Russia-Ukraine war, MMIW day of awareness, Cinco de Mayo: 5 things to know Thursday

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Ukraine makes gains against Russia, but battle are ‘heavy, bloody’ in Mariupol

Ukraine’s General Staff says the nation’s forces made some gains on the border of the southern regions of Kherson and Mykolaiv and repelled multiple Russian attacks in the east. The General Staff’s daily morning update Thursday said the Russians “lost control over several settlements” on the border of those regions. Ukrainian forces also repelled 11 attacks in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the update said. At the same time, fighting over the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol continued, the General Staff said. The commander of the main defending force at the plant said the Russians have broken into the mill’s compound, where limited evacuations of civilians took place over the weekend before being halted. Russian incursions had occurred for two days and “there are heavy, bloody battles,” a Ukrainian military official said in a video Wednesday. Russia is trying to stop the flow of Western weapons into Ukraine by bombing railroad stations and other supply-line targets, Russian officials said.

Jill Biden leaves for trip to Romania, Slovakia

First lady Jill Biden will leave Thursday for Romania and Slovakia on the borders of western Ukraine for a four-day visit to highlight the Biden administration’s support for Ukraine and its people. Biden will meet with some of the millions of Ukrainian refugee families in Slovakia on Sunday. Nearly 5.5 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded on Feb. 24, according to The Associated Press, citing the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Biden will also meet with American troops, embassy officials, aid workers and government officials in the two countries. 

Day of awareness for missing or murdered Indigenous women

Nobody knows how many missing or murdered Indigenous women there are, but it’s enough to have its own acronym: MMIW. May 5 marks the national day of awareness for MMIW, part a grassroots movement to draw attention to outsized levels of violence against Indigenous people, particularly women and children. Indigenous women are murdered at disproportionately high rates compared with other ethnic groups. The FBI’s National Crime Information Center reported 5,203 missing Indigenous girls and women in 2021, a total deemed an undercount in a report to Congress because of a lack of comprehensive data. While new federal laws and actions have attempted to address the problem, advocates and family members of victims say these initiatives have not gone far enough — a report from the General Accounting Office noted how federal officials failed to meet deadlines imposed by the new laws. 

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