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TOPIC: ukraine russia war

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Channeling Churchill: Why Zelensky's Speeches Have So Much Political Punch

Since the beginning of the invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has held the world's attention with his powerful speeches. His rhetoric works because he reveals the power of remaining human in inhumane conditions.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has captured the world’s attention with powerful speeches broadcast from a besieged Kyiv. His words have galvanized global support for Ukraine’s struggle.

Now, a selection of 16 wartime speeches, chosen by Zelensky himself, will be published in a new volume: A Message From Ukraine. All proceeds from book sales will go to United24, an initiative established by him to raise funds for Ukraine.

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The sheer volume of speeches delivered since February by Zelensky – a former TV comedian and actor with a degree in law – is almost overwhelming, with multiple speeches given daily. Thanks to modern technology, he has never lost direct, real-time access to decision-makers and ordinary people.

He has virtually addressed national parliaments across Europe and North America, as well as Israel, South Korea, Japan and Australia, along with international summits and meetings including the European Council and the United Nations Security Council. Last month he even addressed the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Zelensky also provides a nightly video address on each day’s events, uploaded to social media channels and the government’s official site. His speeches have won hearts and minds across the world. What drives the power behind his words?

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Political Apathy, The Real Weapon In Vladimir Putin’s “Surprise” Invasion Of Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky’s recent revelation that he knew about the likelihood of a Russian invasion has sparked major debate in Ukraine. But what it truly reveals about the source of war can also help ensure victory for Putin and other autocrats.

There has been both outrage and headscratching among Ukrainians since Volodymyr Zelensky’s Aug. 16 interview with The Washington Post, in which he admitted knowing a Russian invasion was likely, but chose to not warn the public to avoid causing panic.

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Yet despite all the noise that followed the statements, the Ukrainian president revealed nothing we did not know before. Perhaps it was the bluntness with which he recounted the reality that took people by surprise. So U.S. intelligence warned him in private of the imminence of war? Wait a minute: The media was flooded with articles about this for months before it started.

So if everyone knew about the likelihood of war — Zelensky included — but it still could still not be prevented, we must ask ourselves, Why?

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Risk Of Nuclear Disaster? Just Another Tactic From Putin's Playbook

Military activity near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine has raised fears of a Chernobyl scenario. The UN Secretary-General is meeting with Ukraine’s president to discuss the situation — but threatening nuclear disaster is a tool Putin has used before.

Of the 16 nuclear power plants in the Soviet Union, four were built in Ukraine. Until recently, the most infamous of these was Chernobyl. But now, all eyes are on the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, Zaporizhzhia, located in the south of Ukraine. The plant has become the new center of war in Ukraine since it was captured by Russia on March 4. Its workers are still held hostage.

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The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and its 15 reactors have been under occupation since April. It has effectively become a military base for the Russian army. Armored vehicles are deployed there, and missiles and artillery are launched from the territory of the nuclear plant.

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New Crimea Blast, Heat Forces China To Close Factories, Academy Apologizes To Littlefeather

👋 Kamusta!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Crimea has been hit by the latest in a string of unexplained blasts, China orders 6-day closure for factories to combat record temperatures, and Native American actor Sacheen Littlefeather receives a belated apology from the Academy. Meanwhile, writing for Hong-Kong-based The Initium, Lee Yee On looks at the parallels between Taiwan and North Korea.

[*Filipino]

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In The News
Anna Akage, Anne-Sophie Goninet, and Emma Albright

EU’s One-Two Punch At Russia — Sanctions Extended To 2023, Gas Imports Cut 15%

The European Union has renewed its sanctions against Russia until the end of January 2023, while also taking a major step to try to reduce dependency on Russian energy exports.

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The EU energy ministers were in Brussels today for a special Energy Council, and were tasked with renewing a wide range of sanctions for another six months that include restrictions on finance, energy, technology, transport and luxury goods. First introduced in 2014 in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the tariffs were widely expanded after Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in late February.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Alfred Hackensberger

The Dead And Disappeared: A Village Emerges From 72 Days Of Russian Occupation

Russian forces have been pushed out of the area around Kharkiv. Villages that were occupied for two months are free once more — but utterly destroyed. And thousands of people have disappeared without a trace.

TSYKRUNY — Andriy Kluchikov uses a walking stick, but is otherwise fairly sprightly for a 94-year-old. Under his black wool hat, Kluchikov seems fearless as he surveys his hometown in northeastern Ukraine. “The missiles don't scare me,” he says with a smile. “I have slept in my own bed every night and never went down into the basement.”

As for the two-meter-wide bomb crater that has appeared in his garden, between the vegetable patch and the greenhouse with its shattered plastic roof, Kluchikov almost seems proud. “No one can intimidate me,” he says. “Not even the Russians.”

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In the early days of the war, in February, Russian artillery almost completely destroyed this village of Tsyrkuny, near Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city. Only a few houses, including his own, were left undamaged. Shortly afterwards, Russian troops marched into the village and occupied it for 72 days. It was not until early this week that the Ukrainian army was able to liberate Tsyrkuny and many other areas to the north of Kharkiv.

It is the Ukrainians’ most successful counter-offensive so far. They are thought to have pushed the invading troops back almost to the Russian border. “The offensive is gaining momentum,” according to the independent U.S. think tank Institute for the Study of War. “It has forced Russian troops on the defensive and has successfully alleviated artillery pressure on Kharkiv City.”

In the modern city of Kharkiv, home to around 1.5 million residents, the relief has been palpable over the last few days. Restaurants and cafes have reopened. People are walking and riding bikes in the parks, and couples are strolling hand in hand, enjoying the warm spring sunshine. You can still hear the artillery, but it is now many miles away.

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In The News
Anna Akage and Emma Albright

Territory Gains And Losses Point To Long War

Russia says it has conquered new territory in Donbas, while Ukraine says it has retaken parts of the city of Kharkiv. The competing claims come as Vladimir Putin appears to be bracing for a long "protracted" conflict.

Some press reports come from the battlefield, some come from headquarters.

The latter was the source for the lead story in today’s The New York Times that declared “Ukraine War’s Geographic Reality: Russia Has Seized Much of the East,” based on an assertion of the Russian Defense Ministry that “its forces in eastern Ukraine had advanced to the border between Donetsk and Luhansk,” the two provinces of Donbas.

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The article continues with an important caveat: “If confirmed,” the report signals that Russia could soon gain control over the entire Donbas region, which could put Moscow in position to force Kyiv to agree to its terms at the negotiating table.

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In The News
Shaun Lavelle, Anna Akage, Emma Albright

Is Odessa The Next Mariupol?

Other top news breaking: UN says civilian toll much higher, Moscow metro workers may be forced to fight, Lithuanian Parliament calls war "genocide", special Pulitzer for Ukrainian journalists, and more.

A new Russian overnight offensive aimed at the southern port city of Odessa may signal a new focus in the Ukraine war.

Ukrainian newspaper Pravda reports that at least one person was killed and five injured as Russian rockets pounded Ukraine’s third largest city, targeting a shopping center and a depot and leaving emergency services scrambling to put out fires and rescue civilians.

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These are not the first attacks by Russian missiles on the city, but officials imposed martial law for the first time yesterday.

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Geopolitics
Taras Kuzio

Blitzkrieg To Salami Tactics: A Closer Look At Russia's Pivot To The East

Vladimir Putin's original plans for conquest of Ukraine have not changed. By pulling back from Kyiv and flirting with negotiations, he is trying to buy time to reorganize for a longer war that require Ukrainian forces to hold their ground in the eastern Donbas region.

-Analysis-

KYIV — Be clear: It is too early to talk about peace.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently said Moscow is preparing its reaction to the peace treaty proposal presented by Ukraine. It is pointless to discuss the Ukrainian version of the proposals now, which would be subject in any case to significant adjustments.

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Moreover, the invading army will try to occupy as many southeastern territories of Ukraine as possible, destroy strategically important objects of Ukrainian infrastructure. So it is too early to talk about a peace deal because it is the Russian leadership that isn't ready to talk about it seriously yet.

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Ideas
Martin van Creveld*

What Fog Of War Can't Hide, Putin Is Doomed To Fail

Since day one of the war in Ukraine, military theorist Martin van Creveld has been analyzing the problems facing Russia. He recognized Putin’s supposed retreats as the deceptions that they are. But the current situation is even more complex than it appears.

-Analysis-

As far as we can tell, the situation in Ukraine is above all else chaotic. We first heard reports that Russian troops were advancing on every front, then Ukrainian forces reported success after success, claiming to be slowing down and in some places even halting the invader's advance.

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Cities are reported to be occupied, then we hear they are still disputed. Convoys are halted for many days, but no one knows why. Some reports claim the Russians are running out of reinforcements, while others say they have only deployed three-quarters of their troops so far. Moscow says it will shift its focus from Kyiv to eastern Ukraine, but then we see that the capital is still under intense assault.

Both sides accuse each other of war crimes and reporting losses that are obviously underestimates, unreliable and unbelievable. A maternity ward has been shelled, although it’s not clear whether this was a deliberate target or, as it euphemistically called, “collateral damage.”

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Anna Akage

Acclaimed Ukrainian Photographer Maks Levin Hasn’t Been Seen Since March 13

The veteran photojournalist was covering the Russian invasion north of Kyiv, after spending years chronicling Ukraine’s longstanding battles in its eastern regions against pro-Russian separatists.

Maks Levin, a leading Ukrainian combat photographer and documentary filmmaker, has disappeared while covering the war north of Kyiv. Levin, 41, last made contact on March 13 while working in an active combat zone.

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It later became known that in the area where Levin was working, intense combat operations began, and colleagues fear he may have been injured or captured by Russian troops.

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Geopolitics
Valentin Badrak

How Ukrainian Forces Have Thwarted Putin’s Blitzkrieg Plans

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began Thursday morning on multiple fronts was meant to quickly overrun the outnumbered defensive positions. Kyiv-based Livy Bereg reports that it hasn’t turned out that way.

KYIV — Vladimir Putin’s plans for a blitkreig, rapid all-out assault, have not gone as planned. Reports from the Ukrainian side show surprising ability of the defensive forces to slow the Russian assault.

In war, you can never say which day is going to be hardest. But it was the second day and second night that proved to the Russian invading forces that the blitzkrieg Vladimir Putin was counting on had not gone as planned.

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By the third day, Saturday, street fights with Russian Armed Forces and their sabotage and reconnaissance units played out in several districts of Kyiv. But the danger of conquest of the capital posed by the enemy was averted, as Ukraine's military forces bravely defended Kyiv.

Russian invaders were shocked by the strong defense, the motivation of the army and the unprecedented unity of the Ukrainian nation.

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