Your Thursday Briefing: Russia’s Land Bridge
Good morning. We’re covering Russia’s push for a “land bridge” to Crimea, emotional testimony to U.S. lawmakers about gun violence and South Korean parents’ grief years after a ferry disaster.
Russian soldiers near the dam of the North Crimean Canal last month.Credit…RIA Novosti/Sputnik, via Associated Press
Russia claims it has a “land bridge”
Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said its military had repaired about 750 miles of railroad track in southeastern Ukraine to secure a “land bridge” from Russia through Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, to occupied territory in Kherson and on to the Crimean Peninsula.
That could help Russia bring heavy weapons into occupied Ukraine and give Russia a foothold on the Black Sea, though Shoigu’s claims could not be independently verified.
Shoigu also said fresh water was once again flowing through the North Crimean Canal. It once provided some 85 percent of the freshwater used by people in Crimea before Ukraine built a dam after Russia’s annexation of the peninsula. Here are live updates.
Background: Connecting Russia to territory captured in southern Ukraine would accomplish one of Moscow’s major objectives. President Vladimir Putin called the territory “historically Russian lands.”
Analysis: Moscow’s claims offered an even clearer sign that it intended to keep the occupied lands. Russia has also moved quickly to “Russify” the population there, introducing the ruble, appointing officials, rerouting internet connections to Russian servers and even changing the telephone country code.
Diplomacy: U.S. intelligence officials said they had more insight into Russia’s military operation than that of Ukraine.
U.S. begins gun violence hearings
In the aftermath of the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y. — among more than 200 others this year — House lawmakers heard emotional testimonies from survivors, family members of victims and expert witnesses. Here are live updates.
Kimberly Rubio, whose daughter Lexi was killed in Uvalde, urged lawmakers to raise the age requirement to 21 for purchases of military-style rifles like the AR-15. “For some reason, to some people, to people with money, the people who fund political campaigns, that guns are more important than children.”
The testimonies unfolded hours before the House was scheduled to vote on a package of restrictions, including legislation that would prohibit the sale of semiautomatic rifles to people under the age of 21 and ban the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Senate negotiators are working on a narrow compromise that would address mental health and school safety and impose guardrails for prospective gun buyers under 21.
Analysis: The Times found that four key gun proposals now being considered in Congress could have made a difference in at least 35 mass shootings since 1999. For more than a decade, restrictions proposed by Democrats have failed to pass through Congress.
Republicans: The Times askedall 50 Senate Republicans if they would support two measures already passed by the House to strengthen background checks. Most declined to take a position or said they would oppose the measures.
Korean parents, fixed in grief
Eight years ago, the Sewol ferry sank off the southwestern coast of South Korea. More than 300 hundred people died, including 250 high school sophomores from the city of Ansan.
South Koreans quickly rallied around the victims’ families, who demanded accountability and compensation. But critics soon vilified their quest as an antigovernment campaign. Now, much of the country has moved on, while the parents are still struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.
At least three parents have died by suicide. Some families have been fractured by divorce. Others moved away to grieve alone. Some have banded togetherand keep their children’s memories alive with a museum that recreates their classrooms. One mother continues to pay her son’s cellphone bill, as if one day he might call again.
Background: The ferry disaster was born of greed and negligence. More than 150 people have been indicted for their roles in the tragedy.
Details: As the boat sank, fishers and poorly equipped rescuers tried desperately to break the windows. Cellphones salvaged from the wreckage showed videos of children frantically saying goodbye to their parents as the cold waves filled their cabins.
THE LATEST NEWS
A man drove a car into a school group in Berlin, killing a teacher and injuring 14 students. The police are investigating whether the crash was intentional.
Iran turned off two U.N. surveillance cameras used to monitor a nuclear site, the latest sign of rising tensions over efforts to revive its 2015 nuclear deal.
A train crash in Iran killed at least 21 people.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister of Israel, is voting against initiatives he supports in an effort to topple the country’s coalition government and regain power.
California’s primary election results show that even voters in some of the most progressive areas are frustrated over rising crime and homelessness.
Fox News doesn’t plan to cover the Jan. 6 hearings live.
After the Capitol riot, Jared Kushner washed his hands of his father-in-law, Donald Trump.
What Else Is Happening
Harvey Weinstein will face indecent assault charges in Britain for an encounter that took place in London in 1996.
A U.S. report said that the State Department and the Defense Department were failing to track civilian casualties in Yemen.
The C.D.C. says monkeypox can be airborne.
A Morning Read
Australia’s new Labor government is taking baby steps toward making the country a republic: Polling shows that a slim majority of citizens favor a split from the British monarchy, but it’s far from the top of the agenda.
Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments
Power consolidation. As Russia continues to pound towns and villages across eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin is trying to deepen its hold on occupied territory in the south, restoring rail links and other key infrastructure to secure a “land bridge” from Russia to the Crimean Peninsula.
Grain exports. Western leaders continued to accuse Russia of holding up food supplies as a war tactic. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, held talks with Turkish officials, but announced no progress toward allowing grain exports from Ukraine. Many countries across Africa and the Middle East have been facing alarming levels of hunger and starvation as a result of the blockade.
War losses. Ukraine announced the first officially confirmed exchange of dead bodies from the war with Russia since the conflict began; among the bodies returned to Ukraine were the remains of fighters killed in the battle for the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. More than 40,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed or injured since Russia invaded, according to the Ukrainian government.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Dress to express
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” earned praise for its whirlwind shots, its strange story, and its tender and philosophical take on family and generational trauma. Amid all that, the costumes stuck out for their fabulous maximalism.
Before Shirley Kurata designed the looks for the movie, she had already dressed Billie Eilish, Tierra Whack, Lena Dunham, Jenny Lewis and Pharrell Williams. Her stardom has grown even more with the film’s success.
Kurata has always had fans of her signature style. She mixes vintage with high-end designers and is drawn to an intense color wheel. It’s an exuberant look she has cultivated since her brother’s girlfriend gave her hand-me-down Barbies from the 1960s.
For the costumes in “Everything,” she drew from her own life. Her parents, like the movie’s main characters, owned a laundromat. Kurata also struggled with feeling like an outsider as a Japanese American at a “predominantly white and preppy” school. Fashion became her outlet of expression.
“I’m seeing how much the movie has affected people,” Kurata said. “Being part of something like that means a lot to me, where you see Asian representation not in a clichéd or stereotypical way.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Make this egg-in-a-hole with asparagus on a single sheet pan.
What to Read
Werner Herzog’s debut novel, “The Twilight World,” is about a Japanese officer who hid in a jungle for three decades, refusing to believe World War II had ended.
Paris is making a stylish comeback with multiple grand openings.
Now Time to Play
Play today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Have a cow? (Five letters).
Here are today’s Wordle and today’s Spelling Bee.
You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Amelia
P.S. The Times won two Peabody awards for coverage of the Capitol riot, and the aftermath of war in the Gaza Strip.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on guns and mental health.
You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected].