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Jeff Israely

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War In Ukraine, Day 278: Kyiv Adds New Charge To Genocide Case Against Russia
In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 278: 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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Macron Calls Putin’s Airstrikes On Civilian Infrastructure A War Crime
In The News

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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Photo of night time snow in Kyiv
In The News

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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G20 Pushing China To Join Resolution That Would Isolate Russia
In The News

G20 Pushing China To Join Resolution That Would Isolate Russia

French President Macron used his bilateral meeting with Xi Jinping to try to convince China to take a tougher line with Moscow.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave the clearest indication Tuesday that the G20 members are moving toward a resolution critical of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which would also denounce any threats about using nuclear weapons.

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"This is a consensus that is gaining ground here," Scholz told journalists in Bali.

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photo of ukrainian flags at Kherson city hall
In The News

Ukrainian Flag Rises In Kherson After Nine Months Of Occupation

This is among the most important signs of how the war has turned against Russia in the past three months.

Several reports say Ukrainian forces have arrived in central Kherson, after Russian troops made a chaotic retreat from the strategic southern city. The Ukrainian flag was seen flying from administrative buildings, and residents were photographed tearing down pro-Russian billboards.

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Though Moscow has explained the surrender of the city as an effort to avoid casualties, most military analysts consider it a major turning point in the war.

Kherson was the first major Ukrainian city occupied by Moscow’s forces soon after the Feb. 24 invasion, and has been a key objective in Kyiv’s major autumn counter-offensive that has forced unexpected retreats by Russian forces.

The latest gains by Ukrainian forces hold potentially enormous strategic consequences. The Kherson region borders Crimea and provides Moscow with a land corridor to the Black Sea peninsula that it seized in 2014.

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Russia Loses Kherson — Decisive Moment Or More War Of Attrition?
In The News

Russia Loses Kherson — Decisive Moment Or More War Of Attrition?

After several weeks of mixed messages, the announcement of Russia’s withdrawal from the strategic city of Kherson caught many off guard. It is in many respects a momentous turn, with Ukraine poised to retake a city captured by Russian forces in the very first days after the Feb. 24 invasion.

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The pullout is not only important in symbolic terms, but can wind up being a significant blow for Russia as the two-month-long Ukrainian counteroffensive can now advance eastward into the Donbas region.

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U.S. Warns About Putin’s Dangerous Doublespeak On Nuclear Threat
In The News

U.S. Warns About Putin’s Dangerous Doublespeak On Nuclear Threat

Vladimir Putin told the world yesterday "don't worry" about a nuclear attack, even as he's setting up a scenario that makes it more likely.

Vladimir Putin used his wide-ranging foreign policy speech Thursday to strike an overall threatening tone toward Ukraine and its Western partners, including a warning that the coming decade would be the “most dangerous and unpredictable” since World War II.

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Putin did, however, try to allay one specific fear: that he might choose to use nuclear arms in the war in Ukraine. Putin said Russia “had never talked about using nuclear weapons" and that using them “made no political or military sense.”

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Photo of Pope Francis sitting in church in Rome
Ideas

What Exactly Does Pope Francis Think About The War In Ukraine?

Seven months after Russia’s invasion, the Pope finally called on Vladimir Putin directly to stop the war. But just days earlier, Francis had offered an elaborate theory on the causes of the war, which he blamed on competing “imperialisms” of Russia and the West, and the need to have wars to sell weapons.

-Analysis-

Pope Francis has not been particularly popular in Ukraine since the war began in February. Unlike other Western leaders, the pope didn’t condemn Vladimir Putin in the days and weeks after the invasion, largely limiting his remarks about the war to prayers for the victims and universal calls for peace.

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A Ukrainian colleague was furious that Francis wasn’t calling Putin out for his invasion. Having covered the Vatican for more than a decade in my prior job, I tried to explain that papal diplomacy tends not to point fingers or name names, partly in their hope of leaving church channels open for possible future negotiations.

Well, on Sunday, Francis finally pointed his finger at Putin, in what was perhaps his strongest call to date to stop the war. “My appeal goes above all to the president of the Russian Federation, begging him to stop this spiral of violence and death, even out of love for his own people,” the pope said.

In the same breath, he also urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to be open to negotiations. The pope also warned against the rising threat of the use of nuclear weapons. This is what popes do in times of war: They call for peace and try to save lives, hoping the message seeps into the ears and hearts of political leaders and public opinion.

Still, there are other messages that Francis has been spreading about the war that are not so obvious.

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Return Of ‘Putin The Diplomat’ - What He Got In Tehran, What’s Next
In The News

Return Of ‘Putin The Diplomat’ - What He Got In Tehran, What’s Next

Vladimir Putin has spent much of the past five months hunkered down with his generals and bankers, managing the military and economic upheaval he triggered by invading Ukraine.

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Aside from a few quick visits to nearby former Soviet Republics, the Russian president’s visit to Tehran yesterday (where he met leaders of both Iran and Turkey face-to-face) was his first time back on the road since Feb. 24. And Putin could rightfully claim some small, but meaningful diplomatic victories that confirm the deepening divisions in the world, according to Russia’s state news agency Tass.

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

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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Good And Bad News For Putin 100 Days After Invasion
In The News

Good And Bad News For Putin 100 Days After Invasion

One hundred days after Vladimir Putin launched an apparent all-or-nothing invasion of Ukraine, the reality is neither all nor nothing. The Russian president is no doubt comforting himself with news that his troops are progressing in the southeastern Donbas region. President Volodymyr Zelensky reported Thursday that Russia by now controls up to 20% of Ukrainian territory.

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Of course the Feb. 24 assault was presented as a blitzkrieg, across much of Ukraine, with Kremlin plans to quickly take over Kyiv and push Zelensky’s elected government out of power. The world braced itself for a new era of imperialistic ambitions from Moscow.

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Photo of a Russian tank destroyed during street fighting in Mala Shestirnya in Ukraine, with a white letter "Z" painted on the side.
In The News

Lavrov Reveals Slow Pace Of Russian Advances

Also: First Mariupol evacuations, Biden visit "matter of time," Lavrov's Jewish Hitler, Chechnya’s TikTok Fighters ... and more.

May 9 has long been an important day in Moscow, commemorating the 1945 victory over Nazi Germany. Most Kremlin observers believed that Vladimir Putin’s new all-out assault in the southeast Donbas region was aiming to bring home at least a symbolic victory in time for what Russians call “Victory Day.”

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But on Monday, Moscow-based daily Kommersantreports that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cautioned that Russia is not going to force a "victory" by May 9, which looks like a de facto admission that the assault has not progressed at the pace the Kremlin had hoped.

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