Russia restores rail links to the south of Ukraine
Russia is cementing its grip on southern Ukraine, extending infrastructure that could help it claim permanent dominion over the region. The repair work would allow Moscow to fortify a “land bridge” between Russia and Crimea and build on efforts to claim control through the introduction of Russian currency and the appointment of proxy officials. Follow the latest updates from the war.
Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said yesterday that the military and Russian Railways had together repaired about 750 miles of track in southeastern Ukraine and set the conditions for traffic to flow from Russia through Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region to occupied territory in Kherson and Crimea. These claims could not be verified.
Satellite imagery reviewed by The Times showed that water was again flowing through parts of the Northern Crimean Canal in Crimea that had been dry until March. The 250-mile canal is an important source of freshwater that Ukraine cut off in 2014 with bags of sand and clay after the Kremlin annexed the peninsula.
Fighting: Even as Russia sought to entrench its control in the south this week, guerrilla warfare has emerged inside the occupied regions, with a series of attacks targeting Russian supporters and proxies.
Sievierodonetsk: In the east, where both armies are fighting for control, Ukrainian officials were weighing whether to withdraw their forces from the city, which is the last major pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the Luhansk region that has been blasted by weeks of Russian shelling.
In other news from the war:
Car drives into a school group in Berlin
A car plowed into a crowd of people on a busy Berlin sidewalk yesterday morning, killing a female teacher on a school trip and injuring 14 teenage students traveling with her, before crashing into the window of a store. Five of the victims have life-threatening injuries, officials said.
The driver was a 29-year-old German man of Armenian origin who lives in Berlin and whom a Berlin state senator described as “a mentally impaired person.” A police spokesman said they knew of no motive, but were investigating whether the crash was intentional or accidental and perhaps caused by “an exceptional medical situation.”
The schoolteacher who was killed was from the western state of Hesse, according to officials. It was not clear if there were any people injured aside from the students. As of last night, the police had not released the names of any victims and were waiting to alert their families.
Site: The area was yards from the location of a terrorist attack on a Christmas market in 2016 in which 12 people died after an attacker drove a stolen truck into a crowd of people. The square has since been reinforced to protect the large numbers of people who pass through it every day.
New data on Omicron vaccine
Moderna released encouraging preliminary results on an updated vaccine that targets the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. It was shown to produce 1.75 times the level of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron as a booster dose of the original vaccine.
But experts warn that the virus is rapidly evolving and may outpace the ability to modify vaccines using human clinical trials. Omicron has been spawning subvariants for months, and some researchers say that what matters now is how well a new booster formulation would protect against the latest subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, not Omicron itself.
BA.4 and BA.5 now represent 13 percent of new coronavirus cases in the U.S., up from 7.5 percent a week ago, according to health officials. These new subvariants seem to spread even more quickly than earlier versions of Omicron and may be better at dodging the immune system’s defenses. It is unclear whether they cause more severe disease.
Next steps: Outside advisers to U.S. health officials will meet at the end of the month to discuss which vaccine formulation would work best as a fall booster. Vaccine manufacturers have said they would need to start production soon.
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You’ve probably seen the Pulitzer-winning 1972 photograph of Kim Phuc Phan Thi taken as she ran away from napalm explosions in the village of Trang Bang in Vietnam — a naked child with outstretched arms, screaming in pain.
“That picture will always serve as a reminder of the unspeakable evil of which humanity is capable,” she writes in this Times Opinion essay. “Still, I believe that peace, love, hope and forgiveness will always be more powerful than any kind of weapon.”
Dress to express
The drama “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has earned praise for its whirlwind shots, its strange story, and its tender and philosophical take on family and generational trauma. Amid all that, the costumes stick out for their fabulous maximalism.
Before Shirley Kurata, above, designed the looks for the movie, she had already dressed Billie Eilish, Tierra Whack, Lena Dunham, Jenny Lewis and Pharrell Williams. Her stardom has grown even more with the film’s success. “I’m seeing how much the movie has affected people,” Kurata said. “Being part of something like that means a lot to me, where you see Asian representation not in a clichéd or stereotypical way.”
Kurata’s signature style mixes vintage with high-end designers, drawing from an intense color wheel. It’s an exuberant look she has cultivated ever since her brother’s girlfriend gave her hand-me-down Barbies from the 1960s.