Monday Briefing: Zelensky warns of a new Russian offensive

Plus: Hamas fires rockets at central Israel
Morning Briefing: Asia Pacific Edition

May 27, 2024

Good morning. We’re covering a Ukrainian warning of a new Russian offensive and a Hamas strike on Israel.

Plus, a lost Tudor palace.

A police officer walking inside a damaged superstore.
A hardware superstore was hit in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Saturday.  Finbarr O'Reilly for The New York Times

Zelensky warned of a new Russian offensive

A day after at least 16 people were killed in what officials said was a Russian missile strike on a hardware superstore in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said that Moscow’s forces were massing for a new ground offensive in the northeast.

Zelensky said that Russia was “preparing for offensive actions” and gathering troops near the border. Kharkiv has seen a sharp escalation in the ferocity of aerial attacks this month, forcing many to flee. On Saturday, a second strike, which came just hours after the attack on the superstore, hit commercial infrastructure, wounding at least 25 people.

Far from the front lines, U.S. and allied intelligence officials are tracking an increase in low-level sabotage operations in Europe that they say are part of a Russian campaign to undermine support for Ukraine.

The covert operations have mostly been arsons or attempted arsons targeting a wide range of sites, including a warehouse in England, a paint factory in Poland, homes in Latvia and an Ikea store in Lithuania. People accused of being Russian operatives have also been arrested on charges of plotting attacks on U.S. military bases.

Analysis: Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, this month changed defense ministers for the first time in more than a decade, and he recently allowed corruption arrests among top officials. It is most likely a sign that he has greater confidence about his battlefield prospects in Ukraine.

A man squats in front of a white police van and wraps a piece of metal in a white cloth
An Israeli police bomb squad member in Herzliya, Israel, collecting the remains of a rocket. Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Hamas fired rockets at central Israel

Hamas launched a barrage of rockets yesterday afternoon, setting off air-raid sirens in the Tel Aviv area for the first time since at least late January. The attack showed that the group retained some long-range missile capabilities.

The Israeli military said at least eight rockets were fired from the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israeli forces have been advancing. There were no immediate reports of major damage. Israel’s emergency service said two women were lightly wounded as they fled to a bomb shelter.

On Friday, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to halt its military offensive in Rafah, although some of the court’s judges said limited operations could continue. Negotiators said that cease-fire talks could restart in the next week, after a meeting in Paris between U.S. and Israeli intelligence chiefs and Qatar’s prime minister.

Dozens of people, some with digging with hand-held tools, on a landscape of mud and boulders.
Villagers searching through a landslide in Yambali, Papua New Guinea, on Sunday. Mohamud Omer/International Organization for Migration, via Associated Press

A landslide in Papua New Guinea killed hundreds

More than 48 hours after a landslide struck a densely populated region of Papua New Guinea with boulders the size of shipping containers, a U.N. official in the country said that at least 670 people were assumed to have died.

The landslide occurred around 3 a.m. on Friday, when many residents were asleep. As of Sunday afternoon, land was still sliding, rocks were falling and the soil was cracking from increased pressure and running groundwater, hampering search-and-rescue efforts and forcing residents from their homes.


An aerial picture of construction equipment in the remains of a burned down building, with a crowd looking on.
The debris after a fire at an amusement park in Rajkot, India, on Sunday. Siddharaj Solanki/EPA, via Shutterstock


A person bends over near an archaeological trench and uses a measuring tape.
What is thought to be the palace floor, discovered in February.  Andrew Testa for The New York Times

For generations, residents of Collyweston, a village in central England, passed down stories of a grand Tudor palace that had been home to Henry VIII’s grandmother. A group of dedicated locals finally found its remains.

Lives lived: Richard Sherman, who was part of the songwriting team that gave the world numbers like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and “It’s a Small World (After All),” died. He was 95.


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Four photos showing scenes from the films “Past Lives,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Sympathizer” and “Minari.”
“Past Lives,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Sympathizer” and “Minari.” A24; Allyson Riggs/A24; Hopper Stone/HBO; David Bornfriend/A24

The subtlety of subtitles

Subtitles used to be a barrier for American viewers, at least outside art-house theaters. But hits like “Parasite,” “Squid Game” and “Shogun” have demonstrated the shift away from dubbing. Asian and Asian American filmmakers are showing how subtitles add more nuance to narratives.

Lulu Wang’s Prime series “Expats” takes place in Hong Kong and has portions in Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, Punjabi and English.

The fifth episode in particular showcases the subtlety of subtitles. When the focus shifts from wealthy, English-speaking expats in Hong Kong to the mostly Filipino domestic workers who maintain the homes of the elite, the sudden prominence of Tagalog is a way into their inner lives — and a moment to relish for viewers who know the language.


A bowl of ramen with shrimp and sugar snap peas.
Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Rebecca Jurkevich.

Cook: This miso ramen with shrimp is creamy but light.

Discuss: These are our favorite books and movies of the year so far.

Watch: “Zarqa” is a madcap Canadian comedy about a divorced Muslim mother.

Play: Spelling Bee, the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku. Find all our games here.

That’s it for today. See you tomorrow. — Whet

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