Monday Briefing – The New York Times

The Russian Defense Ministry said that Ukrainian forces had fired at least three drones at Moscow, the latest in a wave of attacks in Russia; one of them was destroyed in Odintsovo, outside Moscow. Two others struck commercial buildings in the capital after being intercepted by Russian air defenses, officials said.

Ukraine does not typically claim responsibility for attacks in Russia, but senior Ukrainian officials said last week that recent drone attacks on Moscow were orchestrated by Kyiv. Video from Russian state media showed blown-out windows and twisted beams in one of Moscow’s premier skyscrapers. There were no injuries.

In his evening address, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, did not explicitly mention the strikes in Moscow but noted that “gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia,” including military and “symbolic” centers. He had previously promised “retaliation” after two weeks of nonstop Russian bombardment on Odesa, a city on the Black Sea.

Ukrainian victories: The recapture of the strategically significant village of Staromaiorske has been among the few breakthroughs in a halting counteroffensive, where in two months Kyiv’s troops have advanced less than 10 miles at any point along a 100-mile front.

An explosion at a rally organized by an Islamist party yesterday in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 43 people and wounded 200 more, officials said, the latest sign of the deteriorating security situation in the country. The blast occurred at about 4 p.m. in Bajaur, a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province near the border with Afghanistan, a local official said.

A video from the rally shows hundreds of men sitting outside beneath a cloth canopy as party officials addressed the crowd. As one district leader took to the stage, enthusiastic party workers stood up, chanting, “Allah is great,” one rally-goer said. Then an explosion rocked the crowd.

Details: Officials said they suspected it might have been orchestrated by an Islamic State affiliate in the region that is active in northwestern Pakistan and that has previously attacked the Taliban administration for not instituting what it considers a strict enough interpretation of Islamic principles in Afghanistan.

After a crisis summit in Nigeria, a bloc of West African leaders threatened military action against Niger, where soldiers seized power in a coup on Wednesday, unless the country’s democratically elected president is restored to office within a week. But the new junta insisted it was going nowhere, and it warned forcefully against any foreign military intervention.

The demand, by the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, echoed earlier calls by the U.S. and France, major security allies of Niger, who warned they would cut aid and military ties worth hundreds of millions of dollars unless the deposed leader, Mohamed Bazoum, was reinstated.

Credit…Bandai Namco Entertainment America, Inc.

Keita Takahashi, one of the video game industry’s most eccentric designers, has made games about mustachioed green cubes and alien caterpillars that stretch across the galaxy.

But neither of those oddball experiments matched the supreme weirdness of his first game, Katamari Damacy, in which players roll everyday clutter into giant balls until even whole cities adhere to their surfaces. (He receives no royalties from the game.)

David Beckham: On signing Messi, plans for a “Yankees”-style brand and his desire to work with Manchester United one day.

Player care in soccer: What’s involved in this wide-ranging but integral role.

Women’s World Cup: Colombia beat Germany with stunning goals, The Times reports, including a header in stoppage time.

From The Times: The American superstar Megan Rapinoe has been sitting on the bench while her team plays, and she’s not happy about it.

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