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tv   ABC World News Tonight With David Muir  ABC  February 20, 2022 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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tonight, major breaking news as we come on the air. new reporting, as the urgent threat of war is intensifying in ukraine. u.s. officials tell abc news russian commanders have been given orders to plan to invade. today, president biden convening his national security team in the situation room. what we're learning as new satellite images show multiple new deployments of armored equipment and troops. and russia tonight extending its massive military drills just beyond ukraine's northern border. shelling attacks continue in eastern ukraine, where russian-backed separatists are facing off against ukrainian troops. fears are mounting that tensions in that region could be used as a pretext for a russian invasion. vice president harris warning of the real possibility of war in europe.
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western allies on alert overseas. the u.s. estimates about half of russia's troops near ukraine are now in position to attack. our ian pannell, james longman, and martha raddatz on the ground tonight, and maryalice parks is at the white house. also developing tonight, queen elizabeth tests positive for covid-19, after several people at windsor castle became infected, and in recent weeks her son prince charles and his wife camilla had also tested positive. tonight, what we're learning about the 95-year-old monarch's condition. the horrifying helicopter crash. a police officer killed. the new, dramatic images. and the race to save a second officer just hours after another helicopter crashed into the crowded waters off miami beach. tonight, weather whiplash targeting millions. we're tracking a warmup in the east and two cross-country winter storms. rob marciano times it all out. the sister of disgraced ponzi schemer bernie madoff and her husband found dead in florida. what authorities are saying tonight about this apparent murder-suicide. tragedy in upstate new york.
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a 21-year-old college student shot to death just off campus. what police are saying tonight. dramatic new images tonight. a massive brawl breaking out at the end of the michigan versus wisconsin basketball game. and "america strong." how an 11-year-old boy is paying it forward with kindness. good evening, everyone. thanks so much for joining us on this busy sunday. i'm linsey davis. we begin with new reporting on the urgent threat of war in europe. u.s. officials tell abc news tonight russian commanders have been given orders to plan to invade. new satellite images show more russian field deployments of equipment and troops near the border with ukraine. tonight, russia announcing its troops will not leave belarus as planned, as massive military drills continue just north of ukraine's border.
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and tensions already high in eastern ukraine, where ukrainian forces have been exchanging fire with russian-back separatists in areas held by rebels. this house damaged by shelling. today, president biden met with his national security team for more than two hours. we have team coverage on the ground. ian pannell lads us off tonight from ukraine. >> reporter: tonight, another new warning. u.s. officials telling abc news they believe russian tactical commanders have been told to be ready for orders to invade. >> everything we're seeing suggests that this is dead serious, that we are on the brink of an invasion. >> reporter: "the new york times" reporting that u.s. intelligence officials learned the kremlin gave the order to attack last week, which prompted president biden to say he's convinced that putin made the decision to invade. >> the u.s. believes that putin has told his tactical commanders to be prepared, to move into position ready to conduct an attack. that's very different from putin
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making the actual decision and saying you will attack. >> reporter: today, president biden, convening an urgent meeting with his national security team in the situation room, many just back from europe, where they were reassuring allies and doubling down on the consequences for putin if he attacks. >> we are talking about the real possibility of war in europe. >> reporter: more than 150,000 russian troops are thought to be amassed on three sides of ukraine, although one u.s. official telling abc news that number could be as high as 190,000. u.s. officials claiming 50% of those forces are now in attack position. >> these kinds of orders to tactical commanders could either be part of reinforcing the bluff, or they could be the next step in a real invasion. >> reporter: adding to the pressure today, russia announcing their troops will not leave belarus as planned, instead they will remain behind and continue joint exercises. james longman was on the ground as the drills unfolded. >> reporter: russia and belarus have been adamant so far, all this, these are just pre-planned military exercises.
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but with the tension ratcheting up in eastern ukraine, these military drills have certainly taken on a much more threatening character. >> reporter: meanwhile, last-ditch diplomatic efforts continue. president macron of france talking to vladimir putin for two times today. france saying they had a long conversation about how to calm things down. later, macron speaking with ukrainian president zelensky. and then president biden. another day of heavy shelling in the east of the country, where russian-backed separatists face off against ukrainian troops, the rebels making more unsubstantiated claims of attacks by government forces amid fears this could be used as a pretext for a russian invasion. thousands turned out in the port city of odesa in southern ukraine today. marching in solidarity with their government. >> we want to show that citizens of odesa as well as all of ukrainians will support our
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sovereignty and will fight occupants wherever. >> reporter: across the country, no signs of panic, but people are preparing to stand, and if necessary, fight. martha raddatz speaking with the mayor of lviv in the west of ukraine. >> never give up. it's my country, it is my city. >> reporter: will your citizens take up weapons? >> yes, yes. i am optimist. together with united states, together with great britain, we are all the world, victory. only victory. >> quite the optimist there. ian, we keep hearing increasingly dire warnings suggesting the invasion is imminent. you're on the ground there. what is the mood? >> reporter: i think many people across ukraine are preparing for the worst. some of them getting their papers in order, others getting grab bags. we've heard some are training to stand and fight. but i don't think there's any sense of panic here. i think a lot of ukrainians,
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like their government, believe this is still a play by putin to try to extract concessions. but of course, if they're wrong, the consequences for the people and the country are going to be devastating. linsey? >> that is the concern. ian, thank you. the president and his advisers of course closely monitoring developments. let's go straight to maryalice parks. what have we learned? >> reporter: the president was updated by the national security council today. the white house says the meeting lasted over two hours. they released this photo of the situation room with the secretary of state and secretary of defense next to the president after returning from europe late last night. we also know that vice president harris joined remotely from air force two while flying back today. and biden had that quick call with the french president to get updated on macron's latest calls with putin and zelensky today. linsey? >> maryalice, thank you. now to the major news out of london. the palace says queen elizabeth has tested positive for covid,
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and is now experiencing mild symptoms. the queen was last seen in public a few days ago. officials say she's isolating, but will continue light duties at windsor castle. lama hasan is in london tonight. >> reporter: tonight, the queen is isolating in windsor castle following a short statement by buckingham palace confirming the monarch has tested positive for covid. the palace, trying to reassure the public, announcing, her majesty is experiencing mild cold-like symptoms but expects to continue light duties at windsor over the coming week. it has been widely reported the queen is triple vaccinated. determined to keep calm and carry on as head of state and as monarch. adding, she will continue to receive medical attention and will follow all the appropriate guidelines. >> we know that the queen has some great physicians who are looking after her. at this stage, they're keeping a close eye on her as she tries to carry on as normal as possible. >> reporter: and just hours after the palace's announcement, the queen issuing this message sending her warmest congratulations to great britain's olympic curling
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teams for bringing home their only medals in beijing. her majesty was last seen on wednesday, carrying out an engagement in person, leaning on a walking stick. the queen quipping she wasn't able to move. >> how are you? >> well, as you can see, i can't move. >> reporter: while she has enjoyed good health during her extraordinary 70 years on the throne, making history and celebrating her platinum jubilee. >> 70 years, extraordinary. >> reporter: back in october and after spending a night in the hospital, on doctor's orders, the 95-year-old was told to rest, canceling many of her engagements. and there were growing concerns for her majesty's health after her son, prince charles, tested positive for covid nearly two weeks ago. charles has since recovered. messages of well wishes have been pouring in all day. >> really hope she's okay. >> reporter: the prime minister, boris johnson, tweeting, "i'm sure i speak for everyone in wishing her majesty the queen a swift recovery from covid and a rapid return to vibrant good health." >> certainly well wishes from around the world for the queen. lama hasan joins us from outside
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the palace. it had been expected that the prime minister would lift the last of britain's covid restrictions tomorrow. any chance the queen's illness may change that? >> reporter: linsey, probably not. at this point, what we know, the prime minister is planning on lifting all the remaining covid-19 restrictions in this country. and part of that is the self-isolation period, currently set at five days. and this is all part of the government's plan on how to live with covid. linsey? >> lama, thank you. now to those horrific helicopter crashes happening just hours apart on opposite sides of the country. one causing the death of a police officer in california. the other officer onboard survived. and off miami beach, a helicopter with three people onboard crashing near the coastline, triggering an urgent rescue effort. here's will carr from newport beach. >> reporter: this weekend, two helicopter crashes on two coasts. in southern california, dramatic
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new surveillance video capturing a police helicopter spinning out of control before crashing into the waters next to newport beach. >> he managed to get it into the bay to save everybody's life. if he had landed on a house, there would be a lot of casualties. >> reporter: rescue crews racing to help, pulling the two officers who were onboard from the helicopter. officer nicholas vella, a 14-year veteran of the huntington police department, was killed in the crash. >> this is truly really a heartbreaking time for all of us here in huntington beach. >> reporter: first responders swarming the scene, pulling the submerged helicopter to the surface. the police logo flipped upside down. crews pulling the chopper from the water minutes ago. that crash came just hours after another crash in florida. that helicopter seen plunging into the ocean right next to a busy stretch of miami beach. all three people onboard survived, two taken to the hospital. beachgoers joining first responders rushing to save them.
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>> the bystanders, the amount of people that were able to actually assist and help with that process, you know, really saved their lives. >> reporter: federal investigators are on the scene. you can see them spraying down the helicopter. it will be up to the ntsb to figure out what went wrong with both crashes. we do have some good news in southern california, the second officer in the crash was treated and released from the hospital. linsey? >> that is good news. will, thank you. we move on now to the weather whiplash for millions in the east and the cross-country storms sweeping in from the west this week. let's go to rob marciano. time it all out for us. >> reporter: well, with the two systems, i think with them, we're going to see most everybody get a piece of the action. the alerts are expansive, from kentucky to southern california. most of which are winter storm watches and warnings. let's look at the flakes fly. the first one through the northern rockies and northern plans, north of chicago mostly. south of chicago, rain.
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some of it heavy. severe weather tomorrow, dallas through little rock, then quickly into the northeast. mostly heavy rain into the northeast. but a colder shot coming in thursday and friday with a more winter-like system. linsey? >> rob, thank you. now to the pandemic, and the rush to reopen as cases across the country plunge. nearly all u.s. states and territories are currently reporting a decline in cases. boston is no longer requiring proof of vaccination for most public indoor spaces, but masks are still required. and news tonight on the possibility of a fourth shot for those already boosted. here's elwyn lopez. >> reporter: as many states and cities roll back covid restrictions ahead of the cdc's new mask guidelines expected as early as this week, others scrambling amid pandemic-fueled shortages. >> this one, that one, and that one. >> reporter: new mexico's national guard called up this month to step in as teachers. >> as long as i'm stationed at this school, then this class will be my post. >> reporter: and new york, not wanting to make a shortage of
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health care workers worse, now delaying a booster mandate which was set to take effect monday. still, others getting back to business as usual. with boston dropping its indoor vaccination mandate, visitors poured in to the local boat show. and starting tomorrow, fans at td garden, home to the celtics and bruins, won't need to show proof of vaccination either. >> we're getting back to normal. it feels like things are going back together. and we're looking forward to it. >> reporter: this, as "the wall street journal" reports the fda is looking at potentially authorizing a fourth shot for some age groups in the fall. but half of all eligible americans have not even been boosted. and tonight, promising news out of south africa. a new study of almost 100,000 patients showing that omicron subvariant ba.2 does not increase severe disease or hospitalizations. linsey? >> elwyn, thank you. there are reports that bernie madoff's sister and her
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husband have been found dead in an apparent murder-suicide. authorities are now investigating. madoff died in prison last year. his son killed himself in 2010. next tonight, police are searching for clues in the murder of a 21-year-old new york state college student. elizabeth howell was a promising musician and scholar. a senior just about to graduate. here's janai norman. >> reporter: a college campus reeling tonight following an arrest in the murder of a co-ed found gunned down on the side of the road. >> prepare for rescue, female, unknown trauma. all persons on scene. >> reporter: police responding just after 5:00 p.m. friday to reports of an unconscious woman found just off the state university of new york's potsdam campus. officers finding 21-year-old honors student elizabeth howell, a cellist in the school's symphony orchestra, shot behind the college's music school. investigators arresting 31-year-old michael snow, a man
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officials say has no affiliation with the college, either as a student, employee, or graduate. tonight, snow is charged with second degree murder. authorities say the suspect was seen in this honda civic, passing through potsdam the evening of the murder. linsey, the suspect has been arraigned and is being held without bail. police say this is an isolated incident, but they're still seeking additional information, and the college has canceled classes for monday. >> janai, thank you. still ahead, a deadly shooting breaks out at a demonstration in portland. and a massive brawl after the michigan versus wisconsin game. you are an electric vehicle. electricity powers your heart. want to feel your heart beat faster? ♪ (heart beat music) ♪ drive an electric car. made by a company whose evs have gone five billion miles... for every highway...
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finally tonight, we want to introduce you to an 11-year-old recently named kid of the year, all because of his kindness and his determination to pay it forward. orion jean considers himself an ambassador for kindness. >> for me, it can take on so many different forms from just smiling at somebody or holding the door. >> reporter: at just 11 years old, orion is wise beyond his years. it all started two years ago at the beginning of the pandemic when he won the national kindness speech contest. >> kindness is more important now than ever before. at the time that i wrote the speech, the world seemed like it had shut down and hope was like -- it was like, "where is it? where is the hope? where's the love?" >> reporter: orion, a living, breathing call to action, took the $500 prize money and paid it forward, creating race to kindness.
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>> i decided to start my own kindness initiative. >> reporter: his first kindness project, race to 500 toys, was a toy drive to benefit patients at a local children's hospital. he then moved on to a food drive, delivering 100,000 meals to families in need. he then turned to books, collecting and delivering 500,000 books to kids at book fairs across the country. this sixth grader is such an inspiration, "time" magazine named him kid of the year. >> it's amazing to just think about how much of an impact it's going to make on the person who receives the kindness, and hopefully they'll want to spread kindness, and it's a ripple effect that goes on. >> thanks for that reminder, orion, that kindness is contagious. thanks so much for watching. we'll of course be monitoring developments in ukraine. david muir right back here tomorrow night. i'm linsey davis in new york. have a great evening. good night.
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>> we are talking about the real possibility of war in europe. dion: vice president kamala harris reiterating president biden's warning. the u.s. it believes enforces will attack ukraine sometime this week. draymond green lost a million dollars while at the super bowl but it is not because he lost a bet. spencer: subfreezing temperatures and strong winds are all elements of my accuweather forecast coming up. abc 7 news at 6:00 begins now. >> building a better bay area, moving forward and finding solutions. this is abc 7 news. dion: new intelligence shows the russian military has taken steps to execute an attack plan in ukraine. that evening and thank you for joining us.
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you are watching abc 7 news at 6:00 live on abc seven and wherever you stream. we begin with bella been news where we just learned moments ago that the french president rocher did an agreement between president joe biden and the russian president to attend a proposed summit. they both accepted in principle and on the condition that russia does not invade ukraine. in ukraine's east, pressure controlled rebels made new and unsubstantiated claims of coming under threat from ukraine. the u.s. and its allies believe their lies so that russian president vladimir putin can justify an attack. >> the kinds of things you would need to conduct a successful invasion. dion: lloyd austin told abc 7 news that