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TOPIC: ukraine

In The News

Vladimir Putin “Open To Talks” — If U.S. Changes Its Tune

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin was open to negotiations, adding that the possibility of talks would be hampered by the United States’ refusal to acknowledge annexed Ukrainian regions as being part of Russia.

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“The United States still does not recognize new territories as part of the Russian Federation, and this complicates the search for common ground for negotiations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said yesterday during a regular call with journalists. “The most preferable way to achieve our interests is through peaceful, diplomatic means,” Peskov added.

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No Putin, No Russia? Why Losing The War Wouldn't Destroy The Russian Federation

Predictions about the collapse of Russia are as old as the country itself. Yet a consistent centralization of power has gone on for decades, weakening Russia's territories and republics. The war in Ukraine changes everything and nothing.

-Analysis-

The prediction “Russia is about to fall apart” has been a mainstay of the political science-futurist genre for the 30 years since the end of the USSR and establishment of the Russian Federation.

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Now, the war with Ukraine has drastically reduced the time-frame for such apocalyptic forecasts to come true. First, because it turns out that Russia can very well lose the war; and secondly, a defeat would weaken Vladimir Putin’s regime — and who knows if he will retain power at all?

“No Putin, no Russia” is a more recent refrain.

This line of thinking says that the weakening of the central government will push the regions to act independently. Yet noted political scientist Alexander Kynev explained in an interview with Vazhnyye Istorii why he doesn't believe anything like this will happen. The collapse of Russia is unlikely even if Putin loses.

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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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Massive New 600 Billion Euro Estimate Of War Damage, EU Says Russia Will Pay

The European Union is committed to setting up a special court with the backing of the UN to investigate and prosecute Russian war crimes in Ukraine, and force Russia and its oligarchs to pay the growing pricetag for the destruction of the country.

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised in a video statement that “Russia’s horrific crimes will not go unpunished.” She said that it was estimated so far that 20,000 Ukrainian civilians and 100,000 Ukrainian military officers had been killed so far.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

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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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Oleksandr Demchenko

The Death Of Belarus' Foreign Minister Makei Tightens Kremlin Grip On Lukashenko

Whether or not the 64-year-old died of natural causes, the Kremlin is reinforced now in Minsk — leaving even less wiggle room for Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko.

-Analysis-

KYIVUkraine is closely following the events in Belarus, where the sudden death of Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei has sparked much discussion and speculation. Some are convinced that the 64-year-old was poisoned, perhaps targeted by the Kremlin to send a message to Belarus' strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko that he must increase his support for Moscow, including his readiness to enter the war against Ukraine.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

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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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories

Important Things: A Rare Unfiltered Look Inside Russian Schools

In Russian schools, lessons on "important things" are a compulsory hour pushing state propaganda. But not everyone is buying it. Independent Russian media outlet Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories spoke to teachers, parents and students about how they see patriotism and Putin's mobilization.

MOSCOW — On March 1, schools found themselves on the ideological front line of the Russian-Ukrainian war. At the end of May, teachers were told they would have to lead classes with students called "Lessons about important things." The topic was "patriotism and civic education."

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At the beginning of November, we learned about the revival of an elementary military training course for senior classes. In the teaching materials sent to the teachers, it was stated that a "special peacekeeping operation was going on, the purpose of which was to restrain the nationalists who oppress the Russian-speaking population."

Independent Russian media outlet Vazhnyye Istorii/Important Stories asked several teachers, students and parents about their experiences with the school's attempt to instill patriotism and Russia's partial mobilization of citizens.

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In The News
Cameron Manley, Shaun Lavelle, and Emma Albright

War In Ukraine, Day 275: 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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In The News
Cameron Manley, Shaun Lavelle, and Emma Albright

Macron Calls Putin’s Airstrikes On Civilian Infrastructure A War Crime

The French President leads a growing chorus of outrage against Russia, including the strongest condemnation to date from Pope Francis.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday led a rising chorus of outrage after unprecedented Russian air attacks on civilian infrastructure targets, which left up to 75% of Kyiv residents without power and water, and killed 10 people across Ukraine.

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“Strikes against civilian infrastructures are war crimes and cannot go unpunished,” Macron said.

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Ideas
Sonia Koshkina

How To Stop Thinking About Russia — A Message From Eastern Europe To The West

David Stulik, senior research analyst at the Prague-based European Values Research Center, explains the risks of continuing to calculate all our choices according to hypothetical fears of and future compromises with Russia.

-Analysis-

KYIV — There’s a school of thought among some in Europe that the energy crisis is due to the war “between Ukraine and Russia,” not because of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s a subtle, but important difference in language — and one that reveals the partial success of Russia's non-stop propaganda and disinformation campaign.

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Even some very pro-Ukraine politicians consistently use the phrase “the war in Ukraine” for saying what caused energy prices to increase, or why household incomes in the West are going to drop.

It is of course unfair to blame Ukraine for these problems.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Newborn Killed In Russian “Terror” Strike On Ukrainian Maternity Ward

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russia's strike Wednesday on a maternity ward in southern Ukraine that killed a baby born two days ago. The newborn’s mother and a doctor were pulled from the rubble of the hospital in Vilnyansk, located in the Zaporizhzhia region.

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The morning strike was part of what appears to be another day of nationwide air attacks, with sirens and explosions heard around the country early Wednesday afternoon.

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