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The Real Russia. Today. Thursday, June 20, 2024

Source: Meduza

The invasion of Ukraine

🪖 Ukraine is counterattacking near Kharkiv, but insufficient manpower leaves other regions vulnerable to Russia’s ongoing offensive (6-min read)

The Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) are attempting to counterattack against Russian troops near Kharkiv and Vovchansk in northeastern Ukraine. However, these efforts have done little to stop Russia’s offensive in other sectors. Russian forces, advancing from Avdiivka, have reached within seven kilometers (about four miles) of the highway that supplies the garrison in Chasiv Yar (near Bakhmut) and the Toretsk urban area further south. It’s likely that the Russian command’s main objective for the summer is to encircle and then capture this area.

⛓️ Ukrainian photographer Kostiantyn Liberov captures the brutal physical toll of Russian captivity

In late May, Russia and Ukraine conducted their first prisoner exchange in over three months. The swap saw 75 people released back to Ukraine, including some who had been in Russian captivity for more than two years. Ukrainian photographer Kostiantyn Liberov photographed some of the former POWs after the exchange to document what the hunger and stress of imprisonment had done to their bodies. “Right here, right now, we’re seeing the biggest genocide since World War II,” Liberov writes. “These photos are evidence.”

🏫 Moscow’s efforts to Russify education in occupied Ukraine

A new report from Human Rights Watch details Russia’s efforts to forcibly subject children in occupied Ukrainian territory to a “Russified” education by limiting instruction in the Ukrainian language and imposing a curriculum that seeks to justify Moscow’s invasion. The 66-page document, which is based on interviews with school employees who survived the occupation of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region in 2022 as well as teachers from areas that remain under Russian occupation today, describes how Russia’s occupation authorities “retaliate against anyone, including in schools, who criticizes the invasion” and threaten parents who don’t enroll their children into “Russian” schools with fines and loss of custody of their children. It also notes that Russia subjects Ukrainian children in occupied territories to military training as part of their school curriculum. To force Ukrainian teachers to collaborate and to share school data such as student files, according to the report, occupation authorities use coercive methods such as detention and torture. Read the full report here.

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As the world turns

📄 Putin and Kim Jong Un’s mutual defense pact uses language nearly identical to the USSR’s 1961 treaty with North Korea

After North Korean state media published the partnership agreement signed by Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un on Wednesday in its entirety, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency was quick to note that a key section of the document looks familiar: Article 4, which concerns the provision of military aid if either party comes under attack, is nearly identical to Article 1 of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance signed in 1961 between North Korea and the USSR. Meduza compares the language and briefly outlines the history of Moscow and Pyongyang’s mutual defense agreements.

👤 A tale of two portraits

While North Korea seemed a shoo-in for this week’s Strangest Putin Portrait competition after Kim Jong Un gifted the Russian president a piece of art on Wednesday that looks like it belongs in a Russian cemetery, Vietnam was not to be outdone. During a meeting between Putin and past graduates of Soviet and Russian universities at the Hanoi Opera House on Thursday, the organizers presented a large sculpture of a rearing horse and a birch tree. When light is shone through the sculpture from one end, it projects a shadow depicting Putin at his current age; when lit from the other end, its shadow shows Putin as a young man.

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