Ukraine’s grinding counteroffensive has struggled to break through entrenched Russian defenses in large part because it has too many troops, including some of its best combat units, in the wrong places, according to several American officials.
Ukrainian commanders have divided their troops roughly equally between the east and the south rather than centering firepower to sever the so-called land bridge between Russia and the occupied Crimean Peninsula — the stated goal of the offensive.
U.S. officials have advised the Ukrainians to revise their tactics. Without a dramatic move, one American official said, the pace of the counteroffensive is unlikely to change. Three months in, there are signs that the Ukrainians may be taking the advice to heart as casualties mount.
In a video teleconference this month, top Western military officials urged Ukraine’s most senior military commander, Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, to focus on one main front. According to two officials briefed on the call, General Zaluzhnyi agreed.
American officials said Ukraine had another month to six weeks before rainy conditions forced a pause in the counteroffensive. Even more important, some analysts say, is that Ukraine’s main assault forces may run out of steam by mid- to late September.
A tropical storm made landfall in Texas
Tropical Storm Harold made landfall on Padre Island, Texas, this morning after forming in the Gulf of Mexico overnight. Forecasters expected Harold to deliver up to six inches of rainfall in isolated areas of the state through tomorrow morning.
The storm caps an extraordinarily busy 48 hours of the Atlantic hurricane season among a month of extreme weather, including a blistering heat dome, fires in Maui, landslides in India and a rare tropical storm hitting California. Experts say that this August is very likely a sign of what’s to come from human-caused climate change.
“Twenty years from now, a summer like this is going to feel like a mild summer,” said the climate scientist Daniel Swain.
Mark Meadows’s high-wire legal strategy
Donald Trump’s final chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has been engaged in a delicate dance with federal prosecutors. As the top White House aide during Trump’s chaotic last months in office, Meadows was witness to actions at the center of the criminal prosecutions of the former president, leaving Meadows potentially vulnerable to charges.
So, to avoid prosecution, Meadows quietly arranged to talk with the prosecutors not only about the steps the former president took to stay in office, but also about his handling of classified documents.
The episode illustrated the wary steps Meadows has taken to navigate his legal peril while sidestepping the career risks of being seen as cooperating with what his Republican allies have cast as partisan persecution of the former president.
Pakistani students were rescued from a dangling cable car
In a dramatic rescue, Pakistani security forces plucked eight people, including seven students heading to school, from a stranded cable car left hanging hundreds of feet above a remote mountain valley.
The car broke around 8:30 a.m. local time, but it was not until dark — when helicopter operations had to be replaced with a zip line rescue — that all of those trapped were taken to safety.
A new focus on the Harlem Renaissance
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced today that, beginning in February, it would open an exhibition dedicated to the Harlem Renaissance — New York’s first major survey in nearly 40 years dedicated to one of the most influential artistic movements of its era.
Many major museums did not begin building collections of such works until more recently, and the Met’s collection is spotty. The museum will borrow significant pieces from historically Black colleges and universities, which its curator at large hopes will be the start of long-term partnerships.
Football on wheels
In Buffalo, there’s a team of mostly men who wear red, white and blue and play a particularly physical brand of football. They go by the Bills, but it’s probably not the team you’re thinking about. I’m talking about the Buffalo Bills Wheelchair Football Team.
The squad, which is one of the 13 teams in the USA Wheelchair Football League, has developed a growing community in the area. It has offered many players a way to connect — with other wheelchair-dependent athletes and often with a dormant part of themselves.
Mrs. Roper romps galore
When more than 75 loud redheads nursing froufrou cocktails and cha-cha-ing in platform wedges gathered in Providence, R.I. this month, they were hardly unusual. Groups across the country have been celebrating Helen Roper, the effortlessly confident landlady played by Audra Lindley on the sitcom “Three’s Company,” which debuted in 1977.
Risqué in its day, the show might now be considered retrograde toward feminism and homosexuality. But Mrs. Roper’s freethinking attitude has made the character into a cult figure, particularly among gay men and straight women, who make up most of the Mrs. Roper Romp crowds.