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Emma Albright

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War In Ukraine, Day 133: Revelations Of Putin’s Original Invasion Plans
In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 133: Revelations Of Putin’s Original Invasion Plans

Occupy Kyiv? Turn to Donbas? Hunt down "Nazis"? Vladimir Putin's intentions have been a moving target.

Two days before the start of the war, the Kremlin said that there were no plans to attack Ukraine, and that there can be no plans to do so. On the day of the invasion, Putin urged the Ukrainian army to go to Kyiv and take down the "neo-Nazi" Vladimir Zelensky.

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A week later, when the blitzkrieg was clearly a failure, the "liberation of the Donbas" began, and was cited as the purpose for Russia’s invastion. Each time circumstances required, Putin changed the official reasons for the war, although his original goal was to overthrow the Ukrainian government and occupy the entire territory of Ukraine, a goal he still pursues, according to the American Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

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A Cruel Summer For Ukrainian Kids
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A Cruel Summer For Ukrainian Kids

And see the contrast with kids in Russia...

With the summer break around the corner and heat taking over most of Europe, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza is running, as part of its “photo of the day” section, a picture of children splashing about with their parents in a river. A refreshing photo, in stark contrast with the caption chosen by the Warsaw-based newspaper: “These children don’t have to be afraid of bombs.” The river in question is the Moskva, and these are Russian kids cooling off near the Kremlin.

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The same Gazeta Wyborcza has also reported on a Poland-based hotline, open to Ukrainian children (an estimated 500,000 of whom have found refuge in Poland) to be able to talk to a psychologist about their traumatic experiences — or simply looking for a chat in their native tongue.

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Ukraine Plans Counteroffensive In The South
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Ukraine Plans Counteroffensive In The South

Having been forced to retreat and cede territory in Donbas, Kyiv has its eye on recapturing the key southern port city of Kherson.

The past several weeks have been marked by Ukrainian retreat in the Donbas. The vast eastern part of Ukraine territory has steadily succumbed to fierce and constant bombardment, after Vladimir Putin had shifted near total Russian focus on the strategic eastern part of the country.

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In late April, we wrote about how important it was for the Kremlin to demonstrate at least some kind of victory, and Putin indeed has the proof to bring back to the Russian public with retreat over the past 24 hours of the Ukrainian army from Lysychansk, the latest major city in the Luhansk region that had remained free of Moscow’s troops.

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Toxic Masculinity, New Iron Curtain — What Rising War Rhetoric Tells Us
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Toxic Masculinity, New Iron Curtain — What Rising War Rhetoric Tells Us

What is happening in Ukraine is decidedly not a war of words — it’s a war. Every day people are dying, soldiers and civilians alike. And it is that war which will determine the fate of both Ukraine and Russia, and have a lasting impact all around the world.

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Still, the rhetoric that has risen throughout the conflict, beginning even before the outbreak of war, plays a role, and certainly garners attention on all sides. Just in the past 24 hours, we’ve seen the Kremlin respond indignantly to recent comments by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that: Russia’s invasion was "a perfect example of toxic masculinity." And if Putin were a woman, Johnson added: “I really don't think he would've embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has.”

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Ukraine Recaptures Snake Island
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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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Russia Watching NATO, As Path Cleared For Finland And Sweden To Join
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Russia Watching NATO, As Path Cleared For Finland And Sweden To Join

As NATO leaders meet in Madrid, Finland and Sweden look much closer to joining the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections to their membership. It's yet another momentous change underway since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A high-stakes NATO summit has kicked off in Madrid, as leaders of the world’s largest defense alliance discuss the war in Ukraine and key decisions that will shape the organization’s future direction. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the Russian invasion of its neighbor had prompted a fundamental shift in its approach to defense.

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Finland and Sweden look much closer to joining the alliance after Turkey dropped its objections to their membership. The three countries released a joint memorandum that “extend[ed] their full support against threats to each other's security," Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said.

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Death Toll Rises In Ukrainian Mall Attack, As Russia Steps Up Targeting Of Civilians
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Death Toll Rises In Ukrainian Mall Attack, As Russia Steps Up Targeting Of Civilians

Officials fear the death toll will continue to climb after two Russian missiles hit the Armstor shopping center in the central Ukrainian city of Kramenchuk. According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, more than 1,000 people were inside the mall Monday at the time of the attack.

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For the moment, the death toll is at 18 with 36 people missing and at least 59 injured, reported a regional official on Tuesday. The search and rescue operations continue under the rubble.

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Zelensky To G7, Let’s Try To End War Before Winter
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Zelensky To G7, Let’s Try To End War Before Winter

Ukrainian President Zelensky addressed the G7 leaders via video call at the summit in Kruen, Germany, where he asked to “intensify sanctions” against Russia and warned against the war dragging on.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told G7 leaders that he wanted the Russia-Ukraine war to end before the winter sets in, according to Reuters.

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Zelensky addressed the G7 leaders via video call at the summit in Kruen, Germany, where he asked to “intensify sanctions” against Russia. He also requested more reconstruction aid, aircraft defense systems, further help on exporting grain out of the country as well as security guarantees.

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The Fall Of Severodonetsk
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The Fall Of Severodonetsk

After weeks of raging battles, it appears Severodonetsk is set to fall under full control of Russian forces. The governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Haidai wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian forces will have to withdraw from the strategic city in southeastern Ukraine.

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The decision to retreat was made in order to save Ukrainian soldiers: “Nobody abandons our guys, nobody allows the encirclement (of our troops). The situation right now is as such that staying at these destroyed positions just for the sake of being there doesn't make sense,” Haidai said. At least 90% of the city's infrastructure has been destroyed.

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Stark World Divisions, As BRICS And EU Meetings Coincide
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Stark World Divisions, As BRICS And EU Meetings Coincide

Russian President Vladimir Putin is being hosted (virtually) by China, along with Brazil, India and South Africa, as Europe is set to offer precious EU candidate status to Ukraine.

The synching of the diplomatic calendar is pure coincidence, but it offers a clear picture of a world starkly divided nearly four months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

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China is hosting the 14th BRICS summit alongside the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa to discuss global economic recovery, climate action and public health. The meeting is the clearest opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin since his invasion of Ukraine to demonstrate that he is not isolated diplomatically.

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To "Not Humiliate" Putin Is The Real Danger
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

To "Not Humiliate" Putin Is The Real Danger

French President Emmanuel Macron is making a point of keeping an open dialogue with Putin, hoping to avoid a world war at all costs. But he needs to get his historical comparisons (and world wars) in order.

-Analysis-

PARIS — “I know Putin well. We should not be hoping for him to leave: whoever is likely to succeed him will be much worse.”

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This is what former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said to me in 2017, while we were in New York. He was trying to moderate my growing hostility towards the Kremlin’s leader. In fact, in the same sentence, he wanted to also reassure me about the United States President Donald Trump, who had just come into the room: “He may be unpredictable, but he is not an ideologue.”

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Russia Aims Again At Kharkiv, 15 Civilians Killed
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Russia Aims Again At Kharkiv, 15 Civilians Killed

Attacks in Ukraine's second biggest city are reminiscent of strategy in Mariupol.

At least 15 confirmed civilian deaths were reported by this morning in Kharkiv, after the Russian army fired multiple Uragan rockets at an industrial area of the northeastern city where there were no military facilities, according to Serhiy Bolvinov, head of the Investigative Department of the Kharkiv Region Police Department.

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"Russian forces are now hitting the city of Kharkiv in the same way that they previously were hitting Mariupol, intending to terrorize the population," Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said in a video address.

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