Your Tuesday Briefing: Europe Recalculates on Ukraine
Good morning. We’re covering Europe’s recalculation on Ukraine, revelations from the Jan. 6 hearings and a trucker strike in South Korea.
This bridge once connected the cities of Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk.Credit…Ivor Prickett for The New York Times
Europe recalculates as Russia gains
As Russia advances in the east, European leaders are under mounting pressure to forge a cohesive strategy to outline what might constitute Ukrainian victory — or Russian defeat.
European leaders say that it is up to Ukraine to decide how and when to enter negotiations to end the war. They have all provided significant financial and military support to Ukraine, which has continued to press for more weapons.
But some European allies are increasingly nervous about a long war. They do not want to bring NATO into direct conflict with Russia — and they do not want to provoke President Vladimir Putin to use nuclear or chemical weapons. Here are recent updates.
What’s next: Yesterday, word emerged that the leaders of France, Germany and Italy planned to visit Kyiv, perhaps as early as this week.
Fighting: Ukraine is outgunned and running out of Soviet-era ammunition in the east. Russian forces are poised to take Sievierodonetsk, the last major city in the Luhansk region. Moscow is now closing in on neighboring Lysychansk.
Death: The burned corpse of one Russian fighter is still in the military vehicle where he died. “Two weeks later still he sits, his last thoughts gone from his skull, cracked open and wet from the rain,” my colleague Thomas Gibbons-Neff writes, reflecting on this war and his time as a U.S. Marine.
Asia: Ukraine’s stubborn resistance has made Taiwan rethink its own military strategy.
Trump was ‘detached from reality’
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continued to conduct hearings yesterday. One after another, members of Donald Trump’s inner circle testified that they told the former president that his claims of widespread election fraud were bogus. But Trump pushed the lie anyway.
William Barr, the former attorney general, said in a recorded deposition that Trump had grown delusional. Barr said that in the weeks after the 2020 election, he repeatedly told Trump “how crazy some of these allegations were.”
“He’s become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff,” Barr said, speaking of Trump. “There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.”
Resources: Here are four takeaways from yesterday’s hearings and five takeaways from the first day of hearings last week. The next hearing is scheduled for tomorrow at 10 a.m. Eastern (that’s 10 p.m. in Hong Kong).
Analysis: The committee is trying to make the case that Trump knew his claims of a fraudulent election were not true. Barr’s testimony suggests another explanation: Trump actually came to believe his own lies.
Finances: The committee said that Trump had used lies about fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. The big lie was also a “big rip-off,” a committee member said.
Truckers in South Korea strike
A truck-driver strike in South Korea stretched into a seventh day yesterday, forcing the country’s manufacturers to scale back production and slowing traffic at its ports.
The union representing the truckers said it asked repeatedly for safer conditions and reasonable fares. The truckers are protesting surging fuel prices and demanding minimum pay guarantees, Reuters reported. One trucker told Reuters that he earns about $2,300 a month, and that his monthly fuel bill had increased by about $1,000 since April.
That strike is proving costly for South Korea’s economy and leading to widespread domestic delays: Over the first six days, it has resulted in production and shipment disruptions for automobiles, steel and petrochemicals worth 1.6 trillion won (about $1.25 billion), the government said.
Global context: The strike may further disrupt the battered global supply chain. But so far, The Associated Press reported, the country hasn’t reported any major disruption of key exports.
What’s next: Yesterday, the truckers said they may escalate disruptions if demands are not met, Reuters reported, including stopping shipments of coal to a power plant.
THE LATEST NEWS
The Japanese yen is approaching its lowest point in two decades, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Beijing is racing to control a coronavirus outbreak linked to a 24-hour bar, Reuters reported.
Chinese police arrested nine people on suspicion of assault after footage of an attack against women at a restaurant went viral, The Associated Press reported.
Police found the belongings of a British journalist and a Brazilian expert on Indigenous peoples who disappeared in the Amazon after receiving threats.
Global stocks tumbled after U.S. stocks fell into a bear market yesterday, a 20 percent decline from January. Here are live updates.
Iraq faces political chaos: Dozens of members of Parliament resigned under the direction of a powerful Shiite cleric, threatening the formation of a new government.
Michelle Bachelet, the U.N.’s top human-rights official, said she would not seek a second term. The announcement followed her widely-criticized visit to China.
Iran suspects Israel fatally poisoned two scientists, which could escalate the shadow war between the two countries.
Five years ago today, 72 people died in the Grenfell Tower fire in London. Their families are still looking for answers and accountability.
A court cleared the way for Britain’s controversial plan to resettle immigrants in Rwanda. Flights are planned to begin today.
French centrists appeared to have maintained a majority in the first round of parliamentary elections, a victory for President Emmanuel Macron.
What Else Is Happening
President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently questioned Brazil’s electoral process, despite little evidence of past fraud. Now, the military has joined him.
A new study found that smokers lost their nicotine craving after suffering a stroke or other brain injury, which may reveal the neural underpinnings of addiction.
SpaceX won approval to launch a giant new rocket to orbit, which could eventually travel to Mars.
A Morning Read
India’s economy is growing quickly: Exports are at record highs and profits of publicly traded companies have doubled. But India can’t produce enough jobs, a sign of its uneven growth and widening inequality.
Russia-Ukraine War: Key Developments
On the ground. The Ukrainian military said that Russian forces have pushed Ukrainian troops from the center of Sievierodonetsk. Capturing the city, which could fall to the Russians within days, would give Moscow a key victory in its drive to seize the entire Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
Europe recalculates. With Ukraine pressing Western allies for more arms, European leaders are under mounting pressure to forge a cohesive strategy on when realistic negotiations might begin to end the war. Some allies are becoming increasingly nervous about a long war that puts NATO into conflict with Russia.
Russia’s oil revenue soars. Despite tough sanctions, Russia’s revenues from fossil fuels soared in the first 100 days of its war on Ukraine. The earnings were driven by a windfall from oil sales amid surging prices, a new analysis shows.
Threat of nuclear war The global stockpile of nuclear weapons could increase over the coming decade for the first time since the Cold War, a research group said on Monday, highlighting the threats posed by international conflicts including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Art as collective
Documenta, arguably the world’s largest exhibition of contemporary art, opens later this month in Kassel, Germany. It will run for 100 days and host nearly one million visitors.
Ruangrupa, a radical Indonesian creative collective, is directing the 15th edition of Documenta. The group has long spurned the idea of art as object, and instead turns social experiences into art.
For their sole solo gallery exhibition, ruangrupa threw a party and left the detritus as the exhibition. Some artists were skeptical it was art. “We told them: ‘You felt energetic and inspired. You met your friends. That’s the art,’” one member said.
At Documenta, they will work with 14 other collectives and their colleagues to experiment with the idea of the lumbung, the common rice store traditionally found in Indonesian villages, built and shared by everyone.
“It’s not just that they don’t create tangible objects, they don’t even create intangible experiences,” Samanth Subramanian writes in The Times Magazine, adding, “Instead of collaborating to make art, ruangrupa propagates the art of collaboration. It’s a collective that teaches collectivity.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
This spicy shrimp masala draws inspiration from Goa and Karachi.
What to Watch
Stream these five science fiction movies.
Tom Hanks spoke to The Times about his new Elvis movie, his faith in America and the long arc of his career.
Now Time to Play
Play today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Furry foot (Three 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. Ben Hubbard, who has doggedly covered the Middle East, will be our next Istanbul bureau chief.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is U.S. intelligence gaps in the war in Ukraine.
You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected].