US Capitol Divided on Anniversary of Jan 6 Attack

Part of a voting session in the US House of Representatives, Thursday (AFP)
Part of a voting session in the US House of Representatives, Thursday (AFP)
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US Capitol Divided on Anniversary of Jan 6 Attack

Part of a voting session in the US House of Representatives, Thursday (AFP)
Part of a voting session in the US House of Representatives, Thursday (AFP)

Americans marked on Friday the second anniversary of the storming of the Capitol amid sharp partisan divisions that loomed over the rooms of the same building that witnessed the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

Instead of visiting the Capitol building, US President Joe Biden chose to stay at the White House.

This year, divisions are rife at the Capitol and Biden is seeking to avoid controversy on a day when he needs to talk about unity instead of the sharp disagreements that overshadowed the events of the storming.

Biden chose to shed light on “those who defended democracy in the face of insurrectionists who sought stopping Congress from approving the results of the 2020 election.”

The White House announced that Biden would award the Presidential Citizens Medal to election workers and local officials, as well as security personnel who helped protect the building on the day of the attack.

At the Capitol, Republicans continue to struggle with divisions that show a large and deep-rooted rift between the party’s traditional and right-wing factions. Hardline Republicans insist on not compromising.

Republicans remain divided on choosing a speaker for the House of Representatives.

These are the same divisions that two years ago led hundreds of skeptics of the US election results to rush into the Capitol, refusing to acknowledge the loss of former President Donald Trump.

Those who questioned the election results back then stand today in the House of Representatives refusing to surrender to the will of the 200 Republicans who support their leader, Kevin McCarthy.

At a point in time, McCarthy rejected both election results and recognizing Biden as president. He also angered moderate Republicans after he decided to visit former President Donald Trump at his residence in Mar-a-Lago a few days after the Capitol stormed.



Putin Warns West Not to Let Ukraine Use Its Missiles to Hit Russia

 Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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Putin Warns West Not to Let Ukraine Use Its Missiles to Hit Russia

 Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulates Russian Border Guards troop celebrations their service holiday in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, May 28, 2024. (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Tuesday that NATO members in Europe were playing with fire by proposing to let Ukraine use Western weapons to strike inside Russia, which he said could trigger a global conflict.

More than two years into the deadliest land war in Europe since World War Two, as the West considers what to do about Russian military advances, Putin is increasingly evoking the risk of a global war, while Western leaders play it down.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the Economist that alliance members should let Ukraine strike deep into Russia with Western weapons, a view supported by some European members of the transatlantic alliance but not the United States.

Russian forces have advanced into Ukraine's Kharkiv province safe in the knowledge that Ukraine cannot attack missile launchers being fired deep inside Russia because it cannot use the Western missiles that have the required range.

Meanwhile, Western-made air defenses cannot attempt to down Russian rockets until they cross the Ukrainian border, only 25 km (15 miles) or so from Ukraine's second city, Kharkiv.

"Constant escalation can lead to serious consequences," Putin told reporters in Tashkent in Uzbekistan.

"If these serious consequences occur in Europe, how will the United States behave, bearing in mind our parity in the field of strategic weapons?"

"It's hard to say - do they want a global conflict?"

Putin said Ukrainian strikes with long-range weapons would need Western satellite, intelligence and military help - so the West would have to be directly involved in such attacks.

He said sending French troops to Ukraine would also be a step towards global conflict and that smaller countries considering deeper involvement "should be aware of what they are playing with" as they had small land areas and dense populations.

"This is a factor that they should keep in mind before talking about striking deep into Russian territory. This is a serious thing, and we are of course watching it very closely," Putin said.

RUSSIAN ADVANCES TRIGGER DEBATE IN WEST

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 touched off the worst breakdown in relations with the West for 60 years.

The invasion has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians, driven millions to flee abroad, and reduced neighborhoods and whole cities to rubble.

Putin casts the war as part of a struggle with the West, which he says is exploiting Ukraine as part of a wider plan to encroach on what he considers Moscow's sphere of influence.

The West and Ukraine cast the attack as a simple land grab: Russia controls 18% of Ukraine, and the crisis is now escalating into what diplomats say is its most dangerous phase.

Russian officials say Moscow's patience is wearing thin after Ukrainian attacks on Russian cities, oil refineries and elements of its nuclear early-warning system.

Putin said Kyiv and its Western backers had provoked Russia's offensive on the Kharkiv region by ignoring repeated warnings not to let Ukraine attack the adjacent Russian region of Belgorod.