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Pentagon Denies National Guard Troops For DC After "Sanctuary City" Mayor Begs For Help

Pentagon Denies National Guard Troops For DC After "Sanctuary City" Mayor Begs For Help The Pentagon has denied a request from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to deploy the National Guard in response to an influx of illegal migrants arriving in the nation's capital, according to the Daily Caller, citing a Pentagon spokesperson. According to the spokesperson, deploying the Guard would "negatively impact" the force's readiness. "The Secretary of Defense has declined to approve the DCHSEMA request for DCNG to provide personnel and the DC Armory to assist the NGO, SAMU First Response, with transportation and reception of migrants arriving in the DC area. We have determined providing this support would negatively impact the readiness of the DCNG and have negative effects on the organization and members," said the spokesperson. "We understand SAMU First Response has received grant funding through FEMA’s Emergency Food and Shelter Program, and has indicated that sufficient EFSP funds exist at this point to provide migrant assistance," they added. As the Washington Examiner's David Freddoso notes, "Being a sanctuary city is all fun and games until the migrants actually show up." Good grief! Get a load of today's immigration story in the New York Times. It is some of the best unintentional comedy of this election cycle. First, some context: The Biden administration, with its incoherent immigration policy, has been causing a humanitarian disaster that is completely overwhelming border communities in Texas and Arizona. At President Joe Biden's direction, the Border Patrol is now forced to process and release thousands of illegal border crossers into small towns and cities in South Texas, such as Del Rio and Laredo. These municipalities are completely unequipped to deal with this Biden-generated crisis. The local, mostly Latino residents of these areas are, as a consequence, rapidly becoming what I find it amusing to call "Biden Republicans." That is to say, because of Biden's policies and their destructive effects on their local communities, Latinos in South Texas are now the vanguard of the ongoing Republican realignment of the national Hispanic vote. The crisis at the border is very real. And the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona, Greg Abbott and Doug Ducey, for some time struggled to find a way to make this problem felt in other parts of the country that Biden could not as easily ignore. At first, back in April, they were ridiculed for what was wrongly interpreted as a mere political stunt when they started offering migrants free bus rides to the major urban hubs of the United States. But the migrants turned out to be eager to take advantage. And why not? The mayors of these two cities had ostentatiously declared them "sanctuary cities." They had boasted that diversity made them stronger and that migrants were welcome. But — uh, oh, here come the migrants! And suddenly, these same mayors are now calling for their brown pants, calling out the National Guard, calling for federal funds. New Yorkers and Washingtonians were happy to support Biden in causing this crisis while it was happening in distant cities far to the southwest. But send a few dozen busloads of migrants, and they're suddenly really, really upset about it. Call it "East Coast privilege." D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wants to mobilize the National Guard, for which immigrant advocates are hilariously roasting her. ... Bowser was singing a different tune when it seemed like no costs were involved. "We celebrate our diversity and respect all D.C. residents, no matter their immigration status," she had said. This was a perfectly sensible thing to say when it was McAllen and Brownsville being overrun, not Washington. Read the rest here... *  *  * Meanwhile... The 1st bus of migrants has arrived in NYC. Biden refuses to do his job, so Texas continues to take unprecedented action to secure our border. NYC is the ideal destination for these migrants. They can receive the services Mayor Adams has boasted about w/in the sanctuary city. pic.twitter.com/4sw41RqKdx — Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) August 5, 2022 Tyler Durden Fri, 08/05/2022 - 16:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 5th, 2022

Texas Governor Buses More Illegal Immigrants Into New York - Mayor Calls It "Horrific"

Texas Governor Buses More Illegal Immigrants Into New York - Mayor Calls It 'Horrific' The despicable nature of the leftist political response to illegal immigration cannot be understated.  They were perfectly fine with a full on invasion of the southern border as long as they didn't have to deal with it directly and as long as they thought they could use illegals as a voting block.  But ever since the Governor of Texas started busing thousands of them to progressive strongholds like Washington DC and New York, suddenly the leftists are not so hospitable. Democrats laughed at the prospect of Texas relocating illegals at the beginning of this year.  Former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki even snidely thanked Governor Greg Abbott for paying the bus fair of migrants into DC.  She is rather silent on the issue now.    As of 2021, 36 states have some form of voter ID requirement, which makes it much more difficult for Democrats to exploit illegal immigrants as vote fodder in local and national elections.  Some blue states have tried to institute ID benefits to migrants, but these measures are few and far between.  Meaning, the migrants are no longer of much use to them other than to continue degrading the legitimacy of the border. Furthermore, New York and DC social welfare systems are being overwhelmed by the flood of illegals, so much so that they have demanded the deployment of national guard troops to help deal with the influx of people.  This isn't going to happen according to the Pentagon, and now they are stuck.  Keep in mind, Abbot has only bused around 4000 illegals to New York and 6000 to DC – That's all it took to send both city social systems into a death spiral, showing yet again how economically weak blue states currently are.      They can't deny the entry of the migrants because then they would look like hypocrites, so, all they can do now is attack Greg Abbot as if he is doing something monstrous to them.   The whole thing is actually quite hilarious when you think about it – Karma really is a bitch.   This week, New York Mayor Eric Adams once again tried to spin the situation, saying that Abbot was "using innocent people as political pawns to manufacture a crisis." He then called the action “horrific.”  But isn't that exactly what the Democrats have been doing for decades:  Using migrants as political pawns while busing them and flying them into various regions without permission?  Haven't Democrats been creating an artificial economic and safety crisis within border states?  Now that they are getting a taste of their own medicine, suddenly the strategy is “horrific?” Keep in mind that this was the same mayor that refused an invitation to Texas to see the dangerous border conditions for himself, so, Abbott is simply bringing those border conditions to New York to teach him a lesson.  It's interesting how 10,000 illegal immigrants invading Texas on top of millions more each year was not a problem at all for leftists before, but you move those same migrants to their backyard and now we have a humanitarian crisis that requires the national guard.  Can someone please ask the Mayor of New York where exactly Texas should send these migrants other than his city?  Where would he like them to go? Maybe back to their countries of origin?  But that would be “racist,” right? And here we get to the base argument for and against illegal immigration:  Leftists claim that America is a nation “built by immigrants” and anyone who stands against open borders is “racist.”  They ignore all the logistics because they're not interested.  Only virtue signaling matters to them.   Conservatives don't actually care about the color of the immigrants, they care about border integrity and security, and they also don't like the attempts by leftists to flood the voter pool with people who are not legally allowed to vote.  If someone wants to immigrate here, they can regardless of skin color, they just have to go through LEGAL channels. Leftists argue that these immigrants are actually “refugees” and not illegals.  This is just another way for them to manipulate language in order to change the optics of the situation.  These people are not “refugees,” and even if they were, it would not matter.  They are still here illegally, and now they are the problem of New York and Washington DC.   In the vast majority of nations on the planet, sneaking past the border is a serious crime.  Any American that does this would be arrested and jailed, possibly for years.  If they are lucky they will just be forcibly deported.  However, for some reason the political left and a host of foreigners think that the US is supposed to open its doors wide to anyone and everyone without regard for security, the economy or election integrity.   Leftists will of course double down on their foolishness, even while their systems crumble under the weight of immigrants that have no capacity to assimilate while they leach off of social welfare programs.  The only reason Eric Adams thinks this is horrific is because now he has to face the ugly realities of his own destructive ideology.  If it was some mayor in a Texas city dealing with the problem, Adams would not care.    Tyler Durden Tue, 08/09/2022 - 17:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeAug 9th, 2022

Live updates: Russia advances towards Kyiv, Ukrainian death toll passes 137 as official predicts "hardest day"

Russia began its attack on Ukraine on Thursday morning. One official warned Friday would be the "hardest day." Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv on February 25, 2022.AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak Russia continued its attack on Ukraine on Friday, advancing toward the capital, Kyiv. One Ukrainian official warned Friday would be the "hardest day" and the military issued instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails. 137 Ukrainians were dead as of early Friday morning. The death toll has since risen. Recap: Ukraine says 137 people died on Thursday alone. The death toll has since risen.A building hit by a missile in Kyiv, Ukraine, seen on February 25, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesUkrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky said that 137 people, including 10 military officers, had been killed and 316 were wounded on Thursday.He did not say how many were civilians, but Ukrainian officials have confirmed that civilians were killed.There were more deaths reported on Friday, though the exact number is not clear.Zelensky said that "people died" in heavy fighting on Friday, but did not say now many or what country they were from.One of Zelensky's advisors said that around 400 Russian soldiers had died as of Friday, the Associated Press reported. Russia has not given a death toll.Ukraine says radiation levels around Chernobyl are increasing after Russia captured itView of the Chernobyl nuclear power on April 26, 1986, after the explosion.Photo by SHONE/GAMMA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesUkraine said on Friday that the radiation levels around the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site were increasing, though Russia said on Thursday that they were still normal.Ukrainian officials said that Russian troops seized the remnants of the nuclear plant on Thursday.Experts from Ukraine's nuclear agency told Reuters that the radiation increase was caused by radioactive dust being kicked up into the air by heavy military equipment there.Read Full Story Russian foreign minister says his country will talk to Ukraine once it stops fighting, doubles down on claim it wants 'de-Nazification'Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in January 2022.Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty ImagesSergei Lavrov said on Friday that Russia will only talk to Ukraine if its troops stop fighting, adding: "We do not want Neo-Nazis to rule Ukraine."He was repeating Russia's baseless claim that its attack on Ukraine was motivated by Nazism in Ukraine.Ukraine's president is a Jewish man whose native language is Russian. He came into office after a democratic election.Russia has previously tried to justify its attack by claiming it wanted to prevent a "genocide" in Ukraine and to achieve the "de-Nazification" of the country. Kyiv mayor and former heavyweight boxing champion says he'll fight for UkraineWladimir and Vitali Klitschko.Getty/Richard HeathcoteUkrainian boxing icons Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko said they would take up arms to defend Ukraine against Russia.Vitali, who has also been the mayor of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, since 2014, said he was ready to fight in a "bloody war.""I don't have another choice, I have to do that. I'll be fighting," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain on Friday. "I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people."Wladimir wrote in a LinkedIn post on Thursday: "Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone.""Here, we will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy. You can also act. Let not fear seize us; let's not remain frozen."Read Full StoryUkraine official predicts 'hardest day' as Russia advances on KyivPeople rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter on Thursday.AP Photo/Emilio MorenattiUkraine Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashenko said on Friday: "The hardest day will be today. The enemy's plan is to break through with tanks from Ivankiv and Chernihiv to Kyiv."Ukraine has been 'left alone' to defend itself from Russia, president saysUkrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv on February 25, 2022.AP Photo/Oleksandr RatushniakVolodomyr Zelensky said in an early Friday speech that Ukraine was not getting help on the ground, saying: "We are left alone in defense of our state.""Who is ready to fight with us? Honestly — I do not see such. Who is ready to guarantee Ukraine's accession to NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid."Many nations have condemned Russia and sent weapons to Ukraine. But they have not sent troops, and NATO and the US have said they won't do so.Zelensky also praised the people of Ukraine in his speech, saying: "You are brilliantly defending the country from one of the most powerful countries in the world."Read Full Story Ukraine posts instructions for making Molotov cocktails and asks people who own drones for helpThe post below, from Ukraine's national guard, contained instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails to use against Russian troops.—НГУ (@ng_ukraine) February 25, 2022Ukraine's military also posted a Facebook callout on Friday asking for drone owners to help out."Do you know how to drive a drone? Join the joint patrol with units 112 of the separate brigade of the city of Kyiv!" it said.The Champions League final is moved from Russia to FranceGetty Images/Daniele BadolatoEuropean soccer governing body UEFA said Russia has been stripped of the 2022 Champions League final, and that it will now take place in Paris.UEFA said the game being moved comes after "the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe."Read Full StoryRussia 'failed to deliver' its day-one aims for invading Ukraine, UK defense secretary saysUK Secretary for Defence Ben Wallace.Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBen Wallace told Sky News on Friday: "Our assessment, as of this morning, is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives,"  "In fact it's behind its hoped-for timetable. They've lost over 450 personnel.""The Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective."He gave the example that Russian special forces had failed to secure a "significant" airport that was once again under Ukrainian control. Read Full Story Ukrainian leaders compare Russia's attack on Kyiv to Nazi Germany's assault in 1941A night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesRussia's attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has prompted comparisons to Nazi Germany's assault on the city in 1941.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked World War II while speaking directly to the Russian people in a speech Friday morning as explosions were reported over Kyiv."Tonight, you began bombing residential areas in the hero city of Kyiv. This is like 1941. I want to tell all Russian citizens who are coming out to protest: we hear you, you heard us, you started to believe us. Fight for us. Fight the war," Zelensky said.Read Full StoryRussia's richest 22 billionaires lost $39 billion in one day after the invasion of UkraineVladimir Potanin, Russia's richest man, lost $3 billion in one day on Thursday. He is now worth $26.1 billion.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesRussia's 22 richest individuals saw their net worths plunge by a collective $39 billion in less than 24 hours after their country invaded Ukraine, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.The wealth wipeout came after Moscow's benchmark MOEX Russia Index crashed and closed 33% lower on Thursday.The Russian billionaires lost more money on Thursday than they had lost year-to-date up until Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.Read Full StoryAustralian PM Scott Morrison slams China for throwing a 'lifeline' to RussiaMorrison said that it is "simply unacceptable" for China to ease trade restrictions on Russia when other countries are imposing sanctions.STEVEN SAPHORE/AFP via Getty ImagesAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned China for easing its restrictions on Russian wheat amid the Ukraine crisis, even as other countries impose fresh sanctions on Russia."You don't go and throw a lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they're invading another country," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday morning, per Australia's ABC News. Read Full StoryMitch McConnell has urged Biden to 'ratchet the sanctions all the way up' against RussiaSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged President Joe Biden not to hold back with tough sanctions on Russia.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday advised President Joe Biden to hold nothing back when imposing sanctions on Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine. "We're all together at this point, and we need to be together about what should be done," McConnell said."Ratchet the sanctions all the way up. Don't hold any back," he added. "Every single available tough sanction should be employed and should be employed now." Read Full StoryLarge explosions heard in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital cityA night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, as seen on Thursday.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesKyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was awakened by explosions in the early hours of Friday morning local time, CNN reported."Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued," Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, told CNN Thursday.The outlet also reported multiple bombardments — two blasts in Kyiv and an explosion in the distance. Read Full StoryUkraine is crowdfunding to shore up its defenses against the Russian militarySoldiers seen aboard a Ukrainian tank in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday.REUTERS/Carlos BarriaUkraine is crowdfunding to bolster its armed forces against the Russian invasion.In a tweet on Thursday, the official Twitter account of Ukraine called for donations and provided a link to the country's official website.Collected funds will be used for the "logistical and medical support" of the Ukrainian armed forces, said the webpage, which is operated by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian Institution.Read Full Story5 reasons Putin and others have given for the invasionRussian President Vladimir Putin claims the Ukraine invasion is aimed at preventing the "genocide" of ethnic Russians in the country.Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesRussian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday morning, launching a large-scale and unprovoked invasion that was feared for weeks.Here are some reasons Russian President Vladimir Putin has given for why Russia invaded Ukraine — some of which are based on falsehoods — along with what the US and NATO have said about his motivations.Read Full StoryThe Biden administration is considering training Ukrainian soldiers in an outside country, according to AxiosUkrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine on January 20, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Getty ImagesAs Russian forces enclose on Ukraine's capital Kyiv, the Biden administration is eyeing its next steps in the ongoing conflict.Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers on Thursday that the US government is considering possible ways to train Ukrainian troops outside of Ukraine, should Russia seize control of the country, according to Axios.Austin reportedly told lawmakers that officials are trying to find ways to provide more defense equipment, including ammunition to Ukrainian forces — a feat made more challenging as Russian forces assault the country.The secretary also told House members that the Biden administration will continue to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's government as long as it is "viable," the outlet reported.Ukrainian president announces general mobilization of all conscripts and reservists to last 90 daysUkrainian soldiers sit on top of a military vehicle parked outside the hotel in Prypiat, Ukraine on February 4.Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty ImageUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday ordered a general military mobilization throughout the country as Russia continues its large-scale military assault in Ukraine. The declaration ordered the conscription of conscripts and reservists for military service, as well as their delivery to military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to "ensure the defense of the state." The mobilization, which included all of Ukraine's major cities, will be carried out within 90 days, the decree said. It will provide personnel, vehicles, infrastructure, and land use for the Ukrainian government and military amid Russia's ongoing invasion, according to the decree. Ukraine has also banned all male citizens ages 18-60 from leaving the country, according to CNN, which cited the State Border Guard Service. READ FULL STORYZelensky says 'enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv' and that he is 'number one target'Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany.Photo by Ronald Wittek - Pool/Getty ImagesIn his second video address on Thursday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "enemy sabotage groups" entered Kyiv, and that he plans to remain, despite being Russia's "number one target.""According to preliminary data, unfortunately, we have lost 137 of our heroes today — our citizens. Ten of them are officers," Zelensky said in his address. "316 are wounded."He also used the opportunity to dispel rumors that he had fled Kyiv, and that his family had left the country."I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital," he said. "My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine. But I have no right to say where they are now."READ FULL STORYWhite House is 'outraged' over reports that staff at Chernobyl have been taken hostage by Russian forcesServicemen take part in a joint tactical and special exercises of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ukrainian National Guard and Ministry Emergency in a ghost city of Pripyat, near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on February 4, 2022.Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty ImagesPress secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is outraged over reports from Ukrainian officials that staff at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine have been taken hostage by Russian troops.Russian forces took over the remnants of Chernobyl earlier on Thursday during the country's invasion of Ukraine. The move indicated Russia is likely to assault Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, which is located just south of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history."We're outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facility hostage," Psaki said during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, adding "we condemn it and we request their release."Psaki said the situation at Chernobyl was not clear but that the hostage taking was "incredibly alarming and greatly concerning," adding it could hurt efforts to maintain the facility, which is dangerously contaminated with radioactivity as a result of the 1986 nuclear disaster.read full STORYUS secretary of state is 'convinced' Russia will try to overthrow the Ukrainian governmentUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on April 11, 2021.Meet The Press/NBCUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said he is "convinced" Moscow will try to overthrow Ukraine's government."You don't need intelligence to tell you that that's exactly what President Putin wants. He has made clear he'd like to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, short of that he'd like to reassert a sphere of influence around the neighboring countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc," Blinken said during a national TV interview. The secretary pledged that NATO would intervene before Putin successfully accomplished his ultimate goal."Now, when it comes to a threat beyond Ukraine's borders. There's something very powerful standing in his way. That's article five of NATO, an attack on one is an attack on all," the top diplomat said.  Expert says Russia's Ukraine invasion will result in 'horrific scenes,' could be launch of 'Cold War 2.0'Ukrainians gather in front of the White House in Washington, USA to stage a protest against Russia's attack in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA former aide to President Barack Obama is warning that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "game changer" in international relations that will result in "horrific scenes" in the coming days, with President Vladimir Putin intent on pursuing regime change at all costs."I think it's just a matter of time before Kyiv falls," Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who also served on the National Security Council in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, told Insider.READ FULL STORYThe White House says it's ready to accept Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasionWhite House press secretary Jen Psaki.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe US is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia's invasion, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN."We are," Psaki said when asked whether the US was ready to assist fleeing Ukrainians. "But we certainly expect that most if not the majority will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries. So, we are also working with European countries on what the needs are, where there is capacity. Poland, for example, where we are seeing an increasing flow of refugees over the last 24 hours."She added that US officials have been engaging with Europeans on the matter "for some time." Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield just outside KyivUkraine army says battle under way for airbase near Kyiv on February 24, 2022Daniel LEAL / Getty ImagesUkrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Russian forces attacked and seized Hostomel (Gostomel) airfield, a cargo airport near Kyiv that is also known as Antonov airport, early Thursday, according to AFP. Ukraine's leadership reportedly vowed to take it back."The enemy paratroopers in Hostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address.Read Full StoryUkraine's health minister says dozens killed and over 160 injuredBlack smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty ImagesUkraine's health minister said 57 Ukrainians have been killed and 169 were wounded after Russia attacked on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.Explosions, gunfire, and sirens were reportedly heard in Kyiv on Thursday. Witnesses also described missile blasts in other cities, including Kramatorsk, Dnipro, and Odesa, reports said. Sean Penn is filming a documentary in Ukraine while Russia invadesActor and director Sean Penn attends a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022.Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via ReutersSean Penn was spotted in Ukraine on Thursday just after Russia invaded the country. Penn was seen in the front row of a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, photos obtained by Reuters show. The actor and director has been working on a documentary about tensions in Ukraine since last year.Read Full StoryUkrainians and Russians are packing ATM lines, prompting fears of what happened in the US during the Great DepressionPeople wait in line at an ATM in Kyiv.DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images.Many Ukrainians who haven't already fled the country as Russia's threat turned into invasion stood in long lines outside of banks and ATMs hoping to take out their funds, Reuters reported on Thursday. Meanwhile in Russia, people are also queuing outside of ATMs trying to get US dollars as its citizens worry their own currency's value will continue to tank, according to the Wall Street Journal. Banks in the capital city of Moscow are running out of money, MSNBC reported. All of this has led to fears of bank runs, which is when people withdraw money en masse because they worry banks will cease to function. That's what happened in the United States during the Great Depression, and it triggered mass unemployment and loan scarcities.  Read Full StoryA top Russian business lobbyist pleaded with Putin to 'demonstrate as much as possible' that Russia wants to remain 'part of the global economy'Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin attend a meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 16, 2017.Sergei Ilnitsky/AP PhotoThe head of one of Russia's biggest business groups urged President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to avoid severe economic pain and remain "part of the global economy" as NATO members ready a harsher salvo of sanctions.Putin held a televised meeting with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs just hours after Russian forces began attacks in Ukraine.The threat of new sanctions was enough for Alexander Shokhin, the business group's president, to raise concerns with Putin about remaining a member of the world economy.The lobbyist urged the president to pad against major economic pain and to ensure conflict in Ukraine doesn't fuel widespread harm to the global financial system."Everything should be done to demonstrate as much as possible that Russia remains part of the global economy and will not provoke, including through some kind of response measures, global negative phenomena on world markets," Shokhin said.Read Full StoryBiden says he'll try to limit what Americans pay at the gas pump as the US slaps Russia with more sanctions: 'This is critical to me'U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions after delivering remarks about Russia's “unprovoked and unjustified" military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden sought to quell fears of another spike in gas prices on Thursday after Russia unleashed a military assault on Ukraine that threatened to upend the global economy.The threat of war in Ukraine in recent weeks has contributed to spiking oil prices, with the benchmark Brent crude oil hitting $100 for the first time since 2014 Wednesday night amid the early stages of Russia's invasion."I know this is hard and Americans are already hurting," he said at a White House address. "I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump."He opened the door to another release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a step the Biden administration also took in November to try and provide relief at the pump.Read Full StoryBiden says Putin's Ukraine invasion will cause a 'complete rupture' in US-Russia relationsPresident Joe Biden listens to questions from reporters while speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Washington.Alex Brandon/APPresident Joe Biden on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine will cause a "complete rupture" of US-Russia relations if it continues. Biden condemned Putin and his escalating invasion of Ukraine in a speech from the White House.Biden, who met with G7 members on Thursday morning, also announced a raft of new sanctions against Russia on Thursday."What's the risk that we are watching the beginning of another Cold War, and is there now a complete rupture in US-Russian relations?," a reporter asked Biden following his address. Read Full StoryFamed Russian rapper cancels concerts in protest, saying he can't perform while 'Russian missiles fall on Ukraine'Rapper Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, performs during a concert in support of rapper Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.AP Photo/Pavel GolovkinA prominent Russian rapper canceled his concert in protest of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, saying he can't perform while "Russian missiles fall on Ukraine."Rapper Oxxxymiron announced via a video posted to his Instagram account that he is postponing "six of my major gigs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg indefinitely," because he said he is "specifically against the war Russia has escalated against the people of Ukraine.""I'm sure you can understand me; I can't entertain you while Russian missiles fall on Ukraine, while Kyiv residents are forced to hide in the basements and subway, and while people are dying," he said.Read Full StoryUS Treasury targets Belarusian support for Russian invasion of UkraineBelarusian President Alexander LukashenkoDmitry Astakhov/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesIn addition to the second round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US Thursday, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals for their support of the Russian invasion. The sanctions target Belarus's defense sector and financial institutions — two sectors closely tied to Russia.Massive protests erupted in Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg as Russians voice opposition to war in UkraineA demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.Photo by SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesMassive protests erupted on Thursday in Russian President Vladimir Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg, as people voiced their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.Videos posted to Twitter show a sea of people gathered in a section of St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, chanting and holding signs to object to Russia's offensive in Ukraine.Russian government forces have threatened to arrest anti-war protesters, who took to the streets after Putin announced military action against Ukraine on Thursday.Read Full StoryPhotos show Russian authorities dragging away protesters opposed to Putin's invasion of UkrainePolice Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesAnti-war protesters in Russia quickly took to the streets following Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Some activists were met with hostility by Russian authorities who hauled them away. More than 1,000 anti-war protesters have already been detained in dozens of cities across Russia, according to protest-monitoring group OVD-Info. Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."Read Full StoryBiden slaps 'additional strong sanctions' on Russia as it mounts a large-scale attack on UkrainePresident Joe Biden delivers remarks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the East Room of the White House on February 07, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the US will impose a second, harsher round of sanctions on Russia following its large-scale invasion of Ukraine.Biden announced that he had authorized "additional strong sanctions" and "new limitations" on what can be exported to Russia."We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long term impact on Russia and minimize the impact on the United States and our allies," Biden said."We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy," the president said of the sanctions. "We're going to stop the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We're going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st-century economy."Read Full StoryA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears and begged the world to 'save our people' from being 'murdered' by Russian forcesUkrainian Parliament member Halyna Yanchenko speaks during a CBS interviewCBS NewsA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears during an interview with CBS News and begged the international community to "save our people" from being "murdered" by Russian forces."I beg you, please save our people. Dozens of people — maybe hundreds of people — might be murdered tonight," Member of Parliament Halyna Yanchenko said as she sobbed during an interview with CBS News on Thursday.  She added: "Please save Ukrainian men, women, and children." Read Full StoryPhotos show Ukrainian families fleeing the Russian invasion amid warnings of a mass refugee crisisPeople wait for trains at a train station as they attempt to evacuate the city on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels.Pierre Crom/Getty Images)Ukrainian residents fled their homes after the first day of Russia's full-scale invasion. Train stations were packed with people on the move and roads filled with cars of people leaving the country, with their loved ones and prized possessions in tow.Before the invasion took place, there were warnings of a mass refugee crisis.Read Full StoryRussian government websites — including ones for the Kremlin and the legislature — went dark after cyberattacks target UkraineA night view of Kyiv as the Kyiv mayor declared a curfew from 10pm to 7am on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesMultiple Russian government websites reportedly went down on Thursday after the country launched an attack on Ukraine. NetBlocks, which tracks disruptions and shutdowns, confirmed on Twitter that multiple sites went offline shortly after 8:45 p.m. local time in Moscow.The Kremlin's website and that of the Russian Federal Assembly's lower house — or State Duma — were both down for at least 15 minutes. As of 9 p.m. local time, the State Duma website was since restored. Shortly after 9:10 p.m. local time, the Kremlin's website was also back online.  Read Full StoryPutin had a range of ways to attack Ukraine. He went with the worst-case scenario for the West.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.Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesIn the build-up to Russia's assault on Ukraine, analysts and leaders envisioned numerous ways the conflict might play out, from a limited incursion to an all-out invasion.Putin used precision missile strikes and airstrikes, followed shortly later by ground maneuvers, the officials said.Analysts said attacks came from the east, south, and north, a description consistent with reports on the ground and Insider's map of the invasion.All three lines of attack — as per this analysis in The Conversation — had previously been floated as individual possibilities for an invasion.Defense analysts warned that Russia's multipronged attack was full-scale but still in an early phase, with a lot more forces to push into Ukraine to seize key areas or capture its leadership.Putin's overall endgame remains an area of pressing debate.Read Full StoryKey Democratic congressman says the US can't send support to Ukraine quickly enough 'to repel' Russia's invasionRep. Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, ruled out surging supplies into Ukraine as a last-ditch effort to stall Russia's invasion, arguing it's unlikely such support would arrive quickly enough to make a difference."The odd of us being able to do that in a rapid enough fashion to be able to repel the invasion are remote," Smith told CNN on Thursday when asked about a Ukrainian official's request for more equipment. "I don't think it's realistic to think that we can reinforce them enough in the short term to be able to repel the invasion."Read Full StoryPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden are refusing to play their 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in Russia after it attacked UkraineA protester holds a poster reading "Sanctions against Russia now" during a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm on February 24, 2022, after Russia launched military operations in Ukraine.Photo by CLAUDIO BRESCIANI/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty ImagesPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden said they are refusing to play their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff matches in Russia after it attacked Ukraine on Thursday.Based on the latest Russian aggression against Ukraine, "the signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there," the three countries said in a joint statement addressed to FIFA's General Secretary Fatma Samoura. The statement continued: "The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations."Read Full StoryRussia's moving on Kyiv and the plan appears to be to take out Ukraine's leadership, US defense official warnsA column of army trucks approaches the Perekop checkpoint on the Ukrainian border. Early on February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation to be conducted by the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine.Sergei MalgavkobackslashTASS via Getty ImagesRussian forces invaded Ukraine Thursday morning, and a senior US defense official says they are moving on Kyiv, likely to topple the country's government and install their own.Russia is "making a move on Kyiv" a senior defense official who addressed reporters Thursday said, according to CNN. "We would describe what you are seeing as an initial phase" of a "large-scale invasion," the official said, according to The Washington Post's Dan Lamothe.Read Full StoryMaps show Russia's invasion of UkraineMaps of Ukraine.Shayanne Gal/InsiderRussia invaded Ukraine early Thursday, leading to dozens of Ukrainian and Russian casualties.These maps show where Russian troops have attacked Ukraine, which is happening from multiple sides.Read Full StoryUK plots far harsher sanctions on Russia to punish it for invading UkraineBritish Prime Minister Boris JohnsonAdrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoThe UK announced a new set of harsher sanctions on Russia after the country invaded Ukraine early Thursday. A spokesman for the UK government told journalists at a briefing that the UK plans to impose a second round of sanctions. The most intense of the new list of sanctions is an asset freeze on all major Russian banks and an asset freeze against VTB — the second largest bank with assets totaling £154 billion. The UK also plans to sanction another 100 individuals and entities.This is a large step up from the sanctions it announced Wednesday, which were limited to five smaller banks, three individuals close to Putin, and politicians in Russia who voted for military action. Russia has begun arresting anti-war protesters as demonstrations break out after Putin invades UkrainePolice officer detain a woman during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.AP Photo/Dmitry SerebryakovThe Russian government on Thursday threatened anti-war protesters demonstrating against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, warning they could face arrest for organizing.And according to a protest monitoring group, the detentions have already begun as small protests have broken out in some Russian cities.Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens in a statement not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."The committee said that people should be aware of the "negative legal consequences of these actions," which it said includes criminal liability. Read Full StoryUkraine's official Twitter is using memes to rip into Putin's bogus comparison between it and Nazi GermanyRussian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.Alexei Nikolsky/Associated PressAfter Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the marching orders for an attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, Ukraine's official Twitter account got busy. One photo showed what appeared to be caricature images of Adolf Hitler tending to a small Putin. "This is not a 'meme', but our and your reality right now," Ukraine said in a follow-up tweet.  The account also called for a so-called "Twitter-storm" at 12 p.m. local time in Kyiv on Thursday, urging people to use various hashtags to "tell the world of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine is under attack."Ukraine's latest post said to "Tag @Russia and tell them what you think about them," racking up tens of thousands of likes and quote tweets. Read Full StoryMap shows reported movement of Russian troops in Ukraine Thursday!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

Live updates: Ukraine official says Friday will be "hardest day" as Russia advances toward capital Kyiv

Russia attacked Ukraine on Thursday morning and was reported to be advancing toward the capital, Kyiv, on Friday. Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv on February 25, 2022.AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak Russia continued its attack on Ukraine on Friday, advancing toward the capital, Kyiv. One Ukrainian official warned Friday would be the "hardest day" and the president called for help. The UK's defense minister said Russia did not achieve what it wanted on the first day of its attack. Russian foreign minister says it will talk to Ukraine once it stops fighting, doubles down on claim it wants 'de-Nazification' if UkraineRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in January 2022.Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty ImagesSergei Lavrov said on Friday that Russia will only talk to Ukraine if its troops stop fighting, and said: "We do not want Neo-Nazis to rule Ukraine."He was repeating Russia's baseless claim that its attack on Ukraine was motiviated by Naziism in Ukraine.Ukraine's president is a Jewish man whose native language is Russian and who came into office after a democratic election.Russia has tried to justify its attacks by claiming it wants to prevent a "genocide" in Ukraine and to achieve the "de-Nazification" of the country. Former heavyweight boxing champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko say they'll go to war for Ukraine against RussiaWladimir and Vitali Klitschko.Getty/Richard HeathcoteUkrainian boxing icons Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko said they would take up arms to defend Ukraine against Russia.Vitali, who has been the mayor of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, since 2014, said he was ready to fight in a "bloody war.""I don't have another choice, I have to do that. I'll be fighting," he told ITV's Good Morning Britain on Friday."I believe in Ukraine, I believe in my country and I believe in my people."Wladimir wrote in a LinkedIn post on Thursday: "Democracy cannot defend itself; it needs the will of the citizens, the commitment of everyone," he wrote. "Basically, there is no democracy without democrats."Here, we will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy. You can also act. Let not fear seize us; let's not remain frozen."Read Full StoryUkraine official predicts 'hardest day' as Russia advances on KyivPeople rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter on Thursday.AP Photo/Emilio MorenattiUkraine Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashenko said on Friday: "The hardest day will be today. The enemy's plan is to break through with tanks from Ivankiv and Chernihiv to Kyiv."Ukraine has been 'left alone' to defend itself from Russia, president saysUkrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft in Kyiv on February 25, 2022.AP Photo/Oleksandr RatushniakVolodomyr Zelensky said in an early Friday speech that Ukraine was not getting help on the ground, saying: "We are left alone in defense of our state.""Who is ready to fight with us? Honestly — I do not see such. Who is ready to guarantee Ukraine's accession to NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid."Many nations have condemned Russia and sent weapons to Ukraine. But they have not sent troops, and NATO and the US have said they won't do so.Zelensky also praised the people of Ukraine in his speech, saying: "You are brilliantly defending the country from one of the most powerful countries in the world."Read Full Story Ukraine posts instructions for making Molotov cocktails and asks people who own drones for helpThe post below, from Ukraine's national guard, contained instructions on how to make Molotov cocktails to use against Russian troops.—НГУ (@ng_ukraine) February 25, 2022Ukraine's military also posted a Facebook callout on Friday asking for drone owners to help out."Do you know how to drive a drone? Join the joint patrol with units 112 of the separate brigade of the city of Kyiv!" it said.The Champions League final is moved from Russia to FranceGetty Images/Daniele BadolatoEuropean soccer governing body UEFA said Russia has been stripped of the 2022 Champions League final, and that it will now take place in Paris.UEFA said the game being moved comes after "the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe."Read Full StoryRussia 'failed to deliver' its day-one aims for invading Ukraine, UK defense secretary saysUK Secretary for Defence Ben Wallace.Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBen Wallace told Sky News on Friday: "Our assessment, as of this morning, is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives,"  "In fact it's behind its hoped-for timetable. They've lost over 450 personnel.""The Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective."He gave the example that Russian special forces had failed to secure a "significant" airport that was once again under Ukrainian control. Read Full Story Ukrainian leaders compare Russia's attack on Kyiv to Nazi Germany's assault in 1941A night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesRussia's attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has prompted comparisons to Nazi Germany's assault on the city in 1941.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked World War II while speaking directly to the Russian people in a speech Friday morning as explosions were reported over Kyiv."Tonight, you began bombing residential areas in the hero city of Kyiv. This is like 1941. I want to tell all Russian citizens who are coming out to protest: we hear you, you heard us, you started to believe us. Fight for us. Fight the war," Zelensky said.Read Full StoryRussia's richest 22 billionaires lost $39 billion in one day after the invasion of UkraineVladimir Potanin, Russia's richest man, lost $3 billion in one day on Thursday. He is now worth $26.1 billion.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesRussia's 22 richest individuals saw their net worths plunge by a collective $39 billion in less than 24 hours after their country invaded Ukraine, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.The wealth wipeout came after Moscow's benchmark MOEX Russia Index crashed and closed 33% lower on Thursday.The Russian billionaires lost more money on Thursday than they had lost year-to-date up until Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.Read Full StoryAustralian PM Scott Morrison slams China for throwing a 'lifeline' to RussiaMorrison said that it is "simply unacceptable" for China to ease trade restrictions on Russia when other countries are imposing sanctions.STEVEN SAPHORE/AFP via Getty ImagesAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned China for easing its restrictions on Russian wheat amid the Ukraine crisis, even as other countries impose fresh sanctions on Russia."You don't go and throw a lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they're invading another country," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday morning, per Australia's ABC News. Read Full StoryMitch McConnell has urged Biden to 'ratchet the sanctions all the way up' against RussiaSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged President Joe Biden not to hold back with tough sanctions on Russia.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday advised President Joe Biden to hold nothing back when imposing sanctions on Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine. "We're all together at this point, and we need to be together about what should be done," McConnell said."Ratchet the sanctions all the way up. Don't hold any back," he added. "Every single available tough sanction should be employed and should be employed now." Read Full StoryLarge explosions heard in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital cityA night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, as seen on Thursday.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesKyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was awakened by explosions in the early hours of Friday morning local time, CNN reported."Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued," Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, told CNN Thursday.The outlet also reported multiple bombardments — two blasts in Kyiv and an explosion in the distance. Read Full StoryUkraine is crowdfunding to shore up its defenses against the Russian militarySoldiers seen aboard a Ukrainian tank in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday.REUTERS/Carlos BarriaUkraine is crowdfunding to bolster its armed forces against the Russian invasion.In a tweet on Thursday, the official Twitter account of Ukraine called for donations and provided a link to the country's official website.Collected funds will be used for the "logistical and medical support" of the Ukrainian armed forces, said the webpage, which is operated by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian Institution.Read Full Story5 reasons Putin and others have given for the invasionRussian President Vladimir Putin claims the Ukraine invasion is aimed at preventing the "genocide" of ethnic Russians in the country.Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesRussian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday morning, launching a large-scale and unprovoked invasion that was feared for weeks.Here are some reasons Russian President Vladimir Putin has given for why Russia invaded Ukraine — some of which are based on falsehoods — along with what the US and NATO have said about his motivations.Read Full StoryThe Biden administration is considering training Ukrainian soldiers in an outside country, according to AxiosUkrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine on January 20, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Getty ImagesAs Russian forces enclose on Ukraine's capital Kyiv, the Biden administration is eyeing its next steps in the ongoing conflict.Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers on Thursday that the US government is considering possible ways to train Ukrainian troops outside of Ukraine, should Russia seize control of the country, according to Axios.Austin reportedly told lawmakers that officials are trying to find ways to provide more defense equipment, including ammunition to Ukrainian forces — a feat made more challenging as Russian forces assault the country.The secretary also told House members that the Biden administration will continue to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's government as long as it is "viable," the outlet reported.Ukrainian president announces general mobilization of all conscripts and reservists to last 90 daysUkrainian soldiers sit on top of a military vehicle parked outside the hotel in Prypiat, Ukraine on February 4.Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty ImageUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday ordered a general military mobilization throughout the country as Russia continues its large-scale military assault in Ukraine. The declaration ordered the conscription of conscripts and reservists for military service, as well as their delivery to military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to "ensure the defense of the state." The mobilization, which included all of Ukraine's major cities, will be carried out within 90 days, the decree said. It will provide personnel, vehicles, infrastructure, and land use for the Ukrainian government and military amid Russia's ongoing invasion, according to the decree. Ukraine has also banned all male citizens ages 18-60 from leaving the country, according to CNN, which cited the State Border Guard Service. READ FULL STORYZelensky says 'enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv' and that he is 'number one target'Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany.Photo by Ronald Wittek - Pool/Getty ImagesIn his second video address on Thursday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "enemy sabotage groups" entered Kyiv, and that he plans to remain, despite being Russia's "number one target.""According to preliminary data, unfortunately, we have lost 137 of our heroes today — our citizens. Ten of them are officers," Zelensky said in his address. "316 are wounded."He also used the opportunity to dispel rumors that he had fled Kyiv, and that his family had left the country."I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital," he said. "My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine. But I have no right to say where they are now."READ FULL STORYWhite House is 'outraged' over reports that staff at Chernobyl have been taken hostage by Russian forcesServicemen take part in a joint tactical and special exercises of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ukrainian National Guard and Ministry Emergency in a ghost city of Pripyat, near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on February 4, 2022.Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty ImagesPress secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is outraged over reports from Ukrainian officials that staff at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine have been taken hostage by Russian troops.Russian forces took over the remnants of Chernobyl earlier on Thursday during the country's invasion of Ukraine. The move indicated Russia is likely to assault Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, which is located just south of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history."We're outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facility hostage," Psaki said during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, adding "we condemn it and we request their release."Psaki said the situation at Chernobyl was not clear but that the hostage taking was "incredibly alarming and greatly concerning," adding it could hurt efforts to maintain the facility, which is dangerously contaminated with radioactivity as a result of the 1986 nuclear disaster.read full STORYUS secretary of state is 'convinced' Russia will try to overthrow the Ukrainian governmentUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on April 11, 2021.Meet The Press/NBCUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said he is "convinced" Moscow will try to overthrow Ukraine's government."You don't need intelligence to tell you that that's exactly what President Putin wants. He has made clear he'd like to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, short of that he'd like to reassert a sphere of influence around the neighboring countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc," Blinken said during a national TV interview. The secretary pledged that NATO would intervene before Putin successfully accomplished his ultimate goal."Now, when it comes to a threat beyond Ukraine's borders. There's something very powerful standing in his way. That's article five of NATO, an attack on one is an attack on all," the top diplomat said.  Expert says Russia's Ukraine invasion will result in 'horrific scenes,' could be launch of 'Cold War 2.0'Ukrainians gather in front of the White House in Washington, USA to stage a protest against Russia's attack in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA former aide to President Barack Obama is warning that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "game changer" in international relations that will result in "horrific scenes" in the coming days, with President Vladimir Putin intent on pursuing regime change at all costs."I think it's just a matter of time before Kyiv falls," Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who also served on the National Security Council in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, told Insider.READ FULL STORYThe White House says it's ready to accept Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasionWhite House press secretary Jen Psaki.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe US is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia's invasion, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN."We are," Psaki said when asked whether the US was ready to assist fleeing Ukrainians. "But we certainly expect that most if not the majority will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries. So, we are also working with European countries on what the needs are, where there is capacity. Poland, for example, where we are seeing an increasing flow of refugees over the last 24 hours."She added that US officials have been engaging with Europeans on the matter "for some time." Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield just outside KyivUkraine army says battle under way for airbase near Kyiv on February 24, 2022Daniel LEAL / Getty ImagesUkrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Russian forces attacked and seized Hostomel (Gostomel) airfield, a cargo airport near Kyiv that is also known as Antonov airport, early Thursday, according to AFP. Ukraine's leadership reportedly vowed to take it back."The enemy paratroopers in Hostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address.Read Full StoryUkraine's health minister says dozens killed and over 160 injuredBlack smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty ImagesUkraine's health minister said 57 Ukrainians have been killed and 169 were wounded after Russia attacked on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.Explosions, gunfire, and sirens were reportedly heard in Kyiv on Thursday. Witnesses also described missile blasts in other cities, including Kramatorsk, Dnipro, and Odesa, reports said. Sean Penn is filming a documentary in Ukraine while Russia invadesActor and director Sean Penn attends a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022.Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via ReutersSean Penn was spotted in Ukraine on Thursday just after Russia invaded the country. Penn was seen in the front row of a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, photos obtained by Reuters show. The actor and director has been working on a documentary about tensions in Ukraine since last year.Read Full StoryUkrainians and Russians are packing ATM lines, prompting fears of what happened in the US during the Great DepressionPeople wait in line at an ATM in Kyiv.DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images.Many Ukrainians who haven't already fled the country as Russia's threat turned into invasion stood in long lines outside of banks and ATMs hoping to take out their funds, Reuters reported on Thursday. Meanwhile in Russia, people are also queuing outside of ATMs trying to get US dollars as its citizens worry their own currency's value will continue to tank, according to the Wall Street Journal. Banks in the capital city of Moscow are running out of money, MSNBC reported. All of this has led to fears of bank runs, which is when people withdraw money en masse because they worry banks will cease to function. That's what happened in the United States during the Great Depression, and it triggered mass unemployment and loan scarcities.  Read Full StoryA top Russian business lobbyist pleaded with Putin to 'demonstrate as much as possible' that Russia wants to remain 'part of the global economy'Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin attend a meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 16, 2017.Sergei Ilnitsky/AP PhotoThe head of one of Russia's biggest business groups urged President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to avoid severe economic pain and remain "part of the global economy" as NATO members ready a harsher salvo of sanctions.Putin held a televised meeting with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs just hours after Russian forces began attacks in Ukraine.The threat of new sanctions was enough for Alexander Shokhin, the business group's president, to raise concerns with Putin about remaining a member of the world economy.The lobbyist urged the president to pad against major economic pain and to ensure conflict in Ukraine doesn't fuel widespread harm to the global financial system."Everything should be done to demonstrate as much as possible that Russia remains part of the global economy and will not provoke, including through some kind of response measures, global negative phenomena on world markets," Shokhin said.Read Full StoryBiden says he'll try to limit what Americans pay at the gas pump as the US slaps Russia with more sanctions: 'This is critical to me'U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions after delivering remarks about Russia's “unprovoked and unjustified" military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden sought to quell fears of another spike in gas prices on Thursday after Russia unleashed a military assault on Ukraine that threatened to upend the global economy.The threat of war in Ukraine in recent weeks has contributed to spiking oil prices, with the benchmark Brent crude oil hitting $100 for the first time since 2014 Wednesday night amid the early stages of Russia's invasion."I know this is hard and Americans are already hurting," he said at a White House address. "I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump."He opened the door to another release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a step the Biden administration also took in November to try and provide relief at the pump.Read Full StoryBiden says Putin's Ukraine invasion will cause a 'complete rupture' in US-Russia relationsPresident Joe Biden listens to questions from reporters while speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Washington.Alex Brandon/APPresident Joe Biden on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine will cause a "complete rupture" of US-Russia relations if it continues. Biden condemned Putin and his escalating invasion of Ukraine in a speech from the White House.Biden, who met with G7 members on Thursday morning, also announced a raft of new sanctions against Russia on Thursday."What's the risk that we are watching the beginning of another Cold War, and is there now a complete rupture in US-Russian relations?," a reporter asked Biden following his address. Read Full StoryFamed Russian rapper cancels concerts in protest, saying he can't perform while 'Russian missiles fall on Ukraine'Rapper Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, performs during a concert in support of rapper Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.AP Photo/Pavel GolovkinA prominent Russian rapper canceled his concert in protest of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, saying he can't perform while "Russian missiles fall on Ukraine."Rapper Oxxxymiron announced via a video posted to his Instagram account that he is postponing "six of my major gigs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg indefinitely," because he said he is "specifically against the war Russia has escalated against the people of Ukraine.""I'm sure you can understand me; I can't entertain you while Russian missiles fall on Ukraine, while Kyiv residents are forced to hide in the basements and subway, and while people are dying," he said.Read Full StoryUS Treasury targets Belarusian support for Russian invasion of UkraineBelarusian President Alexander LukashenkoDmitry Astakhov/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesIn addition to the second round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US Thursday, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals for their support of the Russian invasion. The sanctions target Belarus's defense sector and financial institutions — two sectors closely tied to Russia.Massive protests erupted in Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg as Russians voice opposition to war in UkraineA demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.Photo by SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesMassive protests erupted on Thursday in Russian President Vladimir Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg, as people voiced their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.Videos posted to Twitter show a sea of people gathered in a section of St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, chanting and holding signs to object to Russia's offensive in Ukraine.Russian government forces have threatened to arrest anti-war protesters, who took to the streets after Putin announced military action against Ukraine on Thursday.Read Full StoryPhotos show Russian authorities dragging away protesters opposed to Putin's invasion of UkrainePolice Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesAnti-war protesters in Russia quickly took to the streets following Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Some activists were met with hostility by Russian authorities who hauled them away. More than 1,000 anti-war protesters have already been detained in dozens of cities across Russia, according to protest-monitoring group OVD-Info. Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."Read Full StoryBiden slaps 'additional strong sanctions' on Russia as it mounts a large-scale attack on UkrainePresident Joe Biden delivers remarks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the East Room of the White House on February 07, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the US will impose a second, harsher round of sanctions on Russia following its large-scale invasion of Ukraine.Biden announced that he had authorized "additional strong sanctions" and "new limitations" on what can be exported to Russia."We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long term impact on Russia and minimize the impact on the United States and our allies," Biden said."We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy," the president said of the sanctions. "We're going to stop the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We're going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st-century economy."Read Full StoryA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears and begged the world to 'save our people' from being 'murdered' by Russian forcesUkrainian Parliament member Halyna Yanchenko speaks during a CBS interviewCBS NewsA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears during an interview with CBS News and begged the international community to "save our people" from being "murdered" by Russian forces."I beg you, please save our people. Dozens of people — maybe hundreds of people — might be murdered tonight," Member of Parliament Halyna Yanchenko said as she sobbed during an interview with CBS News on Thursday.  She added: "Please save Ukrainian men, women, and children." Read Full StoryPhotos show Ukrainian families fleeing the Russian invasion amid warnings of a mass refugee crisisPeople wait for trains at a train station as they attempt to evacuate the city on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels.Pierre Crom/Getty Images)Ukrainian residents fled their homes after the first day of Russia's full-scale invasion. Train stations were packed with people on the move and roads filled with cars of people leaving the country, with their loved ones and prized possessions in tow.Before the invasion took place, there were warnings of a mass refugee crisis.Read Full StoryRussian government websites — including ones for the Kremlin and the legislature — went dark after cyberattacks target UkraineA night view of Kyiv as the Kyiv mayor declared a curfew from 10pm to 7am on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesMultiple Russian government websites reportedly went down on Thursday after the country launched an attack on Ukraine. NetBlocks, which tracks disruptions and shutdowns, confirmed on Twitter that multiple sites went offline shortly after 8:45 p.m. local time in Moscow.The Kremlin's website and that of the Russian Federal Assembly's lower house — or State Duma — were both down for at least 15 minutes. As of 9 p.m. local time, the State Duma website was since restored. Shortly after 9:10 p.m. local time, the Kremlin's website was also back online.  Read Full StoryPutin had a range of ways to attack Ukraine. He went with the worst-case scenario for the West.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.Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesIn the build-up to Russia's assault on Ukraine, analysts and leaders envisioned numerous ways the conflict might play out, from a limited incursion to an all-out invasion.Putin used precision missile strikes and airstrikes, followed shortly later by ground maneuvers, the officials said.Analysts said attacks came from the east, south, and north, a description consistent with reports on the ground and Insider's map of the invasion.All three lines of attack — as per this analysis in The Conversation — had previously been floated as individual possibilities for an invasion.Defense analysts warned that Russia's multipronged attack was full-scale but still in an early phase, with a lot more forces to push into Ukraine to seize key areas or capture its leadership.Putin's overall endgame remains an area of pressing debate.Read Full StoryKey Democratic congressman says the US can't send support to Ukraine quickly enough 'to repel' Russia's invasionRep. Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, ruled out surging supplies into Ukraine as a last-ditch effort to stall Russia's invasion, arguing it's unlikely such support would arrive quickly enough to make a difference."The odd of us being able to do that in a rapid enough fashion to be able to repel the invasion are remote," Smith told CNN on Thursday when asked about a Ukrainian official's request for more equipment. "I don't think it's realistic to think that we can reinforce them enough in the short term to be able to repel the invasion."Read Full StoryPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden are refusing to play their 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in Russia after it attacked UkraineA protester holds a poster reading "Sanctions against Russia now" during a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm on February 24, 2022, after Russia launched military operations in Ukraine.Photo by CLAUDIO BRESCIANI/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty ImagesPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden said they are refusing to play their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff matches in Russia after it attacked Ukraine on Thursday.Based on the latest Russian aggression against Ukraine, "the signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there," the three countries said in a joint statement addressed to FIFA's General Secretary Fatma Samoura. The statement continued: "The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations."Read Full StoryRussia's moving on Kyiv and the plan appears to be to take out Ukraine's leadership, US defense official warnsA column of army trucks approaches the Perekop checkpoint on the Ukrainian border. Early on February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation to be conducted by the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine.Sergei MalgavkobackslashTASS via Getty ImagesRussian forces invaded Ukraine Thursday morning, and a senior US defense official says they are moving on Kyiv, likely to topple the country's government and install their own.Russia is "making a move on Kyiv" a senior defense official who addressed reporters Thursday said, according to CNN. "We would describe what you are seeing as an initial phase" of a "large-scale invasion," the official said, according to The Washington Post's Dan Lamothe.Read Full StoryMaps show Russia's invasion of UkraineMaps of Ukraine.Shayanne Gal/InsiderRussia invaded Ukraine early Thursday, leading to dozens of Ukrainian and Russian casualties.These maps show where Russian troops have attacked Ukraine, which is happening from multiple sides.Read Full StoryUK plots far harsher sanctions on Russia to punish it for invading UkraineBritish Prime Minister Boris JohnsonAdrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoThe UK announced a new set of harsher sanctions on Russia after the country invaded Ukraine early Thursday. A spokesman for the UK government told journalists at a briefing that the UK plans to impose a second round of sanctions. The most intense of the new list of sanctions is an asset freeze on all major Russian banks and an asset freeze against VTB — the second largest bank with assets totaling £154 billion. The UK also plans to sanction another 100 individuals and entities.This is a large step up from the sanctions it announced Wednesday, which were limited to five smaller banks, three individuals close to Putin, and politicians in Russia who voted for military action. Russia has begun arresting anti-war protesters as demonstrations break out after Putin invades UkrainePolice officer detain a woman during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.AP Photo/Dmitry SerebryakovThe Russian government on Thursday threatened anti-war protesters demonstrating against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, warning they could face arrest for organizing.And according to a protest monitoring group, the detentions have already begun as small protests have broken out in some Russian cities.Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens in a statement not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."The committee said that people should be aware of the "negative legal consequences of these actions," which it said includes criminal liability. Read Full StoryUkraine's official Twitter is using memes to rip into Putin's bogus comparison between it and Nazi GermanyRussian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.Alexei Nikolsky/Associated PressAfter Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the marching orders for an attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, Ukraine's official Twitter account got busy. One photo showed what appeared to be caricature images of Adolf Hitler tending to a small Putin. "This is not a 'meme', but our and your reality right now," Ukraine said in a follow-up tweet.  The account also called for a so-called "Twitter-storm" at 12 p.m. local time in Kyiv on Thursday, urging people to use various hashtags to "tell the world of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine is under attack."Ukraine's latest post said to "Tag @Russia and tell them what you think about them," racking up tens of thousands of likes and quote tweets. Read Full StoryMap shows reported movement of Russian troops in Ukraine Thursday!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

Live updates: Ukraine official says Friday will be "hardest day" as Russia advances toward country"s capital

Russia started its attack on Ukraine on Thursday morning. President Volodomyr Zelensky said Ukraine needs help from the rest of the world. Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft seen in in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday.AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak Russia continued its attack on Ukraine on Friday, advancing towards the capital. One Ukrainian official warned Friday would be the "hardest day" and the president said Ukraine needs help. The UK's defense minister said Russia did not achieve what it wanted on its first day of attack. Ukraine official predicts 'hardest day' as Russia advances on KyivPeople rest in the Kyiv subway, using it as a bomb shelter on Thursday.AP Photo/Emilio MorenattiUkraine Interior Ministry advisor Anton Gerashenko said on Friday: "The hardest day will be today. The enemy's plan is to break through with tanks from Ivankiv and Chernihiv to Kyiv." Ukraine has been 'left alone' to defend itself from Russia, president saysUkrainian servicemen walk at fragments of a downed aircraft seen in in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022AP Photo/Oleksandr RatushniakVolodomyr Zelensky said in a Friday speech that Ukraine was not getting on-the-ground help, saying "we are left alone in defense of our state.""Who is ready to fight with us? Honestly — I do not see such. Who is ready to guarantee Ukraine's accession to NATO? Honestly, everyone is afraid."Many nations have condemned Russia, and sent weapons to Ukraine. But they have not sent troops, and NATO and the US have said they won't do so.Zelensky also praised the people of Ukraine in his speech, saying: "You are brilliantly defending the country from one of the most powerful countries in the world."Read Full Story Ukraine national guard posts instructions for making Molotov Cocktails—НГУ (@ng_ukraine) February 25, 2022 The Champions League final has been moved from Russia to FranceGetty Images/Daniele BadolatoSoccer's biggest annual match has been moved from Russia.European soccer governing body UEFA said Russia has been stripped of the 2022 Champions League final, and that it will now take place in Paris.UEFA said the game being moved comes after "the grave escalation of the security situation in Europe."Read Full StoryRussia 'failed to deliver' its day-one aims for invading Ukraine, the UK defense secretary saysThe UK Secretary of State for Defense, Ben Wallace.Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBen Wallace told Sky News on Friday: "Our assessment, as of this morning, is that Russia has not taken any of its major objectives,"  "In fact it's behind its hoped-for timetable. They've lost over 450 personnel.""The Russian army has failed to deliver on day one its main objective."He gave the example that Russian special forces had failed to secure a "significant" airport that was once again under Ukrainian control. Read Full Story Ukrainian leaders compare Russia's attack on Kyiv to Nazi Germany's assault in 1941A night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesRussia's attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has prompted comparisons to Nazi Germany's assault on the city in 1941.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky invoked World War II while speaking directly to the Russian people in a speech Friday morning as explosions were reported over Kyiv."Tonight, you began bombing residential areas in the hero city of Kyiv. This is like 1941. I want to tell all Russian citizens who are coming out to protest: we hear you, you heard us, you started to believe us. Fight for us. Fight the war," Zelensky said.Read Full StoryRussia's richest 22 billionaires lost $39 billion in one day after the invasion of UkraineVladimir Potanin, Russia's richest man, lost $3 billion in one day on Thursday. He is now worth $26.1 billion.Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesRussia's 22 richest individuals saw their net worths plunge by a collective $39 billion in less than 24 hours after their country invaded Ukraine, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.The wealth wipeout came after Moscow's benchmark MOEX Russia Index crashed and closed 33% lower on Thursday.The Russian billionaires lost more money on Thursday than they had lost year-to-date up until Wednesday, according to Bloomberg.Read Full StoryAustralian PM Scott Morrison slams China for throwing a 'lifeline' to RussiaMorrison said that it is "simply unacceptable" for China to ease trade restrictions on Russia when other countries are imposing sanctions.STEVEN SAPHORE/AFP via Getty ImagesAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has condemned China for easing its restrictions on Russian wheat amid the Ukraine crisis, even as other countries impose fresh sanctions on Russia."You don't go and throw a lifeline to Russia in the middle of a period when they're invading another country," he told reporters at a press conference on Friday morning, per Australia's ABC News. Read Full StoryMitch McConnell has urged Biden to 'ratchet the sanctions all the way up' against RussiaSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged President Joe Biden not to hold back with tough sanctions on Russia.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday advised President Joe Biden to hold nothing back when imposing sanctions on Russia following the country's invasion of Ukraine. "We're all together at this point, and we need to be together about what should be done," McConnell said."Ratchet the sanctions all the way up. Don't hold any back," he added. "Every single available tough sanction should be employed and should be employed now." Read Full StoryLarge explosions heard in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital cityA night view of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city, as seen on Thursday.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesKyiv, the capital of Ukraine, was awakened by explosions in the early hours of Friday morning local time, CNN reported."Strikes on Kyiv with cruise or ballistic missiles continued," Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ukraine, told CNN Thursday.The outlet also reported multiple bombardments — two blasts in Kyiv and an explosion in the distance. Read Full StoryUkraine is crowdfunding to shore up its defenses against the Russian militarySoldiers seen aboard a Ukrainian tank in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Thursday.REUTERS/Carlos BarriaUkraine is crowdfunding to bolster its armed forces against the Russian invasion.In a tweet on Thursday, the official Twitter account of Ukraine called for donations and provided a link to the country's official website.Collected funds will be used for the "logistical and medical support" of the Ukrainian armed forces, said the webpage, which is operated by Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukrainian Institution.Read Full Story5 reasons Putin and others have given for the invasionRussian President Vladimir Putin claims the Ukraine invasion is aimed at preventing the "genocide" of ethnic Russians in the country.Photo by Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesRussian forces attacked Ukraine early Thursday morning, launching a large-scale and unprovoked invasion that was feared for weeks.Here are some reasons Russian President Vladimir Putin has given for why Russia invaded Ukraine — some of which are based on falsehoods — along with what the US and NATO have said about his motivations.Read Full StoryThe Biden administration is considering training Ukrainian soldiers in an outside country, according to AxiosUkrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine on January 20, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Getty ImagesAs Russian forces enclose on Ukraine's capital Kyiv, the Biden administration is eyeing its next steps in the ongoing conflict.Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told House lawmakers on Thursday that the US government is considering possible ways to train Ukrainian troops outside of Ukraine, should Russia seize control of the country, according to Axios.Austin reportedly told lawmakers that officials are trying to find ways to provide more defense equipment, including ammunition to Ukrainian forces — a feat made more challenging as Russian forces assault the country.The secretary also told House members that the Biden administration will continue to support Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's government as long as it is "viable," the outlet reported.Ukrainian president announces general mobilization of all conscripts and reservists to last 90 daysUkrainian soldiers sit on top of a military vehicle parked outside the hotel in Prypiat, Ukraine on February 4.Volodymyr Tarasov/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty ImageUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday ordered a general military mobilization throughout the country as Russia continues its large-scale military assault in Ukraine. The declaration ordered the conscription of conscripts and reservists for military service, as well as their delivery to military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to "ensure the defense of the state." The mobilization, which included all of Ukraine's major cities, will be carried out within 90 days, the decree said. It will provide personnel, vehicles, infrastructure, and land use for the Ukrainian government and military amid Russia's ongoing invasion, according to the decree. Ukraine has also banned all male citizens ages 18-60 from leaving the country, according to CNN, which cited the State Border Guard Service. READ FULL STORYZelensky says 'enemy sabotage groups have entered Kyiv' and that he is 'number one target'Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a statement during the 58th Munich Security Conference (MSC) on February 19, 2022 in Munich, Germany.Photo by Ronald Wittek - Pool/Getty ImagesIn his second video address on Thursday, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said that "enemy sabotage groups" entered Kyiv, and that he plans to remain, despite being Russia's "number one target.""According to preliminary data, unfortunately, we have lost 137 of our heroes today — our citizens. Ten of them are officers," Zelensky said in his address. "316 are wounded."He also used the opportunity to dispel rumors that he had fled Kyiv, and that his family had left the country."I stay in the capital, I stay with my people. During the day, I held dozens of international talks, directly managed our country. And I will stay in the capital," he said. "My family is also in Ukraine. My children are also in Ukraine. My family is not traitors. They are the citizens of Ukraine. But I have no right to say where they are now."READ FULL STORYWhite House is 'outraged' over reports that staff at Chernobyl have been taken hostage by Russian forcesServicemen take part in a joint tactical and special exercises of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ukrainian National Guard and Ministry Emergency in a ghost city of Pripyat, near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant on February 4, 2022.Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty ImagesPress secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is outraged over reports from Ukrainian officials that staff at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine have been taken hostage by Russian troops.Russian forces took over the remnants of Chernobyl earlier on Thursday during the country's invasion of Ukraine. The move indicated Russia is likely to assault Ukraine's capital city, Kyiv, which is located just south of Chernobyl, the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history."We're outraged by credible reports that Russian soldiers are currently holding the staff of the Chernobyl facility hostage," Psaki said during a press briefing on Thursday afternoon, adding "we condemn it and we request their release."Psaki said the situation at Chernobyl was not clear but that the hostage taking was "incredibly alarming and greatly concerning," adding it could hurt efforts to maintain the facility, which is dangerously contaminated with radioactivity as a result of the 1986 nuclear disaster.read full STORYUS secretary of state is 'convinced' Russia will try to overthrow the Ukrainian governmentUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on April 11, 2021.Meet The Press/NBCUS Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday said he is "convinced" Moscow will try to overthrow Ukraine's government."You don't need intelligence to tell you that that's exactly what President Putin wants. He has made clear he'd like to reconstitute the Soviet Empire, short of that he'd like to reassert a sphere of influence around the neighboring countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc," Blinken said during a national TV interview. The secretary pledged that NATO would intervene before Putin successfully accomplished his ultimate goal."Now, when it comes to a threat beyond Ukraine's borders. There's something very powerful standing in his way. That's article five of NATO, an attack on one is an attack on all," the top diplomat said.  Expert says Russia's Ukraine invasion will result in 'horrific scenes,' could be launch of 'Cold War 2.0'Ukrainians gather in front of the White House in Washington, USA to stage a protest against Russia's attack in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesA former aide to President Barack Obama is warning that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a "game changer" in international relations that will result in "horrific scenes" in the coming days, with President Vladimir Putin intent on pursuing regime change at all costs."I think it's just a matter of time before Kyiv falls," Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who also served on the National Security Council in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, told Insider.READ FULL STORYThe White House says it's ready to accept Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasionWhite House press secretary Jen Psaki.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe US is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia's invasion, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told CNN."We are," Psaki said when asked whether the US was ready to assist fleeing Ukrainians. "But we certainly expect that most if not the majority will want to go to Europe and neighboring countries. So, we are also working with European countries on what the needs are, where there is capacity. Poland, for example, where we are seeing an increasing flow of refugees over the last 24 hours."She added that US officials have been engaging with Europeans on the matter "for some time." Ukrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield just outside KyivUkraine army says battle under way for airbase near Kyiv on February 24, 2022Daniel LEAL / Getty ImagesUkrainian and Russian forces have been fighting for hours over a critical airfield on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine's capital city.Russian forces attacked and seized Hostomel (Gostomel) airfield, a cargo airport near Kyiv that is also known as Antonov airport, early Thursday, according to AFP. Ukraine's leadership reportedly vowed to take it back."The enemy paratroopers in Hostomel have been blocked, and troops have received an order to destroy them," Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address.Read Full StoryUkraine's health minister says dozens killed and over 160 injuredBlack smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty ImagesUkraine's health minister said 57 Ukrainians have been killed and 169 were wounded after Russia attacked on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.Explosions, gunfire, and sirens were reportedly heard in Kyiv on Thursday. Witnesses also described missile blasts in other cities, including Kramatorsk, Dnipro, and Odesa, reports said. Sean Penn is filming a documentary in Ukraine while Russia invadesActor and director Sean Penn attends a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, Ukraine February 24, 2022.Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via ReutersSean Penn was spotted in Ukraine on Thursday just after Russia invaded the country. Penn was seen in the front row of a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, photos obtained by Reuters show. The actor and director has been working on a documentary about tensions in Ukraine since last year.Read Full StoryUkrainians and Russians are packing ATM lines, prompting fears of what happened in the US during the Great DepressionPeople wait in line at an ATM in Kyiv.DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images.Many Ukrainians who haven't already fled the country as Russia's threat turned into invasion stood in long lines outside of banks and ATMs hoping to take out their funds, Reuters reported on Thursday. Meanwhile in Russia, people are also queuing outside of ATMs trying to get US dollars as its citizens worry their own currency's value will continue to tank, according to the Wall Street Journal. Banks in the capital city of Moscow are running out of money, MSNBC reported. All of this has led to fears of bank runs, which is when people withdraw money en masse because they worry banks will cease to function. That's what happened in the United States during the Great Depression, and it triggered mass unemployment and loan scarcities.  Read Full StoryA top Russian business lobbyist pleaded with Putin to 'demonstrate as much as possible' that Russia wants to remain 'part of the global economy'Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Alexander Shokhin attend a meeting of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 16, 2017.Sergei Ilnitsky/AP PhotoThe head of one of Russia's biggest business groups urged President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to avoid severe economic pain and remain "part of the global economy" as NATO members ready a harsher salvo of sanctions.Putin held a televised meeting with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs just hours after Russian forces began attacks in Ukraine.The threat of new sanctions was enough for Alexander Shokhin, the business group's president, to raise concerns with Putin about remaining a member of the world economy.The lobbyist urged the president to pad against major economic pain and to ensure conflict in Ukraine doesn't fuel widespread harm to the global financial system."Everything should be done to demonstrate as much as possible that Russia remains part of the global economy and will not provoke, including through some kind of response measures, global negative phenomena on world markets," Shokhin said.Read Full StoryBiden says he'll try to limit what Americans pay at the gas pump as the US slaps Russia with more sanctions: 'This is critical to me'U.S. President Joe Biden answers questions after delivering remarks about Russia's “unprovoked and unjustified" military invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden sought to quell fears of another spike in gas prices on Thursday after Russia unleashed a military assault on Ukraine that threatened to upend the global economy.The threat of war in Ukraine in recent weeks has contributed to spiking oil prices, with the benchmark Brent crude oil hitting $100 for the first time since 2014 Wednesday night amid the early stages of Russia's invasion."I know this is hard and Americans are already hurting," he said at a White House address. "I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump."He opened the door to another release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a step the Biden administration also took in November to try and provide relief at the pump.Read Full StoryBiden says Putin's Ukraine invasion will cause a 'complete rupture' in US-Russia relationsPresident Joe Biden listens to questions from reporters while speaking about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, in Washington.Alex Brandon/APPresident Joe Biden on Thursday said Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine will cause a "complete rupture" of US-Russia relations if it continues. Biden condemned Putin and his escalating invasion of Ukraine in a speech from the White House.Biden, who met with G7 members on Thursday morning, also announced a raft of new sanctions against Russia on Thursday."What's the risk that we are watching the beginning of another Cold War, and is there now a complete rupture in US-Russian relations?," a reporter asked Biden following his address. Read Full StoryFamed Russian rapper cancels concerts in protest, saying he can't perform while 'Russian missiles fall on Ukraine'Rapper Oxxxymiron, whose real name is Miron Fyodorov, performs during a concert in support of rapper Husky, whose real name is Dmitry Kuznetsov, in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.AP Photo/Pavel GolovkinA prominent Russian rapper canceled his concert in protest of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, saying he can't perform while "Russian missiles fall on Ukraine."Rapper Oxxxymiron announced via a video posted to his Instagram account that he is postponing "six of my major gigs in Moscow and Saint Petersburg indefinitely," because he said he is "specifically against the war Russia has escalated against the people of Ukraine.""I'm sure you can understand me; I can't entertain you while Russian missiles fall on Ukraine, while Kyiv residents are forced to hide in the basements and subway, and while people are dying," he said.Read Full StoryUS Treasury targets Belarusian support for Russian invasion of UkraineBelarusian President Alexander LukashenkoDmitry Astakhov/Pool/AFP via Getty ImagesIn addition to the second round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the US Thursday, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it is sanctioning 24 Belarusian individuals for their support of the Russian invasion. The sanctions target Belarus's defense sector and financial institutions — two sectors closely tied to Russia.Massive protests erupted in Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg as Russians voice opposition to war in UkraineA demonstrator holding a placard reading "No to war" protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.Photo by SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesMassive protests erupted on Thursday in Russian President Vladimir Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg, as people voiced their opposition to the invasion of Ukraine.Videos posted to Twitter show a sea of people gathered in a section of St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, chanting and holding signs to object to Russia's offensive in Ukraine.Russian government forces have threatened to arrest anti-war protesters, who took to the streets after Putin announced military action against Ukraine on Thursday.Read Full StoryPhotos show Russian authorities dragging away protesters opposed to Putin's invasion of UkrainePolice Police detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg on February 24, 2022.SERGEI MIKHAILICHENKO/AFP via Getty ImagesAnti-war protesters in Russia quickly took to the streets following Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Some activists were met with hostility by Russian authorities who hauled them away. More than 1,000 anti-war protesters have already been detained in dozens of cities across Russia, according to protest-monitoring group OVD-Info. Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."Read Full StoryBiden slaps 'additional strong sanctions' on Russia as it mounts a large-scale attack on UkrainePresident Joe Biden delivers remarks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the East Room of the White House on February 07, 2022.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesPresident Joe Biden on Thursday announced that the US will impose a second, harsher round of sanctions on Russia following its large-scale invasion of Ukraine.Biden announced that he had authorized "additional strong sanctions" and "new limitations" on what can be exported to Russia."We have purposely designed these sanctions to maximize the long term impact on Russia and minimize the impact on the United States and our allies," Biden said."We will limit Russia's ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy," the president said of the sanctions. "We're going to stop the ability to finance and grow the Russian military. We're going to impair their ability to compete in a high-tech 21st-century economy."Read Full StoryA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears and begged the world to 'save our people' from being 'murdered' by Russian forcesUkrainian Parliament member Halyna Yanchenko speaks during a CBS interviewCBS NewsA Ukrainian lawmaker broke down in tears during an interview with CBS News and begged the international community to "save our people" from being "murdered" by Russian forces."I beg you, please save our people. Dozens of people — maybe hundreds of people — might be murdered tonight," Member of Parliament Halyna Yanchenko said as she sobbed during an interview with CBS News on Thursday.  She added: "Please save Ukrainian men, women, and children." Read Full StoryPhotos show Ukrainian families fleeing the Russian invasion amid warnings of a mass refugee crisisPeople wait for trains at a train station as they attempt to evacuate the city on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels.Pierre Crom/Getty Images)Ukrainian residents fled their homes after the first day of Russia's full-scale invasion. Train stations were packed with people on the move and roads filled with cars of people leaving the country, with their loved ones and prized possessions in tow.Before the invasion took place, there were warnings of a mass refugee crisis.Read Full StoryRussian government websites — including ones for the Kremlin and the legislature — went dark after cyberattacks target UkraineA night view of Kyiv as the Kyiv mayor declared a curfew from 10pm to 7am on February 24, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine.Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty ImagesMultiple Russian government websites reportedly went down on Thursday after the country launched an attack on Ukraine. NetBlocks, which tracks disruptions and shutdowns, confirmed on Twitter that multiple sites went offline shortly after 8:45 p.m. local time in Moscow.The Kremlin's website and that of the Russian Federal Assembly's lower house — or State Duma — were both down for at least 15 minutes. As of 9 p.m. local time, the State Duma website was since restored. Shortly after 9:10 p.m. local time, the Kremlin's website was also back online.  Read Full StoryPutin had a range of ways to attack Ukraine. He went with the worst-case scenario for the West.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.Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesIn the build-up to Russia's assault on Ukraine, analysts and leaders envisioned numerous ways the conflict might play out, from a limited incursion to an all-out invasion.Putin used precision missile strikes and airstrikes, followed shortly later by ground maneuvers, the officials said.Analysts said attacks came from the east, south, and north, a description consistent with reports on the ground and Insider's map of the invasion.All three lines of attack — as per this analysis in The Conversation — had previously been floated as individual possibilities for an invasion.Defense analysts warned that Russia's multipronged attack was full-scale but still in an early phase, with a lot more forces to push into Ukraine to seize key areas or capture its leadership.Putin's overall endgame remains an area of pressing debate.Read Full StoryKey Democratic congressman says the US can't send support to Ukraine quickly enough 'to repel' Russia's invasionRep. Adam Smith, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Adam Smith, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, ruled out surging supplies into Ukraine as a last-ditch effort to stall Russia's invasion, arguing it's unlikely such support would arrive quickly enough to make a difference."The odd of us being able to do that in a rapid enough fashion to be able to repel the invasion are remote," Smith told CNN on Thursday when asked about a Ukrainian official's request for more equipment. "I don't think it's realistic to think that we can reinforce them enough in the short term to be able to repel the invasion."Read Full StoryPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden are refusing to play their 2022 World Cup qualifying matches in Russia after it attacked UkraineA protester holds a poster reading "Sanctions against Russia now" during a rally in front of the Russian Embassy in Stockholm on February 24, 2022, after Russia launched military operations in Ukraine.Photo by CLAUDIO BRESCIANI/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty ImagesPoland, Czech Republic, and Sweden said they are refusing to play their upcoming 2022 World Cup qualifying playoff matches in Russia after it attacked Ukraine on Thursday.Based on the latest Russian aggression against Ukraine, "the signatories to this appeal do not consider travelling to Russia and playing football matches there," the three countries said in a joint statement addressed to FIFA's General Secretary Fatma Samoura. The statement continued: "The military escalation that we are observing entails serious consequences and considerably lower safety for our national football teams and official delegations."Read Full StoryRussia's moving on Kyiv and the plan appears to be to take out Ukraine's leadership, US defense official warnsA column of army trucks approaches the Perekop checkpoint on the Ukrainian border. Early on February 24, President Putin announced a special military operation to be conducted by the Russian Armed Forces against Ukraine.Sergei MalgavkobackslashTASS via Getty ImagesRussian forces invaded Ukraine Thursday morning, and a senior US defense official says they are moving on Kyiv, likely to topple the country's government and install their own.Russia is "making a move on Kyiv" a senior defense official who addressed reporters Thursday said, according to CNN. "We would describe what you are seeing as an initial phase" of a "large-scale invasion," the official said, according to The Washington Post's Dan Lamothe.Read Full StoryMaps show Russia's invasion of UkraineMaps of Ukraine.Shayanne Gal/InsiderRussia invaded Ukraine early Thursday, leading to dozens of Ukrainian and Russian casualties.These maps show where Russian troops have attacked Ukraine, which is happening from multiple sides.Read Full StoryUK plots far harsher sanctions on Russia to punish it for invading UkraineBritish Prime Minister Boris JohnsonAdrian Dennis/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoThe UK announced a new set of harsher sanctions on Russia after the country invaded Ukraine early Thursday. A spokesman for the UK government told journalists at a briefing that the UK plans to impose a second round of sanctions. The most intense of the new list of sanctions is an asset freeze on all major Russian banks and an asset freeze against VTB — the second largest bank with assets totaling £154 billion. The UK also plans to sanction another 100 individuals and entities.This is a large step up from the sanctions it announced Wednesday, which were limited to five smaller banks, three individuals close to Putin, and politicians in Russia who voted for military action. Russia has begun arresting anti-war protesters as demonstrations break out after Putin invades UkrainePolice officer detain a woman during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.AP Photo/Dmitry SerebryakovThe Russian government on Thursday threatened anti-war protesters demonstrating against Russia's invasion of Ukraine, warning they could face arrest for organizing.And according to a protest monitoring group, the detentions have already begun as small protests have broken out in some Russian cities.Russia's Investigative Committee warned citizens in a statement not to take part in the "unauthorized" protests "associated with the tense foreign political situation."The committee said that people should be aware of the "negative legal consequences of these actions," which it said includes criminal liability. Read Full StoryUkraine's official Twitter is using memes to rip into Putin's bogus comparison between it and Nazi GermanyRussian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into eastern Ukraine on Monday.Alexei Nikolsky/Associated PressAfter Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the marching orders for an attack on Ukraine early Thursday morning, Ukraine's official Twitter account got busy. One photo showed what appeared to be caricature images of Adolf Hitler tending to a small Putin. "This is not a 'meme', but our and your reality right now," Ukraine said in a follow-up tweet.  The account also called for a so-called "Twitter-storm" at 12 p.m. local time in Kyiv on Thursday, urging people to use various hashtags to "tell the world of the ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine is under attack."Ukraine's latest post said to "Tag @Russia and tell them what you think about them," racking up tens of thousands of likes and quote tweets. Read Full StoryMap shows reported movement of Russian troops in Ukraine Thursday!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

Authorities in occupied part of Ukraine say everyone born there is now Russian, a new step to erase Ukrainian identity

Occupying forces in Zaporizhzhia, a region of Ukraine which has long been under occupation, are taking steady steps to make the area more Russian. Russian soldiers guard Melitopol, the main city of the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, on June 14, 2022AP Children born in Ukraine's occupied Zaporizhzhia will be made Russian citizens, authorities said. The move is part of a longer drive to reshape occupied Ukraine to wipe its Ukrainian identity. Russia also forced people to use Russian currency and switched the TV signals to Russian ones. Children born in an occupied part of Ukraine will no longer be considered Ukrainians at birth, authorities there said.Instead, they will be given Russian citizenship and considered part of the Russian population.The step is one of a series of measures in place through occupied Ukraine which are removing its national character and treating it instead as part of Russia.The announcement about citizenship came from officials speaking to Russian state-run news outlet Ria Novosti.Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Russian-installed administration in Zaporizhzhia, told Ria that the citizenship changed would be retroactive, affecting any babies born since the invasion began on February 24.Rogov alleged that the move was made because Ukrainian authorities stopped issuing the documents and locals asked Russia to step in. He did not provide evidence for this claim, and it was not possible to verify it.Ukraine condemned the move to hand out passports as a "flagrant violation," according to the BBC.The policy for newborns comes alongside efforts to grant Russian citizenship to adults in occupied areas. Passports have been distributed in the occupied cities Kherson and MelitopolThat continued a years-long policy of giving Russian citizenship to Ukrainians in the areas of the Donbas region that have been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014.Wider efforts to impose a Russian rather than Ukrainian identity on occupied areas have included imposing the Russian ruble as the currency instead of Ukraine's hryvnia, limiting access to Ukrainian websites, and replacing TV broadcasts from Ukrainian channels to Russian ones.Teachers have been brought in from Russia to teach the Russian curriculum in schools in  Kherson, according to the UK government, and children have been prohibited from speaking Ukrainian in schools in Mariupol, according to the advisor to the city's mayor before Russia took over.Rogov told Russia's TASS news agency that a referendum would soon be held in Zaporizhzhia to decide whether the region should formally become part of Russia.A similar referendum was held in Crimea after Russia annexed it in 2014. Its result — 97% in favor of joining Russia — was rejected by Ukraine, its allies, and the United Nations General Assembly as illegitimate.The Atlantic Council — a think tank — said earlier this year that turning Ukrainians into Russian citizens was a deliberate strategy by Russia to give itself a rationale for occupation: the need to defend its new citizens.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 16th, 2022

San Francisco Ousts Soros-Backed Uber-Progressive DA In Recall Vote

San Francisco Ousts Soros-Backed Uber-Progressive DA In Recall Vote In 2019, Chesa Boudin openly campaigned on a hard-left, soft-on-crime platform - and got elected as San Francisco’s chief prosecutor. On Tuesday, San Francisco voters gave him the boot, having discovered, as Andrea Widburg notes, that the reality of hard-left governance is much less appealing than the theory and promises. As The Epoch Times' Brad Jones details below, unlike California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent recall election, Boudin didn’t face any opponents. On June 7, San Francisco voters were simply asked to answer yes or no to the question, “Shall Chesa Boudin be recalled (removed) from the Office of District Attorney?” With more than 61.3 percent of the voters selecting “yes,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed must now appoint an interim district attorney until Nov. 8, when a permanent replacement will be elected. The no votes totaled 40,921 (38.7 percent). Boudin, a former public defender backed by leftwing billionaire George Soros, came under fire for failed progressive criminal-justice reform policies that have led to a sharp increase in drug overdose deaths, homelessness, and thefts, including smash-and-grab robberies, car burglaries, shoplifting, and other property crimes. Homicide rates and gun crimes have increased since Boudin became took office. He has strived to end cash bail, reduce incarceration rates, and scrutinize police misconduct. Boudin fired seven prosecutors his second day on the job. In mid-December, The Epoch Times reported that more than 50 prosecutors, support, and victim services staff had either been fired or had quit their jobs over Boudin’s progressive agenda. A former prosecutor who produced a list of those who were fired or quit left their jobs said at the time, “the office is imploding,” and requested anonymity for fear of reprisal. Superior Court Judge Bruce Chan chastised Boudin at a Sept. 24, 2021, court proceeding. Chan cited the “constant turnover” and expressed his “disapproval of the manner in which the Office of the District Attorney is being managed,” according to court transcripts. The Recall Effort Several prominent Democrats have opposed Boudin, including Nima Rahimi, an attorney and executive board member of the California Democratic Party. The San Francisco Board of Elections certified a petition on Nov. 9 to recall Boudin after a group called San Franciscans for Public Safety, led by Mary Jung, a former San Francisco Democratic Party chairwoman, and Andrea Shorter. The two launched the petition on April 28, 2021, and gathered about 83,000 signatures, well surpassing the 51,325 needed to force a recall election. The group alleges in its official recall petition that Boudin failed to keep his promises to deliver criminal justice reform and police accountability. “Boudin is not keeping San Francisco safe. He refuses to adequately prosecute criminals and fails to take the drug dealing crisis seriously. He doesn’t hold serial offenders accountable, getting them released from custody, and his response to victims is that ‘hopefully’ home burglaries will go down,” according to the petition. Boudin dismissed the recall effort as a right-wing campaign based on “false and disproven Republican talking points attempting to undo progress and take us backwards,” in his May, 2021, statement of defense. He argued that “recalls are not political tools for people who lose elections” and that voters “thoughtfully and carefully elected” him because they support his work “to reform an unjust system that too often criminalized poverty, addiction, and mental illness; failed to hold violent police accountable; and targeted people of color.” Boudin was elected in 2019 with 50.8 percent of the vote, defeating Suzy Loftus who received 49.2 percent. He said the “the old approaches” didn’t make the city safer but ignored the root causes of crime and “perpetuated mass incarceration,” and claimed that in his first year he fought to expand support for crime victims, hold police accountable when they commit unnecessary violence, create an independent “innocence commission,” and establish an economic crimes unit to protect workers’ rights. Boudin argued that “exploiting recalls for political purposes is an abuse of the process [that] disrespects the will of the voters, and costs taxpayers millions of dollars.” Richie Greenberg, a Republican and former mayoral candidate, launched an earlier but unsuccessful recall petition against Boudin in January last year. The campaign collected 49,600 signatures, 1,725 shy of the number needed to make the ballot. Progressive Policies Declaring that he didn’t want to prosecute minor offenses, Boudin has indicated he wanted to shift the focus to more serious offenses and take on corporations. He has also suggested hiring public defenders as prosecutors. He has refused to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has threatened to prosecute ICE officers whom he accused of breaking “sanctuary city laws.” Fentanyl Deaths In San Francisco, fentanyl has claimed the lives of 131 people so far this year, according to data from the city’s Chief Medical Examiner’s office, and nearly 1,100 have died from accidental fentanyl overdoses alone since January 2020 to April 2022 compared to 1,544 total overdose deaths. In 2021, fentanyl deaths in San Francisco surpassed COVID-19 fatalities. The overdose rate is one of the worst in the state despite the city spending more than $13 million to expand overdose prevention programs last year. The drug epidemic is so rampant that Mayor Breed and others civic leaders have tried to skirt federal laws to create supervised facilities, otherwise known as shooting galleries, where intravenous drug addicts can shoot up under the watchful eyes of medical professionals. The city approved the purchase of a building to open such a facility but has not actually done so. Boudin and Breed have both been blamed for allowing the city’s infamous needle-strewn “Tenderloin” district to infect surrounding neighborhoods with open drug use and dealing. Overdose death rates have surged since fentanyl began appeared on the scene several years ago. Because of its potency and low cost, drug dealers have been mixing fentanyl with heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. The drug, known as “China Girl, China Town and China White” among other street names, is most often smuggled into the United States from China through Mexico and can be deadly in doses as low as two milligrams, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A year-long national study ending in Jan. 31, 2021, showed that overdose deaths from opioids increased 38.1 percent, and deaths from synthetic opioids jumped 55.6 percent. Socialist Ties Boudin once worked as a translator for Venezuelan socialist dictator Hugo Chávez and co-wrote the book “Understanding the Venezuelan Revolution: Hugo Chávez Talks to Marta Harnecker,” published in 2005. Boudin is credited on the book cover. In 2011, he attained a law degree from Yale Law School and began working for the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office the following year. Unlike other Soros-backed candidates, Boudin was a public defender and had never served as a prosecutor before he was elected as San Francisco’s district attorney—a position Los Angeles DA George Gascón held from 2011 to 2019. Boudin attended Oxford’s St. Antony’s College in England on a Rhode’s Scholarship and earned two master’s degrees, one in public policy in Latin America and the other in forced migration. Radical Parents Boudin was a 14-month-old infant when his parents were arrested in 1981 and imprisoned for their involvement in a botched attempt to rob an armored delivery truck in Nanuet, NY, about 35 miles north of New York City. They were getaway drivers for and members of the radical Weather Underground which orchestrated the failed heist in which two police officers and a Brink’s security guard were killed. His mother, Kathy Boudin, spent more than two decades in prison before she was released on parole in 2003. His father, David Gilbert, was sentenced 75 years to life in prison but was released on parole in October after Boudin successfully lobbied disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to commute his sentence before he left office. Cuomo did so on his final day as governor in August. Gilbert, now 76, served more than 40 years in prison. Boudin was adopted and raised by Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn who were also members of Weather Underground, a radical Marxist group that sought to lead a violent communist revolution in America and bombed government buildings across the country. During the 1970s, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) displayed wanted posters with photos of Ayers and other Weather Underground members in every U.S. post office. The FBI listed Dohrn, whom Ayers married in 1982, as one of its 10 most-wanted fugitives. Ayers was a fugitive for years but resurfaced after charges against him were dropped. He taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago for more than 20 years and retired in 2010. He has authored several books on education. Marxist Roots Boudin hails from a long line of Marxists. Louis B. Boudin (1874-1952), Chesa’s great-grand-uncle was a Jewish-American writer, politician, and lawyer. Born Louis Boudianoff (Leib Budiansky) in Ukraine—then under the rule of Imperialist Russia—he was a Marxist theoretician best known for writing a two-volume history of the Supreme Court’s influence on American government published in 1932. The Boudin family immigrated to America in 1891 and settled in New York City. Louis studied law and was admitted to the New York State Bar Association in 1898. He was a member of the Socialist Labor Party of America and the Socialist Trade and Labor Alliance in the late 1800s. He left the Socialist Labor Party in 1899 and joined a dissident faction to help form the Socialist Party of America in 1901. His grandfather, Leonard Boudin (1912-1989), was a known civil rights lawyer, who represented Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro and Paul Robeson, an American entertainer who was denied a passport over his refusal to disavow membership in the Communist Party. *  *  * However, as AmericanThinker's Andrea Widburg notes, sadly, it’s doubtful any San Franciscans, having literally been mugged by leftist reality, will change their political views. Rather than seeing the problem as leftism, they’ll almost certainly chalk it up solely to Chesa’s mismanagement - and place someone very similar in an office that, before Chesa came along, was held by both Kamala Harris and L.A.’s George Gascon. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/08/2022 - 07:27.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 8th, 2022

Kremlin Declares "Land Bridge" Complete From Western Russia To Donbas To Crimea

Kremlin Declares "Land Bridge" Complete From Western Russia To Donbas To Crimea Russia's military has declared that its desired strategic "land bridge" connecting Russian national territory with the Donbas and Crimea is complete, according to statements given to CNN senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt. The Tuesday Russian military statement said that "roads and rail lines between western Russia and Crimea are operational," which marks that "the land bridge is complete." "Conditions have been created for the resumption of full-fledged traffic between Russia, Donbas, Ukraine and Crimea on six railway sections," Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. "Automobile communication has been opened from the territory of Russia along the mainland to Crimea." Thus it appears the Kremlin is touting its own 'mission accomplished' moment, at least pertaining to the eastern and southern theaters of the war. Image source: defence-ua.com Starting in April, the defense ministry announced its "phase 2" plan for the invasion while pulling back in the north, and abandoning the fight outside the capital of Kiev and other cities deep in Ukrainian territory. It stated as its prime objective "control over southern Ukraine and Donbas" - where fighting has been heavily concentrated over the past two months. Early last month in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines listed the "land bridge" concept as now a chief goal of President Vladimir Putin and his generals. She said that as part of the Donbas campaign, he's "determined to build a land bridge to Russian-controlled territory in Moldova," the AFP reported of her public testimony at the time. But US intelligence sees this as a strategic springboard for a Russian military advance on other parts of Ukraine, even beyond its borders: "We assess President Putin is preparing for prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas," Haines said at the time. And further:  "We... see indications that the Russian military wants to extend the land bridge to Transnistria," Haines said, referring to the Moscow-backed separatist region of Moldova along Ukraine's southwest border. If indeed the land bridge is complete, according to Defense Minister Shoigu's latest claims, it's now likely inevitable that Russia will soon assert full control over the Donbas. Already within the past days there's been growing consensus that essentially all of the Luhansk province is under Russian control. However, it remains to be seen and is entirely unclear at this point whether Russia has aims beyond Ukraine, into Transnistria, as US intelligence is predicting. This would mean the eventual extension of the land bridge across the whole south of Ukraine, including the vital port city Odessa.  Institute for the Study of War: 24-hour heat anomaly data and Russian control of terrain. Below: the Land Bridge as it was shaping up by early March... One goal of Russia’s advance in Ukraine is to create a “land bridge” that connects the Russian-speaking Donbas, and Russia itself, with Crimea, which it annexed in 2014. To achieve its aims, Russia will need to hold its new turf. Can it do that? — The Economist (@TheEconomist) March 3, 2022 The final holdout flashpoint city of Severodonetsk has over the past week seen a steady Russian advance, but as street fighting rages local officials say the situation changes "every hour". Ukraine officials have also admitted the invading Russians far outnumber local troops defending the city: "The situation is changing every hour, but at the same time there’s enough forces and resources to repel attacks," said the mayor of Severodonetsk, Oleksandr Striuk. "We have hope, we have faith in our armed forces, no one’s going to abandon" Severodonetsk, he added. Just days ago, Moscow seemed close to taking the strategic industrial hub in the east but Ukrainian forces have managed to hold out. "Our heroes are holding their positions in Severodonetsk. Fierce street fights continue in the city," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address late on Monday. Conflicting reports suggest Ukrainian forces may have repelled the Russians in some sectors. Meanwhile the UK defense ministry has on Tuesday commented on the potential for Russian forces to achieve a major breakthrough based on establishing the connecting 'land bridge'. Achieving victory in Severodonetsk will be key to Russian war aims, the UK defense ministry said. Director of National Intelligence: "We assess President Putin is preparing for prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas." "We also see indications that the Russian military wants to extend the land bridge to Transnistria." pic.twitter.com/pkifpLRVZI — Moshe Schwartz (@YWNReporter) May 10, 2022 "Russia will almost certainly need to achieve a breakthrough on at least one of these axes to translate tactical gains to operational level success and progress towards its political objective of controlling all of Donetsk Oblast," a statement by the UK MOD said. Tyler Durden Tue, 06/07/2022 - 12:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 7th, 2022

Live updates: Pennsylvania"s GOP Senate primary is going down to the wire

Senate seats in contention, Rep. Madison Cawthorn loses in North Carolina and a GOP face-off in Pennsylvania to run for US Senate. North Carolina GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his seat in a primary on Tuesday.Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty ImagesWelcome to the Insider live blog for the May 17 primaries.Key Senate and House races remain too close to callFormer President Donald Trump poses for photos with David McCormick at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Mehmet Oz speaks at a town hall-style event at the Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pa.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster and AP Photo/Marc LevySeveral races are still neck-and-neck as of Wednesday morning, including the high-profile Republican Pennsylvania Senate contest, where just 0.19 percentage points separate Dr. Mehmet Oz from David McCormick with thousands of absentee ballots left to be counted. Meanwhile in the House, progressive candidates are potentially on the verge of scoring two big wins, with Jamie McLeod-Skinner on track to knock out centrist Rep. Kurt Schrader in Oregon's 5th District and progressive Summer Lee leading her main rival Steve Irwin by 446 votes in the open race for the Pittsburgh-based 12th Congressional District.  -Grace Panetta Pennsylvania remains unsettled as election night draws to a closeGREENSBURG, PA - Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz joins former President Donald Trump onstage during a rally.Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty ImagesDr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick remain in neck-and-neck contention for the GOP nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania with less than half a percentage point separating the two frontrunners by late Tuesday night, meaning the race may not be called until Wednesday. More votes are still left to be counted in counties were Oz has been performing well, and a ballot printing error in Lancaster County that will require workers to manually recreate and re-scan 16,000 absentee ballots over the next few days will also potentially slow down the counting if the race remains this close. -Grace Panetta Lamb reportedly concedes Pennsylvania Senate primaryConor Lamb.Brendan McDermid/ReutersRep. Conor Lamb has conceded Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary, Politico's Holly Otterbein reports.Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is projected to win the contest, per Decision Desk HQ. As of 11 p.m. Eastern Time, Fetterman was running ahead of Lamb by more than 32 percentage points.We still don't know who the Republican nominee is and may not find that out tonight. Either way, the general election could decide which party will control the Senate. — By Brent D. GriffithsPolls close, wrapping up an evening of primariesIdaho Gov. Brad Little.Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesPolls are closed everywhere in the country, wrapping up an evening of primaries in states all over the US. The final results will come in Idaho, which just closed its last polls, and Oregon, which votes entirely by mail. The final race that will determine former President Donald Trump's status as kingmaker in the Republican party is in Idaho. There, Incumbent Gov. Brad Little is facing a primary challenge from his own Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, whom Trump endorsed. Oregon has an open primary for governor after the current governor, Democrat Kate Brown, is term limited out. US House seats are also up for grabs, with tensions growing between centrist and progressive Democrats in the House. Follow along to see the results of the races for gubernatorial nominations and congressional seats in Oregon, and for the governor's race in Idaho. - Kimberly Leonard Meet the man who just took down Rep. Madison CawthornChuck Edwards, a North Carolina state senator, defeated freshman GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn on Tuesday.Camila DeChalus/InsiderTake a look at this Insider profile of state Sen. Chuck Edwards, the Republican who just unseated Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District.Senior Reporter Camila DeChalus traveled to Hendersonville and spoke with the state senator in May to learn more about the rising star in North Carolina. She found the antithesis of Cawthorn in Edwards: a candidate lacking his rival's hyperbolic bravado and a scant social media presence.When DeChalus asked about Cawthorn's plethora of recent controversies, Edwards told her that "it's obvious that he [Cawthorn] got caught up in political stardom and turned his back on the people in these mountains."He said that his "qualms with Madison Cawthorn are based on his performance and his poor attendance record in Congress."— By Madison HallBiden lauds Fetterman's Pennsylvania Senate nominationPresident Joe Biden hadn't said anything about the Pennsylvania Senate race — until John Fetterman won the Democratic nomination.AP Photo/Carolyn KasterPresident Joe Biden finally has something to say about Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate race.Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is projected to be the Democratic Party's nominee in what will be one of the nation's closest watched Senate races, Decision Desk HQ projects.Unlike his predecessor, Biden loathes to weigh in on contested party primaries. It didn't help matters that the Delawarian president who never forgets his Scranton roots encountered a race with three big names in Pennsylvania politics: Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb, and state-Sen. Malcolm Kenyatta.Lamb and Kenyatta were close Biden allies. Biden bestowed one of his highest compliments on Lamb, saying that the young former Marine reminded him of his son Beau Biden when Lamb's 2018 special election attracted national attention. While Kenyatta was a key Biden surrogate and was among a group of rising stars that spoke during the 2020 Democratic National Convention's keynote address."Democrats are united around John, who is a strong nominee, will run a tough race, and can win in November," Biden said in a statement.— By Brent D. GriffithsA legislative leader and TikTok star is headed to Congress from KentuckyMorgan McGarvey, Kentucky's state Senate minority leader, is a TikTok star.Timothy D. Easley/AP PhotoKentucky's state Senate minority leader Morgan McGarvey, who won the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth in the safely Democratic, Louisville-based 3rd Congressional District, will also bring some TikTok starpower to Congress. McGarvey and his colleague, Sen. Reginald Thomas, currently boast nearly 130,000 followers on the @kysenatedems account. That's where the two use TikTok trends to document their daily lives in the state legislature and the woes of being in the superminority, including a video of Thomas doing the "Rick & Morty" trend in front of the state Senate chamber that eaned 5.7 million views.McGarvey is likely to also be in the minority in Congress, but at least he can give his colleagues some TikTok pointers. -Grace Panetta Rep. Madison Cawthorn losesRep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.House Television via APControversial GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn is projected to lose his re-election campaign in the face of fierce opposition from his fellow North Carolina Republicans.State-Sen. Chuck Edwards is projected to win the race, per Decision Desk HQ. Sen. Thom Tillis endorsed Edwards, a sign of just how much fellow elected Republicans rebelled against Cawthorn.Cawthorn courted controversy even before his election. But the 26-year-old finally hit a nerve on Capitol Hill when he suggested on a podcast that there were illicit sex and drug-filled parties in Washington. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said publicly that Cawthorn had lost his trust. Tillis came off the sidelines and pushed hard for Edwards' campaign. And the rest is now history.— Brent D. GriffithsNorth Carolina GOP Senate candidate Ted Budd and Donald Trump.Chris Seward/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump's endorsement of Republican Rep. Ted Budd was likely crucial in helping the two-term lawmaker clinch the GOP nomination for US Senate on Tuesday, despite a crowded field of contenders. But Budd too has been decidedly Trumpian in the types of legislation he has introduced while in Congress. In April, for example, he introduced the Build the Wall Now Act to have the federal government continue constructing the border wall between the US and Mexico that was started under Trump and that President Joe Biden paused by executive order. Budd also introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act of 2021, which would allow people to sue cities if someone unauthorized to be living in the US committed a crime against them. While in office, Trump targeted sanctuary cities that are often led by Democrats and that sheltered migrants against federal crackdowns on illegal immigration. On education, Budd introduced a bill to recreate Trump's 1776 Commission, which was disbanded under Biden. Members of the conservative commission had created a 45-page document that aimed to promote a "patriotic education," and was intended as a rebuttal to the New York Times' 1619 Project. Budd's Freedom from Regulations Act, introduced in 2021, echoed a Trump-era executive order that called for trashing two regulations every time the administration created a new one. — Kimberly LeonardClay Aiken on track to lose, Decision Desk HQ projectsAmerican Idol star Clay Aiken is headed for defeat in his race for a US House seat in North Carolina.Vince Bucci/Getty ImagesClay Aiken is currently running third in the race for the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's 4th Congressional District. State-Sen. Valerie Foushee is already projected to have won the nomination. Long-time incumbent Rep. David Price, a Democrat, previously announced his retirement after over 30 years in Congress.Aiken won his party's 2014 nomination but later lost the general election to then-Rep. Renee Ellmers. The 2003 American Idol runner-up decided to give it another go this cycle.Since American Idol, Aiken launched a private foundation and starred on Broadway in the Monty Python-inspired "Spamalot."Daily Kos Elections joked on Twitter that now it can no longer be said that Aiken finishes second in everything. Outside of elections, Aiken finished as the runner-up on 2012's edition of the Celebrity Apprentice when it was still hosted by then-future President Donald Trump.— Brent D. GriffithsDoug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator, is the Republican nominee for governor.Carolyn Kaster/AP PhotoDoug Mastriano is the winner of the Republican primary in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, according to DDHQ and Insider.— Madison HallFetterman's turn in the Insider spotlightJohn Fetterman on the Senate campaign trial in May 2022.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoCheck out this Insider profile of John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the US Senate from Pennsylvania. In November 2020, Insider's Charles Davis interviewed Fetterman about his journey from being largely apolitical, to being elected mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2005, to being branded a rising Democratic star.Fetterman told Insider that he doesn't think that Democrats can't reach Trump voters. "If we're going to reverse the fortunes of not only our party but, most importantly, communities and regions, [we need to be] reinvesting and acknowledging that these places deserve to be championed," Fetterman said."There's certainly unreachable people," he said. "I think it's people reacting to a level of authenticity or rawness. You're not going to convince me that Pennsylvania changed radically from Barack Obama to Donald Trump."— Sarah GrayMehmet Oz: Not in it for the moneyMehmet Oz would earn $174,000 if he becomes a US senator.Matt Rourke/APIf Donald Trump endorsee Mehmet Oz win's tonight's US Senate primary in Pennsylvania, then defeats the Democratic nominee in November, he'll earn a standard congressional salary, which today stands at $174,000.Not bad, no, but it's peanuts compared to what he's been making in the private sector — or perhaps pistachios, given that Oz scored a cool $125,000 for a one-day speech to the American Pistachio Growers Association in March 2020, according a federal financial disclosure Oz submitted to the Senate in April.For hosting quiz show Jeopardy! during a two-week stint in late March and early April 2021, Oz earned $268,701, records show.And that's all before you consider his former day job: Oz reported earning more than $7 million from "income derived from ownership interest in Oz Media LLL through Oz Property Holdings." He also received a $2 million salary for hosting the "Dr. Oz Show."Oz is also an active stock trader, reporting sizeable investments in companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, among several dozen others. — Dave LevinthalFetterman wins Pennsylvania Democratic senator nominationJohn Fetterman, left, is the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania US Senate seat.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoJohn Fetterman is the winner of the Democratic primary race for Pennsylvania's US Senate seat. That's the call from Insider and DDHQ. Fetterman, currently the state's lieutenant governor, defeated Rep. Conor Lamb, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Alexandria Khalil. Fetterman is currently recovering from a recent stroke and announced on Tuesday that he had received a pacemaker implant.A pricey house race to watch near Pittsburgh: PA-12Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee in her bid to win the nomination for the state's 12th congressional district.Rebecca Droke/AP PhotoWith the retirement of GOP Rep. Fred Keller, this district outside of Pittsburgh in the Susquehanna Valley is a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats.It's also a race that was looking pretty stale until the past few weeks. The frontrunner, state Rep. Summer Lee, has endorsements from Emily's List and Justice Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently stumped for her and she seemed to have everything going in her favor until a ton of money started pouring into the race. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, most commonly referred to as AIPAC, has been funding ads through a new Super PAC called the United Democracy Project for Lee's opponent, Steve Irwin. Lee would be the latest in a new generation of Democrats in Washington with positions further to the left than most of the caucus, as well as more critical views of Israel. Should Irwin pull out a victory, his surge couldn't have been hurt by the AIPAC ad spree, but Lee remains the favorite. The Republican primary has been more quiet, with Michael Doyle — unrelated to retiring Rep. Mike Doyle — running unopposed.— Jake LahutPennsylvania's US Senate race is stupid expensivePennsylvania Republican Senate Candidate Mehmet OzAlexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesThe government of Erie, Pennsylvania, population 94,831, forecasts that it'll bring in about $95.7 million worth of revenue during 2022.Pennsylvania's US Senate race, meanwhile, is on pace to bring in twice that — maybe even more — en route to competing for the crown of the year's most expensive political race.As of April 27, the race had already attracted more than $68.3 million in contributions, according to federal records compiled by nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets.There are two overriding reasons for this. First, both the Republican and Democratic primaries are highly competitive. They feature multiple candidates — David McCormick, Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette on the right, John Fetterman and Conor Lamb on the left. More candidates + more competition = more, more, more money.Second, McCormick and Oz are extremely wealthy. Both have pumped millions of dollars of their personal money into the race, with Oz alone accounting for more than $12 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. McCormick, at $11 million, isn't far behind.Tonight's winners will then have nearly six months to slug each other ahead of November's general election. National party committees and super PACs, which may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, will almost assuredly supplement the candidates' own fundraising efforts with tens of millions of more dollars.— Dave LevinthalPolls in Pennsylvania closed at 8 p.m. ET.InsiderFollow along to see the results for the Republican and Democratic  candidates for governor, the US Senate, House from the Keystone State.Madison Cawthorn's cryptic crypto play may have violated the STOCK ActMadison Cawthorn, Republican nominee for North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, speaks during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, on August 26, 2020.2020 Republican National Convention/Handout via ReutersRep. Madison Cawthorn has plenty of problems — ones involving guns, money, cocaine orgies, and a nude video, to name four.One that's flying a bit below the radar, but still serious: he may have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law by not publicly reporting his stated purchase in a cryptocurrency named for an anti-Joe Biden slogan.Per federal law, Cawthorn had 45-days to formally disclose details about his crypto play. But as of this evening, Cawthorn had done no such thing, and his campaign and congressional office have not responded to Insider's questions as to why.Failure to properly report such financial transactions can result in a fine administered by Congress, or in extreme cases, a referral to the Department of Justice.— Dave LevinthalTed Budd wins GOP Primary for open Senate seatFormer President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina in the 2022 North Carolina Senate race.AP Photo/Chris SewardRepublican Ted Budd will face off against Democrat Cheri Beasley for a crucial open US Senate seat in North Carolina, Insider and Decision Desk HQ project. Budd is a Republican congressman who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, and easily cleared a field of GOP opponents. Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is hoping to flip control of the seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.Mayoral MayhemCharlotte, NCShutterstockA Republican hasn't been the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, for more than 50 years. Four Republican candidates are hoping to change that, including Bill Dieruf, the current mayor of Jeffersontown, a nearby suburb. The current mayor of Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city, Linda Gorton, is running for reelection. Gorton's opponents recently chided her at a public forum over housing costs and crime rates. She countered by noting that she rose to the occasion when challenges surfaced in Lexington during her time in office, particularly during the pandemic.In Charlotte, North Carolina, Democratic Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles is vying for another term in office. Lyles became the first Black mayor in Charlotte history in 2017 after unseating the incumbent mayor. She's facing off against three other Democratic candidates tonight.You can check out and follow the three mayoral primaries here.—Madison HallJohn Fetterman gets pacemakerIn this Sept. 21, 2018 photo, former Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in PhiladelphiaAP Photo/Matt RourkePennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman "just completed a successful procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator," his communications director, Joe Calvello, said in a statement Tuesday evening. "The procedure began at 3:15 pm, John was released at 5:56 pm, and he has been given the all-clear that it was successful. He is resting at the hospital and recovering well. John continues to improve every day, and he is still on track for a full recovery."Fetterman, who is running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania in tonight's Democratic primary, suffered a stroke last week.— Dave LevinthalResults just beginning to trickle in in KentuckyHouse Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., talks with reporters after meeting with the House Democratic Caucus and Biden administration officials to discuss progress on an infrastructure bill, at the Capitol in Washington.J. Scott Applewhite/APPolls closed in Kentucky at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, and the results are beginning to come in. See results for the Senate, House and state legislative primaries here, and results for the mayoral elections in Louisville and Lexington here.The most notable primary race of the night is the Democratic primary in Kentucky's Third District to replace retiring Democratic Rep. John YarmuthA slew of Democratic candidates are seeking the nomination for the mayor's office in Louisville to replace term-limited outgoing Mayor Greg Fischer. Incumbent Mayor Linda Gorton is also seeking reelection to the mayor's office in Lexington, Kentucky in a nonpartisan primary. Democrats love Republican primaries — for fundraisingDemocratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, DCCC Chair, at a press conference on Capitol HillBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is rarely immune to hyperbole or breathlessness. So it should perhaps come as little surprise how much the party's campaign arm for US House races is leveraging today's Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania to raise cash for itself."Trump has already helped make J.D. Vance the Republican nominee in the critical Ohio Senate race. Now, he's scheming to do the same with Dr. Oz in the ultimate swing state of Pennsylvania … please understand: If Trump is able to pack Congress with his top loyalists, it could pave the way for his return to the White House," the DCCC wrote supporters.It continues: "And at this dire moment, you have two options: OPTION 1: Ignore our urgent pleas, delete this email, and watch while Trump destroys our House Majority and Democratic Trifecta with his dangerous followers. OPTION 2: Step up with a powerful grassroots gift before midnight to stop Trump's power-hungry schemes and protect our Democratic House."  — Dave LevinthalTight gubernatorial primary races in the Beaver State- Former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, who is running for governor, poses for photos in Columbia Park in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 18, 2022. Oregon's primary elections are Tuesday, May 17, 2022.AP Photo/Sara Cline, fileDemocratic Gov. Kate Brown is finishing up her second term in office and cannot run again. After 35 straight years of having a Democrat as governor, Republicans in Oregon are hoping this is their year to regain executive power, but must figure out their nominee from a slate of 19 candidates led by former state Rep. Christine Drazan and businessman Bob Tiernan. With Brown term-limited, she leaves behind a wide-open Democratic field with 15 candidates. Two notable leaders on the Democratic ticket include Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read and former House Speaker Tina Kotek.The list of Democratic primary contenders used to be longer — former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof left his job to explore running for office in October 2021. Oregon's Supreme Court ultimately ruled in February that he couldn't be on the ballot, citing his failure to meet the three-year residency requirement to qualify.— Madison HallEmbattled Rep. Madison Cawthorn fights for a second term after a slew of scandalsU.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., waves to the crowd after he spoke before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally on April 9, 2022, in Selma, NC.Chris Seward/APCawthorn catapulted into rising star status in the GOP when he was elected to Congress from North Carolina's 11th District in 2020 at age 25. But a series of ethics troubles, and explosive comments have infuriated his GOP colleagues and spurred some to openly root for his ouster, as Michael Kruse recently dug into for Politico Magazine. Our Camila DeChalus reported from Hendersonville earlier this month on Cawthorn's leading primary challenger, state Sen. Chuck Edwards, voters' mixed feelings about Cawthorn's scandals, and the former volunteers who have buyer's remorse. A split field of seven primary challengers could help Cawthorn squeak by to reelection, but he could head to a July 26 runoff if no one gets about 30% of the vote. — Grace PanettaWould you pay $1 million out-of-pocket for a US Senate seat?McCormick received more than $70 million in discretionary awards connected to a Bridgewater Associates plan.Divorce agreement between David McCormick and Amy RichardsonAs C. Ryan Barber and Adam Wren reported earlier this year, divorce documents obtained by Insider indicate that Republican US Senate candidate David McCormick could face such a situation — if he's first able to survive his Pennsylvania primary battle against Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette.As Barber and Wren wrote: "McCormick's divorce agreement includes a clause stipulating that he would pay his ex-wife $1 million if he voluntarily left his lucrative position at Bridgewater Associates for the 'public domain.' The agreement between McCormick and his ex-wife, Amy Richardson, defined 'public domain' as employment in 'any government entity' and required him to pay the seven-figure sum in a pair of $500,000 installments in the first two years of any full-time public sector job.Once the frontrunner, McCormick has slipped in the polls of late and could conceivably finish third. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Oz, the longtime television show host, while Barnette has surged as a MAGA-friendly alternative to both Oz and McCormick. — Dave LevinthalOz, Barnette, and McCormick jockey in a close race in PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette speaks during a campaign rally at The Fuge in Warminster, Pennsylvania.Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty ImagesWe went to Pennsylvania earlier this month and found a lot of Trump voters who were pretty unhappy with Dr. Mehmet Oz as the former president's endorsement. Kathy Barnette has had an impressive surge late in the race, but the conservative author's background is now the subject of considerable scrutiny and has some Republicans worried she'd get beat by the Democrats should she make it to the November general election. No doubt, a victory for Barnette would be a big shock. But she's been within striking distance in all the latest polls. The candidate hoping to get a bump from undecideds is former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who has picked up endorsements from the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.– Jake LahutRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 18th, 2022

Live updates: Rep. Madison Cawthorn dramatically loses seat as Pennsylvania and North Carolina ballots are counted

Senate seats in contention, Rep. Madison Cawthorn loses in North Carolina and a GOP face-off in Pennsylvania to run for US Senate. North Carolina GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his seat in a primary on Tuesday.Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty ImagesWelcome to the Insider live blog for the May 17 primaries.Polls close, wrapping up an evening of primariesIdaho Gov. Brad Little.Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesPolls are closed everywhere in the country, wrapping up an evening of primaries in states all over the US. The final results will come in Idaho, which just closed its last polls, and Oregon, which votes entirely by mail. The final race that will determine former President Donald Trump's status as kingmaker in the Republican party is in Idaho. There, Incumbent Gov. Brad Little is facing a primary challenge from his own Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, whom Trump endorsed. Oregon has an open primary for governor after the current governor, Democrat Kate Brown, is term limited out. US House seats are also up for grabs, with tensions growing between centrist and progressive Democrats in the House. Follow along to see the results of the races for gubernatorial nominations and congressional seats in Oregon, and for the governor's race in Idaho. - Kimberly Leonard Meet the man who just took down Rep. Madison CawthornChuck Edwards, a North Carolina state senator, defeated freshman GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn on Tuesday.Camila DeChalus/InsiderTake a look at this Insider profile of state Sen. Chuck Edwards, the Republican who just unseated Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District.Senior Reporter Camila DeChalus traveled to Hendersonville and spoke with the state senator in May to learn more about the rising star in North Carolina. She found the antithesis of Cawthorn in Edwards: a candidate lacking his rival's hyperbolic bravado and a scant social media presence.When DeChalus asked about Cawthorn's plethora of recent controversies, Edwards told her that "it's obvious that he [Cawthorn] got caught up in political stardom and turned his back on the people in these mountains."He said that his "qualms with Madison Cawthorn are based on his performance and his poor attendance record in Congress."— By Madison HallBiden lauds Fetterman's Pennsylvania Senate nominationPresident Joe Biden hadn't said anything about the Pennsylvania Senate race — until John Fetterman won the Democratic nomination.AP Photo/Carolyn KasterPresident Joe Biden finally has something to say about Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate race.Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is projected to be the Democratic Party's nominee in what will be one of the nation's closest watched Senate races, Decision Desk HQ projects.Unlike his predecessor, Biden loathes to weigh in on contested party primaries. It didn't help matters that the Delawarian president who never forgets his Scranton roots encountered a race with three big names in Pennsylvania politics: Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb, and state-Sen. Malcolm Kenyatta.Lamb and Kenyatta were close Biden allies. Biden bestowed one of his highest compliments on Lamb, saying that the young former Marine reminded him of his son Beau Biden when Lamb's 2018 special election attracted national attention. While Kenyatta was a key Biden surrogate and was among a group of rising stars that spoke during the 2020 Democratic National Convention's keynote address."Democrats are united around John, who is a strong nominee, will run a tough race, and can win in November," Biden said in a statement.— By Brent D. GriffithsA legislative leader and TikTok star is headed to Congress from KentuckyMorgan McGarvey, Kentucky's state Senate minority leader, is a TikTok star.Timothy D. Easley/AP PhotoKentucky's state Senate minority leader Morgan McGarvey, who won the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth in the safely Democratic, Louisville-based 3rd Congressional District, will also bring some TikTok starpower to Congress. McGarvey and his colleague, Sen. Reginald Thomas, currently boast nearly 130,000 followers on the @kysenatedems account. That's where the two use TikTok trends to document their daily lives in the state legislature and the woes of being in the superminority, including a video of Thomas doing the "Rick & Morty" trend in front of the state Senate chamber that eaned 5.7 million views.McGarvey is likely to also be in the minority in Congress, but at least he can give his colleagues some TikTok pointers. -Grace Panetta Rep. Madison Cawthorn losesRep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.House Television via APControversial GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn is projected to lose his re-election campaign in the face of fierce opposition from his fellow North Carolina Republicans.State-Sen. Chuck Edwards is projected to win the race, per Decision Desk HQ. Sen. Thom Tillis endorsed Edwards, a sign of just how much fellow elected Republicans rebelled against Cawthorn.Cawthorn courted controversy even before his election. But the 26-year-old finally hit a nerve on Capitol Hill when he suggested on a podcast that there were illicit sex and drug-filled parties in Washington. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said publicly that Cawthorn had lost his trust. Tillis came off the sidelines and pushed hard for Edwards' campaign. And the rest is now history.— Brent D. GriffithsNorth Carolina GOP Senate candidate Ted Budd and Donald Trump.Chris Seward/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump's endorsement of Republican Rep. Ted Budd was likely crucial in helping the two-term lawmaker clinch the GOP nomination for US Senate on Tuesday, despite a crowded field of contenders. But Budd too has been decidedly Trumpian in the types of legislation he has introduced while in Congress. In April, for example, he introduced the Build the Wall Now Act to have the federal government continue constructing the border wall between the US and Mexico that was started under Trump and that President Joe Biden paused by executive order. Budd also introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act of 2021, which would allow people to sue cities if someone unauthorized to be living in the US committed a crime against them. While in office, Trump targeted sanctuary cities that are often led by Democrats and that sheltered migrants against federal crackdowns on illegal immigration. On education, Budd introduced a bill to recreate Trump's 1776 Commission, which was disbanded under Biden. Members of the conservative commission had created a 45-page document that aimed to promote a "patriotic education," and was intended as a rebuttal to the New York Times' 1619 Project. Budd's Freedom from Regulations Act, introduced in 2021, echoed a Trump-era executive order that called for trashing two regulations every time the administration created a new one. — Kimberly LeonardClay Aiken on track to lose, Decision Desk HQ projectsAmerican Idol star Clay Aiken is headed for defeat in his race for a US House seat in North Carolina.Vince Bucci/Getty ImagesClay Aiken is currently running third in the race for the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's 4th Congressional District. State-Sen. Valerie Foushee is already projected to have won the nomination. Long-time incumbent Rep. David Price, a Democrat, previously announced his retirement after over 30 years in Congress.Aiken won his party's 2014 nomination but later lost the general election to then-Rep. Renee Ellmers. The 2003 American Idol runner-up decided to give it another go this cycle.Since American Idol, Aiken launched a private foundation and starred on Broadway in the Monty Python-inspired "Spamalot."Daily Kos Elections joked on Twitter that now it can no longer be said that Aiken finishes second in everything. Outside of elections, Aiken finished as the runner-up on 2012's edition of the Celebrity Apprentice when it was still hosted by then-future President Donald Trump.— Brent D. GriffithsDoug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator, is the Republican nominee for governor.Carolyn Kaster/AP PhotoDoug Mastriano is the winner of the Republican primary in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, according to DDHQ and Insider.— Madison HallFetterman's turn in the Insider spotlightJohn Fetterman on the Senate campaign trial in May 2022.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoCheck out this Insider profile of John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the US Senate from Pennsylvania. In November 2020, Insider's Charles Davis interviewed Fetterman about his journey from being largely apolitical, to being elected mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2005, to being branded a rising Democratic star.Fetterman told Insider that he doesn't think that Democrats can't reach Trump voters. "If we're going to reverse the fortunes of not only our party but, most importantly, communities and regions, [we need to be] reinvesting and acknowledging that these places deserve to be championed," Fetterman said."There's certainly unreachable people," he said. "I think it's people reacting to a level of authenticity or rawness. You're not going to convince me that Pennsylvania changed radically from Barack Obama to Donald Trump."— Sarah GrayMehmet Oz: Not in it for the moneyMehmet Oz would earn $174,000 if he becomes a US senator.Matt Rourke/APIf Donald Trump endorsee Mehmet Oz win's tonight's US Senate primary in Pennsylvania, then defeats the Democratic nominee in November, he'll earn a standard congressional salary, which today stands at $174,000.Not bad, no, but it's peanuts compared to what he's been making in the private sector — or perhaps pistachios, given that Oz scored a cool $125,000 for a one-day speech to the American Pistachio Growers Association in March 2020, according a federal financial disclosure Oz submitted to the Senate in April.For hosting quiz show Jeopardy! during a two-week stint in late March and early April 2021, Oz earned $268,701, records show.And that's all before you consider his former day job: Oz reported earning more than $7 million from "income derived from ownership interest in Oz Media LLL through Oz Property Holdings." He also received a $2 million salary for hosting the "Dr. Oz Show."Oz is also an active stock trader, reporting sizeable investments in companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, among several dozen others. — Dave LevinthalFetterman wins Pennsylvania Democratic senator nominationJohn Fetterman, left, is the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania US Senate seat.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoJohn Fetterman is the winner of the Democratic primary race for Pennsylvania's US Senate seat. That's the call from Insider and DDHQ. Fetterman, currently the state's lieutenant governor, defeated Rep. Conor Lamb, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Alexandria Khalil. Fetterman is currently recovering from a recent stroke and announced on Tuesday that he had received a pacemaker implant.A pricey house race to watch near Pittsburgh: PA-12Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee in her bid to win the nomination for the state's 12th congressional district.Rebecca Droke/AP PhotoWith the retirement of GOP Rep. Fred Keller, this district outside of Pittsburgh in the Susquehanna Valley is a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats.It's also a race that was looking pretty stale until the past few weeks. The frontrunner, state Rep. Summer Lee, has endorsements from Emily's List and Justice Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently stumped for her and she seemed to have everything going in her favor until a ton of money started pouring into the race. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, most commonly referred to as AIPAC, has been funding ads through a new Super PAC called the United Democracy Project for Lee's opponent, Steve Irwin. Lee would be the latest in a new generation of Democrats in Washington with positions further to the left than most of the caucus, as well as more critical views of Israel. Should Irwin pull out a victory, his surge couldn't have been hurt by the AIPAC ad spree, but Lee remains the favorite. The Republican primary has been more quiet, with Michael Doyle — unrelated to retiring Rep. Mike Doyle — running unopposed.— Jake LahutPennsylvania's US Senate race is stupid expensivePennsylvania Republican Senate Candidate Mehmet OzAlexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesThe government of Erie, Pennsylvania, population 94,831, forecasts that it'll bring in about $95.7 million worth of revenue during 2022.Pennsylvania's US Senate race, meanwhile, is on pace to bring in twice that — maybe even more — en route to competing for the crown of the year's most expensive political race.As of April 27, the race had already attracted more than $68.3 million in contributions, according to federal records compiled by nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets.There are two overriding reasons for this. First, both the Republican and Democratic primaries are highly competitive. They feature multiple candidates — David McCormick, Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette on the right, John Fetterman and Conor Lamb on the left. More candidates + more competition = more, more, more money.Second, McCormick and Oz are extremely wealthy. Both have pumped millions of dollars of their personal money into the race, with Oz alone accounting for more than $12 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. McCormick, at $11 million, isn't far behind.Tonight's winners will then have nearly six months to slug each other ahead of November's general election. National party committees and super PACs, which may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, will almost assuredly supplement the candidates' own fundraising efforts with tens of millions of more dollars.— Dave LevinthalPolls in Pennsylvania closed at 8 p.m. ET.InsiderFollow along to see the results for the Republican and Democratic  candidates for governor, the US Senate, House from the Keystone State.Madison Cawthorn's cryptic crypto play may have violated the STOCK ActMadison Cawthorn, Republican nominee for North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, speaks during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, on August 26, 2020.2020 Republican National Convention/Handout via ReutersRep. Madison Cawthorn has plenty of problems — ones involving guns, money, cocaine orgies, and a nude video, to name four.One that's flying a bit below the radar, but still serious: he may have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law by not publicly reporting his stated purchase in a cryptocurrency named for an anti-Joe Biden slogan.Per federal law, Cawthorn had 45-days to formally disclose details about his crypto play. But as of this evening, Cawthorn had done no such thing, and his campaign and congressional office have not responded to Insider's questions as to why.Failure to properly report such financial transactions can result in a fine administered by Congress, or in extreme cases, a referral to the Department of Justice.— Dave LevinthalTed Budd wins GOP Primary for open Senate seatFormer President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina in the 2022 North Carolina Senate race.AP Photo/Chris SewardRepublican Ted Budd will face off against Democrat Cheri Beasley for a crucial open US Senate seat in North Carolina, Insider and Decision Desk HQ project. Budd is a Republican congressman who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, and easily cleared a field of GOP opponents. Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is hoping to flip control of the seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.Mayoral MayhemCharlotte, NCShutterstockA Republican hasn't been the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, for more than 50 years. Four Republican candidates are hoping to change that, including Bill Dieruf, the current mayor of Jeffersontown, a nearby suburb. The current mayor of Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city, Linda Gorton, is running for reelection. Gorton's opponents recently chided her at a public forum over housing costs and crime rates. She countered by noting that she rose to the occasion when challenges surfaced in Lexington during her time in office, particularly during the pandemic.In Charlotte, North Carolina, Democratic Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles is vying for another term in office. Lyles became the first Black mayor in Charlotte history in 2017 after unseating the incumbent mayor. She's facing off against three other Democratic candidates tonight.You can check out and follow the three mayoral primaries here.—Madison HallJohn Fetterman gets pacemakerIn this Sept. 21, 2018 photo, former Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in PhiladelphiaAP Photo/Matt RourkePennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman "just completed a successful procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator," his communications director, Joe Calvello, said in a statement Tuesday evening. "The procedure began at 3:15 pm, John was released at 5:56 pm, and he has been given the all-clear that it was successful. He is resting at the hospital and recovering well. John continues to improve every day, and he is still on track for a full recovery."Fetterman, who is running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania in tonight's Democratic primary, suffered a stroke last week.— Dave LevinthalResults just beginning to trickle in in KentuckyHouse Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., talks with reporters after meeting with the House Democratic Caucus and Biden administration officials to discuss progress on an infrastructure bill, at the Capitol in Washington.J. Scott Applewhite/APPolls closed in Kentucky at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, and the results are beginning to come in. See results for the Senate, House and state legislative primaries here, and results for the mayoral elections in Louisville and Lexington here.The most notable primary race of the night is the Democratic primary in Kentucky's Third District to replace retiring Democratic Rep. John YarmuthA slew of Democratic candidates are seeking the nomination for the mayor's office in Louisville to replace term-limited outgoing Mayor Greg Fischer. Incumbent Mayor Linda Gorton is also seeking reelection to the mayor's office in Lexington, Kentucky in a nonpartisan primary. Democrats love Republican primaries — for fundraisingDemocratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, DCCC Chair, at a press conference on Capitol HillBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is rarely immune to hyperbole or breathlessness. So it should perhaps come as little surprise how much the party's campaign arm for US House races is leveraging today's Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania to raise cash for itself."Trump has already helped make J.D. Vance the Republican nominee in the critical Ohio Senate race. Now, he's scheming to do the same with Dr. Oz in the ultimate swing state of Pennsylvania … please understand: If Trump is able to pack Congress with his top loyalists, it could pave the way for his return to the White House," the DCCC wrote supporters.It continues: "And at this dire moment, you have two options: OPTION 1: Ignore our urgent pleas, delete this email, and watch while Trump destroys our House Majority and Democratic Trifecta with his dangerous followers. OPTION 2: Step up with a powerful grassroots gift before midnight to stop Trump's power-hungry schemes and protect our Democratic House."  — Dave LevinthalTight gubernatorial primary races in the Beaver State- Former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, who is running for governor, poses for photos in Columbia Park in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 18, 2022. Oregon's primary elections are Tuesday, May 17, 2022.AP Photo/Sara Cline, fileDemocratic Gov. Kate Brown is finishing up her second term in office and cannot run again. After 35 straight years of having a Democrat as governor, Republicans in Oregon are hoping this is their year to regain executive power, but must figure out their nominee from a slate of 19 candidates led by former state Rep. Christine Drazan and businessman Bob Tiernan. With Brown term-limited, she leaves behind a wide-open Democratic field with 15 candidates. Two notable leaders on the Democratic ticket include Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read and former House Speaker Tina Kotek.The list of Democratic primary contenders used to be longer — former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof left his job to explore running for office in October 2021. Oregon's Supreme Court ultimately ruled in February that he couldn't be on the ballot, citing his failure to meet the three-year residency requirement to qualify.— Madison HallEmbattled Rep. Madison Cawthorn fights for a second term after a slew of scandalsU.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., waves to the crowd after he spoke before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally on April 9, 2022, in Selma, NC.Chris Seward/APCawthorn catapulted into rising star status in the GOP when he was elected to Congress from North Carolina's 11th District in 2020 at age 25. But a series of ethics troubles, and explosive comments have infuriated his GOP colleagues and spurred some to openly root for his ouster, as Michael Kruse recently dug into for Politico Magazine. Our Camila DeChalus reported from Hendersonville earlier this month on Cawthorn's leading primary challenger, state Sen. Chuck Edwards, voters' mixed feelings about Cawthorn's scandals, and the former volunteers who have buyer's remorse. A split field of seven primary challengers could help Cawthorn squeak by to reelection, but he could head to a July 26 runoff if no one gets about 30% of the vote. — Grace PanettaWould you pay $1 million out-of-pocket for a US Senate seat?McCormick received more than $70 million in discretionary awards connected to a Bridgewater Associates plan.Divorce agreement between David McCormick and Amy RichardsonAs C. Ryan Barber and Adam Wren reported earlier this year, divorce documents obtained by Insider indicate that Republican US Senate candidate David McCormick could face such a situation — if he's first able to survive his Pennsylvania primary battle against Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette.As Barber and Wren wrote: "McCormick's divorce agreement includes a clause stipulating that he would pay his ex-wife $1 million if he voluntarily left his lucrative position at Bridgewater Associates for the 'public domain.' The agreement between McCormick and his ex-wife, Amy Richardson, defined 'public domain' as employment in 'any government entity' and required him to pay the seven-figure sum in a pair of $500,000 installments in the first two years of any full-time public sector job.Once the frontrunner, McCormick has slipped in the polls of late and could conceivably finish third. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Oz, the longtime television show host, while Barnette has surged as a MAGA-friendly alternative to both Oz and McCormick. — Dave LevinthalOz, Barnette, and McCormick jockey in a close race in PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette speaks during a campaign rally at The Fuge in Warminster, Pennsylvania.Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty ImagesWe went to Pennsylvania earlier this month and found a lot of Trump voters who were pretty unhappy with Dr. Mehmet Oz as the former president's endorsement. Kathy Barnette has had an impressive surge late in the race, but the conservative author's background is now the subject of considerable scrutiny and has some Republicans worried she'd get beat by the Democrats should she make it to the November general election. No doubt, a victory for Barnette would be a big shock. But she's been within striking distance in all the latest polls. The candidate hoping to get a bump from undecideds is former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who has picked up endorsements from the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.– Jake LahutRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 17th, 2022

How the Kremlin is trying to make Ukrainian towns Russian, from installing puppet leaders to flying Soviet flags

Russia is stripping occupied cities of their Ukrainian culture by shuttering independent media and erecting Soviet monuments. Municipal workers attach a Russian national flag to a pole preparing to celebrate 77 years of the victory in WWII in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, May 5, 2022.AP Photo Russian authorities are attempting to strip occupied Ukraine of its national culture. Russia has installed its flags, monuments, and politicians in several Ukrainian cities and towns. The occupied city of Kherson is even being forced to use the Russian ruble.  Amid the ongoing violence of war, Russian President Vladimir Putin's apparent long game in Ukraine — a nefarious attempt to assert total and long-term control on the neighboring country — is coming into clear view.From the introduction of Russian currency to the complete shuttering of Ukrainian broadcasting, the Kremlin is taking extreme measures to make Ukrainian towns look, feel, and operate like Russia.Prior to the start of the war, Putin erroneously claimed that Ukraine was not an independent state, baselessly arguing that the country was a creation of the Soviet Union and part of Russia's historic territory. Now, as Russia's invasion stretches into its third month, it seems Putin is aiming to make his claims a reality. Russia has begun installing its flags in besieged Ukrainian cities.Municipal workers attach a Russian national flag to a pole preparing to celebrate 77 years of the victory in WWII in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, May 5, 2022.AP PhotoDespite several military setbacks and embarrassments over the past 10 weeks, Russia has slowly gained control of a significant portion of Ukraine's territory in the south and the east.As Russia looks to cement its stronghold on the captured Ukrainian cities, Russian authorities and their local proxies have begun removing the blue and yellow Ukrainian flags adorning government buildings and city squares and replacing them with Russian and Soviet flags.—Sergej Sumlenny (@sumlenny) May 1, 2022 Last week, Russia said it would replace Ukrainian currency with the Russian ruble in the occupied city of Kherson.A Russian ruble coin is pictured in front of the Kremlin in central Moscow, on April 28, 2022.Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty ImagesRussian state media announced last week that it would transition the occupied city of Kherson to rubles, replacing the Ukrainian hryvnia. The currency transition is expected to take up to four months.Kherson, located 200 kilometers east of Odesa near the Black Sea, was the first Ukrainian city to fall to Russian forces in early March.In the early days of the invasion, the ruble's worth plummeted to less than one penny, but the currency has since made a comeback as the Kremlin works to prop up the coin, demanding that Russian energy customers make payments using rubles. "Using the Russian ruble is a way of emphasizing Russia's dominance over everyday life and to get citizens used to the idea," Emily Ferris, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, a defense and security think tank in London, told NBC News. The Kherson region has been hit with widespread internet and cell service outages, but Russian state television is easily accessible.Russia's President Vladimir Putin appears on a television screen at the stock market in Frankfurt, Germany, Feb. 25, 2022.AP Photo/Michael Probst, FileRussia has attacked Kherson's telecom towers, bringing the city to its knees by controlling what information is disseminated and isolating it from the rest of the world.Amid ongoing internet and cell service outages, Russian authorities have made sure Ukrainian residents in the city do have access to Russian state TV channels, which began broadcasting there last month. Russian state media is a prime source of Kremlin propaganda, which is aiming to convince Kherson's residents that all is well in the occupied city, thanks to Russian troops. Rumors of an upcoming sham referendum to create the People's Republic of Kherson have residents worried.People with Ukrainian flags walk towards Russian army trucks during a rally against the Russian occupation in Kherson, Ukraine, Sunday, March 20, 2022.AP Photo/Olexandr ChornyiReports suggest Russia has plans to stage a bogus referendum in the Kherson region, allowing Moscow to cement its hold on the area by establishing a "breakaway region."  Intelligence from Ukraine and its allies indicate that Russia could soon hold the referendum to either create the "People's Republic of Kherson" in the same vein as the pro-Russia breakaway territories of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine or annex the region entirely, like it did to Crimea in 2014. Multiple local Ukrainian politicians have been purged and replaced with pro-Russia puppets.People hold Ukrainian flags and banners that read: "We are Ukrainians", centre, and "Occupiers! Return home!" during a rally against the Russian occupation in Svobody (Freedom) Square in Kherson, Ukraine, Saturday, March 5, 2022.AP Photo/Olexandr ChornyiLast month, Russia replaced the mayor of Henichesk, a seaside town in the occupied Kherson region, with a pro-Russian puppet leader.The former Ukrainian mayor of Henichesk, Oleksandr Tulupov, was last seen on March 9, according to The Guardian, posing for a photo in a town park with friends. It is unclear the current fate of Tulupov.The Russians hacked into Henichesk's government website and said Tulupov voluntarily "resigned," the outlet reported. He has since been replaced with a new mayor, Gennady Sivak, who spent the last eight years in Russia-annexed Crimea.Meanwhile, late last month, Kherson's mayor was relieved of duty, and replaced by Igor Katsyukevich, a Russian deputy from Putin's party, according to The Guardian. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that nearly all of the elected mayors in towns and villages that have been occupied by Russia have since been replaced by Russian military appointees. A city-run wedding hall in Berdyansk is issuing newlyweds wedding certificates from the Russian Federation.Brides wait to attend a wedding ceremony of several pairs in the center of Berdyansk, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, April 30, 2022. This photo was taken during a trip organized by the Russian Ministry of Defense.AP PhotoA wedding hall in the port city of Berdyansk, located in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, is issuing Russian Federation wedding certificates to all newlyweds, according to The Wall Street Journal. —NEXTA (@nexta_tv) May 1, 2022A photo of the renovated registry office shows a Russian flag hanging among flowers.  A statue of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin was erected in the town of Henichesk last month.People pass a monument to Soviet Union founder Vladimir Lenin in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Saturday, April 16, 2022.AP Photo/Efrem LukatskyDespite a recent countrywide effort to remove Soviet monuments from Ukraine's public places, statues of Vladimir Lenin are now popping up across the country following Russia's invasion.Following the Maidan revolution in 2014, which saw deadly clashes between Ukrainian protesters and authorities that ultimately led to the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych, Kyiv removed the majority of its Lenin statues and Soviet monuments.But last month, a towering figure of Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin popped up in Henichesk, outside the city's main council building, according to The Guardian. Then, one week later, Russian occupiers erected another Lenin statue in Nova Kakhovka, also in Kherson Oblast, according to The Kyiv Independent. —The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 30, 2022 "Because modern Russia stands for nothing except corruption, nihilism, and Putin's personal power, they have brought back Soviet flags as well as Lenin statues to symbolise Russian victory," Anne Applebaum told The Guardian. There are reports that Ukrainian school children in Ukraine's Donetsk region are being told to write on their notebook that they are in Russia.Schoolchildren who recently fled war-torn Ukraine attend Ukrainian primary school education at the "Classroom for Ukraine" project on April 28, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty ImagesYoung students in the Mangush and Nikolskoye districts of Ukraine's Donetsk region have been told to write on their notebooks that they are in the Rostov region — a Russian federal district, according to The Insider, which cited Telegram reports from Ukrainian officials. "Now schoolchildren in the Mangush and Nikolskoye districts are also told to write 'Rostov region' on their notebooks," Peter Andryushchenko, an adviser to the Mariupol mayor said.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 6th, 2022

Fears grow of Russian "peacekeepers" in a village surrounded by a breakaway regime propped up by the Kremlin

In the isolated village of Molovata Nouă, Moldova, locals told Insider they fear that Russian troops in Transnistria could force them from their land. A soldier stands guard at the ferry landing and entrance to Molovata Nouă, Moldova.Charles Davis/Insider Insider traveled to a small, isolated village that borders Transnistria. Transnistria is a breakaway region supported by Russia, which stations around 1,500 troops there. Locals said they fear the war in Ukraine could spread to their homes in Moldova. MOLOVATA NOUĂ, Moldova — Victor Besleaga remembers well the start of the war that killed his brother. It was dark when Russian troops surrounded the station in Dubăsari, a 20-minute drive from the border with Ukraine, where he was working as a police officer.Less than a year earlier, in 1991, Moldova had declared independence from the Soviet Union — and, according to the propaganda that helped spark a conflict that killed hundreds, it was now oppressing Russian speakers in a region that today is known as Transnistria, a breakaway republic aligned with Moscow but unrecognized by the international community.A firefight broke out, leaving one of the soldiers dead; to save their own lives, the police soon gave up their arms and surrendered. Victor remembers being transported to Tiraspol, the self-proclaimed capital of Transnistria, and paraded before cameras broadcasting back to Russia. Overnight, this veteran of the Soviet military, trained as a paratrooper in Belarus, had become a "Romanian Nazi infiltrator." He spent the next month gasping for air in a tiny basement cell, packed in with 14 others, before being released in a prisoner swap. He went straight to the hospital — and from there, rejoined the police and fought to retake the city he served in.Today, Victor, 50, with salt-and-pepper hair, gray-blue eyes and wearing a black Champion tracksuit, lives in the village where he was born, Molovata Nouă, speaking in the classroom he attended as a child, now a local history museum run by his wife. It is a 15-minute drive (and a Russian military checkpoint away) from the city where he once worked as a cop.There is no bridge to this village, where 10 people died in the conflict that began in the darkness of March 2, 1992, and concluded some four months later. Five of the deceased were combatants who fought to keep it part of Moldova.They prevailed. But today the village is an isolated enclave surrounded by a hostile entity. The government of Russian President Vladimir Putin insists the residents of Transnistria, next door and all around the village, are still being oppressed. There have been claimed terrorist incidents there, pinned on Ukrainians. The old fears are back.Victor Besleaga said even some veterans who fought against Russia in the 1992 Transnistria war now believe its propaganda.Charles Davis/InsiderA country dividedTransnistria is, for the most part, located to the east of the Dniester river all the way to the border with Ukraine, while Moldova's central government in Chișinău, for the most part, controls everything to the west, up to the border with Romania. Molovata Nouă is different. The negotiations that ended the 1992 conflict resulted in oddities, like this community of just over 2,100 people being engulfed by a separatist region and divided from the rest of the country by a wide river.The only way to reach the village directly by road requires driving through a hostile entity, where as many as 1,500 Russian soldiers operate alongside Transnistrian forces, and a handful of Moldovans, as "peacekeepers" — and where some 300,000 people have forged a separate national identity, a generation now having been falsely taught that their erstwhile neighbors tried to carry out a genocide of Russian speakers.Transnistria controls just about everything to the north and south of the village. It is an area of single-story homes with white paint and tile roofs, green meadows. A small herd of goats can be seen fenced in behind one of the houses. Outside the village are agricultural lands, growing fruits and vegetables; a road connecting north and south Transnistria runs through it, and the authorities have consistently harassed the owners and defied the 1992 peace agreement, seizing crops, and even asserting ownership over the land.Peacekeepers stand near a BTR-70 armored personnel carrier by the road to Dubăsari and the Molovata Nouă ferry in Moldova.Charles Davis/InsiderFor those unwilling or unable to pass through the separatist region — where oligarchs backed by free-flowing Russian gas control the politics, and where authorities maintain a blacklist of personas non grata — there is a ferry, free of charge and capable of carrying both people and cars, departing every two hours during the day. But the ferry does not operate if it is too windy or when the river has frozen, as typically happens a couple weeks a year. During the pandemic, Transnistria closed its borders altogether to arrest the spread of COVID-19, eliminating that travel option for more than a year.The village itself hosts Russian and Transnistrian forces, who greet visitors as they get off the ferry, and an old but regularly maintained BTR-70 armored personnel carrier from Russia, an indignity — foreign usurpers on land that was mutually agreed to be Moldova — that some now find intolerable."The feelings about the Russian peacekeepers were always negative, because they are staying illegally in the village," Victor said. "After the war started, the relationship between locals and peacekeepers became even worse."!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 2nd, 2022

Some children hiding in Mariupol"s steel plant are losing their hair and teeth from stress after watching their parents get killed, report says

Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant is serving as a final holdout for hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. A screenshot from footage shared by the Mariupol City Council showing Russian forces striking the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine with heavy artillery.Mariupol City Council Many women and children are sheltering in Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant amid Russian attacks. Children are losing teeth and hair from the stress of their situation, The Times of London said. Russian forces have been carrying out renewed airstrikes on the Azovstal plant this week. Some children hiding in Mariupol's steel plant are losing their hair and teeth from stress after watching their parents be killed, The Times of London reported Thursday.Russia said last week that it had "liberated" the Ukrainian port city apart from the Azovstal steel plant, which is serving as a final holdout for thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.Ukrainian officials have said the civilians who are hiding in the steel plant's vast network of underground tunnels are mostly women and children. A woman identified only as Viktoria told The Times that she has been in communication with her 36-year-old brother, a national guard soldier who has been sheltering in Azovstal since the start of the war. She did not want to name him for safety reasons."There are many civilians," she told The Times. "I think many of them are the staff of Azovstal. Also, there are many of those whose homes were destroyed. Many elderly and children."The woman told The Times that, according to her brother, many of the children sheltering in Azovstal are getting grey hairs and have started stuttering from the stress of seeing their parents be killed."Some are losing hair and teeth," she added.Insider was unable to independently verify Viktoria's claims. It is also unclear how many children are being impacted, or where and when exactly their parents died. Earlier this week, Russian forces started carrying out renewed airstrikes on the Azovstal plant and even tried to storm it, Ukrainian officials said.On Thursday, Ukrainian forces in the plant said on Telegram that Russian troops had bombed a field hospital located in the plant. It is unclear how many people died in the attack.The office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Friday that Ukrainian forces are planning on getting civilians out of the steel plant. He did not give any more details about the specifics of the operation. The United Nations said on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had agreed "in principle" to an evacuation attempt from Azovstal.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 29th, 2022

The US"s Syrian partners are still guarding hundreds of ISIS prisoners

"The Kurds are legit good fighters and they are very easy to work with," a US Army Green Beret told Insider. US troops patrol the countryside of the Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province, April 20, 2022.DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images In January, hundreds of ISIS prisoners attempted to break out of a prison in Syria. US-backed Kurdish forces responded, quelling the jailbreak after 10 days of fighting. The Kurdish response and US support for it highlighted the close US-Kurdish partnership in Syria. While the world's attention is fixed on Ukraine, the US and its Kurdish partners are sitting on a powder keg in Syria.Thousands of ISIS fighters are being held in prison camps in northern Syria. Although the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, with the support of the US and the anti-ISIS coalition, are guarding them, these detainees are still a challenge to regional security and stability.That became apparent when thousands of them tried to break out in January, triggering a days-long battle.Prison breakSyrian Democratic Forces deploy around Ghwayran prison in Hasakeh after ISIS fighters staged a revolt, January 25, 2022.AFP via Getty ImagesOn January 20, hundreds of ISIS detainees held at the Ghweran prison in the city of Hasakah in northeastern Syria revolted and tried to take over the Kurdish-controlled camp, which was crowded with more than 3,000 militants and juveniles.The revolt began when a car bomb detonated at the prison gate and ISIS fighters rushed the facility. Detainees started burning tires and other materials to create chaos and disrupt the Kurdish forces guarding the prison.According to ISIS, the goal was to liberate the entire prison and for the detainees to rejoin the terrorist group.The SDF, supported by US special operators and airstrikes, counterattacked and quelled the revolt, killing several ISIS fighters. At least seven Kurdish fighters were killed during the 10-day operation."Thanks to the bravery and determination of the SDF, many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice, ISIS failed in its efforts to conduct a large-scale prison break to reconstitute its ranks," US national security advisor Jake Sullivan said.The Kurdish-run al-Hol camp, which holds relatives of suspected ISIS fighters, in Hasakeh, December 6, 2021.DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty ImagesThe prison revolt may have stemmed from the conditions in which the ISIS prisoners are being held and their treatment.Sullivan highlighted the need for cooperation between countries in the region and countries from which ISIS' foreign fighters have come to deal with the as many as 12,000 ISIS fighters who are being held in northern Syria.In a statement after the prison break, the US State Department called on partners in the anti-ISIS coalition "to improve the secure and humane detention of ISIS fighters, support rehabilitation initiatives, and urgently repatriate their nationals and other detainees remaining in northeast Syria."The US "will continue its stabilization and other programs in the region to support these efforts," the department said in the statement.Western countries, including the UK, France, and Germany, that have citizens who joined ISIS were caught off-guard. This is a legally unexplored territory, and countries weren't sure how to treat those detainees and, in some cases, have tried to shed any responsibility for them, stripping those foreign fighters of citizenship.YPG and US special operationsA funeral in Qamishli for SDF fighters killed during an ISIS jailbreak attempt at Ghwayran prison, February, 2, 2022.AFP via Getty ImagesThe Kurdish forces that responded to the prison break didn't do so alone. The US Army's elite Delta Force, traveling in their distinctive Armored Ground Mobility Systems, were on the ground and supported the Kurdish operation to quell the revolt.Delta Force has built a strong partnership with the YPG, the SDF's main force, dating back to 2014-2015, when ISIS was its strongest.Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler, a distinguished Delta operator, was killed during an October 2015 operation to rescue dozens of YPG fighters who had been captured by ISIS. Sgt. Maj. Thomas Payne, another Delta Force member, received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the same mission."The Kurds are legit good fighters and they are very easy to work with. They get us and we don't have to cross too many cultural barriers to reach them," a Green Beret assigned to a National Guard unit said. "I think history will remember the Kurds as one of the top partner forces the [US Army Special Forces] Regiment has worked with."The US has a long relationship with the Kurds, though Washington has been criticized for relying on them and then leaving them vulnerable to attack.US and Kurdish forces celebrate Nowruz at a base in Kurdish-controlled Hasakeh province, March 20, 2022.DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty ImagesUS special-operations units have worked with the Kurds since the Gulf War and during and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Green Beret, who was not authorized to speak to the media, told Insider."They are disciplined and good fighters. They can learn fast and take the initiative once trained," the Green Beret said.In July, the Pentagon stood up Special Operations Joint Task Force-Levant to replace Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve. SOJTF-Levant is a joint special-operations force composed of units from across US service branches. It falls under Special Operations Command Central, the special-operations component of US Central Command, which oversees US military operations in the region.The new task force was meant to better reflect the operational environment that US special operators now face. It works closely with the Kurdish-led SDF."Throughout the years, we've trained the [Peshmerga] in small-unit tactics, direct action, sensitive site exploitation, and special reconnaissance, to name a few," the Green Beret said, using a name for Kurdish forces in Iraq. "They've got to a point where they know what they are doing and we are just supporting them on the ground or from the air."Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 26th, 2022

"Al Qaeda Is On Our Side": How Obama/Biden Team Empowered Terrorist Networks In Syria

'Al Qaeda Is On Our Side': How Obama/Biden Team Empowered Terrorist Networks In Syria Authored by Aaron Maté via RealClear Investigations, Hours after the Feb. 3 U.S. military raid in northern Syria that left the leader of ISIS and multiple family members dead, President Biden delivered a triumphant White House address.  The late-night Special Forces operation in Syria's Idlib province, Biden proclaimed, was a "testament to America’s reach and capability to take out terrorist threats no matter where they hide around the world." Unmentioned by the president, and virtually all media accounts of the assassination, was the critical role that top members of his administration played during the Obama years in creating the Al Qaeda-controlled hideout where ISIS head Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi, as well as his slain predecessor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, found their final refuge. In waging a multi-billion dollar covert war in support of the insurgency against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, top Obama officials who now serve under Biden made it American policy to enable and arm terrorist groups that attracted jihadi fighters from across the globe. This regime change campaign, undertaken one decade after Al Qaeda attacked the U.S. on 9/11, helped a sworn U.S. enemy establish the Idlib safe haven that it still controls today.  A concise articulation came from Jake Sullivan to his then-State Department boss Hillary Clinton in a February 2012 email: "AQ [Al Qaeda] is on our side in Syria."  Sullivan, the current national security adviser, is one of many officials who oversaw the Syria proxy war under Obama to now occupy a senior post under Biden. This group includes Secretary of State Antony Blinken, climate envoy John Kerry, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, NSC Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk, and State Department Counselor Derek Chollet.  Their efforts to remake the Middle East via regime change, not just in Syria but earlier in Libya, led to the deaths of Americans – including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. officials in Benghazi in 2012; the slaughter of countless civilians; the creation of millions of refugees; and ultimately, Russia's entry into the Syrian battlefield.  Contacted through their current U.S. government agencies, none of the Obama-Biden principals offered comment on their policy of supporting an Al Qaeda-dominated insurgency in Syria. The Obama-Biden team's record in Syria resonates today as many of its members handle the unfolding crisis in Ukraine. As in Syria, the U.S. is flooding a chaotic war zone with weapons in a dangerous proxy conflict with Russia, with long-term ramifications that are impossible to foresee. "I deeply worry that what’s going to happen next is that we will see Ukraine turn into Syria," Democratic Senator Chris Coons told CBS News on April 17. Based on declassified documents, news reports, and scattered admissions of U.S. officials, this overlooked history of how the Obama-Biden team's effort to oust the Assad regime – in concert with allies including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey – details the series of discrete decisions that ultimately led the U.S. to empower terror networks bent on its destruction.  Seizing Momentum – and Munitions – From Libya to Pursue Regime Change in Syria Fresh off the ouster of Libya's Gaddafi in 2011, the Obama administration trained its sights on Syria's Assad. (c-span) The road to Al Qaeda's control of the Syrian province of Idlib actually started hundreds of miles across the Mediterranean in Libya. In March 2011, after heavy lobbying from senior officials including Secretary Hillary Clinton, President Obama authorized a bombing campaign in support of the jihadist insurgency fighting the government of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Backed by NATO firepower, the rebels toppled Gaddafi and gruesomely murdered him in October.  Buoyed by their quick success in Libya, the Obama administration set their sights on Damascus, by then a top regime change target in Washington. According to former NATO commander Wesley Clark, the Assad regime – a key ally of U.S. foes Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia – was marked for overthrow alongside Iraq in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. A leaked 2006 U.S. Embassy in Damascus cable assessed that Assad's "vulnerabilities" included "the potential threat to the regime from the increasing presence of transiting Islamist extremists," and detailed how the U.S. could "improve the likelihood of such opportunities arising." The outbreak of the Syrian insurgency in March 2011, coupled with the fall of Gaddafi, offered the U.S. a historic opportunity to exploit Syria's vulnerabilities. While the Arab Spring sparked peaceful Syrian protests against the ruling Ba'ath party's cronyism and repression, it also triggered a largely Sunni, rural-based revolt that took a sectarian and violent turn. The U.S. and its allies, namely Qatar and Turkey, capitalized by tapping the massive arsenal of the newly ousted Libyan government. "During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the [Gaddafi] regime in October 2011," the Defense Intelligence Agency reported the following year, "…weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya, to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria." The redacted DIA document, obtained by the group Judicial Watch, does not specify whether the U.S. was directly involved in these shipments. But it contains significant clues. With remarkable specificity, it detailed the size and contents of one such shipment in August 2012: 500 sniper rifles, 100 rocket-propelled grenade launchers with 300 rounds, and 400 howitzer missiles. Most tellingly, the document noted that the weapons shipments were halted "in early September 2012." This was a clear reference to the killing by militants that month of four Americans – Ambassador Christopher Stevens, another State Department official, and two CIA contractors – in Benghazi, the port city where the weapons to Syria were coming from. The Benghazi annex "was at its heart a CIA operation," U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal. At least two dozen CIA employees worked in Benghazi under diplomatic cover. Although top intelligence officials obscured the Benghazi operation in sworn testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, a Senate investigation eventually confirmed a direct CIA role in the movement of weapons from Libya to Syria. A classified version of a 2014 Senate report, not publicly released, documented an agreement between President Obama and Turkey to funnel weapons from Libya to insurgents in Syria. The operation, established in early 2012, was run by then-CIA Director David Petraeus. "The [Benghazi] consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms" to Syria, a former U.S. intelligence official told journalist Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books. "It had no real political role." The Death of a U.S. Ambassador Ambassador Stevens allegedly facilitated arms transfers from the Benghazi compound where he died. AP  Under diplomatic cover, Stevens appears to have been a significant figure in the CIA program. More than one year before he became ambassador in June 2012, Stevens was appointed the U.S. liaison to the Libyan opposition. In this role, he worked with the Al Qaeda-tied Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and its leader, Abdelhakim Belhadj, a warlord who fought alongside Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. After Gaddafi's ouster, Belhadj was named head of the Tripoli Military Council, which controlled security in the country's capital. Belhadj's portfolio was not limited to post-coup Libya. In November 2011, the Al Qaeda ally traveled to Turkey to meet with leaders of the Free Syrian Army, the CIA-backed opposition military coalition. Belhadj's trip came as part of the new Libyan government's effort to provide "money and weapons to the growing insurgency against Bashar al-Assad," the London Telegraph reported at the time. On September 14, 2012 – just three days after Stevens and his American colleagues were killed – the London Times revealed that a Libyan vessel "carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria since the uprising began," had recently docked in the Turkish port of Iskenderun. Once unloaded, "most of its cargo is making its way to rebels on the front lines." The known details of Stevens' last hours on September 11 suggest that shipping weapons was at the top of his agenda.  Although based in Tripoli and facing violent threats, he nonetheless made the dangerous trek to Benghazi around the fraught anniversary of 9/11. According to a 2016 report from the House Intelligence Committee, one of Stevens' last scheduled meetings was with the head of al-Marfa Shipping and Maritime Services Company, a Libyan firm involved in ferrying weapons to Syria. His final meeting of the day was with Consul General Ali Sait Akin of Turkey, where the weapons were shipped. Fox News later reported that "Stevens was in Benghazi to negotiate a weapons transfer." With the Libyan channel shut down by Stevens' murder, the U.S. and its allies turned to other sources. One was Croatia, where Saudi Arabia financed a major weapons purchase in late 2012 that was arranged by the CIA. The CIA's use of the Saudi kingdom's vast coffers continued an arrangement from prior covert proxy wars, including the arming of the mujahideen in Afghanistan and of the Contras in Nicaragua. Although the Obama administration claimed that the weapons funneled to Syria were intended for "moderate rebels," they ultimately ended up in the hands of a jihadi-dominated insurgency. Just one month after the Benghazi attack, the New York Times reported that "hard-line Islamic jihadists," including groups "with ties or affiliations with Al Qaeda," have received "the lion’s share of the arms shipped to the Syrian opposition." Covertly Arming An Al Qaeda-Dominated Insurgency The Obama administration did not need media accounts to learn that jihadists dominated the Syrian insurgency on the receiving end of a CIA supply chain. One month before the Benghazi attack, Pentagon intelligence analysts gave the White House a blunt appraisal. An August 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report, disseminated widely among U.S. officials, noted that "Salafi[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency." Al Qaeda, the report stressed, "supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning." Their aim was to create a "Salafist principality in eastern Syria" – an early warning of the ISIS caliphate that would be established two years later. General Michael Flynn, who headed the DIA at the time, later recalled that his staff "got enormous pushback" from the Obama White House. "I felt that they did not want to hear the truth," Flynn said. In 2015, one year after Flynn was forced out, dozens of Pentagon intelligence analysts signed on to a complaint alleging that top Pentagon intelligence officials were "cooking the books" to paint a rosier picture of the jihadi presence in Syria. (The Pentagon later cleared CENTCOM commanders of wrongdoing.) The Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main CIA-backed insurgent force, also informed Obama officials of the jihadi dominance in their ranks. "From the reports we get from the doctors," FSA officials told the State Department in November 2012, "most of the injured and dead FSA are Jabhat al-Nusra, due to their courage and [the fact they are] always at the front line." Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Nusra Front) is Al Qaeda's franchise in Syria. It emerged as a splinter group of Al Qaeda in Iraq after a falling out between AQI leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his then-deputy, Mohammed al-Jolani. In 2013, Baghdadi relaunched his organization under the name of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Jolani led his Syria-based Al Qaeda faction under the black flag of al-Nusra. "[W]hile rarely acknowledged explicitly in public," Charles Lister, a Gulf state-funded analyst in close contact with Syrian insurgent groups wrote in March 2015, "the vast majority of the Syrian insurgency has coordinated closely with Al-Qaeda since mid-2012 – and to great effect on the battlefield."  As one Free Syrian Army leader told the New York Times: "No FSA faction in the north can operate without al-Nusra’s approval." According to David McCloskey, a former CIA analyst who covered Syria in the war's early years, U.S. officials knew that "al-Qaeda affiliated groups and Salafi jihadist groups were the primary engine of the insurgency." This, McCloskey says, was "a tremendously problematic aspect of the conflict." In his memoir, senior Obama aide Ben Rhodes acknowledged that al-Nusra "was probably the strongest fighting force within the opposition." It was also clear, he wrote, that U.S.-backed insurgent groups were "fighting side by side with al-Nusra." For this reason, Rhodes recalled, he argued against the State Department's December 2012 designation of al-Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization. This move "would alienate the same people we want to help." (Asked about wanting to help an Al Qaeda-dominated insurgency, Rhodes did not respond). In fact, designating al-Nusra as a terror organization allowed the Obama administration to publicly claim that it opposed Al Qaeda's Syria branch while continuing to covertly arm the insurgency that it dominated. Three months after adding al-Nusra to the terrorism list, the U.S. and its allies "dramatically stepped up weapons supplies to Syrian rebels" to help "rebels to try and seize Damascus," the Associated Press reported in March 2013. 'There Was No Moderate Middle' Harvard 2014: Biden goes off-script, revealing the truth of U.S. support for jihadists in Syria. Despite being privately aware of Nusra's dominance, Obama administration officials continued to publicly insist that the U.S. was only supporting Syria's "moderate opposition," as then-Deputy National Security Adviser Antony Blinken described it in September 2014. But speaking to a Harvard audience days later, then-Vice President Biden blurted out the concealed reality. In the Syrian insurgency, "there was no moderate middle," Biden admitted. Instead, U.S. "allies" in Syria "poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad." Those weapons were supplied, Biden said, to "al-Nusra, and Al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world." Biden quickly apologized for his comments, which appeared to fit the classic definition of the Kinsley gaffe: a politician inadvertently telling the truth. Biden's only error was omitting his administration's critical role in helping its allies arm the jihadis. Rather than shut down a CIA program that was aiding the Al Qaeda-dominated insurgency, Obama expanded it. In April 2013, the president signed an order that amended the CIA's covert war, codenamed Timber Sycamore, to allow direct U.S. arming and training. After tapping Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar to fund its arms pipeline for insurgents inside Syria, Obama's order allowed the CIA to directly furnish U.S.-made weapons. Just as with the regime change campaign in Libya, a key architect of this operation was Hillary Clinton. Obama's upgraded proxy war in Syria proved to be "one of the costliest covert action programs in the history of the C.I.A.," the New York Times reported in 2017. Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed a budget of nearly $1 billion per year, or around $1 of every $15 in CIA spending. The CIA armed and trained nearly 10,000 insurgents, spending "roughly $100,000 per year for every anti-Assad rebel who has gone through the program," U.S. officials told the Washington Post in 2015. Two years later, one U.S. official estimated that CIA-funded militias "may have killed or wounded 100,000 Syrian soldiers and their allies over the past four years." But these militias were not just killing pro-Syrian government forces. As the New York Times reported in April 2017, US-backed insurgents carried out "sectarian mass murder." One such act of mass murder came in August 2013, when the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army joined an al-Nusra and ISIS offensive on Alawite areas of Latakia. A Human Rights Investigation found that the insurgents engaged in "the systematic killing of entire families," slaughtering a documented 190 civilians, including 57 women, 18 children, and 14 elderly men. In a video from the field, former Syrian army general Salim Idriss, head of the U.S.-backed Supreme Military Council (SMC), bragged that "we are cooperating to a great extent in this operation." The Latakia massacres came four months after the U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, hailed Idriss and his fighters as "the moderate and responsible elements of the armed opposition." The role of Idriss's forces in the slaughter did not cancel the administration's endorsement. In October, the Washington Post revealed that the "CIA is expanding a clandestine effort … aimed at shoring up the fighting power of units aligned with the Supreme Military Council, an umbrella organization led by [Idriss] that is the main recipient of U.S. support." Officially, the upgraded CIA program barred direct support to al-Nusra or its allies in Syria. But once U.S. weapons arrived in Syria, the Obama administration recognized that it had no way of controlling their use – an apparent motive for waging the program covertly. "We needed plausible deniability in case the arms got into the hands of al-Nusra," a former senior administration official told the New York Times in 2013. One area where U.S. arms got into al-Nusra's hands was the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. Al Qaeda leaders would ultimately control and – though the group disputes it – provide ISIS leaders sanctuary there.   'Al-Qaeda's Largest Safe Haven Since 9/11' Al-Nusra helped capture the Syrian province of Idlib in 2015 with de facto U.S. support. Al-Nusra Front social media account via AP, File In May 2015, an array of insurgent groups, dubbed the Jaish al-Fatah ("Army of Conquest") coalition, captured Idlib province from the Syrian government. The fight was led by al-Nusra, and showcased what Charles Lister, the D.C.-based analyst with contacts to insurgents in Syria, dubbed "a far improved level of coordination" between rival militants, including the U.S.-backed FSA and multiple "jihadist factions." For Lister, the conquest of Idlib also revealed that the U.S. and its allies "changed their tune regarding coordination with Islamists." Citing multiple battlefield commanders, Lister reported that "the U.S.-led operations room in southern Turkey," which coordinated support to U.S.-backed insurgent groups, "was instrumental in facilitating their involvement in the operation" led by al-Nusra. While the insurgents' U.S.-led command had previously opposed "any direct coordination" with jihadist groups, the Idlib offensive "demonstrated something different," Lister concluded: To capture the province, U.S. officials "specifically encouraged a closer cooperation with Islamists commanding frontline operations." The U.S.-approved battlefield cooperation in Idlib allowed al-Nusra fighters to directly benefit from U.S. weapons. Despite occasional flare-ups between them, al-Nusra was able to use U.S.-backed insurgent groups "as force multipliers," the Institute for the Study of War, a prominent D.C. think tank, observed when the battle began. Insurgent military gains, Foreign Policy reported in April 2015, were achieved "thanks in large part to suicide bombers and American anti-tank TOW missiles." The jihadist-led victory in Idlib quickly subjected its residents to sectarian terror. In June 2015, al-Nusra fighters massacred at least 20 members of the Druze faith. Hundreds of villagers spared in the attack were forced to convert to Sunni Islam. Facing the same threats, nearly all of Idlib's remaining 1,200 Christians fled the province, leaving a Christian population that reportedly totals just three people today. In a 2017 post-mortem on the Obama administration's covert war in Syria, the New York Times described the insurgents' conquest of Idlib as among the CIA program's "periods of success." This was certainly the case for Al Qaeda. "Idlib Province," Brett McGurk, the anti-ISIS envoy under Obama and Trump, and now Biden's top White House official for the Middle East, said in 2017, "is the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11." U.S. Allows ISIS Takeover ISIS got a backdoor assist from Washington in the takeover of its first Syrian stronghold in Raqqa. AP Photo/Militant Website Al Qaeda is not the only sectarian death squad that managed to establish a safe haven in the chaos of the Syria proxy war. Starting in 2013, al-Nusra's sister-turned-rival group, ISIS, seized considerable territory of its own. As with Al Qaeda, ISIS' land-grab in Syria received a significant backdoor assist from Washington. Before Al Qaeda captured Idlib, the first ISIS stronghold in Syria, Raqqa, grew out of a similar alliance between U.S.-backed "moderate rebels" and jihadis. After this coalition seized the city from the Syrian government in March 2013, ISIS took full control in November. When ISIS declared its caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq in June 2014, the U.S. launched an air campaign against the group's strongholds. But the Obama administration's anti-ISIS offensive contained a significant exception. In key areas where ISIS’s advance could threaten the Assad regime, the U.S. watched it happen. In April 2015, just as al-Nusra was conquering Idlib, ISIS seized major parts of the Yarmouk refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, marking what the New York Times called the group's "greatest inroads yet" into the Syrian capital. In the ancient city of Palmyra, the U.S. allowed an outright ISIS takeover. "[A]s Islamic State closed in on Palmyra, the U.S.-led aerial coalition that has been pummeling Islamic State in Syria for the past 18 months took no action to prevent the extremists’ advance toward the historic town – which, until then, had remained in the hands of the sorely overstretched Syrian security forces," the Los Angeles Times reported in March 2016. In a leaked conversation with Syrian opposition activists months later, then-Secretary of State John Kerry explained the U.S. rationale for letting ISIS advance. "Daesh [ISIS] was threatening the possibility of going to Damascus and so forth," Kerry explained. "And we know that this was growing. We were watching. We saw that Daesh was growing in strength, and we thought Assad was threatened. We thought, however, we could probably manage, that Assad would then negotiate" his way out of power. In short, the U.S. was leveraging ISIS's growth to impose regime change on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. strategy of "watching" ISIS's advance in Syria, Kerry also admitted, directly caused Russia's 2015 entry into the conflict. The threat of an ISIS takeover, Kerry said, is "why Russia went in. Because they didn’t want a Daesh government." Russia's military intervention in Syria prevented the ISIS government in Damascus that Kerry and fellow Obama administration principals had been willing to risk. Pulverizing Russian airstrikes also dealt a fatal blow to the Al Qaeda-dominated insurgency that the Obama team had spent billions of dollars to support. From U.S. Enemy to 'Asset' in Syria With U.S.-backed fighters vanquished and one of their main champions, Hillary Clinton, defeated in the November 2016 election, the CIA operation in Syria met what the New York Times called a "sudden death." After criticizing the proxy war in Syria on the campaign trail, President Trump shut down the Timber Sycamore program for good in July 2017. "It turns out it’s – a lot of al-Qaeda we’re giving these weapons to," Trump told the Wall Street Journal that month. With the exit of the Obama-Biden team, the U.S. was no longer fighting on Al Qaeda's side. But that did not mean that the U.S. was prepared to confront the enemy that it had helped install in Idlib. While Trump put an end to the CIA proxy war, his efforts to further extricate the U.S. from Syria by withdrawing troops were thwarted by senior officials who shared the preceding administration's regime change goals. "When President Trump said 'I want everybody out of Syria,' the top brass at Pentagon and State had aneurysms," Christopher Miller, the Acting Secretary of Defense during Trump's last months in office, recalls. Jim Jeffrey, Trump's envoy for Syria, admitted to deceiving the president in order to keep in place "a lot more than" the 200 U.S. troops that Trump had reluctantly agreed to. "We were always playing shell games to not make clear to our leadership how many troops we had there," Jeffrey told Defense One. Those "shell games" have put U.S. soldiers in harm's way, including four servicemembers recently wounded in a rocket attack on their base in northeastern Syria. While thwarting a full U.S. troop withdrawal, Jeffrey and other senior officials have also preserved the U.S. government's tacit alliance with Idlib's Al-Qaeda rulers. Officially, al-Nusra remains on the U.S. terrorism list. Despite several name changes, the State Department has dismissed its rebranding efforts as a "vehicle to advance its position in the Syrian uprising and to further its own goals as an al-Qa’ida affiliate." But in practice, as Jeffrey explained last year, the U.S. has treated Al-Nusra as "an asset" to U.S. strategy in Syria. "They are the least bad option of the various options on Idlib, and Idlib is one of the most important places in Syria, which is one of the most important places right now in the Middle East," he said. Jeffrey also revealed that he had communicated with al-Nusra leader Mohammed al-Jolani via "indirect channels." Jeffrey's comments underscore a profound shift in the U.S. government's Middle East strategy as a result of the Syria proxy war: The Syrian branch of Al Qaeda, the terror group that attacked the U.S. on 9/11, and which then became the target of a global war on terror aimed at destroying it, is no longer seen by powerful officials in Washington as an enemy, but an "asset." Since retaking office under Biden, the Obama veterans who targeted Syria with one of the most expensive covert wars in history have deprioritized the war-torn nation. While pledging to maintain crippling sanctions and keep U.S. troops at multiple bases, as well as announcing sporadic airstrikes, the White House has otherwise said little publicly about its Syria policy. The U.S. military raid that ended ISIS leader al-Qurayshi’s life in February prompted the only Syria-focused speech of Biden's presidency. While Biden trumpeted the lethal operation, the fact that it occurred in Idlib underscores a contradiction that his administration has yet to address. By taking out an ISIS leader in Al Qaeda's Syria stronghold, the president and his top officials are now confronting threats from a terror safe haven that they helped create. Tyler Durden Thu, 04/21/2022 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 21st, 2022

Apparent atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine "as genocide as it gets," expert says

Eugene Finkel, a genocide scholar, tweeted that the Russian invasion "did not start with clear genocidal intent, but evolved into one." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaking to reporters in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 4, 2022.Metin Aktas/Getty Images Eugene Finkel, a genocide scholar, tweeted that Russia's apparent actions in Bucha are "as genocide as it gets." The Russian invasion "did not start with clear genocidal intent, but evolved into" a genocide, he wrote. Horrifying images emerged out of Bucha, including dead civilians with their hands tied behind their backs.  Russia has indisputably committed genocide in Ukraine, according to a respected expert on genocide and political violence. "As a genocide scholar I am an empiricist, I usually dismiss rhetoric. I also take genocide claims with a truckload of salt because activists apply it almost everywhere now. Not now. There are actions, there is intent. It's as genocide as it gets. Pure, simple and for all to see," Eugene Finkel, an associate professor with Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, tweeted on Monday. Finkel's tweets came after horrifying images emerged from Bucha, a suburb near Kyiv, that was recently recaptured by Ukrainian forces. Roughly 300 civilians were killed, with many buried in mass graves, according to Bucha's mayor. Some of the dead were found with their hands tied behind their backs, and bodies were left scattered in the streets. According to Finkel, Russia's apparent actions in Ukraine qualify as genocide for two reasons: "1. Evidence over the weekend that Bucha is not an isolated incident and that it was done intentionally. 2. Rhetoric coming out Russia, including official outlets. It denies that Ukraine should exist as [a] national entity and that ordinary people need to be punished."Finkel said the Russian invasion "did not start with clear genocidal intent, but evolved into one.""Regime change and colonial subjugation are by themselves not enough to constitute genocide," he added. The genocide scholar said he resisted applying the term to Russia's actions until Monday morning, adding, "What changed is the combination of more and more evidence, from different places, and even more importantly, explicit official rhetoric."Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly suggested that Ukraine is not a real country, including in an ahistorical speech just days before Russia began the full-scale invasion in late February. The Russian leader also justified Russia's unprovoked war, in part, by claiming that Ukraine was led by neo-Nazis. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish and lost family in the Holocaust, underscoring the farcical nature of Putin's claims. Russia has repeatedly targeted civilian areas throughout the war, employing the same brutal tactics it relied on in conflicts in Chechnya and Syria. Over 1,400 civilians have been killed in the war so far, but the actual figures are likely significantly higher, according to the UN. Human Rights Watch on Sunday said it had documented several cases of Russian forces committing war crimes against civilians in occupied areas of the Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv regions of Ukraine. The cases included instances of rape, summary executions, and other forms of unlawful violence and threats against civilians. "The cases we documented amount to unspeakable, deliberate cruelty and violence against Ukrainian civilians," Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "Rape, murder, and other violent acts against people in the Russian forces' custody should be investigated as war crimes."Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at a press conference in Warsaw on Monday said the "horrors that we have seen in Bucha are just the tip of the iceberg of all the crimes that have been committed by the Russian army.""I can tell you without exaggeration, with great sorrow, that the situation in Mariupol is much worse compared to what we have seen in Bucha and other cities, towns, and villages nearby Kyiv," Kuleba added.Zelenskyy: 'Indeed, this is genocide'A man walks on a street with several dead bodies on the ground a street in Bucha, northwest of Kyiv, as Ukraine says Russian forces are making a "rapid retreat" from northern areas around Kyiv and the city of Chernigiv, on April 2, 2022.RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty ImagesLeaders across the globe have accused Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. The Russian government, for its part, has firmly rejected these allegations. Moscow has responded to the outcry over the civilians killed in Bucha by denying any involvement in the massacre and pushing conspiracy theories — claiming that the disturbing images that have emerged out of the Kyiv suburb are fabricated. President Joe Biden on Monday declined to describe Russia's actions as genocide, but once again called Putin a war criminal and called for him to be brought to trial.National security advisor Jake Sullivan echoed this view. "We have seen atrocities. We have seen war crimes. We have not yet seen a level of systematic deprivation of life of the Ukrainian people to rise to the level of genocide," Sullivan told reporters on Monday.Zelenskyy, however, has explicitly accused Russia of genocide."Indeed, this is genocide," Zelenskyy said in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation". "The elimination of the whole nation and the people. We are the citizens of Ukraine we have over 100 nationalities. This is about the destruction and extermination of all these nationalities."Poland's Prime Minister Morawiecki also accused Russia of genocide over the atrocities in Bucha. "Genocide" is a politically charged term with varying interpretations and definitions. Raphael Lemkin, a lawyer of Polish-Jewish origin, coined the term "genocide." Lemkin defined genocide as "a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves." He also wrote that genocide "does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation."The UN defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group."Finkel in his tweets said the UN or legal definition is "problematic" because it doesn't offer clear thresholds, but went on to say it still "fits like a glove" in the case of Russia's actions in Ukraine. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 4th, 2022

200 miles from Ukraine, villagers are nervous about a NATO missile-defense system in their backyard

"If they bomb us, it could fall in my garden," said Pervu Marin, a shepherd the village of Deveselu, Romania. The US's Naval Support Facility in Deveselu, Romania, home to NATO's Aegis Ashore Ballistic Missile Defense System site, August 9, 2019.US Navy/Lt. Amy Forsythe To justify his war in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin often raises the specter of NATO missile-defense systems in Eastern Europe. The Pentagon says that the facilities can only fire missile interceptors. At the center of the debate is Deveselu, a Romanian town hosting one of two missile-defense systems in Europe. Shepherd Pervu Marin watches as a flock of sheep roots for spring grasses along the roadside near the village of Deveselu, Romania.From where he stands, he can see his home as well as the long, unmarked road leading to a NATO missile defense system off in the distance.This site, built on a disused airfield, is designed to launch missile interceptors aimed at incoming attacks. The facility, and another one in Poland, is regularly brought up by Russian President Vladimir Putin as an example of NATO's increasing influence in Eastern Europe.The attention on this tiny village in rural Romania, as a war rages in neighboring Ukraine, makes Marin uneasy."I'm afraid because that's my house — it's quite near," Marin said. "If they bomb us, it could fall in my garden."Marin lived through Romania's difficult decades under Communism, and it pains him to see a neighbor fall victim to a foreign power. A part of him, he said, wishes he had the chance to meet Putin face-to-face, and give him a piece of his mind.A cattle farmer next to the city sign of Deveselu, Romania, May 12, 2016.Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesThe Deveselu facility hosts a missile defense system known as the Aegis Ashore. Usually, these types of systems are installed atop US Navy ships, and Aegis Ashore looks quite similar: a boxy, plain, deckhouse-looking structure next to a tall enclosure used for launches.The $800 million facility was built during the Obama administration, and was intended to intercept incoming missiles from Iran, but was named a "direct threat" by Russian officials. A similar project in Japan was scrapped in 2020 due to technical issues and ballooning costs up to $4.1 billion.Hans Binnendijk, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a former national security adviser for the Clinton administration, said he believes that the Aegis Ashore system in Deveselu is nothing that Putin needs to worry about."Russia has some 1,500 nuclear weapons that it could send our way — 24 missile interceptors are not going to have any impact on that," Binnendijk said.Putin's fear, he said, lies in the idea that the Aegis Ashore system could be modified to shoot ballistic missiles, not just missile interceptors."Those modifications have not been developed. There's no intention on our part to do it," Binnendijk said.US troops stand guard at the first base to be part of the NATO missile shield in Deveselu, Romania, May 12, 2016.Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance via Getty ImagesThe Russian government, however, doesn't believe this. In a December editorial for Foreign Policy, Russia's ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, claimed that it's a known fact that Aegis Ashore could be adapted to launch offensive Tomahawk strike missiles."When we express concern about this, we are told, in effect: 'Just trust us,'" he wrote.American military experts say there could be a way to deescalate the issue if delegations of Russian and NATO officials are able to inspect each other's launch sites and confirm that they're only outfitted for defensive use.Until then, living next to one of these anti-ballistic missile launchers is serious business.Like a lot of Romanian villages, the town of Deveselu is full of neat little rows of pastel-colored houses dating back to the Communist era, with well-tended gardens and orchards. It's mostly seniors and their grandchildren who live here; many working-age adults have left for jobs in Western Europe. And these days, with the Russian invasion in Ukraine, things feel quite tense."To be honest, they [locals] are scared about this war. Because they think [Russia] could attack us at any time," said Christina Alexandro, who grew up in Deveselu and returned home to visit her parents after the war started. She now lives in the UK.Deveselu lies approximately 220 miles from the Ukrainian border, and 930 miles from Moscow. But the fear remains."I hear people here talking about this, [that] we need to get ready the food, water, because we never know what will happen," Alexandro said. "Even me, I'm a bit scared about my family because I'm not living here."A US THAAD system at the Naval Support Facility in Deveselu, Romania, September 1, 2019.US Navy/Lt. Amy ForsytheBack in 2016, Alexandro said, many people in Deveselu were happy about the new NATO system. They were told it would bring jobs. The American government funded a new school as a part of the deal, as well.But the missile defense site really functions outside of the community, Alexandro said. NATO personnel tend to avoid the village and spend money in a larger city nearby."They're going in the city and they're visiting, going to the restaurants and using the hotels. They're spending there but not here," Alexandro said. "It doesn't affect us so much, I could say."These days, the system feels like a burden in the backyard.Romania joined NATO in 2004 — one of many Eastern European states to do so. The country is now one of several countries bordering Ukraine that have accepted more than 3.6 million refugees in the past month, according to the UN, an exodus that hasn't been seen in Europe since World War II."It's something awful, I can't even watch television," said a worker named Ionel, as he took a break from patching a pothole in the road. He asked that his last name not be used because he worked in the gardens at the missile-defense facility for three years."If we would not be in NATO it would have been worse for us, I think. But let's see how it will be if Ukraine will lose," he said. Then, he fears, Romania would be forced to face Russia directly.Raul Stef contributed to this report.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMar 29th, 2022

A defiant Ukrainian town took to the streets in protest and forced Russian troops to release their abducted mayor

Mayor Yuri Fomichov was abducted by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Slavutych but was released after residents staged a mass protest. Demonstrators protest amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Slavutych, Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine.Reuters Mayor Yuri Fomichov was abducted by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Slavutych. The mayor was released hours later after residents came out to protest. Fomichev said that Russians had agreed to withdraw if there was no Ukrainian military in the city. A Ukrainian mayor who was abducted by Russian forces was released after a mass protest by the town's residents, reports say.Russian forces entered the northern Ukrainian city of Slavutych, near the Chernobyl power plant, on Saturday and seized a hospital, and took the mayor Yuri Fomichov hostage, Ukrainian officials said.Slavutych, population 25,000, was purpose-built for Chernobyl nuclear power plant workers after the 1986 disaster. Russian forces captured the plant when it invaded Ukraine a month ago, and it continued to be staffed by Ukrainians.Oleksandr Pavliuk, the Kyiv regional military administration head, shared videos on Telegram that he said showed residents protesting against the Russian occupation while holding a large Ukrainian flag.He said that Russian troops opened fire in the air and threw stun grenades at the crowd, but they refused to disperse.—Українська правда ✌️ (@ukrpravda_news) March 26, 2022 Mayor Yuri Fomichov was released a few hours later, and a video posted on social media by a local journalist appeared to show him speaking to the protesters."In captivity, I negotiated with the occupiers," he said in the video, according to The New York Times. "It was agreed that if it is confirmed that our military is not in the city, everything will be calm.""Slavutych remains under the Ukrainian flag!" he said.Fomichov said that Russian forces had instructed residents to hand over any weapons and added that the national police and the Ukrainian military were no longer in the town."We will appoint people on duty to prevent looting, chaos, and disorder," he said, according to The New York Times.The paper noted that it was not clear if Fomichov was speaking freely.Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, it has captured several mayors, including in Dniprorudne and Melitopol, where they installed a new mayor.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytMar 27th, 2022

Putin is rumored to be purging the Kremlin of Russian officials he blames for the faltering invasion of Ukraine

According to reports, Putin fired a senior military official and has placed others under house arrest over the faltering invasion of Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin issues assessments during his meeting with the officials of Security Council of Russia, on March 03, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Putin is rumoured to have punished several officials over the Ukraine invasion.  Top officials are likely to have given Putin over-optimistic assessments, one analyst said. Putin gave a speech this week pledging to purge Russia of traitors. Rumours are spreading that President Vladimir Putin, enraged by military setbacks in Ukraine, has launched a purge of some of Russia's most powerful officials.On Thursday, reports in Ukrainian media claimed that Putin had fired Roman Gavrilov, the deputy chief of Rosgvardia, the Russian national guard.Rosgvardia had deployed into Ukraine alongside the regular military and suffered heavy losses as Ukraine resisted with unexpected ferocity.Christo Grozev, the lead Russia investigator for the outlet Bellingcat, said three sources confirmed the firing to him.The Russian newspaper Kommersant meanwhile reported that Gavrilov had resigned. —Коммерсантъ (@kommersant) March 17, 2022One source told Bellingcat that Gavrilov was detained by the FSB's military counter-intelligence department over "leaks of military info that led to loss of life", while two others say it was "wasteful squandering of fuel."The details of top-level moves in the Kremlin are difficult to confirm because of Russia's penchant for secrecy, the high costs of speaking out of turn, and the long campaign by Russia to destroy its independent media.But even what can be seen suggests that all is not well in Putin's inner circle.Before Gavrilov's departure from there were reports that other senior military and intelligence officials had faced Putin's wrath over the invasion.Andrei Soldatov, a Russian Moscow-based journalist and expert on Russian security services, tweeted last week that Putin had punished two senior FSB officials over intelligence failings in Ukraine.Soldatov said Putin had placed its head of foreign intelligence, Sergei Beseda, under house arrest, along with Beseda's deputy.The FSB has a special place in Putin's heart: before taking the Russian presidency, Putin ran the agency and had a long career in its predecessor, the Soviet KGB.—Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) March 17, 2022Last week the head of Ukraine's security council said that Putin had fired eight generals over the invasion. Four more have been killed while fighting in Ukraine.Although the Kremlin hasn't confirmed any internal reprisals, Putin has spoken broadly of purging Russian society of traitors.In a menacing speech on Monday Putin denounced "fifth columnists" and said Russia needed to undergo a cleansing.Experts told Yahoo News that the speech resembled the words of Josef Stalin when he launched his "purges" of the Soviet Union in the 1930s, which led to show trials, executions and mass detentions. Philip Ingram, a former senior British military intelligence officer, told Insider that the reports on punishment of senior officials appeared plausible, but warned that Russia had a history of planting deceptive stories for its own gain."It's all about utilizing information in a way to try and throw people off the scent with different things and it's ingrained in everything that they do," he said. Ingram supported the idea that officials would be punished for events in Ukraine. "Russia is failing militarily and in quite a spectacular way at the moment," he said. He said that while Gavrilov's firing could have been to do with operational failings in Ukraine, where Russian advances have been hampered by logistical and planning problems.The punishment of FSB officials, he said, could be due to intelligence agencies having given Putin an overly optimistic assessment of how easily Russia could defeat Ukraine."They have failed at the beginning, by not giving him a real understanding of the strength of the Ukrainian armed forces and their resolve to protect their homeland," said Ingram."But his military forces have also been feeding false information by saying they're better than they actually are. Therefore, it's almost a perfect storm for him." A Russian armored personnel carrier burns amid damaged and abandoned light utility vehicles after fighting in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.AP Photo/Marienko AndrewThe failings have resulted in the Russian military making at best faltering progress in its invasion of Ukraine.Units have bogged down and sustained high casualties in ambushes by Ukrainian armed forces, and no major city has yet been captured. So far, around 7,000 Russian troops have been killed, including top officers, US intelligence officials told The New York Times this week.The Russian military has used increasingly brutal tactics in a bid to break the Ukrainian resistance, especially in the besieged city of Mariupol. Russian forces have launched attacks on hospitals, bomb shelters for civilians, and convoys of people trying to get away from the violence. Ingram said that the firings could be seen as a "win at all costs" signal to Russian military commanders in Ukraine, and would likely result in escalating violence as commanders seek to avoid the fate of their predecessor. "He is sending a very powerful message that this commander has failed. And it sends a powerful message to the new one that takes over, saying you need to get this right, and what that tends to turn into on the ground unfortunately is greater violence," Ingram said. "We're likely to see redoubling of attacks against centres of population and potentially expanding the attacks outside without eastern part of Ukraine and the southern part of Ukraine."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

How China turned a Tiananmen Square memorial into one of the most sought-after sculptures in the world

The "Pillar of Shame" was meant to spread all around the world. It didn't — until now, thanks to its removal in Hong Kong. Danish sculptor Jens Galschiøt (right) with a Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for Insider Last December, Hong Kong removed the Pillar of Shame, a memorial to the Tiananmen Square massacre. The removal only increased the monument's fame – and brought a flood of requests for replicas.  Creator Jens Galschiøt gave up his copyright to the sculpture, enabling 3D printers to make copies. HONG KONG – In the 1990s, a Danish sculptor launched an audacious project to pepper the earth with copies of a grotesque sculpture that depicted human bodies wreathed together in pain. The monument, known as the "Pillar of Shame," is constructed out of bronze, copper or concrete and stands atop a square plinth. It rises about 8 meters, or 26 feet, in all. Its creator, Jens Galschiøt, envisioned it as a "Nobel Prize of Injustice" and vowed to place replicas of the pillar all over the world to mark acts of genocide and murder. For a time, Galschiøt's effort was something of a success. He installed a copy of the pillar in Hong Kong in 1997 to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which Chinese troops killed hundreds if not thousands of peaceful pro-democracy protesters. He landed a second copy in Mexico in 1999 to commemorate the slaughter of Indigenous people and a third in Brazil in 2000 to honor landless peasants killed by military police. But then the project stalled. For over two decades, it seemed no one was interested in getting a Pillar of Shame — that is, until now.These days, the 67-year-old sculptor is so inundated with requests for copies of his signature artwork that he needs a full-time apprentice just to manage the endless stream of emails and phone calls. He's being sought out for art exhibitions, speeches, interviews, and new Pillar of Shame installations around the world. At Galschiøt's foundry, about two hours outside of Copenhagen, Denmark, his team is working overtime to cast replicas of various sizes. He has also invited artists everywhere to help meet the demand for replicas by using 3D-printing technologies and a free blueprint of the sculpture."The Pillar of Shame in miniature.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe spark that led to an explosion of interest in Galschiøt's project came in October, when Hong Kong University  ordered that the Pillar of Shame be removed from its longtime home on the school's campus — part of a larger effort to erase any public commemoration of the Tiananmen Square massacre.The sculpture's removal, carried out in the dead of night two days before Christmas, accomplished its goal of eliminating the controversial monument from public view. But it also unleashed something unexpected: China and Hong Kong authorities gave Galschiøt's struggling art project the sort of publicity that no amount of money and PR firms could buy. Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame was suddenly being discussed in The Washington Post and The New York Times and in outlets in Thailand, Iceland, Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria, Norway, Ireland, Germany, and Indonesia, to name just a few."They have made a big mistake," Galschiøt said in an interview. "Now, instead of one, they're getting hundreds of Pillars of Shame."A group of former US government officials is working to erect a full-size replica in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC. In Norway, there's a request to display a replica near the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo. In Taiwan, a pro-democracy group plans to unveil a 3D-printed model by June 4 to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. An artists collective is planning to organize a worldwide tour with Galschiøt's pillar to raise awareness of Hong Kong's struggle for democracy.Makerwiz 3D-printing studio in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Source: Makerwiz.Galschiøt is also making smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper that he aims to hoist on top of plinths with plates dedicated to Tiananmen victims and Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, installing them at universities. For everyone else — volunteers at his workshop and ordinary people who are inspired by Galschiøt's vision, or perhaps his tenacity — he has finished a batch of 60 bronze copies that are about a foot tall. He's working on another 40. "There's a lot of people who ask for a copy of that sculpture now," Galschiøt said.The nascent efforts are a cautionary tale of what happens when regimes try to censor art. "The rulers, tyrants know the power of art. That's why artists, poets, and musicians are the first ones they persecute and even kill," said Rose Tang, a Tiananmen survivor and artist. But, as one 3D printer who recently replicated Galschiøt's sculpture put it, "ideas can never be suppressed." Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame is finally an idea whose time has come. Except, rather than commemorating atrocities in spots across the globe, the monument now seems poised to become synonymous with one event above all others: the Tiananmen Square massacre and China's efforts to erase it from memory. A witness For more than two decades, anyone who visited the western edge of Hong Kong University's winding Pok Fu Lam campus would inevitably bump into Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame. It was situated off a major campus walkway, boxed inside a narrow atrium next to a popular student canteen. (Disclosure: The author teaches at Hong Kong University's journalism program.) As you looked up from your meal, your eyes would fall upon the Eiffel Tower-like heap of some 50 twisted bodies screaming in pain. Many of the faces looked like cadavers that had already breathed their last while others appeared to be in the act of dying; a man clutching a baby looked as if he was running away from some danger. Layers of thick orange paint flowed from the top down, turning yellow and peeling in places, giving the whole mass the hellish appearance of a pile of burning human flesh. The inscription "THE TIANANMEN MASSACRE" was etched in thick, blood-red letters on one side of the square base, above the date June 4, 1989. Directly to the left was another inscription that read, "the old cannot kill the young forever."Students gather around Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderFor students who came to study here from mainland China, the pillar might be their first introduction to the Tiananmen massacre. On one side of the pillar's base, a plaque provided "A Brief History of the 1989 Beijing Pro-Democracy Movement." It recounted how the death of pro-reform Communist Party leader Hu Yaobang in April 1989 sparked mass demonstrations in favor of democratic reforms. Beijing's Tiananmen Square became a central gathering spot for students who waged a hunger strike to try to prompt a dialogue with Communist Party leaders. The government refused, declared martial law, and ultimately sent in military convoys to clear the square. On June 3 and 4, 1989, "several thousand soldiers forced their way via various routes into Beijing City, using guns and bullets to shoot unarmed citizens and students. Tanks were deployed to recover the Square," the plaque read. An official death toll was never confirmed. A 1990 report on the massacre by Amnesty International noted that Chinese authorities tallied some 200 civilian casualties, while Amnesty itself concluded that at least 1,000 people had been killed. Another more recent estimate based on a diplomatic cable declassified in 2017 pinned the number of civilian casualties at more than 10,000.Whatever the ultimate toll, there was no doubt in Rose Tang's mind that it had been a bloody day. Rose Tang in Tiananmen Square on May 21, 1989. At the time, she was a 20-year-old freshman in college.Rose Tang/HandoutTang was a freshman studying English at what was then known as the Beijing Second Foreign Languages Institute. She ditched classes in the spring of 1989 to join her classmates in Tiananmen Square to chant pro-democracy slogans, even though, she now says, she had very little idea of what democracy even meant. Her memoir of the events of June 4 describes bullets whizzing overhead, a stampede trampling over dead bodies, and the deafening noise of tanks moving in and crushing tents set up in the square. But there's one detail of the aftermath that helps explain why Galschiøt's sculpture found a loyal following in Hong Kong, which was a British colony until 1997. When Tang revisited Tiananmen Square some seven months after the massacre, she found no trace of what had happened there that day. There were no signs of blood stains or bullet holes from June 4, 1989, let alone any memorial. She walked around, trying to find proof to back up her memories. There were only a few armed soldiers patrolling the square as water trucks sprinkled water on the ground. "All I could see was the clean wet concrete ground glittering in street lights," she recalled in her memoir.Tang turned to a life of art and activism to help her cope with the events of that day. She has written poetry and music inspired by June 4, 1989, and toured with a band that performed songs that student protesters sang at Tiananmen Square. "Making music and using music to heal and mobilize people is my way of carrying on the true legacy of Tiananmen. Art is power. Performance is protest," she said.Tang eschewed making sculptures, though. "I just personally found it really hard to convey the experience of Tiananmen through visual art," she said. She admires Galschiøt for trying. Rose Tang at a Tiananmen Square massacre memorial in New York City on June 4, 2020.Thirdblade PhotographyBut something about Galschiøt's sculpture always puzzled Tang. On close inspection, the figures assembled on Galschiøt's pillar appeared to span the races. One could be excused for wondering whether this was all a mistake: A white man from Denmark created a sculpture to commemorate the killings of Chinese civilians, and he filled it with people from all over the world?'My Inner Beast'The international nature of the sculpture was precisely what Galschiøt had in mind when he began to sketch out the vision for his Pillar of Shame in the early 1990s. Galschiøt had turned to making sculptures in the 1980s after a career as a blacksmith at a Danish shipyard and a rebellious youth filled with drugs, travel, and a desire to distance himself from his father's communist sympathies. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, he grew hopeful for a more egalitarian future but was soon dismayed by Serbian militias' mass rape of Muslim women in Bosnia and other atrocities. He became convinced that civilization is only a thin veneer that can crumble at any time and unleash an inner barbarism laid bare in such episodes. In 1993 he installed concrete sculptures of a pig dressed in a gentleman's overcoat in 20 cities across Europe. Titled "My Inner Beast," the project aimed to call attention to Europeans' mistreatment of ethnic minorities. The sculptures proved an unwelcome sight to governments that never asked for them. Most were torn down, and only a few remain standing today. Galschiøt's middle son, Kasper Galschiøt Markus, recalled eating "significantly more porridge" in the months that followed since Galschiøt nearly went broke paying for the project out of pocket. But profit wasn't the goal. The reaction to the sculpture became part of the story the art sought to tell, summarized by the motto, "It is not the foreigners but our reaction to the foreigners that threatens our civilization." Galschiøt preparing a Pillar of Shame replica.Mikkel Møller for InsiderGalschiøt began to make small models of the Pillar of Shame that same year. As the idea took shape, he assembled 7 tons of clay to create the casting mold for the sculpture.He included faces of people that represented a wide variety of races and ethnicities, hoping to create a universal symbol. Once he finished his prototype in 1996, he went looking for contacts who could help him install it in various places around the world. The Tiananmen Square massacre quickly came to mind, but he knew it would be impossible to install a pillar in Beijing. 'They made a good fight for freedom'Hong Kong offered the tantalizing possibility of a work-around. After years of negotiations, the UK was due to hand control of Hong Kong back to China on July 1, 1997.  If Galschiøt could get the pillar to Hong Kong while the city was still in British hands, China would take the sculpture with it. "At that time, we had good reason to believe that this statue would not be allowed to enter after the transition," Albert Ho, who helped Galschiøt get the pillar to Hong Kong, recalled in a later interview.Ho was a leader of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, a group founded in 1989 just before the massacre. One of the alliance's signature projects was an annual candlelight vigil commemorating Tiananmen victims. Galschiøt reached out to see whether the group would help him install a replica of the sculpture and soon he had a partner: On May 2, 1997, he packed up a copy of the pillar in a shipping container and sent it off to Hong Kong. The sculpture arrived at a Hong Kong container terminal nine days before the alliance's annual candlelight vigil in the city's sprawling Victoria Park. The alliance displayed it prominently at the June 4 vigil, which happened to coincide with Galschiøt's birthday. Afterward, the pillar was loaded onto a truck headed for Hong Kong University, where student leaders hoped to install it near their student union. Tang joined part of the march to campus, walking alongside Galschiøt. Galschiøt grew concerned as scuffles broke out between students and security guards who wouldn't let the truck through to campus. Security guards eventually relented, and the sculpture was dropped off as onlookers applauded, according to Associated Press archival footage from the night. "They made a good fight for freedom," Galschiøt told an AP reporter at the time.The pillar made the rounds to several schools around the city before the Hong Kong University student union voted in 1998 to permanently host it on its campus. Galschiøt, meanwhile, wrote a manifesto for his artwork. "My name is Jens Galschiøt. I'm a Danish artist born 1954. My new art happening the Pillar of Shame has just been launched, as the sculpture was displayed 4th June '97 in Hong Kong," began the lengthy December 1997 missive, which predicted that "over the next ten years the happening will spread over the Planet." Galschiøt listed Auschwitz, the site of the infamous Nazi death camp, and Rwanda, where a 1994 genocide had just killed an estimated 800,000 people, as two possible candidates for Pillars of Shame.Galschiøt outside his studio in Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderSoon he managed to install a "Columna de la infamia" in Mexico to commemorate the 1997 killings of 45 Indigenous people in Chiapas state and a "Coluna da infâmia" in Brazil to mark the 1996 murder of 19 landless Brazilian peasants. Both sculptures made brief appearances near parliament buildings in their respective countries, elevating their visibility in Mexico and Brazil. In 1999 he outlined a grand vision to install a pillar in Berlin atop a platform covered with bronze plates notched with 10 million lines representing the victims of Nazi-era persecution (the project was too costly, and he gave up on it in late 2002). In 2012, he traveled to Iraq to explore the possibility of placing a pillar there to commemorate the victims of Saddam Hussein's mass murders of Iraqi Kurds in the 1980s (installing a sculpture in a war zone was too dangerous, though Galschiøt hopes to try again someday).Galschiøt openly mused that Hong Kong's Pillar of Shame might someday move to Beijing if political circumstances allowed it. But he acknowledged that it might just as well be removed or destroyed: "The Pillar of Shame will be a test of the validity of the new authorities' guarantees for human rights and freedom of expression in Hong Kong," he wrote in a post on his website.'The old cannot kill the young forever'Galschiøt was right about the possibility of his sculpture being removed from Hong Kong.The early signs of trouble came in April 2008, when Galschiøt flew to the city only to be denied entry. He was there to paint the pillar orange as part of a campaign to raise awareness of China's alleged human-rights abuses ahead of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. In Galschiøt's absence, members of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China carried out the paint job. News reports at the time described the ordeal as a test of the freedoms China had granted to Hong Kong when it took over.Hong Kongers would experience many more such tests in the years that followed. In 2014, protests erupted when China insisted on vetting any candidates for the territory's chief executive before allowing the post to be elected directly by the people. The tense 79-day standoff with pro-democracy protesters became known as the Umbrella Movement after demonstrators used umbrellas to shield themselves from the pepper spray police used to try to disperse them. The sense of togetherness and community among the protesters felt like a repeat of the 1989 Tiananmen Square movement to Tang, who flew from the US to Hong Kong to camp out with the protesters and speak up for their cause. Even larger protests shook the city in 2019 after Hong Kong leaders proposed amending the territory's extradition laws to allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China to stand trial. The protests grew into a broader movement against Beijing's encroachments on the freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong under the terms of its handover from the UK. Meanwhile, Beijing readied a national-security law that would give China broad authority to stamp out dissent in Hong Kong. Even before the law took effect, in June 2020, authorities had already taken aim at Hong Kong's long tradition of commemorating the Tiananmen victims. They refused to let the alliance organize its annual June 4 vigil in 2020, citing COVID-19 restrictions. Thousands showed up anyway. In 2021, Hong Kong blocked the June 4 vigil again and put up a massive police presence to deter Hong Kongers from defying the ban. The same month, the alliance's museum commemorating the massacre was forced to shut down. Police raided the museum in September and confiscated its exhibits just a day after arresting the alliance's leaders under the guise of the national-security law. The alliance disbanded on September 25, and days later reports surfaced that the digital version of its Tiananmen Square massacre museum had been blocked in Hong Kong.  By early October, the pillar's time had come. Galschiøt wasn't formally notified that the Pillar of Shame would be removed. Mayer Brown, an American law firm representing Hong Kong University, sent a letter demanding its removal to the liquidators of the alliance (the alliance didn't actually own the sculpture; Galschiøt had always retained ownership). The October 7 letter gave the now-defunct pro-democracy group six days to remove the sculpture from the university, a publicly funded institution, or consider the pillar abandoned property that would be dealt with "at such time and in such manner" as the university saw fit. Galschiøt tried to intervene but said he couldn't get a reply to his lawyer's pleas to let him come to Hong Kong to retrieve the artwork.The sudden deadline was sandwiched between two typhoons that pummeled Hong Kong with heavy rains and winds. As the storms moved through the city, the October 13 removal deadline held firm. Hong Kongers flocked to the sculpture to bid their farewells to what many saw as one of the last vestiges of freedom of expression in the Chinese territory. "Say goodbye to freedom," one man said as he snapped a photo of the sculpture one day before the deadline. Steps away, a father took a selfie in front of the pillar with his 9-year-old daughter. Afterward, the little girl grabbed her father's phone and snapped some photos of it herself. On their way out, he pointed to the inscription "the old cannot kill the young forever" as she looked on attentively. Shortly after, it started to rain again. But the crowds kept coming.A father introduces his daughter to Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame sculpture in Hong Kong on October 12, 2021.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe university hit a snag when Mayer Brown bowed out of the legal matter amid public outrage that an American law firm would be helping Chinese authorities stifle freedom of expression in Hong Kong. (Mayer Brown's decision prompted a former Hong Kong chief executive to call for a China-wide boycott of the law firm. Spokespeople for Mayer Brown did not respond to comment requests.) Several weeks followed when the sculpture's fate stood in a strange state of limbo; it wasn't clear when exactly it would disappear, but there was no doubt the end was near. An artists' collective known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong made use of the delay to take detailed photos of the pillar and create a three-dimensional model that could be used as a basis for 3D printing. Galschiøt, meanwhile, dusted off old molds that he had used to create smaller replicas of the Pillar of Shame in the 1990s so that he would be ready if his sculpture were removed. The limbo ended on December 22. Galschiøt had just told the workers in his workshop in Odense, Denmark, to go home early and enjoy the holiday when he got a call from a reporter seeking comment on the sculpture's removal.  The energy drained from his body; he looked like a parent who had just learned about the loss of his child, recalled his apprentice, Lauge Jakobsen. Social media lit up with footage of workers fencing off the area around the pillar so no one would witness its removal. Reporters still managed to document parts of the ordeal, which ended with a human-like fragment of the sculpture being loaded into a shipping container by a group of workers in hard hats resembling pallbearers at a funeral.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University as seen the day after the monument was removed.Cezary Podkul for Insider As Galschiøt watched from a distance, all he could do was decry the university's actions. He issued a statement calling the sculpture's removal an unreasonable act of "self-immolation against private property in Hong Kong." Hong Kong University said in a statement that "no party has ever obtained any approval from the university to display the statue on campus," and the statue would be placed in storage pending legal advice on what to do with it. Galschiøt said the university has now responded to his lawyer, and he is sorting out the details of how to return the sculpture from Hong Kong. A spokeswoman for the university did not provide further details. 'Jens' biggest supporter has been the Chinese government'The sculpture's dramatic removal gave Galschiøt the kind of worldwide attention he had long hoped to bring to his international art project. "Suddenly, all the world's eyes were turned on this Pillar of Shame," recalled Jakobsen, his apprentice. "From 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. at night the phone was calling all the time, and our email was looking like a celebrity's fan email because every 10 seconds there were coming new emails."Jakobsen switched from working in Galschiøt's workshop to assisting him in the office as he juggled media requests and inquiries about how to acquire a Pillar of Shame. "Jens' biggest supporter last year has been the Chinese government," Jakobsen said during a phone interview. Galschiøt could be heard laughing beside him.Jessica Chiu was one of those requesters. The native Hong Konger, who's 32 and lives in Norway, first learned about Tiananmen Square from her high school math teacher, who would abandon his usual lesson every June and instead teach about the massacre. Later, as a student at Hong Kong University, Chiu would occasionally pass by Galschiøt's sculpture. Chiu leads a Norwegian nonprofit focused on supporting human rights in Hong Kong. The group had been interested in exhibiting Galschiøt's pillar in Norway since 2020; its removal in Hong Kong reinforced those plans. "It makes us more motivated to do it, and it just makes the impact bigger," Chiu said. Her nonprofit has already applied for permits to display the sculpture at two locations in Oslo, including a plaza near the Nobel Peace Center.Galschiøt at his gallery in Odense, Denmark.Mikkel Møller for InsiderA similar effort is taking shape to bring a copy of the pillar in the US. The most provocative spot under consideration includes a park directly across from the Chinese Embassy in Washington DC. A group of former US government officials, outraged by Mayer Brown's involvement, is spearheading the initiative, which is still in its initial planning stages, according to a person familiar with the effort. Getting a 2-ton sculpture cast and transported abroad — let alone securing a spot for it — is no easy feat, so it's unclear how many of such installations will ultimately succeed. Galschiøt estimated that making the sculpture in a full-size bronze cast costs about $800,000. To make it more affordable and easier to handle, he has started making the smaller, 8.5-foot replicas in copper using an old mold he created in the 1990s. He hopes to distribute the smaller pillars to universities around the world (and requests that schools interested in a copy contact him). He scored his first win in Budapest, Hungary, on March 2, when one of the copper replicas was installed on the site of a future Budapest campus of Fudan University. Hungary lawmakers had voted in 2021 to donate four plots of land toward the planned campus of the Shanghai-based university, which ranks as one of China's most elite schools. The move sparked criticism of Chinese influence-buying and prompted Budapest's mayor to rename streets near the proposed site after various alleged human-rights abuses committed by China. Galschiøt traveled to Budapest to personally dedicate his "a szégyen oszlopa" (Hungarian for "Pillar of Shame") near the corner of Free Hong Kong Road and Uyghur Martyrs Road.Galschiøt applies paint to a pillar, which will soon be shipped aboard.Mikkel Møller for InsiderThe use of the artwork to make political statements about China's alleged human-rights abuses could get easier thanks to the rise of 3D printing. Lady Liberty Hong Kong's three-dimensional model of the sculpture has enabled anyone with access to a 3D printer to create a copy of the sculpture without bothering with the cost and logistics of transporting it from Denmark. To make the process even more hassle-free, Galschiøt surrendered his copyright to the sculpture, writing in an open letter on Christmas Day that anyone is free to 3D print or mass-produce replicas of the pillar as long as profits go to benefit pro-democracy causes in China and Hong Kong.  A 2-foot-tall replica created using Lady Liberty's model recently showed up at a Hong Kong pro-democracy rally in Manchester, England. An even bigger version — 10 feet or taller — is set to be 3D-printed in Taiwan in time for the June 4 anniversary of the massacre. The New School for Democracy Association Taiwan, a pro-democracy group, is spearheading that effort, which is in the planning and fundraising stages, according to the project's manager.Lady Liberty itself is hoping to organize an international art tour with Galschiøt that would feature the pillar as well as the group's own signature artwork,  a symbol of the 2019 protest movement in Hong Kong known as Lady Liberty Hong Kong. The 3.5-meter-tall, crowdfunded sculpture of a woman wearing a helmet, goggles, and a respirator made the rounds to various sites across Hong Kong in 2019, including a famous summit known as Lion Rock, before being vandalized and thrown off the cliff (most likely by pro-government activists). Lady Liberty is preparing to sell small replicas of the Pillar of Shame to help fund the art tour, which would also invite other artists to participate, a spokesperson said.Galschiøt's team with a copy of the Pillar of Shame.Mikkel Møller for InsiderTang is raising her hand for the effort. She said she'd like to reunite her Tiananmen band and perform under Galschiøt's Pillar of Shame if a replica makes its way for a tour in the US. In Canada, a scrappy group of expatriate Hong Kongers created a supply chain that allows them to 3D print and ship copies of the pillar anywhere in the world. Their website, CanHKer.ca, sells a variety of Hong Kong-themed merchandise — including 3D prints of Lady Liberty Hong Kong — to fund pro-democracy causes. Proceeds from the 3D-printed pillar replicas are earmarked for organizations that help young Hong Kong refugees resettle in Canada and seek asylum, said Eric Li, who cofounded one of the groups and helped launch the merchandise website. Many of the refugees are youths who faced persecution for their pro-democracy activities, Li said. Some are depressed and feel guilty, even suicidal, for having left Hong Kong behind, he said. Others are traumatized after their violent clashes with police. "They feel they betrayed their friends because they ran away from the action," said Li, who helps arrange counseling for the youths as part of his work for one of the groups that will receive proceeds from the pillars'  sales. Art 'without interruption'There isn't much action left when it comes to protests in Hong Kong. The Beijing-imposed national-security law has succeeded in ending the mass demonstrations that gripped the city in 2019. You might find an occasional pro-democracy slogan or poster here or there, but any public artwork the government could deem subversive to Beijing is likely to quickly vanish from public view. A day after Galschiøt's pillar disappeared in December, two other Tiananmen-themed monuments were removed by universities in Hong Kong. The "Goddess of Democracy," an imitation of a sculpture created by Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989, was hauled away from the Chinese University of Hong Kong on December 24. A relief depicting the Tiananmen Square massacre was removed from the campus of Lingnan University the same day. Both artworks were created by Chen Weiming, an exiled Chinese sculptor who lives in California. Chen is now trying to repatriate the monuments from the universities and is planning to house them at a Tiananmen Square museum that he hopes to build at his sculpture park in Yermo, California. "In America, I can do anything I want to do. In China, I can't do it," Chen said.In late January, Hong Kong University covered up the last public tribute to Tiananmen victims on its campus — a hand-painted slogan on a bridge outside a dormitory. It read, "The souls of the martyrs shall forever linger despite the cold-blooded massacre. The spark of democracy shall forever glow for the demise of evil." Every year, students would touch up the paint on the 32-year-old inscription and wash the Pillar of Shame.The former site of the Pillar of Shame at Hong Kong University has been replaced with an outdoor seating area.Cezary Podkul for InsiderThe former site of the pillar is now a seating area with movable plastic furniture atop wooden planks. The area stood empty on a recent Monday evening as the clean, wet planks glittered in overhead lights. With the usual churn of a university, it won't take more than a few years for future generations of students to sit in the area without any idea of what stood here previously, or why. But nearby, another sculpture remains intact. It's a commemoration of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, widely regarded as the father of modern China, who sits calmly in a chair surrounded by a placid fishpond topped with water lilies. Sun is a rare figure in recent Chinese history, revered on both sides of the Taiwan Strait for helping to end feudal imperial monarchy in China and briefly serving as the first president of the Republic of China in 1912. Even as Hong Kong stamps out dissent, posters honoring him as a "great outlaw" invite visitors to a museum of Sun's life and legacy. The university installed Sun's statue in 2003 so students could follow his historic footprint, according to a dedication issued at the time. A sculpture of Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, adorns a lily pond on the Hong Kong University campus.Cezary Podkul for InsiderIt is impossible to know what Sun might say about the removal of the Pillar of Shame and other artworks in Hong Kong if he were alive today. But a speech that he gave nearly 100 years ago on Hong Kong University's campus gives a clue. In his remarks, Sun called Hong Kong and the university his "intellectual birthplace" and explained why he got his revolutionary ideas there: "Hong Kong impressed me a great deal, because there was orderly calm and because there was artistic work being done without interruption."Cezary Podkul is an award-winning investigative reporter who has written for ProPublica, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters. He teaches at Hong Kong University's Journalism and Media Studies Centre.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2022

People in Kyiv describe bombardment on night 2 of invasion as Russia closes in on the capital

Russian forces shelled Kyiv overnight Friday, prompting those left behind to flee their homes and take cover in air raid shelters. A building hit by a missile in Kyiv, Ukraine, seen on February 25, 2022.Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images Russian forces shelled Kyiv for the second straight night late Thursday and early Friday. Five residents described the blasts and scenes inside the city's air raid shelters to Insider. Russian forces are now closing in on Kyiv and fighting to occupy a major airport.  Kyiv was rocked by shelling for the second straight day on Friday morning, with Russian forces entering the outskirts of the capital by the afternoon.Speaking from Kyiv by phone on Friday, five residents told Insider of multiple explosions overnight, interspersed with air raid sirens directing people to find safety in bunkers. Alisa Obraztsova, 25, said she was rocked away by explosions at 4:20 a.m."I slept in the guest room in my apartment because I could hear the sirens from that room better," she said. Following several more explosions, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky later called "insidious," Obraztsova and her mother left their apartment for a shelter at 7 a.m."The shelter was quite busy," she said. "Some people stayed home, some people came. There wasn't much panic. There were older people, younger people."Oleksii, a Kyiv resident who asked to be identified only by his first name, told Insider he was also startled awake by bombs."I woke up at around 4 a.m. because there was a massive explosion," he said. "I looked out the window, everything was a bright orange, everything was getting brighter."The sun rises over Ukraine's capital Kyiv on February 25, 2022.Evgen Kotenko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images"At first, because I'd just woken up, I thought it looked like an atomic bomb," Oleksii said. "I didn't know what to do. After that, we received the news that a Russian plane had been hit. It fell in, almost, to my neighbor's house."Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba called the strikes "horrific" on Friday, saying the "last time our capital experienced anything like this was in 1941 when it was attacked by Nazi Germany."Kira Rudik, a Ukrainian Member of Parliament and leader of the Holos political party, told Insider she took her family to an air raid shelter in the center of Kyiv in the early hours of Friday. She said she prepared for the long night with a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) midnight run on her treadmill."There were three rounds of rockets and three sirens during the night," she said. "We had to wake up and go to the bomb shelter."Another Kyiv resident, Oleg Cardo, told Insider that he took his family to a makeshift air raid shelter at a school on Thursday evening."We were there, maybe only an hour tops, because we decided against it," he said. "I have a three-year-old and it was pretty packed.""We decided to go there if we heard a siren, otherwise we decided not to risk it because there were visibly a lot of people who had a cold or maybe COVID."He sent Insider a video of the shelter he visited.—Joshua Zitser (@mrjoshz) February 25, 2022 Back at his apartment, he said his family were on high alert."We heard explosions in the distance. Nobody slept. We all opened the windows to hear something," he said."I've never experienced anything like this. I'm old enough to remember Chernobyl," he said, referencing the 1986 explosion that caused the world's worst nuclear disaster.Photos and videos published Thursday showed people in Kyiv hiding from airstrikes in subway stations. It was not immediately clear where Rudik and Obraztsova sheltered.People take shelter in a subway station in Kyiv, Ukraine, on February 24, 2022.Valentyn Ogirenko/ReutersAn American living in Kyiv called RJ — they asked to be identified under an alias — told Insider that they heard "massive, massive explosions" as they drove out of Kyiv shortly before sunrise on Friday."There was roughly — and it seemed to me an awfully long time — a 10-minute aerial bombardment. That's a long time for aerial bombardment," they said."To my ear, it sounded like it was in two different places — it was in the north, and to the west of where I was."The shelling of Kyiv had subsided by Friday lunchtime, around which time Ukraine's defense ministry said that Russian troops had made it to Kyiv's outskirts.Zelensky on Thursday offered weapons to any Ukrainian who wanted to stay and fight, and called on the West to come to Ukraine's defense. The country's national guard on Friday published a graphic teaching people how to make Molotov cocktails, and the ministry of defense asked people who owned drones for help.Kuleba, the foreign minister, on Friday accused Russia of committing war crimes during fighting, tweeting that Russian forces attacked a kindergarten and an orphanage on Friday.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022