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  • Writer's pictureAriel Donato

Weekly News Blast | Mar. 13-20

1. Over three million people have fled Ukraine in response to the Russian invasion.

According to the UN, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia, and Belarus have taken in the most Ukrainian refugees. Trains, especially those traveling from Ukraine to Poland, are packed, with wait times of 24 hours or more. Those without local contacts are assigned to refugee centers, where food and medical care are provided. Because Poland has taken the most refugees, the Polish government stated that the current amount of money offered by the European Union (EU) isn’t sufficient. Moldova has also requested further international help to provide refugees with basic necessities.

In addition to those who have fled or are attempting to flee, an estimated 1.85 million people are displaced within Ukraine, and are in desperate need of assistance.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked stated that less than 10 percent of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Israel are Jewish. Like other countries, Israel realizes the need for help but is unique in that Israeli people are welcoming of Ukrainian refugees. Coming to terms with the situation, an Israeli Cabinet member said, "This is a great challenge for Israel, but it is a challenge we have faced before, time and again."

2. Omicron variant BA.2 spreads rapidly while the CDC relaxes mask mandates.

A new Omicron variant of COVID-19 has spread rapidly throughout the U.S. Following predictions seeing a steep decline in COVID cases, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said BA.2 is about 50 percent to 60 percent more contagious than Omicron, but does not cause greater damage. With the spread of the new BA.2 variant, health officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to stress the importance of coronavirus vaccines and boosters to prevent serious illness.

Fauci predicts “an uptick in cases,” but not a dramatic death toll. Despite the eruption of the BA.2 variant, the CDC has relaxed most mask mandates. Still, according to the CDC, masks remain “critical public health tools” and are recommended in high risk counties, as well as for high-risk individuals.

3. Ukraine and the U.S. denied giving land to Russia.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky denied Russia land concessions after roughly three and a half weeks of Russian invasion. Zelensky continues to emphasize how Ukrainian soldiers are willing to do whatever it takes for their country. He said, “They have not greeted Russian soldiers with a bunch of flowers; they have greeted them with bravery, and they have greeted them with weapons in their hands.” Ukraine is not the only country that denies Russia’s self-proclaimed rule over Ukraine. The U.S. and many European countries have made it clear that they do not recognize Ukraine as Russian territory.

Amidst Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a Russian official demanded that the U.S. give Alaska back to Russia. Alaskan lawmakers quickly made it clear that this would not happen.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has expressed a desire for peace through negotiation. On Sunday, he said, "I think that we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating, possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third World War." Still, Zelensky has continued to defend the sovereignty of Ukraine. (President of Ukraine)


Sources & Further Reading

2. Omicron variant BA.2 spreads rapidly while the CDC relaxes mask mandates.

3. Ukraine and the U.S. denied giving land to Russia.


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