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Ukrainian troops in the midst of the conflict to take back control of Kharkiv province from Russian forces.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Ukraine's gains, Democrats' midterm odds, IMF to offer food aid

Jubilant Ukrainians continue to advance

Ukraine’s military gains of the past few days have emboldened its fighters and leaders. An attack meant to test Russian strength at various points along the front in northeast Kharkiv province became a major counteroffensive when many Russians simply abandoned their equipment and ran. As of Monday, Ukraine has grabbed more territory in five days than the Russian military captured in the past five months. To demonstrate it can still inflict punishment, Russia responded with an artillery blitz aimed at knocking out electricity and water, initially causing widespread outages across Ukraine. But President Volodymyr Zelensky captured the Ukrainian mood on social media with a response aimed at Moscow: “We will be without gas, lights, water and food … and WITHOUT you!” Ukraine’s defense minister has warned his forces to brace for a Russian counterattack, though it appears Russia lacks the manpower and the weapons for an effective near-term military response in Kharkiv province. Russia’s war effort is not collapsing. Its forces remain dug in across much of the Donbas region and along the Black Sea coast. Though Ukraine has seized momentum, this war is far from finished. But Ukrainian forces have again demonstrated that, whatever the Kremlin claims, Putin’s war is not going to plan.

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Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah hold flags during an election rally in Tyre, Lebanon.

Reuters

Can this election save Lebanon?

Corruption and mismanagement have become the hallmarks of Lebanese governance.

In 2019, the country’s ill-managed economy imploded thanks to a self-serving political elite, and in 2020, an explosion resulting from government negligence killed 230 people at a Beirut port. Subsequent attempts to stonewall the criminal investigation of the blast again exposed the greed and malice of those in charge.

In short, things need to change.

Voters will cast their ballots on May 15 in general elections for the first time since all hell broke loose three years ago. Is there any hope for a political turnaround, or will the country continue rolling over a cliff?

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The Graphic Truth: Deep in the red with China

The pandemic has thrown many already-indebted countries further into the red. The problem is two-pronged for many Asian, African, and Latin American countries. They have taken on huge amounts of debt from the IMF to weather pandemic-related economic uncertainty, while also being caught up in a debt trap set by China, which funds large infrastructure projects in developing states but often with complex or misleading fine print. We take a look at which countries out of a group of 24 surveyed states owe China the most compared to their respective IMF debts.

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