Andrew Yang

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Andrew Yang dropped out of the presidential race on February 11, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Yang wants to give Americans a universal basic income of $1,000 a month to address economic inequality. The son of immigrants from Taiwan briefly worked as a lawyer before entering the world of startups.
B.A., Brown University, 1996; Columbia University School of Law, J.D., 1999
January 13, 1975
Evelyn Yang
2 sons
Founder, Venture for America, 2011-2017;
Managing director, then CEO, of Manhattan Prep, 2006-2011;
Vice president of a health care startup, 2002-2005


Andrew Yang Fast Facts
Updated 11:51 AM ET, Tue Oct 5, 2021
Here is a look at the life of Andrew Yang, entrepreneur and former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Personal Birth date: January 13, 1975 Birth place: Schenectady, New York Birth name: Andrew M. Yang Father: Kei-Hsiung Yang, researcher at IBM and GE Mother: Nancy L. Yang, systems administrator Marriage: Evelyn (Lu) Yang (2011-present) Children: Two sons Education: B.A. in Economics, Brown University, 1996; J.D. Columbia University School of Law, 1999 Religion: Protestant Other Facts His parents are originally from Taiwan. The primary proposal for his political platform was the idea of universal basic income (UBI). This "Freedom Dividend" would have provided every citizen with $1,000 a month, or $12,000 a year. Believes that automation and AI will make millions of jobs obsolete. Yang established Freedom Dividend, a pilot program to push for universal basic income, in which he personally funds monthly cash payments. Is featured in the 2016 documentary, "Generation Startup." His campaign slogan is "MATH," or "Make America Think Harder." His supporters are sometimes referred to as the "Yang Gang." In 1992, he traveled to London as a member of the US National Debate Team. After graduating from Columbia, Yang practiced law for a short time before changing his career focus to start-ups and entrepreneurship. Timeline 2002-2005 - Vice president of a healthcare start-up. 2006-2011 - Managing director, then CEO, of Manhattan Prep, a test-prep company. 2009 - Kaplan buys Manhattan Prep for more than $10 million. September 2011 - Founds Venture for America, a non-profit which connects recent college graduates with start-ups. Leaves the company in 2017. 2012 - Is recognized by President Barack Obama as a "Champion of Change." April 2012 - Ranks No. 27 on Fast Company's list of 100 Most Creative People in Business. February 4, 2014 - His book, "Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America," is published. May 11, 2015 - Obama names Yang an ambassador for global entrepreneurship. November 6, 2017 - Files FEC paperwork for a 2020 presidential run. February 2, 2018 - Announces his run for president via YouTube and Twitter. April 3, 2018 - His book, "The War on Normal People," is published. March 2019 - Yang explores the possibility of using a 3D hologram to be able to campaign remotely in two or three places at once. January 4, 2020 - Launches a write-in campaign for the Ohio Democratic primary in March of 2020 after failing to fully comply with the state's ballot access laws. February 11, 2020 - In New Hampshire, Yang suspends his presidential campaign. February 19, 2020 - CNN announces that Yang will be joining the network as a political commentator. March 5, 2020 - Launches Humanity Forward, a nonprofit group that will "endorse and provide resources to political candidates who embrace Universal Basic Income, human-centered capitalism and other aligned policies at every level," according to its website. Yang also announces that he will launch a podcast in which he will "discuss new ideas to solve the greatest challenges of our time with" notable guests and "regular Americans" alike. December 23, 2020 - Files paperwork to participate in New York's 2021 mayoral race, according to city records. January 13, 2021 - Yang announces his candidacy for New York City mayor. June 22, 2021 - Yang concedes the New York City mayoral race. In a speech he tells supporters "I am not going to be the mayor of New York City based on the numbers coming in tonight." October 4, 2021 - Yang announces in a blog post that he is "breaking up" with the Democratic Party and has registered as an independent.


climate crisis
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Yang supports the vision outlined in the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, though he’s expressed skepticism about how quickly its goals could be achieved. He released a plan in August 2019 calling on the US to be a global leader on an issue that is “destabilizing the world.” His plan calls for the US to “move our people to higher ground” while investing in research on removing carbon from the atmosphere and expanding the sustainable energy sector. Yang also proposes passing a constitutional amendment “that creates a duty on the federal and state governments to be stewards for the environment.” He has said he would ensure the US participates in the Paris climate agreement – a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon – but argues that the agreement should do more to curb climate change. More on Yang’s climate crisis policy
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Yang’s central focus has been his push for a universal basic income, which he has dubbed “the Freedom Dividend.” His plan would provide $1,000 a month for American citizens 18 and older, to be paid for by a value-added tax – which is harder for companies or individuals to avoid than traditional corporate and income taxes, Yang argues. He has also promised new government positions and agencies – including a Department of Technology based in Silicon Valley – to address industrial automation and the spread of artificial intelligence. “The goal should not be to save jobs,” he told CNN in April 2019. “The goal should be to make our lives better.” More on Yang’s economic policy
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Yang opposes making four-year colleges tuition-free, a step he argues would benefit too few people. Instead, he proposes investing in vocational training, including by making community colleges free or nearly free. To reduce student debt, Yang says, he would immediately lower interest rates on government-backed loans. He would also support various debt forgiveness measures, and backs closing colleges with low employment rates for graduates and “high loan default rates,” according to his campaign’s website. More on Yang’s education policy
gun violence
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Yang would work to establish a three-tiered, federally mandated gun licensing system. Each tier would expand the type of firearms an individual would be able to purchase or own. He would also create a voluntary gun buyback program, increase funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and US Department of Veterans Affairs suicide prevention efforts and invest in “a more robust mental health infrastructure,” according to his campaign website. More on Yang’s gun violence policy
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Yang advocates universal, government-backed health care, though he wouldn’t outlaw private insurance. He also favors having the government set prices for medical services. He supports lowering drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies, as well as by having the government manufacture generic drugs. More on Yang’s health care policy
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Yang wants to expand visa programs to attract skilled workers and retain graduates of US colleges, including granting automatic green cards to all students who earn graduate degrees from US universities. He supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, particularly young adults brought to the US as children, as part of a comprehensive immigration overhaul. He would also create a new category with an 18-year path to citizenship for those who have paid taxes and not been convicted of any felonies. More on Yang’s immigration policy


Russia's war in Ukraine
Updated 2:21 PM ET, Tue Aug 9, 2022
The US State Department intends to provide $89 million in support of demining efforts in Ukraine as the nation faces “one of the largest landmine and unexploded ordnance challenges in decades” due to the war, a State Department official said Tuesday. The assistance will go toward funding 100 demining teams who will work “in areas where there's the greatest amount of contamination” over the next year, the official said in a call with reporters. The United States will provide training and equipment to the demining teams, the official said. They declined to say specifically where the training will take place but said “it's going to be an area that makes it as easy as possible for Ukrainian government employees, Ukrainian government deminers to receive that training as efficiently as possible and return to where they're needed most as quickly as possible.” The $89 million will not go directly to the government of Ukraine, but rather to non-governmental organizations and contractors who work with the government teams. “We are aware that Russia is using a bunch of different types of cluster munitions,” the official said, noting the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s claim that “Russia's forces deliberately hid explosives in toys and shiny objects to attract children's attention.” “This horrific use of improvised explosive devices by Russia's forces is reminiscent of ISIS tactics back in Syria,” they said. The official also referenced the Ukrainian government’s estimate that 160,000 square kilometers of territory “may be contaminated by land mines and unexploded ordnance,” noting “that's an area roughly the size of Virginia, Maryland, and Connecticut, combined.”  However, the official noted the exact scope of mine contamination is difficult to determine as the war with Russia is ongoing.” “I think it's safe to say that this is a challenge that Ukraine will face for decades,” they said. Asked about the fact that the Biden administration has sent Claymore mines to Ukraine, the official said the ones provided by the US are configured to have a person who needs to pull the trigger, and as such the US does not consider them to be anti-personnel mines. “They're provided so that there's a soldier making the decision on whether it's deployed,” they said. “It's not just simply left out there for a child to stumble upon.” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call on Tuesday said their countries' aid to the Ukrainian military is "making a significant difference" in the war against Russia.   “They agreed that UK and French efforts to train and equip Ukrainian troops were making a significant difference in the war,” according to a readout provided by Downing Street.  The statement added that the two leaders also agreed that “western war fatigue cannot be allowed to set in." Both sides reiterated the determination to support Ukraine for “as long as necessary,” according to a statement from Élysée Palace.   The readouts said that the pair also discussed other issues including the food crisis "caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine."  One person has died following explosions in the area of a Russian military airbase in Crimea on Tuesday, according to Sergey Aksenov, the head of the so-called Republic of Crimea. “The situation is localized and is under control. I repeat once again: there is no general evacuation in the district. Only residents of houses located very close to the military airfield will be resettled,” Aksenov said on Telegram.  About 30 people were evacuated from their homes, said Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the head of the Crimean region. A cordon perimeter has been set up around the perimeter of the airfield, Kryuchkov said on his Telegram channel. Earlier on Tuesday, Minister of Health of the Republic of Crimea Kоnstantin Skorupsky said five people were injured following the explosions. It is not clear if the person who died was among those previously reported as injured.  One of those injured is undergoing surgery for non-life threatening injuries, Skorupsky said. Four of the injured received outpatient care for wounds due to cuts from glass fragment and were sent home after treatment, he added. Citing the Russian Ministry of Defense, Russian state media RIA Novosti earlier reported the blasts had been caused by detonated aviation ammunition “on the territory of the airfield 'Saki' near the settlement of Novofedorivka.” Aksenov said he is at the scene in the village of Novofedorivka in the Saki district and “there is a dispersion of fragments.” Emergency crews are working the site, he added. “Measures were taken to set up a cordon perimeter in a 5-kilometer zone: fences, traffic police crews and foot patrols in order to prevent injuries to local residents.” Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense said it cannot determine the cause of the explosions. “The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine cannot determine the cause of the fire, but once again reminds of the rules of fire safety and the prohibition of smoking in unspecified places,” the ministry statement said. "The fact of a fire can be used by a terrorist country in an information war.” The US State Department has sanctioned two high-ranking Belarusian officials “for involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the arbitrary detention of peaceful protesters,” and will move to impose visa restrictions “on 100 regime officials and their affiliates for their involvement in undermining or injuring democratic institutions or impeding the transition to democracy,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday. The measures were announced on the second anniversary of the election in Belarus – a fraudulent election and one in which longtime strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory. It sparked massive protests throughout the country. “The Belarusian people have demonstrated remarkable resilience in sustaining the pro-democracy movement for two years at great personal sacrifice. These calls for democracy are voiced by Belarusians exiled abroad, over 1,200 political prisoners unjustly detained inside the country, and countless ordinary Belarusian citizens,” Blinken said in a statement. “Their peaceful calls for democracy have been met with unprecedented brute force and a consolidated crackdown by the Lukashenka regime,” he said. The two individuals sanctioned Tuesday — Mikalai Karpiankou, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Commander of the Internal Troops, and Dzmitriy Balaba, the Commander of the Special Task Police Force (OMON) of the Minsk City Executive Committee of Internal Affairs — “played a significant role in the repression surrounding the fraudulent August 9, 2020 presidential election,” Blinken said. “Today’s action expands existing restrictions on Karpiankou and Balaba to include visa restrictions against their immediate family members, including Karpiankou’s wife Irina and adult son Igor, and Balaba’s wife Tatyana and adult sons Artem and Maksim, making them ineligible for entry into the United States,” he said. According to Blinken, the new tranche of those facing visa restrictions includes “those holding high-ranking positions in the Administration of the President, Ministry of Interior, State Security Committee (KGB), the Central Election Commission, the Prosecutor General’s Office, Central Office of the Investigative Committee, Ministry of Transport and Communication, Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime and Corruption (GUBOPiK), the National State TV and Radio Company ‘Belteleradio,’ the Second National Television Station, and the Air Force and Air Defense Forces,” as well as “members of Parliament, district judges, security officials, members of executive committees, and state university administrators.” “Individuals subject to the proclamation have been implicated in torture; violent arrests of peaceful protesters; raids of homes and offices of journalists, members of the opposition, and activists; coerced confessions; electoral fraud; politically motivated sentences of political prisoners; expulsion of students for participation in peaceful protests; passage of legislation impacting the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms; and acts of transnational repression,” Blinken said. There has been a series of explosions in the area of a Russian air base in Crimea. Social media images and video showed a large plume of smoke rising from the vicinity of the air base at Novofedorivka, on Crimea's west coast.  Oleg Kryuchkov, adviser to the head of the Crimean region, confirmed several explosions had occurred near the village of Novofedorivka. "So far, I can only confirm the fact of several explosions in the Novofedorivka area. I ask everyone to wait for official messages and not to produce versions," Kryuchkov said on his Telegram channel. The series of explosions was caused by detonated aviation ammunition, Russian state media RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.  “Around 3.20 pm, several aviation munitions detonated on the territory of the airfield 'Saki' near the settlement of Novofedorovka, on a bunded storage site,” a Russia defense ministry statement said, according to RIA Novosti.  State media reported there were no injuries due to the explosions, and aviation equipment at the airfield was not damaged, citing the defense ministry.  Separately, Sergey Aksenov, the head of the so-called Republic of Crimea, said he visited the scene and that "the circumstances are being clarified." Ambulance crews and an air ambulance were sent to the site of the explosions, according to the Ministry of Health of the region. There has been no word from the Ukrainian side about any attack in the area. Ukraine is not known to have struck the territory of Crimea since the Russian invasion began. Russian firm Transneft said Tuesday that Ukrainian operator Ukrtransnafta suspended the pumping of Russian oil through the southern line of the Druzhba oil pipeline on Aug. 4. Transneft said it could not receive transit fees due to European Union sanctions restrictions, Russian state news agency TASS reported, quoting the firm.  Oil supplies via the southern line of Druzhba to Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have been suspended, while the transit through Belarus toward Poland and Germany continues, according to TASS. "Ukrtransnafta suspended providing services on transportation of oil through Ukrainian territory starting August 4, 2022, due to the lack of receipt of monetary funds for services provided. The transit via the northern line of the Druzhba oil pipeline through Belarus towards Poland and Germany is per normal," Transneft said, according to TASS.  Supplies were carried out on a prepaid basis, but Transneft could not pay for transit services due to the European Union’s sanctions, the company said. Transneft made a payment on July 22 but it was returned to the company’s account, it said.  "As of now the European banks (correspondents) are no longer authorized to independently decide on the possibility of this or that transaction. To confirm the fact that the transaction is not among those banned it is necessary to obtain a permit from the national authorized state body. The fact that European regulators have not yet articulated a consensus on the algorithm of actions for banks in various jurisdictions, as well as the order of providing such permits, makes things even more complicated," Transneft added, according to TASS.  To resolve the issue, Transneft has submitted a request to the authorized bank to transfer information to the European regulator to obtain a permit to carry out payments, according to TASS, while alternative options for making payments are also being developed. The Ukrainian military has carried out what appears to have been their deepest strike yet into Russian-occupied regions of the country. "This morning there was a good news, there was a very powerful detonation in Henichesk region," Serhii Khlan, adviser to the head of Kherson Civil Military Administration, said on Ukrainian television Tuesday. Henichesk is in southern Kherson region, close to Crimea, and about 200 kilometers, or about 125 miles, from the nearest Ukrainian front line. Khlan suggested that the target had been on the railway between Henichesk and Melitopol. "We are still waiting for the official confirmation of our Armed Forces, from the General Staff, but it's a very pleasant news. The detonation was heard during 1.5-2 hours on this railway station, which connects Crimea and Melitopol," he said. Fighting continues around the town of Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine, while Moscow has called for dialogue with the US after suspending inspections under a key nuclear weapons treaty. Here are the latest headlines: Nuclear expert highlights risks at Ukraine plant: The head of the Ukrainian state-owned nuclear power company Energoatom warned that Ukraine and Europe could face another Fukishima if the power supply to the massive Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant is further disrupted. Petro Kotin said that only one line of power to the massive complex was now operational after shelling damaged the lines in the past few days. Mre Russian fire around Bakhmut: Russian forces are keeping up the pressure on the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region as they try to take more territory in Donbas. Russian forces are conducting offensive battles in the eastern cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka and trying to displace Ukrainian units with artillery fire, said the Ukrainian military. Ukrainians claim heavy strikes against Russian positions in Melitopol: Russian forces endured a "night of hell," said Ivan Fedorov, mayor of the occupied southern city, adding that residents reported hearing about 10 explosions overnight and further blasts at dawn. Smoke was rising from a military base that had been struck four times previously, he added. Largest grain shipment yet leaves Ukraine: The bulk carrier Ocean Lion left the port of Chornomorsk on Tuesday carrying nearly 65,000 tonnes of corn destined for South Korea. It is the largest cargo of grain to leave a Ukrainian port since last month's agreement. Moscow calls for dialogue on nuclear treaty: Russia and the US need to continue dialogue on the START nuclear weapons treaty, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday, following Moscow's announcement that it will temporarily suspend inspections of its facilities under the treaty. ##Catch Up## The Russia-backed leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, Denis Pushilin, said they are negotiating with North Korea to bring in construction workers "to restore the territory of the Republic." On Russian television on Tuesday, Pushilin also announced that "fair" tribunals will be held soon "over the war crimes of Ukraine," with one of the first being held in Mariupol. "From the testimonies of the Azov fighters and the data that investigators receive after studying their positions, command posts, a complete picture of what is happening is being formed," he said. Some context: On the battlefield, Pushilin said Russian forces and their allies are advancing northwards into Donetsk, with "ongoing combats" on the outskirts of Bakhmut and Soledar. He also claims Ukrainian forces have sustained heavy losses in the sweeping operations in Pesky, also in Donetsk. On Tuesday, the Ukrainian military's General Staff said that Russia was keeping up the offense in Bakhmut, but "Ukrainian soldiers inflicted fire damage and forced the invaders to flee." He added that their forces had also rebuffed Russian attacks on the outskirts of Donetsk. Russia and the US need to continue dialogue on the START nuclear weapons treaty, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday, following Moscow's announcement that it will temporarily suspend inspections of its facilities under the treaty. Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Peskov refused to comment directly on Russia’s decision and referred questions to the country's foreign ministry, which issued Monday's official statement.  Asked whether Moscow is ready to present to Washington further proposals on START, or is instead waiting for the US to make the first move, Peskov said: “Time will tell. We haven't received any specific proposals on this yet. But once again we repeat: dialogue is necessary.” On Monday, Russia's Foreign Ministry said Russia "is compelled to resort to this measure due to Washington’s stubborn striving to achieve, without prior arrangement, the resetting of inspection activities on conditions that do not take into account existing realities and are creating unilateral advantages for the United States, and are de facto depriving the Russian Federation of the right to conduct inspections on American territory." A US State Department spokesperson said Monday that "the principles of reciprocity, mutual predictability, and mutual stability will continue to guide the US approach to implementation of the New START Treaty, as they have since the treaty entered into force in 2011." "We keep discussions between the parties concerning treaty implementation confidential," added the spokesperson. On Tuesday, the head of the Ukrainian state-owned nuclear power company Energoatom warned that Ukraine and Europe could face another Fukishima if the power supply to the massive Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant is further disrupted.  Speaking to CNN on Tuesday in Kyiv, Petro Kotin said that only one power line to the massive complex was now operational after shelling damaged the lines in the past few days.  “If there is no connection to the grid, then you cannot provide electricity from the outside, then the diesel generators will start. But everything will depend on the reliability of those generators. … This is a dangerous situation, because if those stop you could have a disaster of melting nuclear materials,” he said, comparing the potential fallout to the Fukishima disaster in Japan.  The Fukishima plant’s reactor overheated when the backup power supply failed after the impact of the Tsunami in 2011.  Kotin said that Energoatom has supplies ready to go into the facility for repairs, but they haven’t been able to enter the site.  The Zaporizhzhia plant occupies an extensive site on the Dnipro River. It has continued operating at reduced capacity since Russian forces captured it early in March, with Ukrainian technicians remaining at work.  OSunday, Ukraine's Energoatom released a statement that said that one worker had been injured by Russian shelling around the facility on Saturday. Kotin said that Russian soldiers have not been firing from inside the large complex, but close to its outskirts. He said Russia continues to occupy Zaporizhizhia with around 500 soldiers and hardware and that Russian soldiers moved assets into two special blast bunkers in recent days.  There are around 1000 employees still on the site, according to Kotin, who have kept communications lines open but are working under constant stress of the occupying force including beatings and threats.   “If the situation worsens, we need to think about our population at the plant. We are planning on how, during war conditions, we will be able to evacuate the personnel.” “Great release of radioactivity could happen from there. There could be a cloud, a radioactive cloud,” he said, adding that the international community needs to work quickly to demilitarize the zone.  Kotin told CNN that the ultimate plan of the Russians is to disconnect the plant from powering Ukraine and connect it to the grid to power occupied Crimea.  Like other Ukrainian officials, he blames Russia for shelling the complex – he said the distance of the incoming strikes suggested Russian positions.  Russia blames Ukraine.  Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, accused Ukraine of “taking Europe hostage” by shelling Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, according to Russian state news agency TASS.  Visiting Ukraine right now to experience what's it like living in the middle of a war, seeing its bombed cities and feeling the danger isn't likely to be high on many people's travel wish list. But six months after Russia invaded the country, unleashing a wave of death and destruction, one organization is inviting tourists to come visit Ukraine. Online platform Visit Ukraine.Today last month launched guided day tours of the so-called "Brave Cities" that have defied and continue to resist Russian invaders, offering travelers a look at how the country is living amid conflict. "Set off on a journey to awesome Ukraine right now," the tour company's website implores. Despite international alerts warning against travel to Ukraine, the company says it's so far sold 150 tickets, while its website offering information on safely traveling to and from Ukraine is receiving 1.5 million hits a month, up 50% on pre-invasion numbers. Read the full story here. The largest cargo of grain to leave a Ukrainian port since last month's agreement has departed the port of Chornomorsk. The bulk carrier Ocean Lion left Tuesday with nearly 65,000 tonnes of corn destined for South Korea. A UN document obtained by CNN on Monday sets out technical details for the corridor through which merchant ships exporting agricultural products can travel. The document reads: "As a vessel moves through the Maritime Humanitarian Corridor, it is additionally protected by a buffer zone. The size of the buffer zone is a 10 nautical mile circle around the vessel while moving through maritime humanitarian corridor." "No military vessel, aircraft or UAVs will close to within 10 nautical miles of a merchant vessel transiting the Maritime Humanitarian Corridor, excluding territorial seas of Ukraine," it said. The High Seas Transit Corridor itself is 111 nautical miles long and 3 nautical miles wide. Some context: Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement in Turkey last month to resume Ukrainian grain exports from Black Sea ports, which was a global breakthrough amid the world food crisis sparked by the war. Since the invasion in late February, the World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that 47 million people have moved into a stage of acute hunger as a consequence of the war, and Western officials have accused Russia of using food as a weapon during its invasion. The first shipment of grain following the agreement left the port of Odesa on August 1 but was rejected by its buyer in Lebanon due to delayed delivery, according to the country's Ukrainian Embassy. At the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) Change of Command Ceremony at the Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany, the US Defense Secretary said Russia is seeking to expand their footprint on the African continent. Speaking on Tuesday, Lloyd Austin said: "Russia is peddling cheap weapons and backing mercenary forces. And that’s yet another reminder of Moscow’s willingness to sow chaos and threaten the rules-based international order -- and it goes far beyond Putin’s reckless invasion of Ukraine." Austin also mentioned China's desire to expand into Africa, saying they want to "build bases in Africa and to undermine US relations with African peoples, and governments, and militaries."  But Austin assured that the United Sates is "committed to ensuring that Africa enjoys the protections of the international rules and norms that advance all of our safety and prosperity," adding that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in South Africa to launch a new US "strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa." Some context: Austin will travel to Latvia later Tuesday, while Blinken is heading to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where he will meet with President Felix Tshisekedi and Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula. On Monday in Pretoria, South Africa, Blinken made a case for a partnership between the the US and African nations, saying that they cannot achieve any of their "shared priorities" unless they work together as equal partners. Blinken's Africa tour also includes a stop in Rwanda, and comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov traveled to Ethiopia, Uganda, the Republic of Congo, and Egypt at the end of July following Russia's alienation from Europe amid the war in Ukraine. Read more here. Russia has notified the US that it will temporarily suspend inspections under the START nuclear weapons treaty, the country's foreign ministry announced Monday. “The Russian Federation is now being forced to resort to this measure as a result of the persistent desire of Washington to achieve a restart of inspection activities on short notice under conditions that do not take account of existing realities, creating unilateral advantages for the United States of America and effectively deprive the Russian Federation of the right to conduct inspections on American territory,” read a statement from the ministry. The New START Treaty allows for 18 on-site inspections every year that allow Russia and the US to keep a close eye on each other's nuclear weapons. The treaty, which was extended in early 2021 for five years, limits both nations to deploying 1,550 nuclear warheads over 700 delivery systems, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and bombers. According to the ministry statement, Russia is fully committed to compliance with all the provisions of the START Treaty and the suspension of inspection measures are “temporary." The aim is "to ensure that all the mechanisms of the START Treaty function in strict accordance with the principles of parity and equality of the parties, as was implied when it was agreed and put into force," it said. "Now these principles are not being upheld.” Inspections will restart "once the current problematic issues relating to the resumption of Treaty inspection activities are resolved," said the ministry. CNN has reached out to the US State Department for comment. The treaty is the only one left regulating the two largest nuclear arsenals in the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law extending the treaty for five years on January 28, 2021, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that Washington had extended the treaty on February 3 that year. In a statement, Blinken said the extension of the New START Treaty allowed for verifiable limits on Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine launched ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers until February 5, 2026, and the treaty's "verification regime enables us to monitor Russian compliance with the treaty and provides us with greater insight into Russia's nuclear posture, including through data exchanges and onsite inspections that allow U.S. inspectors to have eyes on Russian nuclear forces and facilities." Russian forces are keeping up the pressure on the town of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region as they try to take more territory in Donbas. The Ukrainian military said Tuesday that the Russians were conducting offensive battles in the eastern cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka and trying to displace Ukrainian units with artillery fire. It said that the Russians had tried to conduct "battle reconnaissance" in a string of towns and villages close to the main highway from Bakhmut towards the further eastward Luhansk region. "Ukrainian soldiers inflicted fire damage and forced the invaders to flee," the military's General Staff said.  Down south: The General Staff said that efforts by the Russians to advance on the outskirts of Donetsk city had also been rebuffed. Along the front lines in the Kherson, Mykolaiv and Dnipropetrovsk regions, the General Staff said Russian forces had carried out air strikes against a number of settlements. The southern town of Nikopol, across the river from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, came under attack again overnight, according to Yevhen Yevtushenko, head of Nikopol district military administration. Yevtushenko said 40 shells had been fired, seriously damaging industrial sites. He said the Russians were firing from under the cover of residential areas on the other side of the river. In its latest assessment of the battlefield, the UK's Defense Ministry says that over the last month, "Russia’s assault towards the town of Bakhmut has been its most successful axis in the Donbas," but also noted that Russia "has only managed to advance about 10km during this time." "In other Donbas sectors where Russia was attempting to break through, its forces have not gained more than 3km during this 30 day period; almost certainly significantly less than planned," the Ministry says. "Despite its continued heavy use of artillery in these areas, Russia has not been able to generate capable combat infantry in sufficient numbers to secure more substantial advances." Russian forces endured a "night of hell" in Melitopol, the occupied southern city's mayor said, adding that residents reported hearing about 10 explosions overnight and further blasts at dawn.  "We cannot clearly name the places of explosions for now, but we know there are dead and injured," Mayor Ivan Fedorov said. Smoke was rising from a military base that had been struck four times previously, he added. "It is clear today that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are not going to abandon Melitopol and definitely will liberate it along with the resistance movement of local residents," Fedorov said. Russian referendum: Fedorov also dismissed Russian plans for a referendum in occupied parts of the Zaporizhzhia region, where Melitopol is located, saying the date and format of the proposed vote on joining Russia had been changed multiple times "as they understand they would not have any support of local residents." On Monday a Ukrainian politician cooperating with the Russian occupation signed a decree in support of preparations for the referendum. Fourteen-year-old Serhii Sorokopud is still haunted by what happened when Russian tanks rolled into his village five months ago. He lifts his T-shirt to show the deep scars across his back — a reminder of a trauma both hidden and visible. Russian troops set up a military camp in the small farming community of Yahidne, northeast of the capital Kyiv, on March 3, on their advance toward the capital. Serhii and his family were taken captive with hundreds of others in the basement of his school. Ten days later, as he stood in line for food in the playground, there was an explosion and he was struck by shrapnel. "First, there was a strong blow to the back. I fell, couldn't get up, couldn't move," he told CNN on Thursday, showing the spot behind his school where he was hit. "People ran over and lifted me up. I couldn't even walk. There was a lot of blood." Read the full story here. A buyer in Lebanon has rejected the cargo of the first grain ship to leave Ukraine since the early days of the war due to delayed delivery, according to a statement from the Ukrainian Embassy in the Middle Eastern country.  The M/V Razoni departed the Black Sea port of Odesa on August 1, carrying more than 26,000 metric tons of corn under a UN-brokered deal aimed at easing the global food crisis sparked by Russia's invasion. “According to the information provided by the shipper of the Ukrainian grain aboard the Razoni, the buyer in Lebanon refused to accept the cargo due to delays in delivery terms," the statement said. "So the shipper is now looking for another consignee to offload his cargo either in Lebanon/Tripoli or any other country/port.” Some context: Ukrainian officials say they aim increase grain shipments to three to five vessels per day within the next two weeks. Shipments continued Monday, with two vessels carrying 60,000 metric tons of agricultural products to international markets departing from ports in southern Ukraine. Between 70,000 and 80,000 Russians have been killed or wounded during the war in Ukraine, Colin Kahl, Defense Department undersecretary for policy, said during an on-camera briefing at the Pentagon on Monday. “I think it’s safe to suggest that the Russians have probably taken 70 or 80,000 casualties in less than six months. Now that is a combination of killed in action and wounded in action, that number might be a little lower, little higher, but I think that’s kind of in the ballpark,” Kahl said. Kahl said that number of casualties from Russian forces is “remarkable” considering Russia has “achieved none of Vladimir Putin’s objectives” since invading Ukraine at the end of February. “The Ukrainian morale and will to fight is unquestioned, and much higher I think than the average will to fight on the Russian side, so I think that gives the Ukrainians a significant advantage,” Kahl added. The US Defense Department Monday announced a $1 billion package of additional weapons and security assistance for Ukraine in the latest round of military aid. It is “the largest single drawdown of US arms and equipment” since August 2021, according to a Pentagon statement. This marks the eighteenth drawdown by the Pentagon. What the package includes: The package for the first time will have munitions for the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), a US-Norwegian air defense system the Ukrainians need for shooting down Russian cruise missiles aimed at population centers. The transfer of NASAMS itself could still be some days away according to US defense officials. The first system to arrive is expected to be from Norway, which can get it to Ukraine quicker than the US.  This package focuses heavily on additional ammunition and weapons that Ukrainian forces have used successfully against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. There is additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 75,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition and 1,000 Javelin anti-tank weapons among key items. This is the first transfer of Javelin’s announced since June. There are also hundreds of AT4 anti-armor weapons included.  United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described recent artillery and rocket fire around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in central Ukraine as "suicidal," further adding to fears of an accident at the plant, which is the largest of its kind in Europe. "Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing," Guterres told reporters Monday in Tokyo. "I hope that these attacks will end," he said, and called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to be given access to the plant. The Zaporizhzhia plant occupies an extensive site on the Dnipro river. It has continued operating at reduced capacity since Russian forces captured it early in March, with Ukrainian technicians remaining at work. On Sunday, Ukraine's state energy company Energoatom said that one worker had been injured by Russian shelling around the facility on Saturday. Energoatom claimed that three radiation monitoring sensors were also damaged, saying "timely detection and response in case of aggravation of the radiation situation or leakage of radiation from spent nuclear fuel casks are currently impossible." "This time a nuclear catastrophe was miraculously avoided, but miracles cannot last forever," the company added. Speaking on Ukrainian television, Energoatom's chairman Petro Kotin said one strike Sunday was up to 20 meters away from the processed fuel storage area. "If they had hit the containers with the processed fuel, it would be a radiation accident," he said. Read the full story here.