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NATO: No sign of Russian de-escalation on Ukraine border

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There are looming questions regarding Russia’s claims of a troop pull back on the border with Ukraine – but according to NATO, there is still no sign of a de-escalation

NATO says that there is no sign that Russian forces are de-escalating near Ukraine, despite claims from the Kremlin that it is pulling some troops back from the border.

Nato’s secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg stated that Moscow still had a huge force ready to attack its neighbour, and he warned that the threat from Russia had become a “new normal”, adding that the defensive alliance was considering strengthening its eastern flank.

In this picture made available by Sputnik news agency, Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government via a video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, on December 24, 2021. (Photo by Alexey NIKOLSKY / Sputnik / AFP) (Photo by ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/Sputnik/AFP

The Kremlin responded to claims by Mr Stoltenberg, denying the assessment of the situation

A spokesman for the Kremlin reiterated that some troops were being withdrawn following the completion of military drills.

Russia’s defence ministry also published video on Wednesday which showed tanks leaving Moscow-annexed Crimea.

Mr Stoltenberg spoke at a summit of Nato defence ministers in Brussels this week and stated that the alliance was considering setting up new battlegroups – the smallest type of self-sufficient military units – in central and south-eastern Europe.

NATO will do this as part of ongoing measures to bolster European defence, they say.

France had offered to lead one such battle group in Romania, he said.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

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Amazon limits sale of morning-after pills following Roe v. Wade abortion decision

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Amazon has limited sales of morning-after pills as demand spikes following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning abortion rights

There’s now a limit of three Plan-B units per week on emergency contraceptive pills sold through its website.

They aren’t the first to limit pills, many U.S retailers are capping purchases of emergency contraceptive pills.

Demand has surged following last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade and ending the constitutional right to have an abortion.

Social media is flooding with calls to stock up on Plan B in anticipation of possible restrictions on contraceptive pills.

Amazon is one of several retailers to put curbs on morning after pills

A review of emergency contraceptive pills sold on Amazon showed varying quantity limits. 

A listing for Plan B, a popular brand of the drug Levonorgestrel, showed purchases were capped at three products per shopper.

Meanwhile, one listing for a generic version of the drug, called My Choice, allowed users to purchase up to 30 units.

Walmart said many of the chain’s products have online purchase limits that can change “during times of fluctuating demand.”

Walgreens said purchases of emergency contraceptive pills were not being limited.

Emergency contraceptive pills, often referred to as “morning after pills” and sold under the Plan B brand, can be purchased over-the-counter and without an ID or prescription.

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U.S. veep Kamala Harris breaks silence on Texas migrant deaths

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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has broken her silence on 53 Texas migrant deaths

Kamala Harris hit out at Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s response to the news that at least 53 migrants had died after being left in an abandoned semitruck in San Antonio, Texas.

“How the governor of that state responded really highlights part of the problem because his response when there are 50 dead bodies in his state is to go straight to politics,” Harris said in an interview with NPR.

“Instead of dealing with the realities of the issue.”

kamala harris

Officials are investigating what appears to be one of the deadliest human smuggling cases in modern U.S. history.

Body bags lie at the scene where a tractor trailer with multiple dead bodies was discovered, Monday, June 27, 2022

Republicans are blaming the horrific incident on the Biden administration’s immigration policies.

“These deaths are on Biden,” Abbott tweeted on Monday night. “They are a result of his deadly open border policies. They show the deadly consequences of his refusal to enforce the law.”

President Joe Biden hit back at the governor and accused him of “political grandstanding”.

Harris argued the administration is taking “seriously” the issue of human smuggling.

“There have been over 2,000 arrests just in the last three months. I think there are at least eight indictments that have happened,” she said.

“We need to deal with that, right, in terms of the consequences of criminal behavior that results in death.”

“We also need to take seriously the fact that we have a broken immigration system that was decimated by the last administration,” she continued.

“And we’ve been trying, and we are on the path doing it, to fix that broken system.”

Harris was deemed the “border czar” by Biden upon entering office.

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Ukraine Crisis

U.S. President Biden plans huge military build-up in Europe to counter Putin

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U.S. President Joe Biden announces increase in America’s military presence across Europe over threat from Vladimir Putin

It comes as tensions between Russia and the West remain tense over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

There will now be a permanent U.S. army headquarters in Poland, with new warships on their way to Spain, fighter jets to the UK and even ground troops to Romania.

President Biden announces plans to bolster U.S. presence in Europe

Biden says the strategic alliance will be “strengthened in all directions across every domain – land, air and sea”.

NATO’s longstanding commitment to ‘defend every inch of its territory’ has been reaffirmed and Biden warns “an attack against one is an attack against all.”

The pledge from Biden includes more naval destroyers stationed in Spain, two F-35 fighter jet squadrons positioned in the United Kingdom and a permanent headquarters in Poland for the U.S. 5th Army Corps.

This increased force posture comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine drags on and countries in Europe grow increasingly nervous about the war on their continent.

“The United States and our allies, we’re going to step up,” Biden said the start of the NATO summit in Madrid.

“We’re proving that NATO is more needed now than it ever has been and it’s as important as it ever has been.”

The current location of 13 U.S. bases in Europe

U.S. presence grows

Since February, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. Department of Defense has increased the number of U.S. troops in Europe to more than 100,000 service members, up from 80,000.

Here’s what the U.S plans to do in each European country:

  • Poland: permanent station for the 5th Army Corps Headquarters Forward Command Post, an Army garrison headquarters, and a field support battalion, to allow the U.S. to more easily deploy combat troops along NATO’s eastern flank
  • Romania: position a rotational brigade combat team
  • The Baltic region: increase rotational deployments of armored, aviation, air defense, and special operations forces
  • Spain: increase the number of destroyers stationed at Rota from four to six
  • United Kingdom: station two squadrons of F-35 fighter jets.
  • Germany: forward-station an air defense artillery brigade headquarters, a short-range air defense battalion, a combat sustainment support battalion headquarters, and an engineer brigade headquarters
  • Italy: forward-station a short-range air defense battery

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