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Ukraine, Gaza, and the NATO summit

At least 44 people were killed on 8 July when Russia unleashed a barrage of missiles on Ukrainian cities. One of the missiles hit the main children’s hospital in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, killing four children and two others.

Ukraine’s air defence reportedly shot down 30 of the 38 missiles launched by Russia. But the high death toll underscored Ukraine’s struggle to continue to fend off the Russian military, which has been gaining ground in the country’s east in recent months.

The attack also came just a day before leaders from the 32 NATO member states met in Washington DC for a summit commemorating the 75th anniversary of the military alliance. The alliance’s support for Ukraine, which has galvanised NATO, is at the top of the agenda for the gathering.

In a speech on the opening day of the summit, US President Joe Biden pledged additional air defence support for Ukraine, and the alliance is expected to agree on a significant new military aid package.

Questions loom, however, about how the outcome of the US presidential election in November might affect continued US support for Ukraine, and for NATO more broadly. Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican Party nominee, is a sceptic of the alliance, and some of his political allies in the US Congress held up approval of a military aid package for Ukraine and other US allies for months earlier this year. Similar concerns exist about gains made by the far-right in European elections.

The elephant hiding somewhere in the room at the NATO summit, however, is Gaza. While the summit focuses on Ukraine, Israel’s 10-month military campaign in the Gaza Strip is unlikely to garner much attention, adding fuel to accusations of Western hypocrisy.

Israel’s military campaign has: displaced almost Gaza’s entire population; killed over 38,000 people; plunged everyone living in the enclave into a dire hunger crisis; and laid waste to much of the housing and basic infrastructure needed to sustain life in the enclave.

In the past week, Israeli evacuation orders forced three more hospitals in Gaza to shut down, leaving only 13 of the 36 in the enclave partially functioning. Yet, the US and other Western countries continue to support Israel’s war effort, including by continuing to send weapons.

For an intimate look at the humanitarian impact of Israel’s war in Gaza, read:

A collage of portraits of five Palestinians who were displaced from Rafah. At the top we see three people, from left to right: Amani Abdeen, Jana Hassan, Khalil Abu Teima. In the bottom row from left to right: Mohammed Abu Hilal, Rami Abu Abulenein

Five Palestinians on life after Israel’s Rafah invasion

Living in overcrowded shelters struggling to find the means of survival, they spoke of lives devoid of any sense of normalcy.

And for a similarly personal reflection on what life has been like in Ukraine, read:

This is a mixed media image of a photograph overlayed by a hand-drawn illustration of a window and a computer next to a cup of water.

A Ukraine diary: Reflecting on two years of war

Nizar Al Rifai, who kept a diary of life on the front lines during the first month of Russia’s invasion, looks back and worries about the future.

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