Russian missiles struck Kyiv for the first time in over a month on Sunday. This came as Russian and Ukrainian forces continue to battle in eastern Ukraine over the city of Severodonetsk. On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a rare trip to eastern Ukraine to meet with troops and refugees. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Western nations against supplying longer-range missile systems to Ukraine.
President Vladimir Putin: “If the longer-range missiles are going to be supplied, we’ll make certain conclusions and use our own means of destruction, which we have enough to strike at those targets which we have not yet been hitting.”
Putin’s comment comes as the United States and the United Kingdom are both preparing to send Ukraine advanced rocket launch systems.
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron has said, “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means.” Ukraine’s foreign minister criticized Macron’s comments, saying such comments can only humiliate France and other countries that would call for it. We will have more on Ukraine after headlines.
In other news from the region, NATO has begun a major naval exercise in the Baltic Sea with Sweden and Finland both taking part. Over the weekend, a U.S. warship moored in Stockholm. U.S. General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson aboard the ship. Milley praised Sweden and Finland for applying to join NATO, saying it will put Russia in a difficult military position in the Baltic Sea.
Gen. Mark Milley: “So, from a Russian perspective, that would be very problematic for them, militarily speaking, and it would be very advantageous to NATO.”
The New York Times has revealed shocking new details about the lead-up to the January 6 insurrection. On January 5, the chief of staff of Vice President Mike Pence warned the Secret Service that Pence could face security threats because President Donald Trump was going to turn publicly against him over his refusal to overturn the election. Pence’s aide, Marc Short, conveyed the message to the vice president’s lead Secret Service agent during a meeting in the West Wing. On January 6, thousands of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, with some chanting “Hang Mike Pence.” Meanwhile, a federal grand jury has indicted former Trump adviser Peter Navarro for failing to comply with a subpoena from the House January 6 committee. The DOJ declined to charge two other former Trump officials: Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino Jr. The January 6 committee will be holding its first public hearing on Thursday night at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Democracy Now! will be live-streaming that hearing, and we’ll have more on the January 6 probe later in the program.
The United States suffered another deadly weekend of gun violence, with at least nine mass shootings involving four or more victims. In Tennessee, two people were killed and 12 others wounded by gunfire outside a Chattanooga nightclub early Sunday morning. It was the city’s second mass shooting in as many weekends. In Philadelphia, three people were killed and 11 others wounded by gunfire Saturday night when multiple gunmen opened fire on a large crowd. So far no arrests have been made. Two handguns were retrieved at the crime scene, including one with an extended magazine.
Here in New York state, Republican Congressmember Chris Jacobs has abandoned his reelection campaign, after he faced backlash from his constituents over his support for a ban on assault weapons. Jacobs’s district includes suburbs of Buffalo, where last month a white supremacist shooter killed 10 African Americans at a grocery store.
On Capitol Hill, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut says he’s confident that Republicans will agree to bipartisan legislation to address gun violence. Murphy is the top Democrat in bipartisan talks on gun control legislation. He spoke Sunday on CNN.
Sen. Chris Murphy: “I’ve never been part of negotiations as serious as these. There are more Republicans at the table talking about changing our gun laws, investing in mental health than at any time since Sandy Hook.”
Senator Murphy represents Sandy Hook.
A mother in Uvalde, Texas, who was handcuffed by police while trying to rescue her children during the school shooting at Robb Elementary says she was later threatened with charges if she spoke out about what happened. In an interview with CBS News, Angeli Rose Gomez condemned the police response to the shooting that left 19 fourth graders and two teachers dead.
Angeli Rose Gomez: “They could have saved many more lives. They could have gone into that classroom, and maybe two or three would have been gone, but they could have saved a whole — a whole more — the whole class. They could have done something, gone through the window, sniped him through the window. I mean, something. But nothing was being done. If anything, they were being more aggressive on us parents that were willing to go in there. And like I told one of the officers, 'I don't need you to protect me. Get away from me. I don’t need your protection. If anything, I need you to go in there with me to go protect my kids.’ And if anything, they were being more aggressive on us. They were more pertained on keeping us back than getting into that school.”
In other developments from Uvalde, it now appears that the city’s school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, did not have his police radio during the school shooting. Arredondo was the incident commander who ordered officers to hold back from confronting the gunman.
In Bangladesh, at least 49 people have died and another 300 were injured after a massive fire at a shipping container depot where many chemicals were stored. The dead include at least nine firefighters. The fire began on Saturday and was still smoldering 40 hours later.
In Nigeria, over 50 people are feared to have died after gunmen attacked a Catholic Church in Ondo state in southwestern Nigeria. Many of the victims are believed to have been children. No one has taken responsibility for the attack.
The Washington Post has revealed new details about how the U.S. has played a critical role in supporting the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The Post reports a substantial portion of all air raids conducted in the war were “carried out by jets developed, maintained and sold by U.S. companies, and by pilots who were trained by the U.S. military.” The Saudi-led air campaign alone has killed nearly 15,000 people in Yemen, striking homes, hospitals and other civilian targets. The U.S. support has continued under three presidents: Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
President Biden has reportedly made a final decision not to invite the governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua to attend the Summit of the Americas, which opens in Los Angeles today. The move might lead to other Latin American leaders boycotting the talks. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador as well as the leaders of Guatemala, Bolivia and Honduras have threatened to skip the summit, which is taking place in the United States for the first time since 1994. Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel recently criticized Biden’s plan to exclude Cuba and other nations.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel: “Our America has changed. Exclusions are no longer possible. The decision to not invite everyone is a historic setback, and all countries must be invited on equal terms. It’s disrespectful and harmful to the sovereignty of nations to try to decide, from the privileged condition of the host, those who represent them. In the face of attempts at exclusion and selectivity, it is urgent to strengthen the authentic mechanisms of Latin American and Caribbean integration and coordination.”
A Spanish court has reportedly summoned former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to testify about a secret U.S. plot to kidnap or assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a report in the Spanish newspaper ABC. The Spanish court is probing the activity of UC Global, a Spanish security firm accused of spying on Assange while he was living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he had political asylum. The news comes as British Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to decide soon whether Assange should be extradited to the United States to face charges for publishing classified information about U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Former CIA Director Gina Haspel personally observed the torture of Saudi prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in 2002, when she oversaw a CIA black site in Thailand. That’s according to recent testimony to a Guantánamo Bay military court by CIA psychologist James Mitchell, who’s been identified as an “architect” of the CIA’s torture program. Mitchell testified that Haspel watched as interrogators repeatedly slammed al-Nashiri’s head into a wall, forced him into a small confinement box and subjected him to “waterboarding” by immobilizing him, placing a rag over his mouth and pouring water over it. Gina Haspel is a CIA veteran who served at the agency for 33 years before she became CIA director under President Trump.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a vote of no confidence today by his own Conservative Party, after dozens of Tory members of Parliament signaled they will seek his ouster. Johnson recently became the first British leader to be sanctioned for breaking the law while in office. In 2020, Johnson repeatedly attended parties held at 10 Downing Street in violation of his own COVID lockdown orders.
In climate news, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached its highest level in human history. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says concentrations of CO2 topped 420 parts per million in May — that’s 50% higher than levels at the start of the Industrial Revolution. Last year, humanity added more than 36 gigatons of carbon dioxide pollution to the atmosphere — a record one-year total.
A retired Wisconsin judge was fatally shot in his own home on Friday in a targeted attack by a man he once sentenced to jail. Judge John Roemer had served as a judge in the Juneau County Circuit Court from 2004 until 2017. He was found dead on Friday morning zip-tied to a chair. The gunman was found alive in the judge’s basement with a self-inflicted bullet wound. The gunman reportedly had a hit list that also included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
The Republican-led House of Representatives in Ohio has approved a bill to ban transgender girls from school sports. Under the bill, student athletes could be forced to have invasive genital inspections if anyone questions their gender. The bill was approved on the first day of Pride Month with little debate, after a Republican lawmaker amended it to an unrelated piece of legislation.