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2023/04/28 第430期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
紐時周報精選 Above Ukraine’s Front Lines, Whirring Relics Battle On 直升機在烏克蘭天空的戰鬥轟鳴
E.U. Diplomat Sees a ‘New Beginning’ in the U.K. 困在脫歐僵局的駐英外交官 如今看到新起點
Above Ukraine’s Front Lines, Whirring Relics Battle On 直升機在烏克蘭天空的戰鬥轟鳴
文/Carlotta Gall


On a field, three Soviet-era helicopters were being readied for battle. Pilots and crew checked the flight plan for their next target, while technicians loaded rockets into launcher pods and stacked flares into racks behind the exhaust.


One year into the war, against all the odds, Ukraine’s helicopter brigades are still operational. Every day of the week, multiple times a day, they go into battle against enemy forces, launching rocket attacks along the front lines in support of ground troops and occasionally slipping under Russian air defenses to fly covert missions into enemy territory.


Far from being knocked out in the first days of the invasion, Ukraine’s helicopters and jets have kept flying, remaining an inspiring and useful element of the war effort.


The 18th Sikorsky Brigade, the foremost of Ukraine’s four helicopter brigades, gave reporters access to a combat unit for two days recently. Officers and pilots described how the Ukrainian brigades moved their aircraft at the onset of the war to evade Russian strikes, and how they adapted their tactics to fighting a much more powerful and better equipped adversary.


“We go where we should not go,” said Oleksiy, 38, a colonel and deputy commander of the brigade. He gave only his first name in keeping with military protocol. “The main task is to destroy the enemy by fire.”


Both sides have used helicopters for critical tasks because of their mobility. Russia landed troops in the first days in at least two locations, and Ukraine flew rescue missions to the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol. Yet helicopters have also proved vulnerable as the fighting primarily turned into an artillery war on the open plains of eastern Ukraine, and tasks were limited to firing rockets from Ukrainian lines.


The Ukrainians fly aging Russian-made helicopters that were designed in the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.


“These are helicopters from the last century,” Oleksiy said. Their weapons, unguided, Soviet-era rockets, “are very outdated and don’t meet the requirements of modern combat.”


One consolation for the Ukrainians is that their Russian adversaries are flying similar machines whose design has not advanced much in recent decades, but Russia has a big advantage in the volume of helicopters and ammunition. “Most of their weapons are also from Soviet times,” Oleksiy said, “but you can’t underestimate the fact they have a lot of this Soviet metal.”


E.U. Diplomat Sees a ‘New Beginning’ in the U.K. 困在脫歐僵局的駐英外交官 如今看到新起點
文/Stephen Castle

困在脫歐僵局的駐英外交官 如今看到新起點

As the European Union’s ambassador to London, João Vale de Almeida had a ringside seat for the chaos overwhelming British politics last year, when all eyes were on the missteps, scandals and resulting downfalls of two prime ministers in quick succession.


Under either of the ousted prime ministers, Vale de Almeida indicated, prospects were dim for resolving one of the most serious conflicts contributing to rocky post-Brexit relations between Britain and the European Union: the trade status of Northern Ireland.


But the relationship has shifted significantly with the rise of a new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, Vale de Almeida said, culminating Monday when Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, struck a deal to resolve their Northern Ireland dispute.


That breakthrough, Vale de Almeida said, opened a path to greater cooperation not only between Brussels and London but also between Europe and the United States in confronting common challenges such as Russian aggression and rising tension with China, where Western cooperation is essential.


“If Sunak gets enough support for the deal, we can see this as a new beginning,” Vale de Almeida, who completed his assignment in London late last year, said in an interview. “With the EU, the U.K. and the U.S., there is a triangular dimension.”


The agreement followed an era of unrivaled mistrust under Sunak’s two most recent predecessors, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, and Vale de Almeida said the accord illustrated growing European faith in the new British prime minister.


The deal, called the Windsor Framework, outlines mechanisms to smooth trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom without impeding trade across Northern Ireland’s land border with Ireland, an EU member country.


Tension over the status of Northern Ireland has bedeviled negotiators since Britain voted in 2016 to withdraw from the bloc. In 2020, both sides ratified a withdrawal agreement negotiated by Johnson that kept goods flowing freely across the Irish border but infuriated many people in Northern Ireland by hampering the territory’s trade with Great Britain.


Johnson and Truss then backed legislation to allow Britain to renege on parts of the deal they had approved, angering EU officials. Sunak agreed to drop that plan while securing some new concessions on behalf of Northern Ireland.


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