The Biden admin says Russia plans to keep parts of the East and South Ukraine….
Who thinks anything else?
This conflict is dragging on as Russian tries to outlast the West support for it….
The Ukraine First Lady has made a visit to American White House….
The American Intel community warns that Russia may again try to influence American elections….
Russia is taking steps toward annexing parts of Ukraine it controls “in direct violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty,” a top U.S. national security official warned on Tuesday, including installing proxy officials expected to call “sham” votes on joining Russia and forcing residents to apply for Russian citizenship.
“Russia is beginning to roll out a version of what you could call an annexation playbook,” the official, John Kirby, said at a White House press briefing, drawing parallels to Russia’s seizure of Crimea eight years ago.
Mr. Kirby said that there was “ample evidence in the intelligence and in the public domain” of Russia’s unfolding efforts, which include installing the ruble as the national currency in the areas it intends to annex, just as it did in Crimea. Areas that may be in Russia’s annexation plan, he said, include Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, which make up the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
In 2014, Russian forces invaded Crimea and Mr. Putin annexed it after newly installed officials hastily organized a referendum on secession that was reported to have secured the support of 97 percent of voters, drawing international accusations of fraud….
The first ladies of the United States and Ukraine met on Tuesday afternoon at the White House, as their husbands sought to keep the world’s attention on the war ravaging Ukraine and the larger threat posed by Russian aggression.
President Biden made a surprise appearance at the start of the meeting, presenting a bouquet of yellow sunflowers and blue hydrangeas to Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska.
The talks between Ms. Zelenska and the American first lady, Jill Biden, came just over two months after the two first met during Dr. Biden’s unannounced visit in western Ukraine, and it underscored how the war has dramatically reshaped their roles in recent months. Dr. Biden referred to the visit in remarks before the bilateral meeting, which she said would include a discussion of mental health issues for women and children who have become refugees from the war.
“One of the things that I said when I came back,” Dr. Biden said, “was you cannot go into a war zone and come back and not feel the sorrow and pain.”
Ms. Zelenska, 44, a first lady who once focused on issues of female empowerment, literacy and culture in Ukraine, has been using her profile to raise awareness about Russian crimes against children and older citizens.
Top national security officials warned on Tuesday about the continuing threat of election interference from abroad, emphasizing that Russia could still seek to meddle or promote disinformation during the 2022 midterm races even as it wages war in Ukraine.
“I am quite confident the Russians can walk and chew gum,” Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, said during a cybersecurity conference in Manhattan, where he spoke alongside Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command.
During the past two election cycles, the N.S.A. and Cyber Command have worked together to identify and block foreign interference and influence operations. The N.S.A. has also detailed a senior official to the F.B.I. who meets with Mr. Wray every morning.
Beginning in 2018, Cyber Command conducted offensive operations to try to stop Russian agents from conducting influence campaigns. Intelligence officials have also outlined Russian efforts to weaken the campaign of Joseph R. Biden Jr….
Here’s what you need to know:
Russia plans to annex territory it controls in Ukraine, a U.S. official says.
Iran’s supreme leader gives Putin a strong endorsement of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Russian fighter jet strikes homes in Sloviansk as Moscow’s offensive in Donetsk advances.
A Mariupol teen wrapped in the Ukrainian flag has become a symbol of resistance.
Ukraine’s first lady meets with Jill Biden (and receives flowers from President Biden).
The highest-ranked Russian in women’s tennis calls the war ‘a full-blown nightmare.’
Long-range artillery supplied by the United States has started to alter Ukraine’s battlefield dynamics.
Intelligence agencies say Russia is a threat to the 2022 midterm elections.
Ukraine’s First Lady Addresses Congress
“Casting herself as a mother and daughter, Olena Zelenska, Ukraine’s first lady, addressed Congress one day after meeting with Jill Biden at the White House as their husbands seek to keep the world’s attention on the war ravaging Ukraine and the larger threat posed by Russian aggression,” the New York Times reports.
Said Zelenska: “Russia is destroying our people… An unprovoked invasive terrorist war is being waged against my country. We remain completely broken.”