Ayman al-Zawahiri: From Cairo doctor to al-Qaeda leader

  • Join the teenage Muslim Brotherhood
  • From a respectable family in Cairo
  • He took control of al-Qaeda after the killing of bin Laden
  • He exercises his influence as an ideological and strategic organizer
  • I lack bin Laden’s charisma

DUBAI (Reuters) – Ayman al-Zawahiri succeeded Osama bin Laden in the leadership of al Qaeda after years as a key al Qaeda organizer and strategist, but his lack of charisma and competition from rival Islamic State fighters hampered his ability to launch major attacks on al Qaeda. the West.

US President Joe Biden said in a live television broadcast on Monday evening that Al-Zawahiri, 71, was killed in a US drone strike. US officials said the attack took place on Sunday in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Read more

In the years following bin Laden’s death in 2011, US airstrikes killed a succession of Zawahiri’s deputies, weakening the veteran Egyptian militant’s ability to coordinate globally.

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He had seen al-Qaeda virtually marginalized by the Arab revolutions of 2011, launched primarily by middle-class activists and intellectuals opposed to decades of authoritarianism.

Despite his reputation as an inflexible and combative figure, al-Zawahiri succeeded in nurturing loosely affiliated groups around the world that had grown to wage devastating insurgencies, some rooted in the turmoil caused by the Arab Spring. The violence has destabilized a number of countries across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

But the days of al-Qaeda as the hierarchical, centrally directed network of conspirators that attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, are long gone. Instead, militancy has returned to its roots in conflicts at the local level, spurred by a combination of local grievances and incitement by transnational jihadist networks using social media.

Al-Zawahiri’s origins in Islamic militancy go back decades.

The first time the world heard of him was when he stood in a cage in a courtroom after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981.

"We have sacrificed and we are still ready for more sacrifices until the victory of Islam," al-Zawahiri chanted, wearing a white abaya, while angry at Sadat’s peace agreement with Israel.

Al-Zawahiri served a three-year prison sentence for illegal weapons possession, but was acquitted of the main charges.

A trained surgeon – one of his nicknames was a doctor – al-Zawahiri went to Pakistan on his release where he worked with the Red Crescent treating wounded Islamic mujahideen in Afghanistan fighting Soviet forces.

During that time, he became acquainted with bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi who joined the Afghan resistance.

Al-Zawahiri took over the leadership of Islamic Jihad in Egypt in 1993, and was a leading figure in the mid-1990s campaign to overthrow the government and establish a purely Islamic state. More than 1,200 Egyptians were killed.

The Egyptian authorities launched a crackdown on Islamic Jihad after the attempted assassination of President Hosni Mubarak in June 1995 in Addis Ababa. Al-Zawahiri, a gray-haired man in a white turban, responded by ordering a 1995 attack on the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad. Two cars packed with explosives crashed into the gates of the complex, killing 16 people.

In 1999, an Egyptian military court sentenced al-Zawahiri to death in absentia. By that time he was living the Spartan life of the militants after he helped bin Laden form Al Qaeda.

A video broadcast by Al Jazeera in 2003 showed the two men walking on a rocky mountainside – an image that Western intelligence hoped would provide clues to their whereabouts.

Global jihad threats

For years it was believed that al-Zawahiri was hiding along the forbidden border between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This year, US officials determined that al-Zawahiri’s family — his wife, daughter, and children — moved to a safe house in Kabul and identified al-Zawahiri at the same location, according to a senior administration official.

The official said he was killed in a drone attack when he emerged from the balcony of the house on Sunday morning. No one else was injured. Al-Zawahiri took over the leadership of al-Qaeda in 2011 after the US Navy killed bin Laden in his hideout in Pakistan. He has since repeatedly called for global jihad, with an Ak-47 next to him during video messages.

In a eulogy for bin Laden, al-Zawahiri vowed to continue attacks on the West, recalling the threat of the Saudi-born mujahid that "you will not dream of security until we live it on the ground and until you leave Muslim lands."

As it turned out, the emergence of the more radical Islamic State in 2014-2019 in Iraq and Syria drew as much, if not more, attention from Western counterterrorism authorities.

Al-Zawahiri often tried to stir up feelings among Muslims by commenting online on sensitive issues such as US policies in the Middle East or Israeli actions against the Palestinians, but his extradition was deemed to lack bin Laden’s appeal.

On a practical level, al-Zawahiri is believed to be involved in some of al-Qaeda’s largest operations, as he helped orchestrate the 2001 attacks, when planes hijacked by al-Qaeda were used to kill 3,000 people in the United States.

He was charged with his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The FBI put a $25 million bounty on his most wanted list.

notable family

Al-Zawahiri did not emerge from the slums of Cairo, like others who were drawn to militant groups that promised a noble cause. Born in 1951 to a prominent family in Cairo, al-Zawahiri was the grandson of the imam of al-Azhar, one of Islam’s most important mosques.

Al-Zawahiri grew up in the leafy Cairo suburb of Maadi, a place favored by expats from the Western countries he criticizes. Al-Zawahiri, the son of a pharmacology professor, first embraced Islamic fundamentalism at the age of fifteen.

His ideas were inspired by the revolutionary ideas of the Egyptian writer Sayed Qutb, an Islamist who was executed in 1966 on charges of trying to overthrow the state.

People who studied with al-Zawahiri at Cairo University’s Faculty of Medicine in the 1970s describe a lively young man who went to the movies, listened to music, and joked with friends.

"When he got out of prison he was a completely different person," said a doctor who studied with al-Zawahiri and declined to be named.

In a courtroom cage after Sadat was assassinated in a military parade, al-Zawahiri addressed the international press, saying that the militants had suffered severe torture including flogging and wild dog attacks in prison.

"They arrested wives, mothers, fathers, sisters and sons in a trial to put psychological pressure on these innocent prisoners," he said.

His fellow prisoners said that these conditions further radicalized al-Zawahiri and set him on the path of global jihad.

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Editing by Howard Guller, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Stephen Coates

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



Latest news about Russia and the war in Ukraine

3 charts showing the unprecedented natural gas crisis in Europe

Europe is facing an unprecedented energy crisis that is pushing the economy into recession and raising serious questions about the region’s ambitions on climate change.

CNBC takes a look at three charts at how Russia is compressing gas supplies to Europe and what this means for the future. Take a look here.

– Silvia Amaro

UK says Russia is likely to redistribute its forces in southern Ukraine

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Monday that Russia is likely to redeploy a large number of its forces from the northern Donbass sector to southern Ukraine, echoing comments by Ukrainian authorities last week.

"It is possible that Russia will modify the operational design of its attack in Donbass after it failed to achieve a decisive operational breakthrough as part of the plan it has been following since April," the ministry said on Twitter.

"It is possible that it has identified its own Zaporizhzhya front as a vulnerable area that needs strengthening."

The ministry noted that over the past four days, Russia has continued to attempt tactical attacks on the Bakhmut axis, northeast of Donetsk, but only managed to make slow progress.

Several southern cities came under Russian bombardment over the weekend, including Mykolaiv and Odessa.

Houses in the Odessa region were destroyed by Russian bombing.

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Ukrainian President Zelensky commented, on Sunday evening, that "the Russian army is now trying to strengthen its positions in the occupied areas in the south of our country, and is increasing its activity in the relevant areas. Part of the Russian forces are being transferred from their positions in from east to south – to the Kherson region and the Zaporizhzhi region." But this will not help them there,” he said, that the Ukrainian armed forces “are ready to respond to any new activity of the occupiers.”

– Holly Eliat

The Ukrainian grain export supervisory body says it is closely monitoring the first shipment

The Sierra Leone-flagged dry cargo ship, the Razzoni, departs from the Odessa port of Odessa, Ukraine on August 1, 2022 as part of the recent grain export deal signed between Turkey, the United Nations, Russia and Ukraine and is expected to arrive in Istanbul tomorrow.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Joint Coordination Center, a body set up by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations to coordinate and supervise shipments of vital products from Ukraine, said it is monitoring the safe passage of the merchant vessel.

A statement issued by the JCC on the so-called "Black Sea Grain Initiative" issued on Monday said it "allowed the M/V Razoni to set sail from the port of Odessa today".

It added that the Joint Coordination Center agreed on the specific coordinates and restrictions of the humanitarian sea corridor and communicated these details in accordance with international navigation procedures.

She added that she "asked all the participants in it to inform the army and other concerned authorities of this decision to ensure the safety of the ship’s passage."

The Joint Coordination Committee said that the Razzoni ship will transport more than 26,000 metric tons of maize, and after leaving Odessa this morning, it is expected to arrive at the inspection site in Turkish territorial waters tomorrow, August 2.

After inspection, it will head to its final destination in Tripoli, Lebanon.

The JCC was agreed in late July and set up by Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations to try to get vital exports, such as wheat, fertilizer and cooking oils, out of Ukraine after months of blockades of Ukraine’s ports. Ukraine blamed Russia for the blockade, while Moscow blamed Ukraine for water mining in the Black Sea, saying it was blocking shipping.

The deal will see ships routing through these waters, via what the Joint Coordination Center calls a "safe humanitarian sea corridor." Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister said the shipment would help prevent global famine.

– Holly Eliat

Putin says Russian Navy will get new hypersonic missiles soon

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Navy Day parade on July 31, 2022 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Planned Navy Day celebrations in Sevastopol in Russia-annexed Crimea were canceled on Sunday after officials accused Ukraine of carrying out a drone attack on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet there, injuring five people.

Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Sunday that the Russian Navy will soon be armed with hypersonic missiles, Zircon.

"We will provide protection resolutely and by all means," Putin said in a speech on Sunday on the occasion of Russia’s "Navy Day", saying that "the main thing here is the capability of the Russian Navy."

Its combat readiness is "constantly improving," he said, adding that the latest hypersonic Zircon missile systems, "which have no anti-patterns in the world and no barriers," will be added to the Navy’s arsenal.

"Dear comrades, their handover to the Russian Armed Forces will begin in the coming months," Putin commented in a speech in St. Petersburg. Zircon missiles, intended for use by the Russian Navy against enemy ships and ground targets, allegedly can fly at nine times the speed of sound and have a range of just over 600 miles.

Putin said the area of ​​their deployment would depend on Russian interests. He did not mention Ukraine in his speech.

Planned Navy Day celebrations in Sevastopol in Russia-annexed Crimea were canceled on Sunday after officials accused Ukraine of carrying out a drone attack on the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet there, injuring five people.

Mikhail Razvozaev, the governor of Sevastopol – where the Russian Black Sea Fleet is based – wrote on the Telegram messaging application: “An unknown object flew into the yard of the headquarters of the fleet.”

According to preliminary information, it is an unmanned aircraft.

Ukraine has not officially commented on the blast amid reports that it could be a homemade device made by Ukrainian rebels in the city.

– Holly Eliat

Ukraine’s first grain shipment in months leaves the port of Odessa

The first shipment of grain exports from Ukraine in months left the port of Odessa, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kobrakov said and data from show up.

The Turkish Ministry of Defense said that the Sierra Leone-flagged ship, the Razzoni, loaded with corn will head to Lebanon. from the ministry.

“As a result of the intensive work of the Joint Coordination Center in Istanbul and the talks held by (Turkish) Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, the ministers and the concerned parties: it was agreed that the dry cargo ship Razzoni, carrying the flag of Sierra Leone and corn from Odessa, will leave port on August 1 0830 am for Lebanon ".

A port in Odessa, Ukraine, on July 29, 2022. The first shipment of grain exports from Ukraine in months comes after Turkey and the United Nations brokered an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to allow the resumption of major exports from Ukraine, such as grain and fertilizer.

The Washington Post | The Washington Post | Getty Images

The shipment comes after Turkey and the United Nations brokered an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to allow the resumption of major exports from Ukraine, such as grain and fertilizer, of which both countries are major producers.

The deal is intended to allow safe passage of grain shipments to and from the ports of Chornomorsk, Odessa and Bivdnyi. More ships are expected to leave Ukraine in the coming days.

– Holly Eliat

Ukrainian grain tycoon was killed during the bombing of the city of Mykolaiv

One of Ukraine’s richest men, agrarian businessman Oleksiy Vadatorsky, and his wife Raisa were killed during the Russian bombing of the southern city of Mykolaiv this weekend.

Video footage released by local emergency services on Sunday showed firefighters dealing with burning buildings after heavy bombardment of the city, a key target of Russian invading forces trying to make territorial gains in southern Ukraine, from Saturday night to Sunday morning.

Vitaly Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv, said on Telegram that Vdatorsky, the founder and owner of the agricultural company Nipolon and his wife were killed in their home.

People get clean water to drink in Mykolaiv, on July 21, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Bulent Kilic | AFP | Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered his condolences to the family and friends of the businessman and his wife on Sunday evening, saying that "people like them, businesses and southern Ukraine guarantee food security for the world."

Zelensky thanked the residents of Mykolaiv for their "resilience and protection of the city and the region", as well as other southern cities that have been heavily bombed in recent weeks.

“I also thank Nikopol, Kharkiv, Kryvyi Rih and the whole Dnipropetrovsk region, the powerful people of Zaporozhye and the region, all Ukrainians of the Kherson region, everyone who defends the approach of Odessa and the region … Thank you for your courage,” he said.

– Holly Eliat

Zelensky urges civilians to leave Donetsk as Russians look to advance

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Ukrainian civilians still living in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region to be evacuated on Saturday.

Russian bombing of cities and settlements in the region has become intensified in recent weeks as its forces look to advance after capturing neighboring Luhansk, with both regions making up the Donbass in the east.

"The more people leave the Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill," Zelensky said in a video speech on Saturday. "We will use every opportunity available to save as many lives as possible," he added.

– Holly Eliat



Russia pound Ukrainian port; Putin announces global naval ambitions

  • Putin’s naval ambitions include the Black Sea and the Arctic
  • Russian missiles bombed the port of Mykolaiv
  • Explosion at the base of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea
  • Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatorsky was murdered in Mykolaiv
  • Ukraine’s first grain ship may leave port on Monday

Kyiv (Reuters) – Russian missiles bombed the Ukrainian Black Sea city of Mykolaiv, where President Vladimir Putin signed a new naval doctrine that portrays the United States as Russia’s main rival and outlines global naval ambitions in the Black Sea and the Arctic.

Putin did not mention the conflict in Ukraine during a speech to mark Russian Navy Day on Sunday, but said the navy would receive Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles in the coming months. Missiles can travel at nine times the speed of sound, outstripping air defenses. Read more

Naval Day celebrations in the port of Sevastopol were disrupted when five Russian Navy crew members were injured in an explosion after a suspected drone flew into the yard of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the governor of the coastal city of Crimea Mikhail Razvozaev told Russian media.

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Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

The attack was "undoubtedly carried out not from abroad, but from the Sevastopol region," Olga Kovitedi, a member of the Russian Senate, told the RIA news agency.

"Urgent searches are being conducted in the city to track down the organizers of this terrorist act," Kovitedi was quoted as saying.

More than a dozen rocket attacks on Sunday, possibly the most powerful on the city in five months of the war, hit homes and schools, killing two people and wounding three, Mayor of Mykolaiv Oleksandr Senkevich said. The missile strikes continued until Sunday evening.

Vitaly Kim, the governor of Mykolaiv, said on Telegram that Ukrainian grain magnate Oleksiy Vadatorsky, founder and owner of the agricultural company Nipolon, and his wife were killed in their home.

Headquartered in Mykolaiv, a city of strategic importance located on the border of the predominantly Russian-occupied Kherson region, Nipolon specializes in the production and export of wheat, barley and corn, has its own fleet and shipyard.

grain shipments

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Vadotorsky’s death "a great loss for the whole of Ukraine".

Zelensky added that the businessman – one of Ukraine’s richest people with Forbes estimated his net worth in 2021 at $430 million – was building a modern grain market with a network of recharging stations and elevators.

“It was these people, these companies, precisely in southern Ukraine, who ensured food security for the world,” Zelensky said in his nightly speech. "It has always been this way. And it will be so again."

Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24, sparking a conflict that killed thousands, uprooted millions and severely strained relations between Russia and the West.

The biggest conflict in Europe since World War II has also fueled an energy and food crisis that is shaking the global economy. Ukraine and Russia are the main suppliers of grain.

Zelensky said Ukraine could harvest only half the normal amount this year due to the disruption of agriculture.

But the agreement signed under the auspices of the United Nations and Turkey on July 22 provides for safe passage for ships carrying grain from three ports in southern Ukraine.

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the ship could leave Ukraine’s ports on Monday.

Eastern danger

Zelensky said Russia is moving some troops from the eastern Donbass region to the southern Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions.

"But this will not help them there. None of the Russian strikes will pass without a response from our army and intelligence officers," he said.

After failing to quickly capture the capital, Kyiv, early in the war, Russia shifted its forces to eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and Kyiv says Moscow is seeking to do the same with the Donbass region, linking it to Crimea in the south. Russian-backed separatists controlled parts of the region before the invasion.

Russia said it had invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists.

Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over a missile attack or explosion early on Friday that appeared to kill Ukrainian prisoners of war in the frontline town of Olenivka in eastern Donetsk.

The International Committee of the Red Cross condemned the attack and said it had not been given permission to visit the site, adding that it was not within its competence to conduct a public investigation into the alleged war crimes. Read more

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Reporting by Reuters offices. writing by Michael Berry; Editing by Robert Persell

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



Drone explosion hits the headquarters of the Russian fleet in the Black Sea

Kyiv, Ukraine A small explosive device carried by a drone exploded on Sunday at the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, injuring six people and canceling the Russian Navy’s honoring ceremony, authorities said.

Meanwhile, one of Ukraine’s richest men, a grain merchant, was killed in what Ukrainian authorities described as a carefully targeted Russian missile strike on his home.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion of a drone in the courtyard of the Naval Command headquarters in the city of Sevastopol. But the seemingly improvised and small nature of the attack raised the possibility that the attack was the work of Ukrainian rebels trying to dislodge Russian forces.

Olga Kovitedi, a Russian lawmaker from Crimea, told the Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti that the drone took off from Sevastopol itself. The agency said the incident was being treated as an act of terrorism.

The Crimean authorities raised the terrorist threat level for the region to the "yellow" level, the second highest.

Sevastopol, which Russia captured along with the rest of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, is located about 170 kilometers (100 mi) south of mainland Ukraine. Russian forces control much of the mainland along the Black Sea.

The press service of the Black Sea Fleet said that the drone appeared to be homemade. It described the explosive device as "low energy". Six people were injured, Mikhail Razvojev, the mayor of Sevastopol, said. The celebration of the Russian Navy Day holiday in the city has been cancelled.

Crime - Ukraine - Russia - Conflict - War
Russian Navy personnel patrol in front of the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol in Crimea on July 31, 2022.

STRINGER / AFP via Getty Images

The Ukrainian Navy and Presidential Adviser Volodymyr Zelensky said the news of the drone attack confirmed the weakness of Russia’s air defenses.

"Did the occupiers admit the inability of their air defense system? Or their inability in front of the Crimean supporters?" Oleksiy Aristovich said on Telegram.

He said that if such an attack was possible by Ukraine, "the destruction of the Crimean bridge in such cases is no longer unrealistic" – referring to the extension built by Russia to connect its territory with Crimea after the annexation.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the mayor of Mykolaiv, Vitaly Kim, said the bombing claimed the lives of one of Ukraine’s richest men, Oleksiy Vadatorsky, and his wife, Raisa. Vadatursky headed grain production and export business.

Another presidential adviser, Mikhailo Podolak, said Vadatorsky was specifically targeted.

“It was not an accident, but a deliberate, organized and premeditated murder. Vadatorsky was one of the largest farmers in the country, a key person in the region and a major business owner. And the precise strike of a missile was not only in a house, but in a certain ward, the bedroom, leaving no doubt. in aiming and adjusting the blow.”

Vadatursky’s agricultural business, Nibulon, includes a fleet of ships to send grain abroad.

The regional administration in the Sumy region of northern Ukraine, near the Russian border, said the bombing had killed one person. The region’s governor, Pavlo Kirilenko, said three people were killed in attacks last day in the Donetsk region, which is partly under the control of Russian-backed separatist forces.

Podolak said on Twitter that photos of the prison holding at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war killed in an explosion On Friday, he indicated that the explosion came from inside the building in Russian-controlled Olenivka.

Russian officials claimed that the building was attacked by Ukraine with the aim of silencing prisoners of war who might provide information about Ukrainian military operations. Ukraine blamed Russia for the blast.

Satellite images taken before and after show that a small square building in the center of the prison complex was demolished with shrapnel roof.

These images and no damage to nearby structures showed that the building was not attacked from the air or by artillery, Podolyak said. He claimed the evidence was consistent with a heat bomb, a powerful device sometimes called a vacuum bomb, detonated indoors.

The International Red Cross requested an immediate visit to the prison to ensure that dozens of wounded prisoners of war received proper treatment, but said on Sunday that its request had not yet been approved. She said denying access to the Red Cross violates the Geneva Convention on the Rights of Prisoners of War.



The governor of Sevastopol said that Ukraine is attacking the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet

  • Ukraine bombs a Russian base on the Black Sea, according to the governor
  • Zelensky says the grain harvest may be halved because of the war
  • Zelensky orders the evacuation of Donetsk
  • Dozens of prisoners of war were killed in a strike at a separatist-controlled prison

Odessa, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian forces bombed the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Russian-controlled Sevastopol early on Sunday, while Ukraine reported intense Russian attacks on two southern cities, the governor of the coastal city of Crimea said.

Russian media quoted the governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvogayev, as saying that five workers were wounded in the attack when a drone flew in the courtyard of the headquarters.

The attack coincided with Russian Navy Day commemorated by President Vladimir Putin by announcing that the Russian Navy would receive what he called "enormous" high-speed Zircon cruise missiles in the next few months. Hypersonic weapons can travel nine times the speed of sound. Read more

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He did not mention Ukraine directly.

Ukrainian authorities said intense Russian strikes hit the southern cities of Mykolaiv and Nikopol overnight and early Sunday morning.

Mykolaiv mayor Oleksandr Senkevich told Ukrainian television earlier that two people were killed and three wounded when 12 missiles hit homes and educational facilities, describing the strikes as "perhaps the strongest" on the city during the entire war.

Up to 50 Grad rockets hit residential areas of Nikopol on Sunday morning, Dnipropetrovsk Governor Valentin Reznichenko wrote on a telegram. One person was injured.

Reuters could not independently verify the battlefield reports.

Putin sent tens of thousands of troops across the border on February 24, sparking a conflict that killed thousands, displaced millions and deeply strained relations between Russia and the West.

The biggest conflict in Europe since World War II has also fueled an energy and food crisis that is shaking the global economy. Both Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of grain.

The crop can be cut

President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that the country’s crop could be half the usual amount this year due to the invasion.

"Ukraine’s crop this year is threatened to fall twice," Zelensky wrote in English on Twitter, indicating half of what is usual. "Our main goal is to prevent the global food crisis caused by the Russian invasion. Grain is still finding a way to deliver it instead," he added.

Ukraine has struggled to get its products to buyers through its Black Sea ports because of the war.

But the agreement signed under the auspices of the United Nations and Turkey on July 22 provides for safe passage for ships carrying grain from three ports in southern Ukraine.

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that there is a high probability that the first grain-exporting ship will leave Ukrainian ports on Monday. Read more

Eastern danger

In a televised address late Saturday night, Zelensky said hundreds of thousands of people were still subjected to heavy fighting in the Donbass region, which includes the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and which Russia seeks to fully control. Vast areas of the Donbass were captured before the invasion by Russian-backed separatists.

"Many are refusing to leave, but it still has to be done," Zelensky said. "The more people leave the Donetsk region now, the fewer people the Russian army will have time to kill."

On Sunday, Russia called on experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists.

Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over a missile attack or explosion early on Friday that appeared to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the frontline town of Olenivka in eastern Donetsk.

On Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry said Russia had invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the deaths "in order to conduct an objective investigation".

The ministry had published a list of 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war killed and 73 wounded in what it said was a Ukrainian military strike with a US-made high-mobility artillery missile (HIMARS).

Ukraine’s armed forces denied responsibility, saying that Russian artillery attacked the prison to cover up abuse there.

Reuters journalists confirmed some deaths in the prison, but were not immediately able to verify different accounts of the events.

The United Nations said it was ready to send experts to investigate whether it had obtained approval from both parties. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was seeking access and offered to help evacuate the wounded.

Russia denies that its forces deliberately attacked civilians or committed war crimes in the invasion, which it described as a "special operation".

Ukraine’s military said on Saturday that more than 100 Russian soldiers were killed and seven tanks were destroyed in the south on Friday, including the Kherson region which is the focus of Kyiv’s counter-offensive in that part of the country and a key link in Moscow’s supply lines.

Military Southern Command said rail traffic to Kherson via the Dnipro River has been cut off, potentially further isolating Russian forces west of the river from supplies in occupied Crimea and the east.

Ukraine has used Western-supplied long-range missile systems to severely damage three bridges across the Dnipro River in recent weeks, cutting off the city of Kherson and – according to British officials' estimation – leaving the 49th Russian army very weak on the western bank of the river.

Officials from the Russian-appointed administration that administers the Kherson region earlier this week dismissed Western and Ukrainian assessments of the situation.

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Reporting by Reuters offices Writing by Lincoln Feast and William MacLean Editing by William Mallard and Frances Kerry

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



Le Weekend Sections of Our Planet, Calendar of Our Destiny

July 30-31

  • Inside Ukraine’s counterattack
  • Domestic Punishment in Brazil
  • Freya, the fun Norwegian walrus
  • …and much more.

⬇️ writer

The divisions of our planet, the calendar of our destiny

Environmental researchers and statisticians are always busy trying to gauge the inability of humans to come to terms with the rest of the planet. It’s largely a communication exercise to help recognize the urgency of the matter: the scale of the carbon footprint, the rising temperatures, the vastness of ocean plastic waste.

Instead, the Global Footprint Network measures how humans are excessively consuming our Earth with the help of the annual calendar, calculating the date we use each year from the resources for one year.

The date is now known as Earth Overshoot Day, and every year it comes sooner – giving us a clear idea of ​​just how unaware we are of the limitations of our resources.

In 1971, we used the Earth’s resources for a year by December 25th. In 2022, we exhausted our resources last Thursday, July 28.

Turning the equation around, we’ll now need three-quarters of a second Earth to satisfy our needs. It’s as if we spend twice as much as we earn in any given month, leaving us with no food on the table two-thirds of the way through the year.

To be clear, we are not equally responsible for Earth Transgression Day. We were "lucky" to make it nearly eight months out of the year because the majority of the world consumes far fewer resources than the richest countries. For Qatar, resources this year expired on February 10, and for the United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, they expired on March 13, according to detailed calculations by the Global Footprint Network.

Earth Transcend Day in this difficult year marked a difficult week, and a complicated month.

Record temperatures hit across Europe, with Seville in Spain becoming the first city in the world to name heat waves, according to reports. Confidencial Newspaper (This week is called Zoe).

On July 27, Nord Stream 1 pipeline – the main delivery route for Russian gas to Europe – cut its supplies by 40%, in the latest move in retaliation for the European Union’s sanctions package against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck urged citizens to take a shorter shower, while the European Commission launched a campaign to save gas for the coming winter. German daily Die Felt He notes that European heat plays a role in Russia’s interest.

Drought and water scarcity not only affect agriculture, but also the energy production of hydroelectric power plants. In Italy, where hydropower accounts for 15% of national use, seven hydroelectric plants had to be removed from the grid, while in Portugal, hydroelectric power stored in water reservoirs is half the average of the previous seven years.

Drought in the Horn of Africa threatens the food security of millions, as shipments of grain from Ukraine have been halted, leading to shortages of basic foodstuffs in many countries in Africa in particular.

The International Monetary Fund worries that the world will enter a recession. Certain countries are planning to reopen closed coal plants in response to the energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine.

First the pandemic, and then the Russian invasion, gives us a clearer picture of how our lives are interconnected across the planet, and how a geopolitical crisis can not only cause immense grief and devastation in one country, but how quickly it can seep into other countries' basic livelihoods. and how the hardships of the planets will hurt more of those who are already hurt.

"We need people to be able to hear our calls from polluters to cut emissions, and our need for funding to fund the transition to clean energy here," Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate says:. The climate crisis is an asymmetric crisis. It affects some people more than others."

Or in other words, even if the causes and short-term consequences spread differently, we are ultimately bound by the same planet. and calendar.

Erin Caselli

🎲 Notify Us Weekly

What do you remember from the news this week?

1. What magazines have Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and First Lady Olena Zelenska appeared in this week?

2. Which North African country voted in favor of a new constitution, amid a lack of turnout and accusations of fraud?

3. What was the traditional headdress of the Pope?

4. What broke a 7-year-old boy’s finger during a competition? Discus throwing / model airplane / robot playing chess

[Answers at the bottom of this newsletter]

# ️⃣ trending

Get to know the notoriouspink sauceThe latest food mania on TikTok. Invented by Miami chef Chef B (pictured) and only sold in the US (at $20 a bottle), it has many social media users wondering about its ingredients. According to the chef, it’s made with sunflower oil, honey, dragon fruit, garlic, cayenne pepper, salt, lemon juice, citric acid water, and vinegar.

🎭 5 cultural things to know

• The United Kingdom hosts Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine: The UK will host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest instead of Ukraine. After winning the 2022 competition, Ukraine should have been the host, but in the context of the ongoing invasion by Russia, the UK (which came in second place) was considered a safer option. British organizers said Ukraine would be at the center of the fair.

Addio To another Goodfella, Paul Sorvino died: Gangster movie fans are mourning for the second time in two months as actor Paul Sorvino died on Monday at the age of 83. good comrades Co-star Ray Liotta passed away on May 28 at the age of 67. Other actors famous for their mafia roles passed away earlier this month: The GodfatherJames was on July 6, and sopranoTony Sirico on July 8.

• A French artist paints intertwined hands in Brazil: Contemporary French artist Sipe has paid tribute to the 270 victims of the Brumadinho Dam failure in 2019 by creating a giant piece of "land art" on a nearby football field. This artwork is the 16th phase of his "Beyond Walls" project, which aims to paint entwined hands in 30 different cities by 2030.

• She is 37 years old Neighbour Say goodbye to TV: The last episodes of the Australian series NeighbourAnd the Based in Melbourne, it aired in the UK and Australia this week after 37 years on television. Many of the show’s stars have returned to the finale, including world celebrities including Kylie Minogue and Margot Robbie.

Beyoncé’s new album leaked: Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance It was leaked online after several major stores in France accidentally put the disc on shelves two days before its official launch, on July 29. Fans of the popular singer have vowed not to listen to the leaked songs out of respect for Queen B’s debut album six years ago.

🇺🇦 Does Ukraine have the resources to launch a counterattack?

Vladimir Putin’s forces have been slowly advancing into eastern Ukraine for weeks. Now, five months into Russia’s aggressive war, Ukraine is embracing the prospect of a major counterattack. Die FeltReporter Ibrahim Naber visits a unit in eastern Ukraine where waiters, electricians and teachers squabble. He writes: "The Ukrainians are very resourceful: in Zaporizhzhya, in the backyard of a protected factory, they have been turning everything into war production for months." But experts expressed doubts about the success of the counterattack, as some argued that both personnel and equipment were lacking on the Ukrainian side, while Russia continues to send new troops to the front.

Read the full story: Orc Hunting and Western Weapons – Ukraine’s Counterattack Continues

News Quiz Answers:

1. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska appeared in American magazine Vogue magazinewith photographs by Annie Leibovitz. Vogue magazineThe film’s feature met with backlash and praise, with some feeling the stylized images were not good publicity for the Ukrainian cause.

2. Tunisians They voted to approve a new constitution that expands the powers of President Kais Saied, but the results were contested by political opponents, who pointed out that the voter turnout amounted to only about 30%.

3. Pope Francis wore Traditional feather headdress During his week-long "journey of penance" in Canada, he apologized for the Catholic Church’s role in abusing Aboriginal children in boarding schools.

4. robot playing chess A 7-year-old boy broke a finger during a chess competition in Moscow. Nevertheless, he was able to finish starring in the cast.

✍️ Newsletter from Worldcrunch

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Ukraine says dozens of Russians were killed fighting Kherson

  • Kherson is the center of the Ukrainian counterattack
  • Ukraine says railways to Kherson via Dnipro have been cut
  • Ukraine and Russia trade accusations over the killing of prisoners of war

Odessa/Kyiv, Ukraine, July 30 (Reuters) – The Ukrainian military said on Saturday that it had killed dozens of Russian soldiers and destroyed two stores of ammunition in the fighting in the Kherson region, which is focused on Kyiv’s counter-offensive in the south and a key mission. Link in Moscow supply lines.

Military Southern Command said rail traffic to Kherson via the Dnipro River has been cut off, potentially further isolating Russian forces west of the river from supplies in occupied Crimea and the east.

Ukraine has used long-range missile systems from the West to severely damage three bridges across the Dnipro River in recent weeks, cutting off the city of Kherson – British defense officials estimate – leaving Russia’s 49th Army positioned on the river’s highly positioned west bank. vulnerable.

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"As a result of the fire that imposed control of the main transport lines in the occupied territories, the passage through the railway bridge crossing the Dnipro River was not possible," the Southern Command of Ukraine said in a statement.

It said more than 100 Russian soldiers and seven tanks were destroyed in Friday’s fighting in the Kherson region, the first major town occupied by the Russians after their February 24 invasion.

The first deputy chairman of the Kherson Regional Council, Yuri Sobolevsky, asked residents to stay away from Russian ammunition depots.

"The Ukrainian army is attacking the Russians, and this is only the beginning," Sobolevsky wrote on Telegram.

Dmitro Potry, the pro-Ukrainian governor of Kherson region, said the Pereslav region was hit hard. Pereslav lies across the river northwest of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station.

"In some villages, not a single house has been left intact, all infrastructure has been destroyed, and people are living in basements," Pottery wrote on Telegram.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports. Officials from the Russia-appointed administration that administers the Kherson region earlier this week dismissed Western and Ukrainian assessments of the situation.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Russia likely erected two pontoon bridges and a ferry system to compensate for bridges damaged in the Ukrainian strikes.

It added that Russia-installed authorities in occupied territories in southern Ukraine may have been preparing to hold referendums on joining Russia later this year, and "likely to force residents to reveal personal details in order to make up voting records." Read more

Explosion in prison

The two sides also traded accusations on Friday over a missile attack or explosion that appeared to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the eastern Donetsk province.

The Russian Defense Ministry said 40 prisoners were killed and 75 wounded in a prison in the frontline town of Olenivka and held by Moscow-backed separatists. Reuters journalists confirmed some of the deaths in prison.

A spokesman for the separatists put the death toll at 53 and accused Kyiv of targeting the prison with US-made Himmars missiles.

Ukraine’s armed forces denied responsibility, saying that Russian artillery targeted the prison to conceal mistreatment of detainees there. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia had committed a war crime and called for international condemnation.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the different accounts of events.

Reuters TV showed the remains of a burnt building, the cave filled with metal beds, some lying on charred bodies, while others were lined up on military stretchers or on the ground outside.

The fragments of the shell were placed on a blue metal bench. It was not immediately possible to detect any identification marks and it was not clear where the parts were collected.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was seeking access to the site and offered to help evacuate the wounded.

Ukraine has accused Russia of committing atrocities and brutality against civilians since its invasion and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes. Russia denies targeting civilians.

food diplomacy

Top US and Russian diplomats on Friday discussed a UN-brokered deal to resume shipments of grain from Ukraine and ease the global food crisis in their first phone call since before Russia invaded its neighbor on Feb. 24.

The Foreign Ministry said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Foreign Minister Anthony Blinken that Washington was not keeping its promises regarding food exemption from sanctions. Read more

A Russian account of the phone call quoted Lavrov as telling Blinkin that Russia would achieve all the goals of its "special military operation," and said Western arms supplies to Ukraine would only prolong the conflict.

Blinkin warned Lavrov against any territorial claims by Russia during its war in Ukraine.

"The world will not recognize the annexations. We will impose significant additional costs on Russia if it goes ahead with its plans," he said.

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Reporting by Reuters offices. Written by Stephen Coates. Editing by Lincoln Fest and William Mallard

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



Russia assigns mercenaries to frontline sectors as infantry losses mount – UK

  • Wagner fighters are unlikely to change the course of the invasion – UK
  • Ukraine is trying to disrupt supply lines and bomb bridges
  • Russia strikes Kyiv region for the first time in weeks

Kyiv (Reuters) – Russia has assigned mercenaries to keep parts of Ukraine’s front line, Britain’s Defense Ministry said on Friday, signaling it is short of combat infantry, as Kyiv ramps up a counter-offensive in the south. .

A greater reliance on paid fighters from Russia’s private military company Wagner Group to carry out front-line missions rather than their usual special operations work would be another sign that the Russian military is under pressure six months into its war in Ukraine.

But the British Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update that it was unlikely that Wagner’s mercenaries would make up for the loss of regular infantry units or change the course of the Russian invasion.

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"This is a significant change from the group’s previous employment since 2015, when it normally carried out tasks different from regular, overt and large-scale Russian military activities," the ministry said on Twitter.

Outside normal business hours, Wagner and the Kremlin could not be reached for comment.

Officials in Kyiv said on Wednesday they had observed an "intense redeployment" of Russian forces in the south, where British defense officials believe the 49th Russian Army, stationed on the western bank of the Dnipro River, is at risk.

British intelligence said Thursday that the southern city of Kherson, key to Russia’s land supply lines from Russia-annexed Crimea, is now effectively cut off from other Russian-occupied territories.

The Kherson region fell to Russian forces shortly after the start of what Moscow calls a "special military operation" on February 24. Ukraine describes the Russian invasion as an imperial-style war of conquest.

The Ukrainian military has used long-range missile systems supplied by the West to severely damage three bridges across the Dnipro River in recent weeks, making it difficult for Russia to supply its forces on the West Bank.

Ukraine said its planes bombed five Russian strongholds around Kherson and another nearby city on Thursday, the epicenter of its biggest counterattack in the conflict.

Russia bombed the outskirts of Kyiv for the first time in weeks on Thursday. District Governor Oleksiy Kuleba said on Telegram that 15 people were wounded when rockets landed on military installations in the Vyshhorod district, on the outskirts of the capital.

Sirens sounded as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Parliament alongside visiting Lithuanian President Gitanas Noseda.

The attack shattered the sense of life returning to normal in Kyiv since Russian forces abandoned attempts to capture the city in the early weeks of the war, in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance.

The region’s governor, Vyacheslav Chusov, told Ukrainian television on Thursday that more than 10 Russian missiles had hit the Chernihiv region, northeast of Kyiv. Like Kyiv, Chernihiv has not been targeted for weeks.

The Northern Command of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said that more than 20 missiles were fired at the Chernihiv region bordering Russia from a base in Belarus, an ally of Russia.

Reuters was unable to verify the battlefield reports.

Eastern Front

Ukraine’s counterattacks in the south come as Russia continues its battle for control of the entire Donbass industrial region in the east, which includes the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.

Donetsk region governor Pavlo Kirilenko said on Telegram that Russian forces bombed the town of Bakhmut, which Russia described as a key target in its advance through Donetsk, four times on Thursday. He added that at least three people were killed and three wounded.

As the fighting raged, international efforts continued to try to reopen Ukrainian ports and allow the export of grain and other goods.

Allowing the safe passage of grain shipments from Ukraine should alleviate shortages that have left tens of millions of people around the world facing soaring food prices and starvation.

Russia and Ukraine struck a deal last week to lift a ban on grain exports from Black Sea ports, but UN aid coordinator Martin Griffiths said "critical" details of safe passage for ships were still being worked out.

Griffiths had hoped the first shipment of grain would be shipped from a Ukrainian port on the Black Sea as early as Friday. Read more

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Reporting by Reuters offices. Written by Stephen Coates. Lincoln Fest Editing.

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



Art industry news: Zelensky’s 'Vogue' photos by Annie Leibovitz launch Republican call to end Ukraine aid and other stories

Art Industry News is a daily summary of the most important developments emerging from the art world and the art market. Here’s what you need to know on Thursday, July 28.

need to read

How the influx of New York galleries affects the Los Angeles scene Eleven New York showrooms have opened in Los Angeles or are coming soon. The Sean Kelly Gallery, Marian Goodman Gallery, and Lisson Gallery all join the likes of Hole, who opened a large space in April. Dealers say the appeal is the artist community, the expanding museum scene, and the reach of Los Angeles collectors. "If you’re an artist and you’re trying to reach the whole world with your art, and if it’s not seen in Los Angeles, it won’t," says Mark Glimcher, CEO of Pace. (Los Angeles Times)

Conservative Party moves after 'Straight White Man' art project A national initiative to fund public art that reflects on the phrase "straight white man" has drawn criticism for a poster by artist Nadina Ali, which reads "Hello straight white men, pass the power!" Conservative MP Niall O’Brien took to social media to denounce the act: "I’m tired of paying taxes on this divisive racist nonsense." The head of Artichoke, the group behind the show, responded with: “Our club’s artwork is Ali… directly asking people in power to simply share it. It is ironic that someone in a position of authority is questioning this request.” (does not depend on)

British Museums Association calls for investment amid inflation The Museums Association is asking the UK government to give museum workers a new "payment settlement" that could match spiraling inflation. In a statement, the association said the rising cost of living was causing "serious problems" and that managers and funding bodies should find ways to make "significant salary offers." [for] The museum’s workforce this fiscal year." (tan)

Annie Zelensky Leibovitz photoshoot paints fire – Vogue 'Private Digital Cover Story' featuring photos of the Ukrainian president and his wife by celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz is drawing criticism from all sides. Criticizing the photos, artist Adam Bromberg wrote in an Instagram post, "The idea of ​​a conflict zone as a backdrop… is despicable." Meanwhile, photos of Leibovitz have become fodder for political debate, with Texas Republican Representative Mayra Flores tweeting: "Biden: Let’s keep sending billions of dollars in foreign aid to Ukraine, they need it! Truth: Zelensky family pleases us with a cover photo Vogue magazine magazine." (InstagramAnd the NEWSWEEK)

Engines and vibrators

Lots of people having sex in this Polish war museum – Fort Gerhard, a former 19th-century Prussian castle in Świnoujście, near the border with Germany in the north, is a hot spot for lovers, according to an upgraded high-quality CCTV system. The museum published a statement in which it indicated that several pairs of lovers were caught red-handed this summer on camera. He warns people that although there are many dark corners, they are photographed and ask the couples to move to another place. (Notes from Poland)

Black paintings of the early twentieth century get new and considerate names – Sensitive selfies showing black babysitters are on display in a large retrospective "Glenn Philpott: Flesh and Soul" at the Plant House Gallery in Chichester, UK. The White Painter, who was active in the early 20th century, frequently painted his muse and servant Henry Thomas, who was Jamaica. But many of his subjects are unknown. “A lot of this work was just called 'Negro Head.’” said Simon Martin, curator of the exhibition. “In 2022, if we are able to, and we can make the effort, to find out who these people are and where they come from, I think we should. " (The New York Times)

Ford and Mellon Foundations Name Future Fellows with Disabilities 2022 The fellowship has identified 20 disabled American artists, filmmakers, and journalists with an unrestricted grant of $50,000. These include Nisreen Khatibthe director who documented US Vice President Kamala Harris during the election campaign, and Antoine Hunter, also known as Purple Fire Crow, is a deaf original choreographer. (The New York Times)

for art

Lorna Simpson portrays Brittany Greiner for timeNearly three months after being detained in Russia for carrying hemp oil, the WNBA star appeared on the front cover of time Magazine in a photo created by artist Lorna Simpson. US President Biden has approved a scheme to trade convicted arms dealer Victor Bout, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the US, in exchange for the release of Greiner and Paul Whelan, an American detained in Russia. They have not yet responded to the offer. (guardian)

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Biden begins his fifth call with the Chinese president, as he looks to de-escalate tensions in Taiwan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping began their fifth call as leaders on Thursday, as concerns mounted over a possible visit to Taiwan demanded by China, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The White House said the call began at 8:33 a.m. (1233 GMT) and US officials said it would have a broad agenda, including a discussion of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which China has not yet condemned.

In essence, US officials see the exchange as another opportunity to manage competition between the world’s two largest economies, whose relations are increasingly skewed by tensions over democratically governed Taiwan, which Xi has vowed to reunite with the mainland, by force if necessary.

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Beijing has issued mounting warnings of repercussions for Pelosi to visit Taiwan, a move that would be a dramatic, if unprecedented, display of US support for the island, which it says faces growing Chinese military and economic threats.

Washington has no official relations with Taiwan and follows a "one China" policy, which recognizes Beijing and not Taipei diplomatically. But it is obligated by US law to provide the island with the means to defend itself, and pressure has grown in Congress for more visible support.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday.

One of the people briefed on the planning for the call said the Biden administration believes that leader-to-leader engagement is the best way to reduce tensions over Taiwan.

Some analysts believe Xi also has an interest in avoiding escalation as he seeks an unprecedented third term in office at China’s ruling Communist Party congress expected in the fall.

Biden also wants to discuss climate issues and economic competition, the person briefing said, as well as the idea of ​​capping the price of Russian oil to punish Moscow for its war in Ukraine, an issue Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen raised with her Chinese counterparts earlier. July. Read more

The Biden administration is debating whether to raise some tariffs on Chinese goods as a way to mitigate rising inflation, but US officials said the decision was not expected before the call. Read more

When Biden last spoke to Xi in March, he warned of "consequences" if Beijing provided material support for Russia’s war, and the US government believes that red line has not been crossed in the months since.

Taiwan has complained of intensifying Chinese military exercises over the past two years to try to force it to accept Beijing’s sovereignty. Just before the phone call Thursday, Taiwan’s military said it had fired flares to warn a drone that had "peeked" at a strategically located and heavily fortified island near the Chinese coast that may have been searching its defenses. Read more

Toxic links

The White House has reiterated that the "one China" policy has not changed despite speculation about Pelosi’s possible visit, which the speaker has not yet confirmed.

The last time the speaker of the US House of Representatives visited Taiwan was in 1997, and as an equal branch of government, the US executive has little control over travel within Congress.

China has grown militarily and economically powerful since then, and some analysts fear that such a visit at a time of fraught relations could lead to a crisis across the 100-mile (160 kilometer) wide waterway separating China and Taiwan.

Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the German Marshall Fund in the United States, said.

She said Biden and Xi need to focus their advocacy on de-escalation, including potential mechanisms to reduce the risk of mishaps.

Kirby said the administration is in touch with Pelosi’s office to make sure it has "all the context" it needs to make decisions about her travel.

China has offered little indication of specific responses it might take if Pelosi, a longtime critic of China, especially on human rights issues, goes to Taiwan.

Raising the Taiwan issue could serve as a domestic distraction from the slowing Chinese economy, said Martin Chorzimba, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, but "any reaction strong enough to impose US sanctions will do serious damage to China and the world economy." Read more

Chinese state media said Thursday that the country will try hard to achieve the best possible results for the economy this year, ignoring previous calls that it will strive to achieve its 2022 growth target. This came after a high-level meeting of the Communist Party chaired by Xi. Read more

Scott Kennedy, of the Washington Center for Strategic and International Studies, said he did not believe the two sides were on the brink of a crisis, but that "the risk of a major crisis is well above zero" and it was important to avoid Biden’s invitation to Xi. Unwelcome clash.

"Beijing, Taipei, and Washington are full of people immersed in how to send and interpret signals that convey threats and reassurance, and I’m sure no one wants war right now."

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Additional reporting by Michael Martina, Trevor Honeycutt, David Bronstrom and Garrett Renshaw; Additional reporting by Martin Quinn Pollard in Beijing. Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan, Philippa Fletcher and Bernadette Bao

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.