5 things to know this weekend

Russia presses its invasion into the heart of Ukraine, taking aim at Kyiv

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday pressed the world to help his country beat back a Russian invasion, even as those forces closed in on the capital city of Kyiv from various directions overnight in their effort to take the city. But despite international condemnation of Russia’s strike against its smaller neighbor, Russia pressed on with the attack, with airstrikes on cities and military bases in the predawn hours. However, it was not immediately clear how far Russian troops had advanced. Ukrainian officials reported some success in fending off assaults, but fighting persisted near Kyiv. Skirmishes reported on the edge of the city suggested that small Russian units were probing Ukrainian defenses to clear a path for the main forces. The U.S. government urged Zelenskyy early Saturday to evacuate Kyiv but he turned down the offer, an official told the Associated Press. The official quoted Zelenskyy as saying that “the fight is here” and that he needed anti-tank ammunition but “not a ride.” 

Biden, Harris to meet with their national security team about Ukraine

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will remain focused on assessing the situation in Ukraine this weekend and the two leaders will participate in a secure call with their national security team at 10 a.m. ET Saturday, according to the president’s official schedule. Late Friday, Biden signed a memo authorizing up to $350 million in additional security assistance to Ukraine, bringing the total security aid approved for Ukraine to $1 billion over the past year. It was not clear how quickly the aid would flow. Also on Friday, the White House announced new sanctions on Russia after Biden met with fellow NATO heads of state to discuss the mounting crisis. Biden said the new economic measures would “limit Russia’s ability to do business in dollars, euros, pounds and yen to be part of the global economy.” The White House also confirmed Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Friday about strengthening sanctions against Russia and other steps to retaliate for Russia’s invasion.

Ten years ago: Killing of Trayvon Martin shook America

On Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was fatally shot during an altercation with George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman claimed he felt threatened by the Black teenager, even though he had followed Martin in his car and then on foot and had reported him to the Sanford Police as suspicious. Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter at trial a year later, a result that sparked a wave of protests about racism and helped fuel the Black Lives Matter movement. The case was a brutal reminder that Black and white Americans view safety, the country’s judicial system and the notion of fairness in starkly different ways. Martin’s family recognized the anniversary of his death on Saturday, Feb. 5 on what would have been Martin’s 27th birthday with an event that included a walk, speakers and performances in their hometown of Miami.

SAG Awards could give glimpse into Oscars

The 28th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday in Los Angeles could be an indicator of how things will turn out at the Academy Awards next month. In an already-weird Oscar season because of the omicron variant, the SAG Awards take on new influence and importance – not just because actors are the largest voting body in the Academy but also because of general disinterest in the recent Golden Globe Awards.  Much of the attention Sunday will be on “House of Gucci” and “The Power of the Dog,” as both films lead the way with three nominations each. A win Sunday is more crucial than ever for studios and stars hoping to better their chances on Oscar night. The SAG Awards are handed out two weeks before final voting begins for the Academy Awards ceremony on March 27 on ABC. 

Samuel L. Jackson, Harry and Meghan, among the honorees at NAACP Image Awards 

Samuel L. Jackson will receive the Chairman’s Award at the 53rd NAACP Image Awards Saturday. The award recognizes individuals who demonstrate “exemplary public service and use their distinct platforms to create agents of change.” Previous recipients have included Tyler Perry, then-Sen. Barack Obama, Danny Glover, Rep. Maxine Waters and the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis. Other honorees at the event include Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, who will receive the President’s Award. The NAACP announced that they selected the couple because they have “heeded the call to social justice” and joined the “struggle for equity” in the U.S. and around the world. Previous recipients include Jay-Z, Muhammad Ali, Rihanna, LeBron James, Lauryn Hill, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. The awards ceremony will be shown on BET Saturday night. 

Contributing: The Associated Press

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