Welcome to Tuesday, where the battle for Donbas begins, tensions are rising in Gaza after Israel’s airstrike and Biden’s mask mandate for air travel is struck down. Meanwhile, Ukrainian journalist Anna Akage zeroes in on the strategic significance of the city of Mariupol in this second phase of the Ukraine war.
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• All eyes on Donbas: “The battle for the Donbas has begun,” Ukrainian president Volodymir Zelensky stated in a video Monday. Russia has launched an assault to seize the Eastern Donbas region bombarding cities with rockets and artillery fire to pave the way for a full ground assault.
• No civilian evacuation in Ukraine: For the third day in a row, Ukraine and Russia fail to agree on the establishment of humanitarian corridors to safely evacuate civilians trapped in multiple besieged cities and towns.
• No more masks on airlines: A federal judge in Florida has called the Biden administration’s mask mandate for public transportation unlawful. The U.S. transit authority now no longer enforces mask wearing. White House press secretary Jen Psaki noted that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) still recommends travelers use a mask.
• Israel strikes Gaza: Tensions are rising as Israel warplanes launched an attack on Gaza, targeting a weapons manufacturing site belonging to Hamas. According to sources in Gaza, there are no casualties. This attack comes after a weekend of violence near Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.
• Kabul high school blast: Three explosions in a high school in the Afghan capital, killing six people and injuring 11. The residents living in the neighborhood belong to the Shia Hazara community, an ethnic and religious minority frequently targeted by Sunni terrorist groups. No one has taken responsibility for the attack.
• More COVID-19 casualties in Shanghai: Shanghai has reported another seven deaths due to COVID-19 as well as more than 20,000 news cases. The death toll appears relatively low compared to the number of cases that have risen in the city and by the official count, no one has died until this Sunday.
• Egypt TikTok star gets reduced sentence: In 2021, TikTok influencer Haneen Hossam was convicted of “human trafficking” after telling her followers that women could make money by working with her on social media. She was first sentenced to prison for 10 years but an Egyptian court has reduced her sentence to three years and a $10,000 fine.
Dutch daily De Volkskrant dedicates its front page to the Ukrainian village of Yahidne, between Kyiv in Chernihiv, whose inhabitants had been hiding in the basement of the village school for almost a month. Now that Russian troops are gone, the villagers have started digging to search for missing relatives.
254According to Equilar, the 100 highest-paid CEOs in the United States have made 254 times more than the average worker in 2021, up from 238 times in 2020. That represents a 31% pay increase for the top CEOs, who earned a median of $20 million. For comparison, these companies’ workers increased their salary by roughly 4% on average.
Why conquering Mariupol is key to Russia’s Donbas strategy
Mariupol has become the symbol of that total war approach that will now be carried out in Donbas. The bloody siege of Mariupol is a sign of how Putin intends to carry out his quest for the entire nation. A news analysis by Anna Akage.
💥 On Monday the Russians began dropping multi-ton bombs on of the largest shelters tucked in the basements of a steel plant where 1,000 people are believed to be hiding. The seizing of the Mariupol port is coupled with the start of a major land assault across the territory of Donbas.
🎯 Even though Donbas has significant natural resources, commercial access to ports and is economically attractive for Russia, Vladimir Putin is mainly looking for a victory built on ideology.
There is no better way to understand this than looking at Mariupol: a city resists, so Putin's objective is to annihilate it in its current form.
⏩ There is no reason to think that a man like Putin can accept defeat. He will press Ukraine by all means, and right now that's playing out in Mariupol and the rest of Donbas. The city is nearly dead, the fate of the rest of the region may depend on how and when the death of Mariupol will arrive.
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The strategy of the economic blitz has failed.
— While Russian troops are trying to take control of Donbas, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that “The strategy of the economic blitz has failed”, minimizing Western sanctions imposed on Russia. He added that these sanctions are mostly deteriorating European economic situation and increasing global unemployment and inflation. It has not led to the end of the war, as expected by Western countries.
✍️ Newsletter by Lisa Berdet, Emma Albright and Anne-Sophie Goninet
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