The Morning Dispatch: Biden Says Pandemic Over—But Not the National Emergency

Happy Wednesday! The U.S. Space Force unveiled its official song on Tuesday, and we’re not going to lie to you—it’s pretty great.

We’re the mighty watchful eye,
Guardians beyond the blue,
The invisible front line,
Warfighters brave and true.
Boldly reaching into space,
There’s no limit to our sky.
Standing guard both night and day,
We’re the Space Force from on high.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened further escalations to his war against Ukraine in a speech Wednesday, saying that Russia will use any means necessary to protect its territorial integrity—a statement many analysts understood as a threat to use nuclear weapons. Putin appeared to shift Russia’s first-use nuclear doctrine, which had previously held that Russia would only launch nuclear weapons first if the country’s existence is threatened. He also announced the state would call up hundreds of thousands more soldiers and indefinitely extend the military contracts of those serving, which typically last three to six months.

  • TASS, a Russian state-media outlet, reported Tuesday that Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” will vote in a referendum later this week and early next to decide whether to formally become a part of Russia. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba preemptively labeled the vote a “sham,” and said Ukraine maintains “every right” to liberate its territories—and will keep liberating them “whatever Russia has to say.”

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