When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The Dnipro Massacre, A Perfect Embodiment Of Russia's War

Russian writer Maxim Katz breaks down what it means when a missile is destined for an ordinary apartment block, and death counts start to lose their meaning.

Photo of a doll found in the rumble of an apartment block in Dnipro, Central Ukraine

Doll found in the rumble of an apartment block in Dnipro, Central Ukraine

Maxim Katz


Footage of destroyed buildings, fires and horrified civilians are flooding news feeds this week after yet another Russian missile attack struck a Ukrainian residential building – this time on Jan. 14 in the eastern city of Dnipro.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Any reasonable viewer would have felt sick to their core.

As of Jan. 17, local authorities have said the strike killed 40 people. Another 34 remain trapped under the rubble.

This war has drastically changed our perception of reality.

What happened to one apartment block could easily be dwarfed by the whole cities that Russian aggression has wiped off the map: Mariupol, Soledar, Bakhmut — all reduced to piles of rubble. These 40 confirmed deaths are on top of a still unknown number of lives, both civilian and military, claimed after almost 11 months of war.

A single human life is no longer a meaningful statistic.

Statistics, now, are measured in hundreds and thousands. This is another tragedy of the war.

Far from front line

The nearest frontline is some one hundred miles away from Dnipro.

This was just a residential building – a typical nine-storey block, the kind that is in no short supply in any post-Soviet republic. Most Russians themselves – in fact, anyone who was born in the former Soviet Union – grew up in blocks just like this one. And if they didn’t, they would have visited friends, schoolmates and relatives who certainly would have.

From the wreckage, we can easily imagine the layout of the apartments, the design of the condos, the furniture. And yet this run-of-the-mill apartment block, struck by a missile, has met a violent end.

This barbaric act exemplifies the war.

This is precisely what is most tragic about this attack: the fact that it hits so close to home for so many. It’s not just a destroyed block; it's a common lifestyle and common experiences, all razed to the ground.

This barbaric act exemplifies the war. The war where Russian forces don’t just kill people; they take away their homes, their sense of security and their life as they knew it. We can all empathize with this.

A typical apartment block​

Photo of rescue operations outside a destroyed apartment block in Dnipro, central Ukraine.

Rescue operations outside an apartment block in Dnipro in Central Ukraine.

Cover Images /ZUMA

Counterproductive terror

This attack occurred in the midst of a discussion among Western powers on whether to send tanks to Ukraine. Allies are considering unprecedented aid packages, with Britain already promising the delivery of the Challenger 2 tank.

Even the most cautious governments, like Germany, are beginning to provide straightforward assessments and take real action. They cease to worry about imaginary “red lines” and fears of “escalation.” It’s time to provide Ukraine with weapons that would be enough to ensure the country’s defense and victory.

The Russian government seems to feel that the time is right to rid any remaining seeds of doubt from the minds of skeptical Western politicians. Those who thought it would be best to make a deal, who dithered, who wanted to avoid making final decisions – surely they can no longer hold back.

Was it really the right time to remind the world of the pure evil that they, the Kremlin cronies, stand for? Why provide this gruesome reminder that a leopard never changes its spots? That we are ISIS armed with missiles. That any attempts to make a deal with us will lead to nowhere but regret.

False premise

The battlefield is locked in a stalemate. Russian leadership is in disrepair. Ukraine is receiving more military and financial support than ever. With this backdrop, taunting the Ukrainian military staff and Western politicians is tantamount to a suicide mission. If Russia cannot wholly refrain from bombing houses and infrastructure, it would at least make sense not to drop bombs on an innocent residential block in a city miles from the frontline.

The war never promised benefits.

But this logic is based on a false premise: that the war itself had a purpose, and that this purpose could be marred by attacks like this; that the war promised benefits and now these benefits are less likely to bear fruit because of how it has been waged.

This is fundamentally not the case. The war never promised benefits. The truth is that since the morning of February 24, 2022, nothing could have happened – not even the make-believe scenario of the capture of Kyiv by nightfall, flowers and cheering crowds greeting Russian soldiers – nothing that would have created a positive outcome for Russia. Instead, we were guaranteed nothing but an unmitigated disaster.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


The Pope's Health Feeds Succession Rumors — And Deeper Questions About The Church

It is not only the health of the Pope that worries the Holy See. From the collapse of vocations to the conservative wind in the USA, there are many ills to face.

Photograph of Pope Francis holding his hand against his forehead.

October 4, 2023 - Pope Francis concelebrates the Holy Mass with the new Cardinals at the Vatican

Evandro Inetti/ZUMA
Gianluigi Nuzzi

Updated Dec. 4, 2023 at 6:05 p.m.

ROME — "How am I? I'm fine... I'm still alive, you know? See, I'm not dead!"

With a dose of irony and sarcasm, Pope Francis addressed those who'd paid him a visit this past week as he battled a new lung inflammation, and the antibiotic cycles and extra rest he still must stick with on strict doctors' orders.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

The Pope is dealing with a sensitive respiratory system; the distressed tracheo-bronchial tree can cause asthmatic reactions, with the breathlessness in his speech being the most obvious symptom. Tired eyes and dark circles mark his swollen face. A sense of unease and bewilderment pervades and only diminishes when the doctors restate their optimism about his general state of wellness.

"The pope's ailments? Nothing compared to the health of the Church," quips a priest very close to the Holy Father. "The Church is much worse off, marked by chronic ailments and seasonal illnesses."

Keep reading...Show less

The latest