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Putin laid flowers commemorating veterans in 2 Ukrainian cities as his forces bombed them

Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at a memorial to the Hero Cities during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at a memorial to the Hero Cities during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022.
  • Vladimir Putin laid flowers on memorials for veterans in two Ukrainian cities as his forces bombed those cities. 
  • Air raid sirens were heard in Kyiv and Odesa was struck by missiles at the time of the Victory Day Parade in Moscow. 
  • Ukrainians were unhappy with the showing, with one lawyer calling the display "rotten." 

Russian President Vladimir Putin laid flowers on memorials commemorating Ukrainian veterans in two cities as Russian forces bombed those cities, the BBC reported

As a part of the Victory Day parade in Moscow Monday, Putin placed flowers on memorials for Ukrainian cities such as Kyiv and Odesa. 

Meanwhile, Russian forces were bombing the cities at the same time. The BBC reported Odesa was struck by at least four missiles that were fired from Crimea. 

Russian forces continued to shell towns in the northern Donbas region as well, the BBC reported, and there was an air alarm in Kyiv at the time Putin was laying the flowers, Larysa Denysenko, a Ukrainian lawyer wrote on Facebook.

Denysenko described the move as "rotten" in her Facebook post with other critics echoing her sentiments. 

One woman said "firstly he bombs these cities with missiles, then puts flowers."

Another said the red flowers were an "appropriate color for the amount of blood he's spilled."

"He bombs Kyiv and Odesa and then goes to put flowers on those cities," Ukrainian tennis player Alex Dolgopolov said on Twitter

One woman said Putin had a "high level of cynicism" for laying flowers at the memorial of cities he is currently bombing. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Putin laid flowers commemorating veterans in 2 Ukrainian cities as his forces bombed them

Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at a memorial to the Hero Cities during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin lays flowers at a memorial to the Hero Cities during a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Victory Day, which marks the 77th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in central Moscow, Russia May 9, 2022.
  • Vladimir Putin laid flowers on memorials for veterans in two Ukrainian cities as his forces bombed those cities. 
  • Air raid sirens were heard in Kyiv and Odesa was struck by missiles at the time of the Victory Day Parade in Moscow. 
  • Ukrainians were unhappy with the showing, with one lawyer calling the display "rotten." 

Russian President Vladimir Putin laid flowers on memorials commemorating Ukrainian veterans in two cities as Russian forces bombed those cities, the BBC reported

As a part of the Victory Day parade in Moscow Monday, Putin placed flowers on memorials for Ukrainian cities such as Kyiv and Odesa. 

Meanwhile, Russian forces were bombing the cities at the same time. The BBC reported Odesa was struck by at least four missiles that were fired from Crimea. 

Russian forces continued to shell towns in the northern Donbas region as well, the BBC reported, and there was an air alarm in Kyiv at the time Putin was laying the flowers, Larysa Denysenko, a Ukrainian lawyer wrote on Facebook.

Denysenko described the move as "rotten" in her Facebook post with other critics echoing her sentiments. 

One woman said "firstly he bombs these cities with missiles, then puts flowers."

Another said the red flowers were an "appropriate color for the amount of blood he's spilled."

"He bombs Kyiv and Odesa and then goes to put flowers on those cities," Ukrainian tennis player Alex Dolgopolov said on Twitter

One woman said Putin had a "high level of cynicism" for laying flowers at the memorial of cities he is currently bombing. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Russian forces bombed the site of a Holocaust memorial, Ukrainian officials allege

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine speaks at a Holocaust memorial event
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a speech next to a menorah at The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre, a place of a mass execution of Jews by Nazis in World War II, during a memorial ceremony in Kiev on August 19, 2019.
  • Russian forces have bombed a Holocaust memorial in Ukraine, President Zelensky said. 
  • Bombs were dropped on Babyn Yar — a site where Nazis carried out massacres during World War II.
  • At least five people were killed in Tuesday's bombing of the site, Zelensky said. 

Russian forces have bombed a Holocaust memorial in Ukraine, Ukrainian officials said Tuesday. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that bombs were dropped on Babyn Yar, a site where Nazis carried out massacres during World War II that now serves as a memorial to the Holocaust. 

"To the world: what is the point of saying "never again" for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar?" Zelensky tweeted. The attack specifically targeted the Kyiv TV tower, which is stationed on the site of Babyn Yar, according to Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba.

"At least 5 killed," Zelensky said in the tweet. "History repeating…" 

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine last week, partially and baselessly blaming the assault on claims that Ukraine is committing genocide against ethnic Russians. Putin has said he aims for the "de-Nazification" of Ukraine, a country led by a Jewish man whose native language is Russian.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Live updates: Ukrainian casualties reported in Russian invasion, NATO slams ‘brutal act of war’

Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv on February 24, 2022.
Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.
  • Russian forces attacked Ukraine on Thursday morning. Ukraine called it a "full-scale invasion." 
  • Ukraine severed diplomatic ties with Russia, and NATO accused Russia of a "brutal act of war."
  • Ukraine said eight civilians were killed, as well as dozens more troops on both sides.
Citizens fleeing Kyiv said traffic jams were "something I haven't seen before"
People are seen stuck in a huge traffic jam as they try to leave Kyiv in the direction of the western parts of the country on February 24, 2022.
People are seen stuck in a huge traffic jam as they try to leave Kyiv in the direction of the western parts of the country on February 24, 2022.

Nikita Gunkewitsch, resident of Kyiv, who is fleeing by car told Insider that fleeing Ukraine's capital city took a long time because of the traffic jams. 

"We heard siren sounds in the morning here in Kiev. Right away we packed and left the city with my girlfriend. Took a while since the traffic jams were something I haven't seen before," Gunkewitsch said.

He also posted a video to Twitter showing tanks driving alongside cars on the roads. 

"I could hear some bombings and smoke in the distance. I saw fighter jets flying super close to building and on the streets are tanks and military vehicles all the time"

He continued: "All in all we are positive. We are listing to reggae music and driving to the border. We will be alright."

 

Much of Kyiv is closed after Russian invasion of Ukraine Thursday
Bus station in Kyiv, Ukraine
People wait for a bus at Kyiv's Central Bus Station on February 24, 2022, hours after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

Contributing photographer Alan Chin told Insider that much of downtown Kyiv is closed as citizens shelter after a Russian invasion on Thursday.

"There are long lines at ATMs. Downtown, most businesses are closed, but pharmacies remained open," he said.

Chin reported that the last bus leaving Kyiv was full and that the station is now closed. As Russian forces attacked overnight, residents flocked to the train station for protection.

"An announcer urged calm," Chin said. "There were no trains heading east; according to what was posted on the board, trains to the west were still running." 

Eyewitnesses in Ukraine describe the moment they awoke in a war zone as Russian forces bombed the cities where they live
Airstrikes have damaged structures and buildings in Kyiv.
Airstrikes have damaged structures and buildings in Kyiv.

People across Ukraine were jolted from their sleep by the sounds of sirens and explosions as Russian airstrikes hit the country's capital and several other cities.

Several eyewitnesses told Insider this was their first realization that a full-scale invasion was underway.

"I woke up at five in the morning to the sounds of the blasts," said Ivanna Klympush, an MP with the European Solidarity party, speaking to Insider from her home in Kyiv. "We all did."


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Ex-NATO commander thinks Russian forces will try to capture Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

A former NATO commander and retired US Navy admiral said that he believes Russian forces will try to capture Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky amid Russia's full-scale attack on Ukraine

"I think he's gonna go full-bore, get to Kyiv, try and capture Zelensky," former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis told NBC's "Today" show of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He added that the United States must assist in helping Zelensky to"figure out a way for him to have a government in exile, arm a Ukrainian resistance."


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Russia attacked Ukraine just one week after its foreign ministry made jokes about the West's warning of an imminent invasion
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looks on as he gives an annual press conference on Russian diplomacy in 2021, in Moscow on January 14, 2022.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov looks on as he gives an annual press conference on Russian diplomacy in 2021, in Moscow on January 14, 2022.

Russia's attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning came nearly a week after its foreign ministry cracked jokes at the West for warning of an imminent invasion.

"Today we mark another day of the 'start of war with Ukraine,' which did not happen again, to the Western media outlets' regret, no matter how hard they whip up the hysteria," Russia's foreign ministry wrote on Twitter on February 16.


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Ukrainian presidential advisor says 'the West must act today'
Image Cropper - Ukrainian tanks move into the city, after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized a military operation in eastern Ukraine, in Mariupol, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Ukrainian tanks seen in Mariupol, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.

A Ukrainian presidential advisor called on the West to swiftly take action to punish Russia on Thursday after Moscow launched a military attack on Ukraine

"Russia is attacking not just Ukraine, but all the rules of normal life in the modern world," Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN

Podolyak said that a "full-fledged large-scale war has begun in Europe" after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine from multiple directions early Thursday. 

He added, "But Ukraine needs more support from the world and is very specific — military-technical and financial support, tough sanctions against Russia. The West must act today."


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Ukraine reports deaths of at least eight civilians, 40 Ukrainian soldiers, and 50 Russian soldiers
Smoke rise from an air defence base in the aftermath of a reported Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Smoke rise from an air defense base in the aftermath of a reported Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.

At least eight Ukrainian civilians were killed and nine were wounded by Russian shelling, a Ukrainian internal affairs ministry advisor said, according to Reuters.

More than 40 Ukrainian soldiers and 50 Russian soldiers were also killed in the fighting, Ukraine said, according to the Associated Press and Reuters.

NATO head calls Russia's actions a 'brutal act of war'
Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on June 14, 2021.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg described Russia's attack on Ukraine as a "brutal act of war" in a Thursday statement.

He called it a "deliberate, cold-blooded and long-planned invasion" and a "blatant violation of international law."

"Peace on our continent has been shattered. We now have war in Europe on a scale and a type that we thought belonged to history," he said. "This is a grave moment for the security of Europe."

He said member countries would meet on Friday to discuss their response.

Ukraine cuts diplomatic relations with Russia
Ukrainian military track burns at an air defence base in the aftermath of a reported Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine.
Ukrainian military track burns at an air defense base in the aftermath of a reported Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that Ukraine was severing diplomatic ties with Russia.

Ukraine's foreign ministry confirmed the decision, saying: "Our country took this step in response to acts of military aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, the invasion of Russian Armed Forces to destroy the Ukrainian state and the seizure by force of Ukrainian territories with the intent of establishing occupation control."

It added that it was evacuating its embassy in Moscow and recalling its chargé d'affaires in Russia.


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Ukraine president offers weapons to any citizen who wants to defend the country
Lviv, Ukraine.
An aerial view of Lviv, Ukraine.

President Zelensky said he would provide weapons to any citizen who wants to defend the country against Russian attacks.

"We will give weapons to anyone who wants to defend the country. Be ready to support Ukraine in the squares of our cities," he said.


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Video shows heavy traffic as people flee Kyiv on Thursday morning

The video, shared by Ukrainian MP Ivanaa Klympush with Insider's Bill Bostock, shows thousands of cars headed out of Kyiv after explosions in the city.

Ukrainian lawmakers call on NATO to impose no-fly zone over Ukraine
The body of a rocket stuck in a flat after recent shelling on the northern outskirts of Kharkiv on February 24, 2022
The body of a rocket stuck in a flat after recent shelling on the northern outskirts of Kharkiv on February 24, 2022

Two Ukrainian MPs told Insider that NATO must enforce a no-fly zone over their country.

Doing so would mean NATO members, including the US and UK, would be authorized to shoot down any Russian aircraft that enter Ukrainian airspace. 


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Ukraine says Russia is attacking from multiple directions
Ukraine officers inspect missile remnants
Police officers inspect the remains of a missile that fell in the street in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.

Ukraine's foreign ministry said on Thursday that Russia was attacking multiple Ukrainian cities "from different directions."

"This is an act of war, an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a brutal violation of the UN Charter, basic norms and principles of the international law," it said.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, also called the Russian attack a "full-scale invasion of Ukraine."


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Oil surges to $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014
Oil rig sunset background
An oil rig.

Benchmark Brent crude oil futures breached $100 a barrel for the first time since 2014 on Thursday.

Russia is one of the world's biggest oil and gas exporters, which means Russia's attack on Ukraine and the ensuing global response could disrupt the world's supply.

Russia currently supplies around 40% of the EU's natural gas supply, and threats to the supply could cause prices to rise.


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China told citizens in Ukraine to display the Chinese flag on their cars if they have to go outside
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in April 2019.

China's embassy in Ukraine advised Chinese nationals in the country to "stay at home" or to "affix the Chinese flag at a prominent spot on your car" if they have to go outside.

The notice did not tell Chinese citizens to evacuate the country, as other countries have.

The advisory comes as a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson refused to describe Russia's attack as an "invasion," and a state-owned media outlet appeared to leak a memo instructing journalists not to publish anything "not positive to Russia or positive to the West."


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UK says it is preparing harsher sanctions
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on February 1, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on February 1, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine

The UK said it were preparing harsher sanctions against Russia on Thursday, just after unveiling a "first tranche" on Tuesday.

Steve Barclay, the chief of staff to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said on Thursday that Johnson will outline "overwhelming sanctions" later on Thursday.

Its first round of sanctions included five Russian banks and three Russian individuals.

Flight tracker shows Ukraine's airspace is almost empty
skitch ukraine airspace map screenshot
A map of airspace over Ukraine on February 24, 2022, taken around 10:48 a.m. Ukrainian time.

Flight tracker FlightRadar24 showed empty airspace over Ukraine at around 11 a.m. local time on Thursday.

Ukraine announced it was closing its airspace to civilian flights from 2:45 a.m., Reuters reported.

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A small group was seen praying in the main square of Kharkiv, just 25 miles from Russia's border
Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv on February 24, 2022.
Black smoke seen rising from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv on Thursday.

A CNN news crew reporting out of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Thursday spotted a group of seven people praying in the city's main square hours after Russia's assault on the country was announced.

The northeastern city of Kharkiv is just 25 miles from Russia's border and was where some loud explosions were seen and heard earlier that morning.


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Trump mistakenly thought US troops had landed in Ukraine
Former President Donald Trump.
Former President Donald Trump made the gaffe while appearing on Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle."

After former President Donald Trump was cut off during a call-in interview on Fox News Thursday night, he returned to the airwaves shortly afterward with a gaffe about the US military.

"You know what's also very dangerous is you told me about the amphibious attack by Americans," Trump mistakenly said on "The Ingraham Angle."

"You shouldn't be saying that, because you and everybody else shouldn't know about," Trump continued. "They should do that secretly, not be doing that through the great Laura Ingraham."

"No, those are the Russians," Ingraham replied.


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Putin said Russia's attack is aimed at the 'de-Nazification of Ukraine'
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a brazen declaration when announcing an unprovoked military assault on Ukraine on Thursday.

In addition to calling on Ukrainian forces to lay down their weapons and warning other countries from interfering, Putin said he was acting to prevent a genocide against Russian-speakers and aiming for the "demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine."


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Ukraine's president told his country that 'the army is doing its work'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has told his countrymen to "stay calm" and "stay at home."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday urged his fellow citizens to stay calm as Russia launched attacks on the country. 

"Stay calm, stay at home, the army is doing its work," he said during an address to the country early Thursday. 

"Don't panic. We are strong. We are ready for everything. We will defeat everyone. Because we are Ukraine," he added.


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Ukraine's UN ambassador was consoled by other representatives after Russia's assault was announced
US ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Linda Thomas-Greenfield (C partially hidden) comforts Ukraine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya (R) after an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Ukraine in New York on February 23, 2022. - The United States and Albania will soon submit their draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council, seeking to condemn Russia for its recent Ukraine actions, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.
US ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield (partially hidden) comforts Ukraine Permanent Representative to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya (R) after an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Ukraine in New York.

Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine's Ambassador to the United Nations, was consoled by fellow UN representatives on Wednesday after Russia's surprise announcement that it had launched a military assault on his country.

Kyslytsya is seen seated behind US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield as she places a hand on his shoulder while the UK's representative, Dame Barbara Woodward, turns to face them.


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Veteran US diplomats slam former President Trump for praising Russian President Putin
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin seen at a joint press conference in 2018;

Veteran US diplomats took to Twitter this week to condemn former President Trump after he expressed his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin's war strategy.

"I went in yesterday, and there was a television screen, and I said, 'This is genius.' Putin declares a big portion of the Ukraine — of Ukraine — Putin declares it as independent. Oh, that's wonderful," Trump said on the "Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show Tuesday."


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Ukraine's top diplomat urged the international community to 'stop Putin' after the Russian president announced an attack on Ukraine
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks at the General Assembly 58th plenary meeting in New York on February 23, 2022, on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks at the General Assembly 58th plenary meeting in New York on February 23, 2022, on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Ukraine's top diplomat urged the international community to "stop Putin" after the Russian president announced a military attack on Ukraine and explosions were reported near Ukrainian cities. 

"The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now," he wrote on Twitter minutes after Russia's invasion. "Ukraine will defend itself and will win. "

Kuleba also posted a "to do list" of steps to deter Russia and said the future of both Europe and the world "is at stake."


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Putin announced attacks against Ukraine on Thursday in the same suit as his Monday speech, prompting speculation his war declaration was pre-taped
Russian President Vladimir Putin during speeches he gave on Monday (left) and Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin during speeches he gave on Monday (left) and Thursday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's attire during his Wednesday night war declaration suggests his speech may have been pre-taped. 

Putin late on Wednesday said he decided to launch a "special military action" against Ukraine, in a video that aired early Thursday morning in Russia.

But during a televised address on Monday, Putin appeared to wear the same outfit as he denounced Ukraine's sovereignty, argued that Ukraine was a creation of the Soviet Union, and announced military intervention in eastern Ukraine.

Both videos were filmed with Putin apparently sitting in the same spot, at the same table, wearing the same outfit: A black blazer with a white dress shirt and a maroon tie. 


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A CNN reporter in Kyiv paused during his live report to put on a flak jacket after hearing explosions near the Ukrainian capital
Matthew Chance
Matthew Chance puts on a flak jacket live on CNN.

CNN reporter Matthew Chance abruptly paused his live reporting from Kyiv to put on a flak jacket on-air after hearing explosions in the Ukrainian capital, blasts that came as Russia launched a major attack against Ukraine.

"I just heard a big bang right here behind me," he said, adding that "there are big explosions taking place in Kyiv right now."

He said that before tonight, the city has been "absolutely silent." As the explosions went off, Chance grabbed a flak jacket and put it on live on-air. 


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Russia's diplomat was in charge of the UN Security Council meeting as Putin announced an invasion of Ukraine
Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia attends the United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine with Russia, in New York City, U.S., February 23, 2022.
Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia attends the United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine with Russia, in New York City, U.S., February 23, 2022.

As Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an attack on Ukraine, his ambassador to the United Nations was in charge of the UN Security Council meeting late Wednesday night. 

As the Security Council discussed ways to avoid a war, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military offensive against Ukraine in a video that aired early on Thursday morning in Russia.

Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia faced off with Ukraine's UN ambassador, Sergiy Kyslytsya, in a tense exchange amid the emergency meeting in New York. 


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Trump falsely blames Russia's invasion of Ukraine on 'rigged election' in the US before Fox News cut him off
trump fox business phone interview
President Donald Trump made a lengthy call-in interview to the Fox Business Network on Thursday.

Former President Donald Trump called into Fox News late Wednesday night only to be cut off once he brought up his 2020 election lies.

Laura Ingraham was asking Trump about "a lot of weakness in the United States" and where NATO stands as Russia mounts an invasion of Ukraine.

Trump quickly pivoted to reiterating his lies about voter fraud in the 2020 election.

"I think you're exactly right, I think that's what happened," Trump said.

"He was going to be satisfied with a peace, and now he sees the weakness and the incompetence and the stupidity of this administration, and as an American, I'm angry about it, and I'm saddened by it," he continued. "And it all happened because of a rigged election. This would have never happened."


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Ukraine rips into Russia at the UN, saying war criminals 'go straight to hell'
Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya attends the United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine with Russia, in New York City, U.S., February 23, 2022
Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Nations Sergiy Kyslytsya attends the United Nations Security Council meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine with Russia, in New York City, U.S., February 23, 2022.

Ukraine's ambassador to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, delivered a speech on Wednesday condemning Russia for launching a military operation against his country.

In comments directed to the Russian ambassador, Vasily Nebenzya, at an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting, Kyslytsya said, "About 48 minutes ago, your president declared war on Ukraine."

The Ukrainian ambassador said that if Russia's representative could not answer in the affirmative, he should step down from his leadership position. 

"There is no purgatory for war criminals," Kyslytsya said to the Russian ambassador at the end of the meeting. "They go straight to hell"


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Russia attacks Ukraine, launching a new war in Europe for the first time in years
Russian tanks in Belarus
Russian and Belarusian armed forces take part in military drills in Belarus on February 11, 2022.

Russian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday morning, launching an offensive that threatens to kill thousands of people, force millions more to flee, and destabilize much of Europe, with the consequences certain to reverberate across the world. 

Blasts were heard from Kyiv, the capital, to the eastern city of Kharkiv — missile strikes, the Ukrainian interior ministry told CNN — with reports of outgoing artillery fire from Russian forces across the border.

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Biden says Putin launched a 'premeditated war' on Ukraine that will result in 'catastrophic loss of life and human suffering'
Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden.

US President Joe Biden released a statement late Wednesday saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a "premeditated war" against Ukraine.

The statement came after Putin announced a "special military operation" in Ukraine, with reports of explosions and flares coming minutes afterwards, including in Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv.

"The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces," Biden said in his statement.

"Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring," the statement said. "The world will hold Russia accountable."

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Russian President Vladimir Putin announces military assault against Ukraine in surprise speech
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a joint press conference with French President after their meeting in Moscow, on February 7, 2022. - International efforts to defuse the standoff over Ukraine intensified with French President holding talks in Moscow and German Chancellor in Washington to coordinate policies as fears of a Russian invasion mount. (Photo by Thibault Camus / POOL / AFP) (Photo by THIBAULT CAMUS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
President Vladimir Putin seen in Moscow, Russia, on February 7, 2022.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military offensive against Ukraine in a video that aired early on Thursday morning in Russia.

Putin said Russia had decided to launch a "special military action" against Ukraine, with reports of explosions and flares coming minutes later in Ukraine. The state-run Russian RIA news agency said the offensive would begin in the Donbas area of eastern Ukraine, also claiming that Putin does not have plans to occupy Ukraine.

Russia for months denied plans to invade Ukraine, even as it amassed tens of thousands of troops along the border. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began Monday has sent shockwaves through Europe and the wider world, while threatening to destabilize the surrounding region and rock global markets. 

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UN chief issues desperate plea to Putin on Ukraine: 'Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died'
This combination of file pictures created on January 11, 2022 shows Russian President Vladimir Putin land Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

UN Chief António Gutteres made a desperate plea to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday night during an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting regarding Russia's invasion into Ukraine.

"If indeed an operation is being prepared, I have only one thing to say from the bottom of my heart: President Putin, stop your troops from attacking Ukraine," Gutteres said. "Give peace a chance. Too many people have already died."

The meeting had been requested by Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba hours earlier.

During the UNSC meeting, Putin declared a "special military operation" in Donbas, scaling up his country's military invasion into Ukraine.

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Sen. Marco Rubio says the Russian invasion of Ukraine is "now underway"
Marco Rubio
Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

Sen. Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said late Wednesday that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is already underway.

The Florida lawmaker tweeted that Russia will make a series of military moves "in the hours to come."

Rubio said Russia would soon:

  • Conduct strikes on air defense systems
  • Move to cut off Kyiv from eastern Ukraine
  • Move to cut off Ukraine's military forces on the line of contact in the east to prevent them from falling back to defend Kyiv

Politico reporter Alex Ward retweeted the senator, saying a senior Democratic aide confirmed that Rubio's outline is "consistent" with US intelligence on the matter.

Earlier Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that a full-scale attack on Ukraine could begin tonight. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says 'everything seems to be in place' for Russia to mount a full-scale attack on Ukraine before the night is over
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department on October 18, 2021.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the State Department on October 18, 2021.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC News that "everything seems to be in place" for Russian forces to mount a full-scale attack on Ukraine.

He said he can't "put a date or an exact time on it" but that Russia has "positioned its forces at the final point of readiness across Ukraine's borders to the north, to the east, to the south."

"Everything seems to be in place for Russia to engage in a major aggression against Ukraine," Blinken added.

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Ukraine's parliament passed a law allowing citizens to carry firearms, and a local NGO official said 'there's a feeling that Ukrainians will fight'
Members of the Kyiv Territorial Defense Unit are trained in an industrial area on January 15, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Members of the Kyiv Territorial Defense Unit are trained in an industrial area on January 15, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The Ukrainian parliament passed a law on Wednesday, which allows citizens to carry firearms in public, alongside the enactment of a state of emergency, after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to eastern Ukraine on Monday.

Previously, Ukrainian citizens were barred from carrying guns outside of their homes.

"Now it's the intention of the parliament is to liberalize ownership of armaments by citizens," Dmytro Shulga, the European Programme Director at the International Renaissance Foundation, an NGO in Kyiv, told Insider. "And I think that this is very popular news now."

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Ukraine claims Russia may be planning a false-flag 'terrorist attack' at chemical plant in Crimea
Russian military convoy
ROSTOV, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23: A convoy of Russian military vehicles is seen as the vehicles move towards border in Donbas region of eastern Ukraine on February 23, 2022 in Russian border city Rostov.

Ukraine's military intelligence unit claimed Wednesday that employees had been evacuated from a chemicals plant in Russian-occupied Crimea ahead of a possible "terrorist attack" that would be falsely blamed on Kyiv.

In a post on Facebook, the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine said it had collected intelligence showing that "all employees" had been forced to leave the Titan chemicals plant in Armiansk, Crimea. The purpose, the post said, might be to accuse Ukraine of carrying out an attack on the facility — providing a justification for war.

"We officially declare that Ukraine has not planned and does not plan any act of sabotage at this facility," the post said.

Russia has more than 150,000 troops stationed along Ukraine's borders, with Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country on Wednesday formally requesting military intervention. The US and other allies of Ukraine have repeatedly accused of Russia of planning "false flag" attacks in order to portray an invasion as defensive in nature.


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Ukraine's Zelensky appeals directly to Russian citizens for peace after he was met with 'silence' when he tried to call Putin
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

In a somber early-morning speech from Kyiv, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed directly to the Russian people, pleading for peace amid rising fears of an imminent invasion.  

"The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace," Zelensky said in a video address. "But if we come under attack that threaten our freedom and lives of our people we will fight back."

Zelensky also said that he tried to call Russian President Vladimir Putin late Wednesday but said he was met with "silence." 


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Kremlin-backed rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine formally ask Putin for military forces to fight Ukraine
russia ukraine
A convoy of Russian armored vehicles moves along a highway in Crimea, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

The Kremlin on Wednesday said Moscow-backed rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine have asked Russia for military assistance to fight off Ukrainian "aggression," just hours after Ukraine declared a nationwide state of emergency amid rising fears of an imminent Russian invasion.

The move comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday recognized the independence of two Kremlin-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine, the self-described "people's republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk, reversing Russia's years-long stance on the region and marking a possible lead-up to a major offensive. 

On Tuesday, Russian lawmakers granted Putin powers to use military force outside of the country. 

In letters reportedly sent to Putin and published by the Russian-state TASS news agency, the Russia-backed rebel leaders requested Russian intervention in an effort to "avoid civilian casualties and prevent a humanitarian catastrophe."

The White House responded to the letters, saying the request exemplified the type of "false flag" operations the West has been warning of for weeks, according to The Associated Press.


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Ukraine's foreign minister told the UN a full-blown war with Russia would be 'end of the world order'
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks at the General Assembly 58th plenary meeting in New York on February 23, 2022, on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks at the General Assembly 58th plenary meeting in New York on February 23, 2022, on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Ukraine's foreign minister told the United Nations on Wednesday that a full-blown war with Russia would spell the "end of the world order."

"The beginning of a large-scale war in Ukraine will be the end of the world order as we know it," Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the UN General Assembly in New York and later shared on Ukraine's government website.

Kuleba urged the UN and international community to impose "swift, concrete, and resolute actions" as a response to the latest Russian aggression. 


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Ukraine declares a state of emergency
Members of Ukraine's national guard wearing uniforms and masks
Members of the National Guard of Ukraine pictured in March 2020.

Ukraine declared a nationwide state of emergency after Russia ordered troops into eastern parts of the country. 

Ukrainian MPs ratified the measures in parliament on Wednesday, after a recommendation by the country's security council.


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US warned Ukraine of new intelligence suggesting Russia is about to attack
Russian Army Western Military District tank army units loaded onto a troop train in February.
Russian Army Western Military District tank army units loaded onto a troop train in February.

The US has issued a warning to Ukraine that new intelligence suggests Russia is about to launch a major assault as its forces take up positions inside rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine, according to reports from CNN and Newsweek.

Ukrainian officials were told Tuesday morning local Kyiv time that it's highly likely Russia will begin an invasion in the next 48 hours, according to the Newsweek report.

Ukraine's foreign minister said on Tuesday that there are no plans to evacuate the city of Kharkiv, which US officials have warned is at particular risk in an assault. 

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China accuses US of 'creating panic' with sanctions against Russia
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying stands at a podium in front of a Chinese flag.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying holds a weekly press briefing in Beijing on March 21, 2018.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters during a press conference that the "US has been sending weapons to Ukraine, heightening tensions, creating panic and even hyping up the possibility of warfare."

"A key question here is what role the US — the culprit of current tensions surrounding Ukraine — has played," Chunying said. "If someone keeps pouring oil on the flame while accusing others of not doing their best to put out the fire, such kind of behavior is clearly irresponsible and immoral."

She added: "We consistently oppose all illegal unilateral sanctions."


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The European Union adopted new sanctions against Russian elites and lawmakers
EU Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy - Vice President Josep Borrell talks to media prior an EU Foreign affairs Ministers meeting, in the Europa building, the EU Council headquarters on February 21, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.
EU foreign affairs official Josep Borrell.

The European Union announced new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday targeting hundreds of Russian lawmakers, dozens of "high profile individuals," and financial restrictions.    

The sanctions zero in on 351 Russian lawmakers and 27 "high profile individuals and entities," the EU said in a statement.

Restrictive measures include freezing assets and banning any of the sanctioned elites from entering or traveling through EU territory.


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Russian government threatens 'painful' response to US over sanctions
Joe Biden (L), Vladimir Putin (R).
Joe Biden (L), Vladimir Putin (R).

The Russian government warned on Wednesday of a "strong" and "painful" response to the United States over the Biden administration's sanctions against the country over its invasion of Ukraine, according to multiple reports. 

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Russia will target "sensitive" US assets as retaliation.

The ministry said in a statement that the US sanctions against it are part of America's "ongoing attempts to change Russia's course," CNN reported


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Ukrainian government websites crashed in suspected cyberattack
2022/02/15: In this photo illustration, a This site can't be reached message is seen on Ministry of Defence of Ukraine official webpage displayed on a smartphone screen and flag of Ukraine in the background.
2022/02/15: In this photo illustration, a This site can't be reached message is seen on Ministry of Defence of Ukraine official webpage displayed on a smartphone screen and flag of Ukraine in the background.

A suspected cyberattack shut down a handful of Ukraine's government websites on Wednesday.

The websites of Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign AffairsCabinet of Ministers, and Rada — or Parliament — all experienced outages around 5 p.m. local time in Kyiv.

As of 6 p.m. local time, all three websites seemed to have been restored. 

The government was also hit last month by a cyberattack, which a top Ukrainian security official blamed on Russia. 


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Ukraine's president urges 'harsh' response from the international community over Russian aggression
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the international community to deliver an "immediate" and "harsh" response to increasing aggression from Russia.

"The response of the international community to this crime should be decisive and immediate and harsh," Zelensky said during a press conference on Wednesday.

Zelensky also said he is "confident" that the future of European security is "being decided now" in Ukraine.

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VIDEO: Thousands evacuate eastern Ukraine over fears of war
Commuters walk after exiting fa train in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.
Commuters walk after exiting fa train in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022.

Videos show thousands of residents evacuating eastern Ukraine and crossing into Russia as fears grow that Putin is moving closer to war.

Ukraine will declare a state of emergency, top security official says
Members of Ukraine's national guard wearing uniforms and masks
Members of the National Guard of Ukraine pictured in March 2020.

Ukraine's top security official said that a 30-day state of emergency will be declared on Wednesday.

Oleksiy Danilov said the state of emergency "can include restrictions on movement of transportation, additional inspections of transportation. This can include inspections of individuals' documents," the Financial Times reported.

The parliament is expected to announce its decision on Wednesday. It comes after a recommendation by the country's security council.

UK announces more military support for Ukraine
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday announced that the UK would be sending Ukraine more military support.

Johnson told the UK parliament: "In light of the increasingly threatening behaviour from Russia, and in line with our previous support, the UK will shortly be providing a further package of military support to Ukraine."

"This will include lethal aid in the form of defensive weapons and non-lethal aid."

Ukrainian parliament approves redistributing funds from any part of the budget for national security and defense
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seen at Arlington National Cemetery on September 1, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seen at Arlington National Cemetery on September 1, 2021.

Ukraine's parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted to allow the redistribution of funds from any part of the state budget for national security and defense within three months.

Ukrainian MP Oleksiy Goncharenko confirmed the move in a tweet, saying all factions of the parliamentary body voted.

The EU reportedly plans to sanction Putin's right-hand man and a notorious Russian troll farm
Ursula von der Leyen speaks on a podium at a media conference in Brussels
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels on December 1, 2021.

The EU is expected to announce sanctions against Russia later on Wednesday.

Diplomats told The Wall Street Journal the bloc plans to sanction Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the Internet Research Agency, a notorious Russian troll farm.

Shoigu is understood to be one of the few people with influence over Putin, The New York Times previously reported. He called Ukrainian nationalists "nonhumans" last year.

The Internet Research Agency helped to spread online misinformation about the 2016 US presidential election, and it was charged by the special counsel Robert Mueller's office with conspiring to interfere in the election.

China says sanctions over Ukraine are ineffective as Russia brushes them off
Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, on February 4, 2022.

China said it won't be joining the raft of countries sanctioning Russia.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry, said Wednesday:  "The position of the Chinese government is that we believe that sanctions have never been a fundamental and effective way to solve problems, and China always opposes any illegal unilateral sanctions."

Russia also downplayed sanctions from Western countries.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the BBC: "Ukraine crisis or no Ukraine crisis, the West would have imposed more sanctions on Russia anyway to restrain our country."

Russia's embassy in London also claimed the UK's sanctions were "illegal in terms of international law" and blamed "anti-Russian hysteria in the British media." 

Ukraine orders conscription of reserve troops
Ukraine Tochka-U missile
Ukrainian OTR-21 Tochka-U missile systems in Ukraine's Independence Day military parade in Kyiv, August 24, 2016.

Ukraine's armed forces said on Wednesday President Volodymyr Zelensky had signed a decree ordering the country's military reserves.

It called up reservists aged 18 to 60, and said they would serve up to a year.

Zelensky said on Tuesday that he was calling up the country's military reserves, but stopped short of a general mobilization, Reuters reported.

Zelensky said the government would work to "raise the preparedness of the Ukrainian army to all possible changes in the operational situation."

Ukraine's foreign minister calls for more sanctions against Russia
Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the State Department in Washington, DC, on February 22, 2022.

The US and UK announced harsh economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, and EU countries agreed on imposing a first round of sanctions.

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, tweeted Wednesday: "To stop Putin from further aggression, we call on partners to impose more sanctions on Russia now. First decisive steps were taken yesterday, and we are grateful for them.

"Now the pressure needs to step up to stop Putin. Hit his economy and cronies. Hit more. Hit hard. Hit now."Read Full Story

Ukraine told its 3 million citizens to leave Russia 'immediately'
This combination of file pictures created on January 11, 2022 shows Russian President Vladimir Putin land Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In a Wednesday statement, Ukraine's foreign minister told all Ukrainian citizens not to travel to Russia, and told all those who were already in the country to leave "immediately."

An estimated 3 million Ukrainians currently live in Russia.

It also said the foreign minister met US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday to discuss "further practical strengthening of the defense capabilities" of Ukraine.

"The parties discussed practical steps to protect Ukraine, in particular the development of cooperation in the fields of air and missile defense," the ministry said.


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A bipartisan group of 43 lawmakers urges President Biden to get congressional approval before sending troops into Ukraine
Congress at sunset
Signees of the letter include progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush, as well as GOP Reps. Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar.

Forty-three lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have signed a letter urging President Joe Biden to obtain approval from Congress before sending US troops to intervene in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict

The letter, dated Tuesday, was signed by both progressive Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush and Trump-allied GOP representatives, including Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar. The letter calls for Biden to abide by the Constitution and seek congressional authorization before having US troops "engage in hostilities."

"We strongly urge your administration to respect the separation of powers, US law, and Congress's constitutional war powers authority," the letter read.


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Ukraine is the frontline of the 'battle between authoritarianism and values of the free world' says a Kyiv human rights activist
russia ukraine
A convoy of Russian armored vehicles moves along a highway in Crimea, Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022.

Oleksandra Matviychuk is the chair of the Center for Civil Liberties, a Ukrainian humanitarian NGO founded in 2007, that is largely focused on implementing and pushing for democratic reforms in the country. 

Since at least 2014, Matviychuk told Insider that the organization has stood directly in Putin's path and faced consequences. As Russia formalized its occupation of Crimea that year, the organization's staff was kicked out of areas of Ukraine that increasingly fell under Russian separatist control.

Today, Matviychuk describes life in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, as surreal with people going about their daily lives, but feeling the Kremlin's stranglehold even more.

Insider spoke to Matviychuk about the realities facing Ukrainians on the ground.

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Ukraine's Western neighbors are preparing for millions of possible refugees if Russia attacks
Ukrainian citizens wait outside a train.
Citizens of the Donetsk People's Republic are seen outside a train at a railway station in Debaltsevo during a mass evacuation to Russia's Rostov-on-Don Region.

Central Europe is bracing for a possible migrant crisis as Ukraine's Western neighbors make preparations to welcome millions of refugees in the event of a large-scale Russian invasion into Ukraine.

Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and the Czech Republic have all signaled that they are planning for a surge of incoming Ukrainians as the threat of a Russian attack looms large.

The United Nation's refugee agency told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that it has not yet seen increasing numbers of fleeing Ukrainians, but called the ongoing situation "highly volatile." Some estimates suggest as many as five million people could be displaced in a worst-case scenario, the outlet reported. 

Video from Eastern Ukraine this week showed thousands of residents in the region evacuating to Russia over fears of impending war. 

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Blinken calls off meeting with Russian foreign minister
Anthony Blinken answers questions.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he is pulling out of his planned meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to recognize disputed Ukrainian territory and vowed to deploy more troops to the region.

Blinken said the US only planned to go forward with the meeting if Russia did not further invade Ukraine. He added that his decision does not foreclose diplomacy as a whole, vowing that the US and its allies would resume talks if Russia shows its seriousness about pursuing non-military options.

"Moscow needs to demonstrate that it's serious. The last 24 hours it has demonstrated the opposite," Blinken told reporters at a joint news conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. "If Moscow's approach changes, I remain and we remain ready to engage."

President Joe Biden called Putin's recent actions the "beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine" after Russia recognized two breakaway territories in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region — Donetsk and Luhansk — as independent. Moscow later ordered troops it claimed were "peacekeepers" into the region.

Biden warns Russia that the US will 'defend every inch of NATO territory' and says he is moving US troops into the Baltics
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on developments in Ukraine and Russia, and announces sanctions against Russia, from the East Room of the White House February 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on developments in Ukraine and Russia, and announces sanctions against Russia, from the East Room of the White House February 22, 2022 in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden warned Russia that the US and its allies will "defend every inch of NATO territory" during an address on Russia's recent actions toward Ukraine. 

He also announced that some US forces will be headed to the Baltic states to bolster NATO positions in the east.

The president said Russia had effectively announced it was "carving out a big chunk of Ukraine" when it recognized two territories in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine — Donetsk and Luhansk — as independent states.


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Biden warns Americans that domestic gas prices may rise amid new sanctions
President Joe Biden arrives to speak to update the situation of the Ukraine-Russia border crisis during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 18, 2022 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden arrives to speak to update the situation of the Ukraine-Russia border crisis during an event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on February 18, 2022 in Washington, DC.

President Joe Biden warned Americans that domestic gas prices could rise as the US launched a slew of sanctions against Russia.

"Defending freedom will have cost for us as well, and here at home," Biden said during a Tuesday speech at the White House. "We need to be honest about that."

He added: "I'm going to take robust action to make sure the pain of our sanctions is targeted at [the] Russian economy, not ours." 

According to the US Energy Information Administration, Russia's economy is very dependent on oil and gas exports. Read Full Story

Biden announces new sanctions against Russia over Ukraine invasion
President Joe Biden answers questions during a news conference in the East Room of the White House on January 19, 2022
President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden announced sweeping sanctions against Russia over its recent occupation in Ukraine. 

Biden said the US was imposing "full blocking sanctions" on two large Russian financial institutions — VEB and Russia's military bank.

The sanctions also target Russia's sovereign debt, with Biden saying the US has "cut off Russia's government from Western financing."

"It can no longer raise money from the West and can not trade in its new debt on our markets or European markets either," Biden said. Russian oligarchs are also being targeted in the sanctions, Biden said.

The US president denounced Russia's recognition of expansive borders sought by separatists in eastern Ukraine, calling the moves "the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine."


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US embassy trolls Russia with meme after Putin's revisionist history rant on why Ukraine is not a real country
A photograph shows the US Embassy building in Kyiv, on January 24, 2022.
A photograph shows the US Embassy building in Kyiv, Ukraine, on January 24, 2022.

The US embassy in Kyiv trolled Russia with a meme on Tuesday after President Vladimir Putin went on revisionist history tirade on why Ukraine is not a real country.

A photo posted to Twitter by the embassy shows four photos of religious sites in Kyiv from the years 996 to 1108. Underneath is four photos of a forest with "Moscow" written underneath, and marked with the same timeline. 

The meme is a reference to a speech Putin gave on Monday where he claimed that Ukraine was a creation of the Soviet Union and part of Russia's historic territory.  


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Putin backs all of rebels' claims in eastern Ukraine, a possible lead-up to a major assault on Ukrainian defenders
Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Bocharov Ruchei residence on September 29.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that he recognized Moscow-backed separatists' full territorial claims to eastern Ukraine, marking a possible lead-up to a major assault on Ukrainian defenders.

Putin backed the separatists' claims to the territory in the eastern province of Donbas where the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are located, according to The Moscow Times.

"We recognized them. And this means that we recognized all their fundamental documents, including the constitution," Putin said during a Tuesday evening press conference, according to a translation from The Moscow Times.


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European Commission head says Russia 'manufactured' the crisis in Ukraine and is 'responsible' for its escalation
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is talking to media at the end of the second day of an EU Africa Summit on February 17, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen is talking to media at the end of the second day of an EU Africa Summit on February 17, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium.

The European Commission president said Russia "manufactured" the crisis in Ukraine and is "responsible" for its latest escalation.

"Russia is not respecting its international obligations and it is violating core principles of international law," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference on Tuesday. 

She added: "Russia has manufactured this crisis and is responsible for the current escalation."

von der Leyen said the European Commission is working on finalizing a sanctions package. 


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Trump slams Biden's 'weak sanctions' on Russia, despite previously suggesting that Russia's past invasions weren't a big deal
Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a "Save America" rally in Florence, Ariz., on January 15, 2022.

Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized President Joe Biden's initial sanctions on Russia and questioned whether Russian President Vladimir Putin would have ordered troops into Ukraine during his time in office. 

"If properly handled, there was absolutely no reason that the situation currently happening in Ukraine should have happened at all," Trump said in a statement. "I know Vladimir Putin very well, and he would have never done during the Trump Administration what he is doing now, no way!"

Trump also expressed outrage over Russia "taking over a country and a massive piece of strategically located land," a stark contrast to some of his past comments that downplayed Russia's occupation of Ukrainian territory.


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White House says Russia has launched the 'beginning of an invasion' in Ukraine
Russian troops Ukraine tensions
Russia ordered troops to cross into rebel-held Ukrainian territory on Monday.

The White House said Tuesday that Russia has launched the "beginning of an invasion" in Ukraine following Putin's order to deploy troops to eastern regions of the country Monday. 

"We think this is, yes, the beginning of an invasion, Russia's latest invasion into Ukraine," deputy national security advisor Jon Finer told CNN. He was referring to Russia moving so-called "peacekeepers" into separatist territories in eastern Ukraine that the Kremlin recognized as independent on Monday. 

"I think 'latest' is important here," Finer said. "An invasion is an invasion, and that is what is underway. But Russia has been invading Ukraine since 2014."

"I don't know how much more clear I can be," he added. "This is the beginning of an invasion."


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Putin says Minsk accords, which were meant to end war in eastern Ukraine, no longer exist
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Tuesday that the Minsk peace agreements no longer "exist," according to Russian state media. 

The agreements sought to end the war in Eastern Ukraine.  

"The Minsk agreements do not exist now," he said, according to a translation from AFP, one day after he formally recognized the independence of two Moscow-backed separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and ordered troops there. 


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Putin calls for recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, among other demands
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a number of demands on Tuesday, including the recognition of Crimea to be a part of Russia. 

Putin also called for a halt to weapons shipments to Ukraine and an end to talks of Ukraine joining NATO, both long-standing Russian grievances.

Putin also baselessly claimed on Tuesday that Ukraine had the capacity to create nuclear weapons. The false claim comes as US officials have warned that Russia is seeking a pretext to invade Ukraine.

Ukraine was briefly the third-largest nuclear power in the world after the fall of the Soviet Union due to a large number of Soviet nukes left behind, NPR reported. However, in 1994, the country agreed to give up the nukes in exchange for the US, UK, and Russia guaranteeing its safety.

Ukraine has never produced its own nuclear weapons.

 

NATO chief says this is the 'most dangerous' moment in European security in a 'generation'
Jens Stoltenberg
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference during a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14, 2021.

NATO's secretary general gave a warning Tuesday as the possibility for a Russian invasion of Ukraine looms over Europe. 

"This is the most dangerous moment in European security for a generation," Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday. 

"We urge Russia in the strongest possible terms to choose the path of diplomacy," Stoltenberg added. 


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Russian lawmakers said Putin can use military force abroad
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council in Moscow on February 21, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council in Moscow on February 21, 2022.

Russian lawmakers have given President Vladimir Putin the go-ahead to use military force abroad, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

The vote passed unanimously and formalizes a military deployment. 

This move comes a day after Putin ordered troops into Eastern Ukraine as a "peacekeeping" operation and could be the precursor to an invasion.


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Jen Psaki praises Germany for shutting down Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline over Russian invasion threat
Jen Psaki
White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki commended Germany for shutting down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline after Russia sent troops to Ukraine. 

"[Joe Biden] made clear that if Russia invaded Ukraine, we would act with Germany to ensure Nord Stream 2 does not move forward," Psaki tweeted. "We have been in close consultations with Germany overnight and welcome their announcement."

She added: "We will be following up with our own measures today."


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UK sanctions Russian banks, individuals

The UK announced sanctions against five major banks and three individuals on Tuesday in its first move to punish Russia for sending troops to Ukraine. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it the "first tranche, the first barrage" of sanctions over its aggression towards Ukraine.

The five banks are Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank, and the Black Sea Bank. Three individuals – Gennady Timchenko, Boris Rotenberg, and Igor Rotenberg – were also named.


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Germany axes pivotal Nord Stream 2 pipeline bringing Russian gas to Europe
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz addresses a joint press conference with Ireland's Prime Minister following talks at the Chancellery in Berlin on February 22, 2022. (Photo by John MACDOUGALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on February 22, 2022.

Germany scrapped plans for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an address on the Ukraine crisis Tuesday that he is going to "reassess" the certification, a necessary approval for the pipeline to start moving gas from Russia to Europe.


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Map shows potential paths of Russian attack into Ukraine


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Putin orders Russian troops to eastern Ukraine for 'peacekeeping' operation, a major escalation towards a war
Vladimir Putin Ukraine speech February 21 2022 Donetsk Luhansk recongition
Vladimir Putin of Russia gives a televised address on Ukraine on February 21, 2022. Shortly after, he recognized the separatist regions of Luhansk and Donetsk as independent and ordered troops there.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Eastern Ukraine on Monday as a "peacekeeping operation," escalating the conflict between the two countries. 

Putin signed a presidential decree allowing the "peacekeeping" after he decided to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk, two separatist territories that are loyal to Moscow, as independent states rather than a part of Ukraine. 

Russia has been building up forces around Ukraine for months, while the US and its allies have warned Russia not to invade the country or face severe sanctions.


Read Full Story

Background reading
Biden Putin
President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, Switzerland.

Before the invasion, experts told Insider senior reporters John Haltiwanger and Ryan Pickrell what they expected Putin's next moves would be, how Russia could use failed NATO talks as "pretext" for invading, and how the US could get pulled into a conflict with Russia.

In the 1990s, Biden played a key role in NATO's expansion east, which Putin blames for the contentious dynamic between Moscow and the West.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Florida surgeon general’s call for people to stop relying on testing is a ‘me first, forget everybody else’ approach, health expert says

A long line of cars is seen at the entrance to a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site in Barnett Park in Orlando.
A long line of cars is seen at the entrance to a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site in Barnett Park in Orlando.
  • Florida is switching its approach to COVID-19 testing, focusing on giving tests to "high-value" patients. 
  • A public health expert told Insider this method is consistent with a "me first, forget everybody else" approach. 
  • She said the state should actually be ramping up testing, rather than cutting back.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo's call for people to stop relying on COVID-19 testing is "consistent with an anti-public health approach to the pandemic" and a "me first, forget everybody else" way of thinking, a public health expert told Insider. 

At a COVID-19 briefing Monday, Ladapo and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the state will be shifting focus to testing "high-value" patients as cases surge due to the Omicron variant. 

"High-value testing is testing that is likely to change outcomes," Ladapo said.

He added that they are working to unwind the testing psychology that has been caused by federal leadership. 

"We need to unwind this testing and living one's life around testing," Ladapo said. "Without it, we're going to be stuck in the same cycle so it's really time for people to be living, to be making the decisions they want regarding vaccination, and enjoy the fact that many people have natural immunity."

Dr. Celine Gounder, an Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, told Insider she sees this move as a focus on the individual rather than the community. 

"Testing psychology is really about caring and looking out for others," she said. "Basically what they're saying is 'You don't need to worry about other people, you can just focus on yourself as the individual. You can make your individual decisions about whether you get infected or not, whether you get vaccinated or not, and you take responsibility for your individual decisions.'"

She added that it implies that the state does not want to isolate or quarantine people to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

"That really is not going to be part of the policy here if they are going to focus on individuals," she said. 

In order to get to the other side of the pandemic, Gounder said that actions in the interest of the community are actually in the individual interest.

She said a lack of understanding of this mindset is contributing to attitudes that work to treat COVID-19 as an individual, rather than a community-wide, problem. 

"I think it's corrosive in terms of thinking about public health problems which are community-level problems, population-level problems," she said. "Trying to reduce those to individual issues, which they are not, and that really sets you up for failure. At least if you care about preventing disease and death." 

She added that in states where "individual trumps community," you could see the same pattern of shifting testing techniques. 

For a state like Florida, where testing lines are getting unmanageable, Gounder said the right move is actually to be ramping up testing rather than cutting back as this plan proposes. 

"Clearly there is demand for testing that's not being met," she said. "Putting our heads in the sand and pretending this isn't happening isn't going to help us." 

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The first American to die of the Omicron variant was an unvaccinated Texas man who had previously caught COVID-19

A nurse holds the tube containing the photographer's throat and nose swab sample for a Covid-19 test at a hospital on the 2nd day of his 14-day quarantine during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on October 29, 2020 in Stahnsdorf, Germany.
A nurse holds the tube containing the photographer's throat and nose swab sample for a Covid-19 test at a hospital on the 2nd day of his 14-day quarantine during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on October 29, 2020 in Stahnsdorf, Germany.
  • The first American believed to have died of the Omicron variant was an unvaccinated man from Texas in his 50s. 
  • The man, who died on Monday, also had underlying conditions and had COVID-19 once before.
  • The Omicron variant now accounts for 73% of all cases in the United States, the CDC reported.  

The first American believed to have died of the Omicron variant was an unvaccinated man from Texas who had already had the coronavirus once before, county officials said.

The man, a Harris County, Texas, resident between 50 and 60 years old, was a high-risk patient due to underlying conditions and his unvaccinated status, a press release from the county said. He died on Monday.

"This is a reminder of the severity of COVID-19 and its variants," Harris County Public Health Executive Director Barbie Robinson said in a statement. "We urge all residents who qualify to get vaccinated and get their booster shot if they have not already."

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the patient's family, and we extend our deepest sympathies," she added.

The man is the first recorded death attributed to the Omicron coronavirus variant in the US. 

The Omicron variant now accounts for 73% of all COVID-19 cases in the US, the CDC reported Monday.  

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo also urged people in the county to get vaccinated and boosted in a tweet posted Monday

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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2 Capitol rioters who prepped for the January 6 mob with a gas mask and Kevlar-lined gloves get prison time

journalists capitol riots cameras
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol in Washington. Some people charged with storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 are claiming they were only there to record history as journalists, not join a deadly insurrection.

Two friends from Ohio who stormed the Capital during the January 6 riot were sentenced to 45 days in jail on Wednesday, ABC News reported.

Derek Jancart, an Air Force veteran, and Erik Rau, a steel-mill worker, previously pleaded guilty to non-violent misdemeanors.

While the pair weren't accused of violence or conspiracy to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's win, they were still given jail time after prosecutors noted that they prepared for violence at the insurrection.

Prosecutors said Jancart brought a gas mask and two-way radios to the January 6 riot, while Rau brought Kevlar-lined gloves and medical supplies.

Jancart and Rau spent 40 minutes inside the Capitol building with the mob. Jancart celebrated reaching House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's conference room on social media, according to ABC News.

Both have since apologized for their actions, ABC reported, with Jancart claiming he was "caught up in the moment."

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About 100 Americans are still trying to get out of Afghanistan

passengers on tarmac at kabul airport in afghanistan
Passengers walk on the tarmac to board a commercial aircraft bound to Kabul at Herat Airport on September 22, 2021.
  • About 100 Americans are still waiting to leave Afghanistan, Reuters reported on Monday.
  • US troops left on August 30, effectively ending the war in Afghanistan.
  • This makes it more difficult for US citizens and permanent residents to return home.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

About 100 US citizens and permanent residents are still waiting to leave Afghanistan, an anonymous senior State Department official told reporters on Monday, according to Reuters.

"Our highest priority in Afghanistan, of course, remains helping those American citizens who wish to leave the country now to do so," the official said.

The war in Afghanistan effectively ended on August 30 as the remaining US troops left the country, making it more difficult to evacuate Americans who want to come back home. But roughly 85 Americans and 79 legal permanent residents have left Afghanistan on various flights since the last troops departed, per what the official told Reuters.

The Biden administration faced bipartisan criticism over its handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal - particularly over the fact that Americans and thousands of Afghan allies were left behind.

As the US entered the final stages of the pullout, the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan. The militant Islamists marched into Kabul in mid-August after rapidly taking over major cities - often without much of a fight from Afghan forces. The Taliban takeover prompted panic in Kabul and scenes of chaos at the capital city's airport, as thousands of people desperately tried to flee the country. The US was able to evacuate roughly 124,000 people after the Afghan government fell.

During the evacuations, ISIS-K staged a devastating suicide attack near the airport, killing 13 US service members and 169 Afghans. The US responded with drone strikes, one of which killed 10 Afghan civilians - including seven children.

Since the US completed the withdrawal, the Taliban established an all-male interim government. Among the ministers is the leader of a US-designated terror group who's wanted by the FBI.

Though the militants have sought to pose as moderates since regaining control of Afghanistan, they've also violently cracked down on dissent and been accused of human rights violations. One of the founders of the Taliban also recently told the Associated Press that the militant group will bring back public executions and hand amputations as a form of punishment.

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Gov. DeSantis just lost his latest bid to ban mask mandates in Florida schools – for now

ron desantis
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference to announce the opening of a monoclonal antibody treatment site for COVID-19 patients at Lakes Church in Lakeland, Florida on August 21, 2021.
  • A judge ruled Wednesday Florida schools can continue to impose mask mandates for now.
  • Last month, a judge ruled Gov. Ron DeSantis did not have the authority to issue a mask ban.
  • Now his mask mandate ban is on hold while a court considers his appeal.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Florida school districts can continue enforcing mask mandates, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis' appeal.

Second Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled that Florida must stop enforcing the governor's mask mandate ban, which means school districts in the state can continue to require masks while the case is appealed in a higher court, CNN reported on Wednesday.

This comes after Judge John Cooper ruled last month the governor did not have authority to issue a mask ban. But DeSantis appealed and his order stood while a higher court considered it.

Cooper said there was "overwhelming evidence" presented to him in a lawsuit by Florida parents that wearing masks in school settings does provide protection, especially for those kids under 12 who have yet to be vaccinated, the Associated Press reported.

"We're not in normal times. We are in a pandemic," Cooper said during a hearing held remotely, according to the AP. "We have a (coronavirus) variant that is more infectious and dangerous to children than the one we had last year."

After Cooper's initial ruling, mask bans in districts were immediately lifted. A number of districts had already defied the governor's ban, though, and were imposing mask mandates anyways.

DeSantis initially ordered the mask ban in July, saying that it gave parents the right to make the choice for their own children, but Cooper ruled it also removed the government's authority to impose actions that are needed to protect public health.

"This ruling was made with incoherent justifications, not based in science and facts - frankly not even remotely focused on the merits of the case presented," Taryn Fenske, DeSantis' communications director, said in a statement following Cooper's ruling.

The case goes to the First District Court of Appeals next, but could ultimately be decided by the state's supreme court, the AP reported. DeSantis is hopeful the state will prevail, he said at an appearance Wednesday, according to the AP.

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Medical professionals in DC could lose their licenses if they don’t get vaccinated by the end of September

US Military Vaccine
  • DC healthcare workers could lose their licenses if they don't get vaccinated soon.
  • Testing regularly for the coronavirus will no longer be an option come September 30.
  • Religious and medical exemptions are still available for those who qualify, DC said Wednesday.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Medical professionals in Washington, DC, could lose their licenses if they don't get at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by September 30.

The DC Health Department released new vaccination guidelines for licensees on Wednesday.

While there are medical and religious exemptions available, there will not be an option to get regular COVID-19 tests to prove negativity, NBC Washington first reported.

"Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action against your license, including but not limited to suspension, revocation, or non-renewal of said license," the Health Department guidelines say.

In a statement NBC Washington reporter Mark Segraves shared, the DC Department of Health said the city has an "alarming number" of unvaccinated medical professionals who could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.

The move comes after an announcement last month that said all DC healthcare workers would be required to get the vaccine, but in that announcement, there was no indication whether weekly testing would be an option, NPR reported.

Separately, DC's vaccine mandate for government workers goes into effect on September 19, but those guidelines allow people who don't get vaccinated to get weekly tests in lieu of a shot, according to NPR. The same goes for federal workers under President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate.

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