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Russia vs Ukraine, Crimea Bridge Explosion

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The strike on Crimea Bridge, which occurred the day after Putin turned 70, dealt a severe blow to the reputation of the Russian military and its supply lines for the invasion and defense of Crimea.

The town of Zaporizhya in south-eastern Ukraine was hit by Russian missiles overnight as Moscow rushed to repair the Crimea bridge connecting the Crimea peninsula to mainland Russia after a massive blast. At least seventeen people were killed, and forty others were injured in the attacks on Zaporizhya. Authorities said dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed and predicted an increase in deaths.

Now President Vladimir Putin has ordered the nation’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to monitor the vital link to the occupied peninsula. The bridge to Crimea is a crucial depiction of Russia’s takeover of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

Russian investigators said three people died in the blast. Officials said repairs to the damaged parts would begin immediately. According to Russian Army News Now and other outlets, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister issued an emergency order to remove the damaged sections of the Crimea bridge, saying divers would begin searching for damage beneath the river surface on Sunday morning.

Has the Crimea Bridge Attack Hurt Russia Enough?

The bridge has been partially restored to road and rail traffic, according to a statement made late on Saturday by Russian officials, who worked quickly to reopen those portions of the crucial link remaining intact.

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It serves as a crucial conduit for supplies from Moscow to the Crimean peninsula, which has been invaded, and the front lines of its invasion of Ukraine.

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Sergei Aksyonov, Crimea’s newly appointed governor appointed by Moscow, said that there was a thirst for vengeance but assured that the peninsula still had more than two months’ worth of food and a month’s worth of gasoline supplies.

The political, symbolic, and strategic importance of the bridge to Crimea cannot be overstated. Because it is more than 100 miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, Russian officials have previously claimed that it is adequately defended against air, land, or sea attacks.

According to a Russian anti-terrorist commission, the damage was caused by an exploding truck bomb that set seven wagons on fire. Investigators searched the home of a man in the southern Russian province of Krasnodar, it said.

Although Ukraine has not linked its forces to the blast, it has previously attacked Crimea. A string of airstrikes in Crimea over the past month, including one on the Saky military facility in Russia, have been blamed on Ukraine.

Russia Ramps up Security

Joy has exploded on Ukrainian social media since the attack on the Crimea bridge on Saturday. The second largest bank claims to have already released a new debit card design with the destroyed bridge on it.

Ukraine has been conducting a counteroffensive against Russia over the last two weeks, taking back land and cities that Moscow had occupied. More Western armaments, including air defense systems, are now being requested by Kyiv. On Sunday, the Kremlin sent a message that it would react if the West gave Ukraine more long-range weapons.

Following reports that Russian shelling of the city of Zaporizhzhia killed at least 17 people overnight, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba repeated his appeal for further defensive measures on Sunday.

As of 7 p.m. local time, suburban rail lines are expected to resume operation on the Kerch Bridge, according to a message from the Russian Transport Ministry published on Telegram on Sunday. According to the ministry, long-distance freight and passenger trains over the Crimea bridge are already “operating in accordance with the usual timetable.”

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The U.K.’s Government-Run Healthcare Service Is in Crisis

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For more than a decade, the British government has run its National Health Service, the world’s largest government-run healthcare system, on a tight budget. The NHS prided itself on being one of the leanest healthcare systems in the developed world, spending less per head on average than its large European neighbors—and far less than the U.S.

Now the state-funded service is falling apart. People who suffer heart attacks or strokes wait more than 1½ hours on average for an ambulance. Hospitals are so full they are turning patients away. A record 7.1 million people in England—more than one in 10 people—are stuck on waiting lists for nonemergency hospital treatment like hip replacements. The NHS on Monday faced the biggest strike in its history, with thousands of paramedics and nurses walking out over pay.

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Ukraine Warns Russia Is Planning Major Offensive as Kyiv Shakes Up Military Leadership

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DNIPRO, Ukraine—Ukraine warned that Russia was completing preparations for a major new offensive this month as Kyiv signaled a reshuffle in its military leadership amid a corruption scandal that has rocked the Defense Ministry.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine, said Russia was continuing to bolster its offensive capacity and bring in troops to front line positions while decreasing its rate of fire in certain areas to save ammunition for the coming advance.

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More Russian Migrants Enter U.S. as Exceptions for Asylum Seekers Expand

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More Russian migrants are traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the U.S., driven in part by an expanding U.S. government effort to allow more asylum seekers to cross the border legally.

About 12,500 Russians entered the U.S. through ports of entry with Mexico between October, the start of the government’s budget year, and December. Most are expected to ask for asylum once they settle in the U.S., often citing government crackdowns since the start of the war in Ukraine and the mobilization announced in September to draft more troops.

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Ukraine War Makes Unexpected Winner of Turkey’s Erdogan

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ANKARA, Turkey—Russia’s invasion of Ukraine one year ago unleashed global economic turmoil. In Turkey, it has proved an unexpected windfall for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Turkish leader has managed to make himself indispensable to all sides of the conflict, a position that is reaping economic rewards that have helped ease the Turkish state’s financial troubles. The turnaround has bolstered his position ahead of a national election that could cement his position as Turkey’s most powerful ruler in nearly a century.

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Signs of Coming Russian Offensive Mount on Multiple Fronts in Ukraine

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DNIPRO, Ukraine—Russia is regrouping its forces in eastern Ukraine and launching offensives along five lines of attack, Ukraine’s armed forces said on Saturday as officials in Kyiv and Western capitals continue to warn of a major Russian push to gain territory.

The main focus of Russia’s offensive remains the besieged city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, which it is seeking to surround and capture. The Ukrainian military said it had repelled multiple attacks, inflicting significant losses for the Russians.

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Russian Forces Strengthen Positions as Ukraine Braces for New Offensive

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KYIV, Ukraine—Russian forces tightened their grip around the eastern city of Bakhmut on Friday as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned his country to prepare for a wider onslaught nearly one year since the start of the war.

After months of failed assaults on Bakhmut, all approaches to the city are within range of Russian artillery, officials in the Russian-installed administration claimed. Russian forces are entrenched on the eastern edge of the city and are seeking to encircle it.

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How a Radioactive Capsule Was Lost and Improbably Found in the Australian Outback

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At Sue Schmidt’s gas station and roadhouse off a remote highway in the Australian Outback, employees usually watch out for snakes when they are walking outside. But this week, they were looking for something else: A tiny capsule of radioactive material that sparked a search along a roughly 900-mile stretch of the road.

The capsule, used in mine equipment, went missing while in transit from a Rio Tinto PLC mine to Perth, Western Australia’s state capital. As the search dragged on over the past week, Ms. Schmidt and her employees grew wary of cleaning up the bottle caps and coins that they usually find outside the roadhouse, fearing that any shiny object could be the capsule that would hit them with a dangerous dose of radiation.

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Fears of Losing Out to China Put U.S. Under Pressure Over Kenya Base

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MOKOWE, Kenya—Kenya is asking the U.S. to pay for the expansion of a joint counterterrorism base, raising concerns in Washington that the East African country could turn to China if the Americans balk, according to U.S. officials. 

The Kenyan military has drawn up plans for a new runway long enough to handle jet fighters at Manda Bay Airfield, a hub for U.S. and Kenyan operations against al-Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in neighboring Somalia, the U.S. officials said.

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How Gautam Adani Made (and Could Lose) a $147 Billion Fortune

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AHMEDABAD, India—Gautam Adani is ubiquitous in this country.

His name is plastered on roadside billboards and on the airports and shipping docks he operates. His power plants light Mumbai office towers and irrigate rural fields, fueled by coal he imports from mines as far away as Australia. He recently expanded into defense and media.

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Ukraine Braces for Major Russian Offensive

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Russia is preparing to launch a major new offensive against Ukraine in the coming weeks, a top Ukrainian security official said, adding to mounting concerns in Kyiv and the West that the Kremlin is preparing a renewed push to seize large areas of the country.

“Russia is preparing for maximum escalation,” said Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, in an interview with Sky News published online early Wednesday local time. “It is gathering everything possible, doing drills and training.”

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