Wednesday Press Conference – New York Times

President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the US and Europe to do more to protect Ukraine a wide-ranging interview with The Times. He proposed that NATO aircraft shoot down Russian missiles over Ukrainian airspace.

“What problem?” Zelensky said in an interview Monday in Kiev. “Why can’t we shoot them down? Is it defensive? Correct. Is this an attack on Russia? Are not. Are you shooting down Russian planes and killing Russian pilots? Are not. So what’s the problem with involving NATO countries in the war? There is no such problem.”

That kind of direct NATO involvement, which analysts say could provoke Russian retaliation, has been opposed by Western capitals. Zelensky compared how the US and UK helped Israel shoot down a series of drones and missiles from Iran last month.

Zelensky said he had also called on senior US officials to allow Ukraine to fire US missiles and other weapons at military targets inside Russia, a tactic the US continues to oppose. The inability to do that, he said, gave Russia a “huge advantage” in the cross-border war, which it is exploiting with attacks in northeast Ukraine.

Zelensky spoke with a mixture of frustration and bewilderment at the West’s reluctance to take bolder steps to ensure that Ukraine would win the war.

His plea comes at a critical moment for Ukraine’s war effort. The country’s military is withdrawing and a new US weapons package has not yet been delivered in sufficient quantities. Since the early days of the war, Ukraine has not faced a serious military challenge, analysts say.

“Shoot down what is in the skies over Ukraine,” Zelensky said. “And provide us with weapons to use against Russian forces on the border.”

Read the transcript of the interview.

Video posted by Iranian news agencies showed crowds lining the streets of Tabriz, a city in northwest Iran, yesterday. flag-draped coffin procession of President Ebrahim Raisi, his foreign minister and six others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

The procession in Tabriz was the first in a series of official events to bid farewell to Raisi, a hardline cleric who is widely seen as a potential successor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader. High.

The country is grappling with the shock of losing two top leaders at such a tumultuous time. Now Khamenei is weighing options on how to conduct elections and rebuild the country’s leadership structure.

He must choose between opening the race and facing moderate opponents, or limiting the candidacies and risking embarrassment in the face of low voter turnout, My colleague Erika Solomon reports.

The Biden administration is ready to send about a dozen Guantánamo Bay detainees arrive in Oman for resettlement last year. Then, Hamas attacked Israel and the US suddenly stopped its secret operations.

None of the Yemeni prisoners have ever been charged with a crime and all of them have been cleared for transfer by the national security review board. A military plane was on the runway, ready to transport them.

However, US officials said Democrats raised concerns about the possibility of instability in the Middle East after the October 7 attack. My colleague Carol Rosenberg reports that the deals are still under review.

“Kairos,” Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel about a torrid love affair in the final years of her life in East Germany, won the International Book Award yesterday. The jury president said that the book’s relationship and the couple’s “descent into destruction” tracked the history of East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Erpenbeck shares the award with Michael Hofmann, who translated the book into English. This is the first novel written in German to win the award.

Read our review And a profile by Erpenbeck.

OpenAI asked Scarlett Johansson, who played the virtual assistant in the movie “Her,” to consider licensing her voice to virtual assistants. Johansson said no twice.

But last week, the company released a chatbot with a voice that Johansson said sounded “strangely similar to me.” She hired a lawyer and asked OpenAI to stop using the voice named Sky.

The company suspended Sky over the weekend. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said that “Sky’s voice is not Scarlett Johansson’s and it was never intended to sound like her.”

Johansson is the latest high-profile figure to accuse OpenAI of using creative work without permission. The company has been sued by authors, actors and the press for copyright infringement, including The Times, which sued OpenAI and its partner, Microsoft.

That’s all for today’s meeting. Thank you for spending part of your morning with us and see you tomorrow. — Justin

PS The Athletic has expanded tennis coverage.

You can contact Justin and the team at [email protected].

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