400 bulletproof vests donated to Ukraine have been stolen from NYC

About 400 bulletproof vests destined for Ukraine have been stolen from a non-profit organization in New York City that is leading efforts to collect and ship strategic gear to people on the battlefield.

NEW YORK – About 400 bulletproof vests destined for Ukraine have been stolen from a non-profit organization in New York City that is leading efforts to collect and ship strategic gear to people on the battlefield, police said Wednesday.

Police say the used vests donated by local law enforcement agencies were taken from the offices of the Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America and the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America on Second Avenue in Manhattan.

NYPD Sergeant Edward Riley said police responded to the robbery call at 9:15 a.m. and were “informed that about 400 bullet-proof vests had been removed.”

A message seeking comment was left with the U.S. Ukrainian Congressional Committee.

Police in the New York City area have donated hundreds of closed bulletproof vests to charities supporting Ukrainian forces fighting Russian aggression.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office on Long Island said it had worked with the U.S. Ukrainian congressional committee to donate 450 used, discarded vests, but could not confirm that the vests were stolen.

The sheriff’s office stopped using the vest after five years, but officials say they are strong enough to provide protection in the war.

Vicki Distefano, a spokesman for Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Tullon Jr., said: “It’s reprehensible for anyone to enter a building to steal supplies and materials intended to help victims of this humanitarian crisis.”

Andrej Dobryansky, a spokesman for the Ukrainian congressional committee, said last week that the plan was to ship the donated gears to Poland and then transport them to Ukraine.

Officials say the items were probably used by civilian security and medical teams, including civilians who have joined the fight against Russian military forces, not Ukrainian soldiers themselves, officials said.

As the Fed begins to fight inflation with key rate hikes, much more will come

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve on Wednesday launched a high-risk effort to contain the worst inflation of the early 1980s, raising its benchmark short-term interest rates and signaling six additional rate hikes this year.

The Fed’s quarterly-point increase in key rates, which pinned it close to zero since the epidemic recession two years ago, triggered its efforts to control high inflation after recovering from the recession. Rate increases mean higher debt rates for many consumers and businesses.

Under Chair Jerome Powell, the Fed expects the rate hike to serve a tougher and narrower purpose: raising borrowing costs enough to slow growth and control high inflation, yet not so much as to push the economy into recession.

Speaking at a news conference, Powell emphasized his confidence that the economy was strong enough to withstand high interest rates. But he also made it clear that the Fed is focusing on doing what it needs to do to reduce inflation over time with its 2% annual target. Otherwise, Powell warned, the economy could not recover from the epidemic recession.

“We are acutely aware of the need to restore price stability,” the Fed chair said. “In fact, it is a prerequisite for achieving the kind of labor market we want. Without price stability you will not be able to get maximum employment for a permanent period.”

The Fed also released a set of quarterly economic forecasts on Wednesday, highlighting the possibility of rising interest rates in the coming months. The seven possible rates are expected to grow at a short-term rate of between 1.75% and 2% by the end of 2022.

This will be the highest level since March 2008. Borrowing costs for mortgages, credit cards and auto loans are likely to increase.

“Clearly, inflation has shifted to the front and center,” said Tim Dui, chief US economist at SGH Macro Advisors.

According to quarterly estimates released on Wednesday, central bank policymakers expect inflation to rise to 4.3% by 2022. Officials also now forecast much slower economic growth this year, 2.8%, lower than the 4% estimate in December.

But many economists worry that inflation is already so high – it reached 7.9% in February, the worst in four decades – and as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine pushed up gas prices, the Fed may now have to raise rates more than expected and potentially cause a recession.

In its own acknowledgment, the central bank underestimated the breadth and perseverance of high inflation after the epidemic hit. And many economists say waiting too long for the Fed to start raising rates has put its work at risk.

At his press conference, Powell said he believes inflation will ease later this year as supply chain barriers clear up and more Americans return to the job market, easing upward pressure on wages.

He further suggested that over time, the Fed’s higher rates would reduce consumer spending on interest-sensitive items such as autos and cars. If credit card rates rise, Americans may buy less. These trends will ultimately reduce business demand for workers, slowing wage growth, running at a strong 6% annual rate, and easing inflationary pressures. Powell noted that there are almost a record number of job opportunities, with an average of 1.7 jobs available for each unemployed person.

As a result, he is confident that the economy will remain strong enough to sustain a steady Fed rate hike without creating a recession.

“All indications are that this is a strong economy,” he said.

The Fed’s forecast for a number of additional rate hikes in the coming months initially hampered a strong rally on Wall Street, weakening stock gains and boosting bond yields. But after Powell began his press conference, stock prices recovered more than their gains and suggested that the Fed would remain flexible in the process of raising rates.

Most economists say that the sharply high rates of arrears are long overdue for the economy to cope with rising inflation.

“Unemployment rates below 4%, inflation close to 8%, and the war in Ukraine could put even more upward pressure on prices, which is what the Fed needs to do to bring inflation under control,” said Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at Mortgage Bankers Assoc.

In a statement issued after its latest policy meeting, the Fed noted that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions could “create additional upward pressure on inflation and affect economic activity.”

Powell is taking the Fed on a sharp U-turn. Officials kept rates very low to support growth and recruitment during the recession and its aftermath. As recently as December, Fed officials expected the rate to rise only three times this year.

James Bullard, a member of the Fed’s rate-setting committee, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, disagreed with Wednesday’s decision. Bullard favors a half-point rate hike, a position he has endorsed in interviews and speeches.

The Fed also said it would begin reducing its nearly $ 9 trillion balance sheet, which had more than doubled in size during the epidemic, “at an upcoming meeting.” That move would also have the effect of tightening credit for many consumers and businesses.

Since its last meeting in January, challenges and uncertainties have grown for the Fed. Russia’s aggression has pushed up prices of oil, gas, wheat and other commodities. China has again shut down ports and factories in an attempt to contain a new outbreak of covid, which will disrupt the supply chain and possibly increase further fuel price pressures.

Meanwhile, a sharp rise in average gas prices since the attack, more than 60 cents nationally at $ 4.31 per gallon, will send inflation higher and possibly lower growth – two conflicting trends that the Fed is notoriously difficult to handle simultaneously.

Contrary to some analysts, Glenmede’s chief investment officer Jason Pride said he thinks Russia’s attack could lead the Fed to a relatively slow approach.

“The war in Eastern Europe is unlikely to stop the Fed’s tough plan, but it could be cautious about the pace of rate hikes because the economic implications of the conflict are better understood,” Pride said.

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Paul Wisman, author of AP Economics, contributed to this report.

HBCU raises funding after Vice President Harris bomb threat

At least 36 HBCUs have been bombed in recent months

Vice President Kamala Harris is about to announce that historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will be eligible for new grants after the bomb threat against them.

The Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program under the Department of Education aims to increase campus security and provide mental health by providing short-term, immediate funding for organizations facing “violent or traumatic events.”

A White House official told ABC News that Harris “would make it clear that every American should be able to learn, work, worship and gather without fear.” The announcement will be made at the White House on Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Threatened HBCUs can receive grants ranging from $ 50,000 to $ 150,000 per campus and will be determined based on specific needs. No bombs were found.

At least 36 HBCU and other college campuses have been targeted by the threat, and at least 18 of these colleges and universities were targeted only on February 1 – the first day of Black History Month.

Institutions went into lockdown or evacuated campus when local law enforcement agencies investigated the threat.

“Threats to the education and well-being of black Americans and HBCU are an unfortunate part of American history,” the press release said. “The bomb threat we saw in January, every week in February – is a month of black history, and this month is reminiscent of the civil rights era’s efforts to intimidate and frighten black Americans.”

According to the FBI, the threats are due to a nearly 50% increase in hate crimes against black Americans between 2019 and 2020.

Several federal agencies are taking up the issue. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorcas met with HBCU leaders on tools they could use to strengthen campus security.

A congressional hearing is also being held on Thursday to hear what the federal government can do to support HBCUs.

Murdaugh’s friend is accused of helping the insurance fraud scheme

A longtime friend of one-time South Carolina attorney Alex Murdoch is now facing 18 charges in an alleged plot to help steal more than 3 million from the family of Murdoch’s deceased domestic worker.

COLOMBIA, SC – South Carolina Attorney Alex Murdoch’s longtime friend is now facing 18 charges involving the theft of more than $ 3 million in insurance money from the family of Murdoch’s deceased domestic worker, according to newly sealed court documents.

Corey Fleming has been charged in a lawsuit filed Wednesday against Gloria Sutterfield, who worked with Murdoch for defrauding the boys, who died after falling into Murdoch’s home in 2018, suing Murdoch on behalf of the boys but eventually removing the insurance payouts to Murdoch and himself. .

Fleming also wrote checks from Sutterfield’s estate for his mortgage, credit card debt, tax payments, video games and other purchases, prosecutors said.

The boys said in the case, they did not get any money. They said Murdoch agreed to use Fleming as their attorney at their mother’s funeral and to sue him for unjust death, without disclosing that Fleming was his college roommate and godfather of at least one of Murdoch’s sons.

According to the latest allegations, Fleming, 53, chose not to tell the Sutterfield boys about the two settlements, which are protected by insurers. He instead knowingly transferred money from both contracts to a fraudulent bank account that handles similar settlements in the name of a company called Murdoch, authorities said.

According to a joint statement between Fleming and the boys ‘lawyers in October, Fleming had previously stated that he was assisting the sons’ new lawyers and maintained that he was “not a willing participant in Mr. Murdoch’s scheme but was used.”

Deborah Barbiera, a Fleming attorney, said in a statement that Fleming was “deeply disappointed” by the allegations. Barbier said Fleming was looking forward to defending himself in court and maintained that his client was “another victim of the host of crimes committed by Alex Murdoch.”

Fleming plans to turn himself in before the virtual bond hearing scheduled for Thursday, said Robert Keatel, a spokesman for the state attorney general’s office.

Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, attorneys for the Sutterfield boys, said Wednesday that the grand jury did not explicitly believe Fleming’s defense that he was one of Murdoch’s victims. They said in a statement.

The grand jury has issued four new charges against Murdaugh. Murdaugh is currently facing 75 state charges, including conspiracy, fraud, money laundering, computer crime and now criminal conspiracy with Fleming, in total he has been charged with stealing approximately $ 8.5 million intended for victims of unjust death and insurance settlement. There are also allegations that he tried to arrange his own death so that his surviving son could collect a $ 10 million life insurance policy.

Murdoch, 53, has been in prison since October. A judge set his bail at 7 7 million and refused to reduce it, even as Murdoch’s lawyer argued that his bank accounts had been seized in a civil case and that he could not afford to buy underwear at Richland County Jail. He pinned his problems on a year-long drug addiction.

His wife, Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, were released on bail after being shot dead at the family home in June. Murdoch’s lawyers insisted he had nothing to do with it, urging investigators to work as hard as they could to find their killers and try to uncover Murdoch’s money.

Murdaugh’s great-grandparents and great-grandfather were all elected prosecutors in Hampton County, where his family law firm recently carried the Murdaugh moniker. The South Carolina Supreme Court has suspended Murdoch and Fleming from practicing law in the state.

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Liu is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for the America State House News Initiative. Reporting for America is a non-profit national service program that puts journalists in the local newsroom to report on confidential matters.

How Athletes Can Return to Practice After COVID-19 Infection: New Guidelines

Throughout the epidemic, several professional and collegiate sports leagues have canceled major events and seasons, partly to slow the spread of COVID-19, but also because of alarming reports of athletes developing a syndrome called myocarditis – inflammation of the heart muscle – following a COV. Infection.

After two years of research, the American College of Cardiology released guidelines on Tuesday that say the incidence of heartburn among athletes after COVID-19 is lower than previously thought, but they still suggest a step-by-step plan to help competing athletes and weekend fighters alike. Will help them safely return to their activities.

“For athletes recovering from COVID-19 with ongoing cardiopulmonary symptoms … further evaluation should be done before resuming exercise,” said ACC expert Consensus Decision Pathway, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “For all others who are asymptomatic or with less indicative symptoms of cardiopulmonary etiology … Additional cardiac examination is not recommended.”

Developed science

Doctors were conducting “extremely rigorous tests to detect myocarditis” at the start of the epidemic, Dr Tamanna Singh, co-director of the Cleveland Clinic Sports Cardiology Center, who was not involved in the new guidelines, told ABC News. It’s going to be much more than that. “

In September 2020, while much was still unknown about COVID-19, researchers at Ohio State University tested 26 athletes after a mild COVID-19 infection that did not require hospitalization. Myocarditis has been found in 15% of athletes, while 30% has created a scar in their heart, which has created a sense of uncertainty surrounding the safety of athletes returning to the sport after an infection.

“Although the data on cardiomyopathy are preliminary and incomplete, the uncertain risks at this time were unacceptable,” Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren wrote in an August 2020 open letter about the college conference’s decision to cancel the 2020-2021 fall sports season.

But over time, that is likely to change.

“Many conferences, including the Big Ten, were doing cardiac MRI on every athlete recovered from Covid, and what they saw was that the incidence of severe MRI abnormalities was very low, in the order of 1 to 2%,” said Dr. Nicole Vave, a cardiologist and echocardiographer at the University of Michigan, and vice chair of the committee that published the new guidelines.

The general rate for myocarditis involvement in athletes is “very low, the rate is usually around 0.6 to 0.7%,” Singh said.

Although experts’ understanding of COVID-19 has developed, it is clear that the symptoms, obvious or subtle, persist even after infection in many patients. And although not every athlete with COVID-19 will experience myocarditis, it is dangerous enough to be noticed by doctors.

“Myocarditis is a very rare but serious complication of covid,” Vave said. “Patients with covid myocarditis should be directed to a really high-level center. [with the proper equipment]Because these patients can go south quickly. “

Guidelines for Athletes

The ACC’s new guidelines suggest that it is safe for athletes who have no symptoms of Covid-19 to return to practice after three days of self-isolation. For mild symptoms that do not involve the heart or lungs, it is safe to return to exercise once the symptoms have resolved.

Athletes who are constantly suffering from chest pain, palpitations or pass out need more cardiac tests. If the results are related to myocarditis, the ACC recommends abstaining from exercise for three to six months.

“We don’t think everyone who has covid needs a routine MRI before they can start exercising again,” says Vave.

If an athlete has endless symptoms, Vave says, “One of the recommendations we’re making in the document is that people try to do something where they’re actually sitting, instead of trying to walk. So orthostatic intolerance. [the inability to tolerate quick movements] It’s not a big deal. “

For athletes who experience long-term COVID-19 symptoms, the recovery process can be frustrating.

“You’re basically seeing someone with a decade and a half, even two decades, of unlimited sports participation and unlimited exercise ability who now has serious limitations,” Singh said. “They are not only losing their physical connection to themselves, but also their social connection to their community, which can be really devastating emotionally.”

Both Singh and Vave said that the resumption of exercise after infection should be gradual, starting small and increasing the frequency, duration and intensity as tolerable.

“It’s important to say, as a doctor, ‘Hey, I’m here with you, and I know you haven’t returned to where you were. “We still have a lot to learn, and I think that’s a message that is very helpful for depressed patients.”

Nicholas P. Condoleezza, MD, is an internal medicine resident at the Cleveland Clinic and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

Nine of the six members of the coach, college golf team, were killed in the crash in Texas

Among the nine people killed in a car crash in Texas were the head coach and six members of the men’s and women’s golf teams at Southwestern University, authorities said.

The crash happened near Midland, Texas on Tuesday night, and only two people in the college team van survived, according to a statement from Southwest University in Hobbes, New Mexico.

The college confirmed that Tyler James, head coach of both the men’s and women’s golf teams, was among the dead. The coach and his team were returning home from a tournament in the Midlands when the accident happened, the school said in a statement.

In a statement to ABC Affiliate Station KMID in Midland, school officials said, “The USW campus community is shocked and saddened today because we mourn the loss of our university family members.”

The deceased was identified as Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico. Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Jean, 22, Westminster, Colorado; Carissa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; Lacy Stone, 18, of Nakona, Texas; And Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.

The school said in a statement that two of the passengers in the van who survived the wreckage were in critical condition at a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, on Wednesday. They were later identified as Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ontario.

“We pray for the recovery of those who lost their lives and for the comfort and strength of their families and friends and for the students,” school officials said in a statement.

Sergeant Steven Blanco of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the crash happened at about 8:17 a.m. Tuesday on a two-lane road nine miles east of Andrews, Texas, when a 17-seater passenger van carrying the golf team collided with a pickup truck. .

Authorities say two people in the pickup truck were killed. They were identified as Heinrich Siemens, 38, and an unnamed 13-year-old from Seminole, Texas.

A preliminary investigation has indicated that the driver of the southbound pickup truck entered the northbound lane and collided with the van for unknown reasons, the Public Safety Department said Wednesday. The agency said both vehicles caught fire after the crash.

Blanco said the cause of the crash is under investigation in the West Texas area of ​​the Texas Highway Patrol.

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Wednesday afternoon that it has sent an 11-member team to Texas, including accident reconstruction experts, to conduct an accident investigation in conjunction with a highway patrol.

NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss told a news conference the speed limit at the crash site was 75 miles per hour. Weiss said determining the speed of the vehicle during the collision would be part of the investigation.

“It’s a very sad scene. Very tragic,” Blanco said, describing the accident when officers first arrived.

University officials confirmed that James was driving the car at the time of the collision.

James was head coach of both men’s and women’s golf teams in his first year, school officials said.

School officials said they were working Wednesday to inform the families of all those involved in the crash and to provide counseling and religious services to all students, teachers and staff on campus.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement Wednesday urging Texans to pray for the families of those who lost their lives and for the recovery of two seriously injured students.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives of those who lost their lives in this horrific car crash near Andrews last night,” Abbott said.

One of the two deputies injured during the SWAT arrest attempt died

Authorities say two Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies were shot and killed as they tried to arrest a man south of Tacoma, Washington.

Tacoma, wash. – One of the two Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies who were shot and killed while trying to arrest a man south of Tacoma, Washington, has died, authorities said Wednesday.

Dominic “Dom” Calata, 35, died Tuesday after a gun battle in Spanway, according to a statement from the Washington Council of Police and Sheriff’s Office.

A statement on the law enforcement group’s Facebook page said, “Please pray for Dom and for those who know and love him.”

According to The News Tribune, Kalata was taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Tacoma after the shooting. He was with the sheriff’s department for more than six years and was in the National Guard. Prior to that, Kalata served in the U.S. Army for five years. He graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, was married and had a 4 year old son.

The other deputy is identified as Rich Scanif, 45. Scaniff’s condition was serious after surgery at St. Joseph’s Medical Center. He is expected to survive.

Scaniff has been with the department for 21 years. He is a patrol sergeant assigned to Mountain Detachment and a SWAT team commander. Scaniff is married and has a daughter in elementary school, officials said.

“These are people who have a heart for public service,” said Sheriff Ed Troy. “It’s a tragedy all around.”

The suspect was killed in a gunfight.

The deputies were assisting the South Sound Gang Task Force to serve a warrant on a 40-year-old man for second-degree assault.

Police say the man, previously convicted of a crime, was believed to be a candidate for three strike lawsuits. That means he could face life in prison if convicted of another crime.

At least 97 people have been injured and four killed in a powerful earthquake in Japan

A tsunami alert has been issued off the east coast of Honshu, Japan.

A strong earthquake struck off the coast of Japan late Wednesday night, threatening a tsunami and leaving more than 2 million families without electricity, officials said.

At the initial report, it was 7.3. The quake struck just off the coast from Fukushima.

At least 97 people were injured and four were killed in multiple prefectures in Japan, according to the Associated Press.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami alert on the east coast of Honshu, Japan, based on preliminary earthquake parameters. The epicenter was reported below the Pacific Ocean floor, however; no tsunami alert was issued.

According to the US National Tsunami Warning Center, no tsunami alert was issued in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia or Alaska.

Japan’s NHK World News Service initially reported that there was a major power outage in the Tokyo area where more than 2 million households are currently without electricity. By 3 a.m. local time, power had been restored in “most” areas of Tokyo, the NHK reported.

According to the Kyodo News Agency, the quake caused one of Japan’s Tohoku Shinkansen high-speed rail-line trains to derail with 100 passengers on board. No injuries were reported, the agency said.

The epicenter was reported at 11:36 a.m. local time, with the epicenter about 20.5 miles below sea level, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

In 2011, a strong earthquake and tsunami hit the same general area and caused a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Japan’s nuclear regulator said on Wednesday that preliminary data did not indicate any abnormalities at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

ABC’s Alex Stone reports.

The abducted Ukrainian mayor has been released in a “special operation”, officials say

The mayor of Melitopol is alleged to have been abducted by Russian forces on March 11.

The mayor of an occupied Ukrainian city kidnapped by Russian forces last week has been released, Ukrainian officials said on Wednesday.

According to Kirilo Tymoshenko, an adviser to the President of Ukraine, the mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, has been released from captivity in a “special operation”. Timoshenko did not elaborate.

Melitopol has been occupied since the first day of the Russian invasion. Ukrainian officials say Fedorov, who insisted the southeastern Ukrainian city would remain free and supported daily pro-Ukrainian protests, was abducted on March 11 after resisting occupation.

Fedorov disappeared after a large group of heavily armed Russian soldiers carried a bag over his head in Melitopol’s Victory Square in a CCTV video shared by Timoshenko in the Telegram. Russian-controlled separatists then announced that they were bringing charges against Fedorov for “aiding terrorism.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky released a video of himself in a telegram on Wednesday, saying he had spoken to Fedorov on the phone. The mayor thanked Zelensky and said he needed a few days to recover from his ordeal and would then be ready to comply with any order.

A smiling Zelensky said he was happy to talk to Fedorov and “we will not leave him behind.”

Zelensky mentioned the call in a national speech on Wednesday night.

“We have finally been able to free the mayor of Melitopol from captivity,” he said. “Ivan Fedorov is free. I spoke to him today. The Russian military kidnapped him on March 11, tried to persuade him to cooperate. But our man resisted. He did not give up. Just as we all endure.”

The president demanded Fedorov’s release in several video messages, calling it a “crime against democracy.”

“The actions of the Russian aggressors will be equated with the actions of the ISIS terrorists,” he said last week.

Following the alleged abduction, a pro-Russian administration appears to have been set up in Melitopol. A local lawmaker from a pro-Russian party gave a televised speech on Saturday, during which he said “a committee of elected officials” is now in charge of running the city. Lawmaker Galina Danilchenko called the protesters “extremists” and called on the public not to allow workers to “destabilize” the situation.

Russia’s riot police have been deployed in Melitcholo to prevent protests there.

Russian forces have reportedly abducted another mayor in an occupied town in the region. The mayor of Dnipropetrovsk, Yevgeny Matveyev, was abducted on Sunday, according to Alexander Staruk, head of the regional military administration.

Earlier Wednesday, Ukrainian officials claimed that the third mayor of southern Ukraine – Alexander Yakovlev of Skadovsk – and his deputy Yuri Paliuk had been “kidnapped” by Russian forces.

“Russian invaders continue to kidnap democratically elected local leaders in Ukraine,” said Dmitry Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister. Said on Twitter. “The state and international organizations must immediately demand that Russia release all abducted Ukrainian officials!”

Patrick Revel of ABC News contributed to this report.

The Irish leader tested positive for COVID during a visit to DC

Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin learned he was positive for COVID-19 when he attended an event Wednesday evening with U.S. leaders, including President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a senior administration official said.

Martin – also known as Taoisech of Ireland – was attending the 30th National Irish Fund event at the National Building Museum in Washington when he tested positive, with US leaders ahead of a planned St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Thursday.

The official was not authorized to speak to Martin about his condition and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

White House spokesman Chris Megher said Biden, who spoke briefly at the event, was not considered a close associate of Martin. The COVID-19 close call came a day after a second gentleman, Doug Emhoff, tested positive for the virus.

It was not immediately clear how Martin’s diagnosis would affect the St. Patrick’s Day events scheduled at the White House.