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Ukraine

In Ukraine, When Professors Reach For Kalashnikovs

It isn't just the Ukrainian military defending the country against pro-Russian militias in eastern Ukraine. Voluntary fighters, many of them intellectuals, have left their jobs to help the cause.

Intellectuals volunteer to fight against pro-Russian separatists
Intellectuals volunteer to fight against pro-Russian separatists
André Eichhofer

LUHANSK — Yevgen Dykyj is supposed to be lecturing at the university, but instead the bearded, curly-haired man is hunkered down in a hideout near Luhansk cleaning his Kalashnikov. In May, the professor exchanged his academic life for a machine gun, going with other volunteers to eastern Ukraine to help the government defend against Moscow-supported separatists.

Some 10 volunteer battalions are fighting in the civil war alongside the army and the National Guard. The government depends on the paramilitaries because the units are often better equipped and more highly motivated than the military itself. Dykyj's "Aidar" battalion is mostly comprised of intellectuals — teachers, artists, students and lawyers. After operations, the men relax by playing chess or reading poetry aloud to one another in the barracks.

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Geopolitics

Venezuela-Iran: Maduro And The Axios Of Chaos In The Americas

With the complicity of leftist rulers in Venezuela, Bolivia and even Argentina, Iran's sanction-ridden regime is spreading its tentacles in South America, and could even undermine democracies.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro visiting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran, Iran on June 11. Venezuela is one of Iran's closest allies, and both are subject to tough U.S. sanctions.

Julio Borges

-Analysis-

CARACAS —The dangers posed by Venezuela's relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran is something we've warned about before. Though not new, the dangers have changed considerably in recent years.

They began under Venezuela's late leader, Hugo Chávez , when he decided to turn his back on the West and move closer to countries outside our geopolitical sphere. In 2005, Chávez and Iran's then president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, signed collaborative agreements in areas beyond the economy, with goals that included challenging the West and spreading Iran's presence in Latin America.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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