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Russia

Ukraine, Putin's Thick Red Line

Putin is doing everything to not be remembered by history as the one who "lost" Ukraine. Mother Russia's imperial face is on the line.

Putin and Yanukovych share not common religious roots
Putin and Yanukovych share not common religious roots
Wacław Radziwinowicz

MOSCOW — Under no circumstances, it should be clear, can Vladimir Putin let Ukraine slip outside the Russian sphere of influence. If Kiev chooses Brussels over Moscow, it would dim the glory of the “leader of the nations.”

Russians see in Putin a ""sobiratiela ziem russkich"" (the one who gathers scattered lands of Russia), a title that the current president shares with such Russian personalities as Ivan I of Moscow, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great and Joseph Stalin.

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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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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