Russia sets aside international outrage and sanctions to launch full-scale attack on Ukraine
Russian troops launched a full-scale pre-dawn attack on Ukraine on Thursday as President Vladimir Putin set aside international outrage and sanctions, and himself warned other countries that any attempt to interference would lead to “consequences that you have never seen”. Ukrainian authorities said Russian forces struck military assets and other key defense installations and attacked border units. Putin said in a televised address that the attack was necessary to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine – a false claim the United States had predicted he would make as a pretext for an invasion. Explosions were heard in cities, including the Ukrainian capital, Kiev. Ukrainians began fleeing some towns, and the Russian military claimed to have neutralized all air defenses and air bases in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has declared martial law.
The European Union is planning the “strongest and toughest sanctions package” it has ever considered at an emergency meeting on Thursday. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the “massive and targeted sanctions” she will impose on European leaders “will target strategic sectors of the Russian economy by blocking access to technologies and markets that are essential for Russia”. Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014, and pro-Russian rebels have since been fighting Ukrainian forces in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, for which Putin on Monday signed decrees recognizing them as independent. More than 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
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Biden will address the American people after meeting with G7 leaders
After news broke that Russia was about to invade Ukraine, President Joe Biden issued a statement late Wednesday condemning Moscow for an “unprovoked and unwarranted attack.” He promised that the United States and its allies “will hold Russia accountable”. Biden said he plans to speak to the American people on Thursday afternoon after a meeting of Group of Seven leaders in the morning. More sanctions against Russia are expected to be announced, with Biden saying there will be “further consequences” that the United States and its allies will impose “for this unnecessary act of aggression against Ukraine and peace and global security”. Sanctions could include targeting more Russian banks beyond the two already affected and imposing export controls to deprive Russia of the technologies it needs to develop its high-tech industry. “Security, economics, politics, diplomacy: it will all come,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on ABC on Wednesday. “All the things that President Putin says he wants to prevent will happen.”
Parents of Oxford high school shooting suspect must return to court
The parents of a 15-year-old boy accused of killing four other students at Oxford High School in Oxford Township, Michigan, are due back in court on Thursday, where they are charged with the disposal of the teenager the weapon used in the shooting. . A preliminary hearing for Jennifer and James Crumbley was set to resume in Rochester Hills District Court before a judge who will decide if there is enough evidence to sue the couple for manslaughter. Ethan Crumbley is charged as an adult with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and firearms in the Nov. 30 shooting about 30 miles north of Detroit. In addition to the four students killed, six other students and a teacher were injured. The parents are also accused of failing to intervene when their son showed signs of mental distress at home and at school.
Millions of jobs qualify for the Student Loan Forgiveness Program. Is yours one of them?
Much of the country’s workforce is employed in jobs that are now eligible for loan forgiveness under the revised Civil Service Loan Forgiveness Scheme. But many workers, including those who don’t use their degree or who have already been rejected for forgiveness, may not realize they are eligible. The program requires borrowers to work full-time in the public service and repay their loans for 10 years. The federal government, in turn, agrees to cancel their debt after a decade of payments. The Department for Education overhauled the program in October and relaxed some of its tougher rules that had prevented most borrowers who worked in millions of eligible jobs from accessing debt relief.
NBA regular season resumes after All Star break
The NBA regular season continues Thursday after a week off due to the annual All-Star Weekend festivities. The return of games also marks the race for the playoffs with several teams vying for playoff spots. As of Thursday, the top five teams in the Eastern Conference are all separated by less than three games in the standings, setting the stage for an exciting end to the season. Conversely, two top teams, the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers, are battling to move up the ranks and avoid postseason games. But there is hope for both as the Nets are expected to recover Kevin Durant from an MCL sprain and Anthony Davis, who has a sprained foot, is expected to return to the Lakers roster before the end of the regular season. Brooklyn returns to the field Thursday night with a prime-time game against the Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET, TNT), who have won 9 of their last 10 games.
Contributor: The Associated Press