The U.S. Congress has authorised an further almost $40 billion to Ukraine for weapons and humanitarian help. That’s virtually triple the volume of the previous help package.


In the meantime, in Ukraine, far more than a thousand troopers have been evacuated from that steel plant in Mariupol. This as Russia consolidates its manage of the city, which is strategically genuinely important for the reason that of Mariupol’s place on the coast. Ukrainian officers are also out with some new, grim numbers. They say tens of 1000’s of people today were being killed in the course of the months of bombardment and some of the fiercest battling of the war.

FADEL: NPR’s Joanna Kakissis joins us now from Kyiv, Ukraine. Good early morning, Joanna.

JOANNA KAKISSIS, BYLINE: Superior morning, Leila.

FADEL: So, Joanna, what is actually the latest out of Mariupol? Are there any Ukrainian troopers continue to holed up in that plant? Or is this actually about?

KAKISSIS: So in addition to those people who have surrendered, there could be even more troopers nonetheless barricaded under the Azovstal plant. You know, formally, we do not know considerably simply because the Ukrainians have place a lid on all information and facts about the plant considering the fact that the soldiers commenced leaving it previously this week. But on Thursday night time, there was this cryptic video posted by a soldier that has been defending the plant. His title is Sviatoslav Palamar (ph), and he is a commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment.


SVIATOSLAV PALAMAR: (By means of interpreter) Glory to Ukraine. Right now is the 85th working day of war. Me and my army command are in the territory of Azovstal now. There is some procedure underway. I would not go into facts of that. Many thanks to the entire entire world, and many thanks to Ukraine for support.

KAKISSIS: So he appears to be boasting that he and other Ukrainian soldiers keep on being inside of the plant. We do not know if that’s correct, but it does recommend that this tale has not finished.

FADEL: And what do we know about the soldiers who have surrendered? What is actually taking place with them? In which are they?

KAKISSIS: Properly, we know that they have been taken to Russian-managed territory in Ukraine’s east. On private Telegram channels, supporters of Russia’s war are celebrating the capture of these troopers, contacting them Nazis and pigs. The Worldwide Committee for the Red Cross states that they are registering Ukrainian soldiers as prisoners of war. Previously this 7 days, Ukrainian officers were talking about bringing the soldiers back again to Ukraine as aspect of a prisoner exchange. But considering the fact that then, the Ukrainian authorities have gone silent. And some Russian politicians are declaring that the Ukrainian troopers really should be put on trial and even confront execution. But the Geneva Conventions point out that combatants are unable to be set on demo just for participating in battles.

FADEL: So this Ukrainian city, Mariupol, is ruined following months of bombing and shelling by Russian troops. And Russia now controls it. Tell us why Russia wanted it and how Russia will capitalize on using manage.

KAKISSIS: Sure. Controlling Mariupol usually means Russia secures a website link between the Russian border and Crimea. Russian media stories recommend that Russia is taking methods to secure its keep in excess of southeastern Ukraine. It is not distinct however how this will appear – what this will appear like. Russia’s deputy key minister for infrastructure, Marat Khusnullin – he was quoted by Russian information media indicating that, you know, “these locations have a deserving spot in our Russia loved ones.” Russia has also mounted proxies to provide as nearby politicians. So the Russians are plainly scheduling on staying here for the prolonged haul, even although Ukrainians have pushed them back again in other elements of the region.

FADEL: NPR’s Joanna KAKISSIS in Kyiv, Ukraine, thank you so significantly for your reporting.

KAKISSIS: You might be welcome, Leila.

(SOUNDBITE OF New music)

FADEL: What do you do when you go to someone else’s residence for the to start with time? Convey some bouquets, banana bread, maybe some new guarantees about your dedication to Asia?

MARTIN: President Biden is on his to start with journey to Asia as president. He is in Seoul today and then heading to Japan over the weekend. In both equally nations, South Korea and Japan, the Biden administration will check out to coordinate additional carefully with allies like all those international locations. But it really is truly about China. And no question Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will also be on the agenda.

FADEL: NPR’s Anthony Kuhn joins us from Seoul to define the go to. Thanks for becoming right here.


FADEL: So what has President Biden’s South Korean counterpart said about ties with the U.S.?

KUHN: Very well, you know, the official rhetoric is generally of the ironclad ties among the two nations. But I think beneath the floor, there have been emotions in both of those Seoul and Washington that their priorities are a little bit various. In the latest years, several in Seoul have felt that Washington desires to be a lot more proactive in having North Korea again to nuclear negotiations, even though several in Washington feel that the previous South Korean administration has been way too careful in its criticism of China. Now, the new South Korean president, Yoon Suk Yeol, has pledged a tighter alliance with Washington, but he’s also explained he would like to manage very good ties with Beijing. So I believe folks are seeing to see if he moves decisively in the direction of both Beijing or Washington on this vacation.

FADEL: Attention-grabbing – so type of cautious. North Korea is in the middle of what it promises is its very first COVID outbreak, but there are also issues that the North could check an atomic bomb though President Biden is in Seoul, right?

KUHN: Which is suitable. There may possibly be some discussion of trying to support North Korea with its outbreak, but North Korea has refused all presents of support so significantly. As for the missile tests, North Korea generally has some missiles to test, and they just want to time them for utmost political impression. But Seoul states it has a contingency program in circumstance that takes place, which could be to duck the two presidents into a military command bunker or anything like that.

FADEL: Now, President Biden seems to be prioritizing economic issues, but that is tied to geopolitics, way too – appropriate? – countering China’s impact.

KUHN: Properly, yeah. A whole lot of the take a look at will concentrate on financial security, which consists of blocking rival powers from stealing know-how, slicing supply chains, dominating substantial tech in factors like superconductors and electric powered cars, both of those of which South Korea is a essential participant in. So President Biden will tout South Korean investments in factories in the U.S. to make all those points. And President Yoon is predicted to indicator on to the Indo-Pacific Financial Framework, which is a regional trade settlement that the Biden administration has occur with – appear up with partly to contend with China.

FADEL: How is the Biden administration making an attempt to demonstrate that it can be a chief in Asia at the same time as it supports Ukraine?

KUHN: Nicely, it is bought Seoul and Tokyo on board, and they have joined in sanctions on Russia. The U.S. has reportedly asked South Korea to provide Ukraine some weapons to combat Russia, but Seoul has so far declined. Now, I asked Wi Sung-lac about this. He is a former South Korean ambassador to Russia and former best negotiator on the North Korean nuclear situation. Let’s hear his concerns.

WI SUNG-LAC: So broadly talking, China, Russia and North Korea is, in a sense, on 1 side. And on the other aspect, we have United States, Japan and South Korea and the West. That faultline will be deepened, I feel, in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.

KUHN: So what he is indicating is that Seoul is worried that they could – that Russia and China could assistance North Korea and make existence challenging for them.

FADEL: NPR’s Anthony Kuhn, many thanks so a great deal.

KUHN: Thank you.


FADEL: Three weeks. Which is how extensive it took for the Office of Homeland Protection to initial announce and then suspend a board to overcome disinformation.

MARTIN: Those people 3 months ended up very substantially a nightmare for the Disinformation Governance Board and particularly its leader, Nina Jankowicz. She came underneath this relentless, from time to time vicious assault – line of assault that arrived from proper-wing media. Also, it was coming from Republican lawmakers. They ended up all accusing her of partisanship and attacking her tweets, even the foolish TikTok online video she built.


NINA JANKOWICZ: (Singing) Oh, data laundering is seriously very ferocious. It is when a huckster normally takes some lies and would make them audio precocious by expressing them in Congress or a mainstream outlet company. Information’s origins appear to be most likely less atrocious.

FADEL: NPR tech correspondent Shannon Bond joins us now to crack down just what took place. Hello, Shannon.


FADEL: So we are conversing about an qualified in on the net disinformation who then gets to be the goal of on the net disinformation. Can you take us by means of what happened?

BOND: Ideal. I imply, as you said, Jankowicz is a nicely-regarded authority in this article. But appear. There was a ton of criticism of this Disinformation Governance Board, like from the left. But conservatives in specific seized on Jankowicz as the experience of this board. You know, initially they distorted her role, the board’s objective. They produced it out to be some sort of Orwellian suppressor of absolutely free speech. And then the assaults acquired actually personalized, a great deal more than just building exciting of her TikTok videos. Jankowicz received an onslaught of on the web abuse, harassment, even loss of life threats.

FADEL: Wow. How did factors get so out of management so rapidly?

BOND: Nicely, DHS did not really demonstrate what this board was built to do. And in the absence of that information, quite a few assumed the worst, that it was an attack by the Biden administration on free speech. But when I spoke with Jankowicz yesterday, here’s what she explained.

JANKOWICZ: Mainly, every thing you may have listened to about the Disinformation Governance Board is incorrect or is just a flat-out lie.

FADEL: Flat-out lie. Okay. Why was the Disinformation Governance Board designed? And what was it supposed to do?

BOND: Perfectly, Jankowicz and DHS say this was, you know, an inner performing team, sort of anodyne. It was a group of technocrats billed with coordinating attempts across DHS. So, for case in point, if there were faux videos spreading about a purely natural catastrophe, the board would consult with FEMA on how to reach people with correct info. It was supposed to make confident distinctive parts of this large agency have been performing in sync, not law enforcement speech. But once more, that was not communicated all through the rollout. And then when the board by itself and Jankowicz came below these assaults, DHS just did not react with any semblance of pace.

FADEL: Oh, my gosh. The irony – the Disinformation Governance Board taken down by disinformation. Now Jankowicz has quit, right? What takes place to the board?

BOND: Very well, DHS claims it really is on pause though they overview how greatest to go on their operate on disinformation. That pause is heading to last 75 times, which in net time, might as well be a century.

FADEL: Yeah.

BOND: And this choice to suspend the board was the very last straw for Jankowicz. She says this whole ordeal embodies the really issues the board was meant to aid tackle.

JANKOWICZ: I really don’t imagine governments are geared up to cope with disinformation campaigns. I will not feel governments are wondering extremely deeply about what to do when their workers are the subject of harassments and death threats and complete mischaracterization of the get the job done that they’ve performed and committed their job to.

BOND: So, you know, at the conclude of our job interview, I requested Jankowicz how she felt about all of this now. She explained she’s disappointed. She’s tired. She’s expecting and about to go on maternity depart with her initially little one. And she’s asking herself, was this all value it?

FADEL: NPR’s Shannon Bond. Thanks, Shannon.

BOND: Thank you, Leila.

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