Your Tuesday Briefing

Bucha, Ukraine, on Sunday.Credit…Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Atrocities prompt calls to isolate Russia

Images of dead Ukrainians in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha, some with their hands tied and others haphazardly buried in pits, spurred shocked Western leaders yesterday to promise even tougher sanctions against Russia, including possibly on energy. The Kremlin dug in and showed signs of preparing a new assault. Follow the latest updates.

President Biden called for Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, to face a “war crime trial.” Germany and France expelled a total of 75 Russian diplomats, and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, said the E.U. should consider sanctions against Russian coal and oil.

A spokesman for Putin said that the Kremlin “categorically” denied “any allegations” of Russian involvement in the atrocities, which Russian state media denounced as a Western fabrication. The authorities threatened to prosecute anyone who publicly blamed Russians for the Bucha killings.

A review of satellite images by The Times shows that many of the civilians were killed more than three weeks ago, when Russia’s military controlled the town. There were bodies in the streets as early as March 11, well before Russia says it “withdrew completely” from Bucha.

What’s next: Ukrainian and Western officials said that Russia appeared to be positioning troops for an intensified assault in the eastern Donbas area. In Kharkiv, roughly 30 miles from the border, unrelenting bombardment has left parts of the city of 1.4 million unrecognizable. The systematic destruction is part of a broader strategy to seize the country’s east.

In other news from the war:

  • Europe, recoiling from Russian suppliers, wants 50 billion cubic meters of additional natural gas. Rising demand may create a tug of war with other countries.

  • TheCommunist Party in China is mounting an ideological campaign to build domestic sympathy for Russia.

  • Russia continued to bombard the key southern cities of Mykolaiv and Mariupol, and a desperately needed Red Cross convoy was again unable to reach Mariupol. The city’s mayor said at least 130,000 people were trapped there.

Oil fields near Basra, Iraq.Credit…Hussein Faleh/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A climate change report urges action

To successfully limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, countries must drastically accelerate efforts to slash their emissions from coal, oil and natural gas, according to a major new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Here are five takeaways from the report.

Nations would need to collectively reduce their planet-warming emissions roughly 43 percent by 2030 and to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere altogether by the early 2050s, the report found. Current policies by governments are expected to reduce global emissions by only a few percentage points this decade.

Even if the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees becomes unattainable, scientists said, it will still be worthwhile for countries to cut emissions as quickly as possible. Global warming will largely halt once humans stop adding heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, a concept known as “net zero” emissions, experts say.

Details: A rise of1.5 degrees Celsius is widely considered to be the threshold beyond which the dangers of global warming — including worsening floods, droughts, wildfires and ecosystem collapse — grow considerably. People have already heated the planet by an average of 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 19th century.

Glimmers of optimism: Over the past decade, many nations have adopted ambitious climate policies. Although emissions are still growing worldwide, the rate of growth slowed in the 2010s, compared with the 2000s, the report said. Humanity now has a much better shot at avoiding some of the worst-case scenarios once feared by scientists.

Marine Le Pen meeting supporters in northeastern France last week.Credit…Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

Marine Le Pen surges in the polls

As France’s presidential election nears, a new poll shows that the hard-right candidate Marine Le Pen has secured 22 percent of the vote. The left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is at 15.5 percent, followed by the extreme-right upstart Éric Zemmour with 10 percent. Emmanuel Macron, the president, leads with 27.5 percent. The first round of voting is set for Sunday, and the two leading candidates will go through to a runoff on April 24.

At a rally over the weekend, Macron warned supporters that his electoral success was far from assured. The president has been focused on the diplomatic attempt to end the war in Ukraine, leaving him little time for the election. Now he is awakening to the growing danger that France could lurch to the anti-immigrant right.

Le Pen’s popularity has surged over the past couple of weeks, as her patient focus on cost-of-living issues has resonated with millions of French people struggling to make ends meet after an increase of more than 35 percent in gas prices over the past year. Polling suggests Macron would edge Le Pen by 53 percent to 47 percent in the second round.

Quotable: “It’s an illusion that this election is won for Mr. Macron,” said Nicolas Tenzer, who teaches political science at Sciences Po university. “With a high abstention rate, which is possible, and the level of hatred toward the president among some people, there could be a real surprise. The idea that Le Pen wins is not impossible.”


Around the World

Credit…China News Service, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Investigators are struggling to understand the crash of China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735. Last month, the plane fell more than 20,000 feet in less than a minute before a final plunge approaching the speed of sound.

  • Pakistan’s Supreme Court is expected to issue a verdict in the coming days on whether the prime minister, Imran Khan, can dissolve Parliament and thus avoid a no-confidence vote.

  • Western officials have expressed serious concerns about allegations that hundreds of people were massacred in Mali last week by soldiers accompanied by Russian mercenaries on a campaign to fight insurgents.

  • Widespread protests continued to rock Sri Lanka, posing a serious threat to the dynastic rule of the Rajapaksa family.

News From the U.S.

Credit…Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters
  • The U.S. will clear hundreds of thousands of “low-priority” asylum and deportation cases to reduce its immigration court backlog of 1.7 million.

  • Senators announced a deal to spend $10 billion on Covid testing, vaccines and treatments, after dropping a push to include billions for the global vaccination effort.

  • The Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney will vote to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, giving her three Republican votes.

What Else Is Happening

  • Just years after women could legally drive in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s first all-female rally has ushered in women’s motor sports in the kingdom.

  • Elon Musk bought a nearly 10 percent stake in Twitter, making him its largest shareholder.

A Morning Read

Credit…Matt Cosby for The New York Times

At a lab in Cape Cod, scientists are trying to turn cephalopods like octopuses into model organisms: animals that can live and reproduce in research institutions, like mice or fruit flies do.

But keeping these brainy and often bizarre animals in captivity presents both ethical and logistical challenges, making the model octopus a kind of white whale — until last year. Meet Octopus chierchiae, a miniature octopus with a trick up its zebra-striped sleeves.


Credit…Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Music’s biggest night of the year

The 64th annual Grammy Awards promised a return to (relative) normalcy after a scaled-down 2021 ceremony that largely took place outdoors and shone with glitz and youthful glam.

In Las Vegas for the first time, and with the pop spectacle dialed back up, the show’s most impactful moments were often its least flashy: a sober plea for help from Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine; Doja Cat’s teary moment at the microphone; and performances on rooftops that put a spotlight on a different crop of artists.

Jon Batiste, the New Orleans jazz scion and late-night bandleader, won album of the year. Silk Sonic — the retro soul-funk project of Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak — took home awards for both best record and best song. And Olivia Rodrigo won best pop vocal album and best new artist. Check out the full list of winners.

Fashion flourished, too: “If there was a theme to the night, it was an exuberant anything-goes attitude that was not a bad reminder of why red carpets are fun,” Vanessa Friedman, our chief fashion critic, writes.

For more: Here’s a red carpet slide show and the best and worst moments.


What to Cook

Credit…Linda Xiao for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Judy Kim.

This easy weeknight pasta is creamy, velvety and bright.

What to Read

David Hendy’s “The BBC” looks back at 100 years of wartime reporting, dramas, satires and weather reports.

Virtual Travel

Each year, the skies of Denmark come to life with the swirling displays of thousands of starlings.

Now Time to Play

Play today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Kids are warned not to cross them (four letters).

Here’s today’s Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. Our China team is changing: Keith Bradsher will become our Beijing bureau chief and will be joined there by Vivian Wang. Alexandra Stevenson will move to China as our new Shanghai bureau chief, and Daisuke Wakabayashi will relocate to Seoul.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about Donald Trump and the 2020 election.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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