Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
President Volodymyr Zelensky said yesterday that Russian forces have begun their offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, signaling the start of a new phase in the war. Russian and Ukrainian forces have been fighting in the Donbas region for the better part of eight years, but a Pentagon official told reporters yesterday “almost all” of Russia’s airstrikes and artillery activity are now concentrated along Ukraine’s eastern front, from Kharkiv in the north to Mariupol in the south. One exception is the western city of Lviv, where a Russian airstrike on Monday reportedly killed seven people and wounded 11 others.
Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system intercepted a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on Monday, two days after Israeli police clashed with Palestinians at a holy site in Jerusalem important to both Muslims and Jews. It was the first such rocket attack in more than four months, and the Israeli Defense Force said it responded by destroying a Hamas weapons manufacturing facility in southern Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government is teetering on the brink of collapse, with the Islamist Ra’am Party temporarily freezing its membership in the deadlocked Knesset and governing coalition over the tensions.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will stop enforcing the Biden administration’s federal mask mandate for airplanes and public transportation after U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled on Monday the policy “exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rulemaking.” Following the decision, all major U.S. airlines—including American, United, Delta, Southwest, JetBlue, and Alaska—announced they would no longer require travelers or crew members to wear a mask while flying.