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Local resident gather in a courtyard near a block of flats damaged in the southern port city of Mariupol.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

What We're Watching: Battle of Donbas, Turkish attack on Kurds in Iraq, violence in Delhi

The Battle of Donbas begins

In eastern Ukraine, the Battle of Donbas, the much-anticipated storm of destruction expected in the war’s next phase, has begun, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Monday. Heavy fighting is reported in the Luhansk, Donetsk, and Kharkiv regions. In other parts of Ukraine, and beyond its borders, millions are watching to see what happens next. Will Russian soldiers make quick gains on the ground? The Kremlin is wondering why it’s taking so long to seize control of the port city of Mariupol and finally declare a big battlefield victory. Residents of Kyiv and Lviv are waiting to see whether deadly Russian artillery strikes on their cities are short-term payback for Russia’s loss of its Black Sea flagship or something that will continue. In nearby countries – Lithuania, for example – locals are worried about the war potentially spilling over borders. Russians, meanwhile, are waiting to see how much economic damage Western sanctions will inflict, and the nearly 5 million Ukrainians who’ve fled their country and the estimated 7 million more who have been displaced internally are waiting to see whether and when they can return home.

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Migrants walk towards the Bruzgi-Kuznica Bialostocka border crossing in an attempt to cross the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno Region, Belarus November 15, 2021.

Leonid Scheglov/BelTA/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: EU vs everyone, Austria vs the unvaccinated, India vs smog, Barbados vs real world

The EU targets "everyone!" The EU on Monday unanimously agreed to impose fresh sanctions on "everyone involved" in bringing migrants to the Belarus-Poland border, where a diplomatic and humanitarian crisis continues as thousands of asylum-seekers shiver in makeshift camps. Brussels says Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has deliberately created this crisis to strike back against existing EU sanctions that were imposed in response to his sham re-election last year and his hijacking of a RyanAir flight this summer. Reports show that Belarus loosened visa restrictions for migrants — largely from Iraq — to serve as a transit point for migrants hoping to cross the EU border to apply for asylum. Details of the new sanctions aren't yet decided, but they are likely to target political officials, travel agencies, and airlines. Lukashenko has vowed to fight back, but he won't cut off the Russian gas flows that traverse his country on the way to Europe — Vladimir Putin quickly slapped down that possibility after Lukashenko raised it over the weekend. The question remains: will EU sanctions change Belarus' behavior?

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How One Indian-American Couple Raised Over $500k to Send Oxygen Equipment to Delhi | GZERO World

How one Indian-American couple raised over $500k to send oxygen equipment to Delhi

An Indian-American family in California decided to take action after acquaintances, friends, relatives and finally their own parents in Delhi became sick from COVID as the city was overwhelmed by the outbreak. In just a few days, they organized a massive logistical and fundraising effort to send critical oxygen equipment to Delhi. "We came across oxygen concentrators as one of the major needs in Delhi, as oxygen supplies were low, and agencies, hospitals, and nursing facilities were running out of oxygen and putting out SOS messages." The couple explains how they have partnered with SaveLIFE Foundation, an organization out of Delhi working directly with the local government. "India needs all the help that it can at this point in time."

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