RUSSIA, UKRAINE – EASTERN UKRAINE
Russian lawmakers approved the use of military force outside of Russia, potentially paving the way for broader military action against Ukraine. Following the unanimous vote, Russian President Vladimir Putin laid out three conditions for Ukraine and the West: recognizing Crimea as part of Russia’s sovereign territory, Ukrainian renunciation of its intent to join NATO, and a partial demilitarization of Ukraine. Vladimir Isachenkov, Yuras Karmanau and Aamer Madhani write for the AP.
If Russia escalates its invasion of Ukraine, it could mobilize and capitalize on pro-Russian “infiltrators,” or supporters, who have been cultivated over the years to sow chaos. Ukrainian officials warn that their efforts to maintain security and stability during a Russian invasion could be derailed by these pro-Russian operatives. This tactic was seen in the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014. Yaroslav Trofimov and Alan Cullison write in the Wall Street Journal.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – U.S. RESPONSE
The Biden administration acknowledged the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, paving the way for sanctions. “This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine…so I’m going to begin to impose sanctions in response,” President Biden stated at a press conference on Tuesday. The U.S. will reportedly impose sanctions on Russian political elites and their families. Kathryn Watson reports for CBS News. Additional reporting on this issue comes from Robyn Dixon, Rachel Pannett, Ellen Francis and John Wagner for the Washington Post.
By calling this an invasion, the administration has opened the door to severe economic sanctions against Russia. Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer confirmed that Biden would announce new sanctions on Russia soon. Carol E. Lee, Kristen Welker and Peter Alexander report for NBC.
The U.S. will send more troops to the Baltic states to strengthen U.S. allies. There is no estimate of how many troops will be deployed in addition to the 6,000 troops already stationed in Germany. The move is “totally defensive” and does not indicate the U.S. will engage in military action against Russia. Ellen Mitchell reports in The Hill.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that a diplomatic meeting in Geneva between the U.S. and Russia has been canceled. Blinken stated, “Now that we see the invasion is beginning and Russia has made clear its wholesale rejection of diplomacy, it does not make sense to go forward with that meeting at this time.” Jeremy Herb, Jennifer Hansler and Michael Conte write for CNN.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – GLOBAL RESPONSE
Germany halted the certification of the Nord Stream II pipeline project in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The pipeline’s construction was completed, but the German government has yet to formally certify the pipeline in order to make it operational. In response, Dmitry Medvedev tweeted, “Welcome to the brave new world where Europeans are very soon going to pay €2,000 for 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas.” Charles Riley and Julia Horowitz report for CNN.
Sammy Westfall, Claire Parker and Rachel Pannett offer a primer on the Nord Stream II pipeline and its relation to the crisis in Ukraine for the Washington Post. The article notes that “President Biden said earlier this month that the pipeline would not go ahead if the Kremlin sends its forces into Ukraine, vowing ‘we will bring an end to it.’”
Boris Johnson announced U.K. sanctions against Russia, including travel bans and freezing assets of key Russian players, the BBC reports. The sanctions target both Russian individuals and banks. The U.K. is also expected to sanction Russian parliamentarians who voted to recognize the two Eastern Ukrainian regions as sovereign.
Oil prices closed at $100 per barrel after Russia deployed troops to the Donbas region in Ukraine. Brent crude oil was at its highest in seven years, indicating concerns about supplies if the crisis continues to escalate. Mark Sweney writes in The Guardian.
Stocks have responded too, trending downward as a result of the escalating crisis. Western sanctions against Russia will likely continue to impact the already volatile market as investors try to assess what the economic impacts of the crisis will be. Will Horner and Michael Wursthorn write for the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Hong Kong will enforce a mass COVID-19 testing regime for its population in an effort to curb the spread of the disease. Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places on Earth and has struggled with an “exponential” surge in cases, overwhelming its healthcare system. Hong Kong is pursuing a “dynamic zero COVID” policy, similar to China’s. Twinnie Siu and Farah Master write for Reuters.
Iran appears ready to make a prisoner swap as nuclear negotiations continue. The U.S. has indicated that a nuclear deal will be impossible unless prisoners are freed or swapped. Parisa Hafezi and Francois Murphy write in Reuters.
Colombia becomes the latest country in Latin America to legalize abortion, as part of a feminist “green wave.” The ruling from Colombia’s Constitutional Court could continue to cause ripple effects in other Latin American countries. Megan Janetsky writes in Al-Jazeera.
OTHER U.S. DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The three men who were convicted of killing Ahmaud Arbery in February 2020 were convicted of federal hate crimes on Tuesday. The men were found guilty of violating Arbery’s civil rights and targeting him because of his race. Zoe Chisten Jones writes for CBS News.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court formally rejected Donald Trump’s appeal which had attempted to stop President Biden from turning over White House documents to the January 6th Committee. Biden allowed the records to be turned over to the Congressional committee, a decision that was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Lawrence Hurley writes for Reuters.
Former President Donald Trump’s new social media network, Truth Social, topped Apple’s download charts on Tuesday. The new platform could mean a return to social media by Trump after his bans on major social media platforms following the January 6th insurrection. Medha Singh writes for Reuters.
Senator Dick Durban (D-IL) is committed to making history by confirming President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee. The Senate Judiciary Committee may begin confirmation hearings as early as next month, although Biden’s nominee has yet to be announced. Mike DeBonis, Seung Min Kim and Rhonda Colvin write in the Washington Post.
President Biden is reportedly in the final stages of deciding upon a Supreme Court nominee, having interviewed three candidates recently. Sean Sullivan, Seung Min Kim and Tyler Pager write in the Washington Post.
The Pentagon is weighing a request for D.C. National Guard assistance, amidst reports that a trucker convoy will attempt to block roads around the National Capital Region this week. The request was made by the Capitol Police and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. A trucker convoy is expected to converge on D.C. to protest vaccine mandates, emulating the trucker convoy that occupied Ottawa, Canada for three weeks. A decision has not been made yet whether to grant the request. Connor O’Brien and Nicholas Wu report in Politico.
“The United States needs a new social contract for the digital age—one that meaningfully alters the relationship between public and private sectors and proposes a new set of obligations for each,” writes National Cyber Director Chris Inglis and Deputy National Cyber Director for Strategy and Research Harry Krejsa for Foreign Affairs.
A map and analysis of the vaccine roll out across the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.
A state-by-state guide to lockdown measures and reopenings is provided by the New York Times.
Latest updates on the pandemic at the Guardian.