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Daily Skimm: Ukraine-Russia, Daunte Wright, and Britney Spears

The site of a car explosion outside a building of the representative office of the Lugansk People's Republic in the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) on ceasefire.
Getty Images
Feb 22, 2022

The Kremlin’s Gambit

The Story

Russian troops are heading into Ukraine.

What happened?

Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin officially recognized self-declared separatist republics in Ukraine as independent states.

Where are we talking about?

Donetsk and Luhansk. They’re in eastern Ukraine, right along the border with Russia. Since 2014, Russian-backed separatists have pushed against Ukraine. It’s a conflict that’s left 14,000 people dead. Russian soldiers have been operating there too, though not openly.

So why did Putin just recognize them as 'independent'?

It set him up to send in “peacekeepers” to the region. Which is what he’s doing, ordering an untold number of Russian troops to eastern Ukraine to apparently “maintain peace.” 

What’s the international community saying?

The US and allies criticized Russia at a last-minute UN Security Council meeting. But guess who sits on that council and has veto power? 



So what’s the international community’s next move?

Sanctions. President Biden ordered financial sanctions on the two breakaway regions. But not on Russia. The EU and UK are expected to announce their own set of sanctions.


After weeks of threatening to invade, Putin's testing the waters by openly sending troops into the country. Just how far into Ukraine he goes — and how quickly — remains to be seen.

PS: Need a refresher on Russia and Ukraine’s history? Here you go.

And Also...This

Who people are talking about…

Kim Potter. On Friday, a judge sentenced her to two years in prison. Last year, the white police officer shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who was Black, at a traffic stop. It happened in Minnesota, 10 miles away from where George Floyd was killed in 2020. Potter, a 26-year police vet, says she meant to draw her Taser rather than her gun. It's an incident that’s believed to be rare, with only 15 officers claiming to have made the mistake in the past 20 years. In December, a mostly white jury found Potter guilty of manslaughter and she faced over seven years in prison. Now, a judge has sentenced her to two but she’s expected to serve less than that. The judge called Wright’s death a “tragic mistake.” Wright’s family called the sentence an example of “white women tears” trumping justice.

Where there’s a little less tension…

Ottawa. Over the weekend, hundreds of police cleared the last of the Freedom Convoy protesters from the country’s capital. For three weeks, thousands of protesters had flooded the city demanding an end to COVID-19 mandates. Some blockaded Parliament, and a key bridge responsible for more than a quarter of US-Canada trade. A number carried Nazi and Confederate flags. Now, after PM Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers for the first time in Canada's history, all protesters were cleared, with almost 200 arrested. Trudeau called for people to work together and “start healing as a nation.” 

…Oh and, speaking of COVID-19 regulations, UK PM Boris Johnson is telling people in England to begin "living with Covid” by lifting all restrictions.

Why the public health community is mourning…

Paul Farmer. Yesterday, the global health champion died of unknown causes in his sleep. He was 62. Farmer co-founded Partners in Health, an organization that launched health care facilities for low-income communities across the world. Farmer was also credited with bringing life-saving HIV medication to Haiti. His work — providing health care to millions of people around the world — was the subject of the 2003 book, “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” Public health experts and world leaders have issued a wave of tributes, with Dr. Anthony Fauci remembering Farmer as one of the field's “iconic giants.”

While it's National Eating Disorders Awareness Week...

Let's talk about disordered eating.

While former President Trump’s debuting his new app

Britney Spears is reportedly saying 'all eyes on my book.'

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