National News: Russia deploys 300,000 more troops to Ukraine, Biden returns to the UN and Hurricane Fiona strengthens to Category 4

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Russia deploys upwards of 300,000 more troops to Ukraine in first mobilization since World War II 

In a rare address to his nation on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin called for a “partial mobilization” of 300,000 Russians with military experience in a rare address to the nation on Wednesday. This is the first Russian mobilization since World War II.  

While not considered a national draft, this “partial mobilization” is a response to the continuing flow of Western weapons into Ukraine and the Ukrainian military encroaching on Russia’s eastern front, according to the New York Times

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people… This is not a bluff,” Putin said in his address to the nation. 

This comes after “choreographed referendums” on Tuesday across the Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions of Ukraine which “voted” to allow Russian annexation, according to Reuters. This area makes up 15% of Ukraine and is almost the size of Portugal or Hungary.  

President Biden returns to the UN with Russia, China as high priorities  

President Biden returned to the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday morning with Russia and China as high priorities.  

While only occurring hours before his speech, Biden addressed the Russian “partial mobilization” efforts. 

“This world should see these outrageous acts for what they are,” Biden said in his speech. “Putin claims he had to act because Russia was threatened. But no one threatened Russia, and no one other than Russia sought conflict. This war is about extinguishing Ukraine’s right to exist as a state, plain and simple, and Ukraine’s right to exist as a people.” 

Biden continued to talk about the United States’ stance against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“A permanent member of the U.N. Security Council invaded its neighbor, attempted to erase a sovereign state from the map,” Biden said. “Russia has shamelessly violated the core tenets of the U.N. charter… We will stand in solidarity against Russia’s aggression, period.” 

Biden also addressed the recent turbulence in U.S.-China relations. Biden had committed to defending Taiwan if China were to invade in an interview on Sunday night, according to NPR

“Let me be direct about the competition between the United States and China,” Biden said. “As we manage shifting geopolitical trends, the United States will conduct itself as a reasonable leader. We do not seek conflict. We do not seek a Cold War. We do not ask any nation to choose between the United States or any other partner. We remain committed to our One China policy, which has helped prevent conflict for four decades. And we continue to oppose unilateral changes in the status quo by either side.” 

Neither Putin nor Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the UN General Assembly this week, instead opting to send foreign ministers in their place, according to the Independent

Hurricane Fiona strengthens to Category 4 as it devastates Puerto Rico, other Atlantic islands 

Hurricane Fiona strengthened to Category 4 on early Wednesday morning after it left a trail of destruction throughout Puerto Rico, Turks and Caicos, and the Dominican Republic according to CNN.  

“Hurricane conditions are possible and tropical storm conditions are expected on Bermuda by late Thursday,” the National Hurricane Center said on Wednesday morning. “Fiona is expected to affect portions of Atlantic Canada as a powerful hurricane-force cyclone late Friday and Saturday, and could produce significant impacts from high winds, storm surge, and heavy rainfall.” 

According to Reuters, around 80% of Puerto Rico is still without power after Hurricane Fiona caused island-wide outages. The island has been slow to recover, especially after Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage five years ago. 

“We still struggle from the consequences of Maria and it’s kind of difficult knowing we’re going to probably have to start over again,” Fernando Vera, a resident of Utuado, Puerto Rico, told NPR

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