As talks falter, Russian forces surround Ukrainian cities
The Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers failed to make any progress yesterday in their first face-to-face meeting since the Russian invasion began two weeks ago, while Russian bombardments spread more carnage, having caused an estimated $100 billion in damage so far. Follow the latest updates here.
Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, in Turkey. “The broad narrative he conveyed to me,” Kuleba said afterward, “is that they will continue their aggression until Ukraine meets their demands, and the least of these demands is surrender.”
Russian forces have surrounded or nearly surrounded a number of Ukrainian cities and are destroying much of their critical infrastructure, making evacuations increasingly difficult, if not impossible. More than two million people have fled, including 80,000 in the past two days.
Next steps: Speaking from Warsaw, Kamala Harris, the U.S. vice president, said that Russia should be investigated for possible war crimes in Ukraine. “I have no question the eyes of the world are on this war and what Russia has done in terms of the aggression and these atrocities,” she said.
In pictures: These photos document the mounting human toll of Russia’s invasion.
In other news from the war:
New satellite images showed Russia’s military convoy near Kyiv has largely dispersed and redeployed, with some vehicles now near the village of Lubyanka, about 30 miles northwest of the capital.
President Biden is expected to call today for the U.S. to join the G7 and the European Union in suspending normal trade relations with Russia.
More sanctions and isolation for Russia
Goldman Sachs became the first big American bank to leave Russia after Western governments imposed a raft of sanctions intended to cripple the Russian economy. The hotel chains Hyatt and Hilton suspended development work, and Hitachi said it was suspending exports to Russia and pausing manufacturing.
The British government froze the assets of seven Russian oligarchs, including Roman Abramovich, the owner of the Chelsea soccer club, and Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire aluminum magnate with ties to Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. Chelsea, a Premier League club, can continue operating, but it cannot sell tickets or merchandise and is blocked from buying or selling players’ contracts.
The music world’s most powerful companies — the three major record conglomerates and the touring giant Live Nation — are also cutting ties with Russia. Here’s the list of other companies pulling out.
Threats: Besieged by an onslaught of sanctions that have largely undone 30 years of economic integration with the West in the space of two weeks, Putin opened the door to nationalizing the assets of Western companies that have pulled out of Russia and exhorted senior officials to “act decisively” to preserve jobs.
New findings on Covid-19 vaccines for young children
Many parents in the U.S. have chosen not to vaccinate their children against the coronavirus, in part because of incomplete data. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been found to be only weakly protective against infection with the Omicron variant among children ages 5 to 11 and to offer little defense against moderate illness among adolescents ages 12 to 17.
Experts note, however, that while Omicron may still infect vaccinated people, the vaccines still prevent severe illness and death — and may do so for years. Record numbers of children under 5 in the U.S. have been hospitalized during the Omicron surge, underscoring the need for vaccines for those children.
Recent studies suggest that the problem is not so much the vaccine as the dose. In the Pfizer trials, children ages 5 to 11 received 10 micrograms, and those 6 months to 5 years old received just three micrograms. These doses may have been too low to rouse an adequate and lasting response, though higher doses too often provoked a fever.
By the numbers: Fewer than one in four children ages 5 to 11 in the U.S. are vaccinated against the coronavirus. And though more than half of those ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated, only about 12 percent have received a booster dose.
Forthcoming: Both Pfizer and Moderna plan to report results from trials of their vaccines in young children. The results, if positive, should lead to a new round of regulatory review, perhaps as early as April, that may well allow vaccinations for tens of millions of children.
Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.
In other developments:
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Around the World
“I feel hopeless all the time.” The physical scars of our warming planet — including rising sea waters, melting glaciers and charred forests — are everywhere. But climate change is also inflicting a growing mental toll. The Times spoke with Americans about the stresses and strains of life on the front lines of a changing climate.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Bringing Ukrainian books to the West
A wartime effort to quickly translate work by Ukrainian novelists, poets and historians is underway to give international readers a glimpse of what ordinary Ukrainians are experiencing — and to counter the claim by Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, that Ukrainians and Russians “are one people.” The project is as political as it is cultural, authors and translators say.
By highlighting Ukraine’s vibrant literary and linguistic heritage, translators hope to emphasize the country’s distinction from Russia, and to draw attention to a rich cultural landscape that could be endangered under occupation by the forces of an increasingly authoritarian leader, Alexandra Alter reports for The Times.
“We need to elevate Ukrainian voices right now,” said Kate Tsurkan, a translator in western Ukraine and the associate director at the Tompkins Agency for Ukrainian Literature in Translation, or Tault.
This week alone, Tault’s “Operation Ukraine” project has yielded several new translations by well-known Ukrainian authors, including an essay about the conflict by Ostap Ukrainets, which was published in The Los Angeles Review of Books; an essay in The New Statesman about the cathartic power of foul language in wartime, by the poet and playwright Lyuba Yakimchuk; and a rage-filled dispatch from Kyiv by Olena Stiazhkina, translated by Ali Kinsella and published in Guernica.
Read more about the project of rush-translating Ukrainian literature.