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Wednesday Briefing: Zelensky Speaks to The Times

Wednesday Briefing: Zelensky Speaks to The Times


President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the U.S. and Europe to do extra to defend Ukraine, in a wide-ranging interview with The Times. He proposed that NATO planes shoot down Russian missiles in Ukrainian airspace.

“What’s the issue?” Zelensky mentioned throughout the interview on Monday in Kyiv. “Why can’t we shoot them down? Is it protection? Yes. Is it an assault on Russia? No. Are you taking pictures down Russian planes and killing Russian pilots? No. So what’s the difficulty with involving NATO nations within the battle? There is not any such challenge.”

That sort of direct NATO involvement, which analysts say might provoke Russia to retaliate, has been resisted in Western capitals. Zelensky drew a comparability to how the U.S. and Britain helped Israel shoot down a barrage of drones and missiles from Iran final month.

Zelensky mentioned he had additionally appealed to senior U.S. officers to permit Ukraine to fireplace U.S. missiles and different weaponry at army targets inside Russia, a tactic the U.S. continues to oppose. The incapability to take action, he mentioned, gave Russia a “big benefit” in cross-border warfare that it’s exploiting with assaults in Ukraine’s northeast.

Zelensky spoke with a combination of frustration and bewilderment on the West’s reluctance to take bolder steps to make sure that Ukraine wins the battle.

His pleas got here at a vital time for Ukraine’s battle effort. Its military is in retreat and a brand new bundle of U.S. arms has but to reach in enough portions. Not for the reason that early days of the battle has Ukraine confronted as grave a army problem, analysts say.

“Shoot down what’s within the sky over Ukraine,” Zelensky mentioned. “And give us the weapons to make use of in opposition to Russian forces on the borders.”

Read a transcript of the interview.


Videos posted by Iranian information companies confirmed crowds lining the road in Tabriz, a metropolis in northwestern Iran, yesterday for a procession carrying the flag-draped coffins of President Ebrahim Raisi, his international minister and 6 others killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

The procession in Tabriz was the primary in a sequence of official occasions to bid farewell to Raisi, a hard-line cleric who had broadly been seen as a possible successor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme chief.

The nation is grappling with the shock of shedding two of its prime leaders at such a risky second. Now, Khamenei is weighing choices for find out how to transfer ahead with elections and rebuild the nation’s management construction.

He should select between opening the race and going through average rivals, or limiting candidates and risking the embarrassment of low voter turnout, my colleague Erika Solomon reviews.


The Biden administration was poised to ship a few dozen detainees at Guantánamo Bay to Oman for resettlement final 12 months. Then, Hamas attacked Israel, and the U.S. abruptly halted the key operation.

None of the Yemeni prisoners had ever been charged with crimes, and all of them had been cleared for switch by nationwide safety evaluation panels. A army aircraft was already on the runway, able to airlift them.

But Democrats raised issues in regards to the potential for instability within the Middle East after the Oct. 7 assault, U.S. officers mentioned. The preparations are nonetheless beneath evaluation, my colleague Carol Rosenberg reviews.

“Kairos,” a novel by Jenny Erpenbeck a few torrid love affair within the remaining years of East Germany, gained the International Booker Prize yesterday. The chair of the judges mentioned that the connection within the e-book and the couple’s “descent right into a harmful vortex” tracked the historical past of East Germany earlier than the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Erpenbeck shares the award with Michael Hofmann, who translated the e-book into English. It’s the primary novel initially written in German to win the award.

Read our evaluation and a profile of Erpenbeck.

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OpenAI requested Scarlett Johansson, who performed the digital assistant within the film “Her,” to change into a voice of a chatbot. Johansson mentioned no twice.

But final week, the corporate launched a digital assistant that had a voice that Johansson mentioned sounded “eerily just like mine.” She employed a lawyer and requested OpenAI to cease utilizing the voice, referred to as Sky.

The firm suspended its launch of Sky over the weekend. OpenAI’s chief govt, Sam Altman, mentioned that “the voice of Sky shouldn’t be Scarlett Johansson’s, and it was by no means meant to resemble hers.”

Johansson is the newest high-profile particular person to accuse OpenAI of utilizing artistic work with out permission. The firm has been sued for copyright violations by authors, actors and newspapers, together with The Times, which sued OpenAI and its accomplice, Microsoft.

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