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Greece

Who Is The Real Alexis Tsipras?

Those who know him best say Greek Prime Minister Tsipras is driven by three contradictory strands. Profile of a leader battling his 'inner troika.'

Alexis Tsipras last month in the Greek Parliament
Alexis Tsipras last month in the Greek Parliament
Alain Salles

ATHENS — It was about 1 a.m. on Saturday June 27 when Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke into a television camera, using a tone that was neither threatening nor indignant. The man who has exasperated European leaders for five months calmly delivered a shockwave that reverberated across the continent: the bailout plan imposed by the country's creditors would be put to a national referendum before the Greek people.

Tsipras' stand is a final act of defiance pitting Greek democracy against the so-called "troika" — the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Commission — which has forced Greece into years of grinding austerity. It's an ultimatum that has left Greeks desperately roaming the streets in search of any bank still open to empty their bank accounts and hold onto their livelihoods.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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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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