Thursday Briefing: Ukraine Strikes Russia’s Black Sea Fleet

A Ukrainian attack targeting the headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea yesterday damaged two ships and triggered a large blaze at a sprawling naval shipyard, Russian and Ukrainian officials said.

The early morning attack appeared to be the largest on the Russian naval headquarters in Sevastopol, which hosts operations that are key to the Kremlin’s war efforts, since Moscow invaded Ukraine nearly 19 months ago. The Russian-backed governor of Crimea said that at least 24 people were injured at the shipyard.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement that Ukraine had fired 10 cruise missiles at the facility at the same time as it targeted a Russian warship on the Black Sea with three maritime drones. Moscow’s rare acknowledgment of a successful attack in Crimea came after local residents posted images of explosions and raging fires.

In diplomatic news, President Vladimir Putin held a summit with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, a space launch center in eastern Russia. They lifted their glasses at a flower-lined table in the remote spaceport, toasting the Kremlin’s “sacred struggle” against a “band of evil,” otherwise known as the West.

The Libyan authorities said yesterday that thousands were still missing after catastrophic flooding hit the northeastern part of the country, an indication that the death toll, which already surpassed 5,000, could rise further in coming days.

Desperately needed aid was trickling into the northeast. But the coastal city of Derna, much of which was destroyed by torrents of water from two dams that collapsed, was accessible only from an unpaved road.

Ruba Hatem Yassine escaped Derna to find safety, along with her pregnant sister and several older relatives. She recounted how they dashed from rooftop to rooftop as floodwaters swallowed the streets, sheltering in storage areas as their neighbors, who were trapped in the waters or under rubble below, cried out for help.

Here’s what else we know about the disaster. These photos offer an on-the-ground look at what the area has endured.

In Morocco, the towns and villages of the Atlas Mountains were building a thriving tourist industry. The earthquake may have jeopardized that economic lifeline.

Hard questions for travelers: With so many popular destinations devastated by disasters this year — Turkey, Greece, Hawaii and Morocco — tourists have to ask themselves if their presence is a burden or a benefit.

The E.U. will begin an investigation into Chinese subsidies of electric vehicles, the bloc’s top official announced yesterday, a move that highlights Europe’s growing industrial and geopolitical competition with China. The E.U.’s inquiry could lead to trade restrictions.

Chinese automakers have gained a dominant position in the global electric vehicle industry and see Europe as a key potential market. European manufacturers have expressed concern about competing with subsidized Chinese models, but the association representing automakers in Germany — where the industry has invested heavily in China’s market — urged caution.

In an era of Instagram tourism, while visitors crowd Santorini, the Eiffel Tower and the Colosseum, millennials like my colleague Lauren Jackson have been seeking out less curated travel experiences like the open spaces of Mongolia.

This year, Jackson and a friend drove 45 hours across the steppes under a sky so wide that “the horizon seemed to curve,” through horse races, hail storms and meadows of wildflowers.

Cigarettes are suddenly everywhere in art, design and even food. It could be nostalgia — they have been an enduring icon of old-school glamour. Maybe it’s a backlash against wellness culture or a manifestation of existential anxiety.

“We’re living through a moment when there are a lot of bad things for our health that are beyond our control,” said Todd Heim, whose tabletop line, Chez Diane, includes coasters embroidered with cigarettes. Other artists, like Taylor Lee Nicholson, whose grandmother had skin cancer after a lifetime working in tobacco fields, use cigarettes as a way to skewer corporate greed.

“Seeing my grandmother die and not being compensated in any way showed me how disposable people are to Big Tobacco,” Nicholson said. “And since the cigarette is also a disposable item, I thought it would be interesting to discard my art too.”

During a road trip last spring, Nicholson, who uses gender neutral pronouns, left their ceramic cigarettes on toilet seats, sinks and stacks of newspapers at gas stations and truck stops.

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