10 things you need to know today: February 25, 2022
Russia invades Ukraine and quickly reaches outskirts of Kyiv, Biden announces new sanctions against Russia, and more
Russia invades Ukraine and advances to Kyiv outskirts
Russia started its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday with airstrikes on cities and military bases. Russian troops and tanks then entered the country on three sides and reached the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, on Friday, in the biggest ground offensive in Europe since World War II. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned other countries not to come to Ukraine's aid, reminding the world of Russia's nuclear weapons stockpile and threatening "consequences you have never seen." Ukrainian leaders said their military was fighting back, and that dozens of their soldiers and hundreds of Russian troops had been killed. They said Russian forces had seized control of the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant in an attack that could "cause another ecological disaster" at the site of the world's worst nuclear meltdown.
Biden announces more sanctions against Russia
President Biden announced more sanctions against Russia on Thursday in response to its invasion of Ukraine. "Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war. And now he and his country will bear the consequences," Biden said. The new sanctions include measures to block technology exports, a move intended to deter Russian military and aerospace advances. Biden also said the sanctions would target Russian banks and "corrupt billionaires," many of whom have Kremlin ties. The United States also is targeting people in Belarus for that country's help in Russia's invasion. U.S. allies, including the European Union, also announced new sanctions. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his country would impose its "largest ever" penalties against Russia.
Thousands of Russians protest invasion of Ukraine
Thousands of people across Russia took to the streets on Thursday to protest their military's invasion of Ukraine. A total of 1,745 people were arrested in 54 Russian cities. At least 957 of them were detained in Moscow. Russian President Vladimir said the "special military operation" that began Thursday, Moscow's biggest foreign offensive since the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, was necessary to prevent "genocide" in parts of eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russia separatists. Opposition activist Tatyana Usmanova called the invasion "a disgrace" and she asked for "forgiveness" from Ukrainians. "We didn't vote for those who unleashed the war," she said.
Pentagon sends 7,000 more troops to Europe
The Pentagon said Thursday that it will send another 7,000 U.S. troops to Europe to reassure NATO allies following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III ordered the deployment of an armored brigade combat team to Germany. President Biden has said the U.S. would not send troops to Ukraine, but would "get involved" if Russia attacks any countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The latest deployment will increase to 14,000 the number of American troops Biden has sent to Europe since the start of the Ukraine crisis. The U.S. now has nearly 100,000 troops in Europe. The Pentagon also moved six F-35 fighter jets, along with other warplanes, to Eastern Europe to boost the defenses of NATO allies close to Russia.
3 ex-Minneapolis officers found guilty of violating George Floyd's rights
A jury on Thursday found three former Minneapolis police officers guilty of violating George Floyd's constitutional rights as another ex-officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, resulting in his death. The jurors found that the officers — Tou Thao, 36; J. Alexander Kueng, 28; and Thomas Lane, 38 — willfully violated Floyd's civil rights by failing to provide medical care after he lost a pulse. Two of the officers also were found guilty for doing nothing to stop Chauvin. Keung and Lane helped Chauvin restrain Floyd, who they suspected of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. The verdict concluded a rare prosecution of officers for failing to stop another officer from using excessive force.
U.S. to loosen mask guidelines
The Biden administration on Friday is expected to loosen federal guidelines for wearing masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, The Associated Press reported, citing two people familiar with the matter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reportedly will announce that it is changing the metrics for determining whether people should wear face coverings. The guidance currently focuses on caseloads, recommending masks for people in the roughly 95 percent of U.S. counties with substantial transmission. The new recommendations will also look at hospitalizations and local hospital capacity. Under the new guidelines, most Americans will no longer be advised to wear face coverings in indoor public settings, The Associated Press reports.
Biden reportedly has decided on his Supreme Court nominee
President Biden has reached a decision on his nominee to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, several news organizations reported Thursday night. An announcement is expected as soon as Friday, although the timing remained in flux due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Friday will mark two years to the day since Biden first pledged during a 2020 primary debate in South Carolina to pick the first Black woman for the Supreme Court. Biden has interviewed at least three potential nominees: federal appeals court Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson; South Carolina federal Judge J. Michelle Childs; and California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger. The White House declined to comment.
U.S. stocks rebound from plunge triggered by Russia's Ukraine invasion
U.S. stocks made a stunning comeback on Thursday, closing with big gains after Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent shares plummeting early in the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 92 points, or 0.3 percent, after falling by as much 700 points. The S&P 500 gained 1.5 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 3.3 percent. Despite the turnaround, the S&P 500 remains in correction territory, down more than 10 percent since its record high ont Jan. 3. The Nasdaq Composite started the day in bear market territory, more than 20 percent below its November record, but rebounded and closed about 16 percent below its all-time high. The volatility appeared likely to continue on Friday as Russia's invasion entered its second day, and U.S. stock futures fell overnight.
Parents of teen to stand trial over deadly Michigan school shooting
A Michigan judge ruled Thursday that Jennifer and James Crumbley, parents of the 15-year-old boy charged with killing four students at his Michigan high school in November, can be put on trial on involuntary manslaughter charges. Rochester Hills District Court Judge Julie Nicholson held a preliminary examination and said afterwards that there was enough evidence for a trial in circuit court. The Crumbleys are accused of providing access to the gun their son, Ethan Crumbley, is charged with using in the shooting, and failing to act on signs that he was in mental distress. Their lawyer said the parents had no reason to believe their son might attack classmates and teachers at his school, Oxford High School north of Detroit.
Winter storm hits 100 million people across U.S.
A huge storm that has placed more than 100 million people under extreme-weather advisories from Texas to Maine is expected to hit the Northeast on Friday after disrupting travel and knocking out power in parts of the central U.S. on Thursday. More than 1,000 flights were canceled Wednesday and Thursday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as an ice storm hit parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas. Hundreds of traffic accidents were reported. A toddler was killed in a wreck in Kentucky. "Prepare now for this major winter storm," the National Weather Service warned as parts of the Northeast and New England braced for up to a foot of snow. "Widespread hazardous travel and damage to the power infrastructure are expected."