Fdd's overnight brief

April 14, 2022

In The News


The Biden administration is moving to significantly expand the intelligence it is providing to Ukraine’s forces so they can target Moscow’s military units in Russian-occupied Donbas and Crimea, part of a shift in U.S. support that also includes a new security assistance package with heavier weaponry. – Wall Street Journal 

Russian forces launched airstrikes on Ukrainian positions inside the besieged port city of Mariupol early Wednesday, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said peace talks with Kyiv had reached a dead end, as troops from both sides exchanged fire ahead of an expected uptick in violence. – Wall Street Journal 

President Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” although U.S. officials had not made that legal determination. – Washington Post 

Russia broke international humanitarian law by deliberately targeting civilians during its invasion of Ukraine, and those who ordered attacks on a maternity hospital and theater turned shelter in the besieged city of Mariupol committed war crimes, experts from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe determined in a fact-finding report published Wednesday. – Washington Post 

After a month of fighting, the architects of Moscow’s war against Ukraine had to explain to Russians why Kyiv had not fallen. That’s when the most menacing rhetoric began. – Washington Post 

A Russian warship in the Black Sea was “seriously damaged” on Wednesday, according to a Ukrainian military official and Russian state news agencies, though each claimed a different cause for the destruction. – New York Times 

When a Russian missile strike hit a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol early last month, Elena Karas, a nurse, was on the third floor taking care of 13 premature babies, two of whom had been abandoned. – New York Times 

Using a mix of high-tech and Cold War tactics, Ukrainian activists and Western institutions have begun to pierce the propaganda bubble in Russia, circulating information about the Ukraine war among Russian citizens to sow doubt about the Kremlin’s accounts. – New York Times 

Investigators from almost a dozen countries combed bombed-out towns and freshly dug graves in Ukraine on Wednesday for evidence of war crimes, and a wide-ranging investigation by an international security organization detailed what it said were “clear patterns” of human rights violations by Russian forces. – New York Times 

Russia will view U.S. and NATO vehicles transporting weapons on Ukrainian territory as legitimate military targets, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the TASS news agency in an interview on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Russia said on Thursday the flagship of its Black Sea fleet was seriously damaged and its crew evacuated following an explosion that a Ukrainian official said was the result of a missile strike. – Reuters 

Russian users of Netflix (NFLX.O) have launched a class action lawsuit against the streaming giant for leaving the Russian market, demanding 60 million roubles ($726,000) in compensation, the RIA news agency reported on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Russia on Wednesday told Ukraine to “watch out” after its former Soviet neighbour captured pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk, turning down Kyiv’s offer of a swap with a warning that those holding him might soon be detained themselves. – Reuters 

As the conflict drags on, Western officials and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy have warned that Putin could deploy chemical agents. – Associated Press 

A German court convicted a Russian man of espionage and gave him a one-year suspended sentence on Wednesday for passing research including information about European rockets to Russian intelligence. – Associated Press 

Ukrainian forces said they hit and badly damaged the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, and Russia said its crew was forced to evacuate as a result of a fire without acknowledging an attack, as the battle shifts east and around the battered city of Mariupol where the defenders were still holding out. – Associated Press 

When President Joe Biden labeled Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “genocide” during an address on energy prices in Iowa, it set off a now-familiar scramble among White House aides to contain diplomatically loaded presidential rhetoric threatening to go beyond official U.S. policy. – Bloomberg 

That Potanin and others have so far avoided an asset freeze or transaction ban has raised questions, including in Congress, about the logic underpinning the US sanctions regime in response to Russia’s aggression. – Financial Times 

A court in the Channel Island of Jersey has imposed an order freezing more than $7bn in assets linked to Roman Abramovich in a significant blow to the Russian oligarch’s fortune. – Financial Times 

Russia announced Wednesday that it had imposed retaliatory sanctions on U.S. members of Congress in response to similar sanctions levied against more than 300 Russian lawmakers last month. – The Hill 

When lawmakers recently asked experts about Russia’s ability to use cryptocurrency to avoid sanctions, the answer was simple: There wasn’t any evidence of such activity. – Cyberscoop 

Mark Kimmitt writes: Gen. Dvornikov is a ruthless commander with an established combat history. Don’t assume he will continue the poorly executed plans dreamed up by Gens. Shoigu and Gerosimov. To the contrary, expect his plans to be more consistent with the strategy of his patron, Mr. Putin, and his brutality to exceed even his reprehensible record in Syria. – Wall Street Journal 

Noah Buckley, Kyle L. Marquardt, Ora John Reuter, and Katerina Tertytchnaya write: As Russia’s war in Ukraine grinds on, signs of public dissatisfaction about the war may increasingly enter the public consciousness. Street protests across the country, scenes of soldiers’ mothers criticizing the authorities and a sharp rise in food prices coupled with shortages could dent Putin’s image of popularity. In turn, that could set off a larger loss of support. – Washington Post 

Simon Kuper writes: Now that Putinphilia has become at least temporarily embarrassing, the far right needs a new pet nation. The US right’s trendsetting Conservative Political Action Conference meets in Budapest in May with a keynote speech from nativist Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban. – Financial Times 

Janan Ganesh writes: When Putin himself cites culture and values, a realist must diagnose him with false consciousness, and stress that what really moves him is the dry calculation of the chessboard. At least Erasmus Darwin had brotherly love as an excuse for discounting observable facts. – Financial Times 

Mason Clark, Kateryna Stepanenko, and Karolina Hird write: Russian claims of a mass Ukrainian surrender in Mariupol are likely false, but Russian forces forced Ukrainian troops to abandon the Ilyich metal plant in northern Mariupol on April 13, further constricting the two remaining pockets of Ukrainian defenders. Russian forces will likely capture Mariupol in the coming week. Russian forces continued to conduct small-scale limited offensive operations on both the Izyum and Severodonetsk axes and have not yet begun a broader offensive campaign. – Institute for the Study of War 


The killing of all American leaders would not be enough to avenge the U.S. assassination of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ top commander Qassem Soleimani two years ago, a senior Iranian Guards commander said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait invited Iran on Wednesday to hold negotiations to determine the eastern limit of a joint, energy-rich, offshore area, the Saudi state-news agency SPA reported. – Reuters 

Iran is against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and supports a diplomatic resolution to the conflict, Iranian Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian reportedly told Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in a call on Wednesday. – Jerusalem Post 

David Ignatius writes: The situation could get worse if nuclear talks between the United States and Iran collapse, leaving Kadhimi precariously in the middle. If the talks fall apart, “Iraq is likely to be a casualty,” warned a U.S. official. – Washington Post 


The outlook for Afghanistan’s economy is dire with per capita income having fallen by over a third in the last four months of 2021 after the Islamist Taliban seized power and foreign forces withdrew, the World Bank said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

A Senate resolution sponsored by Sens. Jerry Moran and Richard Blumenthal would honor the veteran volunteers involved in Afghanistan-related evacuation organizations. But while a great in theory, the resolution has too few details of veterans’ support activities to serve its intended effect. – Washington Examiner 

Bobby Ghosh writes: The Taliban will not be able to create another North Korea in Afghanistan, like they did in the mid-1990s. The pushback will be serious, and it will also come from within the Taliban establishment, from the dissenters. If they’re smart, if they’re wise, they will understand that the country has changed and they will change their policies to reflect the realities on the ground. If they don’t, I think something will give. – Bloomberg 


Israeli forces on Wednesday shot and killed three Palestinians, including a teenage boy, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, as Israeli troops continued a days-long operation in the occupied West Bank in response to a spate of deadly attacks. – Associated Press 

Churches in Jerusalem are up in arms against Jewish “radicals” who are settling in the Christian Quarter and threatening a fragile religious balance in the ancient Holy City. – Agence France-Presse 

A State Department report identifying alleged human rights abuses in Israel relied in part on information from Amnesty International, a human rights group whose conclusion that Israel’s policies constitute “apartheid” was criticized by the State Department earlier this year. – Jewish Insider 

A young Jewish woman was attacked and beaten by an Arab resident of Jerusalem while traveling on the city’s light rail train. – Arutz Sheva 

Israel’s military reportedly thwarted a major attack planned for the eve of Passover that was set to take place in Jerusalem, Hebrew media reported Wednesday night. – Algemeiner 

Israel has started engineering work to repair holes and other breaches along dozens of miles of the West Bank security barrier in the “seam line” area, to stop the illegal entry of Palestinians following the recent wave of terror attacks. – Algemeiner 

President Isaac Herzog’s annual Iftar dinner, the traditional meal to break the Ramadan fast, brought around 200 guests to his official residence on Wednesday, including Arab Israeli public officials, religious and civil society leaders and members of the security forces. – Times of Israel  

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is struggling to find a suitable replacement for former coalition whip Idit Silman of his Yamina party, who defected last week, depriving the coalition of its Knesset majority and bringing the government to the brink of collapse. – Times of Israel 

Leaders of several Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have called on Palestinians to converge on al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount) on Friday to protect it against “provocations by Zionist criminals.” – Jerusalem Post 

Turkey expects that Israel respect “the international law on the Palestinian issue” in order to normalize ties between both countries, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday. – Haaretz 

Gulf States

But for the millions of ordinary people living in Assad-controlled areas, the president’s visit to the UAE represented a horizon of sorts, raising hopes for an end to their long isolation as well as escape from Syria, where optimism, jobs and necessities, from electricity to running water, are in short supply. – Washington Post 

Nearly three dozen House Democrats are pushing the administration to get tougher with Saudi Arabia, calling it a bad strategic partner after it has refused to help ease the world’s oil supply crunch during Russia’s Ukraine invasion. – Associated Press 

The U.S. Navy on Wednesday said it was establishing a new multinational task force that would target arms smuggling in the waters around Yemen, the latest American military response to Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. – Reuters 

Michael Rubin writes: As McGurk, newly-confirmed ambassador to Iraq Alina Rominowski, and others in the White House, State Department, Pentagon, and CIA work to help Iraq secure itself and set itself on a trajectory for economic stability, it is essential that they stop allowing fear of Barzani intransigence undermine U.S. interests and Iraq’s future. It is time to call Barzani’s bluff and allow him to retire into the dustbin of history where he belongs. – The National Interest 

Middle East & North Africa

Swiss federal prosecutors have dropped an 11-year investigation into suspected money-laundering by Egyptians close to toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring uprisings, they said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Representatives of Libya’s two rival governments began talks in Egypt on Wednesday aimed at reaching agreement on holding national elections, the United Nations Mission in Libya said. – Reuters 

Editorial: It will need to do more if Tunisia’s democracy is to be saved, because Mr. Saied is not listening. He is too busy extinguishing the last, best hopes of the Arab Spring. – Washington Post 

Korean Peninsula

The United States is pushing the U.N. Security Council to further sanction North Korea over its renewed ballistic missile launches by banning tobacco and halving oil exports to the country and blacklisting the Lazarus hacking group, according to a draft resolution reviewed by Reuters on Wednesday. – Reuters 

A South Korean official likely to oversee North Korean ties said on Thursday he opposed a ban on sending propaganda into North Korea, signalling the possible return to the skies of leaflet-laden balloons that infuriate North Korea. – Reuters 

The office of South Korean President-elect Yoon Suk-Yeoul on Thursday denied Japanese media reports that he had asked to attend an upcoming summit of the Quad, which includes the United States, India, Australia and Japan, as an observer. – Reuters 

South Korea’s incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol picked close adviser Park Jin to be foreign minister among a slew of cabinet nominations on Wednesday, as he readies to face challenges from North Korea’s long-range missile and nuclear activities. – Reuters 

South Korea’s central bank said on Wednesday it has agreed with the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) to extend a currency swap agreement for five years. – Reuters 

South Korea’s incoming government will reverse the country’s nuclear phaseout plan, which had been criticised for intensifying the east Asian country’s dependence on fossil fuels. – Financial Times 


The fear in China now is that the “zero Covid” policy has become another Mao-style political campaign that is based on the will of one person, the country’s top leader, Xi Jinping — and that it could end up hurting everyone. – New York Times 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday urged China to use its “special relationship with Russia” to persuade Russia to end the war in Ukraine. – Associated Press 

China on Wednesday denounced Taiwan’s efforts to prevent Chinese companies from poaching talent and stealing chip secrets as a provocative “smear”, saying this could not prevent interactions between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. – Reuters 

One of the world’s largest electronics manufacturing hubs near Shanghai is grinding to a halt, aggravating China’s economic worries and exacerbating disruption to global supply chains. – Financial Times 

China has lashed out at the United States for ordering its consulate staff to leave the locked-down city of Shanghai, accusing officials of “weaponizing” the financial hub’s failing attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19. – CNN 

A Chinese government agency scrubbed a charged comment by an official spokesperson on Wednesday after he compared Taiwan’s relationship with the United States to that of a mistress. – Newsweek 

As Joe Biden accuses Russia of “genocide” in Ukraine, his administration says China continues to commit the same crime against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, according to a new State Department report published on Tuesday. – Newsweek 

Koichiro Takagi writes: China’s intelligentized warfare is a far cry from the information age wars that have been waged in the past and is not simply the use of AI or unmanned weapons systems in warfare. Its feasibility is unknown and may have been overestimated, out of political necessity. But with its goals of influencing human cognition directly and controlling the enemy’s will, it is a revolutionary idea. – War on the Rocks 

Mohammed Soliman writes: Simply put, to counter the Chinese technological hegemony Washington should keep as many of its allies outside of China’s technology networks as possible until the United States can develop the needed framework, incentives, influence, and power to take the lead on the development of 6G and its subsequent information revolution. Washington also needs to recalibrate its bilateral relations with its allies and partners in the Middle East to focus on data transfers similar to the U.S.-EU transatlantic data pact. – The National Interest 

South Asia

Just four days after being legally forced to step down as Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan began laying the groundwork for a political comeback, drawing thousands of supporters to a late-night rally Wednesday in the northwest city of Peshawar. – Washington Post 

The United States on Wednesday congratulated Shehbaz Sharif on becoming Pakistan’s new prime minister following the ouster of his predecessor in a parliamentary no-confidence vote, with the top U.S. diplomat reaffirming the “value” of the relationship between the two nations. – Reuters 

A majority of Pakistanis are happy that former Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote in parliament, a new survey showed. – Bloomberg  

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa offered Wednesday to meet with protesters occupying the entrance to the president’s office, saying he would listen to their ideas for resolving the economic, social and political crisis facing the country. – Associated Press 

Pakistan’s new leader Shehbaz Sharif called for “unity” and vowed to repair the country’s damaged economy after he was sworn in as Prime Minister Monday following the ouster of Imran Khan. – CNN 

The United States and India are weighing the potential to maintain and fix U.S. Military Sealift Command ships in Indian shipyards, the State Department announced this week. – USNI News 

Kenneth I. Juster, Mohan Kumar, Wendy Cutler, and Naushad Forbes write: When Modi and U.S. President Joseph Biden held their first meeting in September of last year, Biden spoke of a bilateral relationship “destined to be stronger, closer, and tighter” that “can benefit the whole world.” By jointly announcing this vision for a new economic and trade strategy, and proceeding with a step-by-step approach to get there, the United States and India could reposition themselves geopolitically in the most dynamic region of the world and provide further impetus for their growth and prosperity. – Foreign Affairs 


Australia made an 11th-hour attempt to scupper a planned security agreement between the Solomon Islands and China, urging the archipelago nation to lean on Pacific neighbors for its security needs. – Wall Street Journal 

Now, as patriarch of the Marcos dynasty, Mr. Marcos is expected to be the first person to win the presidential election in the Philippines by a majority in more than three decades. – New York Times 

Australia imposed targeted financial sanctions on 14 Russian state-owned enterprises on Thursday, including defence-related entities such as truckmaker Kamaz (KMAZ.MM), and shipping companies SEVMASH and United Shipbuilding Corp. – Reuters 

U.S. and Japanese warships, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, are conducting their joint naval exercise in waters between Japan and the Korean Peninsula for the first time in five years, in a show of their close military alliance amid growing speculation of North Korea’s missile or nuclear testing later this week. – Associated Press 

New Zealand’s top court on Wednesday ruled a man can be extradited to China to face a murder charge — a landmark judgment that goes against the trend set by most democratic nations. – Associated Press 

Hong Kong’s former No. 2 official John Lee said Wednesday he had formally registered his candidacy in the election for the top job after securing 786 nominations to enter the race. – Associated Press 

Myanmar marked its normally boisterous new year water festival with silence and boycotts on Wednesday, as fighting between the military and opponents of the coup raged across the country. – Agence France-Presse 

The yen fell to a 20-year low against the dollar as the Bank of Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy piles pressure on the Japanese currency at a time when US policymakers at the Federal Reserve are signalling their intent to raise interest rates. – Financial Times 

The Indonesian and United States militaries are expanding their annual bilateral exercises to 14 participating countries, the Indonesian Army said in a news release Thursday. – CNN 


Poland’s approach is in line with the broader E.U. policy of forcefully deterring undocumented immigration — including from parts of the world where there are few legal options for reaching this continent. – Washington Post 

President Biden’s claim that Russia is committing “genocide” in Ukraine faced a mixture of support, uneasiness and opposition on Wednesday, with French President Emmanuel Macron warning against an “escalation of rhetoric,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailing the “true words of a true leader” and a Kremlin spokesman calling the comments “unacceptable.” – Washington Post 

Finland will launch an immediate debate on joining NATO, Finnish officials said on Wednesday, as the country reconsiders its longtime stance outside the Western military alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has appealed to the United States and other NATO allies to establish a no-fly zone over the country — a step that leaders in the military alliance refused to take, citing fears of touching off a world war with Moscow. Now Zelensky is pushing for more advanced air-defense systems and jets. – Washington Post 

The Canadians trained Lt. Kulish’s Rapid Response Brigade last summer in urban warfare, field tactics and battlefield medicine. The exercise in western Ukraine was one of the many in recent years with troops from Canada, the U.K., Romania and the California National Guard. This was just one piece of a little-publicized effort by countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that transformed Ukraine’s military up and down the ranks, from foot soldiers to the defense ministry to overseers in parliament. – Wall Street Journal 

The United States is considering whether to send a high-level official to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in the days ahead as a sign of support for Ukraine in its war with Russia, according to a person familiar with the internal discussions. – New York Times 

The United States will send an additional $800 million worth of military and other security aid to Ukraine and step up intelligence sharing, American officials announced on Wednesday, as Russian forces appeared to be preparing for a new offensive in the country’s east. – New York Times 

By Wednesday nearly every member of Mr. Johnson’s cabinet had defended their boss against demands for his resignation after he was fined by the police for breaching lockdown laws in Downing Street. Only one lawmaker from his Conservative Party gave media interviews calling on him to quit. – New York Times 

Because of military conscription, Ukraine does not allow most men between the ages of 18 and 60 to leave the country. So the more than two million people who have crossed the border to escape the Russian invasion are women, children and a few elderly men. – New York Times 

Across Ukraine, kindergartens have been bombed, elementary schools have been converted into shelters and in some cities like Mariupol, their grounds have even become makeshift graveyards. – New York Times 

An adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff, Serhiy Leshchenko, denied in an interview with CNN that Zelenskiy had rejected a visit offer from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as reported by the Bild newspaper. – Reuters 

The presidents of four countries on Russia’s doorstep toured war-ravaged areas near the Ukrainian capital and demanded accountability for what they called war crimes, as Kyiv and Moscow gave conflicting accounts of what happened to a badly damaged missile cruiser that is the flagship vessel of Russia’s fleet in the Black Sea. – Associated Press 

Pounding sounds came from a sixth-floor window, along with the risk of falling glass. For once, it was not destruction in the Ukrainian town of Irpin, but rebuilding. Heartened by Russia’s withdrawal from the capital region, residents have begun coming home, at least to what’s left. – Associated Press 

Western weaponry pouring into Ukraine helped blunt Russia’s initial offensive and seems certain to play a central role in the approaching, potentially decisive, battle for Ukraine’s contested Donbas region. Yet the Russian military is making little headway halting what has become a historic arms express. – Associated Press 

The rival leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus on Wednesday kicked off an initiative to give women an equal say in any renewed push to reunify the eastern Mediterranean island nation. – Associated Press 

But now that Le Pen has a real shot at being elected French leader as she takes on Emmanuel Macron in an April 24 runoff vote, her links to Moscow are coming under closer scrutiny. While she’s tempered her enthusiasm for Putin over the past five years, and hasn’t met with him during that period, her previous comments were so fawning that she’s finding it hard to move past them. She also continues to advance views seen as pro-Russian. – Bloomberg 

Ukraine’s finance minister recently sent out an SOS to the west asking for emergency funding. The Institute of International Finance has had a stab at estimating just how bad the situation is. – Financial Times 

More than 4.6 million people in Ukraine are at risk of losing running water as the country’s water system teeters on the verge of “complete collapse,” the United Nations said Wednesday. – Washington Examiner 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to overthrow the Ukrainian government should mark the beginning of the “de-Putinization” of Russia, according to a senior Baltic leader. – Washington Examiner 

The Ukrainian Marines at Mariupol — a city besieged — are preparing for an Alamo-like last stand against a combined Russian-Chechen force despite a dearth of ammunition, a lack of food, and, it now seems, a shortage of men. – New York Sun 

In an article titled “Has The Palestinian Issue died?” that was publish by the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram on April 4, 2022, Egyptian politician and journalist Osama Al-Ghazali Harb argued that the Negev Summit did not mark the end of the Palestinian issue and accused the U.S. and Western European countries of applying double standards by sympathizing with the people of Ukraine while addressing the issue of the Palestinian people with a “racist-like approach.” – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Former Counselor to the State Department Eliot Cohen called on the Biden administration to reopen the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, during an appearance on Jewish Insider’s “Limited Liability Podcast.” Cohen, dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, criticized the initial decision to evacuate the embassy, arguing the U.S. was failing “on the symbolic side of things.” – Jewish Insider 

The head of Italy’s defense giant Leonardo has said there is a “great willingness” in Europe to bring countries together to launch joint defense programs as funding multiplies in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Defense News 

Editorial: Finnish and Swedish accession would have to clear procedural hurdles, starting with the two countries’ own parliamentary debates and votes. The U.S. Senate, too, ultimately would have to weigh in. A strong “yes” vote would signal yet another defeat for Mr. Putin. – Washington Post 

Editorial: Governments must maintain popular support for supporting Ukraine by sheltering households from the worst of the economic pain. The war is being fought in the Ukraine, but politicians must tend to the home front as well. – Financial Times 

William Nattrass writes: Politicians and the public are united over Ukraine elsewhere, but divisions are widening in the heart of Europe. These countries are strongly affected by the refugee crisis and are vulnerable to the negative effects of Western sanctions. It’s vital that the West keeps them in the fold, but the spread of pro-Kremlin narratives makes this an increasingly difficult task. – Wall Street Journal 

Michael O’Hanlon writes: If the U.S. Army and Air Force plan to station several units abroad permanently rather than rotating many different units, they can likely sustain this burden without increasing the size of the U.S. military substantially. Some money and effort will be needed, but permanently stationing American combat power in the Baltics, while adding U.S. or NATO troops in two or three other parts of Eastern Europe, is an affordable response to NATO’s new Russian threat. – Wall Street Journal 

Yvonne Su and Samuel Ritholtz write: Of course, sexual orientation and gender identity are not the only marginalized identities that leave people in Ukraine vulnerable; race and migrant status also can make it harder to find refuge. But the LGBT community’s experiences have historically been ignored. Now, through social media and grass-roots movements, NGOs and activists have been able to help LGBT refugees. – Washington Post 

Adam Taylor writes: But in support for Ukraine, these nations are punching above their weight. Though some far larger nations, including the United States and Britain, have provided more than them, many others — such as the twin European giants of France and Germany — are well behind them. – Washington Post 

Michael McFaul writes: Biden and his national security team might have classified intelligence that suggests that these risks of escalation are greater than I can assess through open sources. If not, however, then the free world needs to provide Ukrainians with the quality and quantity of weapons to prevail in Donbas. A Ukrainian win or stalemate in that battle will make us and our NATO allies more secure. A loss will produce the opposite. – Washington Post 

Katja Hoyer writes: Germany must now try to remember what it was like to brace itself against the nuclear threat — from the politicians at the top to the people on the ground. The unthinkable has become thinkable again. If waking up means a return of the bone-chilling blare of sirens over Germany, so be it. – Washington Post  

James Stavridis writes: The West, however, has a major messaging advantage: Its values are the right ones. Russia is conducting an illegal campaign of brutal war crimes in Ukraine; the Ukrainian people are bravely defending their democracy; the West is providing significant military, diplomatic and economic support; and history will judge Putin’s fellow travelers harshly. […]Competing in the global marketplace of ideas will require a touch of humility, significant resources, a well-run campaign between nations and government agencies, and — above all — steady belief in the values we cherish. – Bloomberg 

Bobby Ghosh writes: In terms of relations with Russia and NATO, she  has said in the past that she would pursue the Gaullist line and leave NATO’s integrated command. And she has criticized sanctions against Russia. She would take French policy in a very different direction from Macron. So even if foreign policy doesn’t usually move the needle, I think European officials and diplomats are watching very nervously, and Macron’s going to have to make it count somehow if he wants to distance himself from Le Pen over the next two weeks. – Bloomberg 

Jon B. Alterman writes: The danger for the West is understanding just how long Russia is willing to fight for Ukraine. Western policymakers may think they are rounding the turn and going into the home stretch to end the war. Meanwhile, the Russian military may feel it is just warming up. If Syria is any guide, Russia may seek to wage this war for years. It isn’t clear if Western governments will have the tools or the resolve to force a different outcome. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said he would announce a migration partnership with Rwanda on Thursday, prompting speculation that the deal will include sending migrants arriving in Britain to the African country for processing. – New York Times 

Western powers seeking to isolate Russia over Ukraine are disappointed at what they see as lukewarm support from African nations at the U.N. general assembly – where their 54 votes form a bloc large enough to swing resolutions. – Reuters 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock pressed Mali on Wednesday to move towards fair elections and cease working with Russian military contractors if it wants to fully reactivate the European Union’s training of the country’s armed forces. – Reuters 

Armed gangs attacking remote communities in Nigeria’s troubled northwest are now working with extremist rebels who have waged a decade-long insurgency in the country’s northeast, a top government official said Wednesday. – Associated Press 

The head of the World Health Organization has slammed the global community for its focus on the war in Ukraine, arguing that crises elsewhere, including in his home country of Ethiopia, are not being given equal consideration, possibly because those suffering are not white. – Associated Press  

Climate activists — including influential campaigners Vanessa Nakate and Hilda Nakabuye — are urging more banks and insurers not to back the controversial $5 billion East African Crude Oil Pipeline that is primed to transport oil from the Hoima oilfields in Uganda to the Tanzanian coastal city of Tanga. – Associated Press 

Ivory Coast’s prime minister resigned on Wednesday and a new “streamlined” government will take shape next week, President Alassane Ouattara announced. – Agence France-Presse 

Habtom Ghebrezghiabher and Tesfazion Gerhelase write: The administration’s priority when it comes to dealing with Eritrea should be to ease the current sanctions. […]To do this successfully, the administration should explain that the sanctions aimed to harm the government, not the people. Such messaging is critical given the acute suffering that the sanctions have exacted on Eritreans. This is likely the only way to refute Afwerki’s propaganda that the U.S. is the enemy and that barricading in a hermit state is the sole path to safety. – Washington Institute  

Latin America

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez will be extradited next week to the United States, where he faces drug trafficking and firearms charges, Honduran Security Minister Ruben Sabillon said on Wednesday. – Reuters 

A World Trade Organization panel has largely sided with Mexico in a dispute with Costa Rica over import restrictions on Mexican avocados, a report released on Wednesday showed, with Costa Rica saying it accepted the decision. – Reuters 

Colombian President Iván Duque said Wednesday there is evidence and testimony that seriously implicate “practically all” of the former Colombian soldiers being held in Haiti in the assassination of that country’s president, Jovenel Moïse. – Associated Press 

Charles Lane writes: Still, it’s never too late to do the right thing. The same goes for the U.S. government as it tries to bolster Nicaragua’s democrats while denying Vladimir Putin a strategic foothold in the Caribbean basin. – Washington Post 

North America

Russia is imposing tit-for-tat sanctions on 398 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 87 Canadian senators and will move against other people, Interfax news agency cited the foreign ministry as saying on Wednesday. – Reuters 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday it was “right” to describe Russia’s attacks in Ukraine as “genocide,” repeating US President Joe Biden’s accusation. – Agence France-Presse 

Liz Peek writes: We need to end the slaughter. It is a moral imperative every bit as compelling as saving the Jews from Hitler. Whatever it takes, we should do it. The United States is supposed to be the leader of the free world. Mr. Biden, you are supposed to be the leader of the United States. This is up to you. And if you are right, stopping the war will fix inflation, too. Think how appreciative your voters will be. – The Hill 

K.T. McFarland writes: In the coming days and weeks President Biden and other western leaders must make a choice. Will they give Ukraine the weapons it needs to defend itself? […]Is Biden willing to pause his sacred war on fossil fuels and let American energy companies ramp up production and increase exports? If so, we could help Europe wean itself off Russian energy, while at the same time depriving Russia of windfall profits. If President Biden does neither, the harsh reality is Putin is likely to destroy Ukraine. – Fox News 

United States

America is embracing a new measure at the United Nations that is likely to dilute its own veto power in the Security Council, and, if pursued, would be used mostly against America. – New York Sun 

An antisemitic New Jersey man went on a shocking hours-long crime spree targeting Hasidic Jews — having warned his family to expect “a blood bath,” according to police documents. – New York Post 

Former President Trump joined President Biden in calling Russia’s war in Ukraine a “genocide” during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday night. – The Hill 

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley urged the Biden administration to ramp up pressure on Germany over its reliance on Russian energy during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday. – The Hill 

As the war in Ukraine sparks a crisis that leaves relations between the United States and Russia even worse than during their Cold War rivalry, President Joe Biden is putting pressure on Moscow’s old ally in the Western Hemisphere, Cuba. – Newsweek 


U.S. officials announced Wednesday the discovery of an alarmingly sophisticated and effective system for attacking industrial facilities that includes the ability to cause explosions in the energy industry. – Washington Post 

In the weeks since the March 22 terror attack that claimed the lives of four Israelis in Beersheba, the cyber unit in the State Attorney’s Office has received 5,815 requests by security officials to remove posts from social media that incite or appear to support terrorism. – Times of Israel 

The start of the year brought good news for organizations that have been struggling to secure themselves against cyberattacks. – The Record 

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it used a court order to shut down a criminal botnet called ZLoader. – The Record  

Elephant Money, the decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol behind the ELEPHANT token and the TRUNK stablecoin, announced this week that hackers stole $11.2 million worth of Binance Coin. – The Record 

Several advanced persistent threat (APT) actors have created custom-made tools designed to breach IT equipment used in critical infrastructure facilities, according to a new advisory from multiple US agencies. – The Record 

Federal agents in Honolulu last week “disrupted” an apparent cyberattack on an unnamed telecommunication company’s servers associated with an underwater cable responsible for internet, cable service and cell connections in Hawaii and the region, the agency said in a statement Tuesday. – Cyberscoop 

Omnicom, one of the world’s largest marketing and advertising agencies, took some of its IT systems offline over the “past week” due to “suspicious activity,” the company confirmed to CyberScoop Wednesday. – Cyberscoop 


U.S. troops deployed to Europe will begin training the Ukrainian military on howitzers and radar systems as part of a massive new weapons and security aid package announced Wednesday. – Military.com 

Over the past decade, GAO found that the U.S. Navy has faced significant challenges in meeting its shipbuilding goals, experiencing years of construction delays, billions of dollars in cost growth, and frequent quality and performance shortfalls. – USNI News 

Following Germany’s decision to buy a fleet of F-35s, NATO planners have begun updating the alliance’s nuclear sharing mechanics to account for the jet’s next-gen capabilities, a key NATO official said this week. – Defense News 

Long War

An Islamic State supporter was given a whole-life sentence Wednesday for stabbing a British lawmaker to death in revenge for his voting in support for airstrikes on Syria. – Associated Press 

The deployment of South Africa’s military in northern Mozambique has been extended while its role has shifted from aggressively fighting Islamic extremist rebels to a peacekeeping effort, a top general said Wednesday. – Associated Press 

An 18-year-old man from the southern Bedouin town of Rahat was arrested last month for planning to join the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria, police announced Wednesday. – Times of Israel