Monday Briefing – The New York Times

Some 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed since Russia’s full-scale invasion began two years ago, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said. It is the first time he has announced a concrete figure for Ukraine’s toll.

Zelensky declined to disclose the number of wounded or missing soldiers, saying that Russia could gauge the size of Ukraine’s active forces with that information. His tally could not be independently verified.

Last summer U.S. officials estimated far higher losses, saying that close to 70,000 Ukrainians had been killed and 100,000 to 120,000 had been wounded. Russia’s military casualties, the officials said, were about twice as high.

Zelensky’s acknowledgment comes as Ukraine is running short of soldiers and ammunition. A week ago, Moscow captured the city of Avdiivka.

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that Israeli forces would push into the city of Rafah regardless of the outcome of talks to pause the fighting. A cease-fire would delay any move into the city, he added.

Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, has become a refuge for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the war. The military push toward Rafah has drawn warnings from the U.S., Israel’s closest ally, because of the potential for mass civilian casualties.

Netanyahu’s comments came as an Israeli delegation prepared to leave for Qatar for talks about a temporary cease-fire with Hamas and the release of some hostages held in Gaza.

Opposition parties have all been banned — belonging to one is a crime — and the four approved parties taking part in the election have competed only to outdo one another in their displays of unwavering loyalty to Lukashenko.

An inflationary effect has rippled through the strata of English soccer, now that a stake in Premier League juggernauts like Manchester United is out of reach to all but those with wealth akin to that of a nation state. There are dozens of investors pouring vast sums into teams in the semiprofessional National League and even into the sprawling, hyperlocal amateur tiers below that.

The result is that England’s minor soccer leagues have become a place where even the very rich can feel poor.

Lives lived: Alfred Grosser was a French political scientist and historian who played a major role in conciliating France and Germany after World War II. He died at 99.

For the Ugandan opposition politician Bobi Wine and his wife, Barbie Kyagulanyi, an Oscar-nominated film feels like a bulletproof vest.

That’s what they said about the film “Bobi Wine: The People’s President,” one of the nominees this year for best documentary feature.

Wine is a leading opponent of President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986. The film examines the 2021 presidential election in Uganda. Wine, who is also a popular singer in the country, has been arrested multiple times and has been held under house arrest.

The film shows Kyagulanyi’s determination to free her husband, as well as tender moments between the couple. “The more the world knows about our plight, the safer we become,” Wine said in an email. “An Oscar win would mean life secured.”

The Oscars will be held on March 10 in Los Angeles.

— Lynsey Chutel, a Briefings writer in Johannesburg.

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