Ukraine, Briefly

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  • Russian missiles destroyed a theater in Mariupol where hundreds were sheltering, while rescue efforts were hindered Thursday by further attacks, the Washington Post reported. And in the northern city of Chernihiv, where heavy fighting has been ongoing for weeks, 10 people were killed by Russian forces Wednesday while waiting in line for bread. Meanwhile, the mayor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv said that Russian shelling has destroyed more than 600 buildings since the invasion began, including schools, nurseries and hospitals, according to Reuters.
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy gave a virtual address to the United States Congress Wednesday in an effort to plead for more help as Ukraine tries to fend off Russia’s invasion, the Hill reported. During his 15-minute speech, Zelenskyy urged US leaders and lawmakers to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine and raise awareness about the devastation caused by the conflict. He also urged the creation of a new international body to halt conflicts. Despite his pleas, NATO officials emphasized they won’t establish a no-fly zone over the country out of fear of escalating the conflict, CNN noted, and urged Americans to stop buying products from corporations that continue to do business in Russia. A list of those companies is here. Even so, US officials said they would increase the size and scope of weaponry sent to Ukraine and also include armed drones for the first time. Meanwhile, President Biden for the first time publicly called Russian leader Vladimir Putin a “war criminal.” Moscow dismissed the remark as “unacceptable and unforgivable.”
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his military operation in Ukraine has been a success and that he would not allow the nation to be used as a “springboard” to threaten Russia, according to France 24. However, UK officials said Thursday that Russia’s invasion has “largely stalled on all fronts,” adding that Russia has used up more sophisticated weapons than planned, and is now “resorting to the use of older, less precise weapons.” British officials also said Russia’s military is calling in reinforcements because of “continued personnel losses” during its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the Hill wrote.
  • Russian and Ukrainian officials expressed cautious optimism that peace talks were making progress toward ending almost three weeks of fighting across Ukraine, the Washington Post added.
  • As Western sanctions bite, the Russian government may be headed for its first foreign debt default since the Bolshevik Party shocked Western investors in 1918 by refusing to repay the borrowings of Czar Nicholas II. The US and Europe are considering further sanctions.
  • Russia’s tightly-controlled state TV saw a series of resignations following an on-screen protest by journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, who denounced the war on live television, the BBC noted. At the same time, exiled Russian journalists and others have created an army of “information warriors” to pierce the information wall the Kremlin has erected and tell Russians the “uncensored truth of a brutal war.” Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine has resulted in the emergence of “war hotels” used by journalists covering the conflict, according to Al Jazeera. At least three journalists have died since the war began last month.

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