Good morning. We’re covering escalating tensions in Ukraine, arrests in the Canadian trucker protest and the fate of Afghan government funds.
Fears of Russian invasion mount
On Sunday, airlines suspended flights over Ukraine, though the country said its airspace was open. Foreign embassies in Kyiv continued to withdraw nonessential staff and nations urged their citizens to leave the country.
On Sunday, President Biden spoke with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who has continued to urge calm. A day earlier, Biden warned Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, that invading Ukraine would have severe costs. Russia continued to deny that it was planning to invade its neighbor, though its military buildup has showed no signs of slowing.
Diplomacy: Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, plans to travel to Kyiv on Monday. France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, is trying to leverage the chaos to reshape Europe — and bolster his re-election campaign.
Canadian police arrest truckers
After declaring “zero tolerance,” the police cleared protesters who had been obstructing the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, though the bridge remained closed.
The arrests were the first major police action since truckers and other Canadians laid siege to the area around the Parliament in Ottawa three weeks ago. Here are live updates.
Cost: The blockade of the bridge, a critical trade route, has cost automakers millions of dollars.
Aim: The protests, which began as an outcry against a vaccine mandate for drivers entering Canada from the U.S., have ballooned into a sprawling anti-government campaign.
Understand Russia’s Relationship With the West
The tension between the regions is growing and Russian President Vladimir Putin is increasingly willing to take geopolitical risks and assert his demands.
The fate of Afghanistan’s funds
President Biden announced plans to split $7 billion in frozen funds from Afghanistan’s central bank between humanitarian aid to the country and relatives of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The highly unusual move would effectively bankrupt the central bank.
Many Afghans are outraged, and some Afghan diplomats in the U.S. have worked without salaries for months. The country is hurtling toward economic collapse and mass starvation. Many blame the U.S. withdrawal for the current chaos.
“It is a cruel act and a betrayal of the rights of the Afghan people,” one shopkeeper in Kabul said. “It is clear that the poor economic situation right now is due to the U.S. economic constraints on Afghanistan.”
Background: The Afghan central bank had kept most of its assets at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. When the government dissolved in August, the Fed made the remaining funds unavailable for withdrawal because it was unclear who — if anyone — had the legal authority to gain access.
Separately: The Taliban freed two Western citizens and two Afghans working for the U.N. They had been held in Kabul for several days.
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