Coronavirus cases have been rising rapidly in China since its government ended its restrictive “zero-Covid” policy last month. Hospitals are expected to be inundated with newly-infected patients.
Megan Gibson in London, Katie Stallard in Washington DC and Ido Vock in Berlin discuss why the country was so ill-prepared to lift its lockdowns and restrictions, where the responsibility lies, and the economic imperatives behind this decision, made in the depths of winter and before the Lunar New Year.
Next they turn to a rare admission by Russia’s defence ministry on Monday (2 January) that 89 Russian soldiers were killed on New Year’s Day after Ukraine hit a “temporary deployment facility” with US-supplied Himars missiles. The team discuss the consequences of the attack, as well as Vladimir Putin’s and Volodymyr Zelenksy’s respective New Year speeches.
Then in You Ask Us a listener asks for reading recommendations to better understand Ukrainian culture.
If you have a question for You Ask Us, go to newstatesman.com/youaskus
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Katie on what China’s devastating Covid outbreak means for the rest of the world
The Orphanage by Serhiy Zhadan
In Isolation by Stanislav Aseyev
Death and the Penguin by Andrey Kurkov
The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine by Serhii Plokhy
Red Famine by Anne Applebaum
Bloodlines by Timothy Snyder
East West Street by Philippe Sands
A Loss. The story of a dead solider told by his sister by Olesya Khromeychuk
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[See also: From partygate to Trussonomics, 2022 in review]