Ukraine on the brink: Inside the 28 January Guardian Weekly

·1 min read

The diplomatic avenues appear exhausted. The army units are in position. And perhaps most tellingly, nations including the US, Australia and Britain this week began moving embassy staff out of Kyiv. Is there any hope left of averting a Russian invasion of Ukraine, and how on earth did we get to this point?

Luke Harding reports from the frontline in south-eastern Ukraine, while Andrew Roth examines the build-up to the crisis. Then Simon Tisdall ruminates on the increasingly opaque motives of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, a “rogue male” on the world stage whose destructive actions must be reined in.

China’s controversial Winter Olympics are just over a week away, but Beijing’s biggest dilemma in the lead-up may come not from a diplomatic sporting cold shoulder, but an outbreak of Omicron. Will the fast-spreading Covid-19 variant force Beijing to double down on its national strategy of total virus suppression, or will it force a change – both in policy and mindset?

Britain this week awaited the publication of a Cabinet Office report into lockdown parties at Downing Street – possibly as soon as today. As Boris Johnson’s desperate efforts to change the national conversation were derailed by new reports of a birthday gathering for the prime minister in June 2020, it emerged the police were also investigating the gatherings. Will it prove the icing on the cake for those who want to see Johnson booted out of No 10? Watch this space …

For years, the jet pack was the ultimate symbol of the future, a key to soaring ambition and limitless movement. But now someone has actually invented one that works, hardly anyone seems interested. The author Dave Eggers takes to the skies to find out why.

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