• Michaela Dumlao

Weekly News Blast | Feb. 20-27

A recap of key developments from this past week.


1. Russia launched a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine.


Following weeks of Russian military buildup along the Ukrainian border, Russian President Vladmir Putin ordered the launch of what he described as a “special military operation” in Ukraine. Preceding the invasion, which began on Thursday, February 24, Western countries attempted to deter Putin from employing such an operation through sanctions and vigorous diplomacy. Evidently, these efforts didn’t yield the desired effect.


Millions of Ukrainian civilians fled (and continue to flee) cities vulnerable to attack, but face difficulty in the wake of heavy traffic backed up on roads. As the invasion — that has proven to be a conspicuous escalation to the Russo-Ukrainian War — rages on, it is evident that Russia intends to decapitate the Ukrainian government, challenging Ukraine’s sovereignty.


Protests against Putin's invasion of Ukraine broke out internationally. (Markus Spiske/Unsplash)


2. World responds to the Russian invasion with condemnation and sanctions.


The United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Germany, and others have imposed swift damage on Russian financial institutions in retaliation to the recent invasion. Such efforts include the following:

  • Personal sanctions imposed by the United States, United Kingdom, and European Union on President Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

  • An increasing number of European countries are banning Russian airlines from their airspace.

  • The G7 released a joint statement promising that they will impose “severe and co-ordinated” sanctions.

  • The approval of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a major investment of Russia, has been halted by Germany.

  • Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and the European Union have vowed to block Russian banks from Swift, a payment network that makes quick and easy transactions of money between banks of other countries.

NATO has expressed sheer outrage in reaction to the Russian invasions, with member countries amassing thousands of troops to protect their alliance members in Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, NATO has steered clear from engaging in any warfare against Russia unless Russia attacks a member country, which Ukraine is not.


Similarly, President Biden, though forefronting sanctions and employing other means of aid for Ukraine, has stated that putting boots on the ground in Ukraine is “not on the table.”


China’s stance on the matter remains relatively ambiguous, as China’s assistant foreign minister, Hua Chunying, refuses to refer to the Russian attack as an invasion of Ukraine. China has expressed their support for Russia’s “legitimate security concerns,” but continues to call for negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.


3. Three former police officers are found guilty on all counts for violating George Floyd’s civil rights.


On Friday, February 25, the federal jury found the three former Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd —- J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao — guilty on all counts for violating George Floyd’s civil rights. All three former officers were charged with depriving Floyd of his right to medical aid, while Kueng and Thao were additionally convicted of not intervening to stop Derek Chauvin from using excessive force, which ultimately killed Floyd.


The former officers face anywhere between a year and life in prison; however, sentencing will be determined at a future hearing.


4. Biden nominates Ketanji Brown Jackson to sit on the Supreme Court.


On Friday, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was nominated by President Biden for the U.S. Supreme Court. Ketanji would make history as the first Black woman to sit on the bench of the highest court of the land.


Jackson currently serves in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, nominated by Biden and confirmed by the Senate last year with bipartisan support. Her most recent nomination fulfills Biden’s promise to nominate the first Black woman to the Supreme Court — a promise made during his 2020 presidential campaign before the South Carolina primary.


 

Sources & Further Reading