*

Welcome to Monday, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in Kherson after it was recaptured from Russian forces, suspects are arrested after an Istanbul blast kills eight, and the mascots for the 2024 Paris Olympics are … walking hats. Meanwhile, for Romanian magazine DoR, Oana Sandu focuses on the long-lasting impact witnessing domestic violence has on children.

[*Fijian]

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