Your Tuesday Briefing: Ukraine Prepares a Counteroffensive

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Also, Trump returns to New York to surrender and North Koreans remain in “state-sponsored slavery” abroad.

Daniel E. Slotnik

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Soldiers peering out of a small opening in a bunker.
Ukrainian soldiers monitoring the front line in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday.Credit…Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Over the winter, Ukraine rebuffed a Russian offensive. Now it’s Ukraine’s turn to go on the attack — and there are signs that the counteroffensive will begin in the next month or so.

Thousands of recruits are training in newly constituted fighting units tailored for offensives. And the military command is holding back elite soldiers from the worst of the fighting, in order to throw them instead into the coming campaign.

The new Ukrainian campaign, when it comes, will be a test of its army’s ability to rearm and reconstitute battalions while maintaining the motivation and maneuvering skills that gave it an edge in three previous counteroffensives.

The challenges are daunting. Ukrainian officers will have to choreograph artillery, infantry and armored vehicle assaults that can crash through the Russian trenches, tank traps and minefields.

But if its weapons and trained troops fall into place in time, Ukraine is capable of inflicting losses on the Russian Army that could have far-reaching geopolitical consequences, said Evelyn Farkas, an expert at the McCain Institute. She posited a once-unthinkable outcome: that Ukraine could render Russia a weakened military power, with little leverage in negotiations to end the war.

The goal: Ukraine is seen as planning to drive a wedge through Russian-occupied territory along the southern coasts of the Black and Azov Seas, near Crimea, or seek a humiliating turnabout in the fighting in the eastern Donbas region — or both.

Challenges: Ukraine’s allies have delayed sending weapons, troops have had to make do with crash courses and success is hardly assured.

Other news from the war:


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Credit…Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times

Former President Donald Trump made his heavily anticipated arrival in New York on Monday as he prepared to walk into a Manhattan courtroom as both a defendant and a candidate.

Trump’s team continued to make final plans for his arrest today, while also trying to maximize his surrender for political benefit. (Here’s what we know about the charges.)

Authorities, who are preparing for any protests that could accompany Trump’s arraignment, said that so far there was no indication of threats like the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

What’s next: When he arrives in court today, Trump will be surrounded by a phalanx of Secret Service agents. He will be fingerprinted and will possibly have a police photo taken. While it is standard for defendants arrested on felony charges to be handcuffed, it is unclear whether an exception will be made for a former president.

The campaign: Recent polls have shown increased support for Trump since news of the indictment broke last week, and his potential Republican primary opponents have been rallying to his defense.

Trump’s campaign has been using his indictment in fund-raising appeals, and said it had raised $7 million since the news became public. The campaign scheduled a prime-time news conference at Mar-a-Lago tonight, just hours after Trump is expected to turn himself in.


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North Korean workers at an airport in Vladivostok, Russia, in 2019. Credit…Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For more than three decades, North Korea has sent workers abroad to make money for its regime.

Tens of thousands of these workers have toiled in Russian logging camps, Chinese factories and Eastern European farms, sending billions of dollars home, according to estimates from the South. The workers’ passports are confiscated for fear that they could defect to the South, and their children or parents are left behind as hostages.

A U.N. Security Council resolution required countries to expel the North Korean workers by the end of 2019, but thousands still remain in Russia and China, according to a new report from South Korea’s Unification Ministry. Human rights organizations have likened the conditions to “state-sponsored slavery.”

Context: The cash the workers generate, most of which goes to the North Korean state, is crucial to Kim Jong-un, whose regime is increasingly desperate for foreign currency as it pours resources into its nuclear arsenal.

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Credit…Mahmoud Illean/Associated Press
  • The former principal of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish girls’ school in Melbourne, Australia, was found guilty of sexually abusing students 15 years ago.

  • The Philippines announced four more military bases that U.S. forces will have access to, at a time of growing tension between U.S. allies and China, Reuters reports.

  • An Indian court suspended a two-year prison sentence for Rahul Gandhi, an opposition leader and critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, The Associated Press reports.

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Credit…Pool photo by Koen Van Weel

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Credit…Simon Wohlfahrt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Paul Rusesabagina, the hotelier whose heroism during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 inspired the film “Hotel Rwanda,” returned to the U.S. last Wednesday, after a complex, secretive effort to free him. Securing his release took years of pressure and the combined efforts of the U.S. government, his family and Hollywood.

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Clockwise from top left: Ian Fleming, Agatha Christie, Ursula Le Guin, and Roald Dahl.Credit…Clockwise from top left: Harry Benson/Express Newspapers, via Getty Images; Agence France-Presse — Getty Images; Marian Wood Kolisch; CBS Photo Archive, via Getty Images

The estates of several revered literary figures are removing content considered offensive from well-known works, raising the question of how, and whether, classics should be updated to conform to current sensibilities.

Words like “Oriental,” “Gypsy” and “native” have been stripped from books by Agatha Christie. Adjectives like “fat” and “ugly” have been removed from Roald Dahl. And Ian Fleming’s “James Bond” books will be scrubbed of racist and sexist phrases.

Proponents of the practice believe that it makes authors palatable to new generations. Critics contend that editing books posthumously is an affront to authors’ creative autonomy and can amount to censorship.

The effort has put publishers and literary estates at the heart of a heated debate as they grapple with how to preserve an author’s original intent while ensuring that their work continues to resonate — and sell.

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Credit…Joel Goldberg for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne.

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