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Verbatim: What Merkel, Assad, Pope Francis And Little Maria's Mother Said This Week

Over the past week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted to the newest U.S. spy revelations that suggested her personal cell phone was targeted, and Pope Francis struck a strong note after the suspension of a bishop who lived a breathtakingly extravagant lifestyle. Meanwhile, the biological mother of the little Roma girl named Maria was found. Read what she and other global newsmakers had to say.

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Ukrainian troops enter the city of Izium after recapturing it from Russian army

Anna Akage, Chloé Touchard, Sophia Constantino, and Emma Albright

Occupation authorities of three Ukrainian regions have officially demanded referendums on becoming part of Russia.

The Russian authorities of the Luhansk and Donetsk republics and the deputy head of the Kherson administration simultaneously demanded that referendums be held immediately, Russian news agency RIA Novosti has reported.

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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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