FOCUS on Ukraine: Ukrainian Resistance

Ukrainians have mounted a “stiffer-than-expected” military and civil resistance since Russian troops invaded the country in late February, the New York Times reports. 

The Ukrainian military, one of Europe’s largest with over 370,000 active and reserve troops, has spent billions training its soldiers to counter Russian offenses in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Thus far, it appears that their efforts have paid off – Russia, despite its military and economic advantages, has managed to capture only one major city in 10 days, the southern city of Kherson.

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Sanctions May Not Stop Putin, But They Will Certainly Hurt the Russian People

As the world watched in horror while Vladimir Putin launched his illegal and indefensible invasion of Ukraine, many immediately called for the harshest sanctions possible to be imposed on Putin’s regime. The United States and its allies showed remarkable unity in implementing comprehensive sanctions targeting key sectors of the Russian economy. According to Vox, the U.S. and Europe immediately sanctioned Putin and other Russian oligarchs by freezing their assets and confiscating properties belonging to individuals close to the Russian government. 

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U.S. Launches Sanctions Against Houthi Financers

On February 23, the United States took a major step in supporting allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by announcing sanctions against key members of an international financing network accused of diverting funds for Yemen’s Houthi rebels, reports The Independent. The sanctions were launched in response to recent conflict escalation by the Houthis, who have launched an increasing number of missile and drone strikes against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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Is Israel Being Unfairly Targeted by the UN Human Rights Council?

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) recently created a special commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of crimes of apartheid committed by the Israeli government against Palestinians. The fact-finding mission is being used to respond to allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Israel, according to the UNHRC.

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Russia Takes Chernobyl and Holds Staff Hostage as Radiation Levels Increase

On February 24, Russian troops captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its exclusion zone, the 30 kilometer area around the site of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, reports Radio Free Europe. The situation escalated when it was reported by CNN that soldiers were holding power plant staff hostage. On February 25, Reuters said that both the Ukrainian nuclear agency and interior ministry had reported increased radiation levels coming from the plant.

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In Ukraine, an Invasion and its Consequences

Weeks of escalating tensions in Europe reached their breaking point on February 24, when Russia officially launched its first attacks against Ukraine. As the ominous buildup of over 100,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s border showed no signs of slowing down in the days leading up to the attack, many nations expressed concern that President Vladimir Putin was formulating plans for military operations against Ukraine, reports The New York Times.

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Yemen War Intensifies as Drones Fired on UAE

On January 17, a drone attack on the UAE by Ansarullah, also known as Houthis, in Yemen marked the first time Yemeni forces were able to strike targets in the UAE, a notable escalation in the Yemen War, reports The Associated Press. The Associated Press further reports that this attack was followed by subsequent strikes on strategic facilities in the UAE, including during the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, on January 31.

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Myanmar Marks One Year Since Military Takeover

February 1marked one year since Myanmar’s  military staged a coup to oust democratically elected leader Aung Sann Suu Kyi, less than a decade after its transition into a democratic nation. The U.N. Security Council released a statement regarding the one-year anniversary, calling for those still detained to abe released, including the country’s former president Win Myint, reports U.S. News. Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and long-time supporter of democracy, remains detained as well. 

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Four Mexican Journalists Killed in First Four Weeks of 2022

A recent uptick of violence against journalists in Mexico has helped solidify its status as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists, reports The Guardian. The January 31 murder of Roberto Toledo, a videographer for the news website Monitor Michoacan, was the final straw that sparked protests across the country from journalists, advocating for more protection, adds The New York Times.

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