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Gaza City on Aug. 27
Gaza City on Aug. 27
Hélène Jaffiol and Hélène Sallon

GAZA — Palestinian human rights organizations have used the truce in Gaza to begin their difficult investigation work on a war that has already killed more than 2,000 people. They are among the few NGOs on the ground while global organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, await permission to enter the enclave, which they have been asking of Israel since July 8.

It will take months to substantiate allegations from both sides of international humanitarian law violations. Hundreds of stories, that sometimes mix experienced horrors with overheard rumors, need to be confirmed, and some jealously guarded secrets must be unveiled. On July 23, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that "war crimes" may have been committed by both Israel and Hamas. Legal responsibility will be judged by the principles of the Geneva conventions.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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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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