OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was quick to respond to this week’s slaughter at a Texas elementary school, sending a tweet detailing the gun control measures the Democratic-controlled state has taken. He ended with, “Your congress is on.”
But gun control measures are unlikely to get anywhere in Congress, and they’ve also become increasingly rare in most states. Aside from several democratically controlled states, the majority have not taken gun control measures or aggressively promoted gun rights expansion in recent years.
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That’s because they’re either politically controlled by Republicans, who oppose gun restrictions, or are politically divided, leading to a stalemate.
“Here I’m in a position where I can do something, I can introduce legislation, and yet to know that it’s almost certainly going nowhere is a sense of helplessness,” said Senator Greg Leding, a Democrat in the state GOP-controlled Arkansas Legislature. He has unsuccessfully pushed for red flag legislation that would allow authorities to remove firearms from people found to pose a danger to themselves or others.
Following Tuesday’s massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 students and two teachers, Democratic governors and lawmakers across the country passionately appealed to Congress and their own legislatures to pass gun restrictions. In particular, Republicans have called for more efforts to address mental health and strengthen protections in schools, e.g. B. through the addition of security forces.
Meanwhile, the latest from the war….
Kyiv, Ukraine (AP) – Russia on Thursday urged the West to lift sanctions imposed over its war in Ukraine, claiming without evidence that the sanctions would prevent millions of tons of grain and other agricultural products from leaving Ukrainian ports , leading to a global crisis exacerbated food crisis.
Ukraine is one of the world’s top exporters of wheat, corn and sunflower oil, but the war, including a Russian blockade of its ports, has prevented most of these products from leaving the country, threatening world food supplies.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tried on Thursday to blame Western sanctions. “We accuse western countries of taking a series of illegal measures that led to the blockade.”
Western officials have dismissed Russia’s claims that sanctions were to blame. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted this week that food, fertilizer and seeds are exempt from US sanctions and many others – and that Washington is working to ensure countries know the flow of these goods should not be affected.
As the war enters its fourth month, leaders this week have raised calls for solutions.
“This food crisis is real and we need to find solutions,” World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland. “Of course, if we don’t find solutions, the poorer countries of the world will suffer.”
She said about 25 million tons of Ukrainian grain are currently stored and another 25 million tons could be harvested next month.
Russia’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday proposed opening a corridor to allow foreign ships to leave Black Sea ports and another to allow ships to leave Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. But Russia said the port of Mariupol in particular needed to be cleared of mines first. Ukraine expressed skepticism about this proposal.
Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukraine was in principle ready to agree on safe corridors – but was unsure if it could trust Russia to stick to an agreement.
The question, he said, is “how to make sure that the moment we make that safe passage and the entrance to the port is demined, how to make sure that Russia doesn’t violate the agreement at night or early in the morning.” violates safe passage and his military ships will not sneak into the port and attack Odessa.”
European countries have tried to alleviate the crisis by getting grain out of the country by rail – but trains can only transport a small fraction of what Ukraine produces and ships are needed to handle the bulk of exports.
Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s National Defense Control Center, said 70 foreign ships from 16 countries are now docked in six Black Sea ports, including Odessa, Kherson and Mykolaiv. He did not specify how many might be willing to carry groceries.
On the battlefield, the General Staff of Ukraine’s military said Thursday that Russian forces are still trying to advance their offensive in several sectors of the eastern Donbass region on Ukraine’s frontline. This industrial heartland of coal mines and factories is now the focus of fighting after Russia suffered a series of setbacks and the war was forced to pursue more limited objectives.
Military officials said Russian forces continued efforts to gain a foothold in the Sievierodonetsk area, which is the only part of the Donbass Luhansk region controlled by the Ukrainian government.
They also said Russia has also launched missile and air strikes on infrastructure facilities across the country.
Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine