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Scotland's day of reckoning
Scotland's day of reckoning

SCOTLAND’S MOMENT OF TRUTH
The time has come for Scottish voters to decide whether they want to live in an independent Scotland or remain part of the United Kingdom. Polling stations will be open until 10 p.m. local time ,and the results are expected by tomorrow morning, though the counting could take longer than usual, as authorities believe the turnout will be historically high, with 97% of the electorate having registered to vote, the BBC explains.

POROSHENKO TO MEET OBAMA
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will be in Washington today for a meeting with President Barack Obama focused on economic and military aid, The Washington Post reports, although it is “far from clear” whether Poroshenko will obtain “a substantial new pledge” of U.S. support. This comes amid growing hopes that the conflict in eastern Ukraine might be nearing an end. A fragile two-week-old ceasefire is still in place, and Moscow has welcomed Kiev’s pledge to allow more autonomy to rebel-held regions, AFP reports. Meanwhile, a team of BBC reporters said they had been attacked in southern Russia.

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In The News

War in Ukraine, Day 92: Is Severodonetsk The Next Mariupol?

Russian troops are attempting to encircle Severodonetsk, the last key city remaining under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk region, as Vladimir Putin looks to claim victory in a war that is not going Moscow's way. But will the toll be for civilians?

Inside a shelter in Severodonetsk.

Meike Eijsberg, Shaun Lavelle and Cameron Manley

Severodonetsk, the last key city remaining under Ukrainian control in the Luhansk area, is now the focal point of Russia’s war. In 2014, it had been recaptured from the pro-Russian separatists in a hard-fought battle by Ukrainian forces. Now, eight years later, Moscow is launching an all-out attack to try to take it back again.

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Alex Crawford, a Sky News correspondent in the region, says Russian forces have the means to conquer the city that in normal times has a population of circa 100,000 — and Moscow will be eager to cite it as the “victory”. But, Crawford wrote, “the path to victory comes – like the capture of the port city of Mariupol – strewn with the broken and battered bodies of the city's citizens.”

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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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