By Natalia Zinets and Alissa de Carbonnel KIEV/BALACLAVA, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday and Washington threatened to isolate Russia economically after President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor in Moscow's biggest confrontation with the West since the Cold War. "This is not a threat: this is actually the declaration of war to my country," Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said in English. Yatsenuik heads a pro-Western government that took power in the former Soviet republic when its Moscow-backed president, Viktor Yanukovich, was ousted last week. Putin secured permission from his parliament on Saturday to use military force to protect Russian citizens in Ukraine and told U.S. President Barack Obama he had the right to defend Russian interests and nationals, spurning Western pleas not to intervene. Russian forces have already bloodlessly seized Crimea, an isolated Black Sea peninsula where Moscow has a naval base. On Sunday, they surrounded several small Ukrainian military outposts there and demanded the Ukrainian troops disarm. Some refused, leading to standoffs, although no shots were fired. As Western countries considered how to respond to the crisis, the United States said it was focused on economic, diplomatic and political measures, but made clear it was not seriously considering military action. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Kiev on Tuesday to show "strong support for Ukrainian sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and the right of the Ukrainian people to determine their own future, without outside interference or provocation," the State Department said in a statement. MORE DEMONSTRATIONS IN EASTERN UKRAINE With Russian forces in control of majority ethnic Russian Crimea, the focus is shifting to eastern swaths of Ukraine, where most ethnic Ukrainians speak Russian as a native language. Those areas saw more demonstrations on Sunday after violent protests on Saturday, and pro-Moscow activists hoisted flags for a second day at government buildings and called for Russia to defend them. Russia has staged war games with 150,000 troops along the land border, but they have so far not crossed. Kiev said Russia had sent hundreds of its citizens across the border to stage the protests. Ukraine's security council ordered the general staff to immediately put all armed forces on highest alert. But Kiev's small and under-equipped military is seen as no match for Russia's superpower might. The Defence Ministry was ordered to stage a call-up of reserves, meaning theoretically all men up to 40 in a country with universal male conscription, though Ukraine would struggle to find extra guns or uniforms for significant numbers of them. Kerry condemned Russia for what he called an "incredible act of aggression" and brandished the threat of economic sanctions. "You just don't, in the 21st century, behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on a completely trumped-up pretext," Kerry told the CBS program "Face the Nation". He said Moscow still had a "right set of choices" to defuse the crisis. Otherwise, G8 countries and other nations were prepared to "to go to the hilt to isolate Russia". "They are prepared to isolate Russia economically. The rouble is already going down. Russia has major economic challenges," he said. He mentioned visa bans, asset freezes and trade isolation as possible steps. Obama discussed the Ukraine crisis in calls with allies, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Cameron said they agreed Russia would pay "significant costs" unless it changed course. Analysts said U.S. economic sanctions would likely have little impact on Russia unless they were paired with strong measures by major European nations, which have deeper trade ties with Moscow and are dependent on Russian gas. Ukraine's envoy to the United Nations said Kiev would ask for international military support if Russia expanded its military action in his country. At Kiev's Independence Square, where anti-Yanukovich protesters had camped out for months, thousands demonstrated against Russian military action. Speakers delivered rousing orations and placards read: "Putin, hands off Ukraine!" "If there is a need to protect the nation, we will go and defend the nation," said Oleh, an advertising executive cooking over an open fire at the square where he has been camped for three months. "If Putin wants to take Ukraine for himself, he will fail. We want to live freely and we will live freely." The new government announced it had fired the head of the navy and launched a treason case against him for surrendering Ukraine's naval headquarters to Russian forces in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, where Moscow has a major naval base. REACTION FROM THE WEST Obama spoke to Putin for 90 minutes by telephone on Saturday after the Russian leader declared he had the right to intervene and quickly secured unanimous approval from his parliament. The Kremlin said Putin told Obama that Russian speakers were under threat from Ukraine's new leaders, who took over after Yanukovich fled huge protests against his repression and rejection of a trade deal with the European Union. Putin reiterated that stance in a telephone call with Merkel on Sunday, the Kremlin said, adding he and Merkel agreed that Russia and Germany would continue consultations to seek the "normalization" of the situation. But in a sign of concern among Russian liberals, members of Putin's own human rights council urged him on Sunday not to invade Ukraine, saying threats faced by Russians there were not severe enough to justify sending in troops. Ukraine, which says it has no intention of threatening Russian speakers, has appealed for help to NATO, and directly to Britain and the United States, as co-signatories with Russia to a 1994 accord guaranteeing Ukraine's security. After an emergency meeting of NATO ambassadors in Brussels, the alliance called on Russia to bring its forces back to bases and refrain from interfering in Ukraine. Despite expressing "grave concern", NATO did not agree on any significant measures to apply pressure to Russia, with the West struggling to come up with a forthright response that does not risk pushing the region closer to military conflict. "We urge both parties to immediately seek a peaceful solution through bilateral dialogue, with international facilitation ... and through the dispatch of international observers under the auspices of the United Nations Security Council or the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe," NATO said in a statement. Washington on Saturday proposed sending monitors to Ukraine under the U.N. or OSCE flags. So far, the Western response has been largely symbolic. Obama and others suspended preparations for a G8 summit in Sochi, where Russia has just finished staging its $50 billion winter Olympic games. Some countries recalled ambassadors. Britain said its ministers would stay away from the Paralympics due next in Sochi. "Right now, I think we are focused on political, diplomatic and economic options," a senior U.S. official told reporters. "Frankly our goal is to uphold the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, not to have a military escalation," he added. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier urged world leaders on Sunday to work to calm the crisis and defended Russia's membership of the G8, saying it enabled the West to talk directly with Moscow. RUSSIANS IN CRIMEA Ukraine's military is ill-matched against its neighbor. Britain's International Institute of Strategic Studies estimates Kiev has fewer than 130,000 troops under arms, with planes barely ready to fly and few spare parts for a single submarine. Russia, by contrast, has spent billions under Putin to upgrade and modernize the capabilities of forces that were dilapidated after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Moscow's special units are now seen as equals of the best in the world. In Crimea, Ukraine's tiny contingent made no attempt to oppose the Russians, who bore no insignia on their uniforms but drove vehicles with Russian plates and seized government buildings, airports and other locations in the past three days. Kiev said its troops were encircled in at least three places. It pulled its coast guard vessels out of Crimean ports. Ukraine said its naval fleet's 10 ships were still in Sevastopol and remained loyal to Kiev. Scores of Russian troops with no insignia were camped outside a base of Ukrainian troops at Perevalnoye, on a road from Crimea's capital, Simferopol towards the coast. A representative of the base commander said troops on both sides had reached agreement so no blood would be shed. "We are ready to protect the grounds and our military equipment," Valery Boiko told Reuters television. "We hope for a compromise to be reached, a decision, and as the commander has said, there will be no war." Igor Mamchev, a Ukrainian navy colonel at another small base outside Simferopol, told Ukraine's Channel 5 TV that a truckload of Russian troops had arrived at his checkpoint and told his forces to lay down their arms. "I replied that, as I am a member of the armed forces of Ukraine, under orders of the Ukrainian navy, there could be no discussion of disarmament. In case of any attempt to enter the military base, we will use all means, up to lethal force." A unit of Ukrainian marines was also holed up in a base in the Crimean port of Feodosia, where they refused to disarm. Elsewhere on the occupied peninsula, the Russian troops assumed a lower profile on Sunday after the pro-Moscow Crimean leader said overnight the situation was now "normalized". Putin's justification citing the need to protect Russian citizens was the same as he used to launch a 2008 invasion of Georgia, where Russian forces seized two breakaway regions. In Russia, state-controlled media portray Yanukovich's removal as a coup by dangerous extremists funded by the West and there has been little sign of dissent with that line. In Donetsk, Yanukovich's home city, the local government building was flying the Russian flag for the second day on Sunday. The local authorities have called for a referendum on the region's status, a move Kiev says is illegal. A pro-Russian "self-defence" unit held a second day of protest, attracting about 1,000 demonstrators carrying Russian flags. (Additional reporting by Peter Graff, Sabina Zawadzki, Pavel Polityuk, Timothy Heritage and Stephen Grey in Kiev, Lina Kushch in Donetsk, Peter Apps and Guy Faulconbridge in London, Will Dunham, Arshad Mohammed and Matt Spetalnick in Washington, and Lou Charbonneau at the United Nations; Writing by Peter Graff, Paul Taylor, Frances Kerry and Peter Cooney; Editing by Philippa Fletcher, Meredith Mazzilli and Mohammad Zargham)
- The Independent
First family orders sesame bagels with cream cheese
- The Telegraph
Mitch McConnell, the US Senate Republican leader, said on Monday he would agree to a power-sharing agreement with Democrats, dropping demands that had held up the basic organisation and daily work of the 50-50 chamber for days. Democrat Chuck Schumer, now the majority leader thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote, and Mr McConnell had been at odds over the Republican's request that Democrats promise to protect the filibuster, which requires a 60-vote supermajority to advance most legislation. Mr Schumer has refused to guarantee the filibuster would stay. But in a statement, Mr McConnell cited comments from moderate Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who said they would not favour eliminating the filibuster. "The legislative filibuster was a key part of the foundation beneath the Senate's last 50-50 power-sharing agreement in 2001," Mr McConnell said. "With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement modeled on that precedent." A spokesman for Mr Schumer, Justin Goodman, said in a statement, "We're glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand. We look forward to organising the Senate under Democratic control and start getting big, bold things done for the American people." Some liberal Democrats have suggested killing the filibuster to help advance President Joe Biden's agenda, though Mr Biden has not signaled support for such a move. In recent years, the 60-vote threshold has brought the Senate nearly to a halt on major legislation. With Ms Harris unable to attend every Senate session, the two party leaders have been discussing an arrangement to govern day-to-day operations, similar to one struck the last time the Senate was equally split two decades ago. Senate committees have still not been reorganised under Democratic control. Democrats could unilaterally change the rules to require only a simple majority to approve bills, a move sometimes called the "nuclear option", if all 50 members voted together and Ms Harris provided the tie-breaking vote. By declining to guarantee as part of the deal that the filibuster will be protected, Mr Schumer preserves the threat as leverage in negotiations over Mr Biden's priorities, such as a new round of coronavirus relief.
Sikorsky and Boeing Co. unveiled the helicopter they're proposing to be the U.S. Army's Future Long Range Assault Aircraft.
Tacoma Police spokeswoman Wendy Haddow said police were alerted to the street racers and a 100-person crowd blocking area streets, according to the News Tribune. When the patrol car responded, the crowd began pounding on the vehicle's windows, she told local media. “He was afraid they would break his glass,” Haddow told the News Tribune, saying the officer sped away from the scene for his own safety.
- The Independent
Giuliani slams ‘hate-filled left-wing’ as he responds to $1.3bn defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems
Donald Trump’s personal lawyer claims legal action is intended to ‘frighten people of faint heart’
President Joe Biden will continue his flurry of executive orders on Monday, signing a new directive to require the federal government to “buy American” for products and services. Why it matters: The executive action is yet another attempt by Biden to accomplish goals administratively without waiting for the backing of Congress. The new order echoes Biden's $400 billion campaign pledge to increase government purchases of American goods.Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.What they're saying: "President Biden is ensuring that when the federal government spends taxpayer dollars they are spent on American made goods by American workers and with American-made component parts," the White House said in a fact sheet.The big picture: Biden’s action kick offs another week in which the president will seek to undo many Trump policies with executive actions, while signaling the direction that he wants to take the country. * Biden will also reaffirm his support for the Jones Act, which requires maritime shipments between American ports to be carried on U.S. vessels. * Last week, Biden signed an order to attempt to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors and workers to $15 an hour.The bottom line: Former President Trump also attempted to force the federal government to rely on U.S. manufacturers for procurement with "buy American" provisions. * But supply chains — with some parts and components made outside of the U.S. — require long and complicated efforts to boost domestic manufacturing. Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Yahoo News Video
The Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to lawsuits over whether Donald Trump illegally profited off his presidency.
- Associated Press
Indianapolis police arrested a 17-year-old boy Monday in the killings of five people, including a pregnant woman, who were shot to death inside a home in what the city's mayor called a “devastating act of violence.” The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that the name of the suspect in Sunday's killings was “not being released at this time since the suspect is a juvenile." As officers were investigating, police received information about 4:40 a.m. that led them to a nearby home, where they found multiple adults dead inside from apparent gunshot wounds, Sgt. Shane Foley said Sunday.
- The Telegraph
Britain's Covid vaccine supply is in jeopardy after the EU threatened to block exports of the Belgian-made Pfizer jabs amid a row with UK-based AstraZeneca. Brussels decided to impose tighter controls on exports after reacting with fury to the news that AstraZeneca will deliver 50 million fewer doses to the EU than it had expected. Ministers now fear deliveries of the Pfizer jabs will – at best – be delayed by extra paperwork and that the EU could try to stop doses being sent to non-EU countries after saying it will "take any action required to protect its citizens". In March, the bloc imposed export restrictions on personal protective equipment after it struggled with supply to its member states. On Monday night, MPs accused the EU of acting out of "spite" and trying to deflect blame for its own mistakes in getting vaccination programmes off the ground.
- NBC News
First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
- National Review
President Biden will sign a fresh round of executive orders during his first full week in office, including actions loosening restrictions around abortion and immigration. Biden will issue and order to rescind the Mexico City policy, which prohibits U.S. funding for foreign organizations that perform or promote abortions. The administration also dodged last week on whether Biden plans to scrap the Hyde Amendment, which bars taxpayer funding of elective abortions under Medicaid. On immigration, Biden plans to establish a task force focused on reuniting migrant families who were separated as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, according to a memo outlining the upcoming executive actions obtained by The Hill. Biden will order an immediate review of the public-charge rule, which denies U.S. entry to migrants considered likely to become dependent on the government. The president also plans to roll back Trump administration policies on asylum and take “other actions to remove barriers and restore trust in the legal immigration system, including improving the naturalization process.” At the same time, Biden will take a page from the Trump administration’s playbook and sign an order directing federal agencies to tighten requirements on buying goods and services made in America from American businesses. Trump signed a similar directive during his first months in office. The president will also sign orders related to racial equity, including establishing a commission on police and bringing back Obama-era rules on transferring military-style equipment to local law enforcement. Another order will direct the Justice Department to improve prison conditions and begin the process of eliminating private prisons. Biden may also sign an order reversing a ban on transgender troops serving in the military. On climate change, Biden is expected to sign an order installing regulations to “combat climate change domestically and elevate climate change as a national security priority.”
- Associated Press
Portland, Oregon, Mayor Ted Wheeler pepper-sprayed a man who confronted him and a former mayor as they left a restaurant Sunday evening, according to a police report. Wheeler and and Sam Adams, who served one term as Portland mayor from 2009 to 2013, had been eating in a tented area at Hillsdale McMenamins Hillsdale Brewery and Public House in Southwest Portland. When the two left, Wheeler said a man, who he did not recognize, approached him — videotaping the mayor and accusing him of dining without wearing a mask.
- The Telegraph
Italy’s interior minister has intervened in a row in Naples over the painting of giant murals that pay tribute to the blighted lives and violent exploits of teenage criminals. Italians have adopted a curious English phrase, “baby bosses”, to describe the young gangsters, who frequently lose their lives in confrontations with police on the streets of the southern city. Such “bosses” are said to be members of “baby gangs” – another curious Italo-English invention that denotes groups of delinquents and drifters. Authorities in Naples want to scrub out or paint over two large murals which adorn the sides of buildings. They depict two young men, Ugo Russo and Luigi Caiafa, who were shot dead in separate incidents last year by police officers during robbery attempts. A mural dedicated to Russo depicts his face and the words Verità e Giustizia – Truth and Justice. He was killed when he tried to rob an off-duty police officer last year.
South Korean reports say that Run Hyun-woo - an acting ambassador - fled to South Korea in September.
- The Week
President Biden is enjoying a honeymoon period, a new ABC News/Ipsos poll released Sunday suggests.Just a few days after assuming office, Biden has received high marks for his response to the coronavirus pandemic and his handling of the presidential transition. More than half of those polled also think he has a chance to unify the country, although only 22 percent have a "great deal" of confidence he'll be able to pull off that feat.Per the poll, Republicans don't seem pleased with some of the executive orders Biden has issued so far, including his reversal of a travel ban on several Muslim-majority nations and the termination of the national emergency declaration at the southern border, but GOP voters are, relatively speaking, somewhat amenable to his coronavirus response. The poll shows 40 percent of Republicans approve of Biden's pandemic leadership. For context, former President Donald Trump's highest approval rating (in regards to his COVID-19 response) among Democrats in the same poll was 30 percent, and that was all the way back in mid-March of 2020.> The more than two-thirds of Americans who approve of Pres. Biden's leadership on the coronavirus includes 40% of Republicans -- a notably high level of support from across the aisle a year into the pandemic. https://t.co/Foyzv1E8Ji> > — Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) January 24, 2021The friendly numbers may give Biden some breathing room, ABC News notes, but early tenure bliss generally doesn't last forever.The ABC News/Ipsos poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs' KnowledgePanel between Jan. 22 to 23, 2021 among a random national sample of 504 adults. The margin of error is 5 percentage points. Read more at ABC News.More stories from theweek.com Josh Hawley knows exactly what he's doing 5 scathingly funny cartoons about Biden's COVID-19 push Trump must be prosecuted
The will-he-or-won't-he speculation surrounding a possible gubernatorial run by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is destined to continue at least a bit longer.What he's saying: Lindell told Axios that his focus is currently on proving his (baseless) claims of election fraud. He won't make a decision until that fight is resolved.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here. * "Why would anybody want to run if they had the same machines with the election fraud?" Lindell said Friday. * "It will all get out there, and when it does, we'll see what elections are going to have to be done with paper ballots and no machines. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to put in everybody's resources and time."Between the lines: While he's leaving the door open, Lindell's comments create a path for bowing out.Why it matters: If Lindell runs, name recognition and his ties to Trump could give him an edge among GOP voters. * Many top Republican officials and consultants think having the unpredictable pillow salesman at the top of the ticket would spell disaster for their efforts to win statewide in 2022.How we got here: Lindell has been flirting with a bid for months, but his commitment to promoting conspiracy theories about the 2020 election — including a much-covered White House visit — has triggered legal backlash and trouble for his business. * Last fall, Lindell said he'd run if Trump won another term. Then, in early January, he told the Star Tribune he was "90-95%" sure he'd jump in and would decide "once we know Donald Trump is our president."Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- NBC News
Brittney Gilliam had taken her family for a "Sunday funday" when officers with guns drawn ordered her and the four underage girls with her to exit the car.
- Associated Press
A former pathologist at an Arkansas veterans hospital has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient he misdiagnosed. Robert Morris Levy, 54, of Fayetteville was sentenced Friday in federal court. Prosecutors said Levy diagnosed a patient with lymphoma when the patient actually had a small-cell carcinoma.
- The Telegraph
An Icelandic man who got the world's first double shoulder and arm transplant is recovering well after the operation, two decades after the accident that cost him both limbs, doctors said Friday. They said it was still uncertain how much mobility Felix Gretarsson, 48, will eventually recover following the operation earlier this month in the French southeastern city of Lyon. But "giving a little to somebody who was missing so much, that's already a lot" Aram Gazarian, the lead surgeon in the operation, told a news conference. "If he can recover the possibility to actively bend his elbow, that would be a life-changer," he said.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden has brought back Dr. Kevin O'Connor as his physician, replacing President Donald Trump's doctor with the one who oversaw his care when he was vice president. The White House confirmed that Dr. Sean Conley, the Navy commander who served as the head of the White House Medical Unit under Trump and oversaw his treatment when he was hospitalized with COVID-19, will assume a teaching role at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. O'Connor, a retired Army colonel, was Biden's doctor during his entire tenure as vice president, having remained in the role at Biden's request.