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24 January 2021

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Ukraine | The Guardian

24 January 2021

Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice
  • Russia committed human rights violation in Georgia war, ECHR rules

    European court of human rights: Moscow responsible for murder of civilians, and looting and burning of homes

    Russia committed a series of human rights violations during its war with Georgia in 2008, the European court of human rights ruled on Thursday, saying Moscow was responsible for the murder of Georgian civilians, and the looting and burning of their homes.

    In a landmark judgment, the court said the Kremlin was guilty of unlawfully rounding up ethnic Georgians and their subsequent “inhuman and degrading treatment”. This included the torture of Georgian prisoners of war and the expulsion of Georgian villagers from their homes in South Ossetia.

    Related:Even in a Moscow jail, Alexei Navalny is dangerous to Putin

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  • Persian Lessons review – hard-to-believe Holocaust survival drama

    Claiming to be inspired by true events, the story of a young Jewish man who stays alive by pretending to be half-Iranian strains credibility

    Here’s a superbly acted, though worryingly polite, Holocaust survival drama by the Ukrainian film-maker Vadim Perelman. It’s the story of a Jewish man from Belgium called Gilles (Nahuel Pérez Biscayart), who stays alive in a transit camp by pretending to be half-Iranian and teaching Farsi to a savage-tempered SS officer, Klaus Koch (Lars Eidinger). In truth, Gilles doesn’t know a word of Farsi; the language he makes up is gibberish, and he lives in constant terror of slipping up, forgetting one of the words he’s invented – almost 600 in six months.

    The film opens with the line “inspired by true events”, but given the plausibility issues here surely it is safe to prefix that claim with “very loosely”. The setting is France, 1942; Gilles, the son of a rabbi, is transported to a transit camp with other Jews caught trying to flee to Switzerland. A hustler by nature, Gilles easily – too easily – persuades Nazi officer Koch that he speaks Farsi. Koch is a chef by training and dreams of opening a restaurant in Iran after the war. Suspecting Gilles of lying, he grills him, with laughably easy questions: “What is the capital of Persia?” “What language do they speak?”

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  • Chernobyl fears resurface as river dredging begins in exclusion zone

    Scientists warn of threat of nuclear contamination from work on giant E40 waterway linking Baltic to the Black Sea

    The river running past the Chernobyl nuclear reactor is being dredged to create an inland shipping route, potentially resurfacing radioactive sludge from the 1986 disaster that could contaminate drinking water for 8 million people in Ukraine, scientists and conservationists have warned.

    The dredging of the Pripyat began in July and is part of an international project to create the 2,000km (1,240-mile) long E40 waterway linking the Baltic and Black seas, passing through Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. The river – which snakes within 2.5km of the reactor responsible for the world’s worst nuclear disaster – has already been dredged in at least seven different places, five of which are within 10km of the reactor, according to the Save Polesia coalition.

    Related:The race to save Polesia, Europe's secret Amazon

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