Wednesday Briefing: Zelensky’s Warning at the U.N.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine addressing the U.N. General Assembly yesterday.Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

At the U.N., Zelensky calls Russia an unrelenting threat

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine used his speech at the U.N. General Assembly yesterday to warn that Russia’s aggression would not stop at the borders of Ukraine.

“The goal of the present war against Ukraine is to turn our land, our people, our lives, our resources into a weapon against you, against the international rules-based order,” Zelensky told the leaders. He added that Russia was weaponizing essentials like food and energy “not only against our country, but against all of yours, as well.”

His remarks were among the most scathing in a series of addresses by world leaders at this year’s gathering. A few hours earlier, President Biden condemned Russia’s “naked aggression” and said the U.S. would continue to stand with the “brave people of Ukraine.”

If the world appeases Russia, Biden asked, “can any member state in this body feel confident that they are protected? If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?”

Biden sought to counter war fatigue both at home and abroad even as House Republicans back in Washington hold up further military aid to Ukraine and neutral nations around the globe remain on the sidelines or even facilitate the Kremlin’s invasion.

More weapons: As Zelensky spoke in New York City, 50 defense ministers and other top officials met in Ramstein, Germany, to discuss providing military aid to Ukraine. The U.S. defense secretary said U.S.-made Abrams battle tanks will arrive soon, finally bringing a powerful weapon to the battlefield in a bid to help Ukraine advance in its slow-moving counteroffensive.

The coffin of Hardeep Singh Nijjar during a funeral service in Surrey, British Columbia, in June.Credit…Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

Canada and India descend into all-out diplomatic war

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada yesterday firmly rejected the Indian government’s denial of any involvement in the assassination of a Sikh dissident in Canada. He offered no details to support his charge, only citing “credible allegations” by Canadian security agencies.

Canada pressed its allies to challenge India after its bombshell allegation, and India moved to expel a top Canadian diplomat in a tit-for-tat move. If the accusation is confirmed, it could mark a brazen new turn for India’s security agencies: The assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar would be the first such known case in a Western nation. Here’s a profile of Nijjar, who moved to Canada after the Indian government was cracked down on the Sikh movement.

President Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia last year.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

U.S. looks to Asia to model a Saudi defense treaty

American and Saudi officials are discussing a treaty modeled on U.S. military pacts with Japan and South Korea to get Saudi Arabia to normalize relations with Israel, according to U.S. officials.

U.S. officials have said a Saudi-Israeli agreement would defuse Arab-Israeli tensions and bring the kingdom closer to the U.S. and farther from China’s orbit. But any treaty that is similar to Washington’s pacts with its East Asian allies is sure to draw strong objections from Congress. Some lawmakers see the Saudi government as an unreliable partner who cares little about U.S. interests or human rights.


Asia Pacific

A thick blanket of smoke hanging over parts of the Sydney last week.Credit…Mark Baker/Associated Press
  • Australia is bracing for a particularly dangerous fire season, with firefighters already battling dozens of blazes across the country.

  • U.S. companies doing business in China are less optimistic about the future than at any other time in more than two decades, according to two reports from chambers of commerce.

  • A new study detailed the “perfect storm of conditions” that helped create Australia’s pink diamonds.

Around the World

Apartments damaged yesterday by shelling in the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh.Credit…Siranush Sargsyan/Associated Press
  • Azerbaijan said that it had launched a military operation in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh that left 25 people dead, raising fears of an expanding conflict.

  • The Iraqi government said that Turkey had launched a drone attack that killed three members of an Iraqi Kurdish force that operates in northern Iraq.

  • Khalifa Hifter, who oversees a military dictatorship that rules eastern Libya, is dominating the response to the region’s flood disaster and could use it to further entrench his power.

  • Disney plans to spend roughly $60 billion over the next decade to expand its amusement parks in the U.S. and abroad, and to continue building Disney Cruise Line.

Other Big Stories

  • A former member of the Belarusian security services went on trial in Switzerland over his role in the disappearances of prominent opposition leaders nearly 25 years ago.

  • The Hollywood strikes in the U.S. are being strongly felt in Britain, where they’ve caused thousands of film crews to lose work.

A Morning Read

Kharis, a young member of the Punan Batu, playing a guitar made of terap wood.Credit…Joshua Irwandi

The Punan Batu people on the island of Borneo were believed to have vanished. When contact was made in 2018 with a clan of about 30 families, some anthropologists dismissed the tribe’s existence as a hoax. Now, however, a new study is poised to eliminate doubts about the Punan Batu’s history. The research could help make the case that they deserve a hand in managing their forest.


In Lies of P, the fictional city of Krat is overrun with murderous puppets.Credit…Neowiz Games

This Pinocchio takes no prisoners

Here’s a little bit about me: When I’m not working on newsletters, I often play video games to unwind and visit worlds that don’t exist. I wrote a story about Lies of P, a new game in the souls-like style — a genre known for its punishing difficulty — from a South Korean studio. It traces a puppet’s arduous journey to end a violent uprising by automatons created to serve humans.

Transporting ideas from Carlo Collodi’s “The Adventures of Pinocchio” into a fictional city inspired by the Belle Époque period, Lies of P presents a dark, lush and terrifying world that targets fans of FromSoftware’s Bloodborne, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and the Dark Souls series. It has received generally positive reviews, but the game faces skepticism from die-hard souls-like fans: Is it a worthy example of the genre or a wooden imitation?

Lives lived: Roger Whittaker, a British singer whose ballads and folk songs caught the sentiments of perfect summer days and last farewells, has died at 87.


Credit…Romulo Yanes for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Vivian Lui.

Bake this comforting cinnamon apple quick bread with apple cider glaze.

Read “North Woods,” the story of a house and its occupants over three centuries.

Watch a Netflix documentary about baseball’s “saint of second chances.”

Want to enjoy music more? Stop streaming it.

Play Spelling Bee. (If you’re stuck, the Bee Buddy can help.) And here’s the Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Justin

P.S. The Times is hosting Climate Forward tomorrow, a one-day event bringing together newsmakers on climate change. Sign up to watch the livestream here.

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