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Ukrainian troops in the midst of the conflict to take back control of Kharkiv province from Russian forces.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: Ukraine's gains, Democrats' midterm odds, IMF to offer food aid

Jubilant Ukrainians continue to advance

Ukraine’s military gains of the past few days have emboldened its fighters and leaders. An attack meant to test Russian strength at various points along the front in northeast Kharkiv province became a major counteroffensive when many Russians simply abandoned their equipment and ran. As of Monday, Ukraine has grabbed more territory in five days than the Russian military captured in the past five months. To demonstrate it can still inflict punishment, Russia responded with an artillery blitz aimed at knocking out electricity and water, initially causing widespread outages across Ukraine. But President Volodymyr Zelensky captured the Ukrainian mood on social media with a response aimed at Moscow: “We will be without gas, lights, water and food … and WITHOUT you!” Ukraine’s defense minister has warned his forces to brace for a Russian counterattack, though it appears Russia lacks the manpower and the weapons for an effective near-term military response in Kharkiv province. Russia’s war effort is not collapsing. Its forces remain dug in across much of the Donbas region and along the Black Sea coast. Though Ukraine has seized momentum, this war is far from finished. But Ukrainian forces have again demonstrated that, whatever the Kremlin claims, Putin’s war is not going to plan.

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Reuters

Shortages reach far beyond food

The war in Ukraine is just the latest crisis to befall global supply chains in recent years, and it appears likely to get worse before it finally eases. It’s not just about interrupted flows, shortages, and higher prices for food and fuel. According to a report published in May 2022 by Dun & Bradstreet, a total of at least 615,000 businesses operating globally depend on supplies from either Russia or Ukraine. About 90% of those firms are based in the United States, but supply chains in Europe, China, Canada, Australia, and Brazil are heavily impacted. According to the report, a total of 25 countries have a high dependency on Russia and Ukraine for a variety of commodities.

Five months into the war, it’s clear that the likeliest outcome of the current fighting will be a long-term stalemate. Russia doesn’t appear militarily strong enough to take and hold all of Ukraine, and Ukraine doesn’t appear strong enough to drive Russian troops completely off Ukrainian land. As a result, those who depend on resources and production inputs from Russia and Ukraine now know they’ll likely need to invest in new suppliers of hundreds of different commodities and products – from sunflower seeds to turbojets – to build better resilience into their supply chains, rather than simply waiting for the fighting to end.

The Graphic Truth: What Ukraine's lost

Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, now in its second month, has wreaked havoc on the Ukrainian people, 9% of whom have been forced to flee the country. Ukraine’s eastern flank has been particularly hard hit. In the besieged city of Mariupol, for instance, 80% of infrastructure has now been destroyed. As the war wages on, and with the death toll well into the thousands, we take a look at the vast damage to infrastructure and the civilian toll.

A view shows destroyed military vehicles on a street in the town of Bucha in the Kyiv region

REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko

What's the latest from Ukraine?

In the early hours of Friday morning, Russian troops seized control of Europe's largest nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine. After some raised the alarm of a potential "Chernobyl moment," international monitors said the initial blaze had been extinguished, and there was no indication that radiation had spilled.

Just a day after reportedly taking the southern city of Kherson, Russian forces on Thursday encircled the strategic Black Sea port of Mariupol in the southeast. Taking this city would not only diminish Ukraine’s access to international shipping lanes, but it would also nearly complete a “land bridge” extending from mainland Russia to the Crimean peninsula. Further west, the city of Odessa, Ukraine’s largest port, readied itself for a Russian assault.

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Ari Winkleman

Explainer: Why there’s a Y in Kyiv, but no “the” in Ukraine

Generations of Americans have known the Ukrainian capital, and the eponymous chicken dish, as “Kiev.” But most Western media now use “Kyiv.” Why?

The simple answer is that “Kyiv” reflects the Ukrainian version of the city’s name, while “Kiev” comes from the Russian.

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The US Is at War With Russia: 4 Scenarios From Here | Quick Take | GZERO Media

The US is at war with Russia: 4 scenarios from here

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here, and a world at war over Ukraine. A lot to talk about. I think the first thing which is really important is to recognize that we are at war right now with Russia. We do not have American troops fighting on the ground in Ukraine and will not. That is true also for all of NATO, but there is an enormous amount of military equipment being sent to help the Ukrainians defend themselves. And that is of course being used against Russia, which has invaded Ukraine and also the wide and deep sanctions that have now been taken by the Americans and by the Europeans against Russia, particularly in terms of freezing a big piece of their sovereign debt, as well as actions to remove their top banks from SWIFT and the financial transaction system. This is meant to cripple the Russian economy. It is meant to force the Russians towards capitulation on Ukraine and barring that to undermine the Russian government.

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U.S. President Joe Biden

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Biden’s State of the Union: Big challenges and potential opportunities

President Joe Biden's speechwriters have been busy. They likely scrapped and rewrote much of his State of the Union address after Russia invaded Ukraine.

The annual address, to be delivered at the US Capitol on Tuesday night, is usually an opportunity for the president to lay out a political vision, laced with a healthy dose of cheery optimism.

But Biden will rise to the podium against the backdrop of relentless bad news. Ahead of his first SOTU, what issues are plaguing Biden’s presidency and how might he try to spin them in his favor?

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War in Europe. Russia Invades Ukraine. | Quick Take | GZERO Media

War in Europe: Russia invades Ukraine

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here, back in the office in New York. A Quick Take for you on where we are in this war against Ukraine.

Massive military intervention. We've all seen almost 200,000 Russian troops that had been arrayed all along Ukraine's borders, direct land, air, and cyber. This is bombs that are falling across all of Ukraine, including even the far west. Hard to imagine this war will last long, at least the early stages. The Ukrainian government will surely fall, likely flee, and end up in exile someplace outside of Ukraine's borders. President Putin has said that this will not be an occupation. Of course, President Putin has also said over the past weeks that there was no intention to invade. He lied then; he's lying now. There is no purpose of diplomacy, at least at this point between the United States, the Europeans, and Russia. Meanwhile, it's all about what can be done to help the Ukrainians defend themselves as best they can. And this is clearly going to be at best at the margins, because the Russians have overwhelming military capabilities.

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