Politics | The Economist

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Vladimir Putin’s forces shelled cities in Ukraine, hitting homes, schools and clinics. In at least one besieged city, Russia violated a ceasefire meant to allow civilians to escape. Mariupol, a port, suffered an indiscriminate barrage, including a maternity ward. The vastly outnumbered Ukrainian forces fiercely resisted the invasion, killing thousands of Russian soldiers. Unarmed Ukrainian civilians staged protests in towns occupied by Mr. Putin’s forces. Russia moved closer to encircling the capital, Kyiv, and also seized a nuclear power plant.

The exodus of Ukrainians exceeded 2.2 million, making it the fastest growing wave of refugees in Europe since World War II. More than 1.3 million entered Poland. Britain told refugees to apply for visas and made it bureaucratically difficult for them. The European Union allows all Ukrainians to enter for one year, no questions asked.

President Joe Biden banned the import of Russian oil, gas and coal in the USA. Britain has said it will phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year. the EU, which is more dependent on Russian fuel, has decided to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds. Russia has warned it could retaliate by shutting down its main gas pipeline to Europe.

Other countries sent weapons to help Ukraine defend themselves, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank rockets. Poland and America were publicly at odds over the supply of fighter jets. America had offered Poland to send some of its former MIgs. Poland offered instead to give them to America so that it could hand them over to Ukraine. America said it might drag NATO in a direct conflict with Russia.

Mr. Putin stood up repression at home. Anyone in Russia who calls their war a war faces 15 years in prison. The Last Independent TV the channel and the radio were shut down. Despite this, anti-war protests erupted in several cities. Thousands of demonstrators were arrested; many were beaten and mistreated. Polls suggest fewer Russians now believe Mr Putin’s story of protecting Ukrainians from a ‘Nazi’ regime. Support for the war plummeted as real news filtered into Russia via the internet.

The top White House adviser for Latin America met from Venezuela dictator, Nicolas Maduro. It was the first high-level meeting between the two governments in years. America imposed sanctions on Venezuelan oil in 2019. It now wants to loosen Venezuela’s alliance with Russia and explore the terms under which it could buy oil from Venezuela to offset the boycott of Russian exports. Venezuela has freed two imprisoned Americans.

Britain, France and Germany, which negotiated with America, China and Russia to relaunch an agreement that would limit from iran nuclear ambitions, urged Russia not to add conditions that would make it more difficult to conclude an agreement, which would be close. Russia wants to include a clause that would exempt its trade with Iran from sanctions.

from Guatemala Congress passed a law to increase the prison term for women who have abortions, unless their life is in danger, from three to ten years. The law also prevents schools from teaching that gay sex is “normal.” A human rights ombudsman said it was unconstitutional.

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a visit by his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, had marked a turning point for the better in relations between the countries. Turkey, he said, is ready to cooperate with Israel in the field of energy.

Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative opposition candidate, won South Korea presidential election, narrowly beating Lee Jae-myung of the ruling party.

Results of the counting of five state elections in India showed that the ruling Bharatiya Janata party will retain control of Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state. But the Aam Aadmi party, which opposes corruption, won a surprise victory in Punjab.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a bill raising the age of consent in the Philippines from 12, among the lowest in the world, to 16.

China has faced its biggest covid-19 outbreak since the early stages of the pandemic. Hundreds of new cases have been reported. Most Chinese provinces have been affected. The surge is much smaller than recent outbreaks in other major countries, but it is testing the government’s ‘zero covid’ policy, which relies on mass testing and lockdowns.

Austria suspended a law that would require all adults to be vaccinated against covid-19. The law was not yet applied. The government now thinks compulsory vaccination is a disproportionate response to the Omicron variant.

Michelle Bachelet, the UNsenior human rights official accused Ethiopia to kill hundreds of civilians during bombardments against the northern regions of Tigray and Afar. Ethiopia’s blockade of Tigray has pushed millions of people to the brink of starvation.

Tanzania the president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, released Freeman Mbowe, a leading opposition member, from prison. This marked a change from the authoritarian style of his predecessor, John Magufuli.

An American who received the world’s first heart transplant from a genetically modified person pork died two months after the operation.

Sadiq Khan, London mayor, said he hopes to expand a citywide ultra-low-emission zone next year. The £12.50 ($16.50) per day charge for substandard vehicles costs daily drivers over £4,500 a year; public transit options are less reliable farther from the city center.

A story that lasts

A scientific expedition discovered the wreckage of the Endurance, the ship that carried Ernest Shackleton and his crew of explorers to Antarctica until it was trapped in pack ice and sank in 1915. The ship, still remarkably intact, was found in the Weddell Sea at a depth of 3008 meters. It will be designated a monument under the Antarctic Treaty, meaning it cannot be disturbed.

This article appeared in the The World This Week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics”

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