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  • The big picture: national pride flourishes amid war in Ukraine
    Mark Neville captures a moment full of symbolism on the fringes of the conflict in Donbass

    Over the past three years, London-based photographer Mark Neville has been travelling around Ukraine to work on several wide-ranging projects: one about holidaymakers in Odessa, another about people at worship, and an extensive series depicting the 2 million people in the country displaced by conflict on the eastern front. His latest project saw him documenting folk songs, often sung by internally displaced Ukrainians. “What happens when a country is at war is that people tend to identify more directly with the symbolism of what their country culturally stands for,” he explains. “So that means a lot of people returning to things such as national costume, a focus on the core elements of being Ukrainian.”

    Neville arrived in Orikhovo-Vasylivka last autumn, where Lina’s grandmother was putting on a folk song recital in town. Her parents then invited him to their house for tea and in their back garden he spotted Lina gathering plums in a traditional costume. “The photograph is a kind of cocktail of Ukrainian symbols,” he says. “Ukraine is a hugely abundant, fertile country; it has all sorts of minerals, vegetables, oil, sunflower fields, the most amazing pumpkins you’ve ever seen.”

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  • Council of Europe votes to maintain Russia's membership

    Human rights body had stripped Moscow of its voting rights over 2014 Crimea annexation

    Russia will remain in the Council of Europe after ministers at the human rights organisation moved to end a bitter dispute following the annexation of Crimea.

    Meeting in Helsinki, ministers of the 47-nation body voted overwhelmingly in favour of a declaration that said “all member states should be entitled to participate on an equal basis” in the council’s committee of ministers and parliamentary assembly.

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  • Choco Leibniz biscuit heiress apologises over Nazi labour remarks

    Verena Bahlsen says comments were ‘thoughtless’ amid calls for a boycott of brand

    The heiress of a German biscuit empire has apologised for stirring outrage with remarks that appeared to play down the hardship suffered by dozens of people forced to work at the family business under Nazi rule.

    Verena Bahlsen, whose father owns the Bahlsen company that makes some of Germany’s most famous biscuits including Choco Leibniz, said her remarks that the firm did nothing wrong when it employed 200 forced labourers during the second world war were thoughtless.

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