In Ukraine, the death toll from a Russian rocket attack on an apartment block in the Donetsk town of Chasiv Yar has risen to 33. Rescue crews pulled nine survivors from the rubble on Monday. Elsewhere, Ukraine says five people were killed, including two children, and dozens more injured after Russian shells fell on Kharkiv.
In Washington, D.C., the Biden administration accused Russia of turning to Iran with a request for hundreds of weapons-capable drones for use in Ukraine.
In Kyiv, the Communist Party of Ukraine and other left parties report they’ve been banned and had their assets seized under a decree by President Volodymyr Zelensky prohibiting political parties deemed to be “pro-Russian.”
In Moscow, President Putin said he would expedite the procedure for Ukrainians to obtain Russian citizenship. Ukrainian officials condemned the move, calling it an encroachment on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. On Monday, a top Ukrainian official said some 7,200 military personnel are missing and unaccounted for — though most are believed to be in Russian captivity. We’ll get the latest on the war in Ukraine later in the broadcast.
The Biden administration said Monday U.S. physicians must provide abortions if a pregnant person is experiencing a medical emergency and their life is at risk. In a letter to federal health agencies, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said doctors who offer the procedure in states with abortion bans would be protected under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which is federal law. Becerra warned hospitals and physicians who refuse to provide abortions under these circumstances would face the loss of Medicare funding and financial support from other state health programs.
In Michigan, reproductive justice advocates have formally submitted over 700,000 signatures in support of a ballot initiative that would enshrine abortion rights in the state’s Constitution. The measure would be up for a vote in November. We’ll have the latest on the fight over reproductive rights in the U.S. later in the broadcast.
In Texas, hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of Uvalde on Sunday, braving triple-digit temperatures to demand answers over the May 24 massacre at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead. Joining the protests was Alysandra Garcia, whose mother Irma was one of the teachers killed in the attack.
Alysandra Garcia: “She was kind and loving. She had a way with words. She was the backbone to our family, and we will never be the same. As sad as it is, a part of me knew my mother would give her life to save her students.”
Alysandra Garcia’s father Joe died of a heart attack two days after his wife Irma was killed by the Uvalde shooter.
At the White House, the parent of a student killed in a 2018 mass shooting interrupted President Biden Monday to demand more federal action on gun control. Biden was holding a ceremony in the Rose Garden with survivors and family members affected by gun violence, celebrating his signature of a bipartisan gun safety bill, when Manuel Oliver rose to challenge Biden’s record on guns. Oliver lost his 17-year-old son Joaquin to a mass shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day 2018.
President Joe Biden: “Today is many things. It’s proof that despite the naysayers, we can make meaningful progress on dealing with gun violence.”
Manuel Oliver: “We have to do more than that!”
President Joe Biden: “Because, make no mistake — sit down, you’ll hear what I have to say. If you think” —
Manuel Oliver: “We have to do more than that!”
President Joe Biden: “You” —
Manuel Oliver: “We have to open an office in the White House. I’ve been trying to tell you this for years. [inaudible]”
President Joe Biden: “We have one. Let me finish my comments.”
Manuel Oliver: [inaudible]
President Joe Biden: “Let him talk. Let him talk. No one — OK?”
Manuel Oliver was then escorted away by Secret Service agents. After the confrontation, he told reporters he’s demanding Biden create an office in the executive branch focused solely on gun violence.
Manuel Oliver: “What am I supposed to do today here? Listen to a package of bills that don’t solve 100% of the problem that is killing people every single day in America? Clap and be happy and be part of a celebration? Not me. We got a fancy invitation from the White House. It was like going to a wedding. And I’m here. I thought that I needed to be here. But I also needed to say what I said.”
In Sri Lanka, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has reportedly made a failed attempt to flee the country ahead of his resignation set for Wednesday. Agence France-Presse reports the president may now use a navy patrol boat to flee the island nation, which is facing a major economic crisis and saw thousands of protesters storm the president’s home Saturday and set fire to the prime minister’s residence. Rajapaksa is immune from arrest while he is still president, and may be trying to leave in order to avoid being detained. He is accused of war crimes during his time as defense minister and of bankrupting Sri Lanka with massive corruption and economic mismanagement that’s left millions of people with shortages of food, fuel and electricity. In the capital Colombo, restaurants used firewood to prepare meals on Monday.
Abdul Kasim: “We cook using wood. There is no cooking gas here. It has been 15 days, and the authorities said the cooking gas would be made available, but it has not arrived yet.”
President Biden departs for Jerusalem this evening, the first stop on his four-day trip to the Middle East. After meeting with Israeli leaders, Biden is scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, before heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. As a presidential candidate, Biden vowed to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over its human rights violations and the assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. This week Reuters reported the Biden administration is discussing the possible lifting of its ban on U.S. sales of so-called offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia, including Lockheed Martin F-35 jets. Biden put the ban in place early last year citing the Saudi-led coalition’s disastrous war on Yemen, which has killed more than 100,000 people since 2015.
In immigration news, the Biden administration has extended temporary protected status, TPS, for Venezuelans for another 18 months. This designation only protects Venezuelans who’ve been in the United States since March 2021; Venezuelan asylum seekers who’ve come to the U.S. after March 8, 2021, are not eligible for the temporary humanitarian relief and face deportation. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled due to rising shortages of food and medicine, and other conditions that have been largely exacerbated by harsh U.S. sanctions on Venezuela. This comes as the Biden administration also continues to mass expel thousands of asylum seekers from Haiti, Central America and other regions arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump-era pandemic policy Title 42.
First lady Jill Biden is facing massive backlash after saying Latinx people are “as unique … as breakfast tacos.” Biden made her remarks Monday during an annual conference hosted by the group UnidosUS in San Antonio, Texas.
Jill Biden: “The diversity of this community, as distinct as the bodegas of the Bronx, as beautiful as the blossoms of Miami and as unique as the breakfast tacos here in San Antonio.”
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists, NAHJ, responded in a statement, “We are not tacos. Our heritage as Latinos is shaped by a variety of diasporas, cultures and food traditions, and should not be reduced to a stereotype.”