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Women and babies at the Zamzam displacement camp, close to El Fasher in North Darfur, Sudan, January 2024.

Mohamed Zakaria/Reuters

Hard Numbers: Spike in forced displacement, Biden signs long-term deal with Kyiv, Thousands face starvation in Sudan, Sharp increase in travel for abortions

120 million: As of May, the number of forcibly displaced people worldwide stood at a record 120 million — roughly equivalent to the population of Japan — according to the UN refugee agency, which blamed “new and mutating conflicts” as well as the failure to resolve “long-standing crises.” The conflict in Sudan, in particular, has contributed to the historic level of displacement, the UN said. By the end of 2023, nearly 11 million Sudanese had been driven from their homes.

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Volodymyr Zelensky

STR/NurPhoto

Zelensky risks public anger with new draft plan

Volodymyr Zelensky has now accepted a politically painful truth: His country needs more soldiers. On Tuesday, Ukraine’s president signed a law that lowered the conscription age from 27 to 25 for the country’s male citizens. For now, a drafted soldier can’t be “mobilized” – sent to fight – until age 27, but that may also change.
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Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky posted this picture with commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny in announcing his replacement on Thursday Feb 8, 2024.

REUTERS

Ukraine’s president fires his top general

After a week of confusion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pulled the trigger. He announced Thursday that he had fired Valery Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, 10 days earlier.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gives a speech at the World Economic Forum.

Hannes P. Albert/dpa via Reuters

Zelensky fights for funding

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is in many ways battling two wars at once – one against Russian invaders, and another to maintain financial and military support from Western allies. Lately, he’s been facing a deadlock in both.

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US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House.

Reuters

Zelensky had his work cut out for him in Washington DC

After a marathon few days in New York where he attended the UN General Assembly, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky traveled to Washington on Thursday where he attempted to convince US lawmakers that continuing to fund Ukraine’s war effort is an investment worth making. On Friday, Zelensky traveled to Canada for the first time since the war began.

In Washington, Zelensky met with President Joe Biden at the White House, after which a Biden aide said that the administration would continue to provide Kyiv with military aid, emphasizing new air defenses.

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Protest in Yerevan following Azerbaijani military operation launch in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Reuters

UN Security Council debates Nagorno-Karabakh

It was a quieter day at UN headquarters on Thursday. With US President Biden back at the White House – accompanied by Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky – the crowds had thinned somewhat and fewer delegates could be found attending the debate in the UN General Assembly hall.

Much of the focus was on the crisis in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, where this week Azerbaijan launched a fresh assault on ethnic-Armenian separatists there, who then reportedly agreed to surrender and disarm as part of a ceasefire. Azerbaijan now looks set to take control of the enclave that's seen decades of conflict.

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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is seen on a video monitor in a booth above the United Nations Security Council floor.

Reuters

Zelensky takes aim at the UN Security Council

It was another big day at the UN General Assembly. Again, much of the attention centered around Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky who attended a prickly meeting at the UN Security Council.

Ukraine, for its part, is not currently a member of the UNSC, but was invited to attend the session where, sitting across from the Russian Ambassador, Zelensky called Russia a “terrorist state.” Zelensky left the chamber before Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sat down, avoiding a potential confrontation.

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A damaged office building following a reported Ukrainian drone attack in Moscow.

REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

More drone strikes on Moscow

Early Tuesday, a drone struck a Moscow skyscraper that houses Russian government ministries. It was the second drone attack on that building in just 48 hours. Ukraine’s government has not yet acknowledged responsibility, but its military is suspected for obvious reasons.

Though Ukraine has no way of matching the intensity and destructive power of Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities, there are several reasons why these drone strikes matter.

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