Reports from the frontline in southern Ukraine yesterday evening claimed that Ukrainian troops are advancing ever closer to the key city of Kherson in the country’s south. The commander of Ukraine’s military forces in the field, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said his forces had advanced four miles in the past 24 hours and recaptured 12 settlements, leaving them within striking distance of the city.

Retaking the city, which was captured shortly after Russia invaded at the end of February, would have enormous strategic and symbolic significance. It would open up the way to strike at Crimea to the south and would also compromise Russia’s hold on the Zaporizhzhia region. But the Kherson oblast is also one of the four regions illegally annexed by Russia at the end of September, so its recapture so soon after would be a major humiliation for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Catch up with a weekly recap of our coverage of the Ukraine war here.

One of the banes of life for middle-aged and elderly people is the prevalence of high blood pressure, or hypertension. Now new research has found that this condition has been linked to a 22% higher risk of developing severe or even fatal COVID. You can find the details here. And a new study has found that Einstein’s theory of general relativity may have to be adjusted to take in what we now know about the universe and its gravity.

Jonathan Este

Associate Editor, International Affairs Editor

Poised: a Ukrainian artillery position outside Kherson. EPA-EFE/Stanislav Kozliuk

Ukraine war: Russia pulling out of key city of Kherson – what it means for the conflict

Christopher Morris, University of Portsmouth

Some analysts think Russia’s withdrawal may be a ruse, to draw Ukrainian troops into urban warfare.


High blood pressure linked to 22% greater risk of severe COVID – new research

Holly Pavey, University of Cambridge; Carmel McEniery, University of Cambridge; Ian Wilkinson, University of Cambridge

Our research has shown that people with high blood pressure are more likely to be admitted to hospital and die from COVID. But effective blood pressure control helps.

Thousands of galaxies seen by the James Webb Space Telescope. Nasa

We tested Einstein’s theory of gravity on the scale of the universe – here’s what we found

Kazuya Koyama, University of Portsmouth; Levon Pogosian, Simon Fraser University

The theory of gravity may need to be altered.

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