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Germany

Rekindling The American Love Affair With Volkswagen

Volkswagen sales in the U.S. are surging, led by the new Jetta line, which wasn't much of a hit back in Germany. With its new popular designs and longstanding reputation for durability, VW is notching its best American results in a decade.

Another VW beetle on American roads and bridges (Legarth)
Another VW beetle on American roads and bridges (Legarth)
Reinhold Schnupp

DETROIT - It's only a paper car – a pinãta hanging from a tree in someone's garden. One of the kids at the party goes at it - hard - with a baseball bat. But nothing doing. Then the bobbing car turns just a little bit and we see the logo: VW. Message clear. This is German engineering. Indestructable.

U.S. Volkswagen boss Jonathan Browning shows this ad and three others after having given his listeners at the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) a thorough rundown of facts and figures about the brand. His talk works a treat with the well-disposed audience. Chalk it up to another U.S. success for the German automaker after a sales year so great it was almost anxiety-inducing. How could you get numbers that good again?

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Kharkiv Revisited: Inside Russia's New Assault On The "Hero City" Of Ukraine

The nation's second-largest city, Kharkiv was quiet for weeks after Ukrainian forces took control. But now it is again under attack as Russia pushes to capture the city that's considered the "gateway" to Ukraine. Die Welt reports from the frontline.

Damages due to Russian shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Alfred Hackensberger

KHARKIV — "Come, I want to show you something," Denys Vezenych says, opening the door of his dental office.

The 40-year-old begins to tell the story in the waiting room: "It was April 16 when the Russian artillery shell hit. The windowpanes were broken, the walls had holes everywhere and the roof was destroyed. But I renovated everything."

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The repairs cost him several thousand euros. "You have to think positively, because life goes on," he explains with a smile. But this attitude is not so present generally in Saltivka, a neighborhood in northeastern Kharkiv. The dental practice may be like new, but the rest of this area in the northeastern Ukrainian city is completely destroyed.

The Russian army has done a great job in its three-month offensive on Ukraine's second largest metropolis. Countless flats have been burned out, the facades of houses have been shot to pieces, entire shopping centers have been bombed. Debris still lie in the streets everywhere.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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