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Spain

Catalonia Independence? Here's A Tale Of Two Cities

The regional government of Catalonia will hold a controversial independence referendum in October. Opinion is deeply divided in the cities of Lleida And Berga.

Demonstrators fly the Estelada, the unofficial flag of independent Catalonia, in February.
Demonstrators fly the Estelada, the unofficial flag of independent Catalonia, in February.
Mathieu de Taillac

LLEIDA — Three flags hang from the mayor's office in Lleida, in northeastern Spain. There is a burgundy-colored municipal flag; the flag of the Catalan Autonomous Community, with four red bars on a yellow background; and the Spanish flag, with its three horizontal strips, red over yellow over red with the national coat of arms off-centered toward the left. About 150 kilometers away, in the Catalan town of Berga, the balcony of the municipal hall displays just one flag: the Estelada (lone-starred banner). Its red star over the red strips of the Catalan flag represents both state and revolution, and is an important insignia of Catalan independence.

Little wonder that come October 1, the regional government of Catalonia will have everything it needs in Berga to follow through on its promise to hold an independence referendum. Municipal premises will be transformed into voting offices, and all city officials will be asked to give a hand. Sister cities abroad will even be invited to send international observers. And just in case voters forget the date, an electronic clock has been fitted under the Estelada with a countdown marking the remaining days, hours and minutes until the referendum.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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