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Signs Of Mariupol Mass Graves, As Russia Pounds Azovstal

Photo of a protest in support of Mariupol in Warsaw, Poland, on April 21

Protest in support of Mariupol in Warsaw, Poland, on April 21

Anna Akage, Jeff Israely and Cameron Manley

Mariupol’s mayor Vadym Boichenko has accused Russia of burying dead civilians in mass graves, a charge that appears to be confirmed by satellite photos released late Thursday of sites in a nearby village.

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Ukrainian sources report Friday that there are currently multiple wounded and dead people inside separated bunkers of the plant, which have room for between 80 and 100 people each. The entrances to some shelters are blocked by concrete slabs, which cannot be moved without heavy equipment. On Thursday, Vladimir Putin claimed Russia had “liberated” Mariupol, but acknowledged that the steel plant is still in Ukrainian control, and would be sealed off rather than attacked.

Kyiv-based Livy Bereg news outlet reports Friday that the Russian military continues to shell the Azovstal plant with warships and air attacks, capable of destroying Ukrainian bunkers.

Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby was asked if U.S. naval troops could help free trapped Ukrainians: "If you’re asking if the U.S. Navy is going to take part in operations in the Black Sea, such as breaking the blockade, the answer is no."

Mariupol Commander In Azovstal: If Russians Don’t Kill Us, Hunger Will

File:Azovstal smoked.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

German daily Die Welt reached Ukrainian commander Serhiy Wolyna in Mariupol, who described the situation in the port’s last bastion of resistance: “The Azovstal steel mill is under our control at the moment. We are ready to fight. The situation is tense. I try to control myself. My squad's will to fight is affected by my mental state. If I collapsed, so would my whole squad. We're trying to hold on.”

Wolyna explained that his troops are constantly bracing for a new attack that can arrive at any moment. He also talked about the importance of communication lines and supplies.

“The city of Mariupol has been isolated for more than 50 days. The internet is bad. At this point anyway: thank you very much, Elon Musk. We use Starlink. We get electricity from generators. Despite this, we hardly have any food or water. We eat once a day. If the Russians don't kill us, hunger will. We only sleep two hours a day, and sometimes not at all.”

Speculation On Putin’s Health After Video Shows Him Weak With Limp Arm

Speculation is circulating online about Vladimir Putin’s health after the widely viewed video Thursday of the Russian President looking frail and unstable as he spoke with his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

One Canada-based critic of Russian propaganda said Putin’s “limp left arm” in the video, as he holds on to the desk with his other hand, is a sign of “late onset Rett syndrome (Excogitari ineptias),” which is usually fatal. Others had previously speculated that Putin suffers from Parkinson’s or cancer.

“Russian Warship Go F**k Yourself” Ukrainian Postage Stamp Sells Out

Ukraine’s national post office Ukrposhta has put into circulation the country’s first new postage stamp since the Russian invasion, and it’s an eye-catcher. The stamp features an illustration of a Ukrainian soldier holding up his middle finger at a warship with the words: “Russian Warship go F**k yourself,” a reference to Ukraine’s sinking of Russian warship Moskva in the Black Sea earlier this month.

The phrase has become one of the symbols of Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion. “It is about the strength of spirit of our soldiers, about the honor and dignity of real Ukrainians," said Larysa Makarenko, who heads the postal services.

According to Ukrainian news outlet Livy Bereg, some 500 artists took part in a competition to design the first stamp since the war began, with voting by the public. The author of the winning sketch Borys Grokh is a native of Crimea, who currently lives in Lviv. The stamp sold out its nearly half a million editions.

Biden Pledges $800 Million More In Arms For Ukraine

U.S. President Joe Biden pledged $800 million in more weapons for Ukraine on Thursday and said he would ask Congress for more money to help bolster support for the Ukrainian military as it faces a fresh onslaught by Russia on its eastern flank.

The president borrowed, and modified, a famous line by Theodore Roosevelt, saying that the United States would “speak softly and carry a large Javelin,” a reference to the antitank weapon that the Ukrainians have used effectively against Russian armor.

At the same time, Germany plans to allocate 37 million euros (about $40 million) more to Ukraine, reports the newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine, while the DPA agency reported earlier that the German government was preparing deliveries of Soviet T-72 tanks to Ukraine through Slovenia on the basis of the so-called circular exchange.

Ukrainians Training With UK Military

Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Foreign an… | Flickrwww.flickr.com

Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers are currently training in the UK, learning how to use 120 British armored vehicles before returning with them to fight in the war against Russia, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has revealed.

Kyiv & Moscow Eyes On French Elections

Leaders in both Russia and Ukraine will be watching the results of Sunday’s decisive French presidential runoff between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Macron has been a key player in the West’s unified opposition to the Russian invasion. While Le Pen criticized Moscow’s aggression, she has also said that France should be “equidistant” in its diplomatic relations between Moscow and Washington.

Here’s a rapid look at Le Pen’s past and present positions on Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Latest Pro-Russian Propaganda Video Set To TikTok Music Sea Shanty

Pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine are using all means necessary to convince their neighbors, of all ages, to support Moscow’s invasion. That now includes a sea shanty, ”Wellerman”: The 19th-century song went viral on TikTok, with new Russian lyrics and 1980s-inspired choreography.

Rubles & Rupees: India Tightens Economic Ties With Russia

File:Reserve Bank of India, Nagpur.jpg - Wikimedia Commonscommons.wikimedia.org

Representatives of the Bank of Russia and Reserve Bank of India have met in Mumbai to discuss potential pay transactions in rubles and rupees, Russian news agency TASS reports. This would be the next step after Russia and India considered creating an alternative transaction platform for bilateral trade in rubles and rupees against the backdrop of Western sanctions against the Russians at the end of March.

Russian Oligarch And Family Found Dead In Spain

A Russian oligarch and his wife and daughter were found dead in a rented villa in Spain, Madrid-based ABC daily reported Thursday. The 55-year-old former executive of Russian gas giant Novatek, Sergei Protosenya, as found two days earlier in the villa near Barcelona hanged, while his wife and daughter had been stabbed to death, police were quoted as saying.

This follows reports that another oligarch, Vladislav Avayev, the former vice president of Gazprombank, was found dead of a gunshot wound in his Moscow apartment on Monday.

Oligarchs Find Refuge From Russian Sanctions In UAE

Russian oligarchs are fanning out around the world, racing against time to relocate their assets to tax havens as Western sanctions hit home. They turn to private banks where transactions, opaque as they are in the UAE for instance, make it almost impossible to trace funds. Here’s a visit to Dubai in search of Russian billionaires and their assets.

Djokovic Responds To Russia-Belarus Wimbledon Ban

Novak Djokovic | On the practice court at the Fever-Tree Cha… | Flickrwww.flickr.com

"I will always condemn war, I will never support war being myself a child of war. However, I cannot support the decision of Wimbledon, I think it is crazy. When politics interferes with sport, the result is not good." Novak Djokovic, the reigning Wimbledon champion and World No. 1 blasted the decision of the prestigious English tennis tournament to ban all players from Russia and Belarus.

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U.S., France, Israel: How Three Model Democracies Are Coming Unglued

France, Israel, United States: these three democracies all face their own distinct problems. But these problems are revealing disturbing cracks in society that pose a real danger to hard-earned progress that won't be easily regained.

Image of a crowd of protestors holding Israeli flags and a woman speaking into a megaphone

Israeli anti-government protesters take to the streets in Tel-Aviv, after Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Defence Minister Yoav Galant.

Dominique Moïsi

"I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat," reads the t-shirt of a Republican Party supporter in the U.S.

"We need to bring the French economy to its knees," announces the leader of the French union Confédération Générale du Travail.

"Let's end the power of the Supreme Court filled with leftist and pro-Palestinian Ashkenazis," say Israeli government cabinet ministers pushing extreme judicial reforms

The United States, France, Israel: three countries, three continents, three situations that have nothing to do with each other. But each country appears to be on the edge of a nervous breakdown of what seemed like solid democracies.

How can we explain these political excesses, irrational proclamations, even suicidal tendencies?

The answer seems simple: in the United States, in France, in Israel — far from an exhaustive list — democracy is facing the challenge of society's ever-greater polarization. We can manage the competition of ideas and opposing interests. But how to respond to rage, even hatred, borne of a sense of injustice and humiliation?

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