Ukrainian authorities are planning to evacuate more civilians from Mariupol today, after dozens were finally brought to safety following weeks trapped under heavy fire in the strategic port city’s Azovstal steel complex.
The civilians had been sheltering in bunkers beneath the steelworks that is the last redoubt for Ukrainian forces in Mariupol.
On Sunday, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said about 100 civilians evacuated from the steelworks would arrive in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia on Monday morning.
“For the first time, we had two days of a ceasefire on this territory, and we managed to take out more than 100 civilians – women, children,” Zelenskiy said in a nightly video address. He said he hoped evacuations would resume on Monday at 8am local time (5am GMT). The head of the Donetsk regional military administration later said the evacuation would begin at 7am (4am GMT).
How many people are still trapped in Mariupol? As many as 100,000 people are believed to be in the blockaded city, which has endured some of the most terrible suffering of the Russian invasion. These include 1,000 civilians and 2,000 Ukrainian fighters thought to be sheltering underneath the Soviet-era steelworks.
Will Biden’s Ukraine aid request be approved? Joe Biden’s $33bn request to Congress for more aid for Ukraine is likely to receive swift approval from lawmakers, a senior Republican said on Sunday, as the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, made a surprise visit to the war-riven country.
What else is happening? Here’s what we know on day 68 of the invasion.
Capitol attack panel set to subpoena Trump allies, Republican Kinzinger says
The House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol will decide “in the next week or two” whether to issue subpoenas trying to force Republican lawmakers to testify about Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election, one of two Republicans on the panel said yesterday.
“If that takes a subpoena, it takes a subpoena,” Adam Kinzinger said.
The Illinois congressman also told CBS’s Face the Nation that public hearings planned for June would aim to “lay the whole story out in front of the American people … because ultimately, they have to be the judge” of Trump’s attempt to hold on to power.
Kinzinger and nine other House Republicans voted to impeach Trump over the Capitol attack, which a bipartisan Senate committee linked to seven deaths.
But Senate Republicans stayed loyal, acquitting Trump, and Kinzinger is one of four anti-Trump House Republicans who have since announced their retirements.
He and Liz Cheney of Wyoming are the only Republicans on the January 6 committee.
What did Kinzinger say? The June hearings will involve laying out “what led to January 6, the lies after the election, fundraising, the 187 minutes the president basically sat in the Oval Office [as the Capitol was attacked] … the response by [the Department of Defense],” he said.
Trump or no Trump: Asa Hutchinson mulls run for president in 2024
The Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, is considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and would not be deterred if Donald Trump made an expected bid to return to the White House.
“No, it won’t [deter me],” Hutchinson told CNN’s State of the Union yesterday.
“I’ve made it clear. I think we ought to have a different direction in the future and so I’m not aligned with [Trump] on some of his endorsements, but also the direction he wants to take our country.
On CNN, he was asked about an appearance last week at a “Politics & Eggs” event in New Hampshire, a “traditional stop for any presidential hopeful” in an early voting state.
“You’ve got to get through course this year,” he said, “but that’s an option that’s on the table. And that’s one of the reasons I was in New Hampshire.”
Is Trump allowed to run again? Yes, Trump is free to run – and has amassed huge campaign funding – after being acquitted in his second Senate impeachment trial, in which he was charged with inciting the deadly January 6 Capitol attack, in his attempt to overturn defeat by Joe Biden.
In other news …
Astronomers are hoping to witness the self-destruction of a star, which could help shed light on the creation of matter in our galaxy. Signals relayed by automated telescope arrays and underground detectors will reveal that a star in our galactic neighbourhood has just turned supernova.
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has fallen victim to cutbacks at Netflix, as the struggling streaming giant has reportedly dropped plans for her animated series Pearl. Announced to fanfare last summer, the show was to follow the adventures of a 12-year-old girl inspired by historically influential female figures.
The “revenge” political attack on Disney by Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, for opposing his “don’t say gay” law violates the party’s mantra of restrained government, his counterpart in Arkansas said. DeSantis and Asa Hutchinson could be rivals for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
Laine Hardy, who tasted superstardom by winning American Idol, has been arrested after allegedly spying on a woman. A college student in Hardy’s home state, Louisiana, looked under her dormitory bed, found a hidden audio recording device and told police she feared the musician planted it there.
Stat of the day: A million acres have already burned across the country as the south-west braces for wildfire season
Hot, dry winds will continue to spur flames burning through the drought-stricken landscapes in the south-west and the American plains, complicating efforts to extinguish roughly a dozen destructive wildfires that have already driven thousands from their homes. Risks are usually higher in the region during this time of year and fire conditions typically ramp up in the months sandwiched between winter and summer rain seasons. But experts say the explosive start is an indication of what’s to come in the warming months.
Don’t miss this: Olivia Wilde was served papers onstage. It’s no shock to those in the business
The actor Olivia Wilde was discussing a forthcoming film on stage this week when she was served papers onstage. The envelope contained custody papers from her ex-fiance, Jason Sudeikis, with whom she has two kids. Wilde reportedly didn’t bat an eye after opening the papers, but the incident sparked questions. How did the person who served the papers get into the event at CinemaCon, a star-studded film industry gathering in Las Vegas? And why did the person choose such a public moment to hand the documents to Wilde?
Climate check: Rob Bilott on his 20-year fight against forever chemicals
Last month, an Ohio court certified a class action lawsuit brought by lawyer Rob Bilott that would cover 7 million people – and at some point possibly everyone living in the US – who have been exposed to certain hazardous “forever chemicals” known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. The chemicals have been linked to cancer, birth defects, kidney disease and a range of other human health problems. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down, persisting indefinitely in the environment.
Last Thing: Florida couple call for help after can-do alligator has a Diet Coke break
A gregarious Florida alligator seemingly could not wait for a family’s birthday party to begin, so it slipped into a garage where supplies were being stored and chugged down a slab of Diet Coke. The uninvited guest surprised Naples homeowners Karyn and Jamie Dobson when they opened the connecting door from their house after hearing a crash, WINK News reported. “I open the door about a quarter way, peek my head in, and there’s the alligator,” Jamie Dobson said. He said the 8ft crocodilian was backing away, with froth from the cans all over the floor.
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