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Meike Eijsberg

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Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine​
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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Yachts moored in the marina, Monaco​
Economy

Europe's "Freeze And Seize" Hits Russian Oligarchs For 12.5 Billion

According to the EU Commission, the amount of confiscated Russian assets has doubled since April, German daily Die Welt reveals, including yachts, real estate, artwork and more.

BRUSSELS — The European Union has made significant progress in sanctioning Russian oligarchs, nearly doubling the seizure and freezing of assets in the last month alone. So far, more than 12.5 billion euros worth of luxury yachts, helicopters, paintings, real estate property and other assets have been seized or frozen from people on sanctions lists for supporting Putin's war of aggression, a top EU official has told Die Welt.

The European Union has collected half of this amount since April alone. "The amount of frozen assets of Russian oligarchs has almost doubled from 6.7 billion euros in April to currently just over 12.5 billion euros," the European Commission spokesman for justice Christian Wiegand confirmed.

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More Signs It Could Be A Very Long War
In The News

More Signs It Could Be A Very Long War

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg says the Russia-Ukraine war could last "years," and Boris Johnson concurs that signs show it won't be resolved anytime soon.

During an interview with the German newspaper Bild, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, said that the war in Ukraine “could take years.”

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Stoltenberg also used the interview in Germany’s most popular daily to clarify NATO's position in the war: “NATO will continue to support Ukraine in its self-defense, but is not part of the conflict. We are helping the country, but we will not send NATO soldiers to Ukraine.”

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Photo of someone taking a photo of a painting of President Zelensky saying STOP to the war.
Ideas

When The Age Of Compromise Gave Way To A Time Of Heroism

We know them from the movies: the heroes who save the world from disaster in the nick of time. In real life, you sometimes look for them in vain. But the Russian invasion of Ukraine shows that the West needs new heroes.

-OpEd-

BERLIN — In recent times, we speak more and more frequently about the end of globalization or even the beginning of de-globalization. The world in which the will to compromise and where unity prevailed unfortunately has definitively come to an end. It was February 24, and the unprovoked Russian act of war awakened us to a world dominated by conflict.

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In order for the West — for us — to be able to cope with this reality, it is essential that we not only accept this notion, which is unpleasant for some, but that we also understand that with the era of globalization, another great era is also coming to an end: the era where heroes are not required.

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Macron, Scholz, Draghi In Kyiv - EU Membership On The Table
In The News

Macron, Scholz, Draghi In Kyiv - EU Membership On The Table

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi made a joint visit to Ukraine on Thursday to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss the country’s EU membership aspirations and further arms supplies to repel Russia’s invasion.

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The trio of European leaders arrived in Kyiv on an overnight train, joined by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. Upon arriving, Macron highlighted the symbolic importance of the trip, stating: “It's an important moment. It's a message of unity we're sending to the Ukrainians, of support, to talk both about the present and the future, since the coming weeks, as we know, will be very difficult.”

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Photo of a student facing a whiteboard in a classroom
Society

The Return Of Groupthink In Russian Classrooms

For years, Vladimir Putin’s regime has been pushing its agenda into schools. With the start of the invasion of Ukraine, the pressure on the education system has intensified on a massive scale. Here's a peek inside the means of control over students' minds.

MOSCOW — In Vladimir Putin’s Russia, even a 12-year-old can become a dissident. That’s what happened to one Moscow sixth-grader named Kirill. During a history lesson in early March, he asked his teacher why Putin started the war and when it would end.

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It would end with the surrender of Ukraine, the teacher said, because fascism ruled in Kyiv. Kirill expressed doubts about the response; and a few days later, police officers knocked on the family’s apartment door to issue a summons. The case was reported by independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

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New Probe Finds Russia's “Relentless” Bombing Of Kharkiv Is War Crime
In The News

New Probe Finds Russia's “Relentless” Bombing Of Kharkiv Is War Crime

Amnesty International has accused Russia of committing war crimes, causing “widespread death and destruction by relentlessly bombarding residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv” since the war began on February 24.

Amnesty International has accused Russia of committing war crimes during its efforts to capture the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. According to the international NGO’s 40-page report, Russian forces have caused “widespread death and destruction by relentlessly bombarding residential neighborhoods of Kharkiv” since the war began on February 24.

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“People have been killed in their homes and in the streets, in playgrounds and in cemeteries, while queueing for humanitarian aid, or shopping for food and medicine,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser, said. “The repeated use of widely banned cluster munitions is shocking, and a further indication of utter disregard for civilian lives.”

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Reporter Ibrahim Naber in Ukraine
Geopolitics

War Reporter's Diary: My Young German Eyes Opened In Ukraine

As a war reporter, Ibrahim Naber has seen unimaginable suffering. But he has also seen the Ukrainians’ unbroken will to resist. He reflects after more than three months since the Russian invasion – and explains how his generation's illusion of peace has been shattered.

On day 94 of this war, a young man with short-cropped hair whom I barely recognize appears on my cell phone via video call. Igor Sirosh, 32, lies in a striped T-shirt on the bed of a military hospital in western Ukraine. He looks pale, his voice weak. He says in brittle German that he is suffering from “a stomach ulcer” after a Russian missile attack and that he also has “minor psychological problems.” Igor, I realize only with this phone call, is now a soldier.

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At the beginning of the year, this young Ukrainian had been nursing sick people in Magdeburg, a city in central Germany. At the end of February, not even a week after the Russian invasion began, we met at the Polish-Ukrainian border. The man from Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine was standing at the Przemyśl train station, the first stop for tens of thousands fleeing the Russian bombs, and at the same time the last stop for intrepid people like him who set out to fight Putin.

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Zelensky Says Battle For Severodonetsk May Decide Fate Of Donbas
In The News

Zelensky Says Battle For Severodonetsk May Decide Fate Of Donbas

It was another fierce night of combat in the eastern Ukrainian city, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the fate of the battle could be decisive.

In Severodonetsk, the eastern Ukrainian city, the battle raging is looking increasingly decisive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night that the city remains the epicenter of hostilities in the region. “It’s a very fierce battle. Perhaps, one of the most difficult ones of this war,” he said. “In many respects, the fate of the Donbas is being decided there.”

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According to local officials, Russia now controls most of this key city. “The night was difficult,” said Oleksandr Striuk, head of Severodonetsk’s city military administration, on national television Thursday morning. But, “our armed forces control part of the city – the industrial zone, and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

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Anatoly Dremov reporting from the frontline ​
Geopolitics

The Russian Soldier Turned Social Media Star — Revealing More Than Putin Might Like

Anatoly Dremov shares his experiences of the war in Ukraine on the Russian Telegram network – and reveals details that don't always line up with the Kremlin narrative.

“That damn Ukrainian 'dill' shot up our tank,” a young soldier says into his cell phone camera. Dill is Russian slang for “Ukrainian Nazis.” The soldier squats in a car. The camera pans to the street. Destroyed apartment buildings roll by, destroyed tanks and civilian vehicles too.

Then a change of scene: several soldiers, all wearing the Russian Z on their sleeves. “It doesn’t matter at all who we meet on the way to victory: young Ukrainians, old Ukrainians. They’ll all get it.”

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What sounds like a cheap Russian action movie is reality. The reality of soldier Anatoly Dremov, sometimes Artyom Dremov, also known by the pseudonym Snami Bog – “God with us.” Dremov is 25 years old and from St. Petersburg. Sometimes he claims to be the owner of a restaurant. Sometimes it’s a tobacco store. Maybe both are true. Maybe both are not true.

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Biden Will Send Long-Range Rockets, Despite Russian Warnings
In The News

Biden Will Send Long-Range Rockets, Despite Russian Warnings

The U.S. has ultimately decided to send MLRS weapons, which are capable of hitting Russian territory, but only with Ukraine's promise not to launch the rockets across the border. But will this eliminate the risk of the war escalating into a direct confrontation between the U.S. and Russia?

After circling around the issue, President Joe Biden finally has finally decided that he would send more advanced weapons, including longer-range Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) to Ukraine as part of a $700 million package.

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The move to send MLRS weapons, which are capable of hitting Russian territory, has been under discussion for a number of days. Reports on Tuesday indicated that Biden had reversed an earlier promise to send the rocket systems. Ukraine has pressed Biden for weeks to provide the weapons as Russia escalated relentless artillery attacks in the east of the country. With Tuesday night’s announcement, Ukraine has promised not to launch the rockets into Russia, allaying fears of an escalation of the conflict.

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 Austrian soldiers of the 1st Sword COY during NATO exercise at Hohenfels Army base, Germany
Geopolitics

Neutrality Is Not An Option! Austria Must Follow Finland And Sweden Into NATO

While Sweden and Finland are fast-tracking NATO applications, the writer's homeland of Austria continues to cling to longstanding "neutrality" status, sleepwalking through the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The government has the polls on their side. But in reality, it's not our neutrality that protects us.

-OpEd-

Growing up in Austria, there's one word we seem to learn to say faster than “mama.” That word is: “neutrality.”

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It's a status that apparently we all say we want – just look at recent statements by Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner: Neutrality is “in the heart of the Austrians,” she said, making it clear once again that this matter is not up for discussion.

For Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, the matter was also always (and forever) clear: “Austria was neutral, Austria is neutral, and Austria will remain neutral,” he said, shortly before he tried to talk Putin to persuade him to find his conscience in Moscow. Putin remained unimpressed, and so were the Austrians.

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