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Geopolitics

Norway: Tears, Roses And A Sinking Feeling Things Will Never Be The Same

Norwegians are struggling to come to terms with Friday’s horrific massacre. A memorial service Sunday in the Oslo Cathedral drew tens of thousands of mourners. On the streets of the capital, passersby question the possible long-term effects of the tragedy

Mourners gathered in front of the Cathedral in Oslo, Norway
Mourners gathered in front of the Cathedral in Oslo, Norway
Luc Mathieu

OSLO -- In Oslo, some people came with big electronic lighters. Others came just with matches. Squatted on the wet pavement, they relight the candles that were extinguished by last night's rain. A young woman has red eyes. An old man folds his arms. He is sobbing slowly. They all look at the thousands of bunches of white and red roses that have been laid in front the Oslo Cathedral since Friday night. Among the flowers is a heart-shaped note that reads "Never forget, never forgive."

People began arriving for Sunday's memorial proceedings at about 10 a.m., slowly filling the plaza in front of the Cathedral. They line up silently all along the pavement. Official vehicles drop off Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, King Haral V and his wife Sonja. The families of the victims enter the cathedral in small groups. People are calling this the ceremony of "sorrow and hope." During his televised address, Jens Stoltenberg struggles to hold back the tears. In the crowd, several people burst out crying.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Hide-And-Seek Of Drone Warfare, A Letter From Ukraine's Front Line

A member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces writes his account of the new dynamic of targeting, and being targeted by, the invading Russian troops, as drones circle above and trenches get left behind.

A Ukrainian military drone operator during a testing of anti-drone rifle in Kyiv.

Igor Lutsenko*

KYIV — The current war in Ukraine is a game of hide-and-seek. Both sides are very well-stocked with artillery, enough to destroy the enemy along many kilometers. Swarms of drones fly through the air day and night, keeping a close eye on the earth's surface below. If they notice something interesting, it immediately becomes a target. Depending on the priority, they put it in line for destruction by artillery.

Therefore, the only effective way to survive is to hide, or at least somehow prove to the drones your non-priority status — and avoid moving to the front of the 'queue of death.'

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In general, the nature of this queue is a particular thing. It may seem to be a god, but is instead a simple artillery captain's decision of when to have lunch, and when to fire on the house where several enemy soldiers are staying. It's just a handful of ordinary people (observers, artillerymen) deciding how long their enemies will live depending on their own schedule or the weather, the availability of ammunition or if they're feeling tired.

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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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