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Ukraine

Could MH17 Finally Turn The World Against Putin?

By destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, the Russian president became party to the death of the 298 passengers of the MH17 flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Does Ukraine have the world's attention now?
Does Ukraine have the world's attention now?
Mariusz Zawadzki

WARSAW — There may be no other misfortune that fires up people’s imaginations the way a plane crash can. It must be the blatant role of fate in such a situation: The tiniest oversight may bring an unavoidable death to a randomly gathered group of people.

Before last week's crash of the Malaysian Boeing, the conflict in Ukraine was to the majority of the globe a regional issue that few cared about. Today, everybody is concerned and wondering where the separatists obtained the weapon: Was it from the Ukrainian military base taken over in the region a few weeks ago, or from Russia, whose Special Forces have been smuggling arms across the border into Ukraine?

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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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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