Your Wednesday Briefing – The New York Times

Russia yesterday plunged into a new, more methodical chapter of the war in Ukraine, aiming to destroy Ukrainian defenses while avoiding the same blunders that severely damaged Russian forces in the early weeks of the conflict. Russian officials said missile and artillery forces hit hundreds of Ukrainian military targets overnight. Follow the latest updates.

The strikes mainly affected the eastern region known as Donbas, the industrial heart of Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have fought Ukrainian forces since Russia took Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014. The region has now become the declared territorial target of the redeployed Russian invasion force along a front. that stretches for about 300 miles.

The Ukrainian army said its forces had repulsed seven different Russian thrusts along the front on Tuesday, destroying 10 tanks and 18 armored units in the fighting. Ukraine’s western supporters, led by the US, are now rushing to send extended-range weapons — weapons that US officials said were designed to thwart the Russian offensive.

Calls for a ceasefire: Russia rejected a request to suspend the fighting and allow civilian evacuations in Ukraine, saying the demands were not sincere and would only allow time to arm Ukrainian fighters.

Mariupol: As Russian troops approached, Ukrainian soldiers holed up in the besieged city sent out a message of despair. “We are surrounded; they are bombarding us with everything they can,” said a Ukrainian soldier. “Our only plan is for our troops to break through the blockade so we can get out of here.”

In other news from the war:

A week after torrential rains sparked one of the deadliest natural disasters in South Africa’s history, the government yesterday charted an arduous path to cleanup and reconstruction, while still trying to recover dozens of bodies believed to have been covered in mud. buried or swept out. sea.

The Durban area was inundated last week by floods and mudslides that killed at least 448 people, left about 50 missing and more than 40,000 displaced. Nearly 4,000 homes have been destroyed and more than 8,300 damaged, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

The latest result of a series of deadly, devastating storms in southern and eastern Africa, the floods, have underlined the growing toll of climate change, especially on the most socio-economically vulnerable, and reinforced the need for a more aggressive government response to stem the growing number of to counteract. of weather-related fatalities.

context: Much of the death and destruction took place in flimsy shack settlements built by people who could not otherwise afford stable housing. Some took place in communities of small, cube-like houses set in valleys near rivers or on slopes.

citable: “Very often, not only in South Africa, but also in many other developing countries, there is simply not the money, expertise and will of the government to invest properly in protecting the poorest in society,” said Jasper Knight, professor of physical geography at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, faced parliament yesterday as he tried to move forward after a scandal over illegal parties in Downing Street that threatened his grip on power and made him the first confirmed lawbreaker in living history to hold the highest elected office in his country. clothed.

Although the war in Ukraine and a lack of obvious successors have conspired to keep Johnson in his job, grave legal and constitutional issues are at stake. Opposition lawmakers criticized the prime minister for violating his own rules and accused him of misleading parliament when he claimed the meetings held in his office were not inappropriate.

Only one conservative lawmaker, Mark Harper, called on Johnson to resign. Several echoed his ministers’ arguments that the scandal was a distraction at a time when Europe is facing the worst security crisis since World War II. Forcing the prime minister now, they said, would be a mistake.

Apologies: Johnson has apologized more than a dozen times, although he never explicitly admitted to breaking the law. He was particularly remorseful about his previous statements to Parliament, which pose a particular danger to him because they have been labeled, intentionally or unknowingly, as misleading.

From Labour: “He knows he’s dishonest and incapable of change, so he’s dragging everyone around,” opposition leader Keir Starmer said. He urged backseat members of Johnson’s party not to follow “into the slipstream of an out-of-touch, out-of-control prime minister.”

In other virus news:

Working from home has given Japanese corporate workers a chance to rethink their priorities, both personally and professionally. Many want more flexibility, autonomy and control, putting new pressures on the country’s traditional job-for-life model.

RTO: Do you find your workplace more annoying than you remembered? Here’s how to deal with it.

Days before French voters head to the polls to elect their next president, the country’s political cartoonists are on their feet, ready to highlight even the tiniest misstep, reports Saskia Solomon for The Times.

Political cartoons have deep roots in France, thrive as expressions of misfortune during the French Revolution and continue to play an outrageous role in contemporary politics. Comic books regularly top the French bestseller lists, and weekly satirical newspapers – most notably Charlie Hebdo and Le Canard Enchaîné — are regarded as national institutions.

“The world of politics is very artificial,” said Mathieu Sapin, the subject of the self-portrait above and a cartoonist behind several comic books featuring Emmanuel Macron, the current president, and his predecessor, François Hollande. “It’s very codified, which makes it very fascinating from a drawing perspective.”

Sapin is collaborating with five other veteran cartoonists on the 240-page “Campaign Notebooks” comic book about the 2022 presidential election. Each artist was assigned one or two candidates to follow as the campaign progresses – most of them in the first round. were eliminated on April 10.

Most of the book has already been written. But the last 12 pages of the book are still blank, awaiting a final result that will likely be close. “Anything can happen,” Sapin said. “That’s what makes it so exciting.”


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