Happy Friday! Be sure to think about the presidents a lot this weekend.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
President Joe Biden told reporters yesterday he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will order an invasion of Ukraine “within the next several days” but reiterated that a “clear diplomatic path” is still available. Satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies found that—in addition to field hospitals, artillery, and troop buildups—a new military pontoon bridge has been constructed over the Pripyat River in Belarus near the Ukrainian border.
Ukrainian officials and Russian-backed separatists blamed one another for violating a ceasefire agreement in the Donbas region of Ukraine on Thursday. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s minister of foreign affairs, claimed the pro-Russian forces shelled the village of Stanytsia Luhanska, damaging civilian infrastructure. The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said the shelling hit a kindergarten, injured two teachers, and knocked out power in the village.
A State Department spokesperson said yesterday that Russia expelled Bart Gorman, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy, from Moscow this week. Russia’s Foreign Ministry claimed the move was a retaliation for earlier U.S. expulsions of Russian officials from Washington, but the State Department called the move “unprovoked” and an “escalatory step.”