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Geopolitics

Syria: One Thing Europe Can Do To Stop The Slaughter In Ghouta

Refusing to fund reconstruction efforts until attacks stop could be a solution to combat violence against civilians in war torn Syrian cities such as Ghouta and Alleppo.

A Syrian woman and her daughter walk past a destroyed house in the rebel-held Eastern Al-Ghouta province.
A Syrian woman and her daughter walk past a destroyed house in the rebel-held Eastern Al-Ghouta province.
Dr. Ahmad Tarakji

East Ghouta is experiencing hell on earth. The European Union called last week for an immediate end to what it described as a "massacre" in the besieged Damascus suburbs, but violence is ongoing.

Hundreds of airstrikes, rockets and mortars have rained down nearly every day for the past two weeks in the densely populated area, where at least 390,000 civilians are living under siege without access to basic food and medical supplies. There have been at least 28 attacks on medical facilities and healthcare professionals. Medical staff at a Syrian American Medical Society-supported facility said doctors treated at least 29 people on Wednesday for symptoms of exposure to chlorine gas. At least 30,000 people inside Ghouta have been displaced, and an average of between 50 and 100 civilians have been killed every day.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s Decoy-In-Chief

The Russian Foreign Minister, among the country’s most recognizable figures, embodies both the corruption and confusion of the Putin regime. Not everything is what it seems — and that’s the point.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a diplomatic reception for heads of African diplomatic missions

Anna Akage

From the outside, one might have the impression that the Russian Federation is run through a highly complex and well-coordinated apparatus that ensures that any single cog in Vladimir Putin’s system is by definition both in synch with the other cogs — and utterly replaceable. The Kremlin appears to us through this lens as an impregnable citadel with long arms and peering eyes that are literally everywhere.

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And yet, this is a completely false picture — and there’s no greater proof than in looking more closely at one of Russia's most prominent figures, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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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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