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Aussie couple arrested and charged with spying for Russia

<p>An army private in the Australian Defence Force and her husband have been arrested after being accused of spying for the Russians.</p> <p>The Australian Federal Police arrested the 40-year-old soldier Kira Korolev and her 62-year-old labourer husband Igor Korolev at their Brisbane home on Thursday morning.</p> <p>They have been charged with preparing for an espionage offence.</p> <p>The woman has been employed by the ADF for several years as an information systems technician.</p> <p>It is alleged the Russian-born Australian citizens worked together to obtain sensitive information.</p> <p>AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said the couple have been living in Australia for more than a decade after the woman received her citizenship in 2016, with her husband also becoming a citizen in 2020. </p> <p>The woman is accused of not declaring her travels to Russia during long-term leave from the ADF since 2023, both with and without her husband.</p> <p>While her husband remained in Australia, the woman is accused of instructing the man to log into her official work account and access information to send to her private email while she was in Russia.</p> <p>It is alleged this information related to Australia’s national security interests and was accessed a number of times with the intent of passing it on to Russian authorities.</p> <p>“Western democracies, including Australia, are being targeted by state actors, but Australia’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies have the laws, capability and tradecraft to identify these spies and those seeking to undermine Australia’s interests,” Kershaw said on Friday.</p> <p>“So my direct warning is this, we know who you are. You are likely already exposed.”</p> <p>It is unknown if the information was passed on, or what the pair did while overseas, however the investigation is continuing.</p> <p>“Whether that information was handed over remains a key focus of our investigation,” Kershaw said. “Currently no significant compromise has been identified.”</p> <p>ASIO Director-General Mike Burgess said the “espionage threat is real”.</p> <p>“Multiple countries are seeking to steal Australia’s secrets. We cannot be naive and we cannot be complacent,” Burgess said.</p> <p>“Espionage is not some quaint Cold War notion. Espionage damages our economy and degrades our strategic advantage. It has catastrophic real-world consequences. Foreign intelligence services are capable, determined and patient."</p> <p>“They play the long game. The problem for them is ASIO does too,” he said.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ADF</em></p>

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Young woman jailed for 7 years for swapping price tags at supermarket

<p>A Russian court has convicted an artist to seven years in jail  for swapping supermarket price tags with antiwar messages. </p> <p>Sasha Skochilenko, 33, was arrested in St Petersburg and charged with spreading misinformation about the military when she replaced price tags with ones against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.</p> <p>"The Russian army bombed an arts schools in Mariupol. Some 400 people were hiding in it from the shelling," one read. </p> <p>"Russian conscripts are being sent to Ukraine. Lives of our children are the price of this war," the other said. </p> <p>Her arrest is part of the latest crackdown on free speech, and she was arrested after a customer at the supermarket found the slogans and reported her to authorities. </p> <p>Skochilenko's arrest comes one month after authorities adopted a law that criminalises any public expression about the war that deviates from the official Kremlin line.</p> <p>The legislation is used to crackdown on opposition politicians, human rights activists and ordinary citizens that are critical of the Kremlin. </p> <p>The 33-year-old has not denied replacing the price tags but has rejected the accusation of knowingly spreading false information. </p> <p>She also claimed that she didn't want to criticise the military but wanted to stop the fighting. </p> <p>"She is a very empathetic, peace-loving person. To her, in general, the word 'war' is the most terrible thing imaginable, as is the suffering of people," her lawyer Yana Nepovinnova told <em>The Associated Press</em> last week. </p> <p>"She is a very empathetic, peace-loving person. To her, in general, the word 'war' is the most terrible thing imaginable, as is the suffering of people," Nepovinnova added. </p> <p>According to the Russian independent news site Mediazona, Skochilenko said that the case against her was "weird and ridiculous" in her final statement in court and that even the officials where she was detained at  "open their eyes widely and exclaim: 'Is this really what people are being imprisoned for now?'"</p> <p>While addressing the judge in a courtroom full of supporters, Skochilenko also reportedly said that: "Everyone sees and knows that it's not a terrorist you're trying. You're not trying an extremist. You're not trying a political activist, either. You're trying a pacifist."</p> <p>Mediazona also reported that her supporters applauded her and chanted her name when she was led away after the verdict. </p> <p>Nearly 750 people have face criminal charges for their antiwar stances, and over 8100 had petty charges for discrediting the army, which is punishable by a fine or short time in jail.</p> <p><em>Images: BBC News</em></p> <p> </p>

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"Most dangerous spy in US history" dies in jail

<p>The USA’s most notorious FBI agent has been found dead in his top security prison cell at the age of 79. </p> <p>Prison officials confirmed the news of Robert Hanssen’s passing, more than 20 years after he received a life sentence for selling classified US material throughout the 1980s and 1990s. </p> <p>While no cause of death has been revealed, a statement from the Bureau of Prisons revealed that staff at the facility took life-saving measures after Hanssen was found unresponsive in his cell, to no avail. </p> <p>Hanssen - who is now regarded as one of the most dangerous spies in US history - sold thousands of documents in exchange for the diamonds and cash over the course of his deception. According to the FBI, by the time of his arrest, Hanssen had received the value of more than $1.4 million. </p> <p>He first launched his career with the FBI in 1976, and it was only a few years before he began spying for the Soviet Union, sending classified information - on everything from human resources to counterintelligence - to the Soviet Union and Russia under the alias ‘Ramon Garcia’. </p> <p>It is believed that he was able to cover for himself through his role in the FBI’s New York counterintelligence department, where he was tasked with tracking down his own kind - spies. </p> <p>“As a result of his assignments, Hanssen had direct and legitimate access to voluminous information about sensitive programs and operations,” the FBI explained at the time. “As the complaint alleges, Hanssen effectively used his training, expertise and experience as a counterintelligence Agent to avoid detection, to include keeping his identity and place of employment from his Russian handlers and avoiding all the customary ‘tradecraft’ and travel usually associated with espionage.”</p> <p>Neither the FBI or CIA caught on to the fact there was a mole working within the system for years, but did eventually secure “original Russian documentation of an American spy”, according to the FBI and Forbes. </p> <p>According to reports, not even Hanssen’s Russian handlers knew his true identity, and he was not at the top of any suspect list. By all appearances, he lived a frugal life among Washington’s conservative Catholics, with a wife and six children. </p> <p>But Hanssen was caught in suburban Virginia at a ‘dead drop’, and his arrest came in 2001. He pleaded guilty to 15 counts of espionage, and was consequently sentenced to life behind bars without parole for “espionage, conspiracy to commit espionage, and attempted espionage”.</p> <p>“I apologise for my behaviour,” Hanssen said during his sentencing. “I am shamed by it.</p> <p>“I have opened the door for calumny against my totally innocent wife and children. I’ve hurt so many deeply.”</p> <p><em>Images: FBI</em></p>

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Russia finally frees Olympic basketballer

<p>Russia has freed WNBA star Brittney Griner in a dramatic high-level prisoner swap with the US for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.</p> <p>The swap was a major goal for President Joe Biden, but carried a hefty price. The deal, which was the second such exchange in eight months with Russia, procured the release of the most prominent American detained abroad.</p> <p>Brittney Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist whose months-long imprisonment on drug charges brought unprecedented attention to the population of wrongful detainees abroad.</p> <p>Biden's authorisation to release a Russian felon once nicknamed "the Merchant of Death" highlighted the escalating pressure that his government faced to bring Griner home. This follows the recent resolution of her criminal case.</p> <p>"Today my family is whole," Cherelle Griner said in a press conference at the White House. She also called for Paul Whelan's release.</p> <p>Biden says US has "not forgotten about Paul Whelan", will "never give up" trying to secure his release from Russia.</p> <p>"We've never forgotten about Brittney and we've not forgotten about Paul Whelan, who's been unjustly detained in Russia for years," the US President said.</p> <p>"This was not a choice of which American to bring home. We brought home Trevor Reed when we had a chance earlier this year. Sadly, for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul's case differently than Brittney's, and while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul's release, we are not giving up.”</p> <p>Russian and US officials had conveyed cautious optimism in recent weeks after months of strained negotiations. Biden announced in November that he was hopeful that Russia would engage in a deal now that the midterm elections were complete.</p> <p>The Biden administration was ultimately willing to exchange Viktor Bout if it meant Griner's freedom. The detention of one of the greatest players in WNBA history contributed to a swirl of unprecedented public attention for an individual detainee case — not to mention intense pressure on the White House.</p> <p>Griner's arrest in February made her the most high-profile American jailed abroad.</p> <p><em><span style="color: #323338; font-family: Roboto, Rubik, 'Noto Kufi Arabic', 'Noto Sans JP', sans-serif; font-size: 16px; background-color: #ffffff;">Images: Wikimedia / Twitter</span></em></p>

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Russian guard sentenced after doodling eyes on exhibit painting

<p dir="ltr">A Russian security guard has been found guilty of vandalism after doodling eyes on an abstract painting by avant-garde artist Anna Leporskaya last December.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to the <a href="https://www.theartnewspaper.com/2022/08/29/russian-museum-guard-yeltsin-centre-doodles-sentenced">Art Newspaper</a>, he must serve 180 hours of “compulsory labour” and undergo “psychiatric evaluation”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The painting, titled <em>Three Figures</em> (1932–34), was on loan to the Yeltsin Centre from Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery and valued at 75 million rubles (US$1.2 million).</p> <p dir="ltr">News of the vandalism broke when visitors alerted gallery staff of two crude eyes drawn on the painting’s faceless figures in a ballpoint pen. </p> <p dir="ltr">A police investigation revealed the culprit was 64-year-old Aleksandr Vasiliev, a security guard employed by a private company who was on his first day on the job. </p> <p dir="ltr">After the damage was deemed “insignificant”, it was restored and has since been returned to the Tretyakov Gallery. </p> <p dir="ltr">Vasiliev’s lawyer, Aleskei Bushmakov, shared a letter on his Facebook page that he sent to Zelfira Tregulova, the general director of the Tretyakov Gallery.</p> <p dir="ltr">He wrote that “taking into account the circumstances of the criminal case, the damage inflicted to the painting <em>Three Figures</em>” and “the high level of public attention in connection with the incident,” the museum considered closing the case “via reconciliation” but ultimately decided that it “does not regard it as possible to take such an appeal to the magistrate.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In an interview with Russian news site E1, Vasiliev said he believed the 20th-century work by Leporskaya was a “children’s drawing” and claimed he was goaded by teenagers to deface it.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I’m a fool, what have I done,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: State Tretyakov Gallery / The Art Newspaper Russia</em></p>

Art

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Hasbulla is coming to Australia!

<p dir="ltr">Adorable social media heartthrob Hasbulla Magomedov is rumoured to be making his way to Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr">You’re probably wondering who he is? But honestly, have you been living under a rock? Not to worry, we are here to fill you in.</p> <p dir="ltr">Hasbulla Magomedov is an international sensation from Dagestan, Russia. After posting funny and silly pranks online on Instagram and TikTok in November 2020, the world fell in love with him.</p> <p dir="ltr">He has since amassed more than 2.6 million followers on Instagram and continues to share videos of his daily life.</p> <p dir="ltr">And now event management company The Hour Group has announced that Hasbulla is making his way Downunder.</p> <p dir="ltr">It is unclear the dates, location or ticket pricing for when Hasbulla arrives but it is highly possible the event is a speaking one.</p> <p dir="ltr">Watch this space for all the deets as they emerge. But in the meantime, here are a few more facts about Hasbulla.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 19-year-old was born with a condition called Growth Hormone Deficiency, also known as Pituitary Dwarfism or Dwarfism.</p> <p dir="ltr">This means Hasbulla has quite a high-pitched voice and only stands at 100cm tall.</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite his condition, Hasbulla lives his life the way he wants and loves to.</p> <p dir="ltr">He constantly shares videos of him driving, riding jet-skis, cooking, fighting and more.</p> <p dir="ltr">Due to his rising prominence, Hasbulla also has a strong connection with fellow fighters, including Russian MMA fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov.</p> <p dir="ltr">This saw Hasbulla dubbed “Mini Khabib”, with the pair frequently sharing posts together as they struck up a friendship.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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US Olympic gold medallist jailed by Russian court

<p>US Olympic gold medallist Brittney Griner has been charged with drug possession and smuggling, and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison. </p> <p>The 31-year-old basketball champion listened to the judge's verdict with a blank expression as an interpreter translated the ruling by Judge Anna Sotnikova, with her lawyers later saying she was "very upset." </p> <div class="block-content" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 16px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 24px; vertical-align: baseline;"> <p>Griner also was fined 1 million rubles, or approximately $23,110.</p> <p>Brittney pled guilty to the charges, but admitted she "had no intention of breaking Russian law", as she explained that she accidentally packed the cannabis vape canisters in haste before her flight. </p> <p>US President Joe Biden denounced Brittney's verdict and sentence as "unacceptable", which came amid soaring tensions between the US and Russia over the ongoing war in Ukraine.</p> <p>"I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates," Biden said, adding that he would continue to work to bring home Griner and Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia on an espionage conviction.</p> <p>Griner, who is recognised as one of the greatest players in WNBA history, has been detained in Russia since February 17 after police said they found vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her luggage upon landing at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport.</p> <p>She was returning to Russia, where she has competed since 2014.</p> <p>Defence attorney Maria Blagovolina told reporters later that Griner was "very upset, very stressed"</p> <p>"She can hardly talk. It's a difficult time for her," the lawyer said.</p> <p>Griner's agent Lindsay Kagawa Colas tweeted that the sentence "was severe by Russian legal standards and goes to prove what we have known all along, that Brittney is being used as a political pawn".</p> <p>She added that she supported Biden's efforts "to get a deal done" to get Brittney sent home to the US.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> </div>

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Young mum with 22 kids opens up on life after husband's arrest

<p>A young mother of 22 children, whose millionaire husband has been arrested on money laundering charges, has admitted that life is “hard”.</p> <p>Russian woman Kristina Ozturk, 24, lived with her 57-year-old husband Galip Ozturk in a picturesque coastal town in the Georgian republic of Adjara prior to his arrest on May 31st.</p> <p>Kristina already had one child from a previous relationship when she met Galip, a Turkish businessman who reportedly owns a bus company and a hotel.</p> <p>The couple have spent over $260,000 on surrogate children between March 2020 and July 2021. They’ve had 21 children and spend an additional $124,000 per year on 16 live-in nannies who help care for the kids.</p> <p>However, their plans to grow their family even further have recently been put on hold after Ozturk was arrested following a police raid.</p> <p>He was reportedly detained on charges relating to money laundering and falsifying documents.</p> <p>Since being taken into custody, Kristina has been vocal in sharing her struggles on social media, writing it was “hard” without him.</p> <p>“The feeling of loneliness does not leave me even with so many close people around,” she wrote in an Instagram post.</p> <p>“I’m used to the fact that my husband is always at home, always there.</p> <p>“Now it’s more difficult for me than ever, I can’t stand silence, I can’t stand his absence, I can’t sleep and wake up alone.”</p> <p>The couple met in Georgia when Kristina, a former stripper, was on holiday there from Russia.</p> <p>Ozturk fled to the country in 2018 after being sentenced to life imprisonment in relation to a 1996 murder in his home country of Turkey. He was charged with ordering the murder of a man named Kuvvet Köseoğlu.</p> <p>In another post, the young mother detailed the support she’s received since her husband’s arrest.</p> <p>The couple first hit headlines when Kristina revealed she had plans to welcome more than 100 children using surrogates, declaring she would be happy to spend more than $1.5 million to make her dream become a reality.</p> <p>It costs around 8000 euros ($A12,500) to legally use a surrogate.</p> <p>Counselling and legal paperwork are essential for the surrogates, who carry the babies that are genetically the biological children of Kristina and her husband.</p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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Lisa Wilkinson apologises for "disgusting" comment

<p dir="ltr">Lisa Wilkinson has been forced to apologise after she sparked outrage for an on-air comment, where she suggested the conflict between Ukraine and Russia could be resolved with a soccer match.</p> <p dir="ltr">The <em>Project</em> co-host joked that war-torn Ukraine and the invading Russia could make peace over a game of football during Thursday night’s episode, as reported by <a href="https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/project-cohost-apologises-for-offending-viewers-with-disgusting-suggestion/news-story/1d63ad4a032fc67daa5b2c02e6e8e00e" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">“They should just have one game, Russia versus Ukraine, and we can settle a war,” Lisa joked.</p> <p dir="ltr">Though co-hosts Waleed Aly, Peter Helliar and Tony Armstrong laughed off the comment in a light-hearted segment, some viewers took to social media to share their anger over the comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Your comments about Russian war in Ukraine are disgusting,” one viewer tweeted. “Sometimes it is wise to think before opening your mouth. Complaint sent to Channel 10.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“Your comment was super stupid and thoughtless,” another wrote. “Only if we could of (sic) ended other conflicts in the same way, a baseball game between USA and Japan to end WW2 perhaps? It’s clear you don’t understand the complexities of the horrors of war.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“How insensitive to make a comment like that after all the atrocities,” a third added.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lisa has since apologised to a follower on Instagram who was offended, and has clarified her stance on the conflict.</p> <p dir="ltr">“My sincere apologies, it was not meant to offend,” she wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I hope the many, many other comments I have made over the last four months have made it clear that my feelings on the tragedy of the despicable acts perpetrated by Russia in this war would make that clear.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Again, if not, my sincere apologies for any offence taken.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Since February, thousands of Ukrainians have died and millions have been displaced, with entire towns being completely destroyed by Russian troops and many forced to leave the country as refugees as a result.</p> <p dir="ltr">Lisa’s comment comes after Ukraine’s soccer team lost to Wales on Sunday in their second official match since the invasion, dashing their chances of qualifying for the World Cup. Ukraine’s domestic league has also been called off for the season following the loss.</p> <p dir="ltr">In the wake of the invasion, Russia’s team was barred from playing by FIFA.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4834f961-7fff-9154-161b-4da16a02bc8f"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Channel 10</em></p>

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Nurse who lost both legs to Russian landmine gets married in hospital

<p>The first dance is a big moment for any bride and groom, but it was even more special for Oksana and Victor.</p> <p>Oksana lost both her legs on a Russian landmine in March, in their home town of Lysychansk, located in the Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine region of Luhansk.</p> <p>The explosion didn't injure Victor, although they were together at the time, but the bride lost both of her legs as well as four fingers on her left hand.</p> <p>Oksana underwent four surgeries and was later evacuated to Dnipro to recover and prepare for prosthetics, and eventually to Lviv, in the west near the Polish border.</p> <p>As she waited for the next part of the healing process, the couple, who have two children together, took the opportunity to wed in a Lviv hospital last week.</p> <p>“Life should not be postponed until later, decided Oksana and Victor, who in six years together never found time for marriage," Lviv Medical Association said, sharing video of the couple's special moment.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">❤️🇺🇦 Very special lovestory.<br />A nurse from Lysychansk, who has lost both legs on a russian mine, got married in Lviv. On March 27, Victor and Oksana were coming back home, when a russian mine exploded. The man was not injured, but Oksana's both legs were torn off by the explosion. <a href="https://t.co/X1AQNwKwyu">pic.twitter.com/X1AQNwKwyu</a></p> <p>— Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine - Ukrainian Parliament (@ua_parliament) <a href="https://twitter.com/ua_parliament/status/1521194382682202113?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 2, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>The footage was also shared by Ukraine's Parliament, which wished the couple well in their new life together. The sweet dance shows the groom carrying his new wife in his arms as she buries her head in her husband's neck.</p> <p>The couple are said to have wed at a local registry office before the hospital reception took place. Oksana is set to travel to Germany for further treatment.</p> <p><em>Image: Twitter </em></p>

Relationships

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Guns, tanks and Twitter: how Russia and Ukraine are using social media as the war drags on

<p>Social media has become a primary source of information for news-hungry audiences around the world trying to make sense of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.</p> <p>At the same time, it’s being used by the governments of Russia and Ukraine to set the agenda for wider media reporting.</p> <p>Official Russian government accounts <a href="https://theconversation.com/russian-government-accounts-are-using-a-twitter-loophole-to-spread-disinformation-178001" target="_blank" rel="noopener">have been found</a> to be amplifying pro-Russia disinformation on Twitter. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government has taken to the platform to appeal to its two million followers for support.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Hard to find words... The killing of civilians in Bucha by Russian war criminals is appalling beyond any measure.</p> <p>Help us stop Russia. Demand your governments to act now:</p> <p>- Provide Ukraine with all weapons we need<br />- More tough sanctions on Russia <br />- Cut all trade ties with them <a href="https://t.co/pYLbMALQfp">pic.twitter.com/pYLbMALQfp</a></p> <p>— Ukraine / Україна (@Ukraine) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ukraine/status/1511106521345798153?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 4, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>Information warfare is no longer an additional arm of strategy, but a parallel component of <a href="https://press.armywarcollege.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2501&amp;context=parameters" target="_blank" rel="noopener">military campaigns</a>. The rise of social media has made it easier than ever before to see how states use mass communication as a weapon.</p> <p><strong>Putting social media in the mix</strong></p> <p>Mass communication began as political communication intended to <a href="https://gutenberg.ca/ebooks/innis-empire/innis-empire-00-h.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">establish and control empires</a>.</p> <p>Whether it was Darius the Great imposing his image on buildings and coins to help control the Persian Empire; Henry VIII’s inspired <a href="https://royalcentral.co.uk/interests/history/royal-portraiture-propaganda-painting-52781/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">use of portraiture</a>, or the well-documented use of <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Film--Radio-Propaganda-in-World-War-II/Short/p/book/9781032077116" target="_blank" rel="noopener">radio and film in World War II</a> – media technologies have long been used to spread political ideas.</p> <p>Social media has added another element to the mix, and brought immediacy to strategic political communication.</p> <p>In asymmetric conflicts (such as the one we’re seeing now in Ukraine), a successful social media account can be a useful weapon against an adversary with many guns and tanks.</p> <p>The local uprisings in the 2010 Arab Spring, especially in Egypt and Tunisia, were among the first campaigns where <a href="https://www.google.com.au/books/edition/War_in_140_Characters/s3mZDgAAQBAJ?hl=en&amp;gbpv=1&amp;dq=social+media+and+The+Arab+Spring+asymmetric+warfare&amp;pg=PT5&amp;printsec=frontcover" target="_blank" rel="noopener">social media played a pivotal role</a>.</p> <p><a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2595096" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Advocates of democracy</a> used Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to maintain networks of communication and openly criticised their governments for the world to see.</p> <p>It didn’t take long for governments to realise the power of social media. And they responded both by restricting access to social media as well as using it themselves.</p> <p>Social media <em>alone</em> may <a href="https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:35365/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">not be capable of instigating</a> widespread change, but it can undoubtedly play a role.</p> <p><strong>Information warfare</strong></p> <p>Tension between Russia and Ukraine has a long history, and was <a href="https://www.ceeol.com/search/book-detail?id=661250" target="_blank" rel="noopener">highly charged on social media</a> well before the latest invasion.</p> <p>Pro-Russian accounts have circulated disinformation about Russia’s role in the Donetsk region since before 2014, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0163443716686672?casa_token=XaOHM4qJ8W8AAAAA:ikaBQXH8mEVeQDgCiHs78F-RsBKNMzP02-Wk6TXzTbKfcxPENb46k3NQLMz1U9n5ZZ5zbnAcnXQ" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fuelling confusion</a> and destabilisation, and assisting Russia’s takeover. This was in fact a critical element of Russia’s “<a href="http://connections-qj.org/article/defining-concept-hybrid-warfare-based-analysis-russias-aggression-against-ukraine" target="_blank" rel="noopener">hybrid warfare</a>” approach.</p> <p>Russia’s strategic actions, and counter actions by Ukraine, have been studied widely by researchers. Unsurprisingly, the research has overwhelmingly found each side to be framing the conflict in <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1750635217702539" target="_blank" rel="noopener">very different, and divergent</a> ways.</p> <p>Research has also found social media can sustain, and even aggravate, the hostility between <a href="https://ccdcoe.org/uploads/2018/10/Ch12_CyberWarinPerspective_Lange_Svetoka.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Ukrainians and Russians online</a>.</p> <p>For example, after Malaysian Airline flight MH17 was shot down by Russia over Ukraine, an <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ia/article/94/5/975/5092080?login=true" target="_blank" rel="noopener">analysis of 950,000 Twitter posts</a> found a plethora of competing claims online, creating a struggle for truth which continues today.</p> <p>As early as 2014, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Philip Breedlove, <a href="https://www.stripes.com/news/saceur-allies-must-prepare-for-russia-hybrid-war-1.301464" target="_blank" rel="noopener">described</a> the Russian communication strategy in Ukraine as “the most amazing information warfare <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/blitzkrieg" target="_blank" rel="noopener">blitzkrieg</a> we have ever seen in the history of information warfare”.</p> <p>These efforts have escalated since Russia’s recent expansion of its invasion into Ukrainian territory. And with so much noise, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for users to make sense of the deluge of contradictory, emotive and (often) difficult-to-verify information.</p> <p>It’s even more difficult when the tone of posts changes quickly.</p> <p>The Ukraine government’s Twitter account is a study in contrasts of both content and tone. Set up in more peaceful times, the profile cheerily states: “Yes, this is the official Twitter account of Ukraine. Nice pics: #BeautifulUkraine Our music: #UkieBeats”.</p> <p>But the account now posts a range of content, images and video related to the war as part of its strategic communication campaign.</p> <p>This has included serious news updates, patriotic allusions to historic events and people, anti-Russian material and – prior to the recent reports of mass deaths – <a href="https://www.ceeol.com/search/chapter-detail?id=661124" target="_blank" rel="noopener">quite a lot of humour</a>.</p> <p><strong>Why use humour?</strong></p> <p>Humour has a long history of being used as an element of communication and <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/13691481211023958" target="_blank" rel="noopener">public diplomacy</a> – <a href="https://compass.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/soc4.12138?casa_token=ci0wS1giS6AAAAAA%3AkH20TMNG-ln9Q8wdqVsA2ML0NSX4iX3X7FCMkhAdOiBRvQ5LSe1DaEtMxAAQ9HQAgBWHgkHezMGs0Q" target="_blank" rel="noopener">even during wars</a>.</p> <p>For instance, <a href="https://www.berggruen.org/ideas/articles/to-defy-a-dictator-send-in-the-clowns/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">humour was used effectively</a> by the Serbian Otpor resistance movement in its campaign to overthrow dictator Slobodan Milošević at the turn of this century.</p> <p><a href="https://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/sarah-snow/2015-07-06/science-behind-what-content-goes-viral" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Humour is particularly effective</a> on social platforms because it produces <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1509/jmr.10.0353?casa_token=U5-C6j_iI7cAAAAA:p3Palq4Swuz34SC7eNukHO6Kb5OeB9TNgucv8magwnP9Q7iWtXx84ih83rZ8fKpbeHGVMH0HrdM" target="_blank" rel="noopener">virality</a>.</p> <p>And in the case of Ukraine’s defence, it displays defiance. After all, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (a former comedian) was famously thrust into the political spotlight thanks to a satirical television production. In it he played the role of a teacher whose secretly-filmed rant about corruption goes viral, leading the character to become President.</p> <p>Zelenskyy’s <a href="https://twitter.com/ZelenskyyUa" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Twitter account</a> is now the most immediate and reliable way for many Ukrainians to get crucial information on the invasion and negotiations between Zelenskyy and other leaders.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Talked to <a href="https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BorisJohnson</a> again. The United Kingdom is our powerful ally. Discussed the defensive support for 🇺🇦, intensification of anti-Russian sanctions and post-war security guarantees. We look forward to the donors' conference for Ukraine.</p> <p>— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) <a href="https://twitter.com/ZelenskyyUa/status/1510336038199300101?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 2, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>The thousands of “shares” the posts receive are helping Ukraine’s communication campaign.</p> <p>Zelenskyy’s recent address to the Grammy Awards reinforces that he understands the necessity of remaining visible to the world at this critical point. His speech has produced much support on social media (as well as cries of “propaganda” from Russia’s supporters).</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made a surprise video appearance at the music industry's star-studded Grammy Awards celebration in Las Vegas and appealed to viewers to support his country ‘in any way you can’ <a href="https://t.co/hwQYnEpLGx">https://t.co/hwQYnEpLGx</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GRAMMYs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GRAMMYs</a> <a href="https://t.co/dKTBCkfEB8">pic.twitter.com/dKTBCkfEB8</a></p> <p>— Reuters (@Reuters) <a href="https://twitter.com/Reuters/status/1510868519323410440?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 4, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/KremlinRussia_E" target="_blank" rel="noopener">account</a> has been dormant since March 16.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/180131/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/collette-snowden-5543" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Collette Snowden</a>, Senior Lecturer, School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/university-of-south-australia-1180" target="_blank" rel="noopener">University of South Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/guns-tanks-and-twitter-how-russia-and-ukraine-are-using-social-media-as-the-war-drags-on-180131" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Technology

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Finland returns $46 million of detained artwork to Russia

<p dir="ltr">The Finnish foreign ministry has announced that Finland will return three shipments of art bound for Russia that had been confiscated by customs officials. </p> <p dir="ltr">The sculptures and paints, which are worth a collective $46 million, were seized at the Vaalimaa border crossing on suspicion of violating European sanctions on Russia, according to Customs Enforcement Director Hannu Sinkkonen. </p> <p dir="ltr">The works, which originated in Italy and Japan, were destined for various museums in Russia when they were confiscated. </p> <p dir="ltr">Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs released a statement saying that the European Union amended its existing rules to exempt certain cultural artefacts from its list of sanctions. </p> <p dir="ltr">The rule change extends only to “cultural goods which are on loan in the context of formal cultural cooperation,” the statement said, without further elaboration on its motivation for the exemption.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many of the confiscated works were on loan from Russia’s State Tretyakov Gallery and the State Museum of Oriental Art for temporary exhibits at two Italian galleries. </p> <p dir="ltr">Other artworks were returned to Moscow’s Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts from Chiba City Museum in Tokyo.</p> <p dir="ltr">Following the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has been hit with severe sanctions from the European Union, which originally included “luxury items” such as art. </p> <p dir="ltr">France has also been halted by the sanctions, with several French art galleries and museums showcasing on-loan Russian works. </p> <p dir="ltr">France’s Ministry of Culture announced that at least two paintings on display at Paris’ Fondation Louis Vuitton in a blockbuster exhibition of works from the collection of Ivan Morozov, a deceased Russian businessman and collector of avant-garde French art, will remain in France.</p> <p dir="ltr">The ministry said that paintings will not return to Russia “so long as their owner remain targeted by an asset freeze.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Art

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Heartbreaking image from desperate Ukraine mother

<p dir="ltr"><em>Content warning: This article contains distressing content and images relating to the conflict in Ukraine.</em></p> <p dir="ltr">Images have emerged of Ukrainian children with their family’s contact details scrawled onto their bodies with black markers, as parents make preparations out of fear they will be killed by Russian forces.</p> <p dir="ltr">Kyiv journalist Anastasiia Lapatina shared a picture from a Ukrainian family with an insight into how families are preparing for the war to close in.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Ukrainian mothers are writing their family contacts on the bodies of their children in case they get killed and the child survives,” Ms Lapatina captioned the photo.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-cf743c20-7fff-2ea1-4762-113849c8b557"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“And Europe is still discussing gas,” she added, referring to the European Union’s controversial decision to not ban oil or gas exports from Russia.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Ukrainian mothers are writing their family contacts on the bodies of their children in case they get killed and the child survives. And Europe is still discussing gas. <a href="https://t.co/sK26wnBOWj">pic.twitter.com/sK26wnBOWj</a></p> <p>— Anastasiia Lapatina (@lapatina_) <a href="https://twitter.com/lapatina_/status/1511059303611969542?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 4, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">The mother, Aleksandra Mako, originally posted the photo on <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Cbz_4zBtewq/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Instagram</a>, where she detailed her fear and explained how she wrote details on her daughter’s back “in case something happened to us” and if she was picked up by someone.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Then a crazy thought flashed through my mind, ‘why didn’t I tattoo her with this information?’” she wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr">The distressing images come after <em><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/02/ukrainian-children-used-as-human-shields-near-kyiv-say-witness-reports" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Guardian</a></em> reported that children were being used as “human shields” by Russian soldiers attempting to flee.</p> <p dir="ltr">The publication reported that buses carrying children were placed in front of tanks in Novyi Bykiv, a village close to Chernihiv.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Cases of using children as cover are recorded in Sumy, Kyiv, Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhia oblasts,” Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman, Lyudmila Denisova, said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-1548fe20-7fff-486c-485c-42c06869ec4b"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Colonel Oleksander Motuzyanyk, one of the country’s highest military officials, further alleged the Russians were using children as hostages in their trucks.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">As Russian troops retreating they kidnap Ukrainian children and put them in their trucks to ensure their columns would not be attacked. It happened according to accounts of witnesses in Novyy Bykiv in Chernigiv region, also Sumy, Zaporizhzhia and Kyiv regions. Ombudsman office: <a href="https://t.co/qpP4YPYC5Z">pic.twitter.com/qpP4YPYC5Z</a></p> <p>— Olena Tregub (@OTregub) <a href="https://twitter.com/OTregub/status/1510180933495894021?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">April 2, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p dir="ltr">“Enemies have been using Ukrainian children as hostages, putting them in their convoys, moving their vehicles,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Russian soldiers have used Ukrainian children as hostages, putting them on their trucks. They’re doing it to protect their vehicles when moving.</p> <p dir="ltr">“There have been cases of brutal behaviour against minors been recorded, documented by a Ukrainian and international institutions, and we’d like to emphasise that information in each and every case will be given to the national criminal courts and the occupiers will be brought to justice for each and every military and war crime they commit.”</p> <p dir="ltr">It has also been <a href="https://www.news.com.au/world/europe/children-being-written-on-by-parents-worried-they-will-die-in-war-with-russia/news-story/db8e0a1205a9cfaeb129e734ad1f5b54" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported </a>that children were among the hundreds of people found dead in the town of Bucha, and that Russian soldiers were “mutilating children”.</p> <p dir="ltr">The events in Bucha have prompted US President Joe Biden to call for a “war crimes trial” and vow even harsher sanctions against Moscow.</p> <p dir="ltr">European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen has also said the bloc was ready to send investigators to the town to gather evidence of possible war crimes.</p> <p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-9f799264-7fff-9eea-23ef-5913c04ab4ea"></span></p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Twitter</em></p>

Family & Pets

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Ukraine president appears at Grammy's from bunker

<p dir="ltr">Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise appearance at the Grammy’s from his bunker as war continues to tear into his country.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a pre-recorded video from his bunker in Kyiv, Zelensky delivered a powerful speech asking the audience and viewers to “support us in any way you can” as fighting continues between Ukraine and Russia. </p> <p dir="ltr">"The war. What's more opposite than music,” President Zelensky began.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The silence of ruined cities and killed people. Our children drew swooping rockets, not shooting stars.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Over 400 children have been injured and 153 children died. And we will never see them drawing."</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our parents are happy to wake up in the morning. In bomb shelters, but alive. Our loved ones don’t know if we will be together again. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The war doesn’t let us choose who survives and who stays in eternal silence.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Our musicians wear body armour instead of tuxedos. They sing to the wounded in hospitals, even to those who can’t hear them. But the music will break through anyway.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He urged and encouraged musicians and viewers of the Grammy to “fill the silence with your music!”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We defend our freedom. To live. To love. To sound. On our land, we are fighting Russia which brings horrible silence with its bombs. </p> <p dir="ltr">“The dead silence. Fill the silence with your music! Fill it today to tell our story. Tell the truth about this war on your social networks, on TV. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Support us in any way you can. Any — but not silence. And then peace will come. </p> <p dir="ltr">“To all our cities the war is destroying. Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Volnovakha, Mariupol and others. They are legends already. But I have a dream of them living. And free. Free like you on the Grammy stage.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Zelensky’s speech served as an introduction to John Legend’s live performance, which then featured a backdrop of photos from war-torn Ukraine. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

Music

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The International Court of Justice has ordered Russia to stop the war

<p>The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the top court of the United Nations, has <a href="https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/182/182-20220316-ORD-01-00-EN.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ordered Russia to “immediately suspend” its military operations in Ukraine</a>. What does the decision mean, and what happens next?</p> <p>We already knew Russia’s invasion was illegal in international law. But the ICJ decision now makes it virtually impossible for anyone, including Russia, to deny that illegality. It is also impressive because Ukraine used a creative strategy to get the ICJ to hear the case, based on the <a href="https://www.un.org/en/genocideprevention/documents/atrocity-crimes/Doc.1_Convention%20on%20the%20Prevention%20and%20Punishment%20of%20the%20Crime%20of%20Genocide.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Genocide Convention of 1948</a>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">READ HERE: a summary of the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ICJ?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ICJ</a> Order indicating provisional measures in the case concerning Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ukraine?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ukraine</a> v. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Russia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Russia</a>) <a href="https://t.co/joZ3kWkfiQ">https://t.co/joZ3kWkfiQ</a> <a href="https://t.co/D6YsHmVHOH">pic.twitter.com/D6YsHmVHOH</a></p> <p>— CIJ_ICJ (@CIJ_ICJ) <a href="https://twitter.com/CIJ_ICJ/status/1504137139625279492?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 16, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p><strong>Russia’s legal arguments about the war</strong></p> <p>Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, gave <a href="https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/full-text-putin-s-declaration-of-war-on-ukraine" target="_blank" rel="noopener">several justifications for invading Ukraine</a>. Some had little to do with the law, such as his complaints about NATO. But two were legal arguments.</p> <p>First, he claimed Russia was acting in “self-defence”. Self-defence is <a href="https://www.un.org/en/about-us/un-charter/chapter-7" target="_blank" rel="noopener">an established reason to use military force</a> in international law. But Putin suggested Russia was defending the two breakaway parts of eastern Ukraine it recognises as sovereign states: Donetsk and Luhansk. Legally, these are <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-russias-recognition-of-breakaway-parts-of-ukraine-breached-international-law-and-set-the-stage-for-invasion-177623" target="_blank" rel="noopener">still parts of Ukraine’s own territory, not independent states</a>, which makes nonsense of this argument.</p> <p>Second, Putin claimed Ukraine was committing genocide against ethnic Russians (where “genocide” means certain acts committed with “<a href="https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume%2078/volume-78-i-1021-english.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">intent to destroy</a>” an ethnic group or another defined group). This is just as factually and legally flimsy as the self-defence argument.</p> <p>If both arguments are weak, why did Ukraine focus on genocide in the case before the ICJ? To understand, we have to look at the court’s jurisdiction: that is, its power to decide some legal issues but not others.</p> <p><strong>The jurisdiction of the ICJ</strong></p> <p>The ICJ hears disputes solely between sovereign states (in contrast to the separate International Criminal Court, which tries individuals for committing things like war crimes).</p> <p>The ICJ does not automatically have jurisdiction over every state and every issue. There is no global government that could give it that power. Like many other aspects of international law, <a href="https://www.icj-cij.org/en/basis-of-jurisdiction" target="_blank" rel="noopener">its jurisdiction relies on states giving consent</a> – agreement – either directly or indirectly.</p> <p>Some states have given consent by making general declarations. Other states have consented to particular treaties that give the ICJ the power to decide disputes related specifically to those treaties.</p> <p>Since Russia has not made a general declaration, Ukraine could not ask the ICJ to rule on its self-defence argument. But Russia is a party to a relevant treaty, the <a href="https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume%2078/volume-78-i-1021-english.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Genocide Convention</a>.</p> <p>Ukraine’s creative strategy was to try to bring the case within the ICJ’s jurisdiction by arguing that Russia was making a false allegation of genocide to justify its illegal invasion.</p> <p><strong>The order made by the ICJ</strong></p> <p>Russia did not turn up to the courtroom in The Hague for the initial hearing in early March (though it did write the ICJ a letter outlining its view).</p> <p>That is a change in its behaviour. After Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Georgia similarly brought a case to the ICJ and tried to use <a href="https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%20660/volume-660-I-9464-English.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a different treaty</a> to bring it within the court’s jurisdiction. Russia participated in the case and actually had <a href="https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/140" target="_blank" rel="noopener">significant success</a>.</p> <p>Its failure to turn up this time signals its disengagement from international institutions.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">International Court of Justice is ruling on Ukraine's appeal for an order for Russia to halt its invasion. Russian officials and lawyers have not turned up for the session. <a href="https://t.co/oucPjgQ5Hp">pic.twitter.com/oucPjgQ5Hp</a></p> <p>— Julian Borger (@julianborger) <a href="https://twitter.com/julianborger/status/1504111254205521926?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 16, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>Of the 15 judges, almost all agreed to <a href="https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/182/182-20220316-ORD-01-00-EN.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">order Russia to “immediately suspend” its military operations</a>. There were two dissenters: the judges of Russian and Chinese nationality.</p> <p>This was what is called a “provisional measures” order – an emergency ruling made before the court hears the whole case. Provisional measures are binding. That is important. It means even if Russia maintains incorrectly that the invasion is legal, it is now breaching international law anyway by failing to comply with the ICJ’s order.</p> <p>However, a binding ruling is not the same as an enforceable one. Just as there is no global government to give the ICJ more power, there are no global police to enforce its decisions.</p> <p>For example, in 1999, the ICJ <a href="https://www.icj-cij.org/en/case/104" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ordered the United States to delay executing a German man on death row</a>. Although the court confirmed such a provisional measure was binding, it could not actually stop the execution.</p> <p>But ICJ decisions can play a more subtle role. They shape the narrative for law-abiding states and within the United Nations.</p> <p>This ruling might help to embolden other states, including some that until now have been sitting on the fence, to contribute to actions like suffocating Russia’s economy with sanctions and arming Ukraine.</p> <p><strong>What happens next?</strong></p> <p>All the ICJ has done so far is to order provisional measures. It has not even found conclusively that it has jurisdiction in the case. It might be a long time before it decides the case as a whole.</p> <p>But it has hinted it is receptive to Ukraine’s arguments. It has noted that it “<a href="https://www.icj-cij.org/public/files/case-related/182/182-20220316-ORD-01-00-EN.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">is not in possession of evidence</a>” to support Russia’s allegation that Ukraine has committed genocide.</p> <p>Another strength of Ukraine’s case is that there is, in any event, no rule in international law automatically giving one state a right to invade another state to stop a genocide. One reason is that a cynical aggressor could manipulate or abuse such a rule. That is basically what this case is all about.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/179466/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rowan-nicholson-945547" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Rowan Nicholson</a>, Lecturer in Law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/flinders-university-972" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Flinders University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-international-court-of-justice-has-ordered-russia-to-stop-the-war-what-does-this-ruling-mean-179466" target="_blank" rel="noopener">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Image: Getty Images</em></p>

Legal

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Couple in strife for flinging dog poo at Russian neighbour

<p>A couple who allegedly threw dog poo at their Russian neighbour and threatened him are now facing ethnic discrimination charges.</p> <p>Over the past few weeks, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has been investigating several incidents of harassment and intimidation directed at the Russian man.</p> <p>Police said yard signs were defaced with political and anti-national messages, a bag of rice with a similar message was thrown onto his property and he was subject to coarse language and threats.</p> <p>The messages condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin, and dog poo was left in the yard. According to police, an immediate neighbour and his family have reported being harassed almost everyday since Russia invaded Ukraine.</p> <p>One of the victims of this abuse was identified as Vasily Potanin, his father Vladimir Potanin is a multi-billionaire and used to be Russia's deputy prime minister.</p> <p>Mr Potanin says he does not support Russia's attack on Ukraine.</p> <p>“They assume that just because of my nationality, I must be profiting from that. I’m Putin’s spy. I work for him. All this nonsense,” he said.</p> <p>“Honestly I think for them, the best thing that can happen is they can have the consequences legally for their actions and they should face them.”</p> <p>Mr Potanin said he had received hateful messages in the mail, ordering him to leave the neighbourhood in which he has resided for four years.</p> <p><em>Image: Pittsburgh Police</em></p>

Legal

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Russia fires back at Arnie after video plea

<p dir="ltr">Russian state media has declared war against Arnold Schwarzenegger following his message to President Vladimir Putin.</p> <p dir="ltr">The 74-year-old <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/travel/travel-trouble/arnold-schwarzenegger-sends-message-to-putin" target="_blank" rel="noopener">shared a video</a> on social media, in which he described his love for Russia and its people while also criticising Putin and the Kremlin since the war began on February 24.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To President Putin, I say, you started this war. You are leading this war. You can stop this war,” Schwarzenegger said in the clip.</p> <p dir="ltr">Arnie shared the video far and wide for even Russians to see, despite the state blocking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.</p> <p dir="ltr">However, his message reached Russians via Telegram and the state fired back at Arnie for his “Russophobia”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“That face is the cover page of American imperialism and colonialism, not the caricature image of Uncle Sam, but this Schwarz, in a Hollywood production.” host Vadim Gigin snapped on state TV show <em>Sunday Evening With Vladimir Solovievon</em>, <a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/russian-state-tv-just-declared-war-on-arnold-schwarzenegger?ref=scroll" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Daily Beast</a> reported.</p> <p dir="ltr">“He, in California, will tell us, who lives here… the truth?! That is their approach towards us.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Gigin then referred to the second half of Arnie’s video, in which he references the cup gifted to him by champion weightlifter Yury Vlasov.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Vlasov couldn’t transfer any of his brain [to Schwarzenegger] with his handshake and the gifted cup,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Co-host Vladimir Soloviev joined in, saying: “Schwarzenegger twice travelled to Iraq to support the American troops and never tried to tell the Iraqi people why they’re being destroyed.”</p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CbMXaQRltOt/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/tv/CbMXaQRltOt/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Arnold Schwarzenegger (@schwarzenegger)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">Russian powerlifter champion Maryana Naumova also attacked the American actor saying he is “living in an alternative, imaginary reality.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She then referred the actor to his film <em>Terminator</em> explaining what the Russian forces are doing in Ukraine.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Do you remember how in the second part of the Terminator your hero goes back in time to prevent the creation of Skynet, which would bring the death of all mankind?” she began.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Russia's special military operation does not aim to destroy the Ukrainian people.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It is aimed at the neo-Nazi Skynet, which over the years has completely subjugated Ukraine and was about to turn into an uncontrollable monster, dangerous for all of its neighbors, not only for us... Don’t side with Skynet, Terminator.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Russian author Zakhar Prilepin also took spite of Arnie’s message and wrote on his Telegram channel: “Schwarzenegger, who killed three million Russians in his films, told the Russian people how much he loves us and how wrong we are about Ukraine”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This Austrian, the son of his father, who served in the SS and was wounded near Leningrad, is trying to act as the good cop,” he said, adding that the US was “pumping Ukraine full of weapons to massacre the Russians”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Arnie, you are a predator and an enemy,” he wrote.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Instagram</em></p>

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"Today I’m taking over David Beckham’s Instagram"

<p dir="ltr">Footballer David Beckham has handed over his Instagram to a Ukrainian nurse to share the realities of the war.</p> <p dir="ltr">Beckham, who has been a Unicef ambassador since 2005, shared a <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CbUlU7ioSNM/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">video message</a> and asked his fans and followers to donate to help.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Today I’m handing over my social channels to Iryna, the Head of the Regional Perinatal Centre in Kharkiv, Ukraine where she is helping mothers give birth,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Please give what you can to support @UNICEF and people like Iryna using the donation link in my bio.”</p> <p dir="ltr">His story then showed a series of videos and images from nurse Iryna who showed how doctors and nurses worked during war.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Hello my name is Iryna, today i’m taking over David Beckham’s Instagram. In peacetime, I am the head of Kharkiv’s regional perinatal centre and a child anesthesiologist,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Today I'm going to show you how we work in times of war and who we have become during these war days.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Iryna shared harrowing images of basements, where expectant mothers, new mothers, and their babies were hidden to be safe from any shelling.</p> <p dir="ltr">“On the first day of the war, all pregnant women and mothers were evacuated to the basement. It was a terrible three hours we spent together,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unfortunately, we can’t take babies who are in intensive care to the basement, because they rely on life-saving equipment.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The first days were the most difficult. We had to learn how to work with bombings and strikes.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Iryna confessed that since the war began on February 24, she had to work 24/7 and offers emotional support to all those around her.</p> <p dir="ltr">She then shared an image of a woman and her newborn son who was born with breathing problems, but is “better now”.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This is Yana and her baby son Mykhailo. On the second day of war, he was born with breathing problems. He is better now,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But his family’s house was destroyed and they can’t go back.”</p> <p dir="ltr">She urged Beckham's followers to continue donating to Unicef as their supplies have assisted greatly during the war zone.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Unicef has been delivering supplies in Ukraine for years and they have good logistics to deliver ready-to-use kits to maternity hospitals,” she explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The oxygen generators we received from Unicef help provide oxygen for children in the basement.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We are probably risking our lives, but we don’t think about it at all. We love our work.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Doctors and nurses here, we worry, we cry but none of us will give up.”</p> <p>Iryna thanked the “whole world” for their support and those who had donated to Unicef to help the Ukrainian children.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Thank you to everyone who watched my story, to everyone who is helping the Ukrainian children today.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Every donation and every single one of you who donated matters to us. Huge thank you to the whole world for the support.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

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