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TOPIC: mariupol

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Dnipro Massacre, A Perfect Embodiment Of Russia's War

Russian writer Maxim Katz breaks down what it means when a missile is destined for an ordinary apartment block, and death counts start to lose their meaning.

-Essay-

Footage of destroyed buildings, fires and horrified civilians are flooding news feeds this week after yet another Russian missile attack struck a Ukrainian residential building – this time on Jan. 14 in the eastern city of Dnipro.

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Any reasonable viewer would have felt sick to their core.

As of Jan. 17, local authorities have said the strike killed 40 people. Another 34 remain trapped under the rubble.

This war has drastically changed our perception of reality.

What happened to one apartment block could easily be dwarfed by the whole cities that Russian aggression has wiped off the map: Mariupol, Soledar, Bakhmut — all reduced to piles of rubble. These 40 confirmed deaths are on top of a still unknown number of lives, both civilian and military, claimed after almost 11 months of war.

A single human life is no longer a meaningful statistic.

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Frozen In Time: A Rare Look At Life In Mariupol Under Russian Occupation

Russian occupation authorities promised to rebuild housing in Mariupol by winter, but in reality, thousands of people face the cold in largely destroyed houses and apartments. Mariupol residents told Vazhnyye Istorii about how they are surviving as winter falls.

Russian troops shelled Mariupol for more than two months straight, and fully occupied it by May. The Kremlin needed the city to provide a land link to annexed Crimea. It is still unknown how many people have died in the city of approximately half a million people in peacetime.

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In May, Ukraine reported at least 25,000 dead but the number could be much higher. Many are buried under rubble or in mass graves, and countless others reported missing.

Up to 90% of high-rise buildings and 60% of private homes have been damaged or destroyed. Nevertheless, there are still about 100,000 people in the occupied city. Many of them have no electricity, heat, water, or sewage. People live without utilities, with tape covering broken windows, and are freezing in their homes in the absence of promised aid that Russia has failed to deliver.

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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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After Kherson, How Russia's Army Could “Fold Like A House Of Cards”

Kyiv has no intentions of letting Russian troops regroup with any "operational pause." Events will begin to move quickly in Donbas, and may be heading for Crimea sooner rather than later.

Following last week’s recapture of Kherson, the Ukrainian army does not intend to allow Russia any “operational pause” to regroup and regain strength.

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The U.S. Institute for the Study of War predicts that Russia will likely launch a new offensive in the Donetsk region. Ukraine is then expected to use the forces freed up after pushing the Russian army out of the western Kherson region to reinforce the current offensive in the Luhansk region.

In an interview after the liberation Friday of Kherson, Mykhailo Podolyak, top advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said that the situation at the front will develop very quickly from now on.

"The heaviest battles will be in the direction of Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhya. Especially in the Donetsk direction, where combat-capable Russian military units exist,” he said.

Podolyak added that the push will happen independently of weather conditions. “No one will give Mr. Putin, Mr. Surovikin, or Mr. Shoigu any opportunity to get an operational pause", he said, referring to Russia’s President, the general in charge of the war in Ukraine, and Russia’s defense minister.

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In The News
Lisa Berdet, Chloé Touchard, Lila Paulou and Bertrand Hauger

Kirchner Survives Assassination Attempt, “Violated” Nuclear Plant, Edit That Tweet

👋 Salve!*

Welcome to Friday, where former Argentine President Cristina Kirchner survives an assassination attempt, the team of UN nuclear experts reports initial findings at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, and Twitter tests a much-awaited “edit” button. Meanwhile, in Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, Paweł Smoleński tells the story of Marianna, a pregnant doctor from Mariupol who’s been abducted and held captive by Russians.

[*Latin]

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Paweł Smoleński

Searching For Marianna, A Pregnant Doctor From Mariupol Held Captive By The Russians

We’ve heard about the plight of the soldiers-turned-prisoners from Mariupol. Here are some traces of the disturbing fate of a young female doctor who’s been taken away.

"Wait for me, because I will return…"

Marianna Mamonova wrote these words to her family, among the text messages and short phone calls that are the only remaining fragments used to piece together her recent past. We also have a photo of her, posted on Russian websites, where she looks into the lens, gaunt and exhausted, signed with a number like a concentration camp prisoner.

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Until the Russian-Ukrainian war, Mamonova’s biography was available to anyone who wanted to know. She was born in 1991, studied at the Ternopil Medical University, and later at the Kyiv Military Academy. After completing her studies, she was sent to work in the coastal city of Berdiansk. Her mother says that this is where her daughter's dream came true: She’d always wanted to be a military doctor, and worked in Berdiansk for three years, receiving the rank of officer in the Ukrainian army.

Beginning in 2014, she’d worked stints as a front-line doctor in the Donbas region, and when Russia invaded Ukraine in February she went to war again. This time in Mariupol.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger, Dan Wu, Chloe Touchard, Lila Paulou and Emma Albright

Russia Cuts Off Gas To Europe

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline halted its gas flow into Europe Wednesday morning. Russian state energy giant Gazprom said this was part of a scheduled stoppage announced last week, and is expected to last through September 2. Still, the cut raises renewed concern over the power Russia wields with its energy supplies ahead of the winter months, as the West looks to maintain its united support of Ukraine.

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Nord Stream 1 is the largest pipeline bringing Russian natural gas into Europe via Germany. And it is not the first time it has been put on hold, with gas flow stopped for 10 days in July due to “annual maintenance.”

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger, Lisa Berdet, Chloe Touchard, and Emma Albright

Russia Agrees To Nuclear Inspectors' Visit To Zaporizhzhia

A team from the United Nations nuclear watchdog IAEA is on its way to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, after Russia agreed to secure their safety. This comes after weeks of Russia and Ukraine accusing each other of attacks near the plant that have raised the risk of a major nuclear accident.

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Russian media reports Monday that Moscow said it welcomes the IAEA’s visit to Zaporizhzhia. The inspectors are expected to enter the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant from the Ukrainian side, but Russia will ensure its safety on the territory occupied by the Russian army. When asked about the possibility of creating a demilitarized zone around the plant, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said it was “not under discussion.”

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In The News
Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Zelensky, Lavrov Both Try To Sway China After Pelosi’s Taiwan Visit

Soon after the Ukraine war began, the world began to ask: Where next? There were fears not just that Russia would try to expand its sphere of influence in the region, but that the war could set off other simmering conflicts around the world.

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The first to come to mind was China and Taiwan. And so now, five months into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the high-stakes visit of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, the highest-ranking U.S. state visit in 25 years that was meant to show support for Taiwan, and has prompted a flurry of threats from China.

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In The News
Shaun Lavelle, Cameron Manley and Emma Albright

Ukraine Recaptures Snake Island

First captured by Russia in February when the war began, the Black Sea island garnered particular attention when a Ukrainian soldier challenged an attacking Russian warship with a memorable phrase...

Russian forces have retreated from Snake Island in the Black Sea after a “successful” operation, said the Ukrainian Armed Forces on Thursday. Military experts say Ukraine’s recapturing the strategic island weakens any potential plans Russia may have for a future land attack located on the coastline.

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Early on Thursday Ukrainian Armed Forces said Russian forces were forced to evacuate using speedboats. The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeriy Zaluzhniy, said on Telegram that the "occupiers" had left after being “unable to withstand the fire of our artillery, missile and air strikes."

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In The News
Anna Akage, Meike Eijsberg, Joel Silvestri, Lisa Berdet, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

More Signs It Could Be A Very Long War

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says the Russia-Ukraine war could last "years," and Boris Johnson concurs that signs show it won't be resolved anytime soon.

During an interview with the German newspaper Bild, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, said that the war in Ukraine “could take years.”

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Stoltenberg also used the interview in Germany’s most popular daily to clarify NATO's position in the war: “NATO will continue to support Ukraine in its self-defense, but is not part of the conflict. We are helping the country, but we will not send NATO soldiers to Ukraine.”

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In The News
Irene Caselli, Shaun Lavelle, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Russians Try To Repeat Mariupol Playbook In Severodonetsk

Russians are besieging Severodonetsk, the eastern Ukrainian city, and urging troops there to surrender as they offer a shaky evacuation corridor for civilians. The siege and symbolism recalls the siege of Mariupol, which didn't end well for Ukrainians.

In a two-sided move that eerily recalls the tragic events in the southern port city of Mariupol, Russia has urged Ukrainian troops to surrender in Severodonetsk, the eastern Ukrainian city where fighting is raging, while at the same time pledging to spend the day evacuating civilians.

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Severodonetsk, in Luhansk region, has assumed a symbolic weight in the war as Russia focused on trying to win over control of Donbas and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky repeating that it is a “decisive” battleground. Russian troops have encircled the city over the past few weeks, trying to take it back from Ukrainian forces that had taken control in 2014 from pro-Russian separatists.

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