Your Friday briefing


Speaking from Moscow, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said Russia has gained control of the destroyed Ukrainian city of Mariupol as fighting continued. He publicly called for an attack on a last stronghold — a sprawling steel mill reportedly home to 2,000 Ukrainian fighters — in a stark expression of the Kremlin’s desire to present success to the Russian public. Follow the latest updates on the war.

His call to blockade the factory “so that a fly can’t get through,” as Putin put it, for the time being avoids a bloody battle in the strategic port city that would add to Russia’s growing casualty rate and tie up troops that could be deployed in the wider struggle for eastern Ukraine. Ukrainians in the steel factory hold their ground, despite appalling conditions.

The battle for Mariupol has enormous significance for both sides. It is the latest point of serious resistance in the land bridge the Kremlin has created to create a connection area it already possesses in the eastern Donbas region with the Crimean peninsula to the south. It is also home to much of Ukraine’s Azov Battalion, filled with far-right fighters who lend a gloss of credibility to Russia’s claim that Ukraine is under Nazi control.

devastation: Mariupol has been under siege for more than a month, much of it in ruins. And satellite images show a growing mass grave on the outskirts of the city. About three quarters of the inhabitants have fled and, according to Ukrainian officials, about 20,000 civilians have been killed – but it is still not completely conquered.

Plan: Russia is shifting the focus of the war to conquering territory and wiping out Ukrainian forces in Donbas, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukraine since 2014.

In other news from the war:

  • According to military analysts, Russian troops made small gains over a 300-mile front in eastern Ukraine.

  • Families whose sons were reported missing after the Russian flagship sank in the Black Sea a week ago are demanding answers, a liability to the Kremlin’s propaganda machine.

In the most intense fighting since the end of an 11-day war in May last year, militants in Gaza fired several rockets at Israel during the night from Wednesday to Thursday. The Israeli Air Force said it retaliated by attacking two military sites in Gaza. No deaths were reported.

The exchange followed a sharp increase in violence in Israel and the occupied territories in the past month, starting with the deadliest wave of Arab attacks in Israel in more than half a decade, killing 14 people. At least 15 Palestinians have been killed in a subsequent crackdown by Israel in the occupied West Bank.

Tensions continued to mount following clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian stone throwers on the grounds of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and a holy site for Jews and Muslims alike. Those clashes provoked rare public criticism from Israel’s new Arab allies, Bahrain, Morocco and the UAE.

tensions: Clashes at the mosque complex flared up again on Thursday as police forced Palestinians from parts of the site to secure access for tourists and Jewish believers, including hardworking Jewish activists who hope to one day rebuild an old Jewish temple that is roughly the place stood. 2000 years ago.

Next steps: Both Israel and Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls Gaza, have expressed in recent days that they want to avoid another mini-war like last year’s.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said yesterday that global supply chains had proved unstable amid the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine. She called for a reform of trade relations aimed at ‘trusted partners’, even if that would mean higher costs for businesses and consumers.

At the spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Yellen said that protectionism, or more taxes on imports, was not the answer, but that the economic benefits of the global network of supply chains reduce the risk of trusting opponents.

Economic forecasts this week underlined the significant headwinds that the war in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia have brought to the global economy. The Biden administration plans to increase pressure on Russia, introduce new sanctions and announce $1.3 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine on Thursday.

citable: “Our supply chains are neither secure nor resilient,” Yellen said. “And I think that’s something, in terms of long-term risks to the US and to other countries, that’s a threat that needs to be addressed.” That could mean a “slightly” higher cost level and less efficiency, she added.

The village of Urueña, in northwestern Spain, has fought depopulation by reinventing itself as a literary center. The full-time population is still only 100, but there are 11 stores that sell books.

There is ample evidence that the shaved head is the first trendy cut of 2022. Iris Law, Demi Lovato and Saweetie have their manes cut. The actress Jordan Alexander, from the “Gossip Girl” reboot, and model Slick Woods has turned the look into a style signature.

Clara Perlmutter, 23, asked her boyfriend to shave her head with clippers. She has embraced the look for its convenience and the fact that her hair is now “one less thing to worry about”. It also suits her style. “I love that dystopian-future aesthetic of the 1990s and 2000s, and I really love the way the bald head makes any outfit fit that vibe,” she said.

For some people who have been thinking about the look for a while, the tumult of 2022 felt ripe for a moment of extreme self-expression through beauty. “It’s about taking ownership of your identity and empowering you to control at least one aspect of what’s going on around you,” says Rachael Gibson, who charts the history of hair on her Instagram account thehairhistorian.

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