Russia-Ukraine crisis, major winter storm, Rams parade in LA: 5 things to know Wednesday – USA TODAY

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Russia appears to be continuing with its military build-up on Ukraine’s borders despite claiming it is moving troops away from the area, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, ahead of a defense ministers meeting in Brussels whose attendees include Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Stoltenberg said there were no visible signs Wednesday of “de-escalation on the ground,” a day after Moscow asserted it was moving some troops and weapons back to bases after the completion of military drills. The United States and its allies said they needed evidence of the troop movements and that the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine still loomed. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday his nation is ready for talks with the U.S., does not want war and would rely on negotiations in its efforts to eliminate any chance that Ukraine could one day join NATO — his key demand. President Joe Biden delivered his first comments about the situation in Ukraine to the American people Tuesday saying, “We are ready with diplomacy.”
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Buckle up: A large-scale, multi-hazard storm will make life wet and miserable for the central, southern and eastern U.S. Wednesday through Friday morning. Heavy snow, drenching rain with potential flooding and severe thunderstorms with possible tornadoes are all on tap, the National Weather Service said. Snow is likely Wednesday and into Thursday all the way from northern Texas to northern New England, AccuWeather said. The Weather Service said the greatest chance for disruptive snow extends from south-central Kansas through central Missouri, northern Illinois and into central Michigan. Slippery, potentially dangerous travel and school delays or cancellations are possible in Kansas City, St. Louis and Chicago, where up to half a foot of snow is possible. 
There was good news and bad news to start the day for Team USA Wednesday at the 2022 Beijing Winter Games. On the positive side, Team USA freeskiers kept their Olympic medal streak going in men’s slopestyle, winning both gold and silver. Alex Hall shot to the top of the leaderboard with an outstanding first run, and it stood up throughout the competition to earn him the gold. Nick Goepper took home the silver and now has three medals in the freeski discipline. In not-so-great news, the U.S. men’s hockey team lost to Slovakia in a shootout in the quarterfinals after blowing a late 2-1 lead, ensuring the team will not go home with a medal. Later on Wednesday, the U.S. women’s hockey team will again face Canada for the gold medal (NBC, 11:05 p.m. ET). Team USA is the defending Olympic champion after beating Canada at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, but Canada is the favorite this time around as they are 6-0 in this year’s tournament and have already beat the U.S. once in group play.
The biological parents of 6-year-old Paislee Shultis, who was missing for two years before being found in a “small, cold, and wet” secret room Monday in the town of Saugerties, eastern New York, are due back in court Wednesday. Kimberly Cooper and Kirk Shultis Jr. were arrested Monday, along with Kirk Shultis Sr., who owns the house where Paislee was found by police with his wife. Cooper, 33, was charged with second-degree custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors. She was also wanted on an arrest warrant issued through Ulster County Family Court, police said. Shultis Jr., 32, and Shultis Sr., 57, were both charged with first-degree custodial interference, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child. Police said the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are pending. 
Neither the Los Angeles Dodgers nor the Lakers were able to hold a celebratory parade after they won championships in 2020 due to the pandemic, but the Rams will get to treat their fans to a day of partying Wednesday after winning Super Bowl 56.  The event will start at the Shrine Auditorium and conclude with a rally outside the Coliseum, where the Rams played from 2016-2019. This is the Rams’ first Super Bowl in Los Angeles after winning one in St. Louis, so fans in Southern California have never experienced a Super Bowl celebration like this. The parade is expected to kick off around 11 a.m. PT. . 
Contributing: The Associated Press


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