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Ukraine

Ukraine Tries To Subtly Shift Westward Without Upsetting Russian Bear

Kiev doesn't want to risk its ties with Moscow, but can't afford to pass up economic opportunities in Europe. And where does that leave jailed opposition chief Yulia Tymoshenko?

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso
Cathrin Kahlweit

MUNICH — It was two years ago that a Kiev court sent Yulia Tymoshenko to prison for abuse of power. Ukraine's former prime minister had been running short on good press for some time as her lengthy power struggle with former president Viktor Yushchenko had tarnished her positive image as a symbol of the Orange Revolution.

But Tymoshenko's image would start to change yet again after her arrest. The political trial that followed, along with a series of politically motivated accusations, and a serious illness, rehabilitated her in the eyes of the West. From prison, she gradually became the face of the movement for those who wanted Ukraine to move closer to the European Union.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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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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