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Ukraine strike deaths hit 40; Russia seen preparing long war




Ukraine’s DNIPRO — On Monday, Ukrainian rescue workers searched through the ruins of a Dnipro apartment complex devastated by a Russian missile, putting victims from one of the war’s bloodiest single attacks in months in black bags and delicately transferring them across steep piles of rubble.

Authorities reported the death toll from Saturday’s hit had risen to 40, with 30 people still missing on Monday. Tall cranes swung across the jagged gaps in a stretch of residential skyscrapers, their motors roaring in the dark sky while residents of one of Ukraine’s largest cities stood mostly silently by.

Since the missile attack, search and rescue workers have been working nonstop to look through the wreckage for dead people and people who may still be alive. According to the regional administration, 39 people have been rescued, and 75 injured.

According to The Frontline War Crimes Watch project, the alleged death toll ranks among the bloodiest attacks on Ukrainian civilians since before the summer. According to residents, the residential tower does not house any military facilities.

Oleksander Anyskevych reported the missile hit him in his apartment.


Ukraine People Mourn The Most Recent Bombing

“Boom — and that’s the end of it. “We saw that we were alive, and that’s all,” Anyskevych recounted on his way to his ruined apartment on Monday.

He knew folks who died under the rubble. One of his son’s classmates had both parents die.

Residents of Dnipro brought flowers, candles, and toys to the remains.

“Any of us may be there,” said Iryna Skrypnyk, a local.

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy leader, branded the strike and others like it “inhumane violence” since they directly targeted civilians. “These crimes will not go unpunished,” he stated in a tweet on Sunday.


The Facility Was Hit As A Part Of A Larger Bombardment

When asked about the strike, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov stated the Russian military never targets residential buildings and that the Dnipro building was hit due to Ukrainian air defense efforts.

The facility was hit as part of a larger bombardment of Russian cruise missiles across Ukraine. The Ukrainian military acknowledged on Sunday that it could not intercept the type of Russian missile that hit the Dnipro residential building.

Fighting raged on Monday in Ukraine‘s eastern Donetsk province, where military analysts predict both sides will suffer severe army casualties. It was not able to independently verify developments.

Donetsk and the neighboring province of Luhansk comprise the Donbas, a large industrial region bordering Russia that Russian President Vladimir Putin chose as a focal point from the start of the war. Since 2014, separatists supported by Moscow have been fighting Kyiv’s military in the region.

On Monday, the Russian and Belarusian air forces began a joint drill in Belarus, which bordered Ukraine and served as a staging ground for Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.


Russia Has Dispatched War Planes

According to the Belarusian Defense Ministry, the drills are scheduled to last until February 1. Russia has dispatched warplanes to Belarus for the exercises.

The Institute for the Study of Conflict, a Washington think tank, highlighted signs of the Kremlin taking preparations to turn the Ukraine incursion into “a major conventional war” following months of embarrassing military reversals.

According to the think tank, Russia’s “special military operation” aimed to conquer the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, within weeks and impose a Kremlin-friendly administration there, but Russian soldiers eventually withdrew from the area around Kyiv. Then a powerful Ukrainian counteroffensive followed in recent months, just as winter began to limit military progress.

“The Kremlin is likely planning a dramatic strategic action in the next six months to retake the initiative and stop Ukraine’s current streak of operational achievements,” the Institute for the Study of War reported late Sunday.

It said that there were claims that the Russian military command was making “serious preparations” for a larger mobilization operation by keeping mobilized people for future use, increasing military-industrial production, and reorganizing its command structure.


NATO Convinces Ukraine To ‘Stick To Their Guns’

As a result, Ukraine’s Western partners “will need to continue helping Ukraine in the long run,” according to the think group.

NATO members have tried in recent days to convince Ukraine that they will stick to their guns. The United Kingdom has promised tanks, and the United States military’s new, expanded combat training of Ukrainian forces started on Sunday in Germany.

Poland’s prime minister asked Germany to send a wide range of weapons to Kyiv and said he hoped battle tanks would soon be approved for transfer.


On Monday, There Were Also The Following Developments:

— Russian military shelled Kherson and the Kherson area over the last 24 hours, killing three persons and injuring 14, according to regional Gov. Yaroslav Yanushevych. In Kherson, the shelling hurt a hospital, a center for disabled children, a shipyard, important infrastructure, and apartment buildings.

— Russian soldiers attacked the city of Zaporizhzhia, damaging industrial equipment and injuring five persons, two of whom were minors, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of Ukraine’s presidential office.

— Russian air defenses shot down 10 drones over the Black Sea near the port of Sevastopol in seized Crimea on Monday, according to Mikhail Razvozhayev, the city’s Russian-installed mayor.




Andrew Tate Loses Appeal Against 30-Day Detention In Romania



Andrew Tate Detained Over Alleged Human Trafficking in Romania

BUCHAREST, RUSSIA — An official said that a Romanian court upheld a second 30-day detention for the Tik Toker and former kickboxer Andrew Tate, who is being held on suspicion of organized crime and human trafficking.

Ramona Bolla, a spokeswoman for Romania’s DIICOT agency that fights organized crime, said that Tate lost his appeal against a judge’s decision on January 20 to keep him in jail for another 30 days.

Andrew, a British-American citizen with nearly 5 million Twitter followers, arrived at the Bucharest Court of Appeal handcuffed to his brother Tristan, who is being held in the same case as two Romanian women. None of the four have been charged formally.

The court didn’t agree with their arguments, so they’ll all stay in jail until February 27 while prosecutors look into the case. They previously lost an appeal over a 30-day extension.

A document that explains the judge’s decision on January 20 says that he or she took into account the defendants’ “special dangerousness” and their ability to find victims who were “more vulnerable and looking for better life opportunities.”


Tate Seeks Better Defence

Tina Glandian, an American lawyer who has worked with famous people like singer Chris Brown and former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, joined the Andrews’ legal team on Wednesday.

“The defense team made extensive legal arguments pointing out the lack of evidence against the Tate brothers,” she said before the ruling at a press conference. “It’s no secret that the Tate brothers are controversial public figures, but this isn’t about them… this is about a violation of international human rights and due process of law.”

“The system has failed so far,” she said. “The Tate brothers, both US citizens, have been imprisoned for more than 30 days without bail and with no charges filed against them.”

“Ask them for evidence, and they will give you none because it doesn’t exist,” Andrew Tate said as the Tates left the court after Wednesday’s morning hearing. You’ll learn the truth about this case soon.”

Tate is said to have moved to Romania in 2017. Before that, he was not allowed to use several popular social media sites to share his misogynistic and hateful views. He claims there is “zero evidence” against him in the case and that it is a “political” attack to silence him.

“My case is political, not criminal. It has nothing to do with justice or fairness. It’s about undermining my global influence,” read a post on his Twitter account on Sunday.


Tates Following Has Grown Since His Arrest

Since his arrest in December, his Twitter following has grown by several hundred thousand. An online petition to free the brothers, launched in January, has nearly 100,000 signatures.

Following the arrests of the Tates and the two women, the DIICOT anti-organized crime agency said in a statement that it had identified six victims in the human trafficking case who had been subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and sexually exploited by members of the alleged crime group.

According to the agency, victims were enticed with false promises of love, intimidated, placed under surveillance, and subjected to other forms of control while coerced into engaging in pornographic acts for large financial gain.

Last month, Romanian police raided the Tate brothers’ property near Bucharest and took a fleet of luxury cars, including a Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari, and a Porsche. They reported seizing assets valued at $3.9 million.

Prosecutors have stated that if they can prove the car owners made money from illegal activities such as human trafficking, the assets will be used to cover investigation costs and compensate victims. Tate also lost his appeal against the asset seizure.



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NASA Marks 20 Years Since Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster




CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – As part of its annual tribute to astronauts who died in space, NASA remembered and honored the 20th anniversary of the Columbia space shuttle disaster on Thursday.

More than 100 people gathered at Kennedy Space Center under a grey sky to remember not only Columbia’s crew of seven but also the 18 other astronauts killed in the line of duty. More than half of the names etched into the black granite of the Space Mirror Memorial result from NASA’s two shuttle accidents; the rest result from plane crashes.

The Columbia astronaut family members did not attend the morning ceremony. But local rabbi Zvi Konikov remembered that Israel’s first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, asked him how to keep the Sabbath while in orbit for two weeks and seeing multiple sunsets daily.

“Ilan delivered a powerful message to us. We must pause and reflect on why we are here on Earth, no matter how fast we are moving or how important our work is, and that is what we are doing today. “We take a moment to remember all those brave souls,” Konikov said.


NASA Ship Was Destroyed Feb. 2003

Columbia was destroyed during reentry on February 1, 2003, because a piece of foam from the fuel tank had broken off and pierced the left wing 16 days earlier when the ship was taking off. The shuttle broke up over Texas only 16 minutes before it was supposed to land in Florida.

Despite the concerns of others, NASA managers dismissed the impact during the flight. The shuttle Challenger was lost during liftoff on January 28, 1986, killing all seven people on board, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe.

On January 27, 1967, three astronauts were killed when the Apollo 1 launch pad caught fire.

Because these three dates are so close, NASA dedicates the last Thursday of January to remembering its fallen astronauts. Flags were lowered to half-staff at space centers across the country, and ceremonies were held alongside spaceflight safety discussions.

Former shuttle commander Bob Cabana, an associate administrator at NASA, says that the loss of Columbia could have been prevented, just like other tragedies at NASA.


Three Astronauts Killed

“Why do we have to keep repeating the same difficult lessons?” he asked. “I never want to have to go through Columbia again.”

Columbia’s previous crew included commander Rick Husband, pilot Willie McCool, Michael Anderson, Kalpana Chawla, David Brown, Laurel Clark, and Ramon.

As the ceremony ended, a ship’s bell rang for each of the 25 names read.

Bob and Diane Ka lander’s sailing trip from Jamestown, Rhode Island, to Florida’s Key West was cut short of honoring the shuttle crews. Their daughter and her boyfriend also came to Kennedy.

“People’s memories are fading,” Diane Kalander said. “There has been a de-emphasis on space because people say, ‘Let’s worry about problems on Earth rather than future problems.'” We need to think about the future.”



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UKRAINE: Despite Concerns, US To Send 31 Abrams Tanks To Ukraine




WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senior administration officials said Wednesday that the United States would send 31 M1 Abrams battle tanks to Ukraine, reversing months of Biden administration arguments that the tanks were too difficult for Ukrainian troops to operate and maintain.

The U.S. decision came after Germany agreed to send 14 Leopard 2 A6 tanks from its stockpile. Germany had stated that the Leopards would only be sent if the U.S. put its Abrams on the table, as it wanted to avoid incurring Russia’s wrath unless the U.S. also committed its tanks.

Since then, both sides have had “good diplomatic conversations” that have made a difference and led to an “extraordinary shift in Germany’s security policy” about giving weapons to Ukraine since Russia invaded 11 months ago, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on Wednesday under the condition of anonymity about the new tank package before the announcement.

The $400 million package also includes eight M88 recovery vehicles, tank-like tracked vehicles that can tow the Abrams if stuck.


Ukraine To Receive Tanks From France

Hundreds of tanks and heavily armored vehicles will be sent by France, the United Kingdom, the United States, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden to fortify Ukraine as it enters a new phase of the war and attempts to break through entrenched Russian lines.

But there were few details on what U.S. tanks would be sent, such as whether they would be pulled from the existing stockpile of over 4,000 Abrams and retrofitted or whether the U.S. would use the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative to buy new systems to potentially backfill allies who send their own or buy new systems outright for Ukraine.

Using funding from the assistance initiative means that Ukraine has been promised Abrams tanks, but it will likely be many months before they arrive on the battlefield, and they won’t be there in time for Russia’s planned spring offensive.

Russian Ambassador to Germany Sergey Nechayev described Berlin’s decision to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as “extremely dangerous” on Wednesday.

In an online statement, Nechayev stated that the move “shifts the conflict to a new level of confrontation and contradicts German politicians’ statements about their reluctance to get involved in it.”


Close Allies Not Helping Out

“We are seeing yet again that Germany, along with its closest allies, is not interested in a diplomatic resolution of the Ukraine crisis; rather, it is determined to permanently escalate it and to continue to supply the Kyiv regime with new lethal weapons indefinitely,” the statement said.

Up until now, the United States has refused to give Ukraine its M1 Abrams tanks, saying that they are hard to maintain and cause a lot of logistical problems. Washington believed that sending German Leopards would be more productive because many allies had them, and Ukrainian troops would require less training than on the more difficult Abrams.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl recently told reporters that the Abrams is complicated, expensive, difficult to maintain, and difficult to train on a piece of equipment. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin emphasized that “we should not be providing the Ukrainians with systems they can’t repair, sustain, or afford in the long run, because it’s not helpful.”

To be effective in Ukraine, the Abrams will need extensive training in combined arms maneuvering — how the tanks work together on the battlefield and how to maintain and support the complex, 70-ton weapon. The Abrams tanks are propelled by a turbine jet engine that consumes at least two gallons of fuel per mile, whether moving or idling, requiring a network of fuel trucks to keep the line moving.




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