Sunday, 21 Apr 2024

Your Tuesday Briefing

Ukraine is promised billions from Europe

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has been promised billions of dollars in new military aid during a whirlwind tour of European allies that reflects a striking shift in the political landscape, as Europe takes a more central role in arming Ukraine.

In Britain, where Zelensky’s four-country tour ended, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged a major package of air-defense missiles and attack drones, in addition to Britain’s recent delivery of long-range cruise missiles. It followed Germany’s pledge for a nearly $3 billion package of weapons, as well as promises of additional weapons from France and Italy.

Europe’s show of support for Ukraine, analysts said, underscores that the war is in a pivotal phase, with Ukrainian forces massing for a counteroffensive that could set the terms for any future negotiation with Russia. It also reflects a recognition that U.S. support for Ukraine is likely to come under pressure as the American presidential race heats up.

Strategy: The new long-range missiles, attack drones, tanks and other armored vehicles secured from allies in recent days will fulfill many, but not all, of the demands for weapons that Ukraine has said it needs for a counteroffensive.

In other news from the war:

The leader of Russia’s Wagner private military group denied a report that he had offered to share intelligence about Russian troops with Ukraine.

Ukrainians are writing angry messages to Russia on the sides of rockets, mortar shells and exploding drones.

Palestinian displacement commemorated at U.N.

The U.N. for the first time officially commemorated the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the war surrounding the creation of Israel 75 years ago. The event — marking the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” by Palestinians — was not attended by the U.S. and Britain, and it drew a sharp response from the Israeli ambassador to the world body.

The event was the latest arena for a decades-long narrative battle between Israelis and Palestinians. To Israelis, the creation of their state was a heroic moment for a long-persecuted people that deserves celebration. But to Palestinians, it was a moment of profound national trauma. Around 700,000 Palestinians were expelled from or fled their homes, and hundreds were killed by Israeli militias.

Israel’s ambassador to the U.N., Gilad Erdan, condemned the event as “shameful” and called for countries to boycott it. “Attending this despicable event means destroying any chance of peace by adopting the Palestinian narrative calling the establishment of the state of Israel a disaster,” he said in a video statement.

Quotable: “This resolution represents a recognition by your organizations of the ongoing historic injustice that fell on the Palestinian people in 1948 and before that date, and that continues after,” said Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. He added that it was also a rebuttal “for the first time by you of the Israeli Zionist narrative that denies this Nakba.”

Results from inquiry into F.B.I. investigation

For four years, John Durham, a Trump-era special counsel, has pursued a politically fraught investigation into the F.B.I.’s inquiry into Donald Trump’s ties with Russia. In a report made public yesterday, he accused the F.B.I. of having “discounted or willfully ignored material information” that countered a narrative of collusion between the former president and Russia.

The report revealed little substantial new information about the inquiry, known as Crossfire Hurricane, and it failed to produce the kinds of blockbuster revelations accusing the bureau of politically motivated misconduct that Trump and his allies suggested Durham would uncover. Instead, it largely recounted previously exposed flaws in the inquiry.

“An objective and honest assessment of these strands of information should have caused the F.B.I. to question not only the predication for Crossfire Hurricane, but also to reflect on whether the F.B.I. was being manipulated for political or other purposes,” Durham wrote. “Unfortunately, it did not.”

Consequences: Durham said he was not recommending any “wholesale changes” to F.B.I. rules for politically sensitive investigations and for national-security wiretaps, which have already been tightened in recent years.

Other U.S. politics news:

President Biden expressed cautious optimism about a debt limit deal before a meeting today with Republican leaders.

Black taxpayers have been far more likely to be audited, the I.R.S. acknowledged.

THE LATEST NEWS

Around the World

Despite a struggling economy and other significant domestic problems, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the favorite to win a runoff vote in the Turkish elections.

Thailand’s two opposition parties said they would work together to form a coalition government. It remains unclear if the ruling junta will hand over power easily.

At least six people were killed in a fire in a hostel mostly used for transient accommodation in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are homeless after Cyclone Mocha hit Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Other Big Stories

The U.S.-Mexico border has remained relatively quiet, despite fears of a sudden surge of migrants after a pandemic-era policy ended.

An 18-year-old gunman opened fire on a residential street in New Mexico, killing three people.

Vice Media filed for bankruptcy. A group of lenders is in a position to acquire the company.

What Else Is Happening

As many people in Japan unmask after three years and find their facial expressions a bit rusty, some are seeking support from a dedicated smile instructor.

The W.H.O. warned against using artificial sweeteners to control body weight.

Several star-driven movies will debut this week at the Cannes Film Festival.

A Morning Read

Before it came in plastic bottles or aluminum cans labeled sparkling water or club soda, it was called seltzer, and it arrived from factories across New York City in heavy siphon bottles. Just one traditional seltzer works now remains in the city — Brooklyn Seltzer Boys, which has a century-old carbonator and a museum with a spritzing station.

“Good seltzer should hurt,” said the owner, Alex Gomberg, whose great-grandfather started the business in 1953. “It should be carbonated enough that it kind of stings the back of your throat.”

SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC

How Xavi transformed Barcelona into La Liga champion: Old-school rules, Robert Lewandowski’s goals and a new hunger for success defined the club’s surge to the title after a rocky start.

How the U.S. star Christian Pulisic was offered as a trade chip by Chelsea: The Premier League team was willing to part ways with the forward in an attempt to sign a Champions League semifinalist.

The worst job in soccer? Abused by managers, manipulated by coaches — enter the life of a fourth official.

ARTS AND IDEAS

Meet ‘The Diplomat’

The Netflix drama “The Diplomat” has become compulsive viewing in foreign-policy circles for its spy-thriller-meets-soap-opera take on ambassadorial life.

But Jane Hartley, above, the real-life American ambassador to Britain, says her life is markedly different from that of Kate Wyler, her fictional counterpart — not least because the role does not, in fact, come with its own fashion stylist. “I wear my own clothes,” she said.

Hartley has suddenly found her job the object of fascination, even at the highest levels of the State Department and the White House. She said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, had both quizzed her about the fine points of the eight-part series, having watched it.

While the show may not get everything right, diplomats said they were grateful for their turn in the spotlight. “It’s about damn time that we’re the heroes,” said Matthew Palmer, the real-life deputy chief of mission in London.

PLAY, WATCH, EAT

What to Cook

Bake pearl couscous with chickpeas, roasted tomatoes and garlic.

What to Read

“The Postcard,” by Anne Berest, is part detective story, part examination of French attitudes toward Judaism.

What to Watch

In “Monica,” a transgender woman is introduced as a stranger to care for her dying mother.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Undo pencil marks (five letters).

And here are today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha

P.S. Our publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, wrote about independence as an essential journalistic value in Columbia Journalism Review.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on banned spyware.

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

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