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Emergency workers during an emergency response drill to simulate the aftermath of a dirty bomb explosion outside Madrid.

REUTERS/Andrea Comas

What We’re Watching: Fact vs. fiction in Ukraine, Petro vs. Big Oil in Colombia

Information wars in Ukraine

The Russian and Ukrainian governments are working hard to persuade the world that the other side is planning to commit an atrocity. The Kremlin has claimed more than once in recent days that Ukrainian forces intend to set off a so-called “dirty bomb” as part of a plan to bolster Western support for Kyiv and add pressure on Moscow by blaming Russia for the attack. Ukrainian and Western officials warn that Russia has invented this story to hide its own plans to use banned weapons and that Russian forces are planning a radioactive “terrorist act” with material stolen from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant it continues to occupy. This is a reminder of two things. First, both sides know that information remains a powerful weapon of war. Second, international monitors are badly needed on the ground inside the war zone to separate fact from fiction. Russia’s credibility with Western governments is now close to zero, but nothing can be taken at face value during the active phase of a war.

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Russian State-Sponsored Terrorism | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Russian attacks on Ukraine are state-sponsored terrorism

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here. A Quick Take to kick off your week, and of course we are still talking about the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Almost eight months now of since the initial invasion of Russia into Ukraine. The war continues to get worse. There's more hits on Ukraine. 30% of the country's electricity has been disrupted. More hits on cities focused on civilian casualties over the last week. These are the attacks that we've seen across the country by mostly missile and drone attacks by the Russians. Not even trying to say that these are military targets anymore. It's really state-sponsored terror by the Russian government.

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Putin Bombs Ukraine | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Putin bombs Ukraine

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here. A happy Monday to you. A Quick Take, again, turning to the war in Russia. Lots going on, almost all of it escalatory at this point. Most recent state of play, a spectacular attack by the Ukrainians on the Kerch Bridge, the Crimea bridge that was said by Putin to be impregnable, can't possibly be able to attack it. It was providing a lot of supply chain, military supply chain from Russia sourcing capabilities material into Crimea and the rest of Ukraine, and suddenly significantly disrupted by a Ukrainian truck bomb.

That led Putin to respond in the early hours today, rush hour in Ukraine. Indiscriminate attacks against all of Ukraine's major cities. Nearly 100 bombs, civilian targets, killing lots of Ukrainians. An act of state terrorism on the part of Russia. On the one hand, absolutely horrifying that the Ukrainians are living through the kind of attacks in recent years that we've only seen in Aleppo in Syria, in Grozny, by the Russians in early post-Soviet days, and now seeing it across Ukraine.

War crimes, yet again. Acting with impunity in terms of Russia's complete indifference to how the rest of the world sees him and reacts to him. Having said all of that, part of the reason why we're seeing state terrorism from Putin is because he does not have conventional capabilities to respond to the Ukrainian counter offensive, which continues to eat up territory, Ukrainian territory, that they are retaking from the Russian occupation, significantly in Kherson which is north of Crimea, but if the Ukrainians are able to take it, that would disrupt yet another key supply chain of Russia to Crimea.

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Rescuers work at a residential building heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.

REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Russia’s Zaporizhzhia strikes, Washington-Caracas dealings, Canadian asylum challenge, Macron’s intimacy

Russian strike on Zaporizhzhia provokes anger and fear

Ukraine’s foreign minister said Thursday that seven Russian missiles hit residential buildings overnight, killing a still unknown number of people in Zaporizhzhia, a city located in a region annexed by Russia in recent days and the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. President Putin has ordered Russian troops to take control of the plant. International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Mariano Grossi was in Kyiv Thursday as part of talks on creating a zone of protection around it to avoid a catastrophe. Last week, at least 25 people were killed and many more were wounded by a missile strike on a humanitarian convoy in this same region. It’s a reminder that though Russia is losing ground at the moment in the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine, it can still inflict great damage, including to civilians. And it’s one more attack that raises fears for nuclear safety.

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King Charles III delivers his address to the nation and the Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Yui Mok via Reuters

What We're Watching: King Charles III addresses the nation, IAEA warns of potential Zaporizhzhia plant catastrophe

King Charles III makes first public address as monarch

King Charles III addressed the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and the world on Friday with a public address following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Striking both a personal and formal tone, Charles paid tribute to his “darling mama” and her “unswerving devotion” to Britain. In discussing his faith, Charles said he was brought up to “cherish a sense of duty to others,” and he vowed to “solemnly pledge [himself] … to uphold the constitutional principles at the heart of our nation.” He also spoke about the changing roles of his wife, Camilla, his Queen Consort, and his son William and daughter-in-law, Katherine, who now assume the titles of Prince and Princess of Wales. As Charles’s address aired, a service of remembrance was held for the late monarch at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. Attendees included Britain’s newly installed prime minister, Liz Truss, who had her first meeting with the king earlier on Friday at Buckingham Palace. The queen’s coffin remains at Balmoral and will be moved this weekend to Holyrood, the royal residence in Edinburgh, where King Charles III – officially proclaimed the monarch on Saturday – and the Queen Consort will head on Sunday. A service will be held for the queen in Edinburgh on Sunday before her coffin is moved to London. Her funeral is expected to take place within two weeks at Westminster Abbey. World leaders, including President Joe Biden, will attend, paying tribute to a queen who worked with 15 prime ministers and met 13 US presidents throughout her 70-year reign.

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Supporters gather in front of the house of Argentina's Vice-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner after she was attacked in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

What We’re Watching: Argentine VP assassination attempt, Ethiopian escalation, Zaporizhzhia tour

Argentine VP survives assassination attempt

Argentina's influential VP Cristina Fernández de Kirchner survived an assassination attempt on Thursday night outside her residence in Buenos Aires. A gunman took aim from close range, but his loaded weapon failed to fire. Cops then arrested the man, a Brazilian national with a history of following hate groups on social media. We don’t know the motive and political violence in the country rarely gets bloody, but political tensions have been running very high since last week, when a prosecutor asked for the far-left firebrand VP and former president to be sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption. Still, her trial will be anything but swift, and Cristina — as she’s universally known — is unlikely to go to jail for charges she calls a "witch hunt." President Alberto Fernández (no relation, nor a big fan of the VP) declared a national holiday on Friday, which the conservative opposition decried as a gambit to turn out crowds in favor of Cristina.

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An FBI photograph of documents and classified cover sheets recovered from former US Pesident Donald Trump's Florida estate.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Trump obstruction evidence, IAEA team in Zaporizhzhia, IMF-Sri Lanka bailout deal

Did Trump conceal top-secret documents?

Donald Trump repeatedly blocked US law enforcement from accessing highly-classified documents stored at his Mar-a-Lago residence (and lied about how many files remained there), according to a scathing new document released Tuesday by the Department of Justice. The filing came in response to a recent request by the former president that the documents — seized from his Florida estate by the FBI on Aug. 8 — be reviewed by a third-party arbiter to decide if any are covered by executive privilege. (The DOJ opposes this on the legal grounds that the records don’t belong to Trump.) It’s the most detailed account to date of the months-long attempt by the National Archives – an independent agency that stores and preserves government records – to obtain classified files Trump took from the White House after the 2020 election. The filing includes a photograph of documents labeled “Top Secret” and claims that some material was so sensitive that some FBI and DOJ personnel required additional security clearances to review them. Crucially, it also states that “efforts were likely taken to obstruct the government’s investigation” after Trump’s legal team ignored in the spring a grand jury subpoena seeking all classified documents. A federal court decides Thursday whether the arbiter can be brought in.

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A Russian soldier patrols the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine.

EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

Hard Numbers: Ukraine nuclear inspection, US Navy near Taiwan, Libya on the brink, Greece-Turkey air dispute

14: A team of 14 international inspectors — none of them from the UK or the US — got Russian clearance to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Europe's largest. Heavy shelling near the site briefly disconnected the facility from the grid on Friday, raising fears of a major accident in a country still haunted by the memory of Chernobyl.

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