Jeff Danziger’s award-winning drawings, syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group, are published by more than 600 newspapers and websites. He has been a cartoonist for the Rutland Herald, the New York Daily News and the Christian Science Monitor; his work has appeared in newspapers from the Wall Street Journal to Le Monde and Izvestia. Danziger has published ten books of cartoons and a novel about the Vietnam War. He served in Vietnam as a linguist and intelligence officer, earning a Bronze Star and the Air Medal. Born in New York City, he now lives in Manhattan and Vermont. A video of the artist at work can be viewed here.
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By Pavel Polityuk and Jonathan Landay
KYIV/KHARKIV, Ukraine (Reuters) - Buildings in Odesa lay in ruins on Tuesday, a day after Kremlin forces pounded the southern Ukrainian port with missiles and Russian President Vladimir Putin led defiant celebrations marking the Soviet's victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two.
While Putin was silent about plans for any escalation in Ukraine, there was no let up in fighting, with a renewed push by Russian forces on Monday to defeat the last Ukrainian troops holding out in a steelworks in ruined Mariupol.
"You are fighting for the Motherland, for its future, so that no one forgets the lessons of World War Two. So that there is no place in the world for executioners, castigators, and Nazis," Putin said.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his own speech on Monday, promised Ukrainians would triumph.
"On the Day of Victory over Nazism, we are fighting for a new victory. The road to it is difficult, but we have no doubt that we will win," said Zelensky.
In Odesa, the major Black Sea port for exporting agricultural products, one person was killed and five people were injured when seven missiles hit a shopping center and a depot, Ukraine's armed forces said on Facebook.
Video footage from the scene showed fire and rescue workers combing through piles of rubble dousing still smoking wreckage.
Ukraine - a major maize and wheat producer - and its allies have intensified efforts on how to unblock ports or provide alternate routes for exporting grain, wheat and corn.
European Council President Charles Michel visited Odesa on Monday, urging afterwards a global response to aid Ukraine.
A meeting between Michel and Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in Odesa was interrupted by the missile attack, forcing the men into a bomb shelter, according to Shmyhal's official Twitter account.
In the town of Bogodukhov, northwest of Kharkiv, four people were killed and several homes were destroyed in Russian attacks, local media quoted Kharkiv officials as saying.
In some eastern regions of Ukraine, Luhansk, Kharkiv and Dnipro, air raid sirens could be heard early on Tuesday.
Ukraine's defense ministry said Russian forces backed by tanks and artillery were conducting "storming operations" at Mariupol's Azovstal plant, where hundreds of Ukrainian defenders have held out through months of siege.
Mariupol lies between the Crimean Peninsula, seized by Moscow in 2014, and parts of eastern Ukraine under the control of Russia-backed separatists. Capturing the city would allow Moscow to link the two areas.
More than 5.5 million Ukrainians have fled their country since Russia's invasion on February 24, according to the United Nations, which has called it Europe's fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War Two.
Moscow's gains from the invasion, however, have been slow at best and it has little to show for it beyond a strip of territory in the south and marginal gains in the east.
President Joe Biden said he was worried that Putin "doesn't have a way out right now, and I'm trying to figure out what we do about that".
Sources say Democratic lawmakers have agreed on a $40 billion aid proposal for Ukraine, including a massive new weapons package.
The White House had earlier described Putin's remarks during his Victory Day speech as "revisionist history that took the form of disinformation."
The Soviet victory in World War Two has acquired almost religious status in Russia under Putin, who has invoked the memory of the "Great Patriotic War" throughout what he calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine.
Western countries consider that a false analogy to justify unprovoked aggression.
"There can be no victory day, only dishonor and surely defeat in Ukraine," said British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.
In Poland, the Russian ambassador was surrounded by protesters at a memorial ceremony and doused in red paint. Ambassador Sergei Andreyev, his face dripping and his shirt stained, said he was "proud of my country and my president".
Sheltering in a metro station in Kharkiv -- Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking second city which has been bombed relentlessly since the war's first days -- World War Two survivor Vira Mykhailivna, 90, buried her tear-stained cheeks in her hands.
"I didn't think this could ever happen to us," she said. "This day was once a great celebration."
(Additional reporting by Oleksandr Kozhukhar in Lviv, Ronald Popeski in Winnipeg, Lidia Kelly in Melbourne and Reuters bureaus; writing by Rami Ayyub and Lincoln Feast; editing by Himani Sarkar)
The Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, has turned over reams of phone and digital files and undergone interviews with the FBI, according to a lawyer working with the extremist group.
Leaders of the Oath Keepers have shared with the bureau’s investigators details of the group’s efforts to aid the Trump campaign in its failed bid to subvert the 2020 presidential elections and connect with other top figures in Trump's orbit, according to recent court filings, CNN is reporting.
Kellye SoRelle, a failed Texas House candidate and Granbury, Texas attorney who in January declared herself the Oath Keepers’ acting president, saId she’d had several meetings with the FBI and turned over phones, but she didn’t detail her disclosures to the investigators.
"I've done interviews. I've done everything. I'm helping them," SoRelle said of her meetings with the FBI. Although SoRelle has not been charged in the seditious conspiracy case that has rapidly enshrouded the Oath Keepers, her ties to the group have been detailed in recent court filings.
For instance, the Oath Keepers held a virtual meeting one week after the 2020 presidential elections and planned a trip to Washington, D.C., after which SoRelle filled them in on the campaign’s legal efforts to challenge the election results.
SoRelle also joined a Trump campaign lawsuit that sought to keep the former president in power despite his loss, where she likened Trump to “a king from the Lord of the Rings’ fictional kingdom of Gondor,” according to the Daily Beast.
The FBI has discovered that the Oath Keepers used Signal, a messaging app, to text “high-profile, right-wing political organizers” in the days preceding the now-famous January 6 rally, per CNN. These figures include Alex Jones, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and talk-show host; Roger Stone, the political consultant and self-proclaimed political "dirty trickster"; and right-wing organizer Ali Alexander.
According to recent court filings, these “VIP chat” messages, which number over 100,000, were obtained from Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes’ phone and will help prosecutors prove their case against him.
Jones, whose three companies recently filed for bankruptcy, is already in legal hot water after courts ruled against him in defamation lawsuits brought by families of Sandy Hook victims.
Multiple news outlets have reported on Jones’ involvement in pro-Trump rallies held between November and December 2020, where he received protection from right-wing volunteers, including the Oath Keepers, while in town. Stone and other prominent Trump allies also enjoyed this protection, according to CNN
Jones’ lawyer, Federico Andino Reynal, told news outlets that his client demanded prosecutorial immunity before he’d agree to sing like a bird because he’s suspicious of the government's motives for seeking an interview, given the highly partisan nature of the investigation.” However, Reynal refused to comment on the Signal VIP chat uncovered by investigators.
An attorney for Alexander also denied requests for comments about the chat, and Stone took to social media to deny texting Rhodes and said that "discussion of logistics for a speech at a legally permitted event on January 5 proves nothing."
Rhodes is in jail awaiting trial on charges of seditious conspiracy, and Oath Keeper William Todd Wilson, founder of the extremist group’s North Carolina arm and once-loyal deputy of its incarcerated founder, pled guilty to seditious conspiracy charges for his role in the riot.
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