In the trenches of eastern Ukraine, much of the conflict with Russia has been frozen for several months now. But, as the northern winter moves on, that could be about to change. The initial invasion has been followed by a period of attrition, and a third phase of the war now appears imminent.
Military activity along parts of the front is increasing and it is assumed that, sooner or later, one side will try to break the deadlock. The question, as Julian Borger writes this week for the Guardian Weekly magazine’s big story, is who will strike first and where?
As Julian explains, it is likely to be “an all-out battle for decisive advantage using combined arms … to overcome fixed positions. Europe has witnessed nothing of its sort since the second world war.”
That’s not to say there aren’t signs of anxiety among Ukraine’s regional allies, though. Germany’s decision last week to send its Leopard tanks to Ukraine may yet prove critical in the coming battle, but as German journalist Jan-Philipp Hein points out, Berlin’s military support for Kyiv remains far from wholehearted.
In the UK, the sacking of Nadhim Zahawi as Tory chairman over an undeclared tax dispute while he was the chancellor (and thus in charge of tax collection) kept the pressure on prime minister Rishi Sunak, political editor Pippa Crerar reports; while in Opinion, Nesrine Malik says the episode reveals much about Britain’s networks of power and influence.
Don’t miss Kaitlin Sullivan’s fascinating read about ibogaine, a Gabonese root bark derivative which appears to be effective in treating drug addiction. Not surprisingly, soaring demand for the traditional medicine has raised sustainability issues as well as questions over who should be able to profit from Indigenous knowledge.
And, as the celebrated poet and children’s author Michael Rosen releases a new memoir, he talks to Alex Moshakis about the aftermath of his debilitating Covid-19 hospitalisation and the grief he still feels every day for his son, Eddie, who died as a teenager 24 years ago.