Welcome to Wednesday, as conflicting reports circulating over the fate of Mariupol, Biden accuses Putin of genocide, while the Russian president says peace talks with Ukraine are at a “dead end.” We also zoom in on Donbas, where Putin has shifted his forces in what could be a key moment in the Russia-Ukraine war. Meanwhile, an ugly Hollywood trial has begun in Virginia.
[*Mah-nah-hoo - Northern Paiute]
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• Russia claims Ukrainian troop surrender in Mariupol: Conflicting reports are circulating over the fate of the key Donbas port city of Mariupol, with Russia’s defense ministry declaring that 1,000 Ukrainian marines had surrendered even as Ukraine claims new victories in the besieged city.
• Biden accuses Putin of “genocide”: President Joe Biden accused his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of carrying out a genocide on Ukraine. Putin earlier had declared that peace talks with Ukraine had reached a “dead end,” and called images depicting the massacre in Bucha “fake.”
• COVID-19 cases top 500 million worldwide, Shanghai extends lockdown: COVID-19 cases surpass 500 million globally, but many cases are going undetected or unreported due to a decrease in testing. On the other hand, COVID-19 deaths have declined by 23% compared to two weeks ago. On Tuesday, mainland China reported 1,500 new locally-transmitted cases and 26,525 new asymptomatic carriers, while Shanghai extended its lockdown again after a surge in cases, reporting 26,330 confirmed infections on Wednesday.
• NYC subway attacker still at large after 29 injured in Brooklyn shooting: At least 29 people were injured in yesterday’s subway attack in Brooklyn. The gunman, wearing a gas mask and construction vest, threw smoke bombs inside of a Manhattan-bound N train car before shooting 33 times. While no arrest has been made, police are hunting for a 62-year-old suspect.
• Johnson and Sunak fined, reject calls to resign: UK Police have fined Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak for breaking lockdown rules with a birthday party for the prime minister back in June 2020. The London Metropolitan Police have issued more than 50 fines, and are continuing to conduct investigations into 12 parties held by the prime minister’s staff. Both Johnson and Sunak refuse to step down despite calls for their resignations.
• Philippines tropical storm death toll rises: Tropical storm Agaton has left at least 57 dead, 26 missing and 105 injured according to local authorities. The death toll is expected to climb as search and rescue operations continue.
• Depp v. Heard case opens: Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s trial is underway. The 58-year-old actor has sued his ex-wife Heard for $50 million for publishing an op-ed in the Washington Post in 2018 accusing him of domestic abuse. In response, Heard has sued Depp for $100 million.
Russian daily Kommersant devotes its front page to yesterday’s meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarus ally Alexander Lukashenko at the Vostochny Cosmodrome space launch facility in Russia. Putin again attempted to justify the Ukraine invasion and denied Russian responsibility for the atrocities in the city of Bucha.
U.S. tech giant Apple is facing the sudden shutdown of factories amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in and around Shanghai. China’s financial and manufacturing hub has been on lockdown since the end of March, and the production of an estimated 3 million iPhones has been affected so far.
Why the battle for Donbas could decide the war in Ukraine
Vladimir Putin’s desperate need for a victory may lead to Russia’s deadliest assault to date in Ukraine, as attention turns to the eastern Donbas region. However, the Ukrainian troops, many of whom have been fighting since 2014, may have tactical advantages, write Anna Akage and Irene Caselli:
🇺🇦 With the deadly attack promised by Putin, many people are fleeing the Donbas region. As shelling continues and intensifies in the region of Luhansk, the residents no longer have power, gas and water.
🧭 This eastward shift comes after Putin’s failed blitzkrieg plan and stalled offensive in central Ukraine. But unlike Kyiv, the conflicts in the region of the Donbas have been going on since 2014 in areas controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
👤 Some believe that Putin is interested in the Donbas region due to it being Ukraine’s main source of coal and gas but in reality, Putin needs the Donbas purely to show some kind of victory. After failing in other cities in Ukraine, the continuous propaganda card of “liberating" Donbas must be played. If the Russian leader fails again, his whole regime could be put at risk.
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
Yes, I called it genocide. It has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being — being able to be Ukrainian.
— U.S. President Joe Biden accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of committing genocide in Ukraine. Biden made the remarks during a speech at an ethanol fuel plant in the state of Iowa, where he also blamed rising gas prices on the Russian invasion.
✍️ Newsletter by Lorraine Olaya, Lila Paulou, Lisa Berdet and Emma Albright
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