Zelensky replaces defense minister
Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president, said he was replacing his minister of defense, in the biggest shake-up in the leadership of Ukraine’s war effort since Russia’s invasion began. He cited the need for “new approaches” after more than 18 months of conflict.
The fate of the defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, had been the subject of speculation in Ukraine as financial improprieties in the ministry had come to light and the government had started investigations into official corruption. He is to be replaced by Rustem Umerov, the chairman of Ukraine’s State Property Fund and a member of an opposition party.
Ukraine is in the midst of a major counteroffensive, slowly gaining territory in the south and the east. Last week, Ukrainian officials said they had captured the southern village of Robotyne, suggesting that the offensive had penetrated the first layer of Russian defenses between Ukraine’s forces and Russian-occupied Crimea.
Quotable: “Oleksii Reznikov has gone through more than 550 days of full-scale war,” Zelensky said in a statement. “I believe that the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society at large.”
In other news from the war:
Months after the destruction of the Kakhovka dam, which unleashed untold economic, environmental and human suffering, many communities are still reeling.
Russian forces launched waves of drones at the Odesa region of southern Ukraine in an hourslong overnight assault, injuring at least two people.
Heavy rain causes chaos at Burning Man
Thousands of people have been stranded at the Burning Man festival, an annual celebration of art, music and counterculture vibes in a remote patch of Nevada desert, after torrential rains turned roads and grounds into muck. Participants have been told to conserve food and water, and the authorities are investigating the death of one participant. Here’s what we know.
Worsening conditions and heavier rainfall yesterday could delay people leaving the event, which ends today and in normal conditions causes a long backup of traffic.
A White House official said that President Biden had been briefed on the situation and that administration officials were in touch with state and local officials. Accounts of the mud and efforts to leave ricocheted across social media and became something of a sensation in themselves.
Details: Each year the festival hosts more than 70,000 people from around the world to a desolate, arid landscape more than 140 miles from the nearest city. The only access is via either a two-lane rural highway or a small, temporary airport, both of which were closed yesterday.
South Africa investigates a Russian ship
An investigation by the South African government found that weapons were not loaded onto a Russian vessel under American sanctions that docked near Cape Town last year, President Cyril Ramaphosa said. The report followed accusations from U.S. officials that South Africa had provided arms for the war in Ukraine. A summary will be made public today.
It remains to be seen whether the findings will soothe the relationship between South Africa and the U.S., which is more tense than it has been in years in large part because of the dispute over the ship.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
Paris’s gleaming public pools are more than simply places to chalk up laps. Swimming in them, Catherine Porter writes for The New York Times, is a full-on cultural experience, offering “intimate views into the French psyche and style of living.”
The $3 billion transfer window: Premier League spending reaches new heights.
U.S. Open: Brad Gilbert, who coached Andre Agassi to a U.S. Open victory in 1994, is advising Coco Gauff at this year’s tournament.
Ultramarathons: What Courtney Dauwalter learned from the agony of running dozens of miles at a stretch.
Women’s volleyball: Turkey is basking in the success of players it calls “Sultans of the Net.”
ARTS AND IDEAS
New director for an institution in crisis
Almost three weeks after the British Museum was plunged into crisis by the revelation of thefts from its storerooms, the London institution said it would appoint Mark Jones, a former director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London, as its interim director.
An overflowing tray awaits him: In recent weeks, countries including Greece and Nigeria have renewed claims for artifacts in the British Museum’s collection. The museum is also set to announce a major refurbishment project, requiring considerable fund-raising.