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Geopolitics

Defenders Of Kyiv: Ukraine Troops Use Trench Warfare To Turn The Tide

In the initial days of the war, the 18-kilometer convoy of Russian tanks became a symbol of Putin's attempt at a blitzkrieg. But now, the Russians have been stopped, and the Ukrainian forces are digging trenches to strengthen their position. Scenes from the daily struggle.

Defenders Of Kyiv: Ukraine Troops Use Trench Warfare To Turn The Tide

In a trench shelter in eastern Ukraine in January 2022

Francesco Semprini

KYIV — The sense of smell can serve as a way to orient yourself on the front line, to understand where the fighting is taking place. Its intensity grows as you get closer to the front line, it penetrates the nostrils and slips into the throat, anesthetizing until you end up getting used to it.

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The sense of smell alerts you when you approach a grey zone, where everything is moving, like the front line a few dozen kilometers to the northeast of Kyiv..

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Coronavirus

In Shanghai, A Brewing Expat Exodus As COVID Crackdown Shows "Real" China

Not only strict rules of freedom of movement as part of Zero-COVID policy but also an increase in censorship has raised many questions for the expat population in the megacity of 26 million that had long enjoyed a kind of special status in China as a place of freedom and openness. A recent survey of foreigners in the Chinese megacity found that 48% of respondents said they would leave Shanghai within the next year.

People walk in Tianzifang, located in Huangpu District, a well-known tourist attraction in Shanghai.

Lili Bai

SHANGHAI — On the seventh day of the lockdown, Félix, a French expat who has worked in Shanghai for four years, texted his boss: I want to "run,' mais je sais pas quand (but I don’t know when). A minute later, he received a reply: moi aussi (me too).

Félix had recently learned the new Mandarin word 润 (run) from social network postings of his local friends. Because its pinyin “rùn” is the same as the English word “run,” Chinese youth had begun to use it to express their wish to escape reality, either to “be freed from mundane life”, or to “run toward your future.”

For foreigners like Félix, by associating the expression “run” with the feeling of the current lockdown in Shanghai, “everything makes sense.” Félix recalled how at the end of March, the government denied rumors of an impending lockdown: “My Chinese colleagues all said, Shanghai is China’s top city, there would be no lockdown no matter what.”

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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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