April 15, 2024

Ukraine launched several new long-distance attacks on targets in Russia-occupied Crimea and the Black Sea, seeking to break down the Kremlin’s war effort with strikes far beyond the front lines. Russia illegally annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

The Ukrainian military claimed it had hit a Russian surface-to-air missile defense system in Crimea and two Russian vessels at sea. The claims could not immediately be confirmed or refuted; the Russian Defense Ministry said only that attacks on a ship in the Black Sea had failed.

In recent weeks, Ukraine has sharply accelerated the pace of strikes in and around the peninsula, which has become a critical hub for the Russian military. Russia uses Crimea’s largest city, Sevastopol, as the primary base for the Black Sea Fleet, which is blockading Ukrainian ports. The Ukrainian military has long maintained that the war cannot be won without taking aim at Russian operations in Crimea.

Analysis: Ben Barry, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that Ukraine’s “deep battle” against targets far behind enemy lines might “set Ukraine’s forces up for breakout success or at least to significantly diminish Russia’s combat power.”

In other news from the war:

  • Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, plans to visit North Korea, having accepted an invitation from the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

  • The U.S. imposed a raft of new sanctions targeting Russia’s military supply chains and penalizing more than 150 companies and individuals said to be profiting from the war.

Volunteers in Libya have criticized the response to the devastation resulting from the collapse of two dams as disorganized and uncoordinated. Even before the dams broke, residents of the worst-hit areas were getting conflicting signals from the authorities on whether to evacuate, some said.

The scale of the disaster was also partly due to the lack of a functional national meteorological authority, “thanks to the chaotic situation of the administration in Libya,” said Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organization, a U.N. agency.

The Libyan meteorological service did issue early warnings about heavy rain and floods but did not address the risk posed by “the aging dams,” and service was limited by “major gaps in its observing systems,” the U.N. agency said.

What’s next: The authorities in Libya, which is ruled by rival governments, announced a joint operation room to oversee the response. Essam Abu Zeriba, the interior minister of the government in eastern Libya, explained the plan, saying the joint effort would work in cooperation with the security forces.

Drone footage: See what’s left of the city of Derna.

In Morocco: Clambering away from the recent earthquake’s devastation and death, a pregnant woman and her family hoped to welcome a single new life. She named her baby Fatima Zahra.

Federal prosecutors charged Hunter Biden, the president’s son, with three felonies: lying to a federally licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the federal firearms application used to screen gun buyers and possession of an illegally obtained gun. The indictment comes as House Republicans attempt to use his work abroad to build a case for impeaching President Biden.

The prosecutors say Hunter Biden lied on the firearms application in 2018 by stating that he was not using drugs. He has publicly acknowledged his struggles with addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol and was in and out of rehab around the time of the gun purchase.

A crowd gathered recently in Germany to see a crane lower a large concrete block, part of a sculpture called the Zeitpyramide, whose name translates to “Time Pyramid.” The artwork is a study in long-term thinking, with a new brick added to the pyramid every 10 years, until the year 3183.

The Zeitpyramide is a reminder that each generation shapes the world that future generations will inhabit, said Michael Münker, an organizer of long-term art projects, at the brick-lowering ceremony. “Let us be good ancestors,” he added.

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