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Ukrainian servicemen guard their position near Brovary, north of Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 17.
Ukrainian servicemen guard their position near Brovary, north of Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 17.Serhii Nuzhnenko / AP

Thursday’s Mini-Report, 3.17.22

Today’s edition of quick hits.


Today’s edition of quick hits:

* The fourth week of war begins: “Russia’s war in Ukraine entered its fourth week Thursday with civilian areas battered from the air, Moscow’s military offensive stalled on the ground and little sign of an imminent end to the conflict or the humanitarian crisis it has fueled.”

* Putin’s reference to “cleansing” sounded an especially fascist note: “Anyone looking for signs that embattled and isolated Russia might soften its position would not have found much hope in the increasingly belligerent words of President Vladimir Putin. With his invasion of Ukraine floundering and his economy teetering, Putin doubled down Wednesday, turning his baleful glare on Russians who are against the invasion or who sympathize with the West.”

* How serious is Moscow about these negotiations? “Instead of replacing Kyiv’s pro-Western government and permanently crippling its military, Moscow now appears prepared to accept a scenario in which Ukraine commits to being a neutral country with its own armed forces along the lines of Sweden or Austria.”

* A rhetorical escalation: “President Joe Biden on Thursday called Russian President Vladimir Putin a ‘murderous dictator.’ Speaking at the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon on Capitol Hill, Biden condemned Putin’s invasion and said that the Russian leader is ‘a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.’”

* It was of interest that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff claim today that President Joe Biden has done “more for [Ukraine] than any of his predecessors.”

* Jha will replace Jeff Zients, who led the Biden administration’s response to the pandemic since early last year: “President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he has named Dr. Ashish Jha to be the new White House Covid-19 response coordinator as the White House looks to move the country into a new phase of the pandemic.”

* A $127.5 million settlement: “The United States has agreed to pay the families impacted by the 2018 Parkland mass school shooting millions of dollars, years after attorneys first filed claims against the government alleging an FBI agent’s negligence prior to the shooting.”

* And speaking of the Justice Department: “Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have charged five people with acting on behalf of the Chinese secret police to stalk, spy on and harass U.S. residents critical of Beijing, officials announced Wednesday. The defendants were charged in three separate cases brought by the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York as part of the Justice Department’s new strategy to counter nation-state threats.”

See you tomorrow.