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Ukraine

Latest On Ukraine, Egyptian Government Resigns, Jog In The Smog

Hundreds of joggers ran semi-naked in Beijing's smog
Hundreds of joggers ran semi-naked in Beijing's smog
Worldcrunch

YANUKOVYCH WANTED FOR “MASS MURDER”
A police warrant has been issued for ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whose current whereabouts are unknown, the acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov announced this morning. Yanukovych, who was last seen at his residence in Crimea, is wanted for “mass murder of civilians,” after last week’s riots in Kiev in which 88 people, including 16 police officers, were killed, Itar-Tass reports.

  • The warrant for Yanukovych is the latest development after a weekend that saw the Parliament oust him just one day after he agreed on a compromise with the opposition to hold early elections and set up a coalition government. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was released from jail on Saturday, three years after being found guilty of fraud, and is expected to run for president. See Euronews’s report of the events as they happened,

  • The former head of the country’s secret services and a strong ally of Tymoshenko, Oleksandr Turchynov, was named interim president. Here’s a BBC profile of Turchynov.

  • Russia has recalled its ambassador to Ukraine for consultations, Reuters reported late yesterday, as Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the latest events showed the opposition “had in effect seized power in Kiev, refused to disarm and continued to place its bets on violence,” the BBC reports. As the West awaits Russia’s reaction, National Security Adviser Susan Rice warned Moscow that sending its troops would be “a grave mistake.”

  • There are now fears that Ukraine might eventually be split in two, with the pro-European part of the country to the West and the pro-Russian part to the East. Speaking to RT, Globalist Research Center chief global analyst Martin Sieff commented that Washington and Brussels’s backing of “revolutionary chaos and disorder” was a “catastrophic move,” as it might encourage similar events in other countries.

  • The events of the last few days have done nothing to solve the country’s longtime financial problems. The Ukrainian Finance Ministry and National Bank said this morning that the country would need $35 billion in urgent financial aid and appealed for the help of the EU, the U.S. and the IMF, Voice of Russia reports. Britain already pledged to help the country.But it is unclear whether Russia will keep its part of a deal signed in December 2013 now that the country’s leadership has moved towards the West.

EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT RESIGNS
The Egyptian government of Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi has resigned, according to reports from state-run newspaper Al Ahram. According to the report, the decision was reached after a 15-minute cabinet meeting. General al-Sisi, who is expected to run for presidency later this year, was the acting defense minister. Read more from Al Arabiya.

THREE DEAD IN THAILAND PROTEST
A mother and her two children died after a grenade was thrown at an anti-government protest in Thailand’s capital, injuring another 22 people, The Bangkok Post reports. The blast came hours after shots were fired at the march, killing a 5-year-old girl and wounding 34 people. Opposition leaders accused the government of being behind the attacks while Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra condemned them as "terrorist acts for political gain,",according to the BBC.

PENTAGON PLANS TO SHRINK U.S. ARMY
A proposed plan to shrink the size of the U.S. army to its pre-World War II level will be released today, says The New York Times. The move, which would eliminate a whole class of Air Force attack jets, is said to seriously limit American capacity to intervene abroad militarily and was described by anonymous officials as an “aggressive push off the war footing” that followed 9/11.

JOINT SOUTH KOREA-U.S. MILITARY DRILL BEGINS
South Korea and the United States are beginning today their annual joint military drill despite North Korea’s opposition and even as the family reunions between the two Koreas are coming to an end this week. Read more about the computer-based Key Resolve exercise and the field training drill Foal Eagle in this paper from Yonhap news agency.

FOTO
Hundreds of jogging enthusiasts ran semi-naked at Olympic Forest Park in Beijing to condemn the city’s horrible air pollution.

POLIO-LIKE ILLNESSES REPORTED IN CALIFORNIA
As many as 25 children are feared to have been infected with a polio-like disease in California since 2012, USA Today reports. According to a doctor, “The best-case scenario is complete loss of one limb, the worst is all four limbs, with respiratory insufficiency, as well.”

BY THE NUMBERS
More than 11 million homes sit empty across Europe — enough to house all of the continent’s homeless twice over.

VERBATIM
After two weeks of violent protests, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called for a national peace conference, inviting the opposition leader to join him.

MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD

BYE BYE SOCHI
The Winter Olympic Games in Sochi ended yesterday with a beautiful ceremony that also showed the world some Russian humor. See the best moments of yesterday’s closing ceremony here and 14 unforgettable moments of the Games.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Wagner's MIA Convicts: Where Do Deserting Russian Mercenaries Go?

Tens of thousands of Russian prisoners who've been recruited by the Wagner Group mercenary outfit have escaped from the frontlines after volunteering in exchange for freedom. Some appear to be seeking political asylum in Europe thanks to a "cleared" criminal record.

Picture of a soldier wearing the Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Soldier wearing the paramilitary Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Source: Sky over Ukraine via Facebook
Anna Akage

Of the about 50,000 Russian convicts who signed up to fight in Ukraine with the Wagner Group, just 10,000 are reportedly still at the front. An unknown number have been killed in action — but among those would-be casualties are also a certain number of coffins that are actually empty.

To hide the number of soldiers who have deserted or defected to Ukraine, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is reportedly adding them to the lists of the dead and missing.

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Some Wagner fighters have surrendered through the Ukrainian government's "I Want To Live" hotline, says Olga Romanova, director and founder of the Russia Behind Bars foundation.

"Relatives of the convicts enlisted in the Wagner Group are not allowed to open the coffins," explains Romanova.

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