Your Monday Briefing: Russian Forces Attack Evacuees

Good morning. We’re covering sustained shelling in Ukraine, China’s new economic plan and the fallout of a terrorist attack on a mosque in Pakistan.

A Ukrainian soldier ran to check on a family after a mortar round landed nearby.Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Russian attacks halt evacuations

As Russian forces continued shelling Ukraine, at least three people — a mother and her children — were killed outside Kyiv as they tried to get to safety. For the second straight day, the authorities called off an evacuation from the besieged port city of Mariupol.

Here’s the latest.

Russian forces were struggling to advance on multiple fronts. The Ukrainian military said that it was successfully defending its position in fierce fighting north of Kyiv and that troops were also holding back Russians from the east, where President Vladimir Putin’s forces bogged down in clashes around an airport.

Families are being torn apart. Some Ukrainians are finding that their Russian relatives, hopped up on government misinformation, don’t believe there is a war. Others are splitting: Wives flee while husbands are forced to stay and fight, which some Ukrainian women referred to as “a little death.”

Flights: Ukraine’spresident, Volodymyr Zelensky, repeated his calls for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone, despite bipartisan opposition from U.S. lawmakers and reluctance from European allies. On Saturday, Putin said that any countries that imposed one would be considered enemy combatants. The U.S. is discussing how to supply Polish Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine.

Russia: The police have arrested more than 3,000 people in antiwar protests. Mastercard and Visa suspended operations there; many fast food chains remain open. Moscow has blocked Facebook and clamped down harder on independent news media than at any time in the Putin era, leading some Western outlets, including Radio Free Europe, to suspend operations.

Analysis: The war poses a serious threat to the American-led liberal world order. But the West adapted: In days, it threw out its decades-old playbook and isolated Russia with unparalleled sanctions and penalties.

Arts: Cultural institutions are pressing Russian artists to distance themselves from Putin. Film festivals are split on whether to ban Russian movies.

Technology: Hackers are conducting simple but effective cyberattacks against Russian and Ukrainian websites. TikTok, flooded with misinformation, suspended livestreaming and uploads from Russia.

A shopping district in Shanghai in January.Credit…Aly Song/Reuters

China’s new economic plan

China detailed a plan to expand its economy, labeling stability as its “top priority.” The changes come as the national leader, Xi Jinping, is poised to claim a new term in power.

Despite global uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic and war in Ukraine, China’s leaders sought to project confidence and calm. The annual government work report delivered on Saturday did not even mention Russia’s invasion.

The implicit message appeared to be that China could weather European turbulence — and focus on keeping its people content and employed before a Communist Party meeting in the fall, when Xi is increasingly certain to extend his time in power.

Details: Beijing is calling for heavy government spending and lending. Social welfare and education outlays are both set to increase about 10 percent this year. China’s military budget will grow by 7.1 percent to about $229 billion — a signal that Beijing is preparing for an increasingly dangerous world.

Domestic policy: The plan suggests that China is prioritizing economic growth, with an expansion goal of “around 5.5 percent,” over domestic consumer spending. Beijing has been trying to move the economy away from dependence on debt-fueled infrastructure and housing construction.

A funeral on Saturday for some of the people killed in the Friday attack.Credit…Khuram Parvez/Reuters

ISIS bombs Pakistani mosque

The Islamic State’s regional affiliate, Islamic State Khorasan, or ISIS-K, claimed responsibility for bombing a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, in northwestern Pakistan. The attack killed at least 63 people and wounded nearly 200 others.

Pakistani police said on Saturday that they had identified the suicide bomber and the network behind the attack. ISIS-K and Pakistani security officials both said the bomber was an Afghan national.

The Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim terrorist group that considers Shiites heretics, has claimed several previous attacks in Pakistan. This was the biggest and deadliest yet, and one of the worst terrorist attacks in Pakistan in years.

Background: ISIS-K formed in Afghanistan in 2015 and opened a Pakistan chapter in 2019. Security officials say the group continues to operate from Afghanistan but has been displaced by the Afghan Taliban. Officials believe that about 1,600 of its fighters escaped when the Taliban overran a prison outside Kabul in August.

Other bombings: Last fall, the group carried out bombings at Shiite mosques in Afghanistan, killing and wounding dozens.



News coverage in Seoul last week of a North Korean missile launch.Credit…Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • North Korea launched a ballistic missile off its east coast on Saturday, its second test in a week, South Korean officials sad.

  • Women’s marches have gained steam in Pakistan, and opposition has risen.

  • The snowboarders Cécile Hernandez and Brenna Huckaby are putting in strong performances at the Paralympics, despite a dispute over whether they should be allowed to compete.


  • A group of truckers protesting Covid-19 mandates encircled Washington, the U.S. capital, on Sunday morning.

  • South Korea reported high turnout in early voting for its presidential election, but apologized to coronavirus patients for a lack of preparation that resulted in long wait times.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected an Indian-made coronavirus vaccine from the pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech for children 2 to 18.

What Else Is Happening

  • France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, finally announced he would seek re-election. He is leading in polls by a wide margin.

  • German authorities gave Tesla approval to begin production at its first major assembly plant in Europe.

  • Younger Asian American leaders in the U.S., grappling with how to respond to a series of attacks, want to rely less on traditional policing solutions.

A Morning Read

A circular golden meditation chamber in Auroville.Credit…Rebecca Conway for The New York Times

The new leadership of Auroville, an experimental Indian commune founded in 1968, wants to turn it into a utopian model city. Backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the authorities are fighting residents who cherish their trees, tree houses and take-it-slow tradition.

The Saturday Profile: A Texan bombshell married an Italian prince. Now, she is fighting his sons for the crumbling Roman villa — listed in January for a whopping $531 million — where she continues to live after his death.


Credit…Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels

An Auden poem, in plain sight

Elisa Gabbert has been reading “Musée des Beaux Arts,” a 1938 poem by W.H. Auden, for more than 20 years. The poem is inspired by a painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, “Landscape With the Fall of Icarus.”

In Bruegel’s masterpiece, a ploughman does not appear to notice Icarus, half-submerged in the sea after his fall from the sun. “The painting is a comment on the fraught relation between attention and disaster — as is the poem: Something’s only a disaster if we notice it,” Elisa writes in a close reading of it for The Times.

“The message seems simple enough,” she continues, “but the poem is full of riches, hidden details that you might miss if, like a farmer with his head down — or a distracted museumgoer — you weren’t looking at the edges.”

Then, Elisa shows us those edges. She takes us through other hidden works referenced in the poem before drilling down into the structure of the piece. She also puts the meditation on suffering in context — despite his detached tone, Auden wrote the poem while Europe was on the brink of war.

One tip: The article is best read on a desktop computer.


What to Cook

Credit…Sang An for The New York Times. Food Stylist; Simon Andrews.

Check out J. Kenji López-Alt’s take on a beloved Vietnamese American dish from San Francisco, a creamy, garlic-packed noodle dish. (And check out his story about it.)

What to Read

In “Sounds Wild and Broken,” David George Haskell celebrates nature’s trills, calls and peeps.

What to Listen to

In this week’s pop playlist, our critics recommend tracks by Bartees Strange, La Marimba, Sharon Van Etten and others.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Here’s today’s Wordle. (If you’re worried about your streak, play in the browser you’ve been using.)

And here is 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. Sabrina Tavernise will join “The Daily” as the show’s second host, alongside Michael Barbaro.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on U.S. primaries and redistricting fights.

You can reach Amelia and the team at [email protected].

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