Russia confirms casualties in Ukraine for the 1st time : NPR


Individuals have a look at the gutted stays of Russian navy automobiles on a highway within the city of Bucha, near Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, on Tuesday.

Serhii Nuzhnenko/AP


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Serhii Nuzhnenko/AP


Individuals have a look at the gutted stays of Russian navy automobiles on a highway within the city of Bucha, near Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, on Tuesday.

Serhii Nuzhnenko/AP

For the primary time, the Russian Protection Ministry has confirmed a considerable variety of casualties in Ukraine, asserting that 498 Russian troops have died and 1,597 extra have been injured.

The losses shed new gentle on what had been up till now tightly managed messaging concerning what the Kremlin insists is a restricted “particular navy operation.”

Till now, Russia’s navy studies centered on the tallies of destroyed navy outposts, weapons and tools because the Russian authorities cracks down on the portrayal of its actions in Ukraine as a warfare or invasion. Russian media retailers at present face fines or blockage for utilizing phrases like “warfare” or “invasion,” and 1000’s of anti-war protesters have been detained for the reason that battle started.

Delegations from Ukraine and Russia are getting ready to start a second spherical of talks. The newest studies counsel the talks will restart Thursday morning close to the Belarus-Poland border. The primary spherical of negotiations ended with no breakthrough on Monday.

In an interview cited by Russian state-run information company RIA Novosti, Russian International Minister Sergey Lavrov mentioned: “Our negotiators are ready for a second spherical of discussions about [security] ensures with the Ukrainian representatives.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had beforehand referred to as for safety ensures from NATO. On Wednesday, the U.N. Common Meeting overwhelmingly voted to sentence Russia for invading Ukraine and to demand that it finish the warfare.

In Wednesday’s launch on casualties, Russian Protection Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that amongst Ukrainian troops, 2,870 have been killed, round 3,700 injured and 572 captured. Konashenkov additionally referred to as media studies of “numerous” losses amongst Russian troops “deliberate disinformation.”

Western and Ukrainian estimates have far exceeded the newly launched Russian tallies, and any numbers stay unverified.

Russia’s Protection Ministry had beforehand acknowledged that some troopers had died however didn’t supply particulars. Some regional leaders had publicly shared information of a number of troopers killed within the “particular operation.”

By U.S. estimates Wednesday, Russia has deployed 82% of its forces that had been positioned exterior Ukraine, up from an estimated 80% on Tuesday.



Many Capitol riot cases could hinge on 1st trial’s outcome


Isurrectionists storm the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. The primary trial for one of many a whole lot of Capitol riot prosecutions begins this week, with jury choice scheduled to start on Monday. (John Minchillo, Related Press)

Estimated learn time: 6-7 minutes

WASHINGTON — The Justice Division launched one of many largest and most complicated felony investigations in its historical past after a mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol over a yr in the past. Now it is time for a jury to listen to a number of the authorities’s proof in regards to the unparalleled assault on American democracy.

The primary trial for one of many a whole lot of Capitol riot prosecutions begins this week, with jury choice scheduled to start on Monday for the case in opposition to Man Wesley Reffitt. The Texas man is charged with bringing a gun onto Capitol grounds, interfering with cops guarding the constructing, and threatening his teenage youngsters in the event that they reported him to authorities.

Reffitt’s trial could possibly be a bellwether for a lot of different Capitol riot instances. A conviction would give prosecutors extra leverage in plea talks with rioters dealing with essentially the most severe expenses. An acquittal could lead others to attend for their very own day in courtroom.

Reffitt “actually is the canary within the coal mine,” mentioned Gregg Sofer, a former federal prosecutor who served as U.S. legal professional for the Western District of Texas from October 2020 to February 2021.

“It will actually be fascinating to see how sturdy a case the federal government has and whether or not or not they’re counting on proof that, when pushed and examined, stands up. It’ll have a big impact going ahead,” added Sofer, now a associate at a legislation agency.

Reffitt is a member of a militia-style group referred to as the “Texas Three Percenters,” in accordance with prosecutors. The Three Percenters militia motion refers back to the fable that solely 3% of People fought within the Revolutionary Struggle in opposition to the British.


It will actually be fascinating to see how sturdy a case the federal government has and whether or not or not they’re counting on proof that, when pushed and examined, stands up. It’ll have a big impact going ahead.

–Gregg Sofer, former federal prosecutor


On Jan. 6, 2021, Reffitt was armed with a handgun in a holster on his waist, carrying zip-tie handcuffs and carrying physique armor and a helmet geared up with a video digicam when he and others charged at cops on the west aspect of the Capitol, in accordance with prosecutors.

“This motion prompted the police line guarding the constructing to retreat nearer to the constructing itself; quickly after this, legislation enforcement was overwhelmed, and rioters flooded the constructing,” prosecutors wrote in a courtroom submitting.

Reffitt retreated solely after an officer pepper sprayed him within the face, prosecutors mentioned.

Prosecutors imagine Reffitt took not less than two firearms with him to Washington: an AR-15 rifle and a Smith & Wesson pistol. When FBI brokers searched Reffitt’s house in Wylie, Texas, they discovered a handgun in a holster on a nightstand within the defendant’s bed room. Prosecutors say images and video of Reffitt in the course of the riot present a handgun holster on his proper hip, with what seems to be a silver object contained in the holster.

On the morning of Jan. 6, Reffitt mentioned he deliberate to “do the recon after which come again for weapons scorching” and despatched messages about assembly at a “rendezvous level,” in accordance with prosecutors.

“These messages, together with the weapons that Reffitt carried and the gear he wore, clarify that the defendant didn’t come to D.C. with the intention to interact in peaceable exercise,” prosecutors wrote.

The siege resulted within the deaths of 5 folks, together with a police officer. The Justice Division says greater than 235 rioters have been charged with assaulting or impeding legislation enforcement, injuring over 100 officers. Rioters prompted over $1 million in harm to the Capitol.

The Justice Division says its investigation has generated an unprecedented quantity of proof, with a whole lot of hundreds of paperwork and hundreds of hours of movies to share with protection attorneys. Shared information whole greater than 9 terabytes of knowledge and would take over 100 days to view, the division says.

Greater than 750 folks have been charged with federal crimes associated to the riot. Over 200 of them have pleaded responsible, principally to misdemeanors carrying a most sentence of six months’ imprisonment. Greater than 100 riot defendants have been sentenced. And not less than 90 others have trial dates this yr.

Philadelphia-based protection legal professional Justin Danilewitz, who was a federal prosecutor in New Jersey from 2012 to 2017, mentioned a conviction in Reffitt’s case could result in a flurry of responsible pleas by different riot defendants.

“And that may profit defendants from time to time as a result of it is higher than the choice if the choice is a conviction following a trial,” Danilewitz added.

An acquittal may encourage different defendants to “dig of their heels” and both push for a greater plea provide from prosecutors or gamble a trial of their very own, he mentioned.

“It can even be fascinating to see what the protection technique is within the face of this very compelling proof,” Danilewitz mentioned.

Protection legal professional William Welch has mentioned there isn’t a proof that Reffitt broken property, used power or bodily harmed anyone. In a Could 2021 courtroom submitting, Welch mentioned not one of the movies or images exhibits a gun in Reffitt’s possession on the Capitol.

“In truth, neither of the cops interviewed by the federal government mentioned something a couple of firearm,” he wrote.

Reffitt has been jailed since his arrest in Texas lower than every week after the riot. He faces 5 counts: obstruction of an official continuing, being unlawfully current on Capitol grounds whereas armed with a firearm, transporting firearms throughout a civil dysfunction, interfering with legislation enforcement officers throughout a civil dysfunction, and obstruction of justice.

The obstructing justice cost stems from threats that he allegedly made in opposition to his son, then 18, and daughter, then 16, after returning house from Washington. Reffett advised his youngsters to “select a aspect or die” and mentioned they’d be traitors in the event that they reported him to legislation enforcement, prosecutors mentioned.

“He predicted future political violence in statements each to his household and to fellow militia members, bragged to fellow militia members about his involvement within the riot, recruited different rioters into the militia, and ordered bear spray and riot shields to his house to arrange for additional violence,” prosecutors wrote.

Messages recovered from Reffitt’s cellphone point out he deliberate to joined an armed rebel on Jan. 6 and meant to occupy the Capitol, prosecutors mentioned.

“We had hundreds of weapons and fired no rounds but confirmed numbers. The following time we is not going to be so cordial,” he wrote, in accordance with prosecutors.

Presiding over Reffitt’s trial is U.S. District Choose Dabney Friedrich, who was nominated by President Donald Trump in 2017. Friedrich already has sentenced 9 rioters who pleaded responsible.

Prosecutors count on to name a couple of dozen witnesses, together with three Capitol cops who interacted with Reffitt and an officer who was in control of the U.S. Capitol Police command middle.

Jurors will see movies that captured Reffitt’s confrontation with police. Prosecutors even have audio recordings of Reffitt speaking in regards to the riot inside his house after returning house.

“We made a degree. That was a historic day,” Refffitt mentioned throughout one of many recorded conversations, in accordance with prosecutors. “And guess what? I am not accomplished but. I acquired much more to do. That is the start.”

Reffitt’s son, daughter and a fellow Texas Three Percenter group member are also listed as authorities witnesses. The group member traveled with Reffitt to Washington and again to Texas between Jan. 4 and Jan. 8, 2021.

“Through the drive (to Washington), Reffitt talked about ‘dragging these folks out of the Capitol by their ankles’ and putting in a brand new authorities,” prosecutors wrote.

A courtroom submitting that refers back to the different militia member by the initials “R.H.” says the person will inform jurors he was given immunity from prosecution in change for his testimony.

Welch has mentioned Reffiitt labored as a rig supervisor and as a guide within the petroleum trade earlier than COVID-19 restrictions successfully shut down his enterprise.

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In ‘attacking the pressure’ of predictions, BYU women cruise to 1st regular-season title since 2016


The BYU Cougars rejoice after profitable a West Coast Convention sport in opposition to the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the Marriott Middle in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (Mengshin Lin, Deseret Information)

Estimated learn time: 4-5 minutes

PROVO — After a thunderous, emotional win over Gonzaga within the last residence sport of the common season, BYU ladies’s basketball had yet one more formality left: win the West Coast Convention outright championship.

The formality got here to a head rapidly in Stockton, California.

Shaylee Gonzales poured in 18 factors, eight rebounds, three assists and 4 steals, and Paisley Harding added 14 factors and 4 rebounds as No. 19 BYU rolled to a 82-52 win at Pacific on the Spanos Middle to clinch the Cougars’ first West Coast Convention regular-season title in seven years.

Lauren Gustin added 11 factors and 13 rebounds — her league-high 14th double-double of the season — for BYU (25-2, 15-1 WCC), and Tegan Graham had 12 factors and 5 assists for the Cougars.

It is the primary outright regular-season convention title for BYU (25-2, 15-1 WCC) because the 2015-16 season, and the second total since becoming a member of the West Coast Convention in 2011. BYU additionally received convention regular-season titles underneath head coach Jeff Judkins in 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2010-11 as members of the Mountain West.

Maybe the toughest half for the Cougars, who ranked No. 8 within the NET with a mean margin of victory of 20.9 factors, was how they received that league title: from the entrance. Judkins knew his group had the possibility to do one thing particular.

“I realized a very long time in the past that you do not disguise from stress; you assault it,” Judkins mentioned. “When the season began, we had our objectives and once we acquired picked first, I allow them to know they’ve a bullseye on their again.

“You have to methods to go: both relish it and reap the benefits of it and win a championship, or fold. I do know my group, and so they’re opponents; they took that problem actually arduous.”

The Cougars have been predicted to win the WCC title a yr after a bevy of seniors like Harding, Graham, Sara Hamson and Maria Albiero returned from an additional yr of eligibility supplied by the NCAA because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However BYU did not simply exit and win — the group rolled to the championship, sweeping runner-up Gonzaga and taking up all challengers (apart from one street sport at Portland) to pummel groups by double digits, night time in and night time out.

Saturday was no exception. The one draw back to the afternoon was having to clinch the title and lift the trophy in Pacific’s health club, and never at residence in entrance of a rising era of Cougar followers within the Marriott Middle.

BYU opened the sport on a 16-2 run, led by 5 factors from Harding and 4 factors apiece from Gonzales and Gustin, to spoil the Tigers’ senior day early.

Harding capped a 13-3 run, bridging the primary two quarters with a driving layup that pushed the Cougars’ result in 29-9 lower than two minutes into the second quarter. Gonzales had 12 factors and 7 rebounds within the first half, Harding added 9 factors, two assists and two steals, and Tegan Graham provided 9 factors and 5 assists as BYU took an amazing 50-20 lead into the break.

Even Arielle Mackey-Williams, the freshman reserve from New Zealand had, 7 factors on 3-of-3 capturing within the first half — simply 2 factors off her profession excessive because the Tigers shot simply 25% from the sphere within the first half.

Gonzales took any doubt away from the sport early, not simply offensively, however with a game-high 4 steals and three assists with only one turnover.

“The factor about Shaylee is she’s so targeted on desirous to be the most effective participant,” Judkins mentioned of his star sophomore. “It is the toughest place on the group, however I feel her and Paisley this yr labored so effectively collectively.

“Shaylee does lots of issues; she scores lots of factors, however she does lots of different issues defensively, will get lots of steals, deflections, rebounds, and she or he’s a wonderful passer.”

It was a rout early and a rout usually — one which shut down the West Coast Convention’s web site, which was streaming the sport, just some minutes after tipoff.

The preseason favourite Cougars had waited all yr to clinch their first convention title in seven years, and so they weren’t ready any longer, leaping out to a 71-32 lead after 4 quarters earlier than Judkins put within the reserves to seal the win.

Have been the Cougars good? Not hardly, and the loss to Portland will present that. However they’re going to even be the favorites to win the convention event in Las Vegas — and Judkins plans to assault that week in Sin Metropolis like his group did the common season.

“Did we slip up? Yeah, one time. However I feel once we misplaced that sport (at Portland) after which received at Gonzaga, I feel it set the tone for our group and what they might accomplish,” Judkins mentioned. “I’ve by no means been a coach to shrink back from stress, and my group isn’t that means, both.

“We’re favored to win the event, too, and we’ll exit and combat there, too.”

BYU will open the WCC Match semifinals Monday, March 7, tipping off at 1 p.m. MST on the Orleans Enviornment in Las Vegas.

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BYU women cruise past Pacific for 1st WCC regular-season title since 2016


The BYU Cougars rejoice after successful a West Coast Convention sport towards the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the Marriott Middle in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022. (Mengshin Lin, Deseret Information)

Estimated learn time: Lower than a minute

PROVO — After a thunderous, emotional win over Gonzaga within the ultimate house sport of the common season, BYU ladies’s basketball had another formality left: win the West Coast Convention outright championship.

The formality got here to a head rapidly in Stockton, California.

Shaylee Gonzales poured in 18 factors, eight rebounds, three assists and 4 steals, and Paisley Harding added 14 factors and 4 rebounds as No. 19 BYU rolled to a 82-52 win at Pacific on the Spanos Middle to clinch the Cougars’ first West Coast Convention regular-season title in seven years.

Lauren Gustin added 11 factors and 13 rebounds for BYU (25-2, 15-1 WCC), and Tegan Graham had 12 factors and 5 assists for the Cougars.

It is the primary outright regular-season convention title for BYU (25-2, 15-1 WCC) because the 2015-16 season, and the second total since becoming a member of the West Coast Convention in 2011. BYU additionally gained convention regular-season titles beneath head coach Jeff Judkins in 2005-06, 2006-07, and 2010-11 as members of the Mountain West.

This story will probably be up to date.

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