Russia increases attacks on civilian areas
Officially, Russia’s military has paused its drive to seize Ukrainian territory. But in recent days it has stepped up its haphazard attacks on civilian areas, with strikes delivered by warplanes, artillery and missiles. Residents and Ukrainian soldiers alike have been terrified, maimed and killed by the strikes.
Ukrainian officials said yesterday that in the previous 24 hours, Russian strikes had killed at least eight civilians. In eastern Donetsk Province, at least 10 cities and towns were hit, and two people killed, bringing the civilian death toll in the province to nearly 600 since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.
Though its forces are severely depleted, Russia is nowhere near finished with its assault on Ukraine. Ukrainians and Western analysts believe that before long, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, will order a new offensive to conquer the remaining Ukrainian-held territory in Donetsk.
Quotable: Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian leader, mocked the idea that Russia’s attacks had abated. “Many talked about the alleged ‘operational pause’ in the actions of the occupiers in Donbas and other parts of Ukraine,” he said. “Thirty-four airstrikes by Russian aircraft over the past day is an answer to all those who came up with this ‘pause.’”
Go deeper: After each strike on a civilian target, Russia has denied or deflected responsibility. The Times looked at some of the deadliest strikes and Russia’s explanations for them.
The rivals vying to succeed Boris Johnson
The candidates fighting to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and Britain’s prime minister reflect the country’s rich diversity, with six having recent ancestors hailing from outside Europe. Four of the 11 are women.
In terms of policy proposals, however, they are more homogeneous: Nearly all promise to cut taxes, most favor legislation to renege on an agreement with the E.U. on trade in Northern Ireland, and many would continue to deport some migrants to Rwanda.
Under new rules adopted yesterday, lawmakers will whittle down the list of contenders in successive rounds of voting, starting tomorrow, with the support of 20 lawmakers needed to run in that first contest, and ending next week with a shortlist of two. One candidate will emerge victorious from a ballot of Tory members by early September.
The uniformly right-leaning nature of the candidates’ proposals reflects the Conservative Party electorate. The party’s center of gravity has tilted to the right during its bitter battles over Brexit. Johnson purged more centrist lawmakers, like the former cabinet minister Rory Stewart.
Quotable: “There’s just a bizarre disconnect from reality on the part of all of them,” said Jonathan Portes, a professor of economics and public policy at Kings College London. “They’re just off in this fantasy land, talking about tax cuts.”
How Elon Musk damaged Twitter
As Elon Musk tries to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, he is inexorably leaving the social media company worse off than it was when he said he would buy it. He has eroded trust in Twitter, walloped employee morale, spooked potential advertisers, emphasized the company’s financial difficulties and spread misinformation about how it operates.
The precarious situation underscores why Twitter is set to sue Musk as soon as this week to force a completion of the deal. The court battle is likely to be protracted and immense, involving months of expensive litigation and high-stakes negotiations by elite lawyers. Twitter might win, but, if it loses, Musk could walk away by paying a breakup fee.
In a letter to Musk’s lawyers on Sunday, Twitter’s lawyers said that his move to terminate the deal was “invalid and wrongful” and that Musk “knowingly, intentionally, willfully and materially breached” his agreement to buy the firm. Twitter will continue to provide information to Mr. Musk and to work to close the transaction, the letter added.
Rise and fall: Twitter’s stock plunged yesterday by more than 11 percent to one of its lowest points since 2020 as investors anticipated the coming legal battle. Since Twitter accepted Musk’s acquisition offer, on April 25, its stock has lost over a third of its value as investors have grown increasingly skeptical that the deal will get done on the agreed terms.
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The Antico Setificio Fiorentino, or Antique Florentine Silk Mill, which uses looms from the 18th and 19th centuries, has been producing precious textiles since 1786. Step inside the atelier’s large, worn timber door and slip back through time to a more opulent era.
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Bookstores are thriving
Call it a plot twist: More than 300 independent bookstores opened in the U.S. over the past couple of years, a “welcome revival after an early pandemic slump,” Alexandra Alter and Elizabeth Harris write in The Times. Many of the shopkeepers are people of color, making the book business — which had been overwhelmingly white — more diverse.
The rapid growth of physical bookshops is especially surprising at a time when brick-and-mortar stores face crushing competition from Amazon and other online retailers. Many bookstore owners are also confronting new uncertainty from a grim outlook for the overall economy.
“People are really looking for a community where they get real recommendations from real people,” said Nyshell Lawrence, a bookseller in Lansing, Mich., who decided to open a bookshop after she visited a local store and found few titles by Black women. “We’re not just basing things off of algorithms.”
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That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha
P.S. Francis X. Clines, a journalist for The Times who covered New York City politics, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Troubles in Northern Ireland, among many other topics, died on Sunday at 84.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on abortion laws.
You can reach Natasha and the team at email@example.com.