A Russian assault on NATO’s doorstep
Russia launched a barrage of attacks against a military base in Ukraine yesterday, bringing the war 11 miles from the border with Poland. About 1,000 foreigners who had come to help Ukraine were believed to have been training at the base. “The entire sky was in flames,” one witness said.
Western officials said the attack was not merely a geographic expansion of the Russian invasion, but also a shift of tactics in a war many already worried might metastasize into a larger European conflict. Follow the latest updates from the conflict.
Pentagon and NATO officials reiterated that they did not intend to directly confront Russian forces in Ukraine. But they are sending military supplies, and Russia has warned that it regards those convoys as legitimate targets. The military base that was hit had been a hub for Western military troops to train Ukrainian forces since 2015.
Until yesterday, the invasion of Ukraine, now in its 18th day, was most notable for Moscow’s indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas. Even as it bombarded the military base in the west, Russia continued to punish ordinary Ukrainians, including firing at a train in eastern Ukraine carrying more than 100 children who were trying to flee the violence. Peace talks are expected to continue today.
Toll: At least 596 civilians have died in the war, including 43 children, and an additional 1,067 civilians have been injured, according to the U.N. Death tolls from Ukrainian officials are much higher, with an estimated 2,187 casualties in the besieged city of Mariupol since the start of the war.
Pleas: Western officials continue to reject requests from Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, to establish a no-fly zone over the country. A no-fly zone, a Pentagon spokesman said, “is combat — you have to be willing to shoot and to be shot at.”
In other news from the war:
The Russian government asked China for military equipment and financial assistance to protect its economy, according to U.S. officials, who would not say how China responded.
In the suburbs of Kyiv, Brent Renaud, an award-winning American filmmaker and journalist working to document the toll the war has taken on refugees, was fatally shot.
Hundreds of planes owned by Western companies are still in Russia. They may never be recovered, which means that the companies face billions of dollars in losses.
Britain faces off against oligarchs
Russia’s war in Ukraine has finally led the British government to target ultrawealthy Russians in London. But curbing the flood of corrupt money will require going after more than the highly visible oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich.
Hundreds of wealthy foreigners have exploited Britain’s lax regulations to amass property and other assets, often under a web of offshore companies that disguise their ownership. Others have parlayed their fortunes into gilt-edged social status, endowing revered British cultural and educational institutions or donating money to the Conservative Party.
Despite announcing new sanctions on Friday, Britain, on some level, is simply catching up with the U.S. and the E.U. Though Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, has pressed hard for action against Russia, including removing its banks from the SWIFT financial transfer network, he has been slower to target London’s rich Russians. That, critics say, reflects the fact that his party has been the beneficiary of their largess.
Quotable: “The crisis exposed the issue of Kremlin-linked money in the U.K., but it’s a much more systemic, global problem, with London sheltering this kind of money,” said Flo Hutchings, who helped found the group Kensington Against Dirty Money. “We hope this situation will have a snowball effect.”
“Homes for Ukraine”: The British government will provide 350 pounds a month to people who host Ukrainian refugees, part of an effort to encourage individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to take in those fleeing the war.
Related: Locked shops and rivals’ taunts greeted fans at Chelsea’s first home game since sanctions against Abramovich cast their team’s future in doubt.
Serious coronavirus infections have disproportionately affected New Caledonians of Pacific Island descent, highlighting social inequalities in a territory that is agonizing over whether to break free of France.
Many Indigenous Kanaks have diabetes, hypertension or obesity, or are also impoverished. European settlers, who make up about one-quarter of the population, tend to occupy the territory’s upper wealth rungs.
Region: Fueled by the Omicron variant, the coronavirus is now reaching parts of the South Pacific that had largely avoided the pandemic. Hundreds have now been infected in Tonga — a surge most likely catalyzed by ships bringing aid after a volcanic eruption and tsunami in January — while Kiribati and the Solomon Islands have faced their own first outbreaks.
In other developments:
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ARTS AND IDEAS
Fresh eyes on an ancient site
It’s time to bring the 2,000-year-old city of Pompeii into the 21st century.
Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the site’s 40-year-old director, hopes that under his watch visitors will get a broader understanding of the ancient city — which was buried in ash by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 — including the roles of race, gender and class within its complex society. And he is using technology to try to shield the site from the ravages of climate change.
“We should not forget that all the wealth and artworks that we see in Pompeii are really based on a society where not only slavery existed, but there was no concept of social welfare,” he said. Last year, archaeologists uncovered a grim room where they believed an enslaved family had lived. The cramped space, lit by a single window, may have doubled as a storage area.
Other experts have praised the approach, which is part of a broader shift in archaeology. “Oftentimes archaeologists can be conservative with the topics they address,” one historian said, adding, “I am psyched to see things starting to come around in Pompeii.”