Devastating economic sanctions from the U.S. and its allies haven’t stopped Russia’s assault on Ukraine, which resulted in damage to another hospital — this time a cancer hospital in the southern city of Mykolaiv, according to Ukrainian officials.
Several hundred patients were in the hospital during the attack but no one was killed, according to the hospital’s head doctor, Maksim Beznosenko.
The news comes days after Russian officials struggled to offer a consistent explanation for an assault on a maternity and children’s hospital complex that killed 3 people.
Russia currently appears to be regrouping from recent losses and possibly gearing up for operations against Kyiv. Fighting has intensified close to Ukraine’s capital, where doctors are bracing for the prospect of widespread casualties from war.
Meanwhile, Russia’s economy is in shambles: The ruble has crashed and the Moscow stock market remains closed.
U.S. leaders have hinted the economic pressure is intended to provoke the Russian people to take action against their government.
“The way this conflict will end is when Putin realizes that this adventure has put his own leadership standing at risk with his own military, with his own people,” Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland testified earlier this week. “He will have to change course, or the Russian people take matters into their own hands.”
In the meantime, experts warn the Ukrainian people will continue to suffer, especially if fighting in Kyiv escalates.
“Where that leads, I think, is for an ugly next few weeks in which he doubles down with scant regard for civilian casualties, in which urban fighting can get even uglier,” said CIA Director William Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia.
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► President Joe Biden on Friday called for a removal of normal trade relations with Russia, allowing for new tariffs on Russian imports in yet another effort to ratchet up sanctions over Moscow’s intensifying invasion of Ukraine. Biden said the move will be another “crushing blow” to Russia’s economy.
► The World Health Organization said Friday it verified 29 attacks on health care facilities, workers and ambulances in Ukraine, which have killed 12 people and injured 34. The U.N. human rights office confirmed 564 civilian fatalities and 982 civilian injuries in the conflict, which is likely an undercount, the office said.
►On Friday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of kidnapping the mayor of the city of Melitopol.
Misinformation and disinformation is easily spreading on social media — here’s the latest from the USA TODAY fact-check team:
SpaceX’s Starlink network of internet satellites in Earth orbit continues to make its case during real-world crises, this time with the delivery of more hardware to Ukraine.
Mykhailo Fedorov, vice prime minister of Ukraine, this week confirmed his country’s government received its second shipment of Starlink user terminals, each of which include a satellite dish and built-in WiFi router. Non-traditional communications channels, especially satellite-based, are critical during crises like war or natural disasters.
SpaceX founder Elon Musk this month agreed to open up the satellite-based internet service to Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. Users only need the terminal, power, and a device like a smartphone or laptop to access the internet, meaning Starlink’s connectivity is less prone to being knocked out by Russian forces.
– Emre Kelly, Florida Today
As Russian troops accumulate on the outskirts of Kyiv, Dr. Vitaliy Krylyuk said an uneasy calm has settled at the city’s largest downtown hospital.
Doctors at the Kyiv Hospital of Emergency Medicine are tending to conventional injuries such as car crashes and gunshot wounds. But Krylyuk, who spoke with USA TODAY over a video call, fears things will soon worsen if Russian missiles target the city or enemy troops close on the heart of Ukraine’s capital.
“The biggest problem we need to think about is a mass casualty situation,” said Krylyuk, who serves at the Ukrainian Scientific and Practical Center of Emergency and Disaster Medicine, a division of Ukraine’s Ministry of Health. “We’ve never had a mass casualty situation. We know this theoretically, not practically.”
Emergency planners have sought to address gaps that would emerge if the number of people with life-threatening wounds outstripped the hospital’s capacity to care for them. They sought to figure out which hospital entrance to direct ambulances to quickly get patients to hospital beds. Government planners have drafted documents on how to prioritize patients, ensure patients can breathe, secure blood transfusions or notify family members if a loved one is killed or wounded.
— Ken Alltucker
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that if foreign companies shut down production in Russia, he favored a plan to “bring in outside management and then transfer these companies to those who want to work.”
A draft law could allow Russian courts to appoint external administrators for companies that cease operations and are at least 25% foreign-owned. If the owners refuse to resume operations or to sell, the company’s shares could be auctioned off, the ruling United Russia party has said, calling it “the first step toward nationalization.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized “any lawless decision by Russia to seize the assets of these companies,” saying that it “will ultimately result in even more economic pain for Russia.”
“It will compound the clear message to the global business community that Russia is not a safe place to invest and do business,” she said in a tweet, adding that “Russia may also invite legal claims from companies whose property is seized.”
Even before its invasion of Ukraine, Russia was already trying to domesticize its food supply following sanctions it had placed on the European Union in 2014. With little to no fresh food imported from those trading partners, Russia put greater focus on domestic food and importing from friendlier countries like Turkey.
One voice pushing back against confiscating foreign firms’ assets is billionaire metals tycoon Vladimir Potanin, who compared it to the Russian Revolution of 1917, when Communists took power.
“It would set us back 100 years to 1917 and the consequences of a step like this one — global distrust in Russia by investors — would be felt by us for many decades,” he said in a statement Thursday on the social media of his company, Nornickel.
– Associated Press
Contributing: The Associated Press