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In The News

Blinken Lands For Surprise Visit In Ukraine With $2 Billion Aid Package

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made an unannounced trip to Ukraine on Thursday, his second visit to the country since the start of the war on February 24, annoucing that the U.S. intends to provide an additional $2 billion aid package to Ukraine and 18 other countries in and around the region.

This new aid package is in addition to the latest $675 million package to Ukraine, announced by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. It will include rounds for HIMARS, as well as military vehicles, and other equipment.

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Poland Renews Alliance With Orban — Putin May Be Next

After having announced Poland's rupture with Hungary, Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki has reversed course. It is a sign that Poland's ruling conservative government may be ready to bet on an alliance with Moscow.

-Analysis-

WARSAW — Mateusz Morawiecki lasted only a month without Viktor Orban. Now the Prime Minister of Poland is back on the anti-EU war path, back in step with his Hungarian counterpart.

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Whatever integrity Morawiecki may have had got lost "somewhere in his contacts with Moscow." This is what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had said about the pro-Russian prime minister of Hungary a few months ago. Orban, despite Russia's barbaric invasion of Ukraine, maintained economic ties with Moscow, resisted European Union sanctions, and refused to provide support to the invaded state.

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Orbán And Kaczynski, A Duet In The Key Of Fascism

As the populist leaders face sinking poll numbers and the nearby war in Ukraine, they turn to the tactics of racism and transphobia, which ultimately adds up to fascist tactics.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — Soaring inflation, economic stagnation, pressure from Brussels and the blockade of European funds, war on the eastern front...

The autocratic governments of Viktor Orbán and Jaroslaw Kaczynski are facing a wave of adversity they have not faced before.

Their governed subjects are starting to get fed up, taking to the streets, blocking bridges (in Budapest), and chanting: "You will sit!". Poll ratings for Orbán's Fidesz party in Hungary and Kaczynski's PiS in Poland keep falling.

So the pair of autocrats are reaching for a tried-and-true method of distraction: inventing alleged "enemies of the nation" and pointing the blame at them.

Kaczynski has taken aim at transgender people to rouse the attention of the God-fearing masses — even if some voters from his party are forced to listen to the leader's stories with amazement and slight distaste.

Orbán, on the other hand, brought out an artillery of a heavier caliber. Last month, in his annual keynote speech he reached for arguments from the arsenal of 20th-century racism and — yes, let's not be afraid of the word — fascism.

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Toxic Masculinity, New Iron Curtain — What Rising War Rhetoric Tells Us

What is happening in Ukraine is decidedly not a war of words — it’s a war. Every day people are dying, soldiers and civilians alike. And it is that war which will determine the fate of both Ukraine and Russia, and have a lasting impact all around the world.

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Still, the rhetoric that has risen throughout the conflict, beginning even before the outbreak of war, plays a role, and certainly garners attention on all sides. Just in the past 24 hours, we’ve seen the Kremlin respond indignantly to recent comments by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that: Russia’s invasion was "a perfect example of toxic masculinity." And if Putin were a woman, Johnson added: “I really don't think he would've embarked on a crazy, macho war of invasion and violence in the way that he has.”

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Society
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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In The News
Meike Eijsberg, Cameron Manley, Lisa Berdet and Emma Albright

Zelensky Says Battle For Severodonetsk May Decide Fate Of Donbas

It was another fierce night of combat in the eastern Ukrainian city, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the fate of the battle could be decisive.

In Severodonetsk, the eastern Ukrainian city, the battle raging is looking increasingly decisive. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said last night that the city remains the epicenter of hostilities in the region. “It’s a very fierce battle. Perhaps, one of the most difficult ones of this war,” he said. “In many respects, the fate of the Donbas is being decided there.”

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According to local officials, Russia now controls most of this key city. “The night was difficult,” said Oleksandr Striuk, head of Severodonetsk’s city military administration, on national television Thursday morning. But, “our armed forces control part of the city – the industrial zone, and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

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Society
Lena Gontarek

When Ukrainian Children And Teachers Come Together In A Polish School

After fleeing the war, many Ukrainian teachers have found new jobs in Poland. But their work involves more than just teaching — they're helping Ukrainian children adapt to a whole new life.

The bell rings for Polish lesson in the Primary School 34 in the city of Lublin in southeastern Poland. There are 25 students, five of whom are children from Ukraine who came here after the outbreak of the war with Russia.

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Olga is in the classroom alongside the teacher. She used to teach English in Ukraine, but she is now employed in Poland as a teacher's assistant, thanks to the "Cash for Work" program of the Polish Centre for International Aid.

Today's lesson is on The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. The children read paragraphs and analyze them.

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Ideas
Jacek Żakowski

COVID And Ukraine, A One-Two Punch That's Remaking Our World

Can you believe Poles are happy to see Germans re-arming? It is just one of a series of examples of how the world has turned upside down since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, completing a shift begun during the pandemic toward less interdependence and more uncertainty.

-Analysis-

WARSAW — For half a century, the grand strategy of the democratic and capitalist West against competing systems has been to build bridges and create interdependence.

The building of bridges is meant to convince people how well they can live when authoritarian regimes are exchanged for democratic capitalism. The Soviet bloc collapsed largely because the West persuaded huge numbers of communist elites by inviting them and their societies to join the coveted Western way of life.

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Creating interdependence, instead, is the deepening of the international division of labor.

Russia sells us raw materials, and we sell them machines. We have the technologies and the Chinese have the factories. That created global supply chains. There are parts in the Airbus A380 that come from 40 different countries. COVID-19 vaccine components are supplied by nearly 100 companies from every continent except Antarctica.

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In The News
Meike Eijsberg, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

First Russian Found Guilty Of War Crimes, Gets Life In Prison

Vadim Shishimarin had confessed to shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

On Monday, Vadim Shishimarin became the first Russian soldier to be convicted of war crimes since the Russian invasion three months ago, found guilty of shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

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Shishimarin, 21, who confessed to the shooting and asked the victim’s wife for forgiveness, was sentenced by a Kyiv court to life in prison.

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In The News
Laure Gautherin and Bertrand Hauger

Glimmers Of Ukraine Hope Despite Offensive Escalation

👋 Demat!*

Welcome to Monday, where Ukraine ceasefire talks show signs of progress, despite continued Russian shelling and mounting death toll. Meanwhile, French daily Les Echos looks at the distant ramifications of the Ukraine invasion in the French Riviera.

[*Breton, France]

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Society
Jacek Harłukowicz

Wroclaw Postcard: What We Learn About Ourselves In A Wartime Train Station

The war in Ukraine has prompted a huge outpouring of compassion across the border in Poland. It is a positive reflection of the human condition, but also a reminder that we should care for others and outsiders even when there's no nearby conflict.

WROCLAW — Being born on the banks of the rivers Vistula and Odra that falls within the boundaries of Poland has never filled me with particular pride. People are more important to me than the Polish red-and-white flag.

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Ordinary human solidarity is more important to me than patriotism. And yet, something made my heart swell last weekend when I went to the aid stations springing up like mushrooms after the rain.

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Geopolitics
Monika Olejnik

The Train Wreck That Is Poland Right Now

Everything is collapsing: The zloty is sinking, a virus is spreading, diplomacy has disappeared, and so has the rule of law. And the government claims everything is going just fine.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — Everywhere we look, there is a disaster.

The zloty is sinking because of inflation, which we owe to the head of Poland's central bank Adam Glapinski, a political ally of ruling PiS party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski since the early 1990s when the pair demonstrated against then President Lech Wałęsa and joined in burning his effigy.

At the same time, we also have a COVID-19 catastrophe. As we've witnessed, 25,000 daily cases and hundreds of deaths are not enough for the government to introduce any kind of restrictions. The Prime Minister is afraid of demonstrations that could lead to deaths from COVID-19, while tens of thousands of people recently attended the National Stadium without masks and nobody checked whether anyone was vaccinated.

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