Fdd's overnight brief

April 22, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


As Russia focuses its fire on Ukraine’s south and east, outgunned fighters continue to resist capitulation in a final holdout, the Azovstal steel plant, in the southern port city of Mariupol. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that Russian forces had captured most of the city in a crushing siege. – Washington Post  

President Biden announced $1.3 billion in new military and economic assistance to Ukraine on Thursday as a beleaguered group of Ukrainian fighters remained holed up in a steel plant in the key southern port city of Mariupol, waging a final, desperate standoff with Russian forces who have trapped them inside. – Washington Post

New satellite images show a mass grave in the Russian-occupied village of Manhush, located about 12 miles west of Mariupol, a discovery that Ukrainian officials say is evidence of war crimes against civilians in the strategic port city. – Washington Post 

Russia said Thursday it had taken control of Mariupol, presenting it as one of its first victories in the conflict after weeks of setbacks, though Ukrainian forces were still blockaded inside a vast steel plant in the city and said they were continuing to launch attacks on Russian positions. – Wall Street Journal 

No one is sure precisely how many of Mariupol’s 430,000 prewar residents remain inside the city—estimates range from 130,000 to 200,000 people—and efforts to evacuate them through humanitarian corridors have been slow, and many of them lack the money and other resources needed to get to safety. – Wall Street Journal 

Export controls implemented by the U.S. and its allies have cut Russia’s imports of high-tech goods by more than half—and more export restrictions are being readied, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. – Wall Street Journal 

Senior Biden administration officials say they believe that the next four weeks will shape the eventual outcome of Russia’s war in Ukraine, with long-lasting ramifications that will influence the drawing of the map of Europe for decades to come. – New York Times 

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia claimed victory in Mariupol on Thursday despite persistent fighting there, publicly calling off an assault on the final Ukrainian stronghold in the devastated city in a stark display of the Kremlin’s desire to present a success to the Russian public. – New York Times  

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak and his Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland walked out of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Washington to protest the invasion of Ukraine when Russia’s delegate spoke on Thursday, a British finance ministry spokesperson said. – Reuters 

Ukrainian fighters were clinging to their last redoubt in Mariupol on Friday after Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory in the biggest battle of the war, declaring the port city “liberated” following weeks of relentless bombardment. – Reuters 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to blockade the Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine likely indicates a desire to contain resistance in Mariupol, a British military update said on Friday. – Reuters 

Russia barred entry to Meta Platform Inc’s Mark Zuckerberg and 28 other Americans, a symbolic retaliation for U.S. sanctions against its top officials and business figures. – Bloomberg 

Editorial: No one knows how long the war will last nor how many Ukrainians will return home after it ends. But helping refugees in need is important for strategic and humanitarian reasons. The West needs a united front against Russia’s marauding, and helping ease the burden on frontline NATO states is crucial to the effort to defeat Vladimir Putin. – Wall Street Journal 

Oleksii Reznikov writes: A Ukrainian victory is the only outcome that will force Russia to rethink its strategy of aggression. We can do it. We have already proved our bravery. We just need the tools. Once the job is done we can get down to the important business of building a new world security architecture free from the structural defects of the past. – Wall Street Journal 

David Ignatius writes: Finally, an unlikely personal footnote: As I was drafting this column, Russia announced that I was among 29 Americans who are banned indefinitely from traveling to Russia. This sanctions list is an unusual group, including Vice President Harris and her husband, fellow journalists George Stephanopoulos of ABC and my Post Opinions colleague Robert Kagan, and tycoons such as Mark Zuckerberg of Meta. I guess that means the Foreign Ministry won’t be issuing the visa granted last fall for me to travel to Russia. But, hey, at least my columns are being read in Moscow. – Washington Post  

Jonathan Sweet writes: Yes, the nuclear threat is real — but so are the lives of every Ukrainian fighting for the country’s independence and freedom. Putin’s aspirations are not contained within Ukraine’s borders, as he clearly delineated in his July 2021 manifesto. The U.S., NATO and the rest of the free world cannot let the threat of nuclear escalation tie their hands. We cannot be forced into a position where we trade sovereign countries for negotiated peace with Russia, or any other country with nuclear weapons. – The Hill 

Mason Clark, George Barros, and Kateryna Stepanenko write: Russian forces will likely continue attacking southeast from Izyum, west from Kreminna and Popasna, and north from Donetsk City via Avdiivka. Russian forces will attempt to starve out the remaining defenders of the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol. Russian forces will likely increase the scale of ground offensive operations in the coming days, but it is too soon to tell how fast they will do so or how large those offensives will be. It is also too soon to assess how the Russians will weight their efforts in the arc from Izyum to Donetsk City. – Institute for the Study of War 

Giselle Donnelly writes: To be sure, this would be a military that a devastated Ukraine facing trillions of dollars in reconstruction could not afford on its own.  But the same is also true for the rest of Eastern Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea.  Yet the investment would return tremendous strategic value for the United States, for Western Europe (and not least, Germany) and the supposedly tottering “liberal international order.”  Even a standoff in the battle of the Donbas can set the conditions for a larger and more decisive victory in its aftermath. – The Dispatch 

Kseniya Kirillova  writes: What to make of this? It is fair to conclude that the more the consequences of the war directly affect ordinary Russians, the more the state interferes in their everyday life, the more the total distrust of the authorities, hidden behind the collective conformist mask, will emerge. This also applies to sanctions, which Russians have not yet fully felt. Even pro-Kremlin sociologists admit that “the longer the special military operation continues, the more the focus will shift from military outcomes to the socio-economic situation.” – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Erica D. Lonergan and Keren Yarhi-Milo write: Therefore, even if Russia would not take the cataclysmic step of escalating to the first use of nuclear weapons in response to a U.S. cyber operation, it could misinterpret U.S. signaling efforts and take measures to make nuclear use easier (such as making warheads operational, dispersing forces, pre-delegating authority, or increasing automaticity). These readiness measures could increase the chances of inadvertent or even accidental escalation. – War on the Rocks 

BJ Armstrong writes: The adoption of the classical methods of coastal defense, through the use of coastal gunnery and strike capabilities, careful employment of mine warfare, and adopting a creative approach to small craft, might allow Ukrainian forces to challenge Russian command of the sea. While they do not need to gain command for themselves, the ability to deny Russia easy and open use of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov could provide Kyiv with major benefits. – War on the Rocks 


A group of 40 former government officials and leading nonproliferation experts have urged President Biden to successfully complete negotiations for a return to the nuclear deal with Iran, warning that Tehran is a week or two away from producing sufficient weapons-grade uranium to fuel a bomb. – Washington Post  

Iran will not abandon plans to avenge the 2020 U.S. killing of Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani, despite “regular offers” from Washington to lift sanctions and provide other concessions in return, a top Iranian official said on Thursday. – Reuters  

The United States said on Thursday if Iran wanted sanctions relief beyond that of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – an apparent reference to removing Iran’s Revolutionary Guards from a U.S. terrorism list – it must address U.S. concerns beyond the pact. – Reuters 

Teachers have taken to the streets of several cities in Iran, including the capital, Tehran, to demand fair wages, better working conditions, and the release of their jailed colleagues. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty  

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Thursday that his country will not retreat from its “red lines” in indirect talks with the US, Al Arabiya reported. – Arutz Sheva  

Kourosh Ziabari writes: These developments can be read as the failure of the sanctions regime: The government in Tehran has learned how to survive—to find workarounds to dodge the sanctions, sneak into the black market, empower the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to keep the national economy afloat—and has emerged resilient while the United States exhausts its options. In 2016, then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew warned that the overuse of sanctions against adversaries will water down their effectiveness and chip away at the United States’ leadership role. Russia bears many hallmarks of Iran’s authoritarian governance model. – Foreign Policy 

David Shedd writes: There are promising signs that the Iranian people will continue to stand up against the IRGC. The FTO designation sends a message of solidarity to the Iranian people. Delisting the IRGC would send the opposite message in and outside Iran. If the White House is seriously considering giving into Tehran’s demands, it should understand that by doing so, it would be turning its back on both U.S. national security interests and the Iranian people. – The National Interest 


The Turkish foreign ministry has summoned the Iraqi charge d’affaires to convey discomfort with statements by Iraqi authorities about a Turkish military operation against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, the ministry said on Thursday. – Reuters 

A Turkish court is expected to reach a verdict in a hearing beginning on Friday in a long-running case against philanthropist Osman Kavala and 15 others that has strained Ankara’s ties with Western allies. – Reuters 

Turkey’s opposition leader said Thursday that his power supply had been cut after he stopped paying electricity bills in protest at soaring prices that he blamed squarely on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. – Agence France-Presse  

John Bolton writes: Erdogan has systematically undermined every one of Turkey’s major democratic institutions to create a deeply skewed playing field. Holding his regime to account requires coordinated action from the international community, illumination of his thuggish tactics to suppress political minorities, and real consequences should he fail to make meaningful progress to restore civil discourse within Turkey. – Washington Examiner 


Clashes broke out early on Friday at one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites for the seventh time in eight days, after Palestinian youths threw stones in the direction of Israeli riot police stationed at the edge of the site, prompting the police to enter its precincts. – New York Times   

Israeli police in full riot gear stormed a sensitive Jerusalem holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims on Friday after Palestinian youths hurled stones at a gate where they were stationed. – Associated Press 

Israel said on Thursday it was enforcing a long-standing ban on Jewish prayer at the compound of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, rejecting an Arab League accusation that it was allowing such worship to take place. – Reuters 

Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz discussed ways to expand bilateral ties with his German counterpart on Thursday. – Jerusalem Post  

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has again threatened to halt security coordination and suspend Palestinian recognition of Israel. – Jerusalem Post 

Clashes between rioters and police broke out in the Temple Mount compound at approximately 4:00 a.m. on Friday morning during Ramadan prayers after hundreds of people, some with their faces covered and carrying Hamas flags, began a riot that included preparing fortifications, throwing stones and shooting fireworks, the Israel Police Jerusalem District said. – Jerusalem Post   

A group of pro-Israel organizations submitted nearly two million examples of repression of Jews and violation of their human rights to the UN Human Rights Council Commission of Inquiry on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the past three months. – Jerusalem Post  

Pro-Palestinian protesters allegedly assaulted a man holding an Israeli flag during an anti-Israel demonstration in New York City on Wednesday. – Times of Israel   

The US embassy in Jerusalem has cautioned American citizens over travel in the city and limited the times when embassy workers and their families can enter the Old City due to recent terror attacks and clashes in the area. – Times of Israel  

Shany Mor writes: To be sure, the loss of a parliamentary majority is a damaging setback for both Bennett and Lapid. Every bit of legislation will be a slog, and many worthwhile initiatives are probably now doomed to defeat. But thanks to their parties’ shared antagonisms and the constitutional provisions that empower minority governments, it is still too soon to count either of them out. – The National Interest 

Gulf States

Saudi Arabia denied recent reports that its ties with the U.S. are under severe strain. The relationship “is historic and remains strong,” the Saudi embassy in Washington said in a statement on Thursday. “There is daily contact between officials on an institutional level and there is close coordination on issues” such as security, investments and energy. – Bloomberg 

The United Arab Emirates has frozen the assets of the Kinahan drug trafficking gang, adding to international pressure on an organization that has deep ties with boxers and promoters at the highest levels of the sport. – Financial Times  

Attempting to mend relations with Riyadh, America is blessing a Saudi-orchestrated power reshuffle in Yemen. Secretary of State Blinken today congratulated the newly installed president of the Yemeni leadership council, Rashad al-Alimi. – New York Sun 

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed spoke late Wednesday night, discussing anti-Israel disinformation. – Arutz Sheva  

Middle East & North Africa

A leading human rights advocacy group is urging Egyptian authorities to release the autopsy report and investigate the suspicious death of an economic researcher detained two months ago. – Associated Press  

For journalist Amer Matar, a decade-long search for his younger brother has defined him and changed the course of his life, now dedicated to researching and documenting crimes committed by the Islamic State group in Syria. – Associated Press 

A Portuguese man is set to face an extradition hearing in Madrid over allegations he was involved in the devastating 2020 port explosion in Beirut, authorities said on Thursday. – Reuters 

Residents of the town of Shlomit, located in southern Israel around 700 meters from the Egyptian border, on Thursday evening reported that a bullet hit the town. – Arutz Sheva  

Morocco on Thursday summoned Israel’s chargé d’affaires over the clashes taking place in Jerusalem’s Old City, i24NEWS reported, citing a statement from Morocco’s Foreign Ministry. – Arutz Sheva  

Jesse Marks writes: The icy relationship between Jordan and Syria has shown signs of thawing, but these incremental steps will not resolve the camp’s plight. Amman is unlikely to normalize relations with Damascus in the full sense, but is moving toward soft normalization, as more Arab leaders consider welcoming Syria back into the Arab League. While the two are likely to tacitly coordinate on key national security concerns, such as cross-border stability, Jordan will aim to avoid any overt activity on Syrian territory, like aid operations in Rukban. – Middle East Institute 

Mina Al-Oraibi writes: Without a government in place and with ongoing political infighting, chances for reforms are slim. As Iraq heads into another heated summer, with temperatures frequently surpassing 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), the fear is that more revenue will simply mean more corruption and the continued siphoning off of Iraq’s riches. – Foreign Policy 

Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s departing president, Moon Jae-in, exchanged farewell letters with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, both governments announced on Friday, capping a checkered relationship filled with highs and lows and currently locked in a diplomatic stalemate. – New York Times 

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has thanked South Korea’s outgoing president for trying to improve relations, a rare gesture of goodwill but one that analysts said may not be enough to head off growing tension between the two Koreas. – Reuters 

If North Korea resumes nuclear testing, it could include development of smaller “tactical” warheads meant for battlefield use and designed to fit on short-range missiles such as the one tested last weekend, analysts said. – Reuters 

As decades of heavy U.S. and U.N. economic sanctions and financial restrictions continue to isolate North Korea from the global economy, the Kim family employs a mix of fear tactics and gift giving to secure loyalty from the country’s elites. – The Diplomat 


Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday proposed a “global security initiative” that upholds the principle of “indivisible security”, a concept also endorsed by Russia, although he gave no details of how it would be implemented. – Reuters 

A senior U.S. diplomat again warned China of sanctions if it offers “material support” for Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, while also pledging to help India end its dependence on Russian weapons. – Bloomberg 

A Chinese court sentenced an American citizen to death on Thursday for allegedly murdering his former girlfriend, state media reported. – CNN 

To Australia, New Zealand and the United States, it was Beijing’s latest power play in an ongoing struggle for influence in the Pacific — a move that some claim threatens the very stability of the region. – CNN 

Hong Kong-based asset manager Anatole has “dramatically” reduced its exposure to China and will reallocate funds to US companies as it warned that the world’s biggest emerging market had become a “deserted dry land” for investors. – Financial Times  

Hal Brands writes: Yet if Xi is as committed to unification with Taiwan as his public rhetoric and the PLA’s feverish preparations suggest, then “go fast” is at least as plausible a takeaway as “go slow.” American observers need to be wary of mirror-imaging — of assuming that our rivals perceive reality as we do. In supporting Ukraine, the world’s democracies may think they are convincing Xi not to invade Taiwan. They may simply be encouraging him to do it faster and better. – Bloomberg 

South Asia

About half of India’s offset obligations, which are worth $13.52 billion across a set of 57 contracts, have resulted in either penalties or the threat of them, Defence Ministry officials told Defense News. – Defense News  

Pakistan’s ousted prime minister, Imran Khan, on Thursday demanded fresh elections amid political turmoil after a new government took over and warned it faces an enormous challenge to revive a battered economy. – Reuters 

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar made a rare visit by a U.S. lawmaker to Pakistan’s part of the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Thursday and said the issue should get more attention from the United States, prompting an angry response from India. – Reuters 

An international human rights group urged Sri Lankan authorities to conduct a prompt and impartial probe into a police shooting that left one person dead and 13 others injured during protests over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades. – Associated Press 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to help move India away from its dependence on Russia by expanding economic and defense ties when he meets with his Indian counterpart Friday, officials said. – Associated Press 

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered a three-day military deployment ahead of the funeral of a protester killed earlier this week when police fired at crowds angry over the country’s worsening food and fuel shortages and rising living costs. – Bloomberg 


Japan should aim to nearly double its defense spending over the next five years to 2% of gross domestic product and ease restrictions on arms exports, a ruling-party panel said Thursday, citing threats from China. – Wall Street Journal 

Taiwan is developing missiles that can attack enemy air bases and bring down cruise missiles, and drones that can target their firing locations, according to a report by the military-owned body making the weapons. – Reuters 

Senior White House official Kurt Campbell will arrive in the Solomon Islands on Friday, as Western concerns rise over a security pact the Pacific island nation recently signed with China. – Reuters 

China’s security agreement with the Solomon Islands may affect security for the region and is a probable topic for discussions between the leaders of Japan and New Zealand on Thursday, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary said. – Reuters 

Myanmar officials sought Thursday to counter worries over sanctions, energy shortages and currency controls that are adding to the military-led government’s challenges in managing the economy. – Associated Press 

John Schaus and Carolina G. Ramos write: Finally, though AUKUS does not propose any direct means of addressing gray zone options for the United States and Australia—identified by dialogue participants as a shortfall—it in fact represents such a step. By demonstrating a willingness to take unexpected action in ways that do not directly impact other states, especially rivals, AUKUS itself is a means of contesting changes to the status quo. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 


U.S. officials are anxiously watching the French presidential election, aware that the outcome of the vote on Sunday could scramble President Biden’s relations with Europe and reveal dangerous fissures in Western democracy. – New York Times   

Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny stepped abruptly into France’s tight presidential campaign Wednesday, urging voters to back incumbent Emmanuel Macron and alleging that far-right challenger Marine Le Pen is too closely linked to Russia. – Associated Press 

The head of Catalonia’s regional government is accusing Spain’s intelligence agency of conducting what he calls “massive political espionage” on the northeastern region’s independence movement and says that relations with Spain’s national authorities are “on hold” as a consequence. – Associated Press 

Janez Jansa fulfilled the role of European statesman when he took time out from Slovenia’s election campaign to make a long train trip to Kyiv last month — one of a trio of EU leaders to show support for Ukraine and display western unity. – Financial Times 

Boris Johnson faces a parliamentary investigation into claims he misled the House of Commons about the partygate scandal after Conservative MPs rebelled against the government’s attempt to thwart the probe. – Financial Times   

Josh Rogin writes: And while Moldova isn’t seeking military assistance, it has a huge and growing need for help fortifying and managing its borders, including the 863 miles it shares with Ukraine. That’s perhaps the most urgent effort, because if Ukraine falls, Moldova could easily be Russia’s next target. Would Putin actually invade Moldova and try to topple the pro-Western government, as he is attempting to do next door? – Washington Post  

Richard Haass writes: The conclusion is clear: the United States and its NATO partners should consult with one another and with Ukraine over the aims of the war. The United States and NATO also need to refine their plans for deterring and responding to any Russian attacks on other countries or any Russian use of weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, Western success will be highly unlikely to involve a peace treaty, a true end to the conflict, or regime change in Russia. – Foreign Affairs 

Alina Polyakova and John Herbst write: Creating more “frozen conflicts” (which are never actually frozen) is not the answer in Ukraine. The United States has a window of opportunity to shift the trajectory of the war in the country so that Russia is forced not just to stop but to fully retreat. This will require swift action and resolute vision, with a laser-beam focus on victory. Now is not the time for handwringing and timidity. – Foreign Affairs 

Melinda Haring and Jacob Heilbrunn write: Having fortified Ukraine militarily, it will soon be time for the West to begin the task of helping Ukraine right itself economically. Now is the time to put plans in place to seize the momentum when the war is over and Ukraine can rebuild. Putin’s worst nightmare—a vibrant Slavic democracy next door—may yet come true. – Foreign Affairs 

Donatienne Ruy writes: Ultimately, this election will set up the landscape for 2027: Macron, prone to governing alone and with a loose party structure, may not groom a political heir that could keep the centrist mantle, thus reopening the field for the traditional parties. Another Le Pen defeat would also launch a renewed struggle within the right-wing bloc for the next standard-bearer, some of whom will likely conclude that her platform was not extreme enough. However, if she were to win, Europe as a whole would feel the jolt of far-right ideology in one of the largest EU member states, years after transatlantic observers thought the continent had tamed that tiger. In four days’ time, they will know for sure. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

The Americas

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan has rejected a request by Venezuela to delay an ICC probe into alleged human rights violations, according to documents released on Thursday, and he will seek to reopen a full investigation. – Reuters 

Mexico’s president said on Thursday that an elite unit which worked on narcotics investigations with the United States was closed last year, confirming a Reuters report, and alleging the group had been infiltrated by criminals. – Reuters 

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on the government of El Salvador Thursday to respect human rights, after authorities declared a state of emergency and rounded up 14,000 suspected gang members. – Associated Press 

The United States and Cuba on Thursday held their highest-level talks since President Joe Biden took office, but Washington said they focused narrowly on migration and did not herald any broader thaw. – Agence France-Presse  

Mateo Haydar and Luke Coffey write: While China remains America’s main adversary on the global stage and in the Western Hemisphere, rogue actors like Russia continue to threaten both U.S. national security and regional security. To articulate an effective defense of the West, the U.S. must reengage Latin America and the Caribbean on Russia’s presence at the OAS and its long-term presence in the hemisphere. – Heritage Foundation 

North America

Canada would support including Sweden and Finland in the NATO military alliance, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted both countries to consider joining. – Reuters 

Russia’s foreign ministry on Thursday announced sanctions against 61 Canadian officials, journalists and military experts for supporting what it called the “Russophobic” stance of the Canadian administration. – Reuters 

Franklin C. Miller writes: Finally, the critics will assert that these steps will hurt arms control. But arms control isn’t an end in itself; it is a means to enhance stability. The major reductions in U.S. and Russian strategic arms in 1989-1992 and again in 2002 weren’t designed to create arms reductions for reductions’ sake but were justified by what the U.S. believed we needed to deter the threats of those times. Times and threats have changed, and our first responsibility must be to ensure we can deter both today’s threats and those of tomorrow. – Wall Street Journal  

Ethan Brown writes: Perhaps this smacks of sensationalism. And no, the American president is not a tyrant who rules over their American subjects in abject totality. However, the hypocrisy of critiquing Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine is apparent when the American executive — party agnostic — has participated in this same abuse of powers for two decades now. The air campaigns in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and elsewhere have been authorized in locales not formally declared a war by Congress. It could almost be likened to a “special military operation” intended to quell instability, only to create that very thing. – The Hill 


Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado said on Thursday that recent cyberattacks on state computer systems are aimed at destabilizing the Central American country as it transitions to the new government of president-elect Rodrigo Chaves. – Reuters 

Over the last two months, the number of cyberattacks against Ukrainian government agencies, security and defense services, and commercial organizations has soared. – The Record 

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued sanctions against several Russian organizations this week, including multiple companies operating in Russia’s virtual currency mining industry. – The Record  

Four federal agencies have warned that hacking groups have developed tools to attack technology used in factories, utilities, and other industrial settings, potentially allowing hackers to shut down parts of the U.S. energy grid and water services. – Washington Examiner 


The Navy has unveiled its new 30-year shipbuilding plan, which offers three different proposals for building up the fleet — but only one carves a pathway to 355 ships, which has been the sea service’s goal since 2016. – Defense News  

The White House announced Thursday it has appointed a retired three-star general who previously helped coordinate the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition to manage the steadily increasing influx of military assistance for Ukraine. – Defense News   

US industrial conglomerate Textron has completed its previously disclosed acquisition of Slovenia-based light aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel for about EUR218 million (USD236.5 million) in cash, Textron announced on 18 April. – Janes 

The US Navy (USN) and US Marine Corps’ (USMC) fiscal year (FY) 2023 budget request totalled USD230.8 billion, but the services are looking at divesting several air assets to save money, according to documents released on 14 April. – Janes  

Long War

An explosion at a Shiite mosque in northern Afghanistan on Thursday killed at least 10 people and wounded more than two dozen others, local officials said, adding to the toll of a bloody week for one of the country’s religious minorities. – New York Times 

Islamic State claimed responsibility for an explosion that it said killed or injured 30 people at a market where alcohol was sold in Taraba State, Nigeria, marking an expansion of the area where the extremist group operates in the country. – Reuters 

Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban have been allies for decades, with Islamabad providing safe havens to the Islamist militants in its aim to establish a friendly government in Kabul. – Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty 

Due to excessive Islamization in Pakistani society, jihadi groups have been legitimized over the years, as seen recently in two Pakistani leaders’ statements justifying suicide bombings in the context of Pakistani politics. – Middle East Media Research Institute