Home Audio Transcription Russia targets Donbas region, airlines nix mask mandates: 5 Things podcast

Russia targets Donbas region, airlines nix mask mandates: 5 Things podcast

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On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Russia launches Donbas offensive

Ukraine will try to defend its eastern region. Plus, airlines ditch mask mandates after a judge’s ruling, economic opportunity reporter Charisse Jones looks at the fight to keep working from home, President Joe Biden goes on the road to tout his infrastructure plan and reporter Jordan Mendoza tells us how to see four planets lined up in the morning sky this month.

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Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Tuesday, the 19th of April 2022. Today, the Donbas offensive, plus no more mask mandates on planes, and more.

Here are some of the top headlines:

  1. Explosions around schools in the Afghan capital of Kabul have killed at least six people, including students, and injured 11. One explosion came inside a high school. No one has claimed immediate responsibility, though the Shiite area has been targeted in the past by the Islamic State.
  2. The US is sending officials to the Solomon Islands over concerns that China may establish a military presence there. The Solomons and China initialed a security packed draft agreement last month.
  3. And the Chicago police officer convicted of Laquan McDonald’s 2014 murder will not face federal charges. Jason Van Dyke was already convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 81 months in state prison. He served less than half that sentence before being released in February.

Russian forces attacked today along a broad front in Eastern Ukraine. It appears that a long anticipated new offensive in Ukraine’s Donbas region is here. Ukraine’s general staff said in a statement, “The occupiers made an attempt to break through our defenses along nearly the entire front line.” Moscow backed separatists have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years. In the mostly Russian speaking Donbas, they’ve declared two independent republics, Donetsk and Luhansk, that have been recognized by Russia. And Russia has declared the capture of the Donbas to be its main goal in the war after attempts to take the capital of Kyiv failed. US military officials say Russia has added artillery and ground combat forces in the region. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.

John Kirby:

I mean, we have seen the Russians continue to flow in enablers, capabilities that will help them fight in the Donbas going forward. That’s artillery, rotary aviation, helicopter support, command and control enablers. And we do believe that they have reinforced the number of battalion tactical groups in the east and the south of Ukraine. Now, we can’t say specifically where all these battalions, these tactical groups are going, but we have seen over the last few days that they’ve added now more than 10 to what they already had there in that part of the country. Separate and distinct from that, Bob, we have continued to see the concentration of their airstrikes and artillery in the Donbas and in the south, particularly around and in Mariupol. That’s where the preponderance of their strike activity has gone. And the fighting in Mariupol, as you guys have all seen, continues. The Ukrainians are still resisting. The city has not fallen to the Russians, but they continue to pound it from the air and through long range fires.

Taylor Wilson:

Russia has confidence that years of separatist movements in the region will help them get lots of local support in the fights to come. But Ukrainian soldiers waiting for Russian forces are confident.

Taylor Wilson translating for a Russian soldier:

“As I said back in 2016, if they step on our territory, let them come in. They will stay here forever. There is enough land for everyone to be buried. Even if they just walk in one or one and a half meters, there won’t be questions. They will get what they deserve.”

Taylor Wilson:

Russia gained control of the city of Kreminna yesterday, bringing them closer to the city of Slovyansk. It’s seen as a major target of the Russian offensive. Slovyansk was taken by pro-Russian fighters in 2014 before Ukrainian forces retook it months later.

Airlines are ditching their face mask rules for the first time in two years. Delta, United, American, Southwest and other airlines announced yesterday that they’re dropping face mask requirements immediately. The move comes after a federal judge in Florida voided a CDC mandate. It was announced in January of 2021 and set to expire yesterday, though the CDC said it would extend the mandate an additional 15 days, marking the mask mandate’s fifth extension. But the Biden White House said the Florida ruling means that for now the mask mandate is not in effect. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.

Jen Psaki:

CDC recommended continuing the order for additional time, two weeks, to be able to assess the latest science in keeping with its responsibility to protect the American people. So this is obviously a disappointing decision. The CDC continues recommending wearing a mask in public transit. As you know, this just came out this afternoon. So right now, the Department of Homeland Security, who would be implementing, and the CDC are reviewing the decision. And of course, the Department of Justice would make any determinations about litigation.



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