George W. Bush was forced to pull out of yesterday morning's talks on the final day of the G8 summit, on Germany's Baltic coast, after doctors diagnosed him with a stomach ailment, and only managed a meeting in his private apartment with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
However, the U.S. leader, who turns 61 next month, stuck to his schedule and traveled to neighboring Poland, where he met with his counterpart and ally, Lech Kaczynski, to discuss the highly controversial deployment of missile shield elements in the former Eastern Bloc state.
The plans, though fully supported by the Polish leadership, are not popular among the Poles, and a crowd of demonstrators gathered in Jarata in opposition to his visit to the Baltic town, displaying banners reading: "No anti-missile base" and "Bush - terrorist number one."
On Saturday, Bush arrived in Italy, where he held talks with Pope Benedict XVI, but later during his tour of the city his limousine broke down and a reserve vehicle had to be rushed in.
Moreover, the new limo was too big to squeeze through the gates of the U.S. Embassy, and the U.S. leader had to walk the remaining distance.
The specter of the Iraqi war followed him in Rome, as thousands of people marched through the streets shouting "No Bush, no war."
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The solution to the Ukrainian problem will directly depend on how the military operations unfold in Donbass. If the militia fighters take over the strategic initiative, win back Donbass and extend the war to the Zaporozhye and the Kharkov regions, then Kiev will be more amenable to a compromise