Updated Nov 25, 2018

Russia, Ukraine face off over Crimean naval dispute

A Russian tanker blocking access to the Kerch Strait, Nov. 25. Photo: Alexei Pavlishak/TASS/Getty Images

Ukraine claimed that Russia opened fire on its navy ships in the Kirch Strait, a sea passage between Crimea and Russia's mainland, on Sunday, damaging one and escalating the ongoing Crimean crisis, per the AP.

The big picture: The standoff led Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to convene his military cabinet. Russia earlier blocked access to the strait after it claimed Ukrainian naval vessels ventured into Russian waters. Ukraine claims it gave Russia advance warning about the movement of its navy ships. Russia's blockade of the strait with a tanker effectively cuts off sea access for Ukrainian cities that lie on the Sea of Azov, reheating the geopolitical crisis that kicked off with Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

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World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

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Wisconsin may be the start of the 2020 election wars

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wisconsin voters braving lines in face masks — after a last-minute Supreme Court ruling against extending the absentee deadline — could foreshadow a nationwide legal struggle over how to conduct elections during the coronavirus outbreak, election experts say.

Why it matters: "It's a harbinger of what's to come in the next skirmishes in the voting wars" from now through November, Richard Hasen, a professor and national election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, told Axios.