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

A How-To Guide To Make Sense Of Ukraine's Counteroffensive

Don't believe each new twist, minute-by-minute, as information is a weapon that both sides handle carefully. But there are ways to begin to see how this possibly decisive battle will turn out.

Image of an Ukrainian soldier firing an RPG at Russian lines a few hundred meters away in Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.

June 8, 2023: A Ukrainian soldier fires an RPG at Russian lines a few hundred meters away in Vuhledar, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine.

Madeleine Kelly/ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS – There are two pitfalls to avoid while following what is happening in Ukraine and the ongoing counter-offensive, which is arguably the most serious and decisive moment of the conflict since Russia's initial failures last year.

The first is wanting to follow this offensive minute-by-minute. Information is a weapon that both sides handle carefully. Assessments on such an offensive can not be made in a few hours, but rather over weeks, perhaps months — and fragments of information only reveal a part of the reality.

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

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

By the end of last week, Russian forces had released videos of brand-new Ukrainian equipment, supplied by American, German and French allies, which had been destroyed in the early hours of the offensive. Pro-war Russian bloggers were euphoric and suggested depositing the wreckage in front of those countries' embassies in Moscow.

Destroyed equipment 

But these Ukrainian losses were to be expected at the beginning of the anticipated assault. It doesn't tell us anything about what will come next. And this weekend, Ukraine, in turn, released videos of destroyed Russian armored vehicles. They even performed the traditional raising of the Ukrainian flag, in the first village recaptured since the start of the offensive. It doesn't reveal much about the course of the war, but it provides some moral support.

The real risk for Ukraine would be to achieve some military successes, but not enough to change the situation.

The second pitfall is only focussing on the military. It is undoubtedly crucial to analyze how the Ukrainian army leverages Western equipment, as well as closely observe the resilience of Russian defenses to see if the generals have learned from their major failures last year. But that cannot be the sole criterion; because such an offensive, in this specific context, also has political objectives.

Image of volunteers rescuing animals after a flood in Kherson, Ukraine.

June 9, 2023: Volunteers rescue animals isolated by the water in the city of Kherson, Ukraine, flooded by the collapse by explosives of the Nova Kakhovka dam upstream the Dnipro river.

Celestino Arce Lavin/ZUMA

Risks for Kyiv

Ukraine must first demonstrate to its NATO allies that the massive assistance they have provided is making a difference on the ground. Information leaked from Russian sources, for example, suggests Ukrainian troops can count on a big advantage in night vision capability, thanks to Western equipment.

Ukrainian progress will affect NATO countries' motivation to continue their unprecedented effort, as well as ongoing decisions on the supply of new types of equipment, such as the F-16 aircraft, which are sorely lacking in the Ukrainian offensive today.

The real risk for Ukraine would be to achieve some military successes, but not enough to change the situation — for example, if they recover some territories captured by Russia but fail to sever the territorial continuity with Crimea.

The consequence of a limited success is that it does not give Kyiv the advantage in the balance of power that would enable it to accept negotiations. However, pressures for such negotiations will be felt in the event of a military stalemate.

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.


Not Just Paris! Mongolia Is Also Battling Bedbugs (And Cockroaches... And Centipedes...)

Public extermination services were halted during the pandemic. Residents have embraced cheaper DIY solutions — but there are risks.

Photo of a bed bug

A bed bug photographed in the Biology Institute at the Technical University (TU) in Dresden, Germany

Khorloo Khukhnokhoi

ERDENET, ORKHON PROVINCE, MONGOLIA — Oyuka dresses for domestic battle. Mask. Gloves. Hair shrouded under a black hood. A disposable white gown reminiscent of a surgeon. It’s 2 p.m. on a Tuesday; her husband is at work and their two young children are at school. She shoves the oven, freezer and washing machine away from the kitchen walls and grabs a lime-green spray can from behind the bathtub, where it’s out of the children’s reach. “Magic Cleaner,” the bottle says in Chinese. A pesticide.

Oyuka — who asked to be referred to only by her nickname, out of fear of being criticized by her neighbors — lives on the eighth floor of a 10-story building in Erdenet, Mongolia’s second-largest city, where towering apartments cram together like subway riders. Lots of people means lots of trash, which means lots and lots of bugs. Cockroaches. Bedbugs. Centipedes. And what Mongolians call black bugs, speck-like insects that Oyuka fears will bite her children and make them sick.

Over the past year, Oyuka started noticing them in corners, under furniture, on windowsills. She increased how often she sprayed Magic Cleaner, from occasionally to every three months — even though the smell makes her stomach lurch. “Because I don’t know any other good poison, I use this poison often,” she says.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest