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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.

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

3 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

4 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.