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Russia’s “special military operation” begins in Ukraine

Ukrainian forces battle pro-Russian separatists in this undated photo from U.S. State Department presentation on Ukraine Military website.

Putin Declares ‘Special Military Operation’ in Ukraine, Explosions Reported in Multiple Ukrainian Cities | 23 Feb 2022 | Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine late Wednesday. Putin said in an emergency televised address that the military operation is intended to protect civilians and to demilitarize Ukraine, and is a response to threats coming from Ukraine. He said that Russia doesn’t plan to occupy Ukraine and said that the Ukrainian military should “immediately lay down its arms.” Putin also said that any foreign attempt to interfere with Russia’s action will trigger an immediate reaction from Russia, and will lead to “consequences they have not seen before.” Shortly after Putin’s address, explosions were reported in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, as well as in other cities, including Kharkiv, Mariupol, and Odessa.

Putin Authorizes Special Operation in Donbass | 23 Feb 2022 | Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the independence of self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics after a new spike in violence by Kiev forces. Putin has directed Russian forces to conduct a special operation in the Donbass region, according to February 24 remarks from the Russian president. Putin declared that he expects consolidated Parliamentary support for the operation in the DonbassregionPutin remarked that the NATO-allied war machine supporting “Neo-Nazis” in Ukraine is moving and closely approaching Russia’s borders.

Donbass republics ask Putin for military help –The newly recognized Donetsk and Lugansk republics want Moscow to help them “repel the Ukrainian regime’s military aggression” | 23 Feb 2022 | The newly recognized Donbass republics in Lugansk and Donetsk have formally asked Russia for military assistance in letters published on Wednesday. In them, their leaders claim that Ukrainian “aggression” has only increased since Moscow recognized the regions as independent states, earlier this week. The heads of Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin separately, but both letters were dated Tuesday, February 22.  

Col. Macgregor: Biden refused to acknowledge what’s important to Putin, now he has to watch the invasion –Macgregor says he’s very concerned that Biden didn’t take Putin seriously | 23 Feb 2022 | Retired US Army Col. Douglas Macgregor joined Tucker Carlson Tonight Wednesday to discuss what’s likely to happen next now that Ukraine has shifted to a war footing and has declared a state of emergency amid warnings of a full-scale Russian invasion. COL. DOUGLAS MACGREGOR: Let me just reiterate something. I, like you and millions of Americans, would prefer that the troops headed to Eastern Europe right now were headed to the Mexican border. But I’m also very concerned that we find a way to avoid a conflict with Russia. The first thing we have to do is acknowledge that Putin’s basic point, not just his point, the Russian government’s point, which they’ve made for 25 years, is valid. They don’t want U.S. forces and missiles and NATO troops immediately across the border in eastern Ukraine. Absolutely. We didn’t want them in Cuba, he doesn’t want them in eastern Ukraine. We should acknowledge that. Stop pretending it’s a nonissue. It is a major issue for them. Let’s acknowledge it and then let’s get down to business and tell them fine, our concern at this point is we don’t want you to proceed west towards the polish border over the Dnieper River in Ukraine.  

White House Announces Sanctions on Ukraine’s Contested Areas After Putin Recognizes Them as Independent –US says more measures to come | 22 Feb 2022 | The White House has announced sanctions in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to recognize the independent sovereignty of two regions in Eastern Ukraine… Shortly after making the speech on Monday, Putin signed a decree authorizing troops to move into the two breakaway regions. Washington responded to Putin’s speech with a statement issued by White House press secretary Jen Psaki saying Putin’s move had been “anticipated” and announcing immediate sanctions against the two regions of Ukraine through an executive order from Joe Biden. The statement says Biden’s order will “prohibit new investment, trade, and financing by U.S. persons to, from, or in the so-called DNR and LNR regions of Ukraine. This E.O. will also provide authority to impose sanctions on any person determined to operate in those areas of Ukraine.”

Biden orders troops to countries bordering Russia –The US is shifting forces from elsewhere in Europe to Baltic states to bolster NATO defenses | 22 Feb 2022 | Joe Biden has announced plans to shift some of the US military’s European forces into Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, reinforcing NATO’s northeastern flank after Russia formally recognized the sovereignty of the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Biden announced the military maneuvering on Tuesday, as he gave a scathing speech accusing Russia of trying to absorb its neighbor’s territory and announced new sanctions. The Pentagon reportedly said 800 soldiers will be moved to the Baltic region from Italy, while eight F-35 jets will be shifted to Eastern Europe from Germany. In addition, 32 Apache helicopters will be moved to Poland from Germany and Greece.

Russian parliament grants Putin right to deploy military abroad –After discussing the situation in Donbass, the Senate has authorized the president’s request | 22 Feb 2022 | The upper house of Russia’s parliament has granted permission for the country’s military to be deployed abroad, following a request on Tuesday from President Vladimir Putin. The authorization grants Putin the right to use Russian forces abroad “in accordance with the principles and norms of international law,” the Senate’s resolution, released to the media, shows. The document does not impose any specific limits on the use of the military, with the number of troops, as well as “the areas of their activity, their goals, and length of stay outside Russia” to be decided by the president “in accordance with the Constitution.” The decision was taken after Russia recognized the breakaway Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine.

UK could ban RT to keep ‘one narrative’ – former British ambassador –Former officials have blasted the UK government and questioned the independence of media watchdog Ofcom over threats to ban the channel | 23 Feb 2022 | Former British diplomat Peter Ford and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone have defended news channel RT after the UK government suggested it should be banned over alleged “disinformation,” while media watchdog Ofcom said it won’t tolerate “one-sided propaganda.” Ford, a former British Ambassador to Syria and Bahrain, and Livingstone, who served as the Mayor of London from 2000 to 2008, both spoke out against the apparent threats to withdraw the outlet’s license, as each joined RT in separate interviews on Wednesday. “It’s appalling. The whole business is ridiculous,” Ford said, commenting on the recent announcement that British regulator Ofcom is stepping up its “oversight” of coverage on Ukraine, threatening that it will “not hesitate to take swift action where necessary.”

Pentagon Approves Deployment of National Guard Troops for DC Trucker Convoy Protest | 23 Feb 2022 | Hundreds of National Guard troops will be deployed in Washington to help police deal with traffic issues related to the trucker convoy protests against pandemic restrictions that are set to start this week, officials have said. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin approved the deployment, which had been requested by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and U.S. Capitol Police (USCP), Pentagon officials said. The approval will enable around 400 D.C. National Guard members to “provide support at designated traffic posts, provide command and control, and cover sustainment requirements,” the National Guard said in a statement.

Washington DC issues alert as it braces for trucker protest | 22 Feb 2022 | Washington DC issued an alert Tuesday as officials brace for an expected caravan of trucks arriving in the nation’s capital to emulate the anti-mandate trucker protests in Canada. “Mayor [Muriel] Bowser is being briefed by public safety officials as we continue to monitor the situation closely, and our agencies remain in regular contact with their local, regional and federal partners,” the alert said, according to a screenshot posted by Fox DC reporter Lindsay Watts. “Layered mitigation measures are being put in place, including some that will be visible to the public and others that are not,” the alert states. “We appreciate the approval of our DC National Guard traffic support request as we pull together the resources to support out public safety personnel.”  

Supreme Court Rejects Bid for Religious Opt-Out From COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate | 22 Feb 2022 | Supreme Court justices on Feb. 22 rejected a bid by health care workers in Maine to block the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Justices declined to hear arguments for and against an appeals court decision that left the mandate, which affects all health care workers in Maine, intact. At least six justices rejected the writ of certiorari, or request to review the lower court decision denying a preliminary injunction. How each justice voted wasn’t made public. “It’s very disappointing to see the court ignoring this clear injustice,” Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, the legal group representing the petitioners, told The Epoch Times. “We thought it was a great case for the court to take. There’s a clear conflict and a clear violation of federal law.” Maine Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, announced the vaccine mandate in August 2021.

California Doctors Warn Against COVID-19 Censorship Bill | 22 Feb 2022 | Some medical professionals are vowing to fight a possible new California law that attempts to threaten their medical licenses for spreading “COVID-19 misinformation”–calling the effort “unconstitutional” and “illegal.” California Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) introduced Assembly Bill (AB) 2098 on Feb. 15, which would prevent licensed physicians and surgeons from spreading COVID-19 misinformation. If passed, the law would inject disciplinary actions by the Medical Board of California or the Osteopathic Medical Board of California to care providers promoting alleged misinformation. “The idea that they’re going to come after physicians that spread misinformation, without defining what misinformation is frightening,” Physician Dr. Jeff Barke told The Epoch Times.

South Carolina Bill Would Penalize Businesses $7,500 Per Employee Fired over Vaccine Mandate | 22 Feb 2022 | A proposed bill in the South Carolina legislature would essentially penalize private businesses in the state for each employee fired over a vaccine mandate, as it is designed to ultimately deter public and private employers from imposing such rules. Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey’s proposal would essentially fine private companies that are forcing employees to get the shot, essentially sticking them with a roughly 7,500 tab per employee fired due to the rule. A subcommittee approved the bill last week, which is similar to a proposal passed in the House last year. However, this proposal “expands on the House’s bill by taxing private companies that terminate unvaccinated employees and prohibiting businesses, such as hotels, restaurants, medical facilities, retail stores, and entertainment venues, from denying access to unvaccinated people,” according to The State.

Justin Trudeau revokes Emergencies Act: ‘Existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient’ | 23 Feb 2022 | Just a day after MPs approved it and potentially hours before being put to vote in the Senate, emergency measures invoked by the Trudeau Liberals last week have been revoked. “The situation is no longer an emergency,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday afternoon, nine days after his government invoked the never-before-used Emergencies Act. “We are confident that existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient to keep people safe,” Trudeau said, adding the federal government would continue to support local law enforcement agencies as needed. Critics and opposition leaders criticized the measures, particularly those meant to target m-ney and bank accounts allegedly connected to convoy organizers and supporters. Civil rights organizations filed legal challenges against the federal emergency measures, accusing the government of setting a “dangerous precedent” by invoking the Act.

Insane in the membrane: Canadian MP claims ‘honk honk’ is code for ‘Heil Hitler’ –Canadian MP says truckers, social media users saying ‘honk honk’ are spreading pro-Hitler message | 22 Feb 2022 | Canadian Liberal MP Ya’ara Saks stated Monday that the onomatopoeia “honk honk” was a coded message meaning “Heil Hitler.” Saks gave her testimony before Parliament on Monday, where she lamented perceived government inaction regarding the truckers. “How many guns need to be seized?” Saks asked from her podium. “How much vitriol do we have to see of ‘Honk Honk’ — which is an acronym for ‘Heil Hitler’ — do we need to see on social media?”  

Hawaii helicopter crash near Kauai missile facility draws military response, at least 4 dead –Helicopter was flying in support of a range training operation | 22 Feb 2022 | At least four people are dead after a civilian contracted helicopter crashed in Hawaii on Tuesday near the Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) in Kauai County, according to the U.S. military. A PMRF statement said emergency personnel at the facility responded to the crash just after 10 a.m., near the north area of the Barking Sands installation. The helicopter was flying in support of a range training operation. There were no survivors. In a news release, the facility said the helicopter was flown by Croman Corp., which describes itself as one of the world’s most experienced operators of Sikorsky S-61 helicopters.

Two Prosecutors Leading N.Y. Trump Inquiry Resign, Clouding Case’s Future –The resignations came after the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, was said to have expressed doubts about the case. | 23 Feb 2022 | The two prosecutors leading the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation into former President Donald J. Trump and his business practices abruptly resigned on Wednesday amid a monthlong pause in their presentation of evidence to a grand jury, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The unexpected development came not long after the high-stakes inquiry appeared to be gaining momentum and now throws its future into serious doubt. The prosecutors, Carey R. Dunne and Mark F. Pomerantz, submitted their resignations because the new Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, indicated to them that he had doubts about moving forward with a case against Mr. Trump, the people said. Without Mr. Bragg’s commitment to move forward, the prosecutors late last month postponed a plan to question at least one witness before the grand jury, one of the people said.

Rittenhouse announces Media Accountability Project to sue media outlets he says defamed him, others | 22 Feb 2022 | Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen found not guilty last year in the 2020 Kenosha shootings, has announced an initiative to back legal suits against media outlets that he says have defamed him and others. He announced the initiative, the Media Accountability Project, on Monday and indicated at least some of the money will go toward lawsuits against outlets that he thinks defamed him and his legal team during and after his 2021 trial. Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges in the fatal shooting of two men and the wounding of another in a riot the night of Aug. 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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