The New York Times 2024-02-21 16:45:30


Middle East Crisis: U.S. Defends Israel’s Policies Toward Palestinians

The U.S. defends Israel at the International Court of Justice.

A day after vetoing calls for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, the United States on Wednesday defended Israel’s decades-long occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, arguing at the United Nations’ highest court that Israel faced “very real security needs.”

The latest U.S. defense of Israel on the global stage came at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where Richard C. Visek, the acting legal adviser at the U.S. State Department, urged a 15-judge panel not to call for Israel’s immediate withdrawal from occupied Palestinian territory.

He said that only the establishment of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel could bring about lasting peace, repeating a longstanding U.S. position but one whose prospects appear even more elusive amid the war in Gaza.

The court is hearing six days of arguments over the legality of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian-majority territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which has been the subject of years of debates and resolutions at the United Nations. The hearings — involving more than 50 countries — were called long before Israel went to war against Hamas in Gaza, but have become part of a concerted global effort to stop the conflict and examine the legality of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians.

Israel has said it would not participate in the hearings, and sent a letter to the court last year arguing that they were unwarranted and failed to “recognize Israel’s right and duty to protect its citizens” or its right to security.

The United States has strongly defended Israel during the war, including on Tuesday, when it cast the lone veto against a U.N. Security Council resolution that called for an immediate cease-fire, saying it would disrupt efforts to free hostages held in Gaza.

On Wednesday, Mr. Visek asked the court to uphold the “established framework” for peace that he said U.N. bodies had agreed to — one that is contingent on a “broader end to belligerence” against Israel — rather than to heed calls by other nations for Israel’s “unilateral and unconditional withdrawal” from occupied territories.

The Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel were a reminder of the threats facing the country and of its security needs, Mr. Visek said, “and they persist.”

“Regrettably, those needs have been ignored by many of the participants in asserting how the court should consider the questions before it,” he said, referring to others countries’ testimony in the hearings.

Mr. Visek’s appearance directly preceded that of Vladimir Tarabrin, Russia’s ambassador to the Netherlands.

When he took the microphone, Mr. Tarabrin said Russia values its “stable relations” with Israel and expressed condolences over Oct. 7. But in what appeared to be a thinly veiled swipe at the United States, he said Russia “cannot accept the logic” of those who “try to defend the indiscriminate violence against civilians” in Gaza by citing Israel’s right to defend itself.

“Violence can only lead to more violence,” he said.

The court, which often hears staid disputes among nations, has lately become a venue for countries to oppose Israel. Last month, South Africa argued at the court that Israel was committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly rejected. The judges have not ruled on that claim, but issued an interim order for Israel to take steps to prevent genocide in Gaza.

On Tuesday, South Africa forcefully condemned Israel’s policies against Palestinians, calling them “a more extreme form of apartheid,” the race-based system of laws that deprived Black South Africans for decades.

Israel has long rejected accusations that it operates an apartheid system, calling such allegations a slur and pointing to what it says is a history of being singled out for condemnation by U.N. bodies and tribunals.

The United States has remained Israel’s staunchest defender internationally. But the Biden administration, under increasing pressure from parts of the Democratic Party, has also shown signs of impatience with Israel’s conduct of the war, the rising toll in Gaza and the plight of Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

President Biden this month said that Israel’s military response in Gaza — which began after Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks — had been “over the top” and that the immense civilian suffering had “got to stop.” The remarks came days after Mr. Biden imposed broad financial sanctions against four Israeli men over violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.

After the hearings, which are scheduled to conclude on Monday, the court will give an advisory opinion, a decision that is expected to take several months. The opinion will be nonbinding.

Cassandra Vinograd contributed reporting.

An Israeli raid in the West Bank city of Jenin kills 3, the military says.

Israeli forces killed three people and detained at least 14 others in an overnight raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, the Israeli military said on Wednesday.

The military said that the raid had targeted “terrorism” and was part of a broader operation in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Authority’s news agency, Wafa, said Israeli forces had stormed two houses in a densely packed area of Jenin, resulting in “violent confrontations.”

The agency reported that a 26-year-old man had been killed, three people had been injured and homes and vehicles were damaged. It said eight Palestinians had been detained during the raid, which began when undercover Israeli special forces entered the area.

Most of the violence was in a crowded neighborhood of the city that was founded more than 70 years ago as a refugee camp for Palestinians displaced in the wars surrounding the creation of the state of Israel. The neighborhood has long been a bastion of armed resistance against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Israeli military raids there, common for years, have become far more frequent since the Hamas-led terrorist attack launched against Israel from Gaza on Oct. 7.

On Wednesday afternoon, just hours after Israeli forces withdrew from Jenin, residents were still “very anxious and scared” and anticipating another raid, leading some to leave for nearby towns, said Faraj Jundi, a resident of the camp and a volunteer paramedic.

When news of the raid reached him around 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Mr. Jundi said, he immediately gathered his wife and six children in the safest room of their home and tried his best to calm them down before he headed out to treat the wounded. He was still very worried about his family, he said, because “there is no safety in the camp.”

By the time Israeli forces left, Mr. Jundi said, “The smell of death, sewage, and blood and the smell of fear and terror” permeated the camp, where roads and other infrastructure — already severely damaged by previous raids — had been bulldozed by Israeli forces. “We fear that we could suffer the same fate as Gaza,” he said.

Since the Oct. 7 attacks set off Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza, hundreds of Palestinians have been detained in raids in the West Bank, which Israeli officials describe as counterterrorism operations against Hamas and an extension of the war.

At least 400 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank in since Oct. 7, according to health officials, making it the deadliest period there in nearly two decades. Deadly violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers in the West Bank has also reached record levels since Oct. 7, according to the United Nations.

This week, the International Court of Justice in The Hague started hearing six days of arguments over Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation” of Palestinian territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

It is the first time the world’s highest court has been asked to give an advisory opinion on the issue, which has been the subject of years of debates and resolutions at the United Nations. The U.N. General Assembly asked the court to review the legality of Israeli policies in the Palestinian territories more than a year ago, before Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

Adam Sella and Cassandra Vinograd contributed reporting from Tel Aviv.

Maps: Tracking the Attacks in Israel and GazaSee where Israel has bulldozed vast areas of Gaza, as its invasion continues to advance south.

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Amid food shortages, people in Gaza are ambushing aid convoys.

Amid widespread food shortages and a breakdown in civil order, groups of desperate civilians in Gaza are regularly attempting to ambush aid convoys, according to two Western officials who were recently in the enclave and images of one such ambush reviewed by The New York Times.

In the images, several dozen young men, some of them carrying clubs, attempt to block the passage of a convoy of trucks as they drive along a major highway in southern Gaza after entering the territory from Egypt. The trucks are briefly forced off the road as the drivers swerve to avoid hitting the men. Some of the assailants throw stones at the trucks’ windshields, seemingly to try to stop them.

The images, with time stamps indicating they were taken in recent days, were reviewed by a reporter for The Times.

Such attacks have become common since Israel’s invasion last year as desperate civilians face starvation in pockets of the enclave, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid complicating their work in Gaza. In one recent attack, assailants threw an ax at a driver’s cabin, attempting to break into it, while in another the attackers hurled a cement block, according to one of the officials.

Israel blames much of the theft on Hamas, which it accuses of siphoning off supplies for its own forces.

But the Western officials said the attacks appeared to be mostly organized by groups of Gazans who were unaffiliated with Hamas, or were the spontaneous acts of desperate civilians. Hamas officials are barely present on the ground in any part of Gaza, the officials said, and international aid organizations are no longer coordinating their movements with the group that until October controlled the entirety of the territory.

The ambushes on aid convoys are partly a result of a breakdown in law enforcement, the officials said. Gazan policemen are now refusing to protect the convoys because they fear they will be targeted by Israel because of their affiliation with the Hamas-run government, the officials said. That leaves the convoys more vulnerable, they added.

Foreign diplomats privately say that enough food is reaching the Gazan border via Egypt to prevent famine, but the problem is its distribution to areas beyond Rafah, the southern city that lines the border with Egypt.

In northern Gaza, aid groups say another major obstacle is the difficulty in coordinating safe passage with the Israeli military.

Unlike southern Gaza, the north is mostly under full Israeli control, and aid groups say Israel regularly blocks access to Gaza City and its surrounding districts.

Israel has accused the aid groups of failing to coordinate their convoys closely enough with the Israeli government, and says that not all requests for access can be granted because of continued fighting.

In one case in early February, the United Nations accused the Israeli navy of shelling an aid convoy heading up Gaza’s coastal road toward Gaza City. The Israeli military said it was looking into the claim.

Syria blames Israel for a deadly strike in Damascus.

Syrian state media reported on Wednesday that an airstrike on a residential building in Damascus had killed two people, and said that Israel was responsible for the attack.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the strike, which the Syrian government’s official SANA news agency said hit a building in the Kafr Sousa neighborhood just after 9:30 a.m. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria, said that a third person had been killed by shrapnel from the attack, which also damaged surrounding buildings.

A strike last February in the same neighborhood killed at least five people. At the time, a senior Western diplomat said the strike was targeting Iranians near a site used by the Iranian military.

While Israel did not comment on the latest attack, it has acknowledged hundreds of past strikes on Iran-linked targets in Syria.

Israel, Iran and Iranian proxies such as Syria have been waging a shadow war by air, land, sea and cyberspace for years. Iran supports and arms a network of proxy militias that have been fighting with Israel, including Hamas and other Palestinian groups.

The strikes and counter-strikes across the region have escalated in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks against Israel. Last month, Iran accused Israel of launching an airstrike on the Syrian capital, Damascus, that killed senior Iranian military figures.

Cassandra Vinograd and Hwaida Saad contributed reporting.

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The W.H.O. says Nasser hospital is still without power, which Israel denies.

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis had no electricity or running water after an Israeli raid last week, calling the destruction around the hospital “indescribable” and saying piles of medical waste and garbage were breeding disease.

But Israeli authorities pushed back on the W.H.O.’s description of dire conditions at the hospital, maintaining that the facility had sufficient medical supplies and that Israel had delivered a generator for the intensive care unit and food for the remaining patients.

Israeli forces raided the grounds of the facility — one of the last and largest hospitals still in operation in Gaza — late Thursday. Videos posted online showed chaotic scenes from inside smoke-filled corridors. The military said it had arrested 20 people who had participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and had found mortar shells and grenades it said belonged to the militant group.

According to the W.H.O., an estimated 130 sick and injured patients and at least 15 doctors and nurses remain inside the hospital.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said on Friday that the electric generators powering the hospital had stopped, and that five patients had died as a result. In a statement on Tuesday, the W.H.O. said that the hospital’s intensive care unit was not functioning and that, aside from minimal supplies it had been able to bring in, the remaining patients and staff were “cut off from aid.” The last remaining patient in the I.C.U. had been transferred to a ward where patients are receiving basic care, the W.H.O. said.

Col. Moshe Tetro, the head of the Israeli government agency that oversees aid in Gaza, said at a news conference that there had been electric power in the intensive care unit throughout the operation. He said Israel had delivered a generator to ensure this was the case.

He acknowledged that there were problems with power outages in other parts of the hospital, but he said the issues were not related to Israel’s raid last week.

Neither the Israeli claims nor those of the W.H.O. and the Gaza Health Ministry could be independently verified.

Colonel Tetro also said that Israel had delivered “large amounts of water, food and baby food for those remaining in the hospital.” Based on conversations with the hospital’s staff, he added that “it is our understanding that there is no shortage of medical supplies at the moment.”

Colonel Tetro said that Israel has also assisted in transferring patients to other places for treatment since the raid.

Before the raid, the Israeli military ordered an evacuation of thousands of displaced people who had taken shelter at the hospital. Israel has repeatedly said that Hamas uses hospitals for military activities, a claim Hamas regularly denies.

The Israeli military said that the raid was based partly on intelligence that hostages taken by Hamas during the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel had been held at the complex and that their bodies might be there. No hostages have been reported as found.

On Friday, the Israeli military said medication bearing the names of Israeli hostages had been discovered during a search. The source of the drugs and how they were used was being investigated, the military said in a statement.

While Israel and Hamas reached a deal last month to deliver medications to the remaining hostages, it has been unclear if any had reached the captives. Qatar, which has served as a mediator, said on Tuesday that Hamas had confirmed that it had received the medications and that it had started delivering them.

Leaders of aid groups denounce the United States for vetoing a cease-fire resolution.

Leaders of several humanitarian organizations on Tuesday sharply denounced the United States for vetoing a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, criticizing the country for not doing more to use its international influence to prevent further death and destruction.

“Again, the U.S. has weaponized its veto power to obstruct, to undermine, the possibility of the U.N. Security Council taking action by calling for a cease-fire,” Amnesty’s director for global research and policy, Erika Guevara-Rosas, said at a media briefing held as the United States vetoed the resolution. Representatives from several international medical aid groups had convened to discuss the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The veto was expected; the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said on Sunday that the resolution, presented by Algeria, would jeopardize ongoing talks to free hostages in Gaza. The United States has vetoed resolutions calling for a cease-fire twice before, standing alone among the other Security Council members.

Avril Benoit, the executive director of Doctors Without Borders in the United States, called the repeated blocking of cease-fire resolutions by the United States “unconscionable,” denouncing the decision as “effectively sabotaging all efforts to bring assistance.”

The United States is negotiating an alternative resolution, which proposes a temporary cease-fire contingent on the return of all hostages and greater aid being allowed into Gaza, but some speakers on Tuesday’s panel dismissed it as too weak or impractical.

Jeremy Konyndyk, the president of Refugees International, said the calls by the United States for a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah were “a mirage,” arguing that the rest of Gaza was “almost entirely uninhabitable” and there was no safe way for them to leave.

“It worries me, actually, to be hearing this from the U.S. government, this idea of a safe evacuation, because it suggests that such a thing is possible,” he said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has ordered the military to draw up plans to evacuate civilians in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza packed with about 1.4 million people, many of whom moved there months before seeking shelter. Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant, also said that the government had no intention of evacuating Palestinian civilians into Egypt.

Tsafrir Cohen, the executive director of the aid group Medico International, called on Israel’s two closest allies — the United States and Germany — to stop giving the Israeli government “carte blanche” and to condition their military support on ending the fighting, preventing further displacement in Gaza or into Egypt, and increased humanitarian aid entering the enclave.

Where Hostage Families and Supporters Gather, for Solace and Protest

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A week after Hamas-led terrorists stormed his kibbutz and kidnapped his wife and three young children, Avihai Brodutch planted himself on the sidewalk in front of army headquarters in Tel Aviv holding a sign scrawled with the words “My family’s in Gaza,” and said he would not budge until they were brought home.

Passers-by stopped to commiserate with him and to try to lift his spirits. They brought him coffee, platters of food and changes of clothing, and welcomed him to their homes to wash up and get some sleep.

“They were so kind, and they just couldn’t do enough,” said Mr. Brodutch, 42, an agronomist who grew pineapples on Kibbutz Kfar Azza before the attacks on Oct. 7. “It was Israel at its finest,” he said. “There was a feeling of a common destiny.”

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U.S. Warns Allies Russia Could Put a Nuclear Weapon Into Orbit This Year

American intelligence agencies have told their closest European allies that if Russia is going to launch a nuclear weapon into orbit, it will probably do so this year — but that it might instead launch a harmless “dummy” warhead into orbit to leave the West guessing about its capabilities.

The assessment came as American intelligence officials conducted a series of rushed, classified briefings for their NATO and Asian allies, as details of the American assessment of Russia’s intentions began to leak out.

The American intelligence agencies are sharply divided in their opinion about what President Vladimir V. Putin is planning, and on Tuesday Mr. Putin rejected the accusation that he intended to place a nuclear weapon in orbit and his defense minister said the intelligence warning was manufactured in an effort to get Congress to authorize more aid for Ukraine.

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An Election Shatters the Image of Pakistan’s Mightiest Force

The intimidating myth of an all-powerful military in Pakistan has been smashed in public view.

The first cracks began to appear two years ago, when thousands of Pakistanis rallied alongside an ousted prime minister who had railed against the generals’ iron grip on politics. A year later, angry mobs stormed military installations and set them aflame.

Now comes another searing rebuke: Voters turned out in droves this month for candidates aligned with the expelled leader, Imran Khan, despite a military crackdown on his party. His supporters then returned to the streets to accuse the military of rigging the results to deny Mr. Khan’s allies a majority and allow the generals’ favored party to form a government.

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Russian Forces Press On With Attacks in Southern Ukraine

Russian forces in recent days have launched multiple attacks around the southern Ukrainian village of Robotyne, military officials and experts said, targeting land hard-won by Ukraine in a rare success of its counteroffensive last summer.

The Ukrainian Army said it had repelled four consecutive days of assaults from Saturday to Tuesday involving armored vehicles and large numbers of troops that had massed in the area.

Open-source maps of the battlefield compiled by independent groups analyzing combat footage suggest that Russia has made marginal gains to the west and south of Robotyne. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based research group, said on Monday that Russian forces had advanced to the western outskirts of the village.


Russian gains since Dec. 1
Russian-controlled area

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In Latin America, Guards Don’t Control Prisons, Gangs Do

Ecuador’s military was sent in to seize control of the country’s prisons last month after two major gang leaders escaped and criminal groups quickly set off a nationwide revolt that paralyzed the country.

In Brazil last week, two inmates with connections to a major gang became the first to escape from one of the nation’s five maximum-security federal prisons, officials said.

Officials in Colombia have declared an emergency in its prisons after two guards were killed and several more targeted in what the government said was retaliation for its crackdown on major criminal groups.

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Hundreds of Ukrainian Troops Feared Captured or Missing in Chaotic Retreat

Hundreds of Ukrainian troops may have been captured by advancing Russian units or disappeared during Ukraine’s chaotic retreat from the eastern city of Avdiivka, according to senior Western officials and soldiers fighting for Ukraine, a devastating loss that could deal a blow to already weakening morale.

The Russian capture of Avdiivka has emerged as a significant symbolic loss for Ukrainian troops, a sign of the battlefield impact of the failure of the U.S. Congress, so far, to approve more military assistance as dwindling supplies of artillery shells make it even harder to hold the line.

Estimates of how many Ukrainians were captured or missing vary, and a precise count may not be possible until Ukraine solidifies new defensive lines outside the city. But two soldiers with knowledge of Ukraine’s retreat estimated that 850 to 1,000 soldiers appear to have been captured or are unaccounted for. The Western officials said that range seemed accurate.

American officials say the loss of Avdiivka is not a significant strategic setback, arguing that Russian gains in eastern Ukraine will not necessarily lead to any collapse of Ukrainian lines and that Moscow is unlikely to be able to follow up with another major offensive.

But the capture of hundreds of soldiers could change that calculus. American officials have said in recent days that morale was already eroding among Ukrainian troops, in the wake of a failed counteroffensive last year and the removal of a top commander. Because of those problems, the officials said, Ukraine’s military has struggled with recruitment.

Ukrainian military officials have said they want to mobilize up to 500,000 more people, but the request has met political resistance and is stalled in Parliament. The capture of hundreds of soldiers, especially those with battlefield experience, would make the need for more troops more acute and complicate the effort to recruit more.

As a result, the fall of Avdiivka may be more important than it initially seemed.

The Ukrainian military command has acknowledged that some soldiers were captured in the retreat from Avdiivka but has tried to downplay the numbers and the significance.

On Saturday, Gen. Oleksandr Tarnavsky, the commander of Ukraine’s military fighting in the area, said on the Telegram messaging application that the retreat had gone according to plan but “at the final stage of the operation, under pressure from the superior forces of the enemy, some Ukrainian servicemen fell into captivity.” He did not disclose how many troops were captured.

Dmytro Lykhovii, a spokesman for General Tarnavsky, disputed reports that hundreds of soldiers had been captured, calling it misinformation. But he acknowledged that Russia had captured some service members and that a “certain number” of soldiers were missing.

A senior Ukrainian official insisted that only six soldiers had been taken prisoner in the retreat from the city. Those soldiers, from the Third Separate Assault Brigade, were captured after they ran out of ammunition and lost communication with the Ukrainian military, the official said.

But some soldiers and Western officials said a failure to execute an orderly withdrawal, and the chaos that unfolded Friday and Saturday as the defenses collapsed, was directly responsible for what appears to be a significant number of soldiers captured.

They said the Ukrainian withdrawal was ill-planned and began too late. The soldiers and Western officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence assessments that are at odds with Ukrainian government statements.

Retreating under withering artillery fire, drones and airstrikes is one of the most difficult military maneuvers, challenging commanders to minimize loss of life and allow units to fall back without ceding more land than intended.

Based on interviews with soldiers, Ukraine’s forces were unprepared for how quickly the Russian advance in Avdiivka gathered speed last week.

Ukraine tried to buy time for its regular infantry forces to pull back, out of the city, using its special operation forces and the elite Third Separate Assault Brigade to cover the retreat. But the units could not slow the Russian advance or get every Ukrainian soldier out.

Senior Ukrainian officials say the Russian forces also suffered heavy losses in the battle. Russia took Avdiivka by sheer mass, sending in troops and armored vehicles until Ukrainian defenses folded. Thousands of Russia soldiers were killed and wounded, the officials said.

A chaotic retreat is not inevitable. Withdrawing troops without taking heavy losses is difficult, but possible, if it is done in a deliberate, unrushed operation, according to American strategists.

In Avdiivka, Ukraine appeared to have waited too long to start withdrawing and the frantic retreat quickly turned costly.

For the Ukrainians, the challenge of pulling out of Avdiivka was compounded by the fact Russia had surrounded the city on nearly three sides. A single paved road was the most viable way into and out of the city. That route, which Ukrainian troops nicknamed the road of life, came under direct threat earlier this month, making the withdrawal far more dangerous.

When Ukrainian forces began pulling back, unverified open source videos and photos showed units retreating under artillery fire and bodies scattered along roads and in tree lines. Ukrainian military units have long struggled to communicate with each other because they often have different radio equipment. Soldiers with knowledge of the retreat said the communication problems were a factor in the withdrawal, leading to soldiers being captured, killed and wounded.

The soldiers interviewed by The New York Times suggested that some units pulled back before others were aware of the retreat. That put the units left behind at risk of encirclement by the Russians.

Since the war began nearly two years ago, Russian forces have tried to encircle and capture Ukrainian forces. While well-prepared defenses and overhead drones have prevented many of those maneuvers from succeeding, in Avdiivka, the Russian encirclement appears to have worked. Western officials suggest the maneuver was one reason soldiers were captured during the retreat.

Unverified videos posted to social media also showed Russian forces executing Ukrainian troops in and around Avdiivka. On Sunday, the prosecutor’s office in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk oblast said on Telegram it was launching an investigation into “into the shootings of unarmed Ukrainian prisoners of war in Avdiivka and Vesele.”

The Kremlin itself does not appear to have been prepared for the speed of the Ukrainian collapse in Avdiivka. Often Kremlin propaganda pushed through the state-controlled news media leads the themes on Russian social media, said Jonathan Teubner, the chief executive of FilterLabs AI, which studies Russian messaging and public opinion. But as the Ukrainian defense in Avdiivka collapsed, the discussions on Russian social media started shifting before the Kremlin settled on new messaging.

“Russia wasn’t really prepped for this either in terms of a prepared propaganda blitz,” Mr. Teubner said. “They have now pounced on it, but haven’t managed to launch a successful coordinated messaging campaign yet.”

Prisoners of war are one of the biggest challenges to morale in any war. Ukraine has pressed Russia repeatedly to agree to exchange prisoners.

As of November, the Ukrainian government said that Russia had 3,574 Ukrainian military personnel in captivity.

In January, Ukraine used a Western-provided Patriot missile to take down a Russian cargo plane that officials thought was carrying missiles and munitions. Russian officials said it was transporting Ukrainian prisoners of war. American officials have said it appeared probable that some Ukrainian prisoners were on the plane.

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The Two-Decade Fight for Two Letters on the Internet

The South Pacific island of Niue is one the most remote places in the world. Its closest neighbors, Tonga and American Samoa, are hundreds of miles away. The advent of the internet promised, in a small way, to make Niue and its 2,000 or so residents more connected to the rest of the world.

In the late 1990s, an American businessman offered to hook up the island to the internet. All he wanted in exchange was the right to control the .nu suffix that Niue was assigned for its web addresses. The domain did not seem as lucrative as .tv — which was slotted to Tuvalu, another South Pacific nation — and the leaders of Niue (pronounced New-ay) signed off on the deal. But the two sides were soon at odds.

Now, after more than two decades of back and forth, the disagreement is finally nearing a resolution in a court of law. Disputes over domain names were not uncommon during the internet’s infancy but experts are hard pressed to recall one that has lasted this long.

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‘Beginning of the End’ as Assange Case Returns to Court

Since 2019, Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been held in a high security prison in southeast London while his lawyers fight a U.S. extradition order. Now, that particular battle may be nearing its end.

On Tuesday, Mr. Assange’s case returned to a British court for a two-day hearing that will determine whether he has exhausted his right to appeal within the U.K. and whether he could be one step closer to being sent to the United States.

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That ‘Unimaginable’ Smell in Cape Town? A Docked Ship With 19,000 Cows.

When a smell so foul that locals called it “unimaginable” wafted over Cape Town this week, a search for the source of the stench choking the scenic South African tourist destination led to the city’s harbor.

Nearly a mile from the dock on Monday morning, Terence van der Walt, a local wine distributor, was stuck in traffic when the odor, made worse by the hot summer weather, began to drift into his car. With a smell so enveloping, rolling up his windows felt pointless.

“It was so putrid,” Mr. van der Walt said on Tuesday, describing his experience. “It would have been green if this were a cartoon.”

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Can the Olympics Rejuvenate One of France’s Poorest Corners?

Parisians are already grumbling about the crowds for this summer’s Olympics. They envision sweaty tourists jamming the subway cars, making the hell of commuting even more, well, hellish. They are planning their summer escapes; at worst a “télétravail” schedule to work from home.

But not Ivan Buyukocakm. Glancing out at a corner known for drug dealing near his family’s kebab shop in the low-income district just north of Paris, he sees the upcoming Olympics as heralding something totally different: opportunity.

“They are redoing the streets and refurbishing buildings,” said Mr. Buyukocakm, as a woman in a thin coat dragged a grocery trolley toward a dilapidated housing project. “This area is going to be improved. Life could get better.”


The map locates Seine-Saint-Denis, a suburb northeast of Paris.

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Inside Aleksei Navalny’s Final Months, in His Own Words

Confined to cold, concrete cells and often alone with his books, Aleksei A. Navalny sought solace in letters. To one acquaintance, he wrote in July that no one could understand Russian prison life “without having been here,” adding in his deadpan humor: “But there’s no need to be here.”

“If they’re told to feed you caviar tomorrow, they’ll feed you caviar,” Mr. Navalny, the Russian opposition leader, wrote to the same acquaintance, Ilia Krasilshchik, in August. “If they’re told to strangle you in your cell, they’ll strangle you.”

Many details about his last months — as well as the circumstances of his death, which the Russian authorities announced on Friday — remain unknown; even the whereabouts of his body are unclear.

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Wife, Protector and Now Political Heir: Yulia Navalnaya Rallies Russians

It was August 2020, and Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of Russia’s most famous opposition leader, was striding through the battered, gloomy hallways of a provincial Russian hospital, looking for the room where her husband lay in a coma.

Aleksei A. Navalny had collapsed after being given what German medical investigators would later declare was a near-fatal dose of the nerve agent Novichok, and his wife, blocked by menacing policemen from moving around the hospital, turned to a cellphone camera held by one of his aides.

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Russian Pilot Who Defected to Ukraine Is Believed Dead in Spain

Maksim Kuzminov pulled off a daring escape last summer when he defected to Ukraine and handed his military helicopter over to Ukrainian commandos in exchange for half a million dollars.

Ukraine trumpeted the defection as a major coup. But in Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia, he was guilty of the most grievous sin anyone can commit: Treason. Ukrainian intelligence officials warned Mr. Kuzminov that his life was in danger and urged him not to leave the country.

But he ignored them, and was believed to have moved with his money to a small resort town of pastel houses on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.

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An English City Gave Soccer to the World. Now It Wants Credit.

As far as the man in the food truck is concerned, the patch of land he occupies in Sheffield, England, is about as humdrum as they come. To him, the spot — in the drab parking lot of a sprawling home improvement superstore, its facade plastered in lurid orange — is not exactly a place where history comes alive.

John Wilson, an academic at the University of Sheffield’s management school, looks at the same site and can barely contain his excitement. This, he said, is one of the places where the world’s most popular sport was born. He does not see a parking lot. He can see the history: the verdant grass, the sweating players, the cheering crowds.

His passion is sincere, absolute and shared by a small band of amateur historians and volunteer detectives devoted to restoring Sheffield — best known for steel, coal and as the setting for the film “The Full Monty” — to its rightful place as the undisputed birthplace of codified, organized, recognizable soccer.


Map locates Sheffield, Manchester and London in England. It also shows where Wembley Stadium is in northwest London.

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How John Travolta Became the Star of Carnival

Jack Nicas and Dado Galdieri reported this article among the giant puppets of the Carnival celebrations in Olinda, Brazil

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It was near the start of one of Brazil’s most famous Carnival celebrations, in the northern seaside city of Olinda, and the town plaza was jammed with thousands of revelers. They were all awaiting their idol.

Just before 9 p.m., the doors to a dance hall swung open, a brass band pushed into the crowd and the star everyone had been waiting for stepped out: a 12-foot puppet of John Travolta.

Confetti sprayed, the band began playing a catchy tune and the crowd sang along: “John Travolta is really cool. Throwing a great party. And in Olinda, the best carnival.” (It rhymes in Portuguese.)

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Manhattan or Pulau Rhun? In 1667, Nutmeg Made the Choice a No-Brainer.

Richard C. Paddock and

Richard C. Paddock and Muktita Suhartono, along with the photographer Nyimas Laula, spent three days on Pulau Rhun to document life on the remote island.

The isles of Manhattan and Pulau Rhun could hardly be farther apart, not just in geography, but also in culture, economy and global prominence.

Rhun, in the Banda Sea in Indonesia, has no cars or roads and only about 20 motorbikes. Most people get around by walking along its paved footpaths or up steep stairways, often toting plastic jugs of water from the numerous village wells or sometimes lugging a freshly caught tuna.

But in the 17th century, in what might now seem one of the most lopsided trades in history, the Netherlands believed it got the better part of a bargain with the British when it swapped Manhattan, then known as New Amsterdam, for this tiny speck of land.


Map locates the Maluku Islands in eastern Indonesia. It also locates Pulau Rhan, an island in the Banda Island group, which is part of the Maluku Islands.

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Discontent and Defiance on the Road to Pakistan’s Election

Christina Goldbaum and

The reporters traveled along a famed highway in Pakistan’s most heated political battleground to understand how Pakistanis are feeling before a national election on Thursday.

The highway is the most politically charged slice of a politically turbulent country. It winds 180 miles from Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, through the fertile plains of Punjab Province to Lahore, the nation’s cultural and political heart.

For centuries, it was known only as a sliver of the Grand Trunk Road, Asia’s longest and oldest thoroughfare, linking traders in Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent. But in Pakistan, this stretch of the smog-drenched highway has become the stage for major rallies and protests led by nearly every famed civilian leader the country has had.

As Pakistan heads into national elections on Thursday, the road is buzzing. Politics dominates the chatter between its vendors and rickshaw drivers, their conversations seeped in a culture of conspiracy, cults of political personality and the problems of entrenched military control.


The map highlights the Grand Trunk Road from Islamabad to Lahore in Pakistan . The towns of Gujar Khan, Jhelum, Wazirabad and Gujranwala along the road are also located.

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Architect Embraces Indigenous Worldview in Australian Designs

Jefa Greenaway will never forget the first time he heard his father’s voice. It was in 2017, when he was watching a documentary about Indigenous Australians’ fight to be recognized in the country’s Constitution.

“It was poignant, surreal,” Mr. Greenaway recalled. “In one word: emotional.”

In the film, his father, Bert Groves, an Indigenous man and a civil rights activist born in 1907, recounts how he was prevented from pursuing an education because of the size of his skull, a victim of phrenology, the pseudoscience that lingered in Australia into the 20th century.

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The Friar Who Became the Vatican’s Go-To Guy on A.I.

Before dawn, Paolo Benanti climbed to the bell tower of his 16th-century monastery, admired the sunrise over the ruins of the Roman forum and reflected on a world in flux.

“It was a wonderful meditation on what is going on inside,” he said, stepping onto the street in his friar robe. “And outside too.”

There is a lot going on for Father Benanti, who, as both the Vatican’s and the Italian government’s go-to artificial intelligence ethicist, spends his days thinking about the Holy Ghost and the ghosts in the machines.

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Cleaning Latrines by Hand: ‘How Could Any Human Do That?’

When he came to fully realize exactly what his parents and older brother did for a living, and what it likely meant for his own future, Bezwada Wilson says he was so angry he contemplated suicide.

His family members, and his broader community, were manual scavengers, tasked with cleaning by hand human excrement from dry latrines at a government-run gold mine in southern India.

While his parents had tried hard to hide from their youngest child the nature of their work as long as they could — telling Mr. Bezwada they were sweepers — as a student Mr. Bezwada knew his classmates viewed him with cruel condescension. He just didn’t know the reason.

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A Child of Another War Who Makes Music for Ukrainians

When the owner of an underground club in Kyiv reached out to Western musicians to play in Ukraine, long before the war, there were not so many takers.

But an American from Boston, Mirza Ramic, accepted the invitation, spawning a lasting friendship with the club’s owner, Taras Khimchak.

“I kept coming back,” Mr. Ramic, 40, said in an interview at the club, Mezzanine, where he was preparing for a performance during a recent tour of Ukraine.

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A Woman Who Shows Age Is No Barrier to Talk Show Stardom

Pushing a walker through a television studio in central Tokyo earlier this week, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi slowly climbed three steps onto a sound stage with the help of an assistant who settled her into a creamy beige Empire armchair.

A stylist removed the custom-made sturdy boots on her feet and slipped on a pair of high-heeled mules. A makeup artist brushed her cheeks and touched up her blazing red lipstick. A hairdresser tamed a few stray wisps from her trademark onion-shaped hairstyle as another assistant ran a lint roller over her embroidered black jacket. With that, Ms. Kuroyanagi, 90, was ready to record the 12,193rd episode of her show.

As one of Japan’s best-known entertainers for seven decades, Ms. Kuroyanagi has interviewed guests on her talk show, “Tetsuko’s Room,” since 1976, earning a Guinness World Record last fall for most episodes hosted by the same presenter. Generations of Japanese celebrities across film, television, music, theater and sports have visited Ms. Kuroyanagi’s couch, along with American stars like Meryl Streep and Lady Gaga; Prince Philip of England; and Mikhail Gorbachev, the former leader of the Soviet Union. Ms. Kuroyanagi said Gorbachev remains one of her all-time favorite guests.

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Playing Soccer in $1.50 Sandals That Even Gucci Wants to Copy

The wealthy pros of Ivory Coast’s national soccer team were resting in their luxury hotel last week, preparing for a match in Africa’s biggest tournament, when Yaya Camara sprinted onto a dusty lot and began fizzing one pass after another to his friends.

Over and over, he corralled the game’s underinflated ball and then sent it away again with his favorite soccer shoes: worn plastic sandals long derided as the sneaker of the poor, but which he and his friends wear as a badge of honor.

Shiny soccer cleats like his idols’? No thanks, said Mr. Camara, a lean 18-year-old midfielder, as he wiped sweat from his brow.

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Russian Skaters Stripped of Olympic Gold, Setting Up New Fight for Medals

International skating’s governing body on Tuesday sought to put an end to a two-year-old controversy by revising the disputed results of a marquee figure skating competition at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. But in stripping Russia of its victory in the team event, awarding the gold medal to the United States and denying Canada the bronze it had been expecting, the sport may have only set the stage for yet another protracted legal fight.

The revised finishes were announced by the skating body, the International Skating Union, one day after the teenage Russian star Kamila Valieva was banned for four years for doping. Disqualifying Valieva, a 15-year-old prodigy who had led Russia to an apparent victory, had the most immediate effect on the Olympic team standings: elevating the U.S. to gold and Japan to silver, while, surprisingly, dropping Russia just enough that it could still claim the bronze.

Within hours, Russia’s Olympic committee, already furious about Valieva’s ban, announced that it would appeal any outcome that denied it the team gold. Canadian officials quickly threatened to appeal the ruling as well. That left skating officials and the International Olympic Committee, which had chosen not to award medals in the team event until Valieva’s doping case was resolved, wondering how they could at last arrange a “dignified Olympic medal ceremony” for an ugly dispute that appeared nowhere near its end.

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FIFA Convictions Are Imperiled by Questions of U.S. Overreach

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Nearly a decade after police officers marched world soccer officials out of a luxury hotel in Zurich at dawn, revealing a corruption scandal that shook the world’s most popular sport, the case is at risk of falling apart.

The dramatic turnabout comes over questions of whether American prosecutors overreached by applying U.S. law to a group of people, many of them foreign nationals, who defrauded foreign organizations as they carried out bribery schemes across the world.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year limited a law that was key to the case. Then in September, a federal judge, citing that, threw out the convictions of two defendants linked to soccer corruption. Now, several former soccer officials, including some who paid millions of dollars in penalties and served time in prison, are arguing that the bribery schemes for which they were convicted are no longer considered a crime in the United States.

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Depardieu Sexual Assault Suit Dropped Over Statute of Limitations

A sexual assault lawsuit filed against Gérard Depardieu by a French actress has been dropped because it was past the statute of limitations, prosecutors in Paris said on Monday, but the French actor is still under investigation in a separate case.

In the lawsuit that was dropped, the actress Hélène Darras had accused Depardieu of groping her on the set of “Disco,” a comedy released in 2008. Her suit had been filed in September but was made public only last month, shortly before she appeared in a France 2 television documentary alongside three other women who also accused Depardieu of inappropriate comments or sexual misconduct.

The documentary, which showed Depardieu making crude sexual and sexist comments during a 2018 trip to North Korea, set off a fierce debate in France that prompted President Emmanuel Macron and dozens of actors, directors and other celebrities to defend Depardieu, splitting the French movie industry.

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An Olympic Dream Falters Amid Track’s Shifting Rules

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Maximila Imali, a top Kenyan sprinter, did not lose her eligibility to compete in the Paris Olympics because she cheated. She did not fail a doping test. She broke no rules.

Instead, she is set to miss this year’s Summer Games because she was born with a rare genetic variant that results in naturally elevated levels of testosterone. And last March, track and field’s global governing body ruled that Ms. Imali’s biology gave her an unfair advantage in all events against other women, effectively barring her from international competition.

As a result, Ms. Imali, 27, finds her Olympic dream in peril and her career and her livelihood in limbo.

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¿Quién controla las prisiones de Latinoamérica? ¿El hampa o los guardias?

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El ejército de Ecuador fue enviado a recuperar el control de las prisiones el mes pasado, luego de que dos cabecillas importantes se fugaron y bandas criminales organizaron con rapidez una serie de disturbios que paralizaron el país.

La semana pasada, dos reclusos en Brasil con conexiones a una pandilla importante se convirtieron en los primeros en escapar de una de las cinco prisiones de máxima seguridad del país, según las autoridades.

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4 Ways Autocrats Have Used Interpol to Harass Faraway Enemies

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Interpol is the world’s largest police organization. It serves as a powerful bulletin board that governments and law enforcement agencies use to team up to pursue fugitives across the globe. At its best, it helps track down killers and terrorists.

But it is also a novel weapon for strongmen and autocrats in the hunt for political enemies, giving them the power to reach across borders and grab their targets — even in democracies.

Here are some of the ways countries can exploit Interpol:

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La salud de Navalny se vio perjudicada por las condiciones carcelarias

Alexéi Navalny se presentaba a sí mismo como invencible, utilizando constantemente su característico humor para dar a entender que el presidente Vladimir Putin no podría doblegarlo, por terribles que fueran sus condiciones en prisión.

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Pero detrás de esa cara valiente, la realidad era evidente. Desde su encarcelamiento a principios de 2021, Navalny, la figura más formidable de la oposición rusa, y sus colaboradores indicaron constantemente que sus condiciones eran tan sombrías que lo estaban matando a cámara lenta.

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La disputa territorial entre Belice y Guatemala sigue siendo una preocupación en la región

Simón Romero y Alejandro Cegarra pasaron varios días en Belice, viajando en barco hasta el río Sarstoon y atravesando el país en auto para hablar con la gente sobre el conflicto con Guatemala.

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El barco se abrió paso entre los manglares, un enmarañado laberinto de ramas cubiertas de espinas que cobijaban jaguares y ruidosos monos aulladores. Las señales de nuestros GPS señalaban que estábamos en Belice, el país centroamericano de habla inglesa donde piratas británicos se instalaron hace siglos.

Pero algunos miembros del ejército guatemalteco, vestidos con camuflaje y boinas, nos vieron. Se acercaron en su propia embarcación, empuñaron fusiles y acercaron los dedos índices a los gatillos.

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Alexéi Navalny, crítico de Putin, muere en prisión, según las autoridades rusas

Andrew E. Kramer y

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Alexéi Navalny, activista anticorrupción que durante más de una década lideró la oposición política en la Rusia del presidente Vladimir Putin, murió el viernes en una prisión en el círculo polar ártico, informaron las autoridades rusas.

Su muerte fue anunciada por el Servicio Penitenciario Federal de Rusia, que declaró que Navalny, de 47 años, perdió el conocimiento el viernes luego de dar un paseo en la prisión a la que fue trasladado a finales del año pasado. La última vez que se le vio fue el jueves, cuando compareció en una audiencia judicial por videoconferencia; sonreía tras los barrotes de una celda y hacía bromas.

[El video a continuación muestra imágenes del medio de comunicación ruso SOTA en donde aparece Alexéi Navalny riendo y haciendo bromas entre rejas durante su última comparecencia ante el tribunal a través de una conexión de video].

Leonid Volkov, durante mucho tiempo jefe de gabinete de Navalny, dijo que aún no estaba preparado para aceptar la noticia de que Navalny había muerto. “No tenemos motivos para creer en la propaganda estatal”, escribió Volkov en la plataforma social X. “Si esto es cierto, entonces no es ‘Navalny murió’, sino ‘Putin mató a Navalny’, y solo eso. Pero no les confío ni un centavo”.

Navalny estaba cumpliendo diversas condenas que probablemente lo habrían mantenido en prisión hasta al menos 2031 por cargos que, según sus partidarios, fueron en gran medida fabricados en un esfuerzo por amordazarlo. A pesar de las condiciones cada vez más arduas, que incluían reiteradas temporadas en régimen de aislamiento, mantuvo una presencia en redes sociales, mientras que los integrantes de su equipo seguían publicando investigaciones sobre la élite corrupta de Rusia desde el exilio.

Navalny fue condenado a tres años y medio de prisión en febrero de 2021, después de que regresó a Rusia desde Alemania, donde se había estado recuperando luego de ser envenenado con una sustancia neurotóxica en agosto del año previo. En marzo de 2022, recibió una condena de nueve años por malversación y fraude en un juicio que los observadores internacionales denunciaron como “motivado políticamente” y una “farsa”. Y en agosto de 2023, fue condenado a 19 años de prisión por “extremismo”.

Tras su envenenamiento en 2020, Navalny había regresado prácticamente de entre los muertos y había hecho huelgas de hambre para mejorar su situación; muchos de sus partidarios lo creían prácticamente invencible.

Durante su detención, Navalny fue sometido de manera reiterada a confinamiento solitario y aseguró que sufría de enfermedades graves. En diciembre, desapareció por tres semanas durante su traslado a una colonia penal a unos 65 kilómetros al norte del círculo polar ártico.

Navalny fue un crítico inquebrantable de Putin, un antiguo oficial de la KGB al que acusó de apropiarse de las ganancias del petróleo para enriquecer a sus amigos y a su entorno en los servicios de seguridad. Afirmaba que el partido político de Putin era una organización de “estafadores y ladrones”, y acusó al presidente de intentar convertir Rusia en un “Estado feudal”.

Navalny era conocido por sus estrategias innovadoras en la lucha contra la corrupción y el fomento de la democracia. Desafiando las expectativas, Navalny utilizó con destreza la política desde las calles y las redes sociales para crear un movimiento de oposición tenaz, incluso después de que gran parte de los medios de comunicación independientes de Rusia fueron reprimidos y otros críticos se vieron obligados a exiliarse o murieron en asesinatos sin resolver.

En los años previos a la invasión de Rusia a Ucrania, muchos de los colaboradores de Navalny, y en algunos casos sus familiares, fueron detenidos o forzados al exilio.

Antes de su muerte, Navalny era el crítico más destacado de Putin que quedaba en Rusia, en un momento en el que el presidente ha diseñado un plan para permanecer en el poder al menos hasta 2036.

Se cree que Navalny había sido atacado físicamente al menos dos veces antes: un presunto intento de envenenamiento cuando estaba en prisión en 2019 y un ataque en 2017 en el que alguien le arrojó un líquido verde a la cara que casi lo cegó.

Había hablado abiertamente de la posibilidad de que lo asesinaran.

“Intento no pensar mucho en ello”, dijo en una entrevista con CBS News en 2017. “Si empiezas a pensar en qué tipo de riesgos tengo, no puedes hacer nada”.

El 20 de agosto de 2020, poco después de abordar un vuelo procedente de Siberia, donde se había reunido con candidatos de la oposición a cargos locales, Navalny se empezó a sentir mal y cayó en coma.

Afirmó que el veneno había sido puesto en su ropa interior en su hotel en algún momento previo a abordar el avión. El vuelo aterrizó de emergencia en la ciudad rusa de Omsk, donde los médicos se resistieron durante dos días a las peticiones de su esposa de que fuera trasladado a Alemania para recibir tratamiento.

Finalmente, Navalny fue evacuado a Berlín en una ambulancia aérea, un esfuerzo coordinado por la fundación de un productor de cine radicado ahí. Poco más de una semana después, el gobierno alemán anunció que había sido envenenado con un agente nervioso de la potente familia de toxinas novichok. Las pruebas, declararon las autoridades alemanas, eran “inequívocas”.

Las autoridades rusas previamente habían desplegado una campaña de acoso de baja intensidad contra Navalny. A menudo era detenido y encarcelado por breves periodos, por lo general por delitos menores relacionados con protestas sin permiso para marchar.

Putin apenas ha mencionado el nombre de Navalny y los medios de comunicación estatales lo ignoraron de manera categórica durante su campaña anticorrupción que abarcó una década. Sin embargo, Navalny, un político joven y enérgico, encontró una base de apoyo en la clase media rusa, lo que claramente indignó al Kremlin.

El Kremlin, restándole importancia al describirlo como un tábano antipatriótico, a veces parecía dispuesto a pasar por alto sus críticas para darle a Putin la apariencia de dirigir un gobierno que toleraba la disidencia. Las detenciones breves permitieron a las autoridades rusas mantener a Navalny fuera de la vista en momentos importantes, como durante protestas organizadas, al tiempo que eludían las críticas por un trato severo que pudiera convertirlo en mártir.

A pesar de los ataques y los periodos en prisión, Navalny seguía adelante, dijo, por un deseo de cambiar el rumbo de su país y no defraudar a la gente que trabajaba con él. Estaba enfadado con lo que denominó el círculo cercano de Putin y los servicios de seguridad que lo protegían.

“Hago esto porque odio a esta gente”, dijo en una entrevista con The New York Times en 2011, antes de saltar a la fama.

Andrew E. Kramer es el jefe de la oficina de Kiev para el Times y ha estado cubriendo la guerra en Ucrania desde 2014. Más de Andrew E. Kramer

Valerie Hopkins cubre la guerra en Ucrania y cómo el conflicto está cambiando a Rusia, Ucrania, Europa y Estados Unidos con sede en Moscú. Más de Valerie Hopkins