Wednesday Briefing

A Ukrainian tank near the village of Robotyne last month.Credit…Viacheslav Ratynskyi/Reuters

Ukraine attempts to break through

Ukrainian forces are battling to break through a Russian defense line in Ukraine’s south near the village of Verbove, military analysts said. The push comes a week after Ukrainian forces said they had retaken the village of Robotyne, the first of several tiers of formidable defenses that Russia has built in the region.

The Black Bird Group, a volunteer organization that analyzes satellite imagery and social media content from the battlefield, said that Ukrainian soldiers had cleared obstacles to reach Russian infantry fighting positions on the outskirts of Verbove. Whether they had secured territory wasn’t clear, analysts said.

Ukrainian military officials refrained from making any sweeping claims. Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Army in the south, told national television that the Russian trenches and dugouts near Verbove were “not as strong” as at the first line of defense, but he said Russian minefields would complicate Ukraine’s push forward.

Takeaway: The retaking of Robotyne is a significant moment in Ukraine’s counteroffensive and its efforts to sever Moscow’s supply lines to occupied Crimea. Ukraine’s push from Robotyne east to Verbove is aimed at widening the breach, which would allow Ukrainian forces to bring in more equipment and personnel to support their advance south.

Other news from the war:

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said that he had visited troops fighting on the front lines in the country’s east.

  • Cuba’s government said it had uncovered a “human trafficking network” that recruited Cubans to fight for Russia in Ukraine.

  • Oil and gas platforms have become a new target of attacks in the Black Sea.

  • Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, is likely to seek missile and warhead technology in an expected visit to Russia. Already, he is getting a public embrace he has long sought.

I.A.A. Mobility, an auto show in Munich.Credit…Angelika Warmuth/Reuters

China dominates at Munich car show

German automakers are falling behind in the global race to produce more electric vehicles, as the Chinese car industry has rapidly transformed into a battery-powered juggernaut.

At I.A.A. Mobility, a massive auto show in Munich, newcomers from China stole the show this week, at a precarious time for the German auto industry. In June, production shrank by 3.5 percent compared with the previous month, weighing on the country’s overall industrial production. Overall growth was flat from April to June.

The doldrums extend beyond automakers. Economic output in Germany is stagnating, weighed down by the high cost of energy and raw materials, a lingering effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Analysis: “I think the Europeans are just pretty much petrified of how the Chinese will perform in Europe,” said Matthias Schmidt, an independent analyst of the electric-car market based in Berlin.

Rising water in Volos, Greece, on Tuesday. Credit…Anastasia Kareka/Eurokinissi, via Reuters

Flooding in Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey

Torrential rain unleashed major floods in central Greece, submerging streets and wreaking widespread damage, just as firefighters were containing enormous wildfires in the country. One man died, and at least one person was missing.

In neighboring Bulgaria and Turkey, at least six more died in flooding, and four people remained missing as of last night.


Around the World

Credit…Bandar Al-Jaloud/Saudi Royal Palace, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • As the U.S. seeks to forge ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, Palestinian leaders are trying to advocate for themselves as part of the process.

  • The top police official in Northern Ireland resigned after a series of scandals, prompting calls for further changes in the force.

  • Teachers across South Korea are holding street protests against the pressure and harassment they face from parents making excessive demands.

  • The prime minister of Vanuatu, who was criticized for veering too close to the West, was ousted in a no-confidence vote. His supporters accused China of interfering.

Other Big Stories

Credit…Ralph Tedy Erol/Reuters
  • A plan by Kenya to send forces to Haiti, as a security crisis there spirals out of control, is facing pushback. Above, people sheltered from gang violence at an outdoor arena in Port-au-Prince, the capital.

  • Hong Kong’s top court ruled that the city’s government must have a framework to legally recognize same-sex partnerships, delivering a partial victory to L.G.B.T.Q. activists.

  • President Biden will nominate Jacob Lew, a former Treasury Secretary, as his next ambassador to Israel.

  • Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the far-right Proud Boys, received 22 years in prison for seditious conspiracy related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

What Else Is Happening

  • In jail in Brooklyn, the cryptocurrency mogul Sam Bankman-Fried is living off bread, water and peanut butter, with limited access to the internet.

  • Officials in Australia are offering a reward to find those responsible for the culling of more than 250 trees at a waterside reserve.

  • Archaeologists in Poland unearthed the remains of what has been widely described as a “vampire child.”

  • The fall fashion season brings approximately four weeks of impossibly glamorous photos, street style and gossip.

A Morning Read

Credit…Illustration by Sean Dong

For most Americans, the new economics of higher education make going to college a risky bet: Millennials with college degrees are earning a good bit more than those without, but they aren’t accumulating any more wealth.


Building for the future: Team Europe has planned ahead with its Ryder Cup team selection.

Jorge Vilda: The coach of the Spanish national women’s soccer team was ousted after complaints from players about his methods and behavior.

U.S. Open: Coco Gauff, the new queen of the U.S. Open, defeated Jelena Ostapenko to secure a spot in the semifinals.

For more: We’re covering the tennis tournament’s signature drink, the copious shirt changes, and how tournament organizers dial in the speed of the court.


Credit…Don Arnold/Getty Images

Autumn’s biggest albums

After a summer dominated by blockbuster tours by Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, the music business gets back to the business of releasing albums this fall. Here are three to look out for. (Read our full list.)

“Tension,” by Kylie Minogue. For decades, the Australian pop star, above, has been making dance floor manna. “Padam Padam,” a gay nightclub anthem released this year ahead of her new album, is one of her best. (Sept. 22.)

“Javelin,” by Sufjan Stevens. Love — physical, divine, longed-for, embattled, cherished — is the subject of this album, whose songs start out folky but rarely stay that way. Working alone at his home studio, Stevens orchestrated them all by himself, playing nearly every instrument. (Oct. 6.)

“The Darker the Shadow the Brighter the Light,” by The Streets. Mike Skinner, British rap’s great literalist, returns with a new album that adheres to keen-eyed storytelling while nodding to various stripes of U.K. club culture. Look out for a clubland-themed murder mystery film of the same name. (Oct. 20.)


Credit…Julia Gartland for The New York Times

Braise white beans and greens, and add Parmesan.

Read Zadie Smith’s new novel, “The Fraud,” about a celebrated 19th-century criminal trial.

Listen to podcasts about the perils and joys of modern dating.

Luxuriate in some of the world’s most scenic hot springs.

Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. Take our Flashback history quiz.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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