Ukraine’s resisting invasion from the world’s No. 2 military.
What’s the latest?
Ukrainian forces are still holding their own in Kyiv, targeting supply lines for the Russian army. But shelling has hit civilian infrastructure. Dozens of civilians have been killed. The WHO warns Ukrainian hospitals could run out of oxygen within 24 hours. Nearly 400,000 Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries like Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. Most of Europe and Canada have put Russian airlines on their ‘no fly-through’ list. And tens of thousands across the world are still protesting Russia’s invasion…including in St. Petersburg.
What happens next?
Russian President Vladimir Putin put the country's nuclear forces on watch, dialing up the threat. Ukrainian and Russian officials are set to talk today near the Ukrainian-Belarusian border. Zelenskyy confirmed the talks are happening "without preconditions." Belarus could formally join the Russian side of the war as soon as today. Meanwhile, Germany and the EU have dialed up military aid to Ukraine by sending weapons. And Switzerland — known for its neutral stance — could be eyeing sanctioning Russia.
This is the largest attack in Europe since World War II. But by invading a sovereign country in a move reminiscent of the 1939 invasion of Czechoslovakia, Putin has united most of the world against him. And Ukraine is still standing.
Skimm More: Questions about the conflict? We’ve got answers.
The fight for Ukraine isn’t just happening on the ground. Here's what the frontier looks like...
Economically: On Saturday, Germany, the US, and other countries pedaled back their hesitations and agreed to cut some Russian banks off from SWIFT. The move makes it harder for those banks to access profits from international trade (think: on key exports to the Russian economy, like oil and natural gas). That’s after Putin’s aggression and sanctions pushed the Russian ruble's value down nearly 30%. The sanctions are unprecedented — and may bring Russia’s economy to its knees.
Online: Russia has been trying to pedal disinformation to justify an invasion. But Ukrainians have been winning hearts and minds with videos from the front lines — everything from Ukrainian women standing up to soldiers to guards telling a warship to "go f*ck yourself" before they were attacked. Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk activated satellites to secure Ukrainians’ internet access. And hacker collective Anonymous has declared war against the Russian government. It’s clear the war isn’t just happening by land and by sea…it’s also happening in the cloud.
Servant of the People
Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy rejected a US offer for evacuation — asserting that he remains in Kyiv. The news came as Zelenskyy said he and his family remain Russia’s primary targets, telling EU leaders “this may be the last time you see me alive.” Now, he's being praised for refusing to abandon his citizens. Here’s a closer look at the president suddenly in the world’s spotlight:
Zelenskyy was long known as a comedian. The son of Jewish parents, Zelenskyy voiced Paddington Bear and performed on Ukraine’s version of "Dancing with the Stars." From 2015 to 2018, he played a history teacher frustrated with corruption who accidentally became president of Ukraine on a popular TV show called “Servant of the People." Zelenskyy then ran for president in real life — and he won, earning 73% of the vote. Now, the comedian-turned-president is the face of Ukrainian resistance.
While all eyes are abroad…
We’re looking at the high court. On Friday, President Biden fulfilled a campaign promise and nominated the first Black woman to the nation’s highest court. Ketanji Brown Jackson is a 51-year-old former public defender turned federal appellate judge. She’s been a leading contender to replace the retiring Justice Stephen Breyer (who she clerked for). Now, the Harvard-trained judge hopes to head to SCOTUS. But some on the right take issue with how much (or little) she’s published recently. And the fact that her opinion blocking a Trump admin's deportation policy was reversed by the DC Circuit. Next up: Biden is expected to nominate her in the coming weeks and hopes to confirm her as soon as April.
Where masks could be coming off...
NYC. Yesterday, Mayor Eric Adams (D) announced the Big Apple could be saying 'bye' to school mask mandates and vax mandates by March 7 — if new COVID-19 cases remain low.
When you’re telling yourself ‘take a deep breath’...
We’ve got some tips.
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