• Wed. Mar 29th, 2023


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The Week the War Shifted

For almost all of the nine-week-old war in Ukraine, President Biden and his Western allies have warned against any attempts to frame the conflict as a direct confrontation between the U.S. and Russia.

But no longer.

Lloyd Austin, the U.S. defense secretary, initiated the shift on Monday, after his weekend trip to Kyiv with Antony Blinken, the secretary of state. Austin laid out a striking new U.S. goal: “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”

That was a major change, as my colleague David E. Sanger explained on today’s edition of The Daily: “He seemed to suggest the real goal of the United States is to degrade Russian power, and presumably Russian military power, for years to come.”

The rest of the week brought further developments suggesting that the tenor of the war has shifted:

Inside Ukraine, there are signs that the conflict has shifted to a grinding phase that could easily last for months or years.

Russia’s forces appeared to be suffering from some of the same logistical problems that led to their failure in the first phase of the war, and have not scored any major gains since they shifted their goals to conquering Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland two weeks ago, analysts said.

They are now facing emboldened Ukrainian forces armed with heavy weapons supplied by the U.S. and NATO, and who are willing to make increasingly frequent incursions into Russian territory. Attempts to establish peace talks are at a dead end.

And though the war has shifted, it is more uncertain than ever how it will end.


Follow our coverage of the war on the @nytimes channel.

Ukraine’s elderly Holocaust survivors are escaping war once more, embarking on a remarkable journey that upends the world they knew: They are seeking safety in Germany.

Erika Solomon, our new Berlin-based correspondent, reported on the rescue mission organized by Jewish groups around the world.

The effort is infused with more than a little historical irony: Not only are the Holocaust survivors being brought to Germany, but the attack is now coming from Russia — a country they saw as their liberators from the Nazis. And Russia has falsely claimed that Ukraine’s government is “pro-Nazi” and “neo-Nazi” — a puzzling assertion to make about a country whose president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is Jewish.

To date, 78 of Ukraine’s frailest Holocaust survivors, of whom there are some 10,000, have been evacuated. A single evacuation involves up to 50 people, coordinating across three continents and five countries.

For Galina Ploschenko, 88, being evacuated was not an easy decision.

“They told me Germany was my best option,” she said. “I told them, ‘I hope you’re right.’”

In Ukraine

  • An American, a Briton and a Dane, fighting with the Ukrainian army’s International Legion, have been killed in battle, according to a Ukrainian official.

  • A group of American volunteers are teaching Ukrainian forces how to use advanced weapons like the Javelin anti-tank missile, The Wall Street Journal reports.

  • A prominent Ukrainian radio journalist, Vira Hyrych, was killed in a Russian missile strike on her apartment building in Kyiv yesterday.

  • News organizations in eastern Ukraine say that Facebook is penalizing their sites as part of the company’s attempt to fight disinformation and block Russian propaganda, Coda reports.

War crimes

Energy and finance

  • Indian refiners are in talks with Russia to import millions of barrels of oil per month, Reuters reports.

  • Russia’s central bank cut its key interest rate to help its sanctions-battered economy, but inflation remains very high.


Thanks for reading. I’ll be back on Monday — Adam

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