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An ancient bell in Durbar Square, Patan, after the deadly earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.
An ancient bell in Durbar Square, Patan, after the deadly earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, 2015.
Maria Grazia Coggiola

KATHMANDU — It's 4 p.m. in Durbar Square, the iconic piazza in the middle of Nepal's capital, and a group of volunteers is digging through the rubble of the Hindu Kasthamandap Temple which, according to legend, was built with the wood of a single tree in the 12th century. Suddenly, there's an explosion of joy and a round of applause.

Two rescuers hold a pigeon who miraculously survived in a crevice between two beams. They raise it towards the sky, and after a bit of confusion, the bird takes off. It's a moment of hope after 24 non-stop hours of desperate attempts to find survivors of Saturday's devastating earthquake.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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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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