Ukraine is accusing Russia of committing war crimes for killing civilians. Over the weekend, Ukraine regained full control of the Kyiv region after Russian troops retreated, leaving behind widespread devastation. A warning to our audience: Some images of what happened may be disturbing. In the town of Bucha, dozens of dead bodies were found in the streets — some with their hands and feet bound. Ukrainian officials say they also believe hundreds of more people have been buried in mass graves. This is Anatoly Fedoruk, the mayor of Bucha.
Mayor Anatoly Fedoruk: “Corpses of executed people still line the Yabluska street in Bucha. Their hands are tied behind their backs with white 'civilian' rags. They were shot in the back of their heads. So you can imagine what kind of lawlessness they perpetrated here.”
On Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said he was “deeply shocked” by the images from Bucha and called for an independent investigation. Ukraine has asked the International Criminal Court to visit Bucha to gather possible evidence of war crimes. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also called on Western leaders to impose tougher sanctions in response. Russia has denied killing civilians and claimed the footage and photographs from Bucha are a “staged performance” by Kyiv.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Russia launched missile strikes from the sea and air targeting an oil refinery and three fuel storage facilities in the southern port city of Odessa. In other developments, the United Nations says Russia’s invasion — which is now in its 40th day — has displaced over 10.5 million people in Ukraine with over 4.1 million fleeing the country. On Sunday, Pope Francis said he is willing to travel to Ukraine if it could help bring about peace.
Lithuania has announced it has cut off imports of Russian gas, becoming the first country in the European Union to do so. The EU has pledged to reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of the year. Meanwhile, The Washington Post reports 30% of the gas Russia sells to Europe is still going through pipelines located inside Ukraine. While Ukraine has urged European countries to cut off Russian gas imports, it has decided to allow Russia to keep using its pipelines. One Ukrainian official defended the decision, saying it provides a deterrent against more Russian bombing and destruction inside Ukraine.
Two more journalists have been killed while covering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian military said the award-winning Lithuanian documentary filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravicius was killed in a Russian attack while he was trying to leave Mariupol. He had spent years covering Ukraine. Meanwhile, the body of the Ukrainian photographer and videographer Maksim Levin was found on Saturday near Kyiv. He was a longtime contributor to Reuters and other news outlets, including the BBC and Associated Press.
The United Nations has brokered a two-month truce in Yemen, the site of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels both agreed to halt all offensive operations inside Yemen and across its borders. Fuel ships are now being allowed to enter into Hodeidah ports, and the airport in Sana’a is reopening. Over the past six years, the U.N. estimates the war in Yemen has killed nearly 400,000 people — many from hunger. Residents in Yemen have welcomed the halt to the fighting.
Khaled Ali: “We are very optimistic about the truce, but we suffer from a dire economic situation. Prices are high — the price of oil derivatives, the price of food commodities. With the advent of the blessed month of Ramadan, there are families who cannot even provide the necessary food.”
Here in New York, employees of the retail giant Amazon have voted to join a union, in a historic victory for organized labor. Workers at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island overcame a multimillion-dollar union-busting campaign and voted decisively in favor of joining the newly formed Amazon Labor Union. The effort was led by Christian Smalls, who was fired by Amazon in 2020 after he organized a strike demanding better worker protections at the start of the pandemic. Smalls is now interim president of the Amazon Labor Union.
Christian Smalls: “Well, I can tell you now: We got the jugular. We went for the jugular, and we went for the top dog, because we want every other industry, every other business to know that things has changed. We’re going to unionize; we’re not going to quit our jobs anymore. And, you know, this is a prime example of the power that people have when they come together.”
The Biden administration has finalized fuel efficiency standards that will require new cars and light trucks to average 49 miles per gallon by 2026. The tougher regulations come after the Trump administration rolled back fuel efficiency standards put in place by President Obama.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is set to release its third and final report on the climate emergency today — a day later than planned, after major fossil fuel producers fought to water down scientists’ findings. The report is expected to call on countries to rapidly shift away from coal, oil and gas over the next eight years in order to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Countries including Saudi Arabia fought to include a role for fossil fuels in the document, while others called on the U.N. to promote unproven technological solutions like machines that capture carbon dioxide directly from the air.
Meanwhile, hundreds of activists with the group Extinction Rebellion have blocked oil terminals across the United Kingdom in nonviolent protests demanding action on the climate crisis.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan dissolved Pakistan’s National Assembly and called for new elections on Sunday to block an attempt to remove him from power. Opposition MPs were planning to hold a no-confidence vote in Parliament, but Khan’s allies blocked the vote from happening. Opposition lawmakers are accusing Imran Khan of carrying out an “open coup against the country and the Constitution.” Meanwhile, Khan has accused the United States of being behind a conspiracy to remove him from office. Pakistan’s Supreme Court is holding a critical hearing today to help resolve the constitutional crisis.
In neighboring Serbia, incumbent President Aleksandar Vucic has declared victory. He has vowed to maintain Serbia’s close economic and military ties to Moscow. Serbia recently voted at the United Nations to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it has refused to impose sanctions on Russia.
Sri Lanka is facing a mounting political and economic crisis. On Sunday, every member of Sri Lanka’s Cabinet — except for the president’s brother — offered to resign. This came a day after Sri Lanka’s president declared a 36-hour state of emergency to quell growing street protests over skyrocketing prices and dire shortages of food, fuel, gas and medicine. Over the weekend, thousands took to the streets to protest.
Latihaza Azik: “There is no gas. There is no petrol. There is nothing to eat. There is no medicine. What can we do? If this continues, we will have to jump into the sea.”
Police in Sri Lanka arrested over 650 people for violating the curfew, which ended earlier today.
In Costa Rica, former finance minister and World Bank official Rodrigo Chaves is the projected winner in Sunday’s presidential runoff election. His opponent, former Costa Rican President José María Figueres, conceded defeat. Both candidates were embroiled in scandals. Chaves, a member of the right-wing Social Democratic Progress Party, was demoted from a senior position at the World Bank in 2019 over several accusations of sexual harassment. He then left the World Bank and returned to Costa Rica after years of living abroad
A Honduran court has authorized the seizure of properties, bank accounts and other assets belonging to former President Juan Orlando Hernández. Hernández faces extradition to the United States on drug trafficking and weapons charges. The key U.S. ally left office in January and was arrested the following month. The Honduran Supreme Court recently upheld Hernández’s extradition order.
An Algerian man who was jailed at Guantánamo for 20 years without facing trial has been sent home to Algeria. Sufyian Barhoumi was ruled eligible for release in 2016 but was locked up for over five more years. There are now 37 men still being held at Guantánamo.
In California, a mass shooting left six people dead and 12 injured just blocks from the state Capitol building in Sacramento. Police believe at least two shooters opened fire at around 2 a.m. on Sunday as a number of bars and nightclubs were closing. This is community activist Stevante Clark, the brother of Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police in 2018.
Stevante Clark: “But the thing is, we don’t have nothing, you know, and there’s a lot of guns on the street. There’s too many damn guns on the street. That’s a conversation that needs to be had, as well. There’s too many damn guns.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg also spoke out on Sunday about gun violence.
Mayor Darrell Steinberg: “As a state and as a nation, this senseless epidemic of gun violence must be addressed. How many unending tragedies does it take before we begin to cure the sickness in this country?”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote today on President Joe Biden’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. The full Senate is expected to approve her nomination later this week. Jackson is set to become the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. Last week, Republican Senator Susan Collins announced she would support Jackson, becoming the first Republican to back her.