Your Tuesday Briefing

Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, left, meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.Credit…Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA, via Shutterstock

Russia signals openness, and Ukraine, concessions

With Russian warships massing off the Ukrainian coast in the Black Sea and the U.S. warning of an imminent invasion, Ukraine’s president left open the possibility that his country might drop its bid to join NATO, a potential major concession to avert war with Russia.

“Maybe the question of open doors is for us like a dream,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said. He acknowledged the difficulty of the situation, with Russian troops surrounding Ukraine and allies saying they would not send troops in the event of an invasion.

The Kremlin sent its strongest signals yet that it would seek further negotiations with the West. In stage-managed, televised meetings, Russia’s top diplomat said that the possibilities to reach a diplomatic resolution were “far from exhausted.” Russia’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said that what he characterized as “large-scale drills” around Ukraine were coming to an end.

President Vladimir Putin responded ambiguously: “Good.”

Surging oil prices: Fears of war have caused oil prices to spike, pushing well past $90 a barrel. A Russian invasion of Ukraine could drive prices above $100.

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, invoked the Emergencies Act on Monday.Credit…Dave Chan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Trudeau invokes emergency law

Justin Trudeau took the rare step of invoking emergency powers for the first time in 50 years, allowing the Canadian authorities to roll back civil liberties to end the protests in Ottawa, the capital.

The move is temporary. Officials hope it will reopen border crossings and clear the blockade of about 400 trucks that has shut down parts of Ottawa. Police can now seize vehicles, and tow-truck operators will work with law enforcement agencies.

Trudeau promised that the government would soon announce financial help for businesses affected by the more than two weeks of demonstrations.

The announcement came after authorities in Alberta arrested 11 people and seized a cache of weapons linked to protesters.

Related: Many Canadians are just as confused by the protest crisis as the rest of us.

Virus rules: Ontario will stop requiring people to show proof of vaccination to enter indoor spaces as of March 1, though the province’s premier insisted the change was not a concession to the demonstrators.

The Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva.Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar/The New York Times

Valieva can compete, but won’t receive medals

Kamila Valieva, the Russian figure skating star at the center of a doping scandal,will be allowed to continue competing in the Beijing Olympics — but she will be staying off the medals podium.

Officials will not conduct an awards ceremony or hand out medals in any event in which Kamila Valieva places in the top three until her case is resolved — a process that could take months. Many other athletes are outraged that Valieva’s situation means other skaters will not get their moment on the podium in the typical timing.

Valieva, 15, was widely seen as the favorite to win the women’s singles event that begins today, until it was revealed that she had failed a doping test.

In other Olympics news:

  • Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France won the gold medal for the ice dance.

  • The U.S. and Canada will face off in the gold medal game in women’s hockey.

  • For many countries, hosting the Games makes no economic sense. But for China, national pride and an enthusiasm for building infrastructure may just make it worth the cost.


Other Big Stories

Credit…Dan Williams/Reuters
  • Prime Minister Naftali Bennett became the first Israeli leader to take an official visit to Bahrain, highlighting the strengthening ties between Israel and some Arab governments.

  • Donald Trump’s accounting firm cut ties with his family business and retracted financial statements central to two investigations, court papers show. The accounting firm, Mazars USA, disclosed that it could no longer stand behind annual financial statements it had prepared for the former president.

  • Nicaragua stripped colleges of their ability to operate independently, the latest sign of a government crackdown on speech and dissent.

  • The megadrought in the American Southwest has become so severe that the region is now the driest it has been in at least 1,200 years, in large part because of climate change.

  • The hate crimes trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s killers opened with a prosecutor describing the racist views that the three men had previously expressed. The men have already been convicted of murder.

Around the World

Credit…Golf Valdecañas SL
  • After a 14-year legal battle, the Spanish Supreme Court ordered the demolition of Marina Isla de Valdecañas, a luxury hotel and golf resort in the arid heartland of Spain, because of breaches of environmental laws.

  • The popular sitcom “Friends” has become the latest target of China’s censorship campaign. Awkward cuts have been noticed by fans of the show.

  • China, and not SpaceX, may be responsible for a piece of rocket detritus slamming into the moon.

  • Camilla, the wife of Prince Charles, tested positive for the coronavirus, four days after her husband was reported to be infected.

  • Sweden recommended fourth doses of the coronavirus vaccine for people 80 and older.

A Morning Read

Credit…Mohd Rasfan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A genetic investigation technique — called familial searching — has been used for years in human criminal cases, like the Golden State Killer. Now, the genetic legacy of poached elephants could help investigators stop wildlife trafficking. Researchers have linked hundreds of tusks from illegal shipments and provided detailed information about global crime networks.


An intense cyclone season

The southern Indian Ocean is swirling with storms, creating cyclones that have battered islands and Africa’s southeastern coast and brought heavy rains far inland. Madagascar, below, has been hardest hit this year, suffering two major storms in less than a month.

Credit…Alexander Joe/Associated Press

Tropical Storm Ana brought heavy rain and flooding in late January, leaving more than 70 people dead across Madagascar, Mozambique and landlocked Malawi.

Then, on Friday, Cyclone Batsirai brought winds at speeds that ripped roofs off buildings, folding corrugated iron and twisting it into trees. At least 120 people were killed as the cyclone crossed from east to west across Madagascar.

Over the weekend, while meteorologists kept an eye on Cliff, a tropical storm that eventually bypassed the island, Tropical Storm Dumako was forming off the coast of Madagascar. Dumako is expected to make landfall today, bringing with it heavy rain.

In recent years, the links between storms and climate change have become more apparent. Research suggests that cyclones and hurricanes are becoming wetter because warm air holds more moisture. And powerful storms are occurring more frequently because warmer oceans provide more energy to fuel them. Scientists think that trend will persist as global warming continues.


What to Cook

Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Chicken with tomatoes and capers is simple and delicious.

What to Drink

Here’s a good place to start trying more Balkan wines — including plavac mali and zilavka.

What to Watch

The new Netflix series “Inventing Anna” looks at the story of a young woman accused of conning New York’s wealthy.

Now Time to Play

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: First Greek letter (five letters).

And here is the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve the newsletter. Tell us about your experience in this short survey here. Thank you!

And thanks for reading. — Melina

P.S. Kirsten Danis is now a senior editor on our Investigations desk.

The latest episode of “The Daily” is about an N.F.L. discrimination lawsuit.

Lynsey Chutel wrote the Arts and Ideas section. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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