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REUTERS, AP, BBC

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CLEVELAND — Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping, rape and beatings of three Cleveland women he held captive in his house for nearly 10 years, was found hanged in his prison cell late Tuesday evening, Reuters reports.

According to a prison official quoted by Associated Press, Castro is believed to have committed suicide. JoEllen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, wrote in a statement: "Upon finding inmate Castro, prison medical staff began performing life saving measures. Shortly after he was transported to the prison medical facility where he was pronounced dead at 10:52 pm."

Castro, 53, had been placed in protective custody because of the media impact of his case, but was not on suicide watch, according to the BBC. Smith explained: "He was housed in protective custody which means he was in a cell by himself and rounds are required every 30 minutes at staggered intervals." She added that a "thorough review" of the incident was under way to establish how Castro was able to hang himself.

The former school bus driver had been sentenced to life plus 1,000 years in prison on August 1. He pleaded guilty to 937 counts including rape and kidnapping. He abducted three young women between 2002 and 2004 and kept them chained up. They escaped from Castro's home on May 6 when one of them, Amanda Berry, managed to break part of a door and yelled through the crack for neighbors to help them.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

When Did Putin "Turn" Evil? That's Exactly The Wrong Question

Look back over the past two decades, and you'll see Vladimir Putin has always been the man revealed by the Ukraine invasion, an evil and sinister dictator. The Russian leader just managed to mask it, especially because so many chose to see him as a typically corrupt and greedy strongman who could be bribed or reasoned with.

Putin arrives for a ceremony to accept credentials from 24 foreign ambassadors at the Grand Kremlin Palace on Sept. 20.

Sergiy Gromenko*

-OpEd-

KYIV — The world knows that Vladimir Putin has power, money and mistresses. So why, ask some, wasn't that enough for him? Why did he have to go start another war?

At its heart, this is the wrong question to ask. For Putin, military expansion is not an adrenaline rush to feed into his existing life of luxury. On the contrary, the shedding of blood for the sake of holding power is his modus operandi, while the fruits of greed and corruption like the Putin Palace in Gelendzhik are more like a welcome bonus.

In the last year, we have kept hearing rhetorical questions like “why did Putin start this war at all, didn't he have enough of his own land?” or “he already has Gelendzhik to enjoy, why fight?” This line of thinking has resurfaced after missile strikes on Ukrainian power grids and dams, which was regarded by many as a simple demonstration of terrorism. Such acts are a manifestation of weakness, some ask, so is Putin ready to show himself weak?

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However, you will not arrive at the correct answer if the questions themselves are asked incorrectly. For decades, analysts in Russia, Ukraine, and the West have been under an illusion about the nature of the Russian president's personal dictatorship.

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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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