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Geopolitics

Limits Of Martyrdom, Why Zelensky Should Lead Ukraine From Exile

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seems ready to accept death on the battlefield — but he would be doing his people an even greater service if he fled Ukraine to establish a government-in-exile.

photo of people passing by a Zelensky graffiti in Barcelona, Spain

Zelensky street art in Barcelona, Spain

Ansgar Graw

-Analysis-

BERLIN — The former KGB lieutenant colonel Vladimir Putin likes to be photographed with a rifle in his hand or on horseback, in both cases bare-chested. But he's lost his status as a war hero to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who until recently appeared on camera as a comedian.

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Hollywood could not have come up with a better quote than what he reportedly said when he refused the U.S. offer to get him out of the country: "I need ammunition, not a ride."

And while Putin currently seeks publicity only occasionally with rather enraptured video speeches, there are plenty of pictures of Zelensky showing up at the front in Kyiv, dressed in military fatigues and standing shoulder to shoulder with other freedom fighters. Pure masculinity, which yesterday was deemed archaic, is now suddenly becoming trendy again, against the backdrop of a turning point in Europe.

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Ideas

Artificial Satellite Pollution, Perils For Biodiversity In Space And On Earth

Exploiting space resources and littering it with satellite and other anthropogenic objects is endangering the ecosystem of space, which also damages the earth and its creatures below.

Image of the small satellite NanoRacks-Remove Debris satellite deployed into space by the ISS

Thomas Lewton

Outer space isn’t what most people would think of as an ecosystem. Its barren and frigid void isn’t exactly akin to the verdant canopies of a rainforest or to the iridescent shoals that swim among coral cities. But if we are to become better stewards of the increasingly frenzied band of orbital space above our atmosphere, a shift to thinking of it as an ecosystem — as part of an interconnected system of living things interacting with their physical environment — may be just what we need.

Last month, in the journal Nature Astronomy, a collective of 11 astrophysicists and space scientists proposed we do just that, citing the proliferation of anthropogenic space objects. Thousands of satellites currently orbit the Earth, with commercial internet providers such as SpaceX’s Starlink launching new ones at a dizzying pace. Based on proposals for projects in the future, the authors note, the number could reach more than a hundred thousand within the decade. Artificial satellites, long a vital part of the space ecosystem, have arguably become an invasive species.

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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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