'Full-Scale War' Begins as Russia Attacks Cities Around Ukraine
Plus: American trucker convoys, tech restrictions for sex offenders, and more...
No one really believed Russian President Vladimir Putin when he announced earlier this week that the open advancement of Russian troops into eastern Ukraine was a "peacekeeping" mission. Still, some thought—or at least hoped—that Russia would initially stick to invading contested areas in the Donbas region, where Russia-backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces since 2014.
Those hopes have been dashed, as Russian aggression has already started extending beyond the areas that Putin earlier this week declared the Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic and begun mounting a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine's Interior Ministry said—last night U.S. Eastern Time, early morning Ukrainian time—that Russian missiles had struck military targets in Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv and in the country's second-largest and fourth-largest cities, Kharkiv and Dnipro.
NPR journalists in Ukraine reported hearing explosions in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odessa, while the Associated Press "saw or confirmed explosions in the capital, in Mariupol on the Azov Sea, and Kharkiv in the east" and "confirmed video showing Russian military vehicles crossing into Ukrainian-held territory in the north from Belarus and from Russian-annexed Crimea in the south."
"This morning Russia launched a new military operation against our state," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a statement:
There are strikes on military and other important defense facilities, border units are under attack, the situation in the Donbas has degraded.
The Armed Forces of Ukraine, all special and law enforcement agencies of the state are on alert. The National Security and Defense Council is working in an emergency mode.
Martial law will be imposed.
Earlier this morning our time, Zelenskyy tweeted that Russia was "embark[ing] on a path of evil."
"A full-scale war in Europe has begun," said Zelenskyy adviser Mykhailo Podolyak. "Russia is not only attacking Ukraine, but the rules of normal life in the modern world."
Morning to all those on the American east coast waking up to news about war in Ukraine.
A very eerie, calm scene in central Kyiv today as many have left the city heading west pic.twitter.com/vuyLuNeApz
— Tim Mak (@timkmak) February 24, 2022
President Joe Biden said in a statement last night that he will "meet with my G7 counterparts in the morning and then speak to the American people to announce the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security. We will also coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance."
Americans do not want to see the U.S. play a major role in this conflict, according to a new A.P.–NORC Center poll. Only 26 percent of those surveyed said we should play a major part, while 52 percent said the U.S. should play a minor part and 20 percent said none at all.
Technology restrictions for sex offenders are "confusing, unfair, and ineffective," says Wired, detailing the case of Jason, who was convicted and forced to register as a sex offender "after an alleged sexting incident in 2012." As part of his probation, he faced "a patchwork of technology-related restrictions: He was allowed to use email, but he was initially not allowed to send text messages. He could use the internet, but he was not allowed to have a social media account, and all of his time online was monitored by a probation officer." Jason is now back in jail, after watching a prayer livestream.
With digital and mobile technology so woven into all aspects of our lives these days, barring people on sex offender registries from use effectively cuts them off from career opportunities, interpersonal interactions, and much more. "While the internet has certainly created new opportunities for sexual harms, the legislative response has often centered on efforts to ban people convicted of any type of sex crime from using technology at all," notes Wired. "As the internet is now the de facto venue for public life, it's been difficult to justify these laws without violating the Constitution and creating a massive class of people unable to survive in modern society." Meanwhile, there's little evidence this makes our world a safer place.
Trucker protests hit the U.S. Following Canada's lead, U.S. truckers are headed to the capital city to protest pandemic restrictions. At least two convoys—the "People's Convoy" and the "American Freedom Convoy"—are reportedly headed toward Washington, D.C. "We are not out for any type of vengeance, violence, any of that stuff," Nicole Robinson, co-organizer of the American Freedom Convoy, told The Federalist, adding that the group would not block interstates. "The one thing that we have preached is the one thing that everybody has preached, and that's follow all the laws."
• The manufacturer of a new COVID-19 vaccine said it has 58 percent efficacy against symptomatic infections, 75 percent efficacy against moderate to severe disease, and 100 percent efficacy against severe disease and hospitalizations.
• One day into the soft launch of Trump-backed social media platform Truth Social "and even its 'free speech' branding is – perhaps, unsurprisingly – falling apart."
• Another tale of a teen wrongly arrested because police officers didn't really bother trying to rule him out:
Kansas City police officers didn't do two minutes of due diligence, which cost a wrongfully arrested teen three weeks of his freedom, and the city $900,000 now to settle (after, article notes, a jury couldn't reach a unanimous verdict). https://t.co/g5lGCcATGd pic.twitter.com/YGmFeUytED
— Peter Bonilla (@pebonilla) February 23, 2022