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Author: Wire Service

Russia’s human shield narrative: The lies Putin invokes to justify the slaying of innocent civilians

Since Russia’s invasion began in late February 2022, universities, schools, theaters, hospitals, and many other civilian sites in Ukraine have been destroyed by Russian shelling and more than four million people have so far fled the country. Faced with the devastating consequences of its actions, Russia has increasingly fallen back on a single legal justification: human shields. Indeed, Moscow repeatedly suggested that Ukraine’s military is deliberately using civilians as a screen to defend legitimate military targets. On February 25, just hours after the invasion began, Russian President Vladimir Putin appealed directly to the personnel of the armed forces of...

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A month of war: Russia’s stalled invasion of Ukraine has left death, destruction, and no clear endgame

Russia’s month-long war on Ukraine has killed thousands of people, displaced millions of refugees and devastated cities, but its armed forces remain largely frustrated by fierce Ukrainian resistance, with no end in sight to the conflict. On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine – the biggest offensive in Europe since World War II – and implied the possibility of nuclear escalation if the West intervened. After Russian armed forces were unable to seize control of Ukraine with a lightning offensive in the first week of the war, they shifted strategy to the bombardment...

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Our Dystopian Normal: Why American narcissism over COVID is still needlessly killing people

The United States has all but declared the COVID-19 pandemic over and done with. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised 230 million Americans, 70 percent of the population, to no longer wear masks in most cases, including indoors. Cities, counties, and states across the U.S. have lifted their mask mandates. Restaurants, shopping malls, movie theaters, and grocery stores have dropped mask and physical distancing requirements. Even school districts have gone mask-optional since the end of February. This is despite more than 55,000 Americans contracting the disease and nearly 2,000 dying from it and the complications it causes...

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Conservative Discontent: How White fears led to philanthropy that discouraged discussions of race

While pundits and scholars continue to debate the extent to which Donald Trump’s time in office has eroded American democracy, what is clear is that the former president’s political rhetoric breached the boundaries of acceptable racial discourse in the United States. Trump assailed Mexicans as criminals, called for a ban on Muslims, said African nations were “sh*thole countries,” and referred to white supremacists in Charlottesville as “very fine people.” In his final act as president, he showed no remorse for the deadly violence he instigated during the January 6, 2021 Capitol riots with his lies about a stolen election....

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Is Vladimir Putin a War Criminal? Understanding the legal implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said the world must officially recognize that, under Putin, Russia has become a terrorist state. United States President Joe Biden has labelled his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, a “war criminal” for the war in Ukraine, drawing sharp condemnation from the Kremlin which described the comments as “unacceptable and unforgivable.” After Biden used the term on March 16, the White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president was “speaking from his heart” after seeing “barbaric” violence in Ukraine, rather than making any formal declaration. The White House had been avoiding applying the designation to Putin, saying...

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World War Z: Why Russian propaganda is using the last letter of the Latin alphabet like the swastika

Russians around the world have been daubing the white letter on black backgrounds to denote support for their army fighting in Ukraine. The adoption of the “Z” as a symbolic expression of support is viewed as particularly controversial as it was originally daubed on tanks attacking Ukrainian cities. As Russia’s military campaign into Ukraine continues to fuel Western condemnation, a radically different portrait of the conflict is emerging in Russia. While the Ukrainians claim thousands of Russian troops have died, U.S. military analysts believe the true death toll to be somewhere between the Russian and Ukrainian figures. But it...

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