Your Wednesday Briefing
President Biden called on the world to stand up to Vladimir Putin and other “tyrants.”Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times
Dueling speeches from Biden and Putin
President Biden and Vladimir Putin, the leaders of the U.S. and Russia, laid out radically different visions for Ukraine’s future yesterday, offering contrasting narratives about who is to blame for the bloody, yearlong war. They seemed to agree on only one point: The conflict is nowhere near an end.
Biden repeatedly blamed Putin for dragging Europe back to brutality and warfare on a scale not seen since World War II. He accused the Russian leader of wide-ranging atrocities and called on the world to stand up to him and other “tyrants.” Putin blamed the U.S. and its allies for turning the conflict into a “global confrontation.” He announced a suspension of Russia’s participation in its last remaining nuclear treaty with America.
The speeches came as many European leaders were wondering whether they would be able to sustain the current level of spending on arms, government support and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Biden has vowed that the U.S. and its NATO allies will remain steadfast. “Our support for Ukraine will not waver, NATO will not be divided, and we will not tire,” he said.
Analysis: The suspension of Russia’s participation in the New START nuclear treaty is the latest sign that the decades-long era of formal arms control may be dying, writes David E. Sanger, a White House and national security correspondent for The Times.
A Russian attack in Kherson killed at least six people at a bus station. Russia is also shelling northern areas to tie up Ukrainian troops who might otherwise defend against attacks in the south.
Barbed comments by the head of the Wagner mercenary group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, suggest that his vaunted access to Putin may be on the wane.
Poland’s newfound influence
A NATO summit meeting of nine Central and Eastern European leaders is scheduled to take place today in Warsaw. It is yet another indication — along with President Biden’s two visits to the capital since the war in Ukraine began — of the Central European country’s growing geopolitical importance. Speaking yesterday, Biden hailed Poland as “one of our great allies.”
In the last year, Germany has ditched its previously Moscow-friendly policies and its heavy dependence on Russian natural gas. At the same time, Poland has become a hub for Western weapons flowing into Ukraine, a shelter for millions of Ukrainian refugees and a driving force behind European sanctions against Russia.
Poland, which joined NATO in 1999 and the E.U. in 2014, appreciates being “listened to more and more,” the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said. Before the invasion of Ukraine, he added, Warsaw’s insistent warnings about the threat posed by Moscow and by Europe’s reliance on its energy supplies “were only sort of half heard.”
Domestic difficulties: Some foreign policy experts worry that Poland might not be entirely ready for prime time, citing long-running disputes between Poland’s right-wing governing party, Law and Justice, and the E.U.
Related: China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, has been on a high-stakes tour of Europe in an urgent bid to revive his country’s economy and to find common ground with some of Washington’s staunchest allies in the region. Russia is standing in the way.
A third week of recovery in Turkey
Emergency workers in southern Turkey are battling exhaustion as the hope of finding more earthquake survivors dwindles. A powerful new quake on Monday complicated their task, sending rescuers rushing to newly collapsed buildings where tenants had returned.
At the height of relief efforts in Turkey, nearly 12,000 international rescue workers fanned out across a zone that stretched for 250 miles. Some of those crews have already left. Others kicked back into action on Monday as more buildings collapsed and at least six people were killed in Turkey.
Coming in the wake of thousands of aftershocks over the past two weeks, Monday night’s quake also shifted mounds of rubble that were still to be searched. Much of the rescue effort is now focused on Antakya.
Response: Many families have expressed anger at the Turkish government’s response and its rescue effort, which have been criticized as slow and haphazard. Some waited for days outside crumpled buildings before any rescuers arrived. Weeks later, that anger appears to have evolved into quiet desperation.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
Saudi Arabia’s courts are meting out harsher punishments than ever to citizens who criticize the government.
Israel is unlikely to extradite a former Mexican official accused of orchestrating a cover-up of the disappearance of 43 students in 2014.
A major winter storm will unfold over the northern U.S. this week, bringing “extremely disruptive” weather, forecasters said.
A former official in Mexico, who led the fight against drug cartels, was convicted of taking bribes from them.
A tough new immigration measure could disqualify the vast majority of migrants from being able to seek asylum at the southern border of the U.S.
Other Big Stories
The U.S. Supreme Court appeared wary of limiting a law that protects social media platforms from lawsuits over what their users post.
Donald Trump spent roughly $10 million from his political action committee on his own legal fees last year.
A judge rejected an effort by relatives of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks to seize $3.5 billion in frozen Afghan central bank funds to pay off judgments owed by the Taliban.
BYD, the Chinese automaker that sells the most electric vehicles in the world, has begun offering three of its models in Germany.
In people with advanced H.I.V. disease, the mpox virus — formerly known as monkeypox — often causes severe illness, with a death rate of about 15 percent.
United Airlines and other companies started a $100 million venture capital fund to invest in sustainable aviation fuel.
Climate change didn’t make a drought in Argentina more likely, researchers found, though extreme heat probably made it hurt more.
For the first time, genetically modified trees have been planted in a U.S. forest. They are intended to be a large-scale solution to climate change.
A fossil discovery in India that was found to be residue from a bees’ nest is a reminder of the importance of science correcting itself.
A Morning Read
In the early 1990s, murals by the artist Sam Kerson were installed at Vermont Law and Graduate School. Each 24 feet long, they show the brutality of slavery in bold, expressive strokes, with scenes including a slave market, a slave owner wielding a whip and an attacking dog. But to some in the school, they recall racist caricatures of Black people.
Vermont Law wants the works covered for good, as they are above — but the artist says they are historically important and is pushing back in court.
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
Why a Qatari royal is bidding for Manchester United: Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani may be a new name to many outside Qatari banking circles.
Liverpool not for sale: Liverpool has quietly accepted that it’s not the time for a takeover — and Fenway Sports Group will remain as the principal owner for the foreseeable future.
Meet Real Madrid’s new teenage star: Álvaro Rodríguez is the 18-year-old Real Madrid striker who has been living a dream the last week. Here’s his story so far.
From The Times: Formula 1 is tapping into the American market. Some fans just can’t get enough.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Greenland’s tourism balancing act
Visitors go to Greenland to experience its remoteness. Down the west coast, you’ll pass countless fjords and glaciers crowded only with birds and reindeer. Humpback whales, narwhals, polar bears and musk oxen are more common than tour buses. Visitors are few, and the weather still makes the rules.
The island is seeking to invigorate its tourism industry, through measures that include investing hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation and the building of new runways. But a sudden surge of tourists could strain Greenland’s infrastructure and challenge what makes the island special.
Some locals worry about becoming the next Iceland, which has struggled to cope with hordes of tourists and rising prices.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
Break through February’s long cold slog with this vibrant squash and chickpea stew. And — hear us out — pair it with microwave rice.
What to Listen to
“SOS,” by SZA, is now the longest-running No. 1 album by a woman since Adele’s “25.”
What to Watch
The new movie “Cocaine Bear” is based on a true story about, well, a bear high on cocaine.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Cried (four 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. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha
P.S. Will Shortz, The Times’s puzzle editor, talked to The New Yorker about his life in crosswords.
“The Daily” is about Chinese companies that are making products in Mexico.
Send feedback, thoughts or anything else to Natasha and the team at [email protected].