Ukraine Crisis, Oil Prices, and Our Most Read Stories of the Month Everything you need to for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, Feb. 25, and we're covering the continuing fallout from Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a spike in oil prices, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



War in Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine continued yesterday, including ground assaults from the north, east, and south, as well as airstrikes on the capital of Kyiv and dozens of other cities. The attack marks the most significant military incursion in Europe since World War II. As of this morning, Russian troops had pressed to the outside of Kyiv.


Reports indicate hundreds of soldiers and civilians, including children, have been killed. By yesterday afternoon, thousands of Ukrainian refugees began arriving in Poland and neighboring countries. See photos here.


The US and Western allies announced a number of strict sanctions, including restricting access to international markets for Russia's largest banks and export controls limiting Russian firms' access to a range of technologies and other goods. The Biden administration reiterated there are no plans to send troops into Ukraine. 


The physical assault has been accompanied by a wide-ranging cyber offensive, including attacks that took much of Ukraine's government and financial institutions offline.


Putin's ultimate goal remains unclear. Ukraine, roughly the size of Texas, is home to more than 44 million people, making long-term occupation by Russia challenging. Analysts say the Kremlin may seek to install a pro-Russia government in Kyiv.


The Russian president has invoked a number of dubious historical claims to justify the invasion. See an overview here.

Oil Prices Spike

The price of oil jumped above $100 per barrel yesterday, fueled by worries of the impact of the Ukraine crisis on global energy markets. It marked the first time the price had crossed the threshold since 2014; by late afternoon it had dropped to around $98 per barrel. Russia is responsible for just over 10% of global oil production.


US stock markets whipsawed throughout the day, with the Dow Jones erasing an 859-point (2.5%) drop to end in positive territory. The S&P 500 swung from down 2.6% to up 1.5% by close, while the Nasdaq reversed a 3.5% deficit to gain 3.3%. 


The invasion had significant impact on the Russian economy, with the country's markets plunging 33% yesterday. With investors worried over looming sanctions, it marks the fifth-worst market crash in history. 


The European Union is dependent on Russia for about 25% of its oil imports and almost 40% of its natural gas imports. See a deep-dive visualization on the interconnected energy market here.

Royal Libel Lawsuit

Prince Harry filed a libel lawsuit against UK media company Associated Newspapers Limited yesterday, a news group including Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, and MailOnline. It is believed the complaint relates to an article published last weekend claiming the duke had hidden information about his legal battle with the Home Office. Harry has brought a court challenge against the Home Office pertaining to a decision not to allow him police protection when he is in the country, despite the prince offering to pay for the protection himself.


The lawsuit marks the third time the duke and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have taken on the British tabloid group. Most recently, Meghan won a case against Mail on Sunday after they published excerpts of a letter from her estranged father. She donated her damages to charity.


The prince also allegedly has phone-hacking cases filed against News Group Newspapers, which publishes the Sun, and Reach, which publishes the Daily Mirror.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> The 2022 Major League Soccer season kicks off tomorrow; see full preview (More) | UEFA Champions League Final (May 28) to be moved from Saint Petersburg, Russia (More)


> Sally Kellerman, Oscar-nominated actress best known for role in "M*A*S*H" film, dies at 84 of dementia (More)


> New York City Marathon to return to full capacity of 50,000 runners this November after canceled 2020 and limited 2021 events (More)

Science & Technology

> Fossilized fish study suggests it was springtime when an asteroid struck Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula about 66 million years ago; results reignite debate over what happened in the aftermath of the impact (More)


> Largest-ever bacteria discovered; Thiomargarita magnifica, native to Caribbean mangroves, can grow up to three-quarters of an inch (More)


> Meta (Facebook) developing a universal speech translator for use in the Metaverse; would potentially allow users to communicate across more than 100 languages (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with reAlpha

> Shares of Moderna up 15% after beating expectations; expects $19B of COVID-19 vaccine revenue in 2022 (More)


> Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase exceeds Q4 earnings expectations, but stock falls as company expects trading to decline in the first quarter of 2022 (More)


> Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal are reportedly being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for potential violation of insider trading; Kimbal reportedly sold shares before Elon polled Twitter users in November 2021 (More)

From our partners: The global short-term rental market is valued at $1.2T. Companies like Airbnb and Vrbo have created the industry and reAlpha has shown the potential for 70% higher revenue than long-term rentals. reAlpha is on a mission to make this emerging asset class available to all. Using advanced technology and democratizing it with fractional ownership, reAlpha is poised to disrupt real estate and hospitality. Learn more about reAlpha's shareholder offering today.

Politics & World Affairs

> Three former Minneapolis police officers found guilty of violating George Floyd's civil rights; the trio was on the scene when Floyd was killed in May 2020, will face a criminal trial in June (More)


> Wildfires in Argentina burn through more than 2.2 million acres in the country's northeast (More) | See photos (More)


> Reports suggest trucker-led protest over COVID-19 restrictions may arrive in Washington, DC, over the weekend; number of vehicles remains unclear (More) | Average US COVID-19 cases fall below 75,000 per day; daily deaths drop under 1,750 (More)



Loss of Hope

New Yorker | Masha Gessen. On the spirit of the Ukrainian people in the face of overwhelming Russian force. (Read, paywall)

Anatomy of an NFT Art Scam

Protocol | Benjamin Pimentel. Digital art and crypto enthusiasts spent thousands on Frosties—a collection of colorful cartoon collectibles—before the rug was pulled out. (Read)


Editor's note: Read more on what non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are and how they work.

Ben Stiller Sees the World Differently Now

Esquire | Ryan D'Agostino. A sit-down with the comedy and film veteran as he looks to define the latter stages of his career. (Read)



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Editor's note: More than 4 million monthly clicks can't be wrong. Here are the most popular stories we ran in February. Enjoy!


(2/16/22) The best (and worst) paying college majors.


(2/21/22) The British Museum reveals the secrets of Stonehenge.


(2/23/22) Fifty things to do before you die (part 2). 


(2/11/22) Unraveling the mystery of the "never COVIDs."


(2/5/22) National Park photographer captures a massive moose.


(2/18/22) Four-story-tall rogue wave is the biggest ever recorded.


(2/15/22) Charting the age at which mothers have their children.


(2/11/22) Pandemic homeowners are having regrets.


(2/10/22) Bored guard draws on eyes, ruins painting.


(2/14/22) The bloody origins of St. Valentine's Day.


(2/16/22) Flight attendant stops unruly passenger with coffee pot.


(2/22/22) The states with the highest (and lowest) life expectancies.


(2/8/22) Photos of China's Olympic ski jump go viral.


(2/8/22) ... and Olympic skiers get disqualified for baggy clothes.


(2/1/22) Clickbait: When you try to clear snow with a flamethrower.


Historybook: Hiram Revels becomes first African American in US Congress (1870); Beatles guitarist George Harrison born (1943); Muhammad Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, defeats Sonny Liston to win his first world heavyweight title (1964); HBD actress Téa Leoni (1966); RIP playwright and poet Tennessee Williams (1983).


"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life."

- Muhammad Ali

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