Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 14, 2022

Russia asks China for military and economic aid, an American journalist is killed by Russian forces in Ukraine, and more

1

Russia requests military and economic aid from China

Russia has asked for military equipment and economic aid from China in the weeks since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade Ukraine, several news outlets reported Sunday, citing U.S. officials familiar with the matter. It was not immediately clear what weapons Moscow requested. National security adviser Jake Sullivan is scheduled to travel to Rome on Monday to meet with his Chinese counterpart. Sullivan told CNN he would communicate to Beijing "that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts" by any country. Russia and China have openly increased their cooperation under Western pressure over human rights abuses and other matters, and President Xi Jinping of China has stood by Putin as Russian forces invade Ukraine.

2

U.S. journalist Brent Renaud killed by Russian forces

American journalist Brent Renaud was shot and killed by Russian forces in the Ukrainian town of Irpin near the capital, Kyiv, regional police chief Andriy Nyebytov said on Sunday. Renaud, a documentary filmmaker who previously worked for The New York Times, was in the region covering the refugee crisis for Time Studios. Renaud, 50, reportedly was shot in the head by Russian forces as the car he was riding in crossed a Ukrainian checkpoint. Another journalist, photographer Juan Arredondo, was wounded in the attack. Arredondo, an adjunct professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, was taken to a hospital in Kyiv. Renaud was the first journalist to be killed in the Ukraine war while working for a U.S. news organization.

3

Zelensky: Ukrainian negotiators tasked with setting up Putin meeting

When Ukrainian negotiators meet virtually with their Russian counterparts on Monday, they will insist that the leaders of their countries meet for direct talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday. Ukraine has long been calling for talks between Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is making the final decisions about the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported. Previously, Russia said a meeting between the leaders to discuss "specific" issues could happen. "Our delegation has a clear task: To do everything to ensure a meeting of the presidents," Zelensky said in a video address. "The meeting that I am sure people are waiting for." Negotiators from Ukraine and Russia already have held three rounds of talks in Belarus.

4

Pentagon: No U.S. personnel were at Ukrainian base near Poland during Russia strike 

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Sunday that no American military personnel were working at the Ukrainian military base 15 miles from the Polish border where a Russian airstrike killed 35 people, although U.S. troops on a training mission had left there "several weeks ago." Russia's Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the base was being used as a storage facility for foreign military equipment being sent to Ukraine, and "a training center for foreign mercenaries" arriving to help Ukraine fight Russian forces. National security adviser Jake Sullivan said on CNN's State of the Union that the bombing showed Russian President Vladimir Putin is broadening his number of targets because he is "frustrated" his forces aren't making more progress against Kyiv and other major cities.

5

Obama tests positive for COVID-19

Former President Barack Obama announced Sunday that he had just tested positive for COVID-19. "I've had a scratchy throat for a couple days, but am feeling fine otherwise," Obama tweeted. "Michelle and I are grateful to be vaccinated and boosted, and she has tested negative." Obama has been outspoken about the importance to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, and he said that his infection was "a reminder to get vaccinated if you haven't already, even as cases go down." Obama is among a growing list of politicians, including nearly 150 members of Congress, who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 during the pandemic.

6

Ukraine says power restored to Chernobyl nuclear plant

Ukrainian officials said Sunday that power to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant had been restored. Ukraine had warned late last week that there was a risk of a radiation leak after fire by Russian forces knocked the defunct plant, scene of the world's worst nuclear disaster in history in 1986, off the national power grid. Ukrainian atomic energy ministry said in an online post on Sunday that cooling systems, which had been relying on limited generator power for days, were back to normal operation. Russia took control of Chernobyl shortly after its Ukraine invasion started three weeks ago. It also has seized other Ukrainian nuclear facilities.

7

Pfizer CEO says 4th coronavirus booster will be needed for future variants

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday that it would be necessary for people to receive a fourth dose of the company's coronavirus vaccine as the pandemic continues. "Many variants are coming, and Omicron was the first one that was able to evade — in a skillful way — the immune protection that we're giving," Bourla said on CBS' Face the Nation. Bourla said full vaccination with the two-dose vaccine and a booster shot is "actually quite good for hospitalizations and deaths," but "not that good against infections" and "doesn't last very long" against a variant like Omicron. The company, which developed its vaccine with partner BioNTech, is working on a fourth dose that would be effective against all variants.

8

Russia threatens to arrest leaders and seize assets of Western companies 

Russian prosecutors are threatening to arrest leaders of Western companies operating in the country if they criticize Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter. The prosecutors also have said that the government could seize the assets of foreign corporations trying to withdraw from Russia. The companies that received the warnings included Coca-Cola and McDonald's, which were among a growing list of American companies that announced in recent days that they were halting operations in Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that he would support a law to nationalize assets of any company that pulls out of Russia due to the Ukraine invasion.

9

Tom Brady says he's returning to NFL 40 days after announcing retirement

Tom Brady announced Sunday on social media that he would return as quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to handle "unfinished business." The 44-year-old football superstar's decision to play his 23rd NFL season came 40 days after he had said he was retiring. "These past two months I've realized my place is still on the field and not in the stands," Brady said via Twitter and Instagram. Brady won six Super Bowls in 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, then moved to Tampa Bay and led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl title two seasons ago. Last year, the team lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the playoffs' divisional round. Brady led the league in yards passing (5,316) and touchdowns (43).

10

Actor William Hurt dies at 71

Actor William Hurt, who won an Oscar for 1985's Kiss of the Spider Woman, died Sunday of natural causes. He was 71. Hurt was nominated for four Oscars, including best actor nominations for Broadcast News and Children of a Lesser God. He also was known for his starring roles in The Big Chill and Body Heat. He received a nomination for best supporting actor for his work in A History of Violence, even though he had less than 10 minutes of screen time in the film. After leaving his mark as a leading man, Hurt did more character roles in 1990s films and TV, winning Emmy nominations for his roles in Damages and Too Big to Fail, in which he played Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

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