Fdd's overnight brief

February 28, 2022

In The News


As Russian forces bore down on Ukraine’s capital and officials put the toll of civilian dead at more than 350 since the invasion began, the two countries agreed Sunday to sit down for talks “without preconditions,” but hopes were not high for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. – New York Times 

As casualties in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine mounted and tensions between Russia and NATO escalated dangerously, Russian and Ukrainian diplomats were due to begin talks Monday on the Belarus border. – Washington Post 

An increasingly isolated Russia on Sunday put its nuclear forces on alert as government leaders around the world pledged economic measures to further punish the Kremlin for its brutal invasion and tactical weapons to arm the Ukrainian resistance. – Washington Post 

As the leaders of the European Union gathered for an emergency summit on Thursday night, momentum was already moving toward imposing tough new sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post 

Russian and Ukrainian officials prepared to meet for the first talks since Moscow began its invasion four days ago, as Ukraine’s defenders held on to the capital, Kyiv, and pushed back Russian troops in urban combat in its second-largest city, Kharkiv. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia’s central bank raised its key interest rate to 20% from 9.5% after the country was hit by powerful new Western sanctions over the weekend. – Wall Street Journal

The Bank of Russia said it would temporarily ban brokers from handling sales of securities by nonresidents and could decide to halt trading in some markets, as it seeks to contain the turmoil created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S., European Union, Canada and U.K. announced new sanctions against Russia, saying they planned to cut some Russian banks off the Swift financial network and would take actions to prevent Russia’s central bank deploying its more than $600 billion in reserves to help Russia’s economy. – Wall Street Journal 

Countries across Europe and beyond are banning Russian planes from transiting through their airspace in protest over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Agence France-Presse 

The U.N. nuclear watchdog’s 35-nation Board of Governors will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday about Ukraine, where war is raging in a country with four operational nuclear power plants and various waste facilities including Chernobyl. – Reuters 

BP is abandoning its stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft in an abrupt and costly end to three decades of operating in the energy-rich country, marking the most significant move yet by a Western company in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

H.R. McMaster, who served as former President Trump’s national security adviser, said on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “got a lot more than he bargained for” when he invaded Ukraine last week. – The Hill 

Russia is growing frustrated by the level of Ukrainian resistance its military has encountered during the invasion, according to a senior U.S. Defense Department official who briefed reporters on Saturday. – The Hill 

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Sunday vowed that the Biden administration would impose more sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and said that U.S. officials had not “taken anything off the table.” – The Hill 

Ukraine has called on foreigners to come pick up arms and fight against Russian troops as they continue to assault the country. – Jerusalem Post 

Russians lined up at cash machines around the country to withdraw foreign currency as new sanctions to punish the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine sparked fear the ruble could collapse. – Bloomberg 

Russia has deployed two-thirds of its amassed troops into Ukraine, but their advance has slowed, a senior U.S. defense official said in an update to reporters on Sunday. The Russian troops have faced fuel shortages and logistical challenges as well as stiff resistance from the Ukrainian armed forces, the official said. – Foreign Policy 

Editorial: The next step for the United States is for Congress to move quickly on a bipartisan aid plan when it returns this week. The White House is requesting $6 billion, though independent estimates suggest Ukraine’s military and humanitarian needs call for around $10 billion. […]Between the resistance of the Ukrainians and the unity of the West, Mr. Putin appears baffled. Congress should add to his troubles. – Washington Post 

Editorial: After a weak initial effort last week, the U.S. and Europe are getting more serious about pursuing the wealth of Vladimir Putin’s billionaire coterie. The countries said Saturday they’re creating a trans-Atlantic task force to find and seize their ill-gotten assets. […]Ask your Kremlin keepers, sir. If you benefit from a regime that invades and murders free people, you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the fruits of that freedom. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been a shock to German politicians and voters who assumed diplomacy alone would secure Europe’s borders. It’s been an embarrassment to a government caught flat-footed by Mr. Putin’s marauding. Mr. Scholz on Sunday offered his country a path to a future in which Germany at last takes its place as a full and reliable partner in NATO. Now he needs to make that case to voters in the months ahead.. – Wall Street Journal 

Editorial: European members in particular will have to rearm, and start immediately. Once Mr. Putin sets up his puppet state in Ukraine, and moves his forces to NATO’s borders, the Russian will look for the right moment to expose it as an alliance in name only. He’ll succeed unless NATO learns the lesson of Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Watching the indifferent brutality of Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine is sickening, but it’s vital that the world not look away. This is the bloody consequence of unchecked imperialism, and it’s a warning of what will become more common as the multi-decade Pax Americana recedes. There are also stirring examples of heroism that the world shouldn’t forget. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion isn’t going according to his script, and for that the world owes a great debt to the heroic people of that besieged country of 41 million. Their resistance against fearsome odds is an inspiration and has awakened the world to the menace of the Kremlin autocrat. Ukraine deserves more support to raise the costs of war for Mr. Putin with arms, the toughest sanctions, and global ostracism. – Wall Street Journal 

Max Boot writes: It is unfortunately possible that, finding Russian troops are not being greeted as liberators, Putin will order them to act with even greater savagery. In Putin’s past wars, his forces have razed Grozny, Chechnya, and Aleppo, Syria. With their artillery and air power, the Russians could rain destruction down on Kyiv and Kharkiv. While such barbarism might allow the Kremlin to claim a fleeting victory, it will only turn Ukraine and the world even more firmly against Putin’s criminal regime in the long run. – Washington Post 

Hugh Hewitt writes: Biden needs to return to the microphone, this time with the specifics that Americans — and Putin — cannot miss. And his “every inch” talk, welcome as it was, needs explaining. Does he really mean we would go to war with Russia, sink its ships, take its grid down, kill and be killed on the battlefield? Putin seemed to threaten that nuclear weapons were in play. If the West blinks at such mumbling, they will be. Again and again. – Washington Post

Tony Abbott writes: A Western world that has spent two years sacrificing freedom to preserve life is hardly going to sacrifice life to preserve freedom. Or at least that’s how it must look to the hard men in Moscow and Beijing. As Churchill said of the Munich sellout in 1938, this is “the first foretaste of a bitter cup that will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigor we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” – Wall Street Journal 

Stephen Ford writes: These are black days for Ukraine. But there was a time, not long ago, when the country was defined by a brighter color. In 2004 and 2005, the Orange Revolution stopped a Russian crony from stealing a presidential election. The spirit of patriotism and pride I saw then is still there now, as Russia invades. – Wall Street Journal 

Judy Shelton writes: Russia’s belligerence has roiled markets, and international capital is looking for a haven in the U.S. The Fed’s efforts to raise rates may be somewhat offset by these inflows, but engaging with markets and restoring price discovery as the means for determining appropriate interest rates will be a net benefit to the economy. – Wall Street Journal 

Peter Rough writes: These are grim scenarios. But the West has drawn courage from the extraordinary sacrifice of the Ukrainian people. Just as America won the Cold War with an actor-made-president last century, Ukraine’s actor-turned-president has grown into an inspiring leader. Last week, when his capital came under assault and the United States offered to exfiltrate him, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky replied, “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride.” Putin wants to push us from Zelensky’s side. We should not yield an inch. – New York Post 

Edward Fishman and Chris Miller write: Ultimately, however, the role of sanctions and export controls now is to change the structure of Washington and its allies’ economic relationship with Russia, ensuring that whatever trade remains benefits the United States and Europe more than it benefits the Kremlin. These measures will not be costless. But letting Putin harvest the benefits of the global economy to feed his military hasn’t been costless either. – Foreign Affairs 

Avraham Shama writes: There is barely time left for Biden to change gears. But he must, for the character of the free world and the U.S. as its leader hang in the balance. Action now can still contain Putin and set Biden on a winning path, not only for the U.S. but for all the free world. – The Hill 

David Lingelbach writes: It is not too late. But we must refresh our thinking to reflect the new world in which people like Putin are ascending. – The Hill 

Rear Admiral (ret.) Tim Gallaudet writes: The United States is facing its ultimate test as the long-standing defender of democracy around the globe. Every element of our national power should be considered to defend Ukraine and defeat Russian aggression. Because offensive military options are complicated by the potential for nuclear escalation, we must look broadly at all possible means of influence. In the same way that American sea power helped to take down Soviet Russia in the Cold War, let’s follow through on promoting American seafood competitiveness to help turn the course of modern Russia in the unfolding disaster with Ukraine. – The Hill 

Desmond Lachman writes: The Fed should never have allowed itself to get into its current policy dilemma. It did so by keeping interest rates too low for too long in the face of rising inflation at the same time that it was buying too many bonds for too long in the face of booming equity and housing market prices. Last year, had the Fed been less complacent about inflation and asset price inflation risks, maybe then we would not have been as vulnerable as we are today to having the Russian-Ukrainian crisis help precipitate a hard economic landing. – The Hill 

Daniel F. Runde writes: For 15 years, across four administrations, there has been a logjam over $150 million in left-over monies from an investment fund for Russia, caught between Congress and the executive branch. Both should release the money to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine right now and to support Russian civil society. – The Hill 

Sean McFate writes: Some will blanch at the thought of the U.S. dabbling in the dark arts, but is it somehow better to lose honorably than to win dishonorably? History does not think so. Warfare has changed and so must we. We still operate under the “old rules” — conventional military firepower, economic sanctions, formal diplomacy and international law. But none of it deters Russia, China, Iran, or won in Iraq or Afghanistan. We need to embrace the “new rules” of war that stress cunning over brute strength. – The Hill 

Will Marshall writes: The West need not sympathize with this Putin fear. The best guarantee of U.S. and European security now is a fresh commitment to deterring Russian aggression. – The Hill 

Giselle Donnelly writes: In sum, while it may appear that Biden’s strategy might be the least bad option, the costs of postponing a military showdown with Putin are more likely to grow than to diminish. Another lesson of history—to the degree that there are such lessons—is that coalitions that treat lesser members as auxiliaries rather than allies with their own legitimate interests tend to crumble. Abandoning Ukraine to its imminent fate does not encourager les autres. – The Dispatch 

Michael Rubin writes: If the West is serious about pressuring Putin, it is essential they close the Azerbaijan loophole. It is time to sanction SOCAR until the state-owned Azerbaijani company completely divests itself from Russian oil interests. – 19fortyfive 

Dahlia Scheindlin writes: Russia pounced on Ukraine even as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rambling speech denying Ukraine’s sovereignty was still reverberating. History will recall that the symbolic trigger for the devastating war was not a bullet but a single word at the end of his tirade, symbolizing decades of Russia’s post-Cold War grievances: recognition. – Foreign Policy 

Jeff Rathke writes: German politics is normally characterized by a cautious continuity, finely balanced and slow to adapt to changing circumstances. But it remains able to surprise. In the past week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his government have carried out a revolution in Germany’s foreign policy, discarding in a matter of days the outmoded assumptions of Berlin’s post-Cold War dreams and setting a course for confrontation with Russia that will bring dramatically increased resources and modernize the country’s armed forces. – Foreign Policy 

Calder Walton writes: Understanding the intentions of a foreign autocratic leader, particularly one shielded from the outside world and reliant on a small group of trusted advisors, is the Holy Grail for any intelligence service. America’s spies, and their British colleagues, appear to have succeeded in that quest. We in the public are unlikely to know how until the relevant documents are declassified decades from now. But history can offer some hints about how Biden knows what he knows and why he has chosen to disclose some of this information publicly. – War On The Rocks 


Iran said on Sunday it will not accept any deadline set by the West to revive its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and wants “politically motivated” claims by U.N. watchdog IAEA about Tehran’s nuclear work to be dropped, Iranian state TV reported. – Reuters 

Iran said on Monday that reviving a 2015 nuclear deal is possible if Western powers take a political decision to resolve three remaining issues, as indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington enter a crucial stage. – Reuters 

Iran is ready to “immediately conclude” a deal in talks to revive its 2015 nuclear accord with world powers if Western powers show real will, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Saturday. – Reuters 

Iran will continue to enrich uranium to 20% purity even after sanctions on it are lifted and a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers is revived, Iranian news agencies quoted the country’s nuclear chief as saying on Friday. – Reuters 

The United States will continue to engage with Russia over efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, even though Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine had made it a “pariah on the world stage,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Friday. – Reuters 

Russia’s top diplomat at the Iran nuclear talks said there was a “very high probability” that Tehran and Washington will end their impasse over how to restore the 2015 atomic accord before the end of next week. – Bloomberg 

The US and European states continued partnering with Russia in negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, even as they sanctioned Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. – Jerusalem Post 

Iran’s parliament has reiterated Tehran’s demand to remove the IRGC from the US list of terrorist entities, as one of the necessary measures to revive the JCPOA nuclear deal. – Iran International 

Iran’s state television, operating under the control of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has been supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during the past two days. – Iran International 

Editorial: It’s been an ugly week for freedom, and in more than Ukraine. The Iranian blogger and free-speech activist Hossein Ronaghi, who has contributed to these pages, has disappeared and is probably under arrest in Tehran. Iran is pushing legislation to give authorities vast new control of the internet. Mr. Ronaghi has publicly opposed this takeover. “The aim of this plan is to shut down the internet and follow the Chinese model of limited national intranet,” he tweeted on Tuesday. – Wall Street Journal 

Steven Terner writes: For its part, Iran has many factors to weigh in deciding how to approach the nuclear deal and its longstanding international isolation. But one thing is clear: the regime has no realistic prospect of relying on a Russian or Chinese messaging and clearing system to significantly reduce the problems it has experienced in accessing the international financial system—certainly not within any reasonable timeframe. Of course, this issue could come back into play if the United States and Europe continue intensifying sanctions in response to further Russian escalation. – Washington Institute 


The Biden administration moved on Friday to relax sanctions that have contributed to the collapse of Afghanistan’s economy since the Taliban takeover in August, issuing a measure that makes clear that people can lawfully engage in transactions with the Afghan government in most circumstances. – New York Times 

Such raids, part of a massive search operation launched in Kabul and surrounding districts Friday, according to the ministry of interior, mark a significant shift in how the group enforces security. When raids occurred in the past, they were generally not announced and largely conducted at night to reduce visibility. This operation is being carried out in broad daylight. – Washington Post 

The Taliban will not allow any more Afghans to be evacuated until the situation improves abroad for those who have already left, their spokesman said Sunday. – Agence France-Presse 

Kabul University, among Afghanistan’s oldest and most revered institutions of higher education, reopened Saturday for the first time since the Taliban takeover six months ago. Men and women attended, but now were segregated, with women required to wear Islamic dress. – Associated Press 


Israel is increasingly going public with its support for Ukraine while avoiding public condemnation of Russia, the primary backer of the Syrian regime, which is classified by Israel as an enemy state on its northern border. – Washington Post 

On the day Russia invaded Ukraine, Israel’s prime minister, Naftali Bennett, did not mention Russia once. Mr. Bennett said he prayed for peace, called for dialogue and promised support for Ukrainian citizens. But he did not hint at Moscow’s involvement, much less condemn it — and it was left, as preplanned, to Mr. Bennett’s foreign minister, Yair Lapid, to criticize Moscow in a separate statement that day. – New York Times 

Russia sees its military coordination with Israel over Syria continuing, the Russian embassy said on Saturday, after Moscow signalled displeasure with Israeli statements about the Ukraine crisis. – Reuters 

Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered his country’s services as a mediator to bring peace to Ukraine in a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, the Kremlin said in a statement. – Reuters 

The US Ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas Greenfield, protested to Israeli Ambassador Gilad Erdan over Israel’s refusal to join 87 countries in backing a US-led resolution to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the UN Security Council on Friday, Israeli officials told Barak Ravid of Axios on Sunday. – Arutz Sheva 

Israel did not sign onto a United States-backed resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that failed to gain United Nations Security Council approval on Friday night. – Jerusalem Post 

The Palestinians, who often rush to express their views on various regional and international conflicts, have been careful not to take sides in the war between Russia and Ukraine. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel helped citizens of Arab states with which it does not have relations reach Ukraine’s borders to leave the country in recent days, the Foreign Ministry confirmed on Sunday. – Jerusalem Post 

Israel is leaning toward supporting a United Nations General Assembly resolution later this week that will condemn Russia for invading Ukraine, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Sunday. – Times of Israel 

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have kept largely quiet since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began last week, expressing “concern” over the condition of Palestinians living in the embattled country but refraining from supporting either side. – Times of Israel 

Although Israel has rejected a US request to back a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it will likely vote in favor of the measure when it reaches the 193-member UN General Assembly, according to media reports quoting Foreign Ministry officials. – Arab News 

Arabian Peninsula

A day before the UN Security Council voted on a US resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Washington reached out to one of its most important Arab partners as it sought to rally support against President Vladimir Putin. – Financial Times 

The United Arab Emirates wants to encourage a political solution in the Ukraine conflict and taking sides would only encourage violence, a senior UAE official said on Sunday. – Reuters 

The UAE’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Thursday via telephone about Russia’s attack against Ukraine, the U.S. Department of State Website said. The two sides discussed the importance of building “a strong international response to support Ukrainian sovereignty through the UN Security Council,” the statement added. – Reuters 

The United Arab Emirates, which joined China and India in abstaining on a United Nations resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said the vote was a “forgone conclusion” while calling for an immediate halt to hostilities. – Bloomberg 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed El Khereiji and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman on Thursday discussed building a “strong international response to support Ukrainian sovereignty”, the U.S. Department of State website said. – Reuters 

Editorial: Saudi Arabia has long had a knack for running its bad deeds through the wash, displaying to the world a squeaky-clean version of itself to distract from reports of brutal repression and a general disregard for civil liberties. The country’s latest attempt at reputation-laundering relies, cannily, on an institution known for neat presentation and exemplary decorum: professional golf. – Washington Post 

Simon Henderson writes: The absence so far of oil or natural gas sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine is not because they aren’t potentially useful. In fact, they could be crucial. But, it seems, the White House doesn’t yet have all its ducks in a row. I am willing to wager that the awkward “duck” is Saudi Arabia. – The Hill 

Middle East & North Africa

Algeria, one of the world’s biggest importers of wheat, said on Saturday that the crisis in Ukraine will not impact its imports, an unnamed source from the state grains importer was quoted as saying by Ennahar TV on Saturday. – Reuters 

NATO member Turkey changed its rhetoric to call Russia’s assault on Ukraine a “war” on Sunday and pledged to implement parts of an international pact that would potentially limit the transit of Russian warships from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea. – Reuters 

Howard Eissenstat writes: The crisis in Ukraine, from the perspective of Ankara, carries significant risks, but also some opportunity. It is neither a crisis of their own making, nor one that they welcomed; nevertheless, Ankara has clearly developed a basic blueprint for weathering the storm. From the perspective of Washington policymakers, their strategy is likely to hold more frustration than reassurance. – Middle East Institute 

Selim Koru writes: The natural position for Turkey to be right now is on the fence. It is true that Turkey has strong relations with Ukraine, but that isn’t necessarily an effort to balance against Russia. Turkish officials have told me in the past that they were actually disappointed to see such decidedly anti-Russian and pro-Western sentiment in their Ukrainian counterparts. They would much rather Kyiv be nationalistic but non-aligned, and therefore in need of a friendly middle power like Turkey. – War On The Rocks 

Korean Peninsula

Both North and South Korea are likely to be closely watching the American response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though for different reasons, analysts say. – New York Times 

North Korea launched a suspected ballistic missile off its east coast on Sunday morning, Tokyo and Seoul authorities said, restarting weapons tests after nearly a month of inaction. – Wall Street Journal 

Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un the significance of cooperation between the two countries, North Korea’s state media KCNA reported on Saturday. – Reuters 


As Russia wreaks havoc in Ukraine, Moscow has a powerful economic ally to help it resist Western sanctions: China. – New York Times 

If President Vladimir V. Putin is looking for international support and approval for his invasion of Ukraine, he can turn to the Chinese internet. – New York Times 

Beijing is struggling to navigate its newly upgraded partnership with Moscow, as its lends rhetorical support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine while attempting to remain unscathed by a war that has few benefits for the world’s second largest economy. – Washington Post 

Mr. Putin’s case for Russian dominion over Ukraine—including that U.S.-supported radicals have pushed it in the wrong direction—is echoed in a rising urgency in Beijing to get control of self-governed Taiwan. Though few analysts see Mr. Xi grabbing Taiwan now, he says the issue can’t be passed from generation to generation and his People’s Liberation Army forces increasingly flex muscles along the island’s perimeter. – Wall Street Journal 

China’s leader Xi Jinping on Friday called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate with Ukraine, the most recent twist as Beijing modulates its embrace of Russia. Beijing has been flailing to adjust its position on the Ukraine situation ever since Mr. Xi signed on to an extraordinary solidarity statement with Mr. Putin early this month, a decision influenced by a Chinese foreign-policy establishment stuck in a belief that Mr. Putin wasn’t out for war. – Wall Street Journal 

Three weeks ago, the leaders of China and Russia declared that the friendship between their countries “has no limits” as they met in Beijing on the eve of the Winter Olympics. But that was before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a gambit that is testing just how far China is willing to go. – Associated Press 

A U.S. warship sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Saturday, part of what the U.S. military calls routine activity but which China described as “provocative”. – Reuters 

China so far does not appear to be helping Russia evade Western financial sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, but doing so would “do profound damage” to China’s reputation, a senior Biden Administration official said on Saturday. – Reuters 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Monday that all sides should remain calm and avoid further escalation, after Russian President Vladimir Putin put his country’s nuclear deterrent on high alert. – Reuters 

Editorial: In sum, the Biden administration has ended the China Initiative just because a few people called it racist, even though his Justice Department admits that the program was not racist. This shows that the Biden administration is more concerned with pleasing the whims of woke activists than it is with defending the nation from genuine threats and foreign tyrants. America’s adversaries in Moscow and Beijing have noticed. – Washington Examiner 

Ian Ralby, David Soud, and Rohini Ralby writes: The pandemic remains a challenge — but nefarious control of the global food supply chain could genuinely destabilize the world’s economy and its power dynamics. Time is of the essence to foreclose the possibility of a China-backed Russian takeover of global food security. – Politico 

Jeremy Shapiro writes: But weakening the Russia-China partnership is at best a very long-term prospect. That means that, to effectively counter Russia, NATO will now need to accept that Russia and China have become part of the same problem. It will need use its newfound unity to “globalize” the alliance to include Asian democracies, coordinating policy and even force dispositions across both regions. It will also require a difficult conversation within the U.S. government and with allies about how to prioritize efforts between what may become the Pacific and European theaters of a global cold war. – Politico  

Melinda Liu writes: Now, the world has changed again, with Moscow and Beijing aligned together against Washington. Many at the Shanghai gathering, representing entities that promote Sino-U.S. relations, were rattled by the news from Ukraine and the toll they have taken on U.S.-China relations. – Foreign Policy 

South Asia

India’s government is worried about the impact on its exports due to the Ukraine crisis, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday. – Reuters 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered to help in peace efforts in the Ukraine crisis, during a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. – Reuters 

India is exploring ways to set up a rupee payment mechanism for trade with Russia to soften the blow on New Delhi of Western sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, government and banking sources said. – Reuters 

India, the world’s third largest oil consumer and importer, on Saturday said it would tap into its national stockpile for oil reserves in an effort to curb rising global energy prices amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – The Hill 


More than a year into their power grab, Myanmar’s military remains on a quest for international legitimacy. It has been hard to come by. Generals who hoped to don suits and sit at international forums have been largely blocked — even regionally by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). – Washington Post 

In the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, the most severe nuclear accident since Chernobyl, Japan turned to Ukraine for its long expertise with radiation monitoring and coping with unthinkable tragedy. And now, Japanese residents are reciprocating with an outpouring of support in the form of protests and donations. – Washington Post 

Nepal’s Parliament approved a $500 million U.S. government aid program on Sunday despite objections from China and protests from locals who say it could undermine the Himalayan nation’s sovereignty and fuel a tussle for influence there between Washington and Beijing. – Wall Street Journal 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has brought Australia into a closer alliance with the U.S. amid its rivalry with China, is trailing in the polls just months before an election. – Wall Street Journal 

Japan is working closely with G7 nations to ensure effective economic sanctions against Russia and its central bank, its top currency diplomat said after a meeting of government and central bank executives to debate the fallout from the Ukraine crisis. – Reuters 

Singapore will impose “appropriate sanctions and restrictions” on Russia, its foreign minister said on Monday, including banking and financial measures and export controls on items that could be used as weapons against the people of Ukraine. – Reuters

Taiwan’s semiconductor companies are complying with government export controls to Russia, put in place as part of sanctions on Moscow for invading Ukraine, the Economy Ministry said on Sunday. – Reuters 

Bank of China’s Singapore operation has stopped financing deals involving Russian oil and Russian companies, amid concerns of western sanctions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, said a source on Monday with knowledge of the matter. – Reuters 


Energy ministers from the European Union’s 27 countries meet in Brussels today to assess the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on gas and electricity prices, though no firm decisions are expected. – Wall Street Journal 

Germany will boost military spending above 2% of GDP and create a strategic natural-gas reserve, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Sunday, marking a significant shift in the country’s defense and energy policies in reaction to Russia’s war in Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal 

Chancellor Olaf Scholz, addressing Germany’s Parliament, said Europe’s economic powerhouse would nearly double its military spending, buy U.S.-made fighter planes for the first time in decades and create strategic energy reserves while shifting energy purchases away from Russia. – Wall Street Journal 

About 800 people were arrested as Belarus voted to ditch its non-nuclear status in a referendum that raises the stakes at a time when the country has become a staging ground for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the government said on Monday. – Reuters 

There will be a debate about making Ukraine a member of the European Union, the bloc’s chairman Charles Michel told French TV station BFM on Monday. – Reuters 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday announced Ukraine has requested that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) hold Russia accountable for its military invasion. – The Hill 

Matthew Karnitschnig writes: If anything, the Ukraine crisis will make Europe even more dependent on the U.S. security umbrella, a reality that will also force Washington to reassess its ongoing strategic shift to focus more on threats it sees emanating from China. – Politico  

William Courtney and Khrystyna Holynska write: The hour is almost too late, but Ukraine’s leaders could act with dispatch to relocate essential functions and plan for potential disruptions in leadership and capacity to govern. The West has extensive experience with continuity matters and might offer advice and material support. – The Hill 

Tom Mockaitis writes: Even if it were successful, a protracted insurgency would be an ugly affair with much destruction and considerable loss of life. At this point, there are no good options for Ukraine. The best that can be hoped for is that it can hold out long enough for mounting Russian casualties, sanctions and international condemnation to bite hard enough for Putin to reconsider his gambit. Failing that, he might settle for capturing Kyiv, installing a puppet government, expanding the breakaway regions and withdrawing. Unfortunately, these outcomes seem less likely than a lengthy Russian occupation. – The Hill 

Gal Beckerman writes: In these days of war and uncertainty, the fact that a Jew has come to represent the fighting spirit of Ukraine provides its own kind of hope. Along with all that seems to be recurring—the military aggression, the assault on freedom—there is also something new: inclusion and acceptance in a place where it once seemed impossible. – The Atlantic 


The United States barred on Friday travel by Somali officials and other individuals to the United States, accusing them of “undermining the democratic process” in Somalia. – Reuters 

A company controlled by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler will give control of valuable mining and oil assets back to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the government said on Friday. – Reuters 

Burkina Faso’s military leadership is considering a 30-month transition period to restore constitutional order following a coup last month, according to a drafted proposal. – Bloomberg 

Latin America

Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei said on Friday that he has ordered the return of the Central American country’s ambassador to Russia, Guisela Atalida Godinez Sazo, adding that his government rejected Russia’s actions in Ukraine. – Reuters 

Brazil voted on Friday for a draft U.N. Security Council resolution that would have deplored the Russian invasion of Ukraine, despite some reluctance by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to condemn Russia. – Reuters 

Venezuela, a close ally of Russia, blamed NATO and the United States for the crisis in Ukraine, where Russian troops were advancing on the capital a little more than a day into their invasion of the neighboring country. – Reuters 

Just as he was ratcheting up his conflict with Ukraine to justify an invasion, President Vladimir V. Putin has been busy expanding Russia’s influence in Latin America. – Newsweek 

Mary Anastasia O’Grady writes: The American left still believes in the CICIG model as a way to advance its causes abroad wherever its agenda isn’t winning at the ballot box. It wants to hide the fact that the commission not only failed but morphed into a tool of the thuggish Mr. Putin and unsavory characters in Guatemala. This is embarrassing for the State Department but by refusing to admit its errors, it is compounding them. – Wall Street Journal

North America

The self-styled “Freedom Convoy,” the spreading protest that paralyzed Canada’s capital and shut down some of its busiest border crossings, could hardly have come at a worse time. – Washington Post 

Major Canadian cable operators have said they would drop Russian state-owned broadcaster RT from their channel line-up in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

Russian airline Aeroflot (AFLT.MM) on Sunday violated a ban on aircraft from the country using Canadian airspace, regulator Transport Canada said, on the same day the restriction was imposed in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

United States

A little more than a month ago, President Biden’s first formal State of the Union address looked as if it might be a relatively mundane speech trying to reset his crippled domestic agenda amid sagging popularity at home. Now, with a war in Europe and a historic Supreme Court nomination at hand, Biden’s speech Tuesday night in the House chamber is shaping up as a high-profile moment to deliver a message to a global audience trying to isolate President Vladimir Putin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post 

The Biden Administration will ask Congress for $6.4 billion dollars in economic and military aid to help Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday. – Reuters 

Editorial: Now, though, for some new ideas: The United States must reconsider its focus on China in light of the renewed geopolitical challenge from Russia — and Moscow’s growing cooperation with Beijing. We must match military budget resources to the combination of threats. NATO should consider admitting Sweden and Finland. Today’s sanctions on Russia could harden into long-term blockages in global trade flows, which were already becoming less fluid because of protectionism and the pandemic. U.S. supply chains may henceforth have to take geopolitical criteria into account. – Washington Post 

James Hohmann writes: Biden’s ode to NATO ought not sound partisan. This is no occasion for dunking on ex-president Donald Trump, who called the alliance “obsolete” in 2017. This is a night when lawmakers should wear blue and yellow to show solidarity with Ukraine. A strong ovation from both sides of the aisle for NATO might show 18- to -29-year-olds that the United States takes her alliances seriously. Young people in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan would also take heart. – Washington Post 


Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. says it is taking action to counter two coordinated efforts to spread false information targeting Ukrainians, stepping up its efforts related to Russia’s invasion of the country. – Wall Street Journal 

The attacks he and others are helping to carry out on Russian websites are part of a wide information war in the background of the much larger conflict here, as Ukrainians target Russian websites to rewrite the narrative Moscow is presenting to Russians back home. “We are creating an IT army,” Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted on Saturday. – Washington Post 

The global computer chip industry, including the giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, has begun halting sales to Russia in the wake of U.S. sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post 

The war in Ukraine is renewing fears of a Russian cyberattack on the U.S. — and the danger that such a strike could spiral into a wider conflict between the two powers. – Politico  

The top Ukraine official in South Korea said on Friday that his country wants to request Seoul’s assistance in boosting its cybersecurity capability to defend against Russian attacks. – Reuters 

Japan will step up spending to strengthen its supply chains and do more to guard against cyberattacks launched through imported systems and software under draft legislation approved by the cabinet on Friday. – Reuters 

An infamous ransomware group with potential ties to Russian intelligence and known for attacking health care providers and hundreds of other targets posted a warning Friday saying it was “officially announcing a full support of Russian government.” – CyberScoop 

Ukrainian officials said on Friday that Belarusian state-sponsored hackers are trying to compromise the email accounts of its military personnel. – The Record 


U.S. President Joe Biden has authorized the State Department to send another $350 million in weapons, including Javelin anti-tank weapons, to help Ukrainian forces fight back the ongoing Russian invasion. – Defense News 

Many of the 7,000 U.S. troops activated Thursday in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will join up with multinational troops as part of the NATO Response Force’s first deployment in its history. – Defense News 

Lockheed Martin and software giant Microsoft are joining forces to develop 5G technologies for the military, Lockheed’s head of 5G programs said in an exclusive interview with Breaking Defense. – Breaking Defense 

Long War

A seizure order for Hamas-destined cryptocurrency worth tens of thousands of shekels was signed by Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday morning – Jerusalem Post 

Christopher P. Costa writes: Counterterrorism and great-power competition is not a viable either-or national security choice: The United States can do both. The revisionist powers of Russia and China are aggressively challenging the U.S., and those malign influences must be countered in ways short of war. – The Hill 

Michael Rubin writes: Whatever its motives, the results are clear: An empowerment of terrorist group that hampers rather than helps the fight against the Islamic State and other transnational terror groups. It is time both African states and the broader international community told South Africa’s leaders in no uncertain terms that they cannot have it both ways when it comes to terrorism. – The National Interest