Outgunned by Russia, Ukraine Aims for Death by a Thousand Cuts (2022)

Ukraine, facing Russia’s greater military might, aims to ‘fight in a different way.’

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KYIV, Ukraine — From spring into summer, the Ukrainian military was pummeled by Russian artillery in eastern Ukraine, steadily losing ground and as many as 200 soldiers a day in a mismatched, head-to-head contest. But in recent weeks, Ukraine has shifted its strategy with the help of new weaponry and succeeded, at least for now, in slowing Russia’s advances.

Supplied with a growing arsenal of long-range Western weapons and aided by local fighters known as partisans, Ukraine has been able to hit Russian forces deep behind enemy lines, disrupting critical supply lines and, increasingly, striking targets that are key to Moscow’s combat potential.

The new weapons have also forced Russia to recalibrate on the battlefield, creating some breathing room for the Ukrainians to make more strategic decisions.

One blow to the Russians this week was a series of explosions at an air base on the occupied Crimean Peninsula that destroyed at least eight warplanes, and that a Ukrainian official said had resulted from a strike carried out by special forces troops aided by local partisan fighters.

The approach has been particularly well suited to the Kherson region in the south, where for weeks Ukrainian officials have been engaged in the opening salvos of a counteroffensive. The city of Kherson in particular, dependent for supplies on just four bridges spanning the Dnipro River, is considered more vulnerable than other occupied cities.

On Saturday, the Ukrainians claimed to have hit the last of those four key bridges, leaving thousands of Russian troops in danger of becoming isolated and cut off from resupply, according to Western intelligence officials.

“We do not have the resources to litter the territory with bodies and shells, as Russia does,” Ukraine’s defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said in an interview this past week with Pravda, a Ukrainian news media outlet. “Therefore it is necessary to change tactics, to fight in a different way.”

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The strategy seems to be producing some results. While the Ukrainian military has not made major territorial gains, it has managed to slow the Russian advance across the country, for now, at least, and stanch the heavy losses Ukraine was suffering in recent months, which had led to wavering morale and some soldiers even deserting their platoons.

But the Russians have continued to apply pressure in the east and the south on Ukrainian frontline positions, with some that are slowly buckling. The incremental advances have indicated that despite setbacks from Ukraine’s attacks, the Russian military effort still has enough forces to continue offensive operations.

Ukraine’s efforts in the south represent less a change in approach than an extension, with the aid of new longer-range weapons, of a strategy adopted at the start of the war meant to level the playing field with Russia. With the Russian army far outmatching Ukraine’s forces in the number of troops, weapons and ammunition, Ukraine’s military has had to be innovative and nimble.

“It’s clear the Ukrainians can’t match the Russians unit for unit and soldier for soldier. And Ukraine, like the Russians, is running out of soldiers,” said Samuel Bendett, a Russian weapons analyst at the Center for Naval Analysis. “So Ukraine has to be very judicial in how they draw out the Russian forces.”

Nataliia Novosolova contributed reporting.

Marc Santora,Michael Schwirtz and Jack Nicas

The West has urged a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

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The European Union and the United States in recent days have called for a demilitarized zone to be established immediately around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine, as shelling at the plant raises the risk of a nuclear accident.

While such plants are designed to withstand a range of risk — from a plane crashing into the facility to natural disasters — no operating nuclear power plant has ever been in the middle of active fighting, and this one was not designed with the threat of cruise missiles in mind.

The concrete shell of the site’s six reactors offer strong protection, as was the case when the No. 1 reactor was struck in March, officials say. More worrying is the chance that a power transformer is hit by shelling, raising the risk of a fire.

(Video) Ukraine invasion: Russia killed hundreds in Kharkiv | Latest English News | WION

If a fire were to break out at the power transformers and the electric network were taken offline, that could cause a breakdown of the plant’s cooling system and lead to a catastrophic meltdown, said Edwin Lyman, a nuclear power expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, a private group in Cambridge, Mass.

He noted that the loss of coolant during the Fukushima accident in Japan in 2011 had resulted in three reactors undergoing some degree of core meltdown.

If the cooling is interrupted, Dr. Lyman said, the nuclear fuel could become hot enough to melt in a matter of hours. Eventually, it could melt through the steel reactor vessel and even the outer containment structure, releasing radioactive material.

Marc Santora

The State of the War

  • Dramatic Gains for Ukraine: Ukraine’s lightning offensivein the country’s northeast has allowed Kyiv’sforces to score large battlefield gains against Russiaand shift what had become a grinding war.
  • Putin’s Struggles: Russia’s retreat in Ukraine may be weakening President Vladimir V. Putin’s reputation at home, and pro-war bloggers who cheered on the invasion are now openly criticizing him.
  • Southern Counteroffensive: Military operations in the south have been a painstaking battle of river crossings, with pontoon bridges as prime targets for both sides. So far, it is Ukraine that has advanced.
  • Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant: After United Nations inspectors visited the Russian-controlled facility last week amid shelling and fears of a looming nuclear disaster, the organization released a reportcalling for Russia and Ukraine to halt all military activity around the complex.

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A Russian official warns of ‘serious collateral damage’ if the U.S. designates Russia a sponsor of terrorism.

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A senior Russian diplomat has warned that Moscow might rupture diplomatic relations with Washington if the United States designates Russia a state sponsor of terrorism, the latest in a range of diplomatic sparring in recent days between the Kremlin and capitals that support Kyiv.

A terrorist designation would cause “the most serious collateral damage to bilateral diplomatic relations,” Alexander Darchiev, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for North America, told the official news agency TASS in a brief interview published on Saturday.

It could result in lowering or breaking off ties entirely, he said, adding, “The U.S. side has been warned.”

The Kremlin was also sharply critical of recent calls by Western nations to bar all visitors from Russia, including students, tourists and business executives. Dmitri S. Peskov, the presidential spokesman in Russia, said such attempts to isolate Russia were bound to fail.

Both issues have been pressed by President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have said that they will stop issuing tourist visas to Russians. Estonia and Finland called for a collective European Union ban, but other nations rejected the idea, with Germany saying that such a move would harm “innocent people.”

Russians who fled abroad to escape the Kremlin’s draconian measures to imprison critics of the war, as well as President Vladimir V. Putin’s increased repression generally, have also been critical. Tens of thousands of Russians are trying to establish new lives abroad, and some of the most outspoken would face jail if they were forced to return to Russia.

On Thursday, Latvia’s Parliament declared Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” for its attacks on civilians in Ukraine. A statement by lawmakers accused the Kremlin of using “suffering and intimidation as tools in its attempts to demoralize the Ukrainian people and armed forces and paralyze the functioning of the state.”

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Latvia encouraged other countries to make similar declarations. But Maria Zakharova, the spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, dismissed the move as “anti-Russian hysteria.”

In Washington, the Senate unanimously passed a nonbinding resolution in late July calling on Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to designate Russia as a sponsor of terrorism for its brutal military campaign in Ukraine as well as earlier wars in Chechnya, Georgia and Syria. The resolution noted that the Russian attacks had resulted in “the deaths of countless innocent men, women and children.”

The House is weighing an even stronger resolution that would add Russia to the list regardless of whether the State Department, which holds the authority to make the designation, does so.

Mr. Blinken has resisted adding Russia to a list that now includes Cuba, Iran, North Korea and Syria. He has said that the costs already imposed on Russia through sanctions and other means parallel those that the designation would bring.

The terrorist designation could widen them, however, opening the door to secondary sanctions on countries that do business with Russia and allowing for lawsuits in U.S. courts.

The push by Congress comes at a sensitive time, with the Biden administration trying to negotiate a prisoner swap that would lead to the release from Russian prisons of at least two Americans — Brittney Griner, the professional basketball star, and Paul Whelan, an American tourist and former Marine.

(Video) LIVE: Russian Forces Invade Ukraine As Biden Imposes Stronger Sanctions | NBC News

Neil MacFarquhar

Ukrainian children bring a play from a bomb shelter to Brooklyn.

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In a converted Sunday school space in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn on Monday, eight children, who recently arrived from Ukraine, gathered on a pair of risers and broke into song.

Hanna Oneshchak, 12, on the accordion, accompanied the other seven as they sang a Ukrainian folk song, “Ta nema toho Mykyty,” about a man who decides to leave the country to seek better work, but then looks to the mountains and, struck by their beauty, changes his mind.

“Whatever the grief we have,” they sang in Ukrainian, “I won’t go to the American land.”

The children, students at the School of Open-Minded Kids Studio Theater in Lviv, were rehearsing the song ahead of two weekend performances of the play “Mama Po Skaipu” (“Mom on Skype”) at the Irondale Center in Brooklyn. This will be the American premiere of the 80-minute show, being presented on Saturday and Sunday night.

“We share our emotions with Americans,” Anastasiia Mysiuha, 14, said in English. And, she said, she hopes that audience members will “better understand what’s happening in Ukraine.”

The show, which will be performed in Ukrainian with English subtitles, is a series of seven monologues about family separation told from the perspective of children. Written by contemporary writers from Lviv, the true stories were inspired by the mass exodus from Ukraine in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union. At that time, many men and women went to other countries to work so they could provide for their families back home.

Sarah Bahr

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Some see the Kremlin at work in Balkans flare-ups, aiming to deflect NATO’s attention from Ukraine war.

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BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbia’s strongman leader, Aleksandar Vucic, is fed up with being reviled as a “little Putin” intent on aggression against his country’s fragile neighbors in the Balkans.

For starters, Mr. Vucic noted wryly in an interview in the library of the presidential palace this month, “I am almost two meters tall.” That makes him about 6-foot-5. (Vladimir V. Putin is an estimated 5-foot-7 at most, though the Russian president’s exact height, a sensitive topic for the Kremlin, is a secret.)

Behind Mr. Vucic’s levity over physical stature, however, lurks a serious question that torments the Balkans and preoccupies Western diplomats.

Is Russia, mired in a brutal war in Ukraine, using Serbia to stir division in Europe and provoke renewed conflict in the former Yugoslavia to distract NATO from the battle raging to the east?

Those fears flared last week when an esoteric dispute over license plates between Serbia, which is bound to Russia by history, religion and deep hostility toward NATO, and the formerly Serbian province of Kosovo led to unruly protests, roadblocks and gunfire — setting off alarm bells in the Atlantic alliance.

(Video) World War 3 (Hour by Hour)

The unrest in Kosovo, and strains in nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina caused by Milorad Dodik, the belligerent, Moscow-backed leader of the ethnic Serb enclave there, and by hard-line Croat nationalists have led to warnings that Russia is trying to stoke tensions, stilled but never really resolved, from the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

“Russia calculates that the more time the West spends sweating in the Balkans, the less time it will spend sweating in Russia’s backyard,” said Vuk Vuksanovic, a researcher at the Belgrade Center for Security Policy.

“But there are limits on what Russia can do,” Mr. Vuksanovic added. “It needs local elites, and these don’t want to be sacrificed for Russian interests.”

America’s ambassador to Serbia, Christopher R. Hill, a veteran diplomatic troubleshooter whose recent appointment signaled Washington’s heightened anxiety over the Balkans, said that Russia, offering only “economic blackmail” and “chaos throughout the region,” had found few takers.

“Despite Russia’s influence on Serbia’s energy sector and despite its pervasive disinformation efforts here, Serbs have decided that their future is with Europe and the West,” Mr. Hill said.

Andrew Higgins

Russian attack in eastern Ukraine kills 2 civilians, regional military leader says.

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A Russian attack on the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine early Friday left two civilians dead, 13 others injured, and damaged dozens of homes, according to Ukrainian officials.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the regional military leader in eastern Donetsk Province, confirmed the attack in social media posts and shared a video of the damage caused by 11 Russian rocket strikes. The video showed several homes that had sustained roof damage, and windows in some houses appeared to have been blown out. Law enforcement officials and rescuers were working in the area, Mr. Kyrylenko said.

“The Russians cynically and coldbloodedly turned the private sector of the city into ruins,” Mr. Kyrylenko said on social media posts.

The war in Ukraine is mainly being fought on two fronts. The eastern front has been focused on the provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk. Kramatorsk is in Donetsk Province and remains under Ukrainian control. Mr. Kyrylenko’s counterpart in Luhansk said that Ukrainian forces had repelled a Russian advance near settlements still under his forces’ control on Friday.

The attacks in Kramatorsk on Friday will add to a civilian death toll in Ukraine that has grown to more than 5,400 people since Russia invaded the country in February, according to the latest updates from the Office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Since the war began, more than 7,400 civilians have been injured in Ukraine, including hundreds of children, according to the U.N.

Jesus Jiménez

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The Ukrainian military condemns Russia’s apparent plans to try captured soldiers.

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Ukrainian military leaders sought to rally international condemnation on Saturday of the expected Russian trials of Ukrainian soldiers and others who are being detained in Ukrainian territory that Moscow controls.

(Video) Ukraine's counteroffensive: Will Russia lose Kherson and Zaporizhzhia? | News Desk

In a rare joint statement by all of Ukraine’s defense forces, the military leaders called the possible trials a “savage act” and a “public outrage.”

Russia is holding thousands of Ukrainians in detention centers in occupied areas of eastern and southern Ukraine. This past week, in the clearest sign so far that Moscow is preparing to try soldiers and others, the Russian news media documented the construction of cages to serve as witness boxes in the Mariupol Chamber Philharmonic.

Ukrainian officials fear that the trials will be designed to deflect attention from atrocities committed by Russian forces as they laid siege to the city of Mariupol. Similar trials have been held for years in parts of eastern Ukraine that Russia-backed separatists control.

It was unclear who might be tried or what the precise charges would be. Russian investigators said in June that they had opened more than 1,100 cases against Ukrainians. Those being investigated include members of the Azov Regiment, who are widely regarded as heroes in Ukraine for holding out for weeks underneath a Mariupol steel plant.

Though it is now part of the Ukrainian National Guard, the Azov Regiment began as a far-right militia that fought against Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russian propagandists have repeatedly pointed to it to support the Kremlin’s unfounded claims about the influence of Nazism in the Ukrainian military and government.

From the start, President Vladimir V. Putin has justified the invasion by falsely claiming that Russia is carrying out the “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine” and that it will bring to justice people responsible for “bloody crimes against civilians” in the separatist areas.

Russian news media have reported that the Azov Regiment commander Denys Prokopenko has been brought to Russia, but his wife, Kateryna, said she had received no information about his whereabouts from the Ukrainian authorities or from the International Committee of the Red Cross, which attempts to track prisoners of war.

“I only know he was taken to Russia, and this has not yet been confirmed at all,” she told Suspilne, the Ukrainian public broadcasting company, in an interview published on Sunday. “I learned about his location from the Russian media. Government agencies have not confirmed this finally, as it is difficult to confirm anything in this regard.”

The Ukrainian military leaders, in their statement, also repeated calls by Ukrainians for a special war crimes tribunal to put Russian soldiers and officials on trial, similar to the proceedings against the Nazis who were tried at Nuremberg.

“The legal front should send a clear signal to the Kremlin and all those involved in the aggression against Ukraine that they will not be able to sneak away or hide,” the joint statement said.

Critics of the idea of setting up a special tribunal say that such an approach has risks, including that it lacks the appearance of impartiality, that it would require enormous investment and preparation time and that the defendants would never participate.

Marc Santora

A Ukrainian boy starts a new life in England through chess.

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YORK, England — Pints in hand, a group of men sat hunched over chessboards under the sloping ceiling beams of the Eagle and Child pub in York, in northern England.

Among them sat Maksym Kryshtafor, an 8-year-old Ukrainian boy with freckles and an impish smile, who navigated his pieces across the board with intense focus.

“He’s really good for his age; there’s no question about that,” said Paul Townsend, 62, an avid chess player and member of England’s chess federation. “And he clearly has a talent.”

Mr. Townsend and his family are hosting Maksym and his mother after the federation asked if they would be willing to sponsor the pair.

More than six million refugees have left Ukraine for Europe, according to the United Nations, each facing the challenges of a life ripped apart by war. Finding a pursuit that provides focus and stability can help exiles navigate the anxieties and upheaval of restarting life far from home.

For Maksym, it was chess.

Megan Specia

(Video) CBC News: The National | B.C. shootout hostage, R. Kelly sentenced, Putin opponents

FAQs

What is the issue between Russia and Ukraine? ›

Throughout 2021, bilateral tensions rose due to a Russian military buildup surrounding Ukrainian territory, and on 24 February 2022, the conflict saw a major escalation as Russia invaded Ukraine again. Between 2014 and 2022: Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.

What caused the war between Russia and Ukraine 2022? ›

The invasion began on the morning of 24 February, when Russian president Vladimir Putin announced a "special military operation" for the "demilitarisation and denazification" of Ukraine.

How much of Ukraine has Russia taken? ›

Russia occupies 20% of Ukrainian land

The area is now occupied by Russia. In 2014, Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

Why is Ukraine not in NATO? ›

Plans for NATO membership were shelved by Ukraine following the 2010 presidential election in which Viktor Yanukovych, who preferred to keep the country non-aligned, was elected President. Amid the unrest, caused by the Euromaidan protests, Yanukovych fled Ukraine in February 2014.

How many tanks does Russia have? ›

However, Russia still has some 2,000 battle-ready tanks at hand, as well as an enormous amount in storage. The Military Balance 2021 database says Russian storage facilities have around 10,200 tanks, including various T-72s, 3,000 T-80s, and 200 T-90s.

How can I help Ukraine in Ukraine? ›

Everything you need to help Ukrainians in their fight for peace and freedom – in one place.
  1. All.
  2. Donate.
  3. Humanitarian aid.
  4. Host Ukrainian refugees.
  5. Become a medical volunteer.
  6. Cover the news and write about Ukraine.
  7. Read & share only verified news.
  8. Join the Foreign Legion.

What is the best Ukraine charity to donate to? ›

The best charities for supporting Ukraine are United24, Razom for Ukraine, and the Prytula Foundation. These charities work on the frontlines in Ukraine, delivering life-saving services to people affected by the ongoing conflict. They also raise funds to support local Ukrainian relief programs.

Can Americans go to Ukraine? ›

Ukraine - Level 4: Do Not Travel. Do not travel to Ukraine due to Russian military invasion. U.S. citizens in Ukraine should depart immediately if it is safe to do so using any commercial or other privately available ground transportation options.

Was the Ukraine part of Russia? ›

After the Russian Revolution, a Ukrainian national movement re-emerged, and formed the Ukrainian People's Republic in 1917. This short-lived state was forcibly reconstituted by the Bolsheviks into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which became a founding member of the Soviet Union in 1922.

When did Ukraine gain independence? ›

What area is Crimea? ›

How many tanks has Russia lost Ukraine? ›

54,810 Russian troops killed (approximately three times that number wounded and captured) 4,724 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles destroyed. 3,587 vehicles and fuel tanks. 2,216 tanks.

How many Ukraine soldiers have died in Ukraine 2022? ›

Civilian deaths
AreaFatalitiesTime period
Poltava Oblast22 killed27 June 2022
Sumy Oblast100+ killed24 February – 4 April 2022
Zhytomyr Oblast13 killed1–10 March 2022
Total29,125+ killed24 February – 11 October 2022
10 more rows

How many soldiers does Russia have? ›

Russian Armed Forces
Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
Active personnel1,000,000
Reserve personnel2,000,000
Expenditures
BudgetUS$61.7 billion (2020–21)
22 more rows

Is NATO the strongest military alliance in the world? ›

NATO, which was formed in 1949, is the most powerful military alliance in the world. At its formation, NATO had 12 member countries, which has now increased to 29 member countries and four aspiring member countries.

Is Japan a NATO member? ›

Japan, a key United States ally and not a NATO member, has delivered defensive supplies to Ukraine and imposed tough sanctions on Russia in tandem with the other Group of Seven (G7) countries. “As the only Asian country in the G7, Japan's diplomatic capabilities are being tested,” Kishida told reporters.

What is NATO stand for? ›

Are Russian tanks better than American? ›

Overall the new Russian tank is on par with the US Abrams tank. In some areas it is slightly superior than the Abrams, however it has got no cutting-edge superiority. The Abrams has technical superiority in terms of mobility and cross-country performance.

Which country has the best tank? ›

Military > Army > Main battle tanks: Countries Compared
#COUNTRYAMOUNT
1Russia22,710
2China9,000
3United States8,725
4India5,978
91 more rows

Who has the best tanks in the world? ›

The top ten tanks today are the German KF51 Panther, the American Abrams M1A2, the Russian T-14 Armata, the Korean K2 Black Panther, the Chinese T-99, the German Leopard 2, the French Leclerc XL, the British Challenger 2, the Israeli Merkava V, and the Japanese Type-90.

How can I help Ukraine without money? ›

How to help the people of Ukraine right now
  1. Donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross Ukraine Emergency Fund. ...
  2. Donate to Save the Children's Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund. ...
  3. Donate to Doctors Without Borders. ...
  4. Donate to British-Ukrainian Aid. ...
  5. Support vetted local charities. ...
  6. Help refugees via the UN.
24 Aug 2022

Is the Salvation Army helping people in Ukraine? ›

The Salvation Army, an international movement, has a long-standing presence in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Because we are already part of the communities in which we serve, we are on the ground and ready to respond and serve immediately in times of need such as this.

Is Unicef a good charity? ›

Good. This charity's score is 89.18, earning it a 3-Star rating. Donors can "Give with Confidence" to this charity.

How can I help Ukraine other than donating? ›

If you can't donate money, one option is also to raise awareness by promoting organizations that are raising funds supplies. The United Nations humanitarian appeal fund, International Medical Corps, Ukrainian Red Cross and People In Need are just a few options.

What can I do to help Ukraine besides donate? ›

Here's What You Can Do to Help People in Ukraine Right Now
  • Voices of Children. Voices of Children is a Ukraine-based aid organization that provides psychological support to children who have witnessed war. ...
  • Vostok SOS. ...
  • Malteser International. ...
  • United Help Ukraine. ...
  • Nova Ukraine. ...
  • Sunflower of Peace.
25 Feb 2022

Can you volunteer to go to Ukraine to help? ›

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme is recruiting UN Volunteers to support partners in their emergency response in Ukraine, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Check out the advertised volunteer opportunities below and on our Unified Volunteering Platform.

How can we help the victims of Ukraine? ›

You can donate here. Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross provides assistance for victims of armed conflict and has been working in Ukraine since 2014 to supply emergency assistance and support hospitals with medical equipment. To support the ICRC's efforts in Ukraine, you can donate here.

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