Thousands of Ukrainians run to commemorate those killed in the war

Thousands of Ukrainians run to commemorate those killed in the war
People participate in a one-kilometer race in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023. Around two thousand Ukrainians registered for the event, called ‘The World’s Longest Marathon’, with the dual purpose of honoring the country’s military and raising funds to bolster Ukraine's air defense system. (AP)
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Updated 30 October 2023
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Thousands of Ukrainians run to commemorate those killed in the war

Thousands of Ukrainians run to commemorate those killed in the war
  • Amid the lively backdrop of Ukrainian songs, joy and sorrow intermingled in the air as life carried on despite the war

KYIV, Ukraine: Around 2,000 Ukrainians ran a one-kilometer race on Sunday in Kyiv, wearing bibs displaying the name of a person instead of a number.
Each runner chose one person to whom they dedicated their run. Spouses, children, friends, siblings, neighbors, and colleagues ran for someone they knew who either was killed, taken captive or injured during Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
The crowd cheered the runners, and many in the audience wept while waiting for participants at the finish line. Amid the lively backdrop of Ukrainian songs, joy and sorrow intermingled in the air as life carried on despite the war.
The organizers of the run called it the “World’s Longest Marathon” — “because no race has lasted as long as Ukraine has been fighting for its freedom.”
Around 13,000 people across the world registered for the event. Those competing remotely could run any distance they wanted and were encouraged to post about it on social media.
The race was hosted by Nova Post, Ukraine’s most prominent private delivery company, with the dual purpose of honoring the defenders and raising funds to bolster Ukraine’s air defense system.
“We want to thank and support our defenders, doctors, rescuers, sappers, and volunteers — all the strong and resilient marathoners who do not stop even for a moment for the sake of each of us,” said the project description.
Nova Post has delivered starter kits to 65 countries across all continents, said Inna Popereshniuk, co-founder of Nova Post. She dedicated her race to six colleagues who were killed and 17 injured in a Russian attack on the Nova Post depot in the Kharkiv region on Oct. 21.
Volodymyr Rutkovskyi, a 31-year-old veteran, completed the course walking. In mid-June, he sustained a severe injury when a Russian projectile struck his right leg during Ukraine’s counteroffensive in the Zaporizhzhia region.
After months of rehabilitation, he now uses a prosthetic limb and participated in the event to pay tribute to two fallen comrades, Zheka and Tykhyi, who were killed in eastern Ukraine.
“They did a lot for our country, and sadly, they could have done much more if they were alive,” he said. “But their struggle continues. We will do everything for them and in their honor.”
He crossed the finishing line with his gaze obscured by the low brim of a black Panama hat. He sported running shorts, which revealed his prosthetic leg.
“I don’t really have words to describe what I’m feeling,” he said. “Many of our comrades won’t be ever alive, and I won’t be able to shake their hand or sit down with them.”
But while taking part, he reminded himself that the memory of them remains for a lifetime. “And we need to carry their cross, just as we do our own,” Rutkovskyi added.
Some people came from other cities to the capital to participate in the race. 24-year-old Tetiana Boiko came to Kyiv from the western Ternopil region.
“This is a token of gratitude to everyone who defends and has defended our country. I believe it shows that we are not indifferent to what is happening right now,” she explained.
Her bib bore the name of Volodymyr Semanyshyn, a young man from her hometown who sustained injuries while attaching an explosive device to a drone, resulting in a sudden detonation that left him without arms.
“There are many young men from my town who are worth running for in this race,” said Boiko. “However, I believe he needs this support now. I would like to convey this message to all compassionate people so that they join in fundraising”.
Boiko tries to draw attention to Semanyshyn’s case because he has only elderly parents who can’t afford to cover the expensive rehabilitation that he needs.
She had longed to participate in a marathon, and this was the race she finally mustered the courage to enter.
“And it turned out that my first ‘marathon’ became truly special,” she said. “It demonstrates our compassion, and it’s the least we can do.”


Protests across Germany on Ukraine war anniversary

Protests across Germany on Ukraine war anniversary
Updated 6 sec ago
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Protests across Germany on Ukraine war anniversary

Protests across Germany on Ukraine war anniversary
BERLIN: Thousands of protesters rallied across Germany Saturday in support of Ukraine on the second anniversary of Moscow’s full-scale invasion, even as doubts grow about Kyiv’s chances of victory.
Rallies took place in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt and other cities.
In the capital, thousands gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate waving banners that read “stand up for Ukraine” and “arm Ukraine now.”
Addressing the crowd, Berlin mayor Kai Wegner decried Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brutal war of aggression.”
“He wants to wipe out Ukraine, he wants to wipe out the identities of Ukrainians,” he said.
“But we won’t let happen. We will stand by Ukraine’s side.”
He called on Berlin to deliver long-range Taurus missiles long sought by Kyiv, a demand that the German government has so far refused for fears they could also strike inside Russia.
Organizers said about 10,000 people took part in the rally. Police put the figure at around 5,000.
In a square in the historic heart of Frankfurt, about 1,000 people took part in a rally, according to police, where they heard calls from speakers to accelerate the delivery of weapons to Kyiv.
Ukraine’s armed forces have in recent times acknowledged facing frontline problems, pointing to a lack of Western aid, while Russian forces have been making gains.
“The West must do more to support Ukraine,” Achem Lobreuer, a 58-year-old engineer, told AFP at the rally.
This included delivering more armaments, but also “supporting negotiations,” he said.
“My message to Putin is that he must end this war.”
Maksym Godovnikov, a 38-year-old Ukrainian at the Frankfurt rally, also urged Ukraine’s allies to step up military support.
“If we have more weapons, we can protect ourselves and also win back land that was previously conquered,” he said.
Rallies were also taking place in other European capitals to mark the day Russia sent its troops into Ukraine, bringing war back to Europe for the first time in decades.
The anniversary comes as concerns grow in Europe about Ukraine’s faltering efforts to fend off Moscow.
According to a survey released last week, only 10 percent of Europeans believe Ukraine can defeat Russia on the battlefield.
The survey conducted last month across 12 EU countries showed that on average 20 percent of those asked believed Russia could win, and 37 percent thought the conflict would end in a compromise settlement.

Eiffel Tower to reopen Sunday as strike ends

Eiffel Tower to reopen Sunday as strike ends
Updated 4 min 37 sec ago
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Eiffel Tower to reopen Sunday as strike ends

Eiffel Tower to reopen Sunday as strike ends
  • The stoppage since Monday at one of the world’s best-known tourist sites was the second within two months
  • The tower’s operator SETE said it had reached agreement with the unions on Saturday

PARIS: France’s Eiffel Tower that had been closed for five days by a strike will reopen Sunday after the monument’s management announced a deal had been struck with unions.
The stoppage since Monday at one of the world’s best-known tourist sites was the second within two months in protest at what unions say was insufficient investment.
The tower’s operator SETE said it had reached agreement with the unions on Saturday “under which the parties will regularly monitor the company’s business model, investment in works and revenue through a body that will meet every six months.”
With an aim to balance its books by 2025, both sides also agreed to see an investment of some 380 million euros up to 2031 toward works and maintenance of the tower, the statement said.
SETE extended apologies to visitors caught in the strike action, which resulted in the loss of some 100,000 admissions.
The Eiffel Tower booked a shortfall of around 120 million euros ($130 million) during the Covid pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
SETE has since received a recapitalization of 60 million euros, which unions say is insufficient given that major maintenance work is needed, including a fresh paint job.
Visitor numbers dropped sharply during Covid due to closures and travel restrictions, but recovered to 5.9 million in 2022 and 6.3 million last year.
The masterpiece by architect Gustave Eiffel has been repainted 19 times since it was built for the 1889 World Fair.


Yulia Navalnaya says Putin blocking body handover

Yulia Navalnaya says Putin blocking body handover
Updated 35 min 5 sec ago
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Yulia Navalnaya says Putin blocking body handover

Yulia Navalnaya says Putin blocking body handover
  • “You tortured him alive, now you torture him while he is dead,” Yulia Navalnaya said in a new video
  • “Putin is directing it all. It’s Putin saying, ‘Put pressure on the mother, break her, tell her the body of her son is rotting’”

WARSAW: Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, accused President Vladimir Putin of “satanism” on Saturday for not allowing the body to be returned to his family.
Navalny’s mother Lyudmila has said authorities are threatening to bury him on the grounds of the Arctic prison colony where he died earlier this month if she did not agree to a “secret” funeral.
“You tortured him alive, now you torture him while he is dead,” Yulia Navalnaya, who has vowed to continue her husband’s work, said in a new video, published Saturday.
Russian authorities have said only that an investigation is ongoing and have previously criticized accusations from Navalnaya as “unfounded and vulgar.”
Navalnaya said on Saturday she believed the pressure being put on Navalny’s mother was coming directly from Putin.
“Putin is directing it all. It’s Putin saying, ‘Put pressure on the mother, break her, tell her the body of her son is rotting’,” she said.
“This is the same Putin that likes to show that he is a practicing Christian,” she said.
Putin has for decades portrayed himself as a devoted Orthodox Christian and has in recent years focused on promoting what he calls “traditional values.”
“What Putin is doing now is hatred. No, not even hatred, it’s some kind of satanism,” Navalnaya said.
“We always knew that Putin’s faith is fake, but now we can see it like never before,” she added.
On the anniversary of Russia launching its military offensive, the late Kremlin critic’s wife also denounced Putin’s decision to send troops into Ukraine.
“You will answer for all of this... And for this (Navalny’s death) and for the war that you unleashed two years ago, also hiding behind Christian values,” Navalnaya said.
“You are just killing. You are just killing sleeping people at night with missiles blessed by the church.”


Biden hails US lunar landing as space milestone

Biden hails US lunar landing as space milestone
Updated 54 min 55 sec ago
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Biden hails US lunar landing as space milestone

Biden hails US lunar landing as space milestone
  • Biden called the landing “a thrilling step forward in a new era of space exploration”
  • “America does hard things. We rise to the great scientific challenges of our time”

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden on Saturday hailed the landing of a US spacecraft on the Moon as a historic achievement in space research led by the United States.
The uncrewed Odysseus lander, built by a private company and funded by NASA, landed near the lunar south pole Thursday, more than 50 years since the agency’s last Apollo 17 mission to Earth’s cosmic neighbor.
Biden called the landing “a thrilling step forward in a new era of space exploration” enabled by cooperation between the private and public sectors.
“It was made possible by American ingenuity, innovation, and curiosity,” he said in a statement. “America is leading the world back to the Moon.”
Odysseus, which is the size of a large golf cart, is likely lying sideways on the Moon’s surface as ground controllers work to download data and surface photos from the robot, its makers said.
Intuitive Machines initially said that its hexagonal spaceship was upright, but its CEO later said that announcement was based on misinterpreted data.
It appears that Odysseus caught a foot on the surface and tipped over, coming to rest horizontally with its top perched on a small rock — taking some shine off the accomplishment.
“America does hard things. We rise to the great scientific challenges of our time,” Biden’s statement said.
NASA paid Intuitive Machines $118 million to ship six experiments under an initiative that delegates cargo services to the private sector in a bid to achieve savings and stimulate a wider lunar economy.
The United States, along with international partners, wants to develop long-term habitats on the south pole, harvesting ice there for drinking water — and for rocket fuel for eventual onward voyages to Mars.


Dung dumped outside Russian ambassador’s home in Poland on Ukraine war anniversary

Dung dumped outside Russian ambassador’s home in Poland on Ukraine war anniversary
Updated 24 February 2024
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Dung dumped outside Russian ambassador’s home in Poland on Ukraine war anniversary

Dung dumped outside Russian ambassador’s home in Poland on Ukraine war anniversary
  • Activists put a bloodied Russian flag with the letter “Z” on the pile of manure
  • Elsewhere in Warsaw at 6 a.m. local time other protesters played the sound of sirens, gunfire and explosions outside a building housing Russian diplomats

WARSAW: Protesters said they dumped two tons of dung outside the home of the Russian ambassador to Poland on Saturday, as they marked the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Activists put a bloodied Russian flag with the letter “Z” on the pile of manure and stuck a sign into it that said “We don’t want you in EU! Get out!,” pictures of the protest in Konstancin-Jeziorna, seen by Reuters, showed.
The town near Warsaw is where the ambassador lives.
Elsewhere in Warsaw at 6 a.m. local time other protesters played the sound of sirens, gunfire and explosions outside a building housing Russian diplomats.
“We wanted a clear signal to the Polish authorities and the European Union. It’s high time to expel Russian diplomats from our country,” said Dominik, a protester quoted in a statement.
The Russian embassy in Warsaw did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.
In contrast to the Baltic states which have expelled Russian ambassadors, Poland has so far not taken such a step although it has removed diplomats.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started the deadliest war on European soil in more than 70 years.