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Your Wednesday Briefing: Russia Moves Toward Annexation

“Intruding into Russia’s territory is a crime, the commission of which allows you to use all forces for self-defense,” said Dmitri Medvedev, the former Russian president and an ally of Vladimir Putin. submitted on Telegram. Here are live updates.

Details: On Monday, Russia’s propaganda apparatus launched what appeared to be a script to show that the upcoming referendums stemmed from the grassroots desire of residents. Within 36 hours, the “Luhansk People’s Republic” and the “Donetsk People’s Republic” both announced referendums. Yesterday, the occupation authorities in Kherson and Zaporizka – two southern regions – followed suit.

Link: Russia set an annexation precedent when it took control of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, following a referendum widely dismissed as a sham in the West, but which Putin has used to justify his threat that he was ready for war , if Ukraine applied. to retake the peninsula by force.

Reaction: The US called the planned polls a “hoax”. On social media, Russian hawks who have criticized the Kremlin celebrated the development as a possible turning point.

In his opening remarks yesterday, António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, delivered one of his most blunt speeches ever to world leaders and called for collective action.

“We can’t go on like this,” he said. “We have a duty to act. And yet we are mired in colossal global dysfunction.”

Guterres said the world was at risk and that geopolitical divisions were undermining international law, trust in democratic institutions and international cooperation. “Let us be under no illusions,” he said. “We’re in rough water.”

Ukraine: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey, set himself up as a mediator after saying in an interview that Russia should return all Ukrainian territory it has captured. Emmanuel Macron, France’s leader, called Russia’s invasion a return to “imperialism”.

Anti-government protests erupted in cities across Iran on Monday after a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died in the country’s morality police.

The demonstrations, led mostly by women, erupted in more than a dozen cities and on college campuses. Security forces fired into crowds in Kurdistan, Amini’s home province, killing four people, rights groups said.

Crowds called for an end to the Islamic Republic and song for death of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has been ill in recent weeks. Several women removed their hijabs, burned them and waved them in defiance. In Tehran, people shouted “we will fight and take back our country.”

The protests reflected the frustration of many Iranians struggling under oppressive rule and economic hardship.

Background: Amini died on Friday. She had been arrested three days earlier after being accused of violating Iran’s hijab law, which requires women to cover their hair and wear loose-fitting robes.

Quotable: “We are witnessing a nationwide reaction,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, an advocacy group that drew comparisons to the response to the killing of George Floyd in the United States

Colombia is recovering viche, a cane sugar spirit invented by former slaves. It has long been banned and is now a symbol of the country’s often ignored Afro-Colombian culture.

A Baltimore judge yesterday overturned the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, whose case was at the center of the first season of the hit podcast “Serial.” Syed served 23 years in prison after receiving a life sentence for the 1999 murder of his high school classmate and former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

Syed, who was 17 at the time of Lee’s death, has steadfastly maintained his innocence, and questions about whether he received a fair trial drew widespread attention when “Serial” debuted in 2014. But it wasn’t until this month that prosecutors recommended that his conviction be overturned and that he be given a new trial because, they said, “the state no longer has confidence in the integrity of the sentence.” The judge gave prosecutors 30 days to proceed with a new trial or drop the case.

“This boy is going to prison for life at 18 based on a story that was not accurate,” Sarah said. “That’s what we wanted people to think about: Even if we put aside the question of Adnan’s guilt or innocence, are we okay with a system that works like that?”

listen to a new episode of “Serial” about the annulled judgment.