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Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Forces watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 qualification playoff semi-final soccer match between Scotland and Ukraine.

Reuters

Hard Numbers: Ukraine eyes a Qatar ticket, CAR abolishes executions, Croatia gets into the ‘Zone, Conservatives romp in South Korea

1: With their homeland ravaged by war, Ukraine’s national soccer team is putting up a stunning fight of its own at the World Cup qualifiers – the “yellow-blues” are now just one win away from qualifying for a ticket to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar later this year. They play Wales on Sunday.

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Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy awards service dog and bomb sniffer "Patron."

Reuters

Hard Numbers: Ukraine's canine hero, IS strikes in Sinai, another kidnapping by Haitian gangs, Havana explosion

200: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has handed out a number of medals to service members fighting against the Russian onslaught. The latest recipient of a war-time accolade? A brave soul named Patron, a petite Jack Russell Terrier and bomb sniffer who has identified more than 200 explosive devices.

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Did the West play a role in causing Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

Did the West play a role in causing Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

More than a month into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it’s important to take stock of how we got here.

The easy answer: President Vladimir Putin singlehandedly decided to start a war in an evil and crazed attempt to subjugate an innocent neighbor that posed no threat to his country or his regime, other than by setting an example of what a successful, democratic former Soviet republic could look like.

That is undoubtedly true. President Putin bears 100% of the blame for this war.

Not the Ukrainian government, which contrary to Putin’s claims did not commit acts of genocide against ethnic Russians in the Donbas. Not the West, which despite what Putin and certain foreign policy scholars say did not threaten Russia’s security with NATO enlargement.

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Putin may win the battle for Ukraine, but he has already lost the war

Putin may win the battle for Ukraine, but he has already lost the war

In the early morning of March 4, Russian forces seized the Zaporizhzhia power station, Europe’s largest nuclear plant. Two days before, Russian troops gained control over the southern Ukrainian port city of Kherson, the first major city Russia has seized since it began its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine more than a week ago. Kherson’s strategic location on the Black Sea and the Dnieper River will serve as a launching pad for further Russian incursions into central, west, and east Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russian missiles and airstrikes continue to indiscriminately hammer residential areas in Kyiv and Kharkiv, Ukraine’s capital and its second-largest city. And the strategic port city of Mariupol, which connects Crimea with the Donbas, remains under a brutal siege.

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The West is at war with Russia. Here’s what that means for the world.

The West is at war with Russia. Here’s what that means for the world.

The United States and its allies are now at war with Russia.

American troops may not—and most assuredly will not—be on the ground in Ukraine, but the US and NATO allies are sending Ukrainians an enormous amount of the world’s most sophisticated war-fighting equipment, not just to help them defend themselves but to help them kill Russians more effectively. Yes, Russian President Vladimir Putin started the war when he invaded Ukraine without provocation. But in the eyes of the Kremlin, vastly more Russians will come home in body bags as a direct result of NATO’s intervention.

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People work at the site of a mudslide after pouring rains in Petropolis, Brazil.

REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Hard Numbers: Deadly mudslides in Brazil, Israel strikes Syria, Saudi women seek bullets, problem parrots in New Zealand

105: At least 105 people have been killed in mudslides and floods in Brazil. The disaster saw streets “turned into rivers” in the city of Petropolis, 40 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. Hundreds are now expected to be facing homelessness in the wake of the floods.

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An employee is seen while people undergo PCR tests for COVID-19 upon their arrival at Beijing Capital International Airport ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics. The 24th Winter Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in Beijing on February 4-20, 2022.

Valery Sharifulin/TASS

Hard Numbers: COVID bursts Olympic bubble, Italian prez re-elected, Yemeni child soldiers, Peruvian ecocide

34: The organizers of the Beijing Winter Olympics reported on Sunday 34 new COVID infections within the "bubble" set up for the Games, where athletes can only compete if they test negative twice in 24 hours. Troubling news for China's zero-COVID policy.

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Gabriella Turrisi

Hard Numbers: US low on chips, Egypt buys US arms, snow in Athens, Mexican remittances

5: US manufacturers now have on average less than five days' worth of semiconductor supplies, down from 40 days before the pandemic. There's growing pressure for America to produce more chips as a global shortage drags on.

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