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Ukraine

Nuclear Past, Radioactive Future: In Chernobyl, 30 Years Later

As plants and wildlife struggle to survive in the area contaminated by the April 26, 1986 nuclear disaster, some elderly villagers have returned.

Dangerous ride back
Dangerous ride back
Pierre Le Hir

CHERNOBYL — Forest, nothing but forest, as far as the eye can see. Dense, thick and impenetrable forest. On either side of a stretch of asphalt scarred by potholes, ominous-looking pine trees stand tall while frost-covered birch trees make a ghostly view. Among the branches, overtaken by sprouts of weeds, bramble and underbrush, are a couple of abandoned red-brick houses, with their tiled roofs sunken, their windows wide open like empty eye sockets and their faded shutters flapping about in the wind. Here, at the start of spring, a shroud of snow covers the ground, frozen beneath a pale sun. Welcome to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

To enter, one need only consult one of the numerous agencies specialized in so-called "dark tourism" — a tourism of horror, of the macabre, of the morbid, which stems as much from genuine interest as its does from pure voyeurism.

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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