Panic in occupied Ukraine amid evacuation orders
People living in Russian-occupied areas of southern Ukraine described confusion, defiance and shortages at gas stations, grocery stores and A.T.M.s as the occupation authorities ordered tens of thousands of civilians to evacuate from 18 towns and village in the face of a looming Ukrainian offensive.
With heavy fighting expected very soon, the message from the occupation authorities has been clear for days: Leave now. Most civilians fled the area long ago — primarily to Ukrainian-held territory — but Ukrainians say that despite hardship and fear, most of those who remain are staying.
In Zaporizhzhia, where few people appeared to be heeding the evacuation orders, there was no indication that any Russian troops were withdrawing, according to Ukrainian officials and Western analysts. They said Moscow’s troops were continuing to expand defensive fortifications, a sign that they were digging in for coming battles.
How we reported this story: Access to occupied areas is heavily restricted, and the accounts of residents could not be independently verified. Some of those interviewed were reached with the assistance of exiled local officials; others were contacted through relatives in the capital, Kyiv, or after they had posted about the evacuation orders on social media.
In other news from the war:
Russia launched a large wave of attack drones at Kyiv overnight. Ukraine said it had shot all of them down.
Russia’s celebrations for Victory Day today have been scaled back because of security concerns. President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to address the nation.
Norway’s E.V. revolution
Last year, 80 percent of new-car sales in Norway were electric vehicles, putting the country at the vanguard of the shift to battery-powered mobility as it plans to end the sales of cars with internal combustion engines in 2025. Norway has become a test case for the repercussions of the electric vehicle revolution.
So far, Norway’s experience suggests that electric vehicles bring benefits without dire consequences. What problems there are include unreliable chargers and long waits during periods of high demand. Auto dealers and retailers have had to adapt: Tesla is now the best-selling brand, and established carmakers like Renault and Fiat have been marginalized.
But the air in Oslo, Norway’s capital, is measurably cleaner. The city is also quieter as noisier gasoline and diesel vehicles are scrapped. Oslo’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 30 percent since 2009, yet there has not been mass unemployment among gas station workers, and the electrical grid has not collapsed.
Background: Norway began promoting electric vehicles in the 1990s to support Think, a homegrown electric vehicle start-up. Battery-powered vehicles were exempted from certain taxes and tolls. The government also subsidized the construction of fast charging stations, crucial in a country with nearly as much area as California but just 5.5 million people.
Related: Although China is investing less in Europe overall, Chinese battery producers are building factories to meet the demands of the region’s growing need for electric vehicles.
Congo flooding kills more than 400 people
The death toll of last week’s deadly floods and landslides in the Democratic Republic of Congo has climbed to more than 400 people, the government said, as rescue workers and family members searched through debris and mud for victims and survivors of the disaster.
The flooding began on Thursday, as heavy rains caused rivers to overflow their banks, sending water and mud rushing into villages, washing away homes and ravaging farmland. Nearly 3,000 families were left homeless, and 1,200 homes were razed, according to a U.N. agency.
People from the region had traveled to the area where the floods took place to sell their agricultural products at a market, making it harder to count the total number of the missing, rescuers said.
Details: The floods hit the Kalehe Territory in South Kivu, an area that had welcomed thousands of displaced people from the troubled province of Nord-Kivu.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
Wildfires have burned almost a million acres in western Canada.
The Israeli military said it had struck Gaza early this morning, killing at least three leaders of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad. The Palestinian authorities said at least 12 people were killed and at least 20 were injured.
Thousands of old oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico are at risk of springing leaks. Plugging them would cost $30 billion.
At least 22 people, many of them children, died in the Indian state of Kerala when a tourist boat capsized.
From the U.S.
Law enforcement officials said that the Texas gunman who fatally shot at least eight people at a mall over the weekend appeared to have espoused white supremacist ideology.
Lawyers delivered closing arguments in E. Jean Carroll’s lawsuit accusing Donald Trump of battery and defamation. The jury will begin deliberating today.
The authorities in Brownsville, Texas, charged a man with manslaughter and other crimes, saying he drove his vehicle through a group of migrants, killing eight people.
What Else Is Happening
A photographer had just minutes to capture King Charles’s official portrait.
A new genus of butterfly, with distinctive spots on its wings, has been named after Sauron, the archvillain of “The Lord of the Rings.”
A Morning Read
Trinity College Dublin will rename its central library, the Berkeley, after concluding that the alumnus it honors, the 18th-century philosopher George Berkeley, owned slaves in colonial Rhode Island and wrote pamphlets supportive of slavery.
The formal re-examination of Berkeley’s legacy began last year after students at the college started a campaign of lobbying and protests.
SPORTS NEWS FROM THE ATHLETIC
One of England’s biggest soccer clubs is on the brink of disaster: Leeds United is confronting relegation after 14 months of mishaps and mismanagement.
Europe has a new goal-scoring superstar. What is he really like? Pasta, impersonations, sleeping goggles — there is more to Erling Haaland than just goals.
What F1’s Miami GP taught us about 2023: The Miami Grand Prix brought the glamour before the 20 drivers hopped in their cars for the fifth race of the season. Here’s what we learned.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Even in today’s low-formality world, one point of basic civility stands unchallenged: You don’t mention pivotal plot points to someone who hasn’t seen a TV show or movie yet. Doing so, the thinking goes, will ruin that person’s enjoyment.
But new research suggests that this may not be true. Researchers found that audiences who knew the outcome of a television show were just as immersed in the narrative as viewers who went in cold, and they reported the same levels of engagement and enjoyment.
That’s perhaps because humans are hard-wired not just to take in facts but also to lose themselves in stories and characters — even when they know the ending.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to Cook
This kale and butternut squash bowl is the healthy dinner you’ve been looking for.
Most teenagers don’t get enough sleep. Small changes to habits can make a big difference.
What to Watch
In the dispatch-documentary “Slava Ukraini,” Bernard-Henri Lévy travels to different parts of Ukraine.
Now Time to Play
Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Verbal stumbles (three letters).
And here are 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. The Times won two Pulitzers for our reporting in Ukraine and on Jeff Bezos.
The latest episode of “The Daily” is on the U.S. Supreme Court.
You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].
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