Your Tuesday Briefing: Russia Bombards Kyiv

Good morning. We’re covering Russia’s bombardment of Kyiv and China’s effort to contain its biggest coronavirus outbreak since Wuhan.

Residents outside an apartment building that was hit in Kyiv on Monday.Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Russia bombards Kyiv

Russia launched a flurry of artillery strikes on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, as its invasion headed into a third week. The attacks followed days of fighting in the suburbs of the city, and the Kremlin has insisted that “all plans” for the invasion will be fulfilled. Follow our live updates.

In Kyiv, a missile strike hit a nine-story apartment building on Monday, severely damaging the structure and killing least two people. “We do not have a military target near us,” Yuriy Yurchik, a 30-year-old resident, told The Times. “We did not think we ourselves would be a target.”

Military experts warn that the battle for Kyiv could be drawn out and decisive. Some estimate it could take two weeks for Russian forces to encircle the Ukrainian capital and at least a month of bloody, destructive fighting for them to take the city.

Russian and Ukrainian officials concluded a meeting with little sign of progress. Negotiations were to resume today.

China: The country is trying to shield itself from the economic and diplomatic consequences of the war in Ukraine — and to benefit from geopolitical shifts once the smoke clears. China dismissed allegations by U.S. officials that Russia had asked it for military equipment and economic support. The U.S. national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, met with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Rome on Monday.

Other developments:

  • These maps show Russian troop movements and Ukrainian lines of resistance.

  • More than 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine, while tens of thousands of Russians have left for neighboring countries, outraged by what they see as a criminal war.

  • A humanitarian convoy was stopped outside the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, where 400,000 people remain trapped without heat, food or clean water as evacuation efforts continue to fail.

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine will address the U.S. Congress in a virtual speech on Wednesday that is expected to increase pressure on President Biden to send fighter jets to Kyiv.

A mass testing site in Beijing on Monday.Credit…Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Covid surges in China

China is grappling with its largest surge of infections since the coronavirus first emerged there more than two years ago. The government is racing to impose strict containment measures, but sustained outbreaks in two-thirds of the country’s provinces are the toughest test yet of its “Covid zero” policies.

Global commerce may soon take a hit. Several of China’s largest factory cities have ordered lockdowns or imposed new restrictions, halting production of Toyota cars and Apple phones.

Shenzen, the hub of China’s tech sector and one of the world’s largest ports, imposed a weeklong lockdown, limiting all but the most essential movement. Last spring, an outbreak there held up port operations and caused a steep increase in global shipping rates that helped drive up prices for imported goods.

Context: The Omicron variant is fueling the outbreak. China has a very high vaccination rate, except among the elderly, and little more than half of infected people do not have symptoms. China has comparatively far fewer intensive care hospital beds than most industrialized countries, and rural hospitals in particular could quickly become overwhelmed.

Lockdowns: Officials seal the entrances to a store, office building or even convention center in response to a single case, trapping everyone inside for up to several days until they are tested and, if their results are positive, sent into isolation.

Hong Kong: Particularly in southern China, many have reacted by blaming nearby Hong Kong, where an epidemic has overwhelmed hospitals and morgues. The city has said it doesn’t have the testing capacity to carry out the mainland’s strict strategy.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

  • A study estimates that there were 720,000 fewer dengue cases globally in the first year of the pandemic because of restrictions on movement.

  • Moderna is expected to send U.S. officials initial data this week on how well its vaccine works in young children.

  • Barack Obama tested positive for the coronavirus but said he’s “feeling fine.”

The Patel family froze to death near this windswept interstate in North Dakota. Credit…Dan Koeck for The New York Times

Tragedy at the U.S.-Canada border

In January, a family of four froze to death as they tried to cross into the U.S. from Canada. They were just about 15 meters from the border.

Jagdish Patel, 39, and his wife, Vaishali, 37, had been teachers in the Indian state of Gujarat until Covid-19 shuttered schools there. With few options, they traveled to Canada on a visa and paid to be smuggled into the U.S. with their 11-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son.

The smugglers dropped a group of migrants, including the family, about five miles (eight kilometers) from the border, despite a blizzard warning. As the group trudged through knee- to waist-deep snow for 11 hours in whiteout conditions, the temperature neared -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 Celsius), and the Patels got separated from the group.

Context: As the U.S. tightens controls on its southern border, hundreds of migrants a year are trying their luck from Canada, where the boundary is less fortified.

Background: In Gujarat, which has a long history of immigration to the U.S., smuggling enterprises masquerade as travel agencies.


World News

A light micrograph of Plasmodium vivax, a parasite that causes malaria, in a section of human liver.Credit…Biophoto Associates/Science Source
  • Australian regulators approved a new single-dose malaria medication, opening the door to approvals of the treatment in other countries.

  • Authorities are searching for a lone gunman who has been targeting homeless men in New York City and Washington, D.C.

What Else Is Happening

  • Tom Brady, the star quarterback, said he would return to the N.F.L., less than six weeks after he announced his retirement.

  • “The Power of the Dog” won Best Picture at the Critics Choice Awards while HBO’s “Succession” won best drama series.

A Morning Read

A rare, near-empty plaza in Siem Reap’s Ta Prohm temple.Credit…Thomas Cristofoletti for The New York Times

Cambodia has been open to foreign tourists for months, but the pandemic continues to depress tourism. Until crowds return, the sprawling temple complex of Angkor Wat is almost empty during what is normally peak tourist season. “You can’t help but feel a bit special when you have one of the world’s wonders to yourself,” one visitor said.


The California Conservation Corps planting trees in Modesto, Calif.Credit…Josh Haner/The New York Times

Does planting trees help the planet?

Reforestation is an attractive opportunity for brands looking to increase their climate credibility and bolster their sustainability records. A tree planted for every T-shirt purchased. For every bottle of wine sold. For every swipe of a credit card.

Russia-Ukraine War: Key Things to Know

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Looking for a way out. Negotiators from both sides met again, as Russia expanded the targets of its military offensive and the humanitarian crisis deepened in Mariupol and other cities. But even the most basic progress towards diplomacy has proved elusive.

China’s strategy. China’s leadership, which dismissed U.S. allegations that Russia asked Beijing for military and economic aid, has calculated that they can benefit from the geopolitical shifts caused by the war by being seen as a pillar of stability in a turbulent world.

American journalist killed. Brent Renaud, an award-winning American filmmaker and journalist who drew attention to human suffering, was fatally shot while reporting in a suburb of Kyiv. Mr. Renaud, 50, had contributed to The New York Times in previous years, most recently in 2015.

Trees can slow climate change by locking away planet-warming carbon dioxide. But companies and countries often plant commercial, nonnative species in their reforestation projects, which can instead worsen the problems they were meant to solve.

Those trees will hold carbon — all trees do — but they provide little support to the webs of life that once thrived in those areas. That can reduce biodiversity and threaten water supplies, speeding extinctions and making ecosystems far less resilient. “You’re creating basically a sterile landscape,” one conservationist said.

The best efforts try to address a range of needs, according to restoration experts, but it can be hard to reconcile competing interests. There are many players involved. Some advocate big tree farms for carbon storage and timber. Others call for providing fruit trees to small-scale farmers. And some say it’s best to allow native species to regenerate.


What to Cook

Credit…Ryan Liebe for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Use store-bought puff pastry for this savory and colorful asparagus and goat cheese tart.

What to Watch

Stream these eight great performances to remember William Hurt, the four-time Oscar nominee, who died Sunday.

What to Read

In “The Turning Point,” an Oxford professor argues that the year 1851 changed Charles Dickens —  and the world — forever.


Our personal tech columnist reviewed Apple’s budget iPhone. What it lacks compared to the fancier models is minor, he writes.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Sinister spell (five letters).

Here’s today’s Wordle.

And here is the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

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

P.S.The Times has introduced a channel on Telegram to deliver news about the war in Ukraine.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is on how Russians see the war in Ukraine.

You can reach Amelia and the team at

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