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In The News

"Catastrophic Destruction” In Ukraine, Japan Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban, HK Restaurant Sinks

👋 Avuxeni!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where “catastrophic destruction” is reported in eastern Ukraine, Japan upholds a same-sex marriage ban and an iconic Hong Kong restaurant is now feeding the fish. Meanwhile, an English Professor reflects in The Conversation on the linguistic implications of the Ukraine war and censorship on speech and silence.

[*Tsonga, South Africa and Mozambique]

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Good Biden, Bad Scholz, Tail-Wagging Macron: How Ukrainians Really See World Leaders

Ukrainians assess their friends, enemies and frenemies...

Which of today's world leaders provides the full support Ukraine truly needs? Who plays into Putin's hands? Who's caught in the middle, and lacks the courage to choose sides?

With an overdue visit to Kyiv Thursday by three of Europe’s top leaders, Emmanuel Macron of France, Olaf Scholz of Germany and Mario Draghi of Italy, those questions were whispered far from the photo ops. The question of the solidity of its alliances are life-and-death for Kyiv, facing a much stronger military in an existential war against Russia.

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Ukraine has so far received about 10% of the military aid it needs from Western partners to counter Russian aggression, Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said Tuesday during a television fundraising drive.

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Why Western Military Aid For Ukraine Is Never Enough

The U.S. and Europe have again committed to supplying weapons to Kyiv, whose gratitude has its limits in the face of the life-and-death struggle against the Russian invasion.

-Analysis-

With a quick glance at the headlines, it may seem like a running contradiction — or even ingratitude. The West announces another new round of military support to Ukraine, and Ukraine promptly says: “Thank you, but it’s not enough.”

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Just in the last 48 hours, the U.S. approved a $700 million package of military support for Ukraine that included longer-range Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), while German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised to send state-of-the-art air defense systems and tracking radar.

Over the past three months, there have also been shipments of weapons and munitions from more than 30 other nations, including the UK, much of Europe, Australia and Japan.

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Why Western Outrage At War In Europe Never Makes It To Africa

The way armed conflicts have been represented in fiction for decades could explain the racism that has been revealed in Western media coverage of the war in Ukraine compared to multiple conflicts over the years in Africa.

Double standards. That is what is striking when we compare the political and media treatment of the war in Ukraine — and the massive exodus this conflict is creating — to the treatment (or non-treatment) of the multiple crises that have similarly affected African countries in recent decades.

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For example, think back to CBS News special correspondent Charlie D’Agata’s statement on Feb. 25: ”This is not a place […] like Iraq or Afghanistan […]. Kyiv is a relatively civilized city,” he said to underline what he found particularly shocking about the images shot in Ukraine.

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Geopolitics
Anna Akage

The Surprise That May Finally Bury NATO: The Ukrainian Army

The system of post-World War II alliances has ultimately proven insufficient at the moment the Russian threat turned into actual war. Ukraine’s military has risen to the challenge in a way that may help reorder the system of security for decades to come.

-Analysis-

Here’s a joke that’s been circulating the past few weeks in Ukraine: When the war is over, NATO will be asking to join Ukraine.

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The punchline makes a point of both the pride in the Ukrainian army’s stunning efforts to repel the Russian invaders, and the bitterness at the North Atlantic alliance’s hesitations to open membership to Kyiv.

But the subtext goes even further, raising questions about where the entire system of international security will wind up after the war in Ukraine.

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Geopolitics
Alfred von Hackensberger

A Visit To Zelensky’s Hometown, As Russians May Be Set To Attack Again

The 44-year-old’s parents still live in the same apartment in Kryvyi Rih, where Russian troops attacked in the early days of the war before retreating. But with Putin's focus shifted eastward, the people who grew up with Zelensky brace for more attacks.

KRYVYI RIH — The housing project where President Volodymyr Zelensky grew up is called Muravenik, which means "anthill." The Anthill is circular and built like a fortress. The 10-story apartment blocks in this southeastern Ukrainian city date to the Soviet era, and you can tell. Large swathes of the outer cladding are missing. The old doors, windows and makeshift extensions give the whole housing complex a run-down look. In winter, the leafless trees and muddy grass add to the bleak atmosphere.

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It’s hard to believe that this is where the country’s president grew up.

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Ideas
Anna Akage

The Lesson Of Bucha: There's Only One Way To Defeat A War Criminal

Western civilization, having experienced so many wars and acts of terrorism, has created elaborate schemes to protect the peace and civilian populations in particular. Vladimir Putin has shown that it is simply not enough. We must fight and die to protect what is most precious, says Ukrainian writer Anna Akage.

On Friday, April 1, the body of Ukrainian photographer Maks Levin, who had been missing for three weeks, was found north of Kyiv. He was lying, unarmed, with a camera in front of him and in civilian clothing, just wearing a jacket that read “Press.” Investigators say he was killed at close range by two bullets of small-arms fire from the Russian military.

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Two days later, just 20 kilometers to the south, the town of Bucha, a relatively affluent Kyiv suburb, would become a location destined for wartime infamy as Russian troops abandoned it on a retreat from the region. With the images of mass graves and dead civilians strewn on the street, the news of Levin's death went somewhere in the subconscious.

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In The News
Lorraine Olaya, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

Toll Rises In Bucha, As Russia Accused Of War Crimes And West Prepares New Sanctions

👋 Wai!*

Welcome to Monday, where scenes of horror emerge from Bucha, near Kyiv, with bodies of more than 400 civilian victims reportedly found; Ukrainian President Zelensky accuses Russia of genocide, and Western leaders prepare new sanctions in response, including possible cut to Russian gas. La Stampa’s Francesca Mannocchi reports from Kyiv where she captures a snapshot of the new rhythms of life as a tense wartime normalcy takes over the Ukrainian capital.

[*Bodo - India, Nepal & Bengal]

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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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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ What Zelensky’s World Parliament Tour Is Really Telling Us

March 26-27

  • How the Orthodox Church is backing Putin
  • Russia’s nostalgic return to isolation
  • #Awkward London bike storage
  • … and much more.
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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Bertrand Hauger and Jane Herbelin

Ukraine War, One Month In

👋 Sannu!*

Welcome to Thursday, where it’s been one month since Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine, Biden heads to Brussels for NATO talks, and former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright dies at age 84. We also focus on Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister and one of Putin’s closest allies, who has gone missing since March 11.

[*Hausa, Nigeria and Niger]

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In The News

Le Weekend ➡️ The Line Between State Propaganda And Fake News

March 19-20

  • Putin’s playbook, from Syria to Ukraine
  • What the West got wrong about Russia
  • AI on the battlefield
  • … and much more.
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