- Ukraine plans to prosecute a Russian soldier for alleged war crimes for the first time since the invasion. The soldier on trial first allegedly killed an unarmed 62-year-old Ukrainian civilian in northeast Ukraine, and three other Russian prisoners of war are set to be tried for similar crimes in the near future.
- The Ukrainian gas operator said it would stop flowing Russian gas to Europe through a major pipeline because Russian troops have been diverting that pipeline’s gas to the Donbas. That particular pipeline usually carries one-third of the Russian gas that transits Ukraine, but after it was shut down its flows were redirected through other pipelines and total gas flows via Ukraine to Europe were roughly back to normal.
- Ukrainian defenders holding out at the Azovstal steel plant tweeted @ Elon Musk for a rescue: “@elonmusk people say you come from another planet to teach people to believe in the impossible. Our planets are next to each other, as I live where it is nearly impossible to survive. Help us get out of Azovstal to a mediating country. If not you, then who? Give me a hint.”
- Russian fighter jets downed in Ukraine have been found with basic GPS receivers taped to their dashboards, and the UK defense secretary says it’s because the onboard navigation systems are even more useless—as much of Russia’s military hardware is turning out to be.
- Lithuania’s parliament voted to designate Russia a state sponsor of terror, becoming the first country to do so. There’s a bipartisan resolution in the U.S. Senate calling on Pres. Biden to make the same designation.
- Pres. Putin missed Tuesday night’s Night Hockey League National Festival hockey game—which he usually plays in—and appeared before the crowd by video instead. His physical absence naturally sparked more rumors about his health.
- Even though new COVID cases are falling in Shanghai and half the city was just declared “zero-COVID,” authorities also imposed the strictest lockdown measures yet, suspending the last two metro lines that were operating and banning residents in some areas from leaving their houses even for grocery shopping. That’s bound to frustrate lockdown-weary residents.
- The WHO called China’s draconian approach to COVID “unsustainable,” and that offended China: now mentions of the WHO and its Director-General are being censored on Chinese social media.
- Meanwhile in Hong Kong, police arrested a well-known Catholic cardinal, Joseph Zen, and four aid workers for allegedly “colluding with foreign forces” to violate the territory’s strict national security law by speaking out against Pres. Xi and his authoritarian rule.
- North Korea reported its first-ever outbreak of COVID-19 in Pyongyang and declared a “maximum emergency” (I guess “state of emergency” doesn’t sound dire enough in a place that’s been in crisis mode for 74 years).
- Analysts think a COVID outbreak could indeed be a maximum problem for North Korea: most of its population isn’t vaccinated, and its public health system barely functions. The government immediately ordered a strict lockdown, which is probably going to be its best hope for containing the outbreak.
- After facing criticism for announcing a 39-month transition period back to democracy, Guinea’s legislature approved a slightly shorter 36-month transition. ECOWAS, the regional bloc, had hoped for a much shorter timeline.
- Shireen Abu Akleh, a Palestinian journalist working for Al Jazeera, was shot and killed while reporting from Jenin in the West Bank. Her colleagues who witnessed the shooting say she was shot by Israeli soldiers.
- Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa ignored calls to resign and offered no real concessions or reforms in his first national address since protests began last month. A nationwide curfew resumes this afternoon, and security forces have been ordered to shoot violators on sight.