Your Tuesday Briefing: Biden Travels to Kyiv

President Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky visited St. Michael’s monastery in downtown Kyiv.Credit…Daniel Berehulak/The New York Times

Biden’s surprise trip

President Biden took a nearly 10-hour train ride from Poland to Ukraine’s capital to show the U.S.’s “unwavering commitment” to support Ukraine.

As air-raid sirens sounded, Biden strolled in the sunshine and visited a monastery in downtown Kyiv with his host, President Volodymyr Zelensky. Biden promised $500 million in additional military aid but did not talk about the advanced weaponry that Ukraine was appealing for.

“One year later, Kyiv stands,” Biden said during a news conference with Zelensky just four days ahead of the one-year mark of Russia’s invasion. “And Ukraine stands. Democracy stands.”

Biden’s first trip to Ukraine since the war began was shrouded in secrecy. The U.S. alerted Russia about his plans hours before he arrived in Kyiv. Two reporters traveling with Biden agreed to keep details embargoed until the trip was over. Biden was in Kyiv for less than six hours before the Secret Service whisked him out of the city.

Today: The contest between Biden and President Vladimir Putin will intensify when the two leaders deliver speeches, several hours and hundreds of miles apart. Putin will deliver a state-of-the-nation address in Moscow. Biden will speak in Warsaw.

On the front line: While Russia has relied on prisoners and mercenaries to do some of its fighting, all ranks of society have been mobilized in Ukraine. Among them was a couple who shared a trench on the front line — and died in it.

Xi Jinping is trying to keep Russia close and also repair ties with Western powers.Credit…Pool photo by Alexei Druzhinin

Will China help arm Russia?

As Russian state media reported that China’s most senior foreign policy official had arrived in Moscow, Beijing bristled against the U.S. claim that it was poised to give Russia “lethal support.” Such a step would be a major shift for China and would transform the war into a struggle between three superpowers.

China accused the Biden administration of spreading lies. “It’s the U.S., and not China, that has been incessantly supplying weapons to the battlefield,” a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said, “and the U.S. is not qualified to issue any orders to China.”

The State of the War

  • Portending a Global Rift: Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said that China is strongly considering giving military aid to Russia, a move that would transform the war into a struggle involving three superpowers.
  • Western Support: Nearly one year into the war, American and European leaders pledged to remain steadfast in their support for Ukraine amid worries about how long their resolve will last.
  • Harris’s Comments: Vice President Kamala Harris declared that the United States had formally concluded that Russia had committed “crimes against humanity” in its invasion of Ukraine.
  • A Russian Mole in Germany?: A director at Germany’s spy service was arrested on suspicion of passing intelligence to Russia. German officials and allies worry just how deep the problem goes.

Beijing defended its ties to Moscow and insisted that it was a neutral observer trying only to coax Russia and Ukraine into peace talks. While China has supported Russia in nonmilitary ways, sending it weapons would deeply alarm the U.S. and Europe at a time when Beijing is trying to rebuild global ties after years of pandemic isolation.

President Biden has stressed to Xi Jinping, China’s leader, that any such move would have far-reaching consequences. The warnings to China revealed that the Biden administration believes Beijing is close to crossing the line.

What’s next: A Kremlin spokesman said that the Chinese official, Wang Yi, may meet with President Vladimir Putin while in Moscow.

Many people are traumatized from the earlier quake.Credit…Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Another earthquake strikes

A powerful new earthquake shook southern Turkey and northwestern Syria, two weeks after a powerful double tremor killed more than 46,000 people and left more than a million homeless. Here are updates.

The 6.3-magnitude quake struck yesterday afternoon in Hatay Province in Turkey, an area that had already suffered widespread damage from collapsed buildings.

The new quake spread panic among survivors, many of whom are staying in tents or sleeping in their cars because they remain too scared to go inside any buildings. A district mayor said that people were trapped under the debris: “People are screaming for their lives.” 

In Syria: People were hospitalized after being hurt in stampedes, the state-run news media reported. In rebel-held territory, the White Helmets, a local rescue organization, also reported stampedes and said people had jumped from balconies to escape buildings.

U.S.-Turkey tensions: During a visit to Ankara, Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, pledged to keep helping Turkey recover. But there were few signs of progress on disputes over F-16 sales and NATO.


Around the World

Credit…Ammar Awad/Reuters
  • Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Jerusalem as Israeli lawmakers prepared to hold the first votes on bills that would curb the judiciary’s power.

  • British police found the body of Nicola Bulley, whose disappearance prompted a national debate over privacy and the treatment of missing women.

  • The U.S. and Canadian militaries have ended the search for the remnants of downed U.F.O.s over Alaska and northern Canada.

Other Big Stories

Some pieces are believed to have once been worn by Angkor royalty.Credit…Cambodia Ministry of Culture & Fine Arts
  • Cambodia said it had recovered 77 gold relics from the collection of a British art dealer, who died in 2020 and was accused of antiquities trafficking.

  • Deaths in U.S. prisons rose nearly 50 percent during the pandemic’s first year, according to data examined by The Times.

  • A doodle appears to show Leonardo da Vinci’s ideas in deconstructing gravity, long before Galileo and Newton.

  • An alligator was found in a Brooklyn lake. It may have been someone’s pet. 


  • Big tech companies should be liable for the illegal conduct that their platforms enable, Julia Angwin writes.

  • Nicholas Kristof argues that the U.S. should give Ukraine all of the weaponry the country needs to end the war, despite the risk of escalation.

A Morning Read

Credit…Fabio Bucciarelli for The New York Times

The Duomo, Milan’s beloved landmark, has needed constant care basically since 1386, when construction began.

The cathedral is crafted from rare, pink-hued marble that is particularly fragile. Now, climate change and pollution are adding to the challenges of preservation.


Nurse burnout

The pandemic made nursing even harder in the U.S.: Nurses are burned out and exhausted. Some have left the profession. About 43 percent are considering it, according to a recent survey by the American Nurses Foundation.

“It’s hard to talk about mental health,” said Kathleen Littleton, one of several trained nurses who spoke to The Times about their challenges. “In nursing, sometimes it’s frowned upon when people say, ‘Oh I feel so burned out.’ It’s almost like a shameful way to approach it.” She now works for an insurance company.

Today’s burnout could make for long-term shortages. There’s still high interest in the field, but fewer experienced nurses mean fewer opportunities for students to get in-hospital training. That, in turn, leads to nursing schools not producing enough graduates to fill the gap.


What to Cook

Credit…Armando Rafael for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

These coconut-stuffed pancakes are enjoyed along the western coast of India.

What to Read

In “Every Man a King,” class and racial divisions collide as a Black ex-cop investigates a kidnapping in New York City.

What to Watch

“All Quiet on the Western Front” won seven BAFTA awards, including best film. Read our review.


Use this guide to avoid harmful chemicals in beauty products.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Got rid of (four letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

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

P.S. The Times won three George Polk Awards, two for its coverage of the war in Ukraine. 

I’d love to hear from you. You can write at [email protected]. I read every note.

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