Your briefing on Monday: Russia is making slow gains in the Donbass region

We cover Russia’s brutal campaign to seize Severodonetsk and the elections in France and Colombia.

Deployed Russian forces assault on Sunday against Toshkivkaa key Ukrainian defensive position near Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, highlighting Ukraine’s volatile defense of two of the last cities in Luhansk province in the Donbass region that are not yet under Russian control.

As Russian troops moved to encircle the two cities, Ukrainian forces now hold only a small part of Severodonetsk. Russia’s Defense Ministry did not immediately comment on Toshkivka, but said its forces had captured Metolkine, a town east of Severodonetsk.

The Institute for War Studies, a research group in Washington, said Russia is likely to be able to take over Severodonetsk in the next few weeks, but at a significant price. The slow-moving battle is undermining the morale of both sides, Western officials have said, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that war could grind for years.

Brutal war: An analysis of more than 1,000 photos found that Russia had used hundreds of weapons in Ukraine that were widely banned by international treaties and that they kill, mutilate and destroy indiscriminately.

Number of deaths: The war in Ukraine has claimed a staggering number of lives. But no one is quite sure what this fee is – just that many, many people have been killed.

Asia: Amy Qing, a Taipei-based Times correspondent, talks to the team behind The Morning newsletter about how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is driving Taiwanese civilians taking Chinese aggression more seriously.


The centrist coalition led by French President Emmanuel Macron is is expected to come forward in decisive parliamentary elections, but a strong representation from the union of left parties and a extreme right jump prevented him from securing an absolute majority of the seats, a failure that could complicate his second term.

Estimates based on the preliminary vote count show that Macron’s coalition won 205 to 250 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, the lower and more powerful house of parliament. This is more than any other political group, but less than half of all seats. The lack of a majority will force Macron to step down the aisle and could hamper his ambitious agenda.

If the predictions come true, this will be the first time in 20 years that a newly elected president will not win an absolute majority in the National Assembly.

It turns out: Voting took place with record low turnout, a there is growing concern in France and a warning sign for Macron, who promised to rule closer to the people during his second term. Only about 46 percent of the French electorate went to the polls, according to forecasts, the second lowest level since 1958.


Colombians voted on Sunday in presidential election this will replace the conservative establishment with a destructive leader: either Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and longtime senator, and Rodolfo Hernandez, a wealthy businessman and former mayor.

The fate of the third largest nation in Latin America is at stake, where poverty and inequality increased during the pandemic, and studies show growing distrust in almost all major institutions. Anti-government protests sent hundreds of thousands to the streets last year in a so-called “national strike”.

In India, a country that has historically been malnourished, many people are now gaining weight, and the police are no exception. But in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, police have declared creamy curry, greasy breadcrumbs and high-carbohydrate doses to be its enemy. 1. Instead, they have embraced dietary discipline and physical fitness in the ranks.

Living in the world’s oldest society, Japanese director Chie Hayakawa had a question for his mother’s older friends: If the government sponsored a euthanasia program for people aged 75 and over, would they agree?

Such a world – anti-utopian for many – is the setting for Hayakawa’s first feature film, Plan 75, which won a special award at the Cannes Film Festival this month. Most of the people she asked thought that this was an attractive option that would ensure that they would not burden their children.

Nearly a third of Japan’s population is 65 or older, and there are more centenarians per capita than in any other nation. The country is forced to discuss how it will take care of its longest-lived citizens. For Hayakawa and many others, a world like the one depicted in her film feels shockingly plausible.

“She’s just telling it the way it is,” said Kaori Shoji, who writes about films and the arts. “She tells us, ‘Actually, this is where we’re headed.’

For more, read our a complete story about Hayakawa and her motivation behind the film.

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