What you missed in Columbus for Feb. 21

The Russia/Ukraine crisis continues to escalate; more local schools ditch their mask mandates; the Crew debuts a new gold kit; and more from the weekend.

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
Ukrainian servicemen stand by a destroyed house near the frontline village of Krymske, Luhansk region, in eastern Ukraine, Saturday. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, facing a sharp spike in violence in and around territory held by Russia-backed rebels and increasingly dire warnings that Russia plans to invade, on Saturday called for Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet him and seek resolution to the crisis.

This morning, as troops amassed near Ukraine's border, the Washington Post reports that President Joe Biden and Russia President Vladimir Putin have agreed "in principle" to meet, though "Russian officials were ambiguous about whether the summit would go ahead."

Over the weekend, the United States also told the United Nations that recent intelligence indicates Moscow is compiling lists of Ukrainians “to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation,” according to a letter to the U.N. obtained by the Post. The letter alleges that Russia's plan for Ukraine involves torture, forced disappearances and "widespread human suffering."

The New York Times' David Leonhardt explains why Russia's "voluntary war of aggression" against Ukraine would be unlike most other wars in recent decades. "A Russian invasion of Ukraine would look like the kind of war that has been largely absent in the past 80 years and that was once common. It would involve a powerful nation setting out to expand its regional dominance by taking over a neighbor," Leonhardt writes. "If the world is entering an era in which countries again make decisions based, above all, on what their military power allows them to do, it would be a big change."

Leonhardt also notes that a forceful takeover of Ukraine, a democracy, by Russia, an autocracy, would contribute to the further decline in democracy around the world, sometimes described as a "democratic recession."

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The Dispatch reports that Canal Winchester, Dublin, Gahanna Jefferson, Hilliard, Licking Heights, Olentangy, South-Western, Upper Arlington and Westerville school districts have all recently announced plans to do away with mask mandates.

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On Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine delayed the scheduled summer executions of three men, citing Ohio's difficulty in obtaining the drugs needed for lethal injection.

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On Saturday, the Columbus Crew debuted its new gold kit for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, and I can very objectively report that it is fantastic. The jersey launch event helped to kick off Black and Gold Week ahead of the Crew's first game of the 2022 season against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 3:30 p.m. at Lower.com Field.

Columbus Crew's gold jersey with sponsor Nationwide.