Reuters World News Summary
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said every responsible country in the world, including China, had an obligation to urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to back down and de-escalate the Ukraine crisis. U.S. slaps sanctions on company building Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on the company in charge of building Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, expanding penalties on Moscow after it recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
80% of Russia's forces around Ukraine in attack positions, U.S. official says
Russian President Vladimir Putin has put 80% of the troops he has assembled in a position to launch a full-scale invasion on Ukraine, a senior U.S. defense official said on Wednesday. "He is as ready as he can be," the official told reporters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Analysis-Russia crisis presents Biden limited upside at home, plenty of downside
U.S. President Joe Biden wanted to spend 2022 building bridges, literally and metaphorically, in the United States. Instead, he faces being dragged into a crisis sparked by Russian President Vladimir Putin that could reshape Europe. Aides say Biden, who just a month ago laid out a plan to fight his lagging polls in a U.S. midterm election year by getting out of the White House to "look people in the eye" across America, is now deeply immersed in the details of the Russia-Ukraine foreign policy challenge, and not the election cycle, aides say.
Prince Harry launches lawsuit against UK newspaper publisher
Prince Harry is suing Associated Newspapers, one of Britain's biggest newspaper publishers, for libel over a newspaper article alleging he attempted to keep details of his legal battle to reinstate his police protection secret from the public. Harry, Queen Elizabeth's grandson, and his American wife Meghan quit royal duties in 2020 to forge new careers in Los Angeles. The couple have since relied upon a private security team.
U.S. says China and Russia seek 'profoundly illiberal' world order
The United States on Wednesday accused China and Russia of working together to create a new 'profoundly illiberal' world order of which Moscow's actions towards Ukraine were just a part. U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said every responsible country in the world, including China, had an obligation to urge Russian President Vladimir Putin to back down and de-escalate the Ukraine crisis.
U.S. slaps sanctions on company building Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline
The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on the company in charge of building Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, expanding penalties on Moscow after it recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine. The sanctions, which target the Nord Stream 2 AG company and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, add to pressure on the Baltic Sea project that was designed to double the gas flow capacity from Russia to Germany.
ELN rebels blow up bridge, injure eight in attacks across Colombia -government
Guerrillas of the leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) on Wednesday blew up a bridge, set fire to vehicles, blocked roads and set off bombs that injured eight people during the first day of a so-called "armed strike," Colombia's government said. The rebel group is holding the three-day strike to protest the government's economic and social policies, less than three weeks before legislative elections. The action means restrictions on movement and trade in rural areas where the ELN operates.
Raw recruits called up to fight in Russian-backed separatist region
Andrey, 21, had never held a gun before this week. It came as a shock when he received a phone call telling him he had been called up for military duty. Two days later, he was sitting on a bus on his way to join an artillery unit of the Donetsk People's Republic, one of two breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin formally recognised on Monday and brought under Moscow's protection.
Ukraine separatists ask for Russia's help as Kyiv drafts men
Separatists in Ukraine asked for Russian help to repel "aggression" on Wednesday and Kyiv announced compulsory military service and a state of emergency as the West slapped more sanctions on Moscow in a bid to stop an all-out invasion. In one of the worst post-Cold War security crises in Europe for decades, convoys of military equipment, including nine tanks, moved towards the eastern Ukrainian area of Donetsk from the direction of the Russian border, a Reuters witness reported.
U.S.-Russian cooperation in space abides despite tensions over Ukraine
The longstanding collaboration between the United States and Russia in operating the International Space Station (ISS) appears to be on solid footing even as tensions between the two countries build over the Ukraine crisis. Some seven weeks after the Biden administration pledged its commitment to keeping ISS operational through 2030, NASA is still in talks with Roscosmos, its Russian counterpart, on a new "crew exchange" deal. Under such an agreement, the two former space rivals would routinely share flights to the station on each other's spacecrafts, the U.S. space agency said on Wednesday.
Moroccan court confirms 5-year sexual assault verdict on dissident reporter
A Moroccan appeals court in Casablanca on Thursday confirmed the conviction of dissident journalist Soulimane Raisouni to five years in prison for sexually assaulting a man, in a case that has outraged many human rights advocates in the country. Raisouni, an outspoken critic of public policy, the judiciary and Morocco's human rights record, has denied the charges against him. He was arrested in May 2020 and convicted in July.
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