Millions of Orthodox Christians around the world celebrated Easter, holding vigils and attending midnight Masses to mark the Orthodox calendar's holiest day. Ukrainian Orthodox believers gathered in Kyiv's main cathedral and other churches around the country to mark the holiday. In a video posted to Telegram and his website, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Ukrainians to unite in prayer. "And our former neighbor, who was always trying to be our brother, is now forever distant from us," he said, referring to Russia. "He broke all the commandments, demanded our home, came to kill us. The world sees it…And so we believe: God has a chevron with the Ukrainian flag on his shoulder. So with an ally such as this, life will definitely be victorious over death," he said. - RFE/RL

In an interview with RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service on the eve of Easter, Metropolitan Epifaniy, the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, said there'd been a marked increase in the demand for chaplains to work alongside Ukrainian military units battling Russian forces. “Of course, conditions are difficult for Ukrainians now, but we are doing everything to support Ukrainians," he said.

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Israel has ordered the closure of Al Jazeera in the country, a move the Qatar-based news network called a “criminal act.” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a post on X: “The government headed by me unanimously decided: the incitement channel Al Jazeera will be closed in Israel.” Ofir Gendelman, the prime minister’s spokesperson to the Arab world, said Sunday that the decision would be “implemented immediately.” In a post on X, Gendelman said that the network’s “broadcast equipment will be confiscated, the channel’s correspondents will be prevented from working, the channel will be removed from cable and satellite television companies, and Al Jazeera’s websites will be blocked on the Internet. He quoted Netanyahu as saying: “Al Jazeera reporters harmed Israel’s security and incited IDF soldiers. It is time to expel the mouthpiece of Hamas from our country.” - CNN

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First Ladies’ Irreplaceable Role in Serbia-Ukraine Relations
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First Ladies’ Irreplaceable Role in Serbia-Ukraine Relations

With an agenda that puts their influence exclusively at the service of ordinary people, Olena Zelenska and Tamara Vučić together symbolize the shared emotions of their respective nations.

It's shaping up to be another eventful week on Capitol Hill as GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she will force a vote over House Speaker Mike Johnson’s ouster sometime this week, a move that comes after Democrats said they will vote to kill the effort and ensure Johnson doesn’t lose his job. Many Republicans oppose the push to oust Johnson and do not want to see the House GOP Conference devolve into disarray as it did after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted in a historic and unprecedented vote last year.

The Russian Army is gradually expanding the role of women as it seeks to balance President Vladimir V. Putin’s promotion of traditional family roles with the need for new recruits for the war in Ukraine. The military’s stepped-up appeal to women includes efforts to recruit female inmates in prisons, replicating on a much smaller scale a strategy that has swelled its ranks with male convicts. Recruiters in military uniforms toured Russian jails for women in the fall of 2023, offering inmates a pardon and $2,000 a month — 10 times the national minimum wage — in return for serving in frontline roles for a year, according to six current and former inmates of three prisons in different regions of Russia. Dozens of inmates just from those prisons have signed military contracts or applied to enlist, the women said, a sampling that — along with local media reports about recruitment in other regions — suggests a broader effort to enlist female convicts. Some female volunteers do not make it to Ukraine. The convicts who enlisted in late 2023 have yet to be sent to fight, the six former and current inmates said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of possible retribution. The reason for the delay in their deployment is unknown; the Russian defense ministry and prison service did not respond to requests for comment. - NYT

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