Ukraine, Briefly

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  • Ukrainian authorities claimed Tuesday that the decaying corpses of 200 people were discovered in the basement of a bombed-out apartment building in devastated Mariupol, the latest in a string of bleak discoveries since Russia’s three-month invasion of Ukraine started in late February, USA Today reported. Meanwhile, Ukraine will begin investigating about 13,000 cases of alleged Russian war crimes, according to France 24.
  • Finland and Sweden will send delegations to Turkey on Wednesday to try to mitigate Turkish resistance to their NATO membership aspirations, Reuters noted. Turkey claims Sweden and Finland are harboring members of the violent Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and supporters of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says planned a 2016 coup attempt.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy approved legislation this week that would authorize his country to confiscate and sell the assets of anyone who support Russia’s invasion, NPR wrote. Zelenskyy said the measure will strengthen Ukraine’s war chest three months after Russia began a violent conflict with its neighbor.
  • The United States will close the last channel for Russia to repay billions of dollars in debt to international investors on Wednesday, making a Russian debt default for the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution all but certain, the Associated Press reported. The Treasury Department stated that it did not intend to extend the license that permitted Russia to continue paying its debt holders through American banks.
  • Russian forces are attempting to encircle major cities in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas area in a fresh onslaught, the Hill noted. The cities of Lysychansk, Rubizhne and Sievierodonetsk are located in and around the Luhansk region, which, along with the Donetsk region, has seen fighting since 2014 involving Russian-backed separatist forces. British intelligence warned that if Russian troops seize Sievierodonetsk, Russia would effectively bring Luhansk under Moscow’s control.
  • Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Monday that Ukraine should relinquish land to Russia to help stop the invasion, a position most Ukrainians oppose as the war approaches its fourth month, according to the Washington Post. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Kissinger encouraged the US and the West to avoid an embarrassing setback for Russia in Ukraine, saying that doing so would jeopardize Europe’s long-term stability.

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