Your Friday Briefing

Good morning. We’re covering Hungary’s thirst for Russian oil, Prince Charles’s visit to Canada and the return of Spain’s former king.

A Hungarian oil refinery. Credit…Akos Stiller for The New York Times

Hungary resists an oil embargo

Prime Minister Viktor Orban says the E.U.’s proposed embargo on Russian oil would devastate his country’s economy.

In part, it’s a financial consideration: Hungary has made huge profits from cheap oil. Keeping the pipelines open ensures that energy prices stay low, a promise Orban made to his voters.

But the dividends from taking Russian fuel also help support Orban’s illiberal agenda and fund the policies that have made Hungary an international beacon for right-wing groups.

Economy: Analysts expect Russia to suffer deep and lasting economic damage, despite President Vladimir Putin’s insistence that it is weathering sanctions. The U.S. has a long-term goal of crippling Russia’s oil industry, officials say.

Germany: Gerhard Schröder — a former chancellor, Putin ally and well-paid lobbyist for Russian energy — will be stripped of 400,000 euros’ worth of privileges that go with his former office.

Atrocities: A Times investigation found conclusive evidence that Russian forces rounded up and executed Ukrainian men in Bucha, directly implicating them in a likely war crime. And in the first war crimes trial since the invasion, a Russian soldier apologized to the widow of a man he killed.

State of the war:

  • A Russian official visited occupied parts of southeastern Ukraine and outlined plans to take control of vital infrastructure there, part of a push to Russify seized territory.

  • Stiff resistance has forced Russian troops to fight in smaller formations in eastern Ukraine, a Pentagon official said.

  • Putin appeared to punish senior commanders for military blunders, a British report said.

In other developments:

  • The U.S. Senate approved a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine.

  • The war is causing hunger in Africa. Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s southern coastlines has prevented the export of millions of tons of grain.

  • The Kremlin has been using the mass surrender of soldiers at a Mariupol steel plant for propaganda, portraying them as terrorists and Nazi war criminals.

Prince Charles observed a traditional drum demonstration by members of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.Credit…Aaron Vincent Elkaim for The New York Times

Prince Charles wraps up his Canada visit

As he ended a three-day tour of Canada, the heir to the British throne — and Canada’s future head of state — confronted the country’s legacy of discrimination toward Indigenous people.

Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, visited the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, which says the Crown has infringed upon a century-old treaty.

They also met with survivors of Canada’s now-defunct, and notoriously abusive, residential school system for Indigenous children, for which Dene people hold the Crown partly responsible. Prince Charles said he was “deeply moved” by the visit.

History: This is a time of tension over the monarchy’s role in Britain’s former overseas dominions. In February, Barbados formally became a republic. And separate tours of the Caribbean this year by Prince Edward, Charles’s brother, and Prince William, a son of the future king, drew protests against the monarchy and its historical role in the slave trade.

Polls: Queen Elizabeth II is popular, but fewer and fewer Canadians want to swear allegiance to another British monarch — especially if it is Charles.

Politics: The British police ended their investigation into parties at Downing Street that violated Covid rules, lifting a cloud over Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He will not face further fines.

Juan Carlos arrived at Sanxenxo, a beachside town in Spain, on Thursday.Credit…Pedro Nunes/Reuters

Disgraced ex-king returns to Spain

Juan Carlos, the former Spanish monarch, is back in Spain for the first time since leaving the country nearly two years ago amid fraud investigations.

His brief return from Abu Dhabi, where he now lives, comes after prosecutors in Spain and Switzerland dropped fraud cases, notably over whether he had received about $100 million in kickbacks in connection with a high-speed rail contract in Saudi Arabia.

The inquiries have significantly tainted his reputation and that of the monarchy. One of his daughters was fined for corporate fraud, and her husband was sentenced to prison. On Wednesday, the royal household stressed in a statement that the capital of the United Arab Emirates was now Juan Carlos’s residence “in a permanent and stable fashion.”

Details: The former king planned to meet his wife, Queen Sofía, and other members of his family at the royal palace on the outskirts of Madrid, and to attend a weekend sailing regatta.

History: Juan Carlos, 84, came to the throne in 1975, two days after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco. He was a key figure in Spain’s transition to democracy, but his lavish lifestyle, extramarital affairs and business dealings came under a harsh spotlight during a financial crisis a decade ago.


World News

A Covid-19 memorial in Washington in October 2020.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times
  • The U.S. has surpassed one million recorded Covid deaths, the highest known total in the world.

  • Chinese state-sponsored hackers sought to steal Russian defense data, according to a new report.

  • Israel may face its fifth election in three years: The opposition now has a two-seat majority in Parliament.

  • C.D.C. advisers recommended a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

  • Global stocks fell on Thursday, following Wall Street’s worst day in nearly two years.

  • Oklahoma may soon ban nearly all abortions.

What Else Is Happening

A memorial outside the supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., where a gunman killed 10 people in a racist massacre last weekend.Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times
  • Videos of mass shootings, live-streamed by gunmen, remain online long after the massacres.

  • Australia will hold a national election on Saturday. About 25 independent candidates, most of them women preaching pragmatic reform, are pushing to rejuvenate the country’s democracy.

  • A 24-year-old Japanese man accidentally received all of his town’s Covid relief funds. He gambled the money away and has been charged with fraud.

  • Climate change is

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