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Five Russian Plays, With One From The Ukrainian

Tatiana (to Hirin): But I must begin at the beginning. Suddenly last week I got a letter from Mama. She wrote that a certain Grendelevski had proposed to my sister Kate. An excellent, modest young man, but without any means and with no particular position. And apparently, just imagine, Kate was attracted by him. What was to be done? Mama wrote to me to come at once and use my influence over my sister.

Five Russian plays, with one from the Ukrainian

The loss of Ukraine means that Moscow must come to terms with the greatest retreat in Russian influence since the demise of the USSR. For the time being, the uncertainties of the unresolved conflict in eastern Ukraine have delayed the inevitable fallout from this historic setback. However, when the reckoning finally arrives, it promises to be painful for the Kremlin.

Workers restore the railway tracks Sunday on the Kerch bridge that links Crimea to Russia, a day after it was damaged by a blast. Officials said car and train traffic had resumed over the bridge, with Moscow's transport ministry saying Sunday that long-distance passenger trains from Crimea to Russia were "moving according to the standard schedule." AFP via Getty Images hide caption

Much can change in the five weeks remaining before the election. Poroshenko is running as a safe pair of hands for a country at war but suffers from a widespread view that Ukraine is headed in the wrong direction. Tymoshenko has advanced a populist platform that may appeal to voters but would prove a hard sell with international donors, and has high negatives in opinion polls (as does Poroshenko). Zelenskiy, who portrays the president of Ukraine in a television comedy show, seems a blank slate; he has yet to provide much in the way of detail as to what his presidency would mean for the country or who would comprise his team.

Putin has no need to go big, with its attendant risks, when his salami tactics are working. The November Russian attack on Ukrainian ships exercising innocent passage in the Kerch Strait drew no significant response from the United States or Europe. Russia is now that much closer to asserting unilateral control over the Sea of Azov.

Biden spoke from the White House hours after holding a virtual meeting with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Italy and Japan. Also in attendance were European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Biden also met with his national security team to discuss the crisis.

Many of the U.S. soldiers deploying from Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Bragg, N.C., have been sent to Poland to help process people fleeing Ukraine, an Army spokesman said Thursday. U.S. troops have been working with Polish forces to set up three processing centers near the Ukrainian border to help tens of thousands of people expected to flee, including Americans.

Ukraine is halfway through a presidential election: The first round took place on March 31, and the run-off is coming up on April 21. At the annual Kyiv Security Forum and in other conversations in Kyiv last week, I had the opportunity to catch up on the latest developments in Ukraine, and came away with five key observations.

The reaction of the international community may seem insufficient for the moment because it has had no immediate effect on the fighting, but the sanctions against Moscow will have a lasting impact on all sectors (finance, energy, transport, technology) and individuals, including powerful oligarchs. Russia is being totally cut off from trade with the richest countries in the world (besides China) and is being economically strangled. And the effects are starting to show, with a ruble now less valuable than a single American penny. China will be able to compensate for some of these effects, but not all of them, and this will take time. It will not be able to return seized funds, properties, and yachts. It will not be able to reopen airspaces and ports now closed to Russian aircraft.

Poland, the Czech Republic and other NATO countries have already provided Ukraine with hundreds of smaller Soviet-made tanks from the Cold War era when they were part of the Soviet bloc. Ukrainian armed forces, who have used similar aging weaponry, needed no extra training to use them. They played an important role on the battlefield, helping Ukraine reclaim broad swaths of territory in 11 months of fighting.

KANSK, Russia -- A court in Siberia has sentenced a 16-year-old boy to five years in prison in a high-profile terrorism case prompted by plans he had with two friends to add the building of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) to the popular video game Minecraft to allow players to blow it up.

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- An ethnic Kazakh man from China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, Sarsenbek Aqbar, has reunited with his family in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, after serving almost three years in a Chinese labor camp and two years under house arrest.

Russia's Wagner mercenary group has stopped recruiting prisoners to fight in Ukraine, the organization's founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said on February 9. "The recruitment of prisoners by the Wagner private military company has completely stopped," Prigozhin said in response to a request for comment from a Russian outlet published on social media. Wagner began recruiting prisoners in Russia's sprawling penal system in summer 2022, with Prigozhin, a catering entrepreneur who served nine years in prison during the Soviet era, offering convicts a pardon if they survived six months in Ukraine. To read the original story by Reuters, click here.

A court in Kazakhstan's southern city of Taraz has posthumously convicted five men who were shot dead during unprecedented anti-government protests in January 2022. The five were convicted of illegal weapons possession and taking part in mass unrest. The men's relatives protested near the courtroom after the verdicts were announced, saying that their loved ones were victims of police and security officers who opened fire on protesters following a presidential order "to shoot to kill without warning." At least 238 people, including 19 law enforcement officers, were killed across Kazakhstan during the protests. To read the original story by RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, click here.

Nitrogen fertilizers are primarily made from nitrogen in the air and produced by the Haber-Bosch process. The Haber-Bosch process is the main industrial procedure to produce ammonia, combining nitrogen from the air with hydrogen under extremely high pressures and temperatures. The process requires lots of natural gas. Given the availability and price of natural gas, many countries are limited in their capability to engage in such extensive production.

Potassium production is the most concentrated. Two-thirds of all potassium reserves are supplied by only three countries: Canada, Russia, and Belarus. Canada produces approximately one-third of the global potassium supply, while Russia and Belarus combined produce the other third. Because crop production uses these three macro fertilizers in some combination, almost every country relies on obtaining their fertilizers from the few countries with available fertilizers.

I am a physician with long-standing interests in health policy, medical ethics and free-market economics. I am the co-founder of Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM). I graduated from University of Michigan Medical School and completed my residency in diagnostic radiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (where I was also a faculty member). I'm now in private practice in the Denver area. All my opinions are my own, and not necessarily shared by my employer.


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