Russia-Ukraine updates: Ukraine outgunned 20 to 1 in east, Zelenskyy says

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(NEW YORK) — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “special military operation” into neighboring Ukraine began on Feb. 24, with Russian forces invading from Belarus, to the north, and Russia, to the east. Ukrainian troops have offered “stiff resistance,” according to U.S. officials.

The Russian military has since launched a full-scale ground offensive in eastern Ukraine’s disputed Donbas region, capturing the strategic port city of Mariupol and securing a coastal corridor to the Moscow-annexed Crimean Peninsula.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

May 24, 4:47 pm
Drone footage shows devastation inside Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol

Drone footage released by Russian media shows the devastation inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces fended off Russian troops for weeks amid intense fighting before surrendering.

The drone footage released by the Russian news outlet MIC Izvestia showed the collapsed walls of the plant and twisted metal and debris strewn about the entire facility.

The Russian Defense ministry on Friday said the last Ukrainian fighters defending Azovstal had surrendered, giving Russia full control of the port city of Mariupol.

The seizure of Mariupol, gives Russia command of a land route linking the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow seized in 2014, with mainland Russia and parts of eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian separatists.

May 24, 4:21 pm
Canada announces plans to send artillery to Ukraine

Canada’s Defense Minister Anita Anand announced Tuesday that her country is sending Ukraine more than 20,000 artillery rounds of 155mm NATO-standard ammunition, to further support Ukraine’s military response to Russian leadership’s “illegal, and unjustifiable invasion.”

The ammunition, Anand said, has been sourced from the United States at a cost around $98 million and that work is underway to deliver it to Ukraine as quickly as possible.

The ammunition can be fired from M777 howitzer cannons that Canada and its allies have donated to Ukrainian forces.

“Canada stands with Ukraine and its people as they resist Putin’s illegal and unjustifiable assault,” Anand said. “Today’s announcement is another example of our unwavering commitment to provide Ukraine with the comprehensive military aid it needs to defend its sovereignty, territorial integrity, and independence.”

May 24, 10:33 am
Tone in Kyiv shifts as Ukraine sharpens its language in pursuit of more US arms

The language being used by Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in relation to the war has changed significantly in the past couple of days and, to some extent, reflects the pressure Ukrainian forces are currently under as Russian forces make progress in the eastern Donbas region.

Marking the third month of the war, Zelenskyy’s said in a speech Monday night that the toughest battles in recent days have been in the Donbas, Bakhmut, Popasna and Severodonetsk areas of eastern Ukraine, where Russia has concentrated most of its efforts and is “trying to destroy everything living there.” He warned that the coming weeks of the war “will be difficult.”

“Yet we have no alternative but to fight — fight and win,” Zelenskyy said.

Zelenksyy’s admission of 50 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers dying every day as of this past weekend and his revelation that more than 70 troops were killed in a single attack on a military base near Kyiv a week ago are a departure from the broad Ukrainian messaging up until now, which has been to stay silent on casualty numbers.

The shift in language on the Ukrainian side over the number of troops lost comes amid multiple reports in recent days suggesting Russia is making small but incremental gains in the Donbas. The latest assessment from the British Defense Ministry is that Russia has achieved “some localized successes.”

Zelenskyy and his top officials have ramped up calls for more weapons from Western nations, specifically the United States. As ABC News has reported, multilaunch rocket systems are at the top of the Ukrainians’ wish list. They also want Western-made fighter jets, such as F-16. However, training time and maintenance issues make the supply of fighter jets more complicated.

Ukrainian officials have publicly addressed Western concerns that Ukraine might use medium-range missile systems to hit targets in Russia, saying that Ukraine will only use them to hit targets within Ukraine’s pre-2014 borders. There has been no suggestion that Ukraine would strike targets in Crimea, which presumably would be seen by Western officials as carrying a similar risk of escalation with Russia.

The United States and some of its allies are concerned that Russia would use strikes in Russian territory with Western-supplied weapons as a pretext for direct confrontation with the West.

-ABC News’ Ian Pannell, Dragana Jovanovic and Tom Soufi Burridge

May 23, 4:49 pm
Russian troops have 20 times the military equipment of Ukraine: Zelenskyy

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine is outgunned 20-to-1 on the eastern front in a virtual speech to the Ukraine House in Davos, Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum is currently taking place.

“We do not have enough technical supplies because we are fighting against such a big country with a big army,” Zelenskyy said. “They have 20 times more equipment. Just imagine, now in Donbas, we have 1 to 20. You can just imagine what kind of people we have, how strong they are, what strong warriors we have.”

Zelenskyy has continuously pushed Western countries to increase the amount of military aid coming into the country to stave off the attack from Russia. He sent special thanks over the weekend to President Joe Biden for approving $40 billion in additional aid last week.

“I just don’t want hundreds of thousands of people to die, so we need weapons that will allow us to fight at a great distance,” Zelenskyy added in his speech to the Ukraine House.

Zelenskyy said over the weekend that 50 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers are dying every day in the fighting.

-ABC News’ Christine Theodorou

May 23, 4:24 pm
Russian UN diplomat resigns over Ukraine war: ‘Never have I been so ashamed of my country’

Boris Bondarev, Russia’s counselor to the United Nations in Geneva, has resigned, becoming the Kremlin’s most senior diplomat to defect since his country’s invasion of Ukraine began in February, according to a report from U.N. Watch, a nongovernment organization based in Geneva.

“Never have I been so ashamed of my country,” Bondarev wrote in a statement shared with diplomats in Geneva and published by U.N. Watch.

He said he started his diplomatic career in Russia’s ministry of foreign affairs in 2002 and began his most recent role at the U.N. in 2019.

“I regret to admit that over all these twenty years the level of lies and unprofessionalism in the work of the Foreign Ministry has been increasing all the time,” Bondarev said in his statement. “However, in most recent years, this has become simply catastrophic.”

He added, “Today, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred. It serves interests of few, the very few people thus contributing to further isolation and degradation of my country. Russia no longer has allies, and there is no one to blame but its reckless and ill-conceived policy.”

ABC News has not independently verified the statement’s authenticity with Bondarev. The Associated Press spoke with him by phone and he confirmed his statement.

Kira Yarmysh, a spokesperson for imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, shared the statement on her verified Twitter account and wrote, “It seems that there was one honest person in the entire Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

-ABC News’ Josh Margolin

May 23, 2:55 pm
Canadian artist turns bullet holes into beautiful flowers in Bucha

Canadian artist Ivanka Siolkowsky is trying to restore some beauty to the war-ravaged Ukrainian city of Bucha.

A former school teacher, Silokowsky has been painting flowers and butterflies around bullet holes she finds in fences, walls of buildings and homes, frequently soliciting children and other local residents to help her.

“The project began a few weeks ago. I only painted 5 fences, but my hope is that the people of Bucha and other formerly occupied cities in Ukraine will continue this project further,” Siolkowsky recently wrote on her Instagram page.

Bucha, which is northwest of Kyiv, is one of the most heavily bomb cities in Ukraine, where residents have told ABC News of witnessing numerous killings and torture at the hands of Russian forces.

Siolkowsky conceded that her paintings are not masterpieces and said someone commented on one of the Instagram posts, writing, “the paintings aren’t even good.”

“Believe me, I’m aware,” she wrote on Instagram. “But the point of this wasn’t to create masterpieces — it was to bring joy back into a city filled with darkness after the Russian occupation.”

May 23, 12:32 pm
Defense Secretary Austin convenes 2nd Ukraine Contact Group meeting

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin convened the second monthly meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group Monday morning, during which more than 40 nations participated virtually.

“This gathering is virtual, but our efforts together are making a very concrete difference on the battlefield,” Austin told the group as he faced two large monitors showing the virtual participants. “We’re all here today because of the extraordinary valor and resilience of Ukraine soldiers and citizens.”

The group was formed last month to help coordinate international efforts to support Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invaders.

“For three months, Ukraine has been fighting with grit and tactical ingenuity against an entirely unprovoked invasion by its far larger neighbor,” Austin said. “And we’re here to help Ukraine for the long haul.”

Defense leaders from 44 countries and representatives of NATO and the European Union participated in the meeting. Several new nations joined the group since its first meeting, including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Ireland and Kosovo.

Ukrainian officials, including Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov, also logged on to the virtual meeting.

“My friends, we’ve got your back — all of us,” Austin told the Ukrainian representatives. “President Zelenskyy and Ukraine’s leaders have made history, and your forces have inspired the free world with their courage and skill.”

May 23, 12:06 pm
Starbucks announces complete withdrawal from Russia

Starbucks announced on Monday its decision to exit the market in Russia.

“We continue to watch the tragic events unfold and, today, we have decided to suspend all business activity in Russia, including shipment of all Starbucks products,” Starbuck CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. “Our licensed partner has agreed to immediately pause store operations and will provide support to the nearly 2,000 partners in Russia who depend on Starbucks for their livelihood.”

The announcement comes after the company suspended all business activity in Russia on March 8. Going forward, Starbucks said it will continue to pay its employees in Russia for six months.

Starbucks is one of multiple major U.S. and international companies that have put operations on hold in Russia because of the invasion of Ukraine. Other companies that have suspended operations there include Pfizer, Apple, FedEx, McDonald’s and Amazon.

May 23, 11:26 am
Russian soldier sentenced to life in prison in first war crimes trial in Ukraine

A Ukrainian court in Kyiv sentenced a 21-year-old Russian soldier to life in prison in the first war crimes trial since Russia’s invasion began in February.

Sgt. Vadim Shishimarin pleaded guilty and confessed in court last week to killing a 62-year-old Ukrainian man a few days into the Russian invasion.

During the trial, the widow of the man Shishimarin killed testified that her husband meant everything to her and said she believes the Russian soldier deserves life in prison.

However, the widow said she would support exchanging Shishimarin for any of the Ukrainian soldiers taken prisoner this month by Russia at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.

“I feel very sorry for him,” the widow testified. “But for a crime like that I can’t forgive him.”

May 23, 10:08 am
Zelenskyy calls for preventative sanctions in virtual address at World Economic Forum

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke Monday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, calling on the West to recognize as a mistake the refusal to impose preventive sanctions on Russia and take decisive steps in that direction.

“We must not react, but act preventively,” Zelenskyy told the forum in a virtual address. “And not only adapt what we have to the new realities, but create new tools. … Do not wait for fatal shots. Do not wait for Russia to use chemical, biological or, heaven forbid, nuclear weapons. Do not give the aggressor the impression that the world allegedly will not offer sufficient resistance. Protect immediately to the maximum freedom and a normal, useful world order.”

Zelenskyy said there are still no such sanctions against the Russian Federation, and listed them:

  • Complete embargo on Russian oil.
  • Complete blocking of all Russian banks.
  • Complete rejection of the Russian IT sector.
  • And complete cessation of trade with the aggressor.

Zelenskyy also called for freezing and confiscating Russian assets around the world and sending them to a special fund to pay compensation and restore Ukraine.

“There should be a precedent for punishing the aggressor. … Russian assets scattered across different jurisdictions should be found, arrested or frozen, and then confiscated and sent to a special fund, from which all victims should receive compensation,” Zelenskyy said.

He warned it will not be easy, but added that various aggressors will definitely not be motivated to do what Russia has done and continues to do in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said he believes the world is at a turning point and that the future of not only Ukraine, but the whole world, depends on the resistance to brutal force.

“This year, the words ‘turning point’ are not just a rhetorical figure of the speech,” Zelenskyy said. “Now is really such a moment when it is decided whether brutal force will dominate the world. If it dominates, then our thoughts are not interesting to it, and we can no longer gather in Davos. For what? Brutal force is looking for nothing but subjugation of those whom it wants to subdue, and it does not debate, but kills immediately, as Russia is doing in Ukraine right now — at this time when we are talking to you.”

May 22, 3:21 pm
Lithuania becomes first EU country to suspend all Russian energy imports

Lithuania is suspending all imports of Russian oil, natural gas and power, the country’s energy minister Dainius Kreivys announced in a statement Sunday, making it the only country in the European Union to suspend all imports on Russian energy.

Lithuania is now receiving liquified gas from the U.S. after becoming the first EU country to suspend Russian gas imports in April, Kreivys said. The country is now generating electricity via local power generation and local EU imports via existing connections with Sweden, Poland and Latvia.

It is unclear what alternate source of oil Lithuania will rely on, but Kreivys’ statement indicates that its sole importer of oil, Orlen Lietuva, refused to import Russian oil more than a month ago, Kreivys said.

The move is an expression of solidarity with Ukraine, Kreivys said, adding that it cannot allow its money to finance a Russian war machine.

The EU stated in March that it would end its dependency on fossil fuels imports from Russia and made plans to phase out Russian oil, gas and coal. The European Commission presented details on how it plans to achieve that last week.

May 22, 2:54 pm
50 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers killed every day, Zelenskyy says

While Ukraine has rarely reported on its combat losses since the Russian invasion began in late February, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced during a press briefing Sunday that 50 to 100 Ukrainian soldiers are being killed every day.

The last time Zelenskyy revealed military death toll figures was in April, when he said that around 3,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in action and around 10,000 wounded. Zelenskyy did not provide a total figure for combatants killed in action on Sunday.

Since the start of the invasion, most Ukrainian men ages 18 to 60 have been banned from leaving the country. On Friday, a petition calling for the government to cancel the ban was registered with the president’s office.

The petition surpassed the 25,000-signature threshold that requires the president to address it on Sunday. Zelenskyy acknowledged the petition during Sunday’s briefing.

“How would I explain that to relatives of our defenders who are fighting at the most difficult positions in the East, where 50 to 100 troops lose their lives every day?” he said.

Ukraine’s parliament voted to extend martial law through Aug. 23. Zelenskyy’s office has a few weeks to consider the petition.

May 22, 12:41 pm
Zelenskyy welcomes president of Poland amid Ukraine’s bid to join EU

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy extended a warm welcome to Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday amid his bid to have his country join the European Union.

During a parliamentary session, Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to all Poles for their support, making it clear that he’s pushing full steam ahead to ensure Ukraine is granted candidate status.

“I am sure that all the necessary decisions will be made first for the status of a candidate for Ukraine, and then for full membership,” he said. “In particular, thanks to Poland’s many years of protection of Ukrainian interests on the European continent.”

Shortly after Zelenskyy and Duda addressed lawmakers, the parliament session was briefly interrupted when air sirens sounded in Kyiv, and members of parliament were moved to a shelter. The Ukrainian regional military administration later confirmed a Russian missile was intercepted over the Kyiv region.

France’s Minister for European Affairs Clément Beaune in his interview with France TF1 radio said on Sunday that it could take 15 to 20 years for Ukraine to become an EU member state, adding that Kyiv could enter the European political community proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron in the meantime.

May 22, 12:07 pm
Recent attacks have killed more than 200 Ukrainians, Russian military claims

The Russian Defense Ministry provided updates to what it described as the “special military operation in Ukraine” on Sunday, saying that hundreds of Ukrainians were killed in recent attacks.

High-precision air missiles and other attacks launched in Donetsk, Lugansk and Krasnyi on Sunday hit command posts, areas where Ukrainian manpower and military equipment are concentrated and ammunition depots, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The attacks killed more than 210 Ukrainian nationals and destroyed as many as 38 armored motor vehicles, the ministry claimed.

Russian air defense also shot down 11 Ukrainian aircraft and intercepted “multiple launch rockets” in the Kharkov region, according to the defense ministry.

The ministry claimed that, in total, 174 Ukrainian aircraft and 125 helicopters, 977 unmanned aerial vehicles, 317 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3,198 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 408 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,622 field artillery and mortars and 3,077 units of special military vehicles were destroyed during the operation.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Is Katy Perry going country? Not full time, she says, but “the heart of America is amazing”

ABC/Gavin Bond

Between crowning the country-leaning Kentucky native Noah Thompson as this season’s American Idol champ and performing “Where We Started,” her current duet with Thomas Rhett, on the show’s season finale, pop superstar Katy Perry is feeling the twang these days.

“You know, it was my first time stepping in, dipping my toe into that water,” Katy tells E! News, speaking about her foray into country collaborations with “Where We Started.” “I love it because it’s all about songwriting. It’s all about telling a story.”

She’s picking up some of the country lifestyle, too, thanks to her fiancé, actor Orlando Bloom.

“Orlando has been shooting a movie in Kentucky, and I’ve been in and out of there for a month now,” she says. “… And I just love that heartland. There is definitely something in the water in Kentucky.”

As the newest Idol winner, Noah’s following in the footsteps of an impressive line of Kentucky legends, Katy adds. “The heart of America is amazing.”

However, Katy quickly clarified to Extra that, as much as she enjoyed soaking up the country culture, she’s not planning a full-time move to Kentucky anytime soon. “You’ve got to hear it from the source, and the source is telling you ‘no,’” she added.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

35 years ago today, Richard Marx released the “most important song” of his career: “I cherish it”

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Thirty-five years ago today — May 26, 1987 — Richard Marx released his debut single, “Don’t Mean Nothing.” It hit #3, earned him a Grammy nomination and launched a career that’s still going today. Richard tells ABC Audio that while he’d never say the song is his favorite, it does occupy a very special place in his heart.

“It’s the most important song. Because the question I’ve been getting for 30, however many years that I’ve been doing this, [is] ‘What’s your favorite song you’ve ever written?’ And there’s no answer to that,” he says.

As Richard notes, “I could never pick a favorite song I’ve written. But I did realize in the last couple of years, performing night after night after night, that if I hadn’t written ‘Don’t Mean Nothing’ … [I] probably wouldn’t be standing on that stage.”

As Richard details in his 2021 memoir Stories to Tell, “Don’t Mean Nothing” was inspired by his struggles in the music industry and by Hollywood in general. It also featured harmonies and guitar work from three members of The Eagles: Randy Meisner, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh.

“I cherish it. I also still love it,” Richard says of the song. “I mean, all humility aside, I just love ‘Don’t Mean Nothing’ and I love singing it. It still holds up for me, is a really good song.” 

He laughs as he remembers, “I wrote this very cynical, biting lyric about frustration and being led down horrible paths and being lied to and this song that just drips of cynicism … and I wrote it when I was 22!”

And today, it’s still a centerpiece of his concerts.

“I’ve never done a show where I haven’t played it,” he says. “And I’ve never done that song where I didn’t see people smiling and dancing and into it.” 

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Returning All Starr Band member Edgar Winter says new tour with Ringo Starr will be “a beautiful reunion”

Edgar Winter and Ringo Starr in 2010; David Livingston/Getty Images

Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band launch their 2022 North American tour this Friday, May 27, in Rama, Canada.

The lineup of the former Beatles drummer’s group is slightly different than when they last hit the road in 2019, with veteran rocker Edgar Winter rejoining the All Starrs after a 2006-2011 stint with the band.

Interestingly, Winter released a star-studded tribute album in April called Brother Johnny — an homage to his late sibling, Johnny Winter — that features contributions from Ringo and two other All Starr Band members — Toto guitarist Steve Lukather and veteran session drummer Gregg Bissonette.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Edgar tells ABC Audio about touring with the All Starrs again. “And it’s perfect in that the album [has] just been released, and I get to see all my friends again…So it’s gonna be a beautiful reunion. I can’t wait!”

Winter, who is best known for his 1970s hits “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride,” says he’ll definitely play those songs on the new tour, and possibly a tune from Brother Johnny.

“Ringo…always wants your biggest hits. That’s the whole idea. And it’s a great model,” Edgar notes. “I love the All Starr Band. It’s unlike any tour. You know, I think of it as the ‘peace and love’ tour, because there’s just so much positive energy.”

Winter, who idolizes The Beatles, says it’s an honor to play with Starr.

“I have such respect for him, not only as a drummer, but…as a human being,” he declares. “He’s such a heartfelt advocate and spokesman for peace and love. And, you know, having played Woodstock and being an old hippie myself…peace and love is something the world can always use more of.”

Visit RingoStarr.com to check out the full tour schedule.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Jennifer Lopez reportedly wants to wed Ben Affleck “sooner rather than later”

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Wedding bells for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez will come “sooner rather than later” — that is, if J-Lo has her way.

“Jennifer will tell you she’s not in a rush to get married, but her friends think otherwise,” a source tells Us Weekly. “The truth is that if Ben wanted to push this forward as early as this summer, she’d be totally down with that.”

The insider also says the 52-year-old actress/singer, “wants the formalities out of the way so they can start their journey as man and wife sooner rather than later,” and she intends to have a big wedding.

“She definitely wants a spectacular celebration at some point and money won’t be an object!” the source continues. “They’re both committed to making this work and taking all the steps necessary to respect each other’s boundaries and learn from their mistakes the last time around.”

Ben and Jennifer, aka “Bennifer,” rekindled their romance last summer after Jennifer broke up with Alex Rodriguez. They first met in 2002 on the set of their film Gigli. In June 2002, Lopez filed for divorce from then-husband Chris Judd after two years, and began publicly dating Affleck.

Affleck proposed the following November, but called things off in September of 2003, just days before they were supposed to tie the knot. By January 2004, they had officially split.

If the couple makes it to the altar, it’ll be the Jennifer’s fourth marriage, and Affleck’s second. Jennifer shares twins Max and Emme, 14, with her ex-husband Marc Anthony, while Affleck has three kids with his ex-wife Jennifer Garner.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 5/25/22

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(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Wednesday’s sports events:

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

INTERLEAGUE
Tampa Bay 5, Miami 4

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Detroit 4, Minnesota 2
Oakland 4, Seattle 2
NY Yankees 2, Baltimore 0
Chi White Sox 3, Boston 1
Houston 2, Cleveland 1
Texas 7, LA Angels 2

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pittsburgh 10, Colorado 5
San Francisco 9, NY. Mets 3
Washington 1, L.A. Dodgers 0
Milwaukee 2, San Diego 1
Cincinnati 4, Chi Cubs 3
Atlanta 8, Philadelphia 4

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION PLAYOFFS
Boston 93, Miami 80  (Boston leads 3-2)

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYOFFS
St. Louis 5 Colorado 4 (OT) (Colorado leads 3-2)

WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Los Angeles 99, Phoenix 94

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Parkland survivor, Sandy Hook parent weigh in on Texas school shooting

Rolando Otero/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images, FILE

(NEW YORK) — On Feb. 14, 2018, Sari Kaufman was a 15 year old high school student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, when a gunman opened fire and killed 17 people, a majority of whom were her fellow classmates.

Four years later, she says she continues to relive her trauma through the growing number of others like her who are personally affected by gun violence. Most recently, the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, when authorities say an 18-year-old high school student opened fire and killed at least 21 people, including 19 children.

“It’s just really upsetting, especially to see young students, elementary-aged students, have to go through what I went through,” said Kaufman on the Start Here podcast. “And I know from a personal level how difficult it is to deal with that trauma.”

Kaufman said that not only will these children grieve the loss of their classmates and teachers today, but will wake up for the rest of their life with the belief that they can be murdered while at school.

“It forces you to become an adult before you need to be and it takes away your innocence to know that you go to school and that there’s a possibility,” said Kaufman.

“These students are not just going to be affected today, it’s not just going to be tonight. That’s difficult. It’s going to be every day afterwards. And I think that’s what hurts me the most, because I know on a personal level that it’s really difficult to deal with the aftermath and to be this young and have to deal with that the rest of their lives,” Kaufman added.

Over the past five years, there have been 94,057 deaths and 183,926 injuries due to gun violence in the United States, according to a Gun Violence Tracker a part of ABC News’ multimedia series “Rethinking Gun Violence,” which partnered with the independent, nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

As a growing number of American students have been affected by active school shooters, parents who have lost their children to gun violence will have to continue to live without their child.

Nelba Marquez-Greene lost her six-year-old daughter Ana Grace in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Now, she is watching other parents go through the same thing she went through nearly a decade later.

“Right now, the families are surviving, but I would say to anyone who wants to help, if you really want to help a family, find out ways to help them directly,” said Marquez-Green on “The View.” “Show up now. Show up 10, 15, 20 years from now. We will need you for a lifetime.”

Marquez-Green said there is more work to be done than just sending thoughts and prayers to the suffering community.

“We must not be unserious in our faith. Thoughts and prayers, faith without work is dead,” she said.

Marquez-Green also urged the country to force change from the lawmakers.

“It is grotesque abdication of duty, abdication of their responsibility to American families, to fail us in this way and we see them,” she said. “Let’s call out the bull crap. Let’s say we see them.”

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Will Texas school shooting force Congress to finally act on gun control?

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(WASHINGTON) — Experts examine America’s history with guns, the real-life impacts of gun violence and what can be done going forward to mitigate the problem.
As the nation mourns the latest American massacre of 19 elementary school students and two teachers in Texas, the deadliest mass school shooting in nearly a decade, gun control efforts remain stalled in Washington, as they have for almost 30 years.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday night made impassioned remarks expressing outrage at lawmakers who are blocking “common-sense” gun laws and rejected the argument often heard from Republicans that gun violence is a mental health issue.

“These kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage?” Biden said with outrage. “Where in God’s name is our backbone to have the courage to deal with and stand up to the lobbies?”

Since the National Rifle Association formed its own political action committee in 1977, the organization has used its deep pockets to lobby lawmakers at the federal and state level to stave off gun control efforts.

According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the NRA spent $1.6 million in the first half of 2019 alone lobbying members of Congress to vote against a proposal to expand background checks for gun sales.

With Republicans offering sympathy to the loved ones of victims in the Robb Elementary shooting, several critics on social media called out their contributions from the gun lobby, citing $13.6 million to Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and $1.2 million to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, over their careers.

The last meaningful gun reform legislation passed on Capitol Hill was the 1994 assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004 due to a “sunset” clause in the legislation. In the nearly 30 years since, gun control measures have mostly stalled on Capitol Hill, and in the current Democratic-controlled Congress, that’s due, in large part, to the Senate filibuster rule.

In the current 50-50 Senate, Democrats need 10 Republicans to join them to reach the 60-vote threshold required by the Senate’s filibuster rule in order to end debate on a bill, allowing it to proceed to a final vote. Republicans have warned even a single exception to the Senate’s 60-vote threshold to advance legislation would be dangerous to the rights of whichever party is in the minority (although both parties have used the so-called “nuclear option” in the last decade — requiring 51 votes to confirm all executive branch and judicial nominees, for example).

Republicans Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn headed back to their home state of Texas on Wednesday to visit Uvalde.

Cornyn has supported bipartisan talks to expand background checks in the past. Cruz has not, and has faced backlash, along with Abbott, for being slated to speak at the NRA’s annual meeting in Houston this weekend, only a few hundred miles away from the massacre in Uvalde. Because former President Donald Trump is also attending, the NRA said Wednesday that firearms would not be allowed at the event, citing Secret Service protocol.

The last time Congress came close to passing substantial gun reform was in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, when a single gunman killed 20 students and 6 adults. Biden was tasked with the White House response on Capitol Hill while serving as vice president, but that effort ultimately failed to garner enough bipartisan support.

In lieu of congressional action, Biden has taken some executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence but conceded last week while in Buffalo there’s “not much” more he can do without congressional support.

Where does gun control stand in Congress?

House Democrats passed two gun control bills last year — one aimed at expanding background check requirements for gun sales, and the second aimed at extending the review period for background checks from three days to 10 days. But Democrats don’t have the votes needed to squash a GOP-led filibuster to pass either bill in the Senate.

Two Senate Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — have been adamant in their opposition to changing the Senate filibuster rule.

“If we can’t get 60 or 70 or more votes, we’ll talk then,” Manchin said Wednesday, expressing some confidence that senators could find some common ground before ending the rule.

Sinema, asked directly if she could support scrapping the filibuster to pass gun control legislation, told ABC News’ Trish Turner, “I don’t think that D.C. solutions are realistic here.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer moved Tuesday evening to put the two House-passed bills on the chamber’s calendar, but it’s unclear if and when a vote would be held. If Schumer does bring legislation to the floor, it would likely be an effort to put every single senator on the record, as he’s done with failed legislation on abortion and voting rights.

When eviscerating Republicans in a floor speech Wednesday, Schumer signaled he was disinclined to put up that vote.

“I accept the fact that most of my Republicans are not willing to do what it takes to present this needless loss of life. The NRA will have a hold on them. That’s just the reality, unfortunately, but it is unacceptable to the American people to think that there are not 10 of my Republican colleagues just 10 — one out of five over here — would be ready to work to pass something that we reduce this plague of gun violence,” Schumer said. “It’s unacceptable, that there are not 10 members of the Republican caucus willing to save lives, find a way to do it. And yet, that’s where we are.”

Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who has represented his state since the Sandy Hook massacre also questioned his colleagues on the Senate floor Monday night in a speech that quickly went viral on social media.

“What are we doing? Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons. We have another Sandy Hook on our hands,” he said. “There are more mass shootings than days in the year. Our kids are living in fear every single time they set foot in the classroom because they think they’re going to be next. What are we doing?”

Renewed talks but will there be action?

While lawmakers on both sides of the aisle often talk about taking action in the wake of deadly mass shootings, there’s not widespread bipartisan agreement on what action to take.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pushed for The School Safety Act, which would create a federal clearinghouse database and collect information to establish best practices for school safety nationwide. Rubio will try to force a vote on that legislation Wednesday.Republican Sen. Rob Portman, who has accepted more than $3 million from the NRA in his career, told ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott that he does support background checks.

“It’s not just about these horrific mass shootings, it’s also about this broader issue of gun violence, and then what are the actual solutions — what’s actually going to make a difference,” he said. “If we’re passing something to make us feel better here, that doesn’t have any impact on the actual issue.”

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he thinks there could be common ground on red flag laws, noting his bipartisan red flag law bill with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. Red-flag laws allow police or family members to petition a court to order the removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.

But Graham, asked by Scott on Wednesday if he can assure the American people that — this time — something will get done, said, “I can’t assure the American people there’s any law we can pass that would have stopped this shooting.”

With an apparent eye on midterms, Sen. Cory Booker, D-S.C., said he’s urging Schumer to put every senator on the record.

“I’m hoping it comes to the floor for a vote. It will fail. Americans should know that,’ Booker said. “Right now, there are not seemingly 10 senators that want to do the most moderate of things, which is universal background checks supported by almost 90% of Americans, the majority of gun owners, but I do think at this moment its important we put people on the record.”

Americans across party and demographic lines overwhelmingly support expanded background checks (89%) and red flag laws (86%), according to an ABC News-Washington Post poll from 2019.

ABC News Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott, Trish Turner and Allie Pecorin contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Texas shooting highlights how guns are the leading cause of death for US kids

Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

(UVALDE, Texas) — The mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday has put the spotlight back on recent data showing that firearm injuries are the No. 1 cause of death among children and adolescents in the United States.

A total of 19 children, mainly third and fourth graders — as well as two teachers — were killed at Robb Elementary, in what President Joe Biden referred to as an act of “carnage.”

It’s an all-too-familiar story in which communities are left wondering in the aftermath how to best keep children safe.

“It’s a senseless act of violence,” Dr. Jason Goldstick, an associate professor of emergency medicine at the University of Michigan, told ABC News. “You shouldn’t be expected to be exposed to violence when going to school like that.”

And it comes just a month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing guns were the No. 1 killer of children and adolescents in 2020.

The agency found that 4,368 Americans under the age of 19 died from gun violence in 2020, a 29.5% jump from 2019.

That’s equivalent to 5.4 out of every 100,000 kids and teens in the U.S. dying from a firearm injury and a 63% jump from the 3.3 per 100,000 recorded one decade ago.

It’s unclear what’s behind the spike, but the data is consistent with other recent studies showing the increase in firearm-related injuries at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you look at the trajectory over the last several years, that should raise alarm,” said Goldstick, who is also a member of the university’s Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention. “The fact that this is the leading cause of death among kids is obscene.”

It also marks the first time since the CDC started recording leading causes of death among children that firearm-related injuries overtook motor vehicle crashes as the No. 1 cause.

For the last 21 years, gun deaths were second to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents; however, the gap between the two categories has been narrowing since 2016, the CDC said.

By comparison, motor vehicle accidents killed about five per 100,000 Americans aged 19 and younger in 2020.

That is a more than 50% decline in the rate of children and adolescents being killed by cars since 1999.

There has been significant progress in reducing the fatality rate of motor vehicle crashes, including increased use of seat belts and safety technology, including automatic emergency braking systems and airbags.

“A lot of the political rhetoric around reducing firearm-related deaths center around gun control and the Second Amendment,” Goldstick said. “But we were able to accomplish huge reductions in motor vehicle crash injuries without banning cars ever. There’s no reason an analogous approach can’t work for firearms.”

He added there are several evidence-based approaches that can help drive down firearm fatality rates including investments in organizations and programs aimed at curbing community violence, safe storage campaigns and firearm training courses.

“​​Tracking these kinds of trends is really sort of step zero,” Goldstick said. “It’s not a solution … It tells you it’s a worsening problem and points us in a direction to focus on to reduce mortality among children and teens.”

ABC News’ Ivan Pereira contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Def Leppard to rock ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ tonight; band’s new “Fire It Up” video premieres Thursday

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

As Def Leppard prepares to release its latest studio album, Diamond Star Halos, on Friday, the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers will be featured as the musical guests on tonight’s episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, which airs at 11:35 p.m. ET on ABC.

The band will also perform additional songs that won’t air on the Kimmel show but will be streamed on the program’s YouTube channel. According to information on the YouTube page, performances of four classic Def Leppard tunes will be shown online — “Rock of Ages,” “Photograph,” “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and “Hysteria.”

Meanwhile, as previously reported, Def Leppard will premiere the music video for the new song “Fire It Up,” the latest single from Diamond Star Halos, on Thursday, May 26, at 9 a.m. ET on the group’s YouTube channel. Following the clip’s debut, the band members will take part in an exclusive YouTube Premieres afterparty, during which they will discuss the new album. For more information on how to join the afterparty, visit YouTube.

After the premiere, the “Fire It Up” video will be available to view at Facebook Watch. You can check out a snippet of the clip now on Def Leppard’s Facebook page.

Diamond Star Halos is Def Leppard’s first album of new, original tunes since 2015’s self-titled effort. It can be preordered now and will be available as a deluxe package, on CD, as a two-LP set and digitally, among other configurations.

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