Volunteer Soldiers Fighting in Ukraine: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 102)

As the conflict in eastern Ukraine continues, thousands of foreign soldiers are joining the fight alongside the pro-Russia separatists of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR). While the majority of these soldiers are from Russia, a growing number of volunteers from western Europe, and even as far as Brazil, are joining the ranks of the separatist forces.

VICE News traveled to eastern Ukraine to meet volunteer fighters from Spain, Brazil, Serbia, and France, to find out what inspired them to take up arms and risk their lives on front lines with the DNR.

Watch “Russian Roulette (Dispatch 101)” – http://bit.ly/1H1WkVp

Watch “Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine” – http://bit.ly/1AOAZGI

Read “Crimeans Celebrate Annexation With Patriotic Flash Mob And Soviet Nostalgia” – http://bit.ly/1bfkZIZ

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Prisoners of War in Donetsk Airport: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 101)

In dispatch 101 of “Russian Roulette,” VICE News travels to the bomb-ridden remnants of Donetsk Airport in eastern Ukraine, where under the command of pro-Russia separatists, Ukrainian prisoners of war are being ordered to dig out the bodies of their fallen comrades.

Watch “Preparing for a Siege: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 100)” – http://bit.ly/1Mv7lwX

Watch “Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine” – http://bit.ly/1AOAZGI

Read “Plot Thickens as Suspect Who Said He Killed Boris Nemtsov Retracts Confession” – http://bit.ly/1AihcQO

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Preparing for a Siege: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 100)

The eastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is just 30 kilometers from the Russian border, and was previously controlled by the Donetsk People’s Republic. The Ukrainian military has done its best to fortify the industrial hub after winning it back, but many believe that the pro-Russia separatists plan to seize control of it once again.

In this dispatch from Ukraine, VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky discovers the strategic significance of Mariupol in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and learns how the city is preparing for the possibility of falling under siege from pro-Russia separatist forces.

Watch “Mariupol: The Final Line of Defense – Russian Roulette (Dispatch 99)” – http://bit.ly/1E5EZow

Watch “A Rebel Beauty Pageant: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 98)” – http://bit.ly/1C4mxS6

Watch “Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine” – http://bit.ly/1AOAZGI

Read “Blame Game Begins as Caucasus Men Are Charged with Boris Nemtsov’s Murder” – http://bit.ly/1AfWNvU

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Mariupol: The Final Line of Defense – Russian Roulette (Dispatch 99)

The eastern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol is just 30 kilometers from the Russian border, and was previously controlled by the Donetsk People’s Republic. The Ukrainian military has done its best to fortify the city after winning it back, but many believe that the pro-Russia separatists plan to seize control of it once again.

In this dispatch from Ukraine, VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky embeds with the Azov battalion as it prepares to defend Mariupol.

Watch “A Rebel Beauty Pageant: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 98)” – http://bit.ly/1C4mxS6

Watch “Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine” – http://bit.ly/1AOAZGI

Read “Putin Reveals He Ordered the Annexation of Crimea on the Day Yanukovych Fled Kiev” – http://bit.ly/1C2b049

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A Rebel Beauty Pageant: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 98)

To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) in eastern Ukraine held a unique beauty pageant — where the contestants were all female rebel fighters.

VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky attended the pageant and spoke with the contestants who, in the midst of ongoing fighting, said they are proud to be battling for independence in the region.

Watch “In the Trenches with the DNR: Russian Roulette (Dispatch 97)” – http://bit.ly/1vYRcNU

Watch “Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine” – http://bit.ly/1AOAZGI

Read “Chechen Officer Admits Guilt In Opposition Leader Nemtsov’s Murder’ – http://bit.ly/1F3UpOl

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Japan vs. The Islamic State

EXCLUSIVE: VICE News Meets Barack Obama: http://bit.ly/1wT03Bi
The brutal beheadings of Japanese nationals Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa by the Islamic State in January have shocked the island nation and lent momentum to an effort to expand the limitations imposed on its constitution and military after its defeat by the United States in World War II.

Leftists in Japan fear that the incident will encourage a departure from the country’s pacifist constitution, whose Article 9 states that “the Japanese people forever renounce… the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.” Right-wingers, meanwhile, see an opportunity to allow Japan to assert itself as a truly sovereign state.

VICE News reports from Japan as its prime minister and right wing are pushing for re-militarization of the pacifist nation, amid protests from the left who staunchly oppose any changes to Article 9 of the constitution.

Watch “Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine” – http://bit.ly/1AOAZGI

Read “Islamic State Killings Pit Japan’s Right Against Left in Battle Over Pacifist Constitution” – http://bit.ly/1BWHi29

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The Kremlin’s Secret War: Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine (Full Length)

The bitter conflict in Ukraine has cost thousands of lives, but the Russian government has continuously denied sending its soldiers to the frontlines, despite accusations to the contrary from NATO and Western officials.

Since August 2014, a small but steady stream of coffins began arriving in villages across Russia, containing the maimed bodies of soldiers killed in “unknown circumstances.” Some would be buried hastily at night or in secret funerals, their graves zealously guarded from prying outsiders. Journalists investigating the deaths have reported being threatened with intimidation and attacks.

In cases that the Kremlin could not so easily ignore, the dead or injured have been hailed as “volunteers” who entered Ukraine on leave from the army — heroes who fought unofficially for the freedom of their Russian-speaking brethren.

VICE News travels to Russia to investigate the mysterious deaths of dozens — possibly hundreds — of active-duty Russian servicemen who are believed to have been killed in Ukraine. Accounts gathered from soldiers’ families, human rights workers, and government officials cast doubt on the Kremlin narrative, revealing the unacknowledged sacrifices borne by Russia’s ghost army.

Watch “The Death of Boris Nemtsov: Kremlin’s Biggest Critic“ – http://bit.ly/17WhYLV

Read “‘It Is a Government Crime’: The Coffins of Russia’s Ghost Soldiers in Ukraine Are Coming Home” – http://bit.ly/1aIUxax

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The Assassination of Boris Nemtsov: Kremlin’s Biggest Critic

Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was shot dead on the evening of February 27 as he was walking with his Ukrainian girlfriend along Bolshoi Moskvoretsky Bridge in central Moscow, just feet away from the Kremlin.

Nemtsov, a co-chair of the Republican Party of Russia-People’s Freedom Party and outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was reportedly shot four times in the back by an unknown assassin.

In the days after the shooting, theories on the identity and motivation of the killer have continued to swirl.

Tens of thousands of mourners laid flowers and lit candles at the assassination site over the weekend and marched through the streets of Moscow in one of Russia’s largest opposition marches in recent memory.

VICE News attended the site of Nemtsov’s death shortly after the incident and spoke to those still coming to terms with the murder of the beloved opposition leader.

Watch “New Dashcam Video Shows Scene Outside Kremlin Minutes After Murder of Boris Nemtsov” – http://bit.ly/1w7G4hY

Watch “Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine (Part 1)” – http://bit.ly/1B82OP7

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Dying for the Motherland: Russia’s Ghost Army in Ukraine (Part 3)

Watch Part One – http://bit.ly/1ACEWOC
Watch Part Two – http://bit.ly/1wRYuhI

The bitter conflict in Ukraine has cost thousands of lives, but the Russian government has continuously denied sending its soldiers to the frontlines, despite accusations to the contrary from NATO and Western officials.

VICE News travels to Russia to investigate the mysterious deaths of dozens — possibly hundreds — of active-duty Russian servicemen who are believed to have been killed in Ukraine. Accounts gathered from soldiers’ families, human rights workers, and government officials cast doubt on the Kremlin narrative, revealing the unacknowledged sacrifices borne by Russia’s ghost army.

In the final part of ‘Russia’s Ghost Army,’ VICE News learns how military hospitals in cities like Rostov, Moscow, and St. Petersburg have been scrambling to treat a flood of young servicemen with trauma wounds and missing limbs, the toll of a war that doesn’t officially exist.

Read “‘It Is a Government Crime’: The Coffins of Russia’s Ghost Soldiers in Ukraine Are Coming Home” -http://bit.ly/1aIUxax

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Edward Snowden May Soon Come Home: VICE News Capsule, March 4

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The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden could be in talks to return to the U.S., Bolivian authorities find tons of cocaine packaged as tea, Kenya’s president destroys $30 million in confiscated ivory, and Syrian pharmacists look to herbal remedies to treat patients as supply shortages continue.

RUSSIA
Lawyer Says Edward Snowden Ready to Return to U.S.
The NSA whistleblower has reportedly agreed to face trial in the United States, if it’s fair.

BOLIVIA
Tons of Coca Leaves Disguised as Tea Shipment
The packages were bound for Lebanon, and could have been used to produce more than 200 pounds of cocaine.

KENYA
President Torches Millions in Confiscated Ivory
On the occasion of World Wildlife Day, President Ihuru Kenyatta said his commitment to fighting the illegal trade is stronger than ever.

SYRIA
Herbal Remedies Help Soothe Supply Shortages
It is hard to find basic medicines and surgical supplies in Aleppo, so some pharmacists are using natural treatments to allow patients to stay healthy despite the war.

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