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September 2022

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‘He’s not going to scare us’: Why the West isn’t buying Putin’s bluster


“He’s not going to scare us nor intimidate us,” President Joe Biden said of Putin. “Putin’s actions are a sign he is struggling, the sham referendum he carried out, and his routine he put on … the United States is never going to recognize this, and quite frankly the world is not going to recognize it either.”

Leaders from across Europe read from the same playbook, pledging to support Ukraine and punish Russia for subverting international law by attempting, again, to steal Ukrainian territory.

The U.K.’s Chief of Defense Staff, Adm. Sir Tony Radakin, who spoke to reporters Friday during a visit to Washington, called the annexation “the invented reality of Putin, and the actual reality is that he’s declared these four territories as part of Russia, but he doesn’t even have control of those four territories.”

The swift rejection of Putin’s annexation announcement and his hints that he could use nuclear weapons show how global perception of his military and its competence have changed since the start of the war. His reputation, once feared, has been so damaged by his disastrous invasion that the threats he has used for so long to shape the geopolitical narrative no longer carry the power they once did.

Moscow has faced a torrent of setbacks and humiliations since Ukrainians launched their two-pronged counteroffensive this month. Rapid gains using modern, NATO-furnished weapons forced massive and panicked Russian retreats around the city of Kherson, pushing Russian forces back into their own country or into several shrinking pockets inside Ukraine.

The forecast for Russian forces over the next few weeks and months is equally grim, as conscripts with little training head to the front to face battle-hardened Ukrainians backed by new Western equipment, with more shipments arriving weekly.

Videos have emerged online of Russian officers telling conscripts to bring their own medical supplies and sleeping bags to the front, as Moscow is expected to leave its troops unsupported in the field.

“Russia doesn’t have enough people to crew the equipment that they’ve got,” Radakin said. “The equipment they’ve got is quite substantial, but much of it is ancient and in a bad condition. And then [Putin] had to go through this partial mobilization…you then start to see a feature of this mobilization is not people rushing to recruitment offices, but it’s people rushing to leave the country.”

A senior Defense Department official, who like others in this story requested anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said there have been no significant moves by Russian forces either before or after Putin’s speech on Friday, further suggesting that nothing at all had changed on the ground, at least in the Kremlin’s favor.

In fact, Russian troops in the city of Lyman in Donetsk Oblast — an area Putin on Friday said was now part of Russia — have been almost completely surrounded by Ukrainian forces who have cut off supply lines to the garrison. On Friday, Ukrainian commanders began calling for the Russian forces there to negotiate a surrender.

Lyman has for months been a key logistics and supply hub for Russian forces fighting in the country’s east, and its loss would further cripple the already stretched Russian resupply lines in areas increasingly contested by Ukrainian forces.

The continued loss of territory that Russia now claims as its own, along with the new sanctions packages announced by the U.S. and U.K. on Friday, will further squeeze the Kremlin’s ability to wage war and undermine the army’s ability to hold ground.

“Russia will struggle to hold the territory it claims to have annexed,” the Institute for the Study of War said in an analysis Friday. “Putin likely intends annexation to freeze the war along the current frontlines and allow time for Russian mobilization to reconstitute Russian forces.”

The institute, along with the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project, also generated a map on Friday showing that the four territories ready to be annexed actually include wide swaths of land still controlled by Ukraine.

While leaders have warned that declaring the territories part of Russia could serve as a pretext for escalating the war, Putin’s options are just as limited as they were before his announcement.

Ukraine has hobbled Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, and ship captains now avoid the coastline out of fear of being struck by missiles. The Russian air force mostly shies away from flying over Ukrainian airspace, and the Kremlin is woefully short of allies willing to enter the conflict. That leaves his ground force, which he is now stocking with untrained conscripts.

And even though Putin and other Russian officials have hinted at deploying tactical nuclear weapons, the U.S. assesses the probability as low. “We’ve not seen anything that indicates we should change our posture,” one senior DoD official said.

One European diplomat pointed out that Russian warnings against attacking the annexed territories ring hollow, and not only because Putin is already losing ground in those regions.

“Ukraine has hit Russian targets in Crimea several times, and Putin didn’t respond even though he claims Crimea is now part of Russia, too,” the diplomat said.

And more Western weapons are funneling into Ukraine. At the White House, national security adviser Jake Sullivan noted the $1.1 billion arms package announced this week, “and we expect to have another announcement of immediate security assistance to announce next week.”

The package will be worth several hundred million dollars, an administration official confirmed to POLITICO.

Drawing the aid out ensures that Ukraine can absorb the shipments of tens of thousands of artillery rounds, radars and armored vehicles, but also maintains the “psychological impact” of announcing regular packages of NATO-caliber weaponry to bolster Ukrainian allies and depress the morale of Russian forces and leadership, the official said.

Putin is trying to raise that morale, but his bluster on Friday is little more than a “fiction” of Russia’s strength and competence, Radakin said. He cautioned against overreacting.

That fiction “is a feature of weakness, and the pressure that Russia is under,” he said. “We’ve got to be very careful in responding to fictions.”

Lara Seligman contributed to this report



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Prince Harry Ruining Camilla, Queen Consort’s STERLING Reputation By Saying ‘Nasty Things,’ Says Biographer


Uhh, didn’t she already have a not-so-great reputation??

Regardless, a royal biographer thinks it’s time Camilla, Queen Consort clapped back at her stepson Prince Harry’s criticism!

On Friday’s episode of Lorraine with guest host Christine Lampard, royal biographer Angela Levin argued King Charles III’s wife has been “misrepresented” in the media over the years because of the popular TV series The Crown and Harry’s “nasty” comments about her!

Related: Kim Kardashian’s Home Accessories Line Blasted By Fans As ‘Prisoncore’

Christine started off the conversation with Angela, who was there to promote her new book, Camilla: From Outcast to Queen Consort, by asking:

“Angela, you felt compelled to write this book because you knew her and felt she had been misrepresented throughout the years and you wanted to give your version of events almost?”

Angela agreed, explaining:

“Yes, that’s spot on actually. I decided I had to rebalance things. One was The Crown which I felt had been really cruel to her and the other was actually Prince Harry who had said really nasty things about her, too.”

In The Crown, Camilla was largely depicted as King Charles’ mistress with much of the focus on the impact the affair had on Princess Diana, who is still largely beloved by the public. Angela argued that the depictions of the Queen Consort have been unfair — and that “the more you get to know her the more you like her.” But she didn’t entirely blame the late Princess, instead arguing Camilla was always set up to have a hard introduction into the family. She explained:

“They met when Charles was 22 and she was 24. They got on extremely well, but he was not sure at that age that he wanted to commit himself. But, also, he knew there would be trouble with his parents because then – and it shows how much things have changed – the wife of the heir to the throne had to be a virgin and she also had to come from an aristocratic background. Her background was aristocratic, but not at the highest level and she had had other relationships. So, he knew they wouldn’t expect that, which looking back now, seems sort of ridiculous and no longer exists.”

Def ridiculous! Though we think cheating with a married man is also a very good reason for people to be skeptical about her!

To combat the negative narrative surrounding the 75-year-old, the prolific author spoke with many people who know and worked with Camilla over the years for her latest book. Angela also has first-hand knowledge since in 2015 she was allowed to spend three months with Camilla while writing another piece — and she even got to meet Queen Elizabeth II! It wasn’t just a friendly meeting, though, it was a very clever PR move! The journalist noted:

“That was really funny. I was at home. I got a call from Buckingham Palace saying was I doing anything in the afternoon because the Duchess would like to meet me at Buckingham Palace. So, obviously, [I] drop everything and rush over there. And they said, well she’s got a surprise for you but it might not happen so don’t be upset if it doesn’t.”

While they teased it was a “big surprise,” Angela wasn’t expecting much, but it turned out to be Her Majesty! She continued:

“She [Camilla] arrived and I had practiced my courtesy; I knew how to do that already. And the Queen arrived, and she introduced me to the Queen and she said, ‘Come on in, we’re going to look at something amazing.”

The writer was led to the Buckingham Palace stables where she met horse trainer Monty Roberts. During the interaction, Camilla and the Queen were both “talking non-stop and laughing because they both adore horses,” she added:

“I thought afterward this was a very clever and kind thing to do so that I could see for myself how she got on with the Queen. Because there’s been so many things [saying] that the Queen didn’t like her and all that. But this way, she didn’t have to say anything, she didn’t have to say something that wasn’t appropriate. I could watch and see how natural they were.”

Well, damn!! Camilla sounds like a savvy, savvy businesswoman!!

Related: Selena Gomez Slams ‘Disgusting’ Online Hate After Hailey Bieber’s Interview

The royal insider went on to insist she’s the “ideal” woman for the King considering she doesn’t “like to be in the spotlight,” she continued:

“She’s not somebody who likes to be in the spotlight, right in the middle, which is ideal for Charles so he doesn’t get jealous like he did with his first wife.”

LOLz!! Perhaps he needs to let go of his ego! She went on:

“[She] does a tremendous amount of work behind the curtain. She doesn’t need praise for herself. She feels very strongly. What she has done is things that the royal family don’t necessary do — to deal with rape, to deal with domestic violence, all those things. And literacy which she feels is very important.”

We can’t fault her there. Those causes need plenty of support!

Of course, this glowing review of the Queen Consort comes while the royal family awaits the release of Prince Harry’s upcoming memoir and Netflix docuseries. According to several reports, the Duke of Sussex is said to be seeking “revenge” on his stepmother in the pages of his explosive book. Angela told Talk Radio in March:

“Anyone who is anyone is saying it’s going to attack Camilla and make her responsible for [his] mental health and how she stole his father from his mother.”

But is it really Harry’s fault for her being misrepresented?? Or was that bound to happen given her and Charles’ past? We mean, the woman wore white to Princess Diana’s wedding for crying out loud! But take a listen to the biographer’s full interview on the matter and then let us know what you think (below).

Sooo, thoughts? SOUND OFF in the comments!

[Image via MEGA/WENN]



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Scooter Braun Admits ‘Regret’ Over How He Handled Purchase Of Taylor Swift’s Music Catalog


Scooter Braun wishes he could have done things differently when it came to buying Taylor Swift’s music library.

The 41-year-old manager has been at odds with Taylor since he controversially dropped a whopping $300 million to acquire her former label, Big Machine Records, in 2019. Consequently, Scooter obtained the rights to masters of several artists – including everything the 32-year-old singer created for her first six albums. This understandably did not sit right with Taylor. After the news of the million-dollar purchase broke, she shared how she called out Scooter for the “incessant, manipulative bullying” throughout her career and claimed she did not get the opportunity to buy back her music.

In November 2020, he then sold Taylor’s master recordings to Shamrock. And in an effort to stick it to the new owners, the musician began re-recording and re-releasing all of those albums, rebranding them as “Taylor’s Versions” (two of which are already out).

Related: The Kid LAROI Seemingly Shaded Manager Scooter In TikTok Video

When Scooter sold her masters, Taylor also noted how the record executive “would never even quote my team a price” and wanted her to sign an ironclad NDA that would have silenced her “forever.” However, Scooter vehemently denied that in an interview with Variety in June 2002, saying he did offer to sell back her music:

“I don’t know what story she was told. I asked for her to sit down with me several times, but she refused. I offered to sell her the catalog back and went under NDA, but her team refused.”

It has been a messy situation, to say the least, with A LOT of back-and-forth between the two. Scott has even borne the brunt of the wrath from Swifties over the past couple of years. And now, in a new interview with NPR’s podcast, The Limits with Jay Williams, he admitted to regretting the way things were handled with his acquisition of Big Machine! And it sounds like he is also slightly pointing fingers at the former owner Scott Borchetta for how things went down! He explained on the podcast episode:

“When I did that deal, I was under a very strict NDA with the gentleman who owned it, and I couldn’t tell any artist. I was excited to work with every artist on the label. So when we finalized the deal, I started making phone calls to say, hey, I’m a part of this. And before I could even do that – I made four phone calls; I started to do those phone calls – all hell broke loose.”

Despite the major backlash that ensued from the business deal, Scooter said he ultimately “learned an important lesson” from it:

“So the regret I have there is that I made the assumption that everyone, once the deal was done, was going to have a conversation with me, see my intent, see my character and say, great, let’s be in business together. And I made that assumption with people that I didn’t know. I can never make that assumption again. I can’t put myself in a place of, you know, arrogance to think that someone would just be willing to have a conversation and be excited to work with me.”

Hmm. You know what happens when you assume…

Wonder what Taylor might have to say about Scooter’s confession! Thoughts, Perezcious readers? Sound OFF in the comments below!

[Image via MEGA/WENN]



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20-Year-Old Woman Allegedly Ran Over Man With Her Car – After He Tried To Run Over A Cat??


A 20-year-old California woman has been arrested and charged after allegedly fatally running over a man she believed was trying to harm a cat.

According to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s office on Wednesday, Hannah Star Esser had been driving around Cypress on Sunday evening when she stopped to confront 43-year-old Luis Anthony Victor after he seemingly attempted to run over a cat in the street. A profanity-laced confrontation immediately broke out between the two in the middle of the road, which authorities say Hannah recorded. At one point, they even stepped out of their vehicles to continue their argument over the accusation that Luis was going to hurt the animal.

Related: Father & 17-Year-Old Son Charged With Murder In PnB Rock Shooting

The District Attorney claims the woman eventually returned to her car to leave while still arguing with Luis. However, instead of just driving away, she made a three-point turn to come back to the area, “accelerated” towards Luis, and hit him with her vehicle. The statement explained:

“Instead of continuing to drive away from Victor and out of the area, Esser made a 3-point turn and drove back towards Victor in the direction of a cul-de-sac. Esser then made a U-turn, accelerated and drove directly at Victor. Esser is accused of intentionally driving into Victor, striking him with the right front of her car.”

OMG!

According to the DA, Hannah hit Luis with such force that it hurled him onto her hood and windshield before he then flipped several times and landed on the street. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said of the incident:

“This action showed a complete disregard for human life. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will ensure that this random act of violence targeting a stranger will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Hannah has since been charged with one felony count of murder and potentially faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted. Her arraignment is scheduled on October 13, 2022, and she is currently being held on a $1 million bond. And for those who are curious, there has been no reports on what happened to the cat at the center of the argument at this time.

Reactions to this wild situation, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below.

[Image via Orange County District Attorney]



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Khloé Kardashian & Tristan Thompson Went From Engaged To Not Being ‘On Speaking Terms’


There was so much speculation during Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson‘s relationship that they had gotten engaged. Heck, that monster of a diamond ring she showed off on Instagram alone had tongues wagging about it for weeks.

And of course we later learned the basketball star was at least telling some folks he had put a ring on it. Unfortunately, those folks were women he was also sleeping with.

But it wasn’t until this week that we got some strong corroboration that the couple really had gotten engaged. Multiple outlets spoke to sources on Thursday who were finally willing to confirm that while Khloé turned down one of Tristan’s proposals as she said on The Kardashians, she did eventually give in a couple months later. According to these reports they were betrothed for almost all of 2021, from February until December, when the news broke that Tristan had not only cheated, but sired another child with a woman named Maralee Nichols.

Related: Marjorie Taylor Greene Allegedly Cheated On Husband Before Surprise Divorce Filing!

Knowing Khloé had forgiven her baby daddy so fully, that she trusted him enough to agree to marry him, that she truly believed he was redeemed and done cheating on her… man, it just makes this betrayal so much worse, doesn’t it? Even if it was the umpteenth time he cheated, it makes a kind of sense now that it was the last straw for the reality star.

So the question is, where do Khloé and Tristan stand with one another today, nine months after Tristan’s transgression was revealed? Well, the answer is basically nowhere. They have ZERO relationship, according to a source spilling to E! News on Friday. The insider said:

“They are currently not on speaking terms.”

Daaaaamn. Even after all these months. We guess this is good news for anyone worried Khloé would backslide into the toxic pattern with the Chicago Bulls center — after all, she took him back after multiple cheating scandals in the past. Worry no more as she is definitely 100% done with him for good, says the source.

Of course, they do share not just 4-year-old daughter True Thompson, but also a new son they welcomed via surrogate — set in motion before the paternity suit dropped. Don’t they have to have at least a co-parenting relationship? Well sure, the insider notes, there’s an exception when they’re “coordinating for the kids.” But that’s it. And that sounds like it’s all business — no room for any of the player’s devilish silver tongue to change Khloé’s mind.

Are YOU happy to hear Khlo is finally free of her Tristan addiction? Or sad these two didn’t end up together?? Let us know all your thoughts, Perezcious relationship experts!

[Image via Hulu/YouTube/Khloe Kardashian/Instagram.]



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Marjorie Taylor Greene Allegedly Cheated On Her Husband Multiple Times Years Before Surprise Divorce Filing!


Extremely controversial Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is divorcing her husband.

Perry Greene filed for divorce from the Donald Trump-loving MAGA Republican earlier this week. In his claim, the man asserted the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” The couple had spent 27 years together, and raised three children, but now things have apparently fallen apart for the Georgia congresswoman and her now-estranged partner.

Related: Elizabeth Chambers Allegedly Posed As Friend To Leak Armie Hammer Stories In Divorce!

The recent divorce news has come as a shock to some, but insiders looking deep into Greene’s past have discovered lots of dirt there.

For one, this new bombshell filing on Perry’s part is actually the second divorce move that’s gone on between the couple. Back in 2012, Taylor Greene was the one who initiated divorce proceedings! That same year, according to old court papers previously obtained by DailyMail.com, the 48-year-old Congresswoman allegedly cheated on her husband with a “polyamorous sex guru” identified as Craig Ivey.

Ahhh, the good ol’ GOP…

The decade-old court papers claimed Greene met Ivey at her gym in Alpharetta, Georgia. Interestingly, Ivey — who describes himself as “living a warrior lifestyle while finding tantric love” — appears to be a Black Lives Matter supporter. In one old photo on his Facebook account, per The Sun, the man can be seen wearing what looks like a “Make America Great Again” hat. But the red cap actually reads “Made You Look, Black Lives Matter.”

Wow!

Later in 2012, per the same prior divorce papers, Greene allegedly had a second affair with a man identified as Justin Tway. But months after the divorce drama first went down in court, it suddenly ended! In September of that year, two months after Greene filed for the split, she withdrew the divorce petition. In an accompanying court filing, she claimed she’d reconciled with Perry.

Her former boss at the CrossFit gym at the center of this drama in Georgia previously spoke to the Daily Mail about the bizarre dynamic between MTG and her now-estranged husband. Recalling how open she was about her alleged infidelities at the time, Jim Chambers explained:

“She socialized a lot with us. I remember one particular pool party where she was lying draped over Craig’s lap drinking a beer. She was quite open about it. We all thought her marriage was falling apart. But then I took my son to her son’s birthday party and things seemed totally normal between her and her husband, even if they were a little lukewarm.”

Nothing like those family values Republicans really showing off their character, right?!

After that claim first came out last year, Greene called the allegation “ridiculous tabloid garbage.” Both Tway and Ivey have more recently turned down interview requests to talk further about Greene, though. In fact, Tway told the same outlet that “everything with her comes to no good” when they queried him about his alleged involvement with her.

Jeez!!

Related: Emily Ratajkowski Weighs In On Adam Levine Amid Her Own Divorce & Cheating Scandal!

Now, it appears as though the end of the line has come for MTG’s marriage. Of course, if the prior decades near-divorce drama is any indication, perhaps reconciliation could still be in the cards. Still, ALL that old dirt is now coming back to the surface amid this new filing. And TBH, it doesn’t look great for the alleged serial cheater!! Reactions, Perezcious readers?

[Image via WDEF News 12/YouTube/Marjorie Taylor Greene/YouTube]



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Maren Morris Defends Getting ‘Heated’ Over Transphobic Remarks In Brittany Aldean Feud!


Maren Morris is getting real about why she didn’t hold back in calling out Brittany Aldean.

By now, you most likely know that the Grammy Award winner made headlines last month for her feud with Jason Aldean’s wife over a transphobic comment the latter made on Instagram. Brittany had captioned a makeup video posted on the platform at the time:

“I’d really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase. I love this girly life.”

Having a tomboy phase is NOT the same thing as identifying as transgender. Equating the two shows a lack of understanding and perpetuates fear against the transgender community.

Maren quickly fired back on Twitter, joining Cassadee Pope in slamming the offense post and writing:

“It’s so easy to, like, not be a scumbag human? Sell your clip-ins and zip it, Insurrection Barbie.”

Related: Maren Doesn’t ‘Feel Comfortable’ Attending CMA Awards Amid Feud With Brittany

The heated exchange quickly sparked a back-and-forth online confrontation between Maren and Brittany. Later on, the 33-year-old even appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to address her problematic comments – which she claimed were “taken out of context” (seriously????) – and continued to double down on her stance regarding the matter:

“I’m advocating for children. I think that children should not be allowed to make these life-changing decisions at such a young age. They are not mature enough; they should have parents who love them and advocate for them regardless.”

And sadly, the Bones hitmaker has since had to deal with online haters attacking her for calling out Brittany. Now, in an interview with GLAAD on Thursday, the 32-year-old country singer is defending getting “heated” with Brittany over her transphobic posts. She explained her comments to the makeup artist only came “from a good place,” saying:

“Honestly, I think the empathy bone you get when you become a parent just is amplified so much more, so I think that you’re even more sensitive to disinformation and bullying.”

Maren then noted that it is so important to “correct” the discourse that is “completely untrue about trans youth and gender-affirming care and what it actually entails.” She continued:

“I think that in correcting that, I definitely get heated because it’s not like we’re talking about what your favorite color is; we’re talking about people’s lives. And so, I do get extremely emotional when I talk about it or if I correct someone. It is really, really sensitive. … But I don’t think you can do this all the time with, like, sunshine and rainbows. I think you have to have the tough conversations so people, like, understand what’s actually going on and you could actually save someone’s life having the right information.”

So true. Furthermore, the songwriter said she just wants her fans to feel “safe” at her shows and know where she “stands” on LGBTQ+ issues at the end of the day. You can ch-ch-check out her entire interview with GLAAD (below):

Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments.

[Image via Brittany Aldean/Instagram, MEGA/WENN]





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Biden denounces Kremlin’s ‘phony’ move to annex Ukrainian territory



“We will rally the international community to both denounce these moves and to hold Russia accountable,” Biden said. “We will continue to provide Ukraine with the equipment it needs to defend itself, undeterred by Russia’s brazen effort to redraw the borders of its neighbor.”

Biden reiterated this message Friday during a speech on response efforts for Hurricane Ian, pivoting at the end of his remarks to again condemn Putin’s “reckless words and threats,” which he said are a sign the Russian president is “struggling.” The United States and the world will never recognize the sham referendum, Biden said, and Putin “will not get away with it.”

“America is fully prepared with our NATO allies to defend every single inch of NATO territory. Every single inch. So Mr. Putin, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. Every inch,” Biden said.

The Treasury Department announced on Friday a raft of new sanctions on top Russian officials, including members of Russia’s legislature and central bank officials, warning of severe financial consequences for anyone supporting the annexation attempt.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in addition to the “swift and severe costs” the U.S. is imposing on Russian officials and their family members, the State Department will also take action to impose visa restrictions on 910 individuals, including members of the Russian Federation military and Belarusian military officials.

“We will hold to account any individual, entity, or country that provides political or economic support for Russia’s illegal attempts to change the status of Ukrainian territory,” Blinken said in a statement.

Putin’s declaration marked the latest escalation in Russia’s seventh-month war in Ukraine, where its armed forces have suffered surprisingly heavy losses that have eroded Putin’s standing at home.

“I’m sure the federal assembly will support the laws of formation of the four new regions in Russia, four new subjects of the Russian federation,” Putin said in a speech Friday at the Kremlin. “Because this is the will of millions of people.”

During the ceremony, Putin said the four provinces — Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia — will be folded into Russia and will be protected by “all available means.” They will join the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed after its more limited initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014.

The annexations represent a violation of international law and the vast majority of nations won’t recognize the territory as Russian.

Putin also called on Kyiv for a ceasefire and to return to the table for negotiations, but he made sure to assert that the annexations would not be up for discussion.

“The choice of the people in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson, we will not discuss. It has been made. Russia will not betray it,” Putin said.

He largely used the rest of his speech to air conspiracies and accusations against the West, which he claimed is waging a “hybrid-war” against Russia. He attempted to paint a version of events where the West is pushing a “neocolonial” system and using the “dollar as a power tool.”

The expected pronouncement had been met with fresh warnings this week that Russia will be even more isolated internationally, amid fears that Putin will use the declaration as a pretext to escalate the war, claiming that the Ukrainians are now attacking Russian territory.

“The UK will never recognise Russia’s illegal annexations in Ukraine,” the UK’s defense chief, Ben Wallace, tweeted Friday morning. “Russia doesn’t even control some of these oblasts. The truth is Russia is losing in Ukraine and their incompetent Generals are sending thousands to their deaths to please President Putin’s imperialist fantasy.”

On the battlefield, Russian forces have continued reinforcing units that have sustained greater losses but have not yet made any significant moves since the announcement, according to a senior defense official. Far from preparing for any significant escalation, the Pentagon has seen “nothing that indicates we should change our posture,” the official said.

Putin’s nuclear threats and the annexation decree show the Russian president “responding from a point of weakness and desperation” U.K.’s Chief of Defence Staff, Adm. Sir Tony Radakin, told reporters during a visit to Washington on Friday.

Proclaiming parts of Ukraine as now Russian with no international backing or legitimacy, Radakin said, is nothing more than “the invented reality of Putin, and the actual reality is that he’s declared these four territories as part of Russia, but he doesn’t even have control of those four territories.”

Radakin said neither Kyiv nor its western partners should change course either tactically on the ground, or in the effort to train and equip Ukrainian forces.

“Strategic errors lead to strategic consequences,” he said. “And that’s what’s happened for Putin. His strategic error was his catastrophic invasion of Ukraine, and then that’s played out over the last several months.”

The United Nations was preparing on Friday to consider a U.S.-sponsored resolution dismissing the latest territorial claims and calling on Russia to remove all of its troops from Ukraine.

Russia wields a veto in the U.N. Security Council, which commonly deals with such matters, so diplomats are considering taking the resolution directly to the General Assembly.

At the U.N. headquarters in New York, Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the annexation “would have no legal value and deserves to be condemned.”

He told reporters that “the so-called referenda were conducted during active armed conflict in areas under Russian occupation and outside Ukraine’s legal and constitutional framework.”

“They cannot be called genuine expressions of the popular will,” Guterres added.

Putin’s latest provocation also earned a full-throated pledge from Washington and its European allies to continue backing Ukraine’s resistance.

“The United States and our allies and partners will continue to assist Ukraine in its fight to defend its territory against Russian aggression,” Blinken said ahead of the Russian announcement, deriding what he called a violation of international law.

Congressional lawmakers from both parties have been united in their calls to increase global pressure on Moscow, including through tougher economic sanctions.

“The international community must unequivocally denounce this illegal land grab, and reaffirm our commitment to helping Ukraine defend itself,” said Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Congress is also moving to pass bipartisan legislation, the Non-Recognition of Russian Annexation of Ukrainian Territory Act, that would make it U.S. policy not to recognize any Russian claims over Ukrainian territory. And on Thursday, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) unveiled legislation that would cut off military and economic aid to any country that officially recognizes the annexed territories as Russian.

Several former diplomats and historians likened Putin’s strategy to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, when he seized German-speaking regions of Czechoslovakia and Poland and similarly held predetermined plebiscites.

“The parallels are eerie and, after decades of over-using the Hitler analogies, we finally have a case where they are apt,” said Daniel Fried, a former ambassador to Poland who is now a researcher at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank. “Putin is escalating and the future is uncertain and fraught.”

“The vote will destroy whatever chances — slim at best to begin with — exist for a political settlement between Russia and Ukraine based on mutual compromises,” added Rajan Menon, director of grand strategy at Defense Priorities, which advocates for restraint in foreign policy. “The result is that the war will drag on.”

Paul McLeary and Lara Seligman contributed to this report.



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Entertainment

Nick Cannon Is Now A Dad Of 10 – And The Baby Name Is The Most Celebrity Baby Name EVER!!


Nick Cannon has a new addition to his ever-expanding family.

The 41-year-old television personality announced on Instagram Friday that he and Brittany Bell welcomed their third baby – his tenth child overall – and you’ll never guess what they named their son! Nick shared that the two decided to call their baby boy… Rise Messiah Cannon. Now, celebrities are known for opting for unique and inneresting names when it comes to their children – but this one might take the cake! He wrote in the lengthy social media announcement for their newborn:

“Another Blessing!!! As my journey on this planet becomes more and more remarkable and unfathomable, all I can do is thank God and continue to ask the Most High to order my steps. He has given me stewardship and dominion over a family dynamic that to some is unimaginable. But more importantly he has blessed me with loving individuals to guide me with care through this purposeful life.”

Related: Nick Cannon’s Estimated Child Support Total Is Through The Roof!!!

The proud dad went on to praise Brittany for being “the rock and foundation of my Fatherhood journey,” saying:

“I am so indebted and grateful for the matriarch energy in my time of need. … She has taught me so much about parenting, psychology, spirituality, love and just life in general. For our third child she told me she didn’t want a baby shower and needed NOTHING! All she desired was PRAYER from her authentic Loved Ones! I am learning that is the best GIFT!”

He explained that instead of the usual baby shower, they celebrated a “BlessingWay,” which saw “a bunch of powerful prayer warriors interceding for our new child’s entrance to Earth” – something he said they needed due to Brittany’s tough labor:

“And boy did we need it! Probably the most difficult labor and delivery I have ever witnessed! 48 hours of excruciating pain and life risking danger to welcome 10 pounds of Love and joy named RISE MESSIAH CANNON.”

Nick concluded by thanking his baby momma “for my fellow little Libra,” adding:

“I love you and our Incredible Family!”

We’re sending a ton of positive energy to Brittany after her difficult labor!! You can ch-ch-check out a video of their celebration (below):

 

Wow!

The parents already share a 5-year-old son Golden Sagon and a 20-month-old daughter, Powerful Queen. He is also a dad to a newborn daughter Onyx Ice Cole Cannon with model, a 2-month-old son Legendary with Bre Tiesi, 14-month-old twins Zion Mixolydian and Zillion Heir with Abby De La Rosa, and 11-year-old twins Moroccan and Monroe with ex-wife, Mariah Carey. The Masked Singer star and Alyssa Scott lost their 5-month-old son Zen after a battle with brain cancer. And of course, he is expecting a third child with Abby at this time.

Congrats to Nick and Brittany on their new bundle of joy!

[Image via Brittany Bell/Instagram, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon/YouTube]





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