Fdd's overnight brief

June 1, 2022

In The News


Russian forces took parts of the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk on Tuesday after street fighting with Ukrainian defenders, boosting Moscow’s control over one of Kyiv’s most important strongholds in the Donbas area, the recent focus of its Ukraine offensive. – Wall Street Journal 

The European Union is set to impose its toughest sanctions yet on Russia, banning imports of its oil and blocking insurers from covering its cargoes of crude, officials and diplomats say, as the West seeks to deprive Moscow of cash it needs to fund the war on Ukraine and keep its economy functioning. – Wall Street Journal 

Cracks are appearing in the Western front against Moscow, with America’s European allies increasingly split over whether to keep shipping more powerful weapons to Ukraine, which some of them fear could prolong the conflict and increase its economic fallout. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country won’t surrender any territory to Russia in exchange for peace despite losing terrain and soldiers daily to Moscow’s forces. – Wall Street Journal 

A Ukrainian court found two Russian soldiers guilty of “violating the laws and customs of war” on Tuesday and sentenced them to 11½ years in prison — the second verdict handed down in a Ukrainian war crimes trial held during the conflict. – Washington Post 

As Russian forces push deeper into Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, hundreds are fleeing towns and villages every day, including areas once viewed as safe. Russian missiles and rockets are expanding their reach, striking civilian areas as far as 200 miles from the front lines. Severodonetsk and the communities that surround it are growing more desolate by the day. – Washington Post 

The European Union’s long-delayed deal to embargo Russian oil, finalized late Monday, effectively exempts Hungary from the costly step the rest of the bloc is taking to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. – New York Times 

The devastation in Ukraine brought on by Russia’s war has leaders around the world calling for seizing more than $300 billion of Russian central bank assets and handing the funds to Ukraine to help rebuild the country. – New York Times 

The Russian military, beaten down and demoralized after three months of war, is making the same mistakes in its campaign to capture a swath of eastern Ukraine that forced it to abandon its push to take the entire country, senior American officials say. – New York Times 

Canada said Tuesday it was imposing new sanctions on Russia and putting restrictions on 22 individuals and four entities in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

Russia’s opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Tuesday that he is facing new criminal accusations that could extend his current nine-year prison term. – Associated Press 

Three more nations on Tuesday joined an international investigation team probing war crimes in Ukraine, and the International Criminal Court prosecutor said he plans to open an office in Kyiv, amid ongoing calls for those responsible for atrocities since Russia’s invasion to be brought to justice. – Associated Press 

In the dusty, northern-most sheikhdom of the United Arab Emirates, where laborers cycle by rustic tea shops, one of the world’s largest yachts sits in a quiet port — so far avoiding the fate of other luxury vessels linked to sanctioned Russian oligarchs. – Associated Press 

The hordes of exhausted people hurrying through the east Ukraine checkpoint towards Red Cross buses were women, children and the elderly, desperate to flee the horrors of life in Russian-controlled territory. – Agence France-Presse 

Danish energy company Orsted said Tuesday that Russian gas company Gazprom Export would cut gas supplies to Denmark on June 1 after the Danish company refused to pay in rubles. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia’s largest bank Sberbank said Tuesday it was not affected by fresh EU sanctions over Ukraine that excluded the bank from the SWIFT financial messaging system. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia’s Gazprom on Tuesday morning confirmed it was “completely suspend[ing] gas supplies” to Dutch company GasTerra “due to failure to pay in rubles.” – Politico 

Natalia Klyueva started her hunt for a new Moscow job in February — just before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the west’s wave of retaliatory sanctions. Three months later, the 46-year-old is finding that her 20 years of high-level sales experience mean little in a corporate world transformed by war. – Financial Times 

A Russian official on Tuesday claimed that Poland is planning to take Ukrainian territory. – Newsweek 

As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine closes in on the 100-day mark, analysts say his forces have yet to secure a decisive advantage despite the fact that he’s pouring billions of dollars into the campaign. – Newsweek 

Amid mounting calls to break Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for grain exports, America’s top military officer said that to do so militarily would amount to a “high risk military operation.” – Defense News 

Editorial: Europe would be far less economically vulnerable had it not made itself so dependent on Russian oil and gas. But having made that mistake, Europe is now trying to wean itself from the Kremlin’s energy leverage. The oil ban is a step in the right direction. – Wall Street Journal 

David von Drehle writes: Putin will end the war only when he decides he has no other choice. Therefore, Ukraine must fight on. – Washington Post 

Joseph R. Biden Jr. writes: Americans will stay the course with the Ukrainian people because we understand that freedom is not free. That’s what we have always done whenever the enemies of freedom seek to bully and oppress innocent people, and it is what we are doing now. Vladimir Putin did not expect this degree of unity or the strength of our response. He was mistaken. If he expects that we will waver or fracture in the months to come, he is equally mistaken. – New York Times 

Christopher Caldwell writes: The United States is making no concessions. That would be to lose face. There’s an election coming. So the administration is closing off avenues of negotiation and working to intensify the war. We’re in it to win it. With time, the huge import of deadly weaponry, including that from the newly authorized $40 billion allocation, could take the war to a different level. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine warned in an address to students this month that the bloodiest days of the war were coming. – New York Times 

Joseph Bosco writes: Biden would be well-advised to heed instead the urgings of Ukraine’s heroic President Zelensky, who is at the forefront of the titanic struggle between freedom and autocracy that Biden has described. It would serve Washington in good stead for the next campaign in that competition — the freedom and security of Taiwan against the hostile intentions of China under Xi Jinping, Putin’s “no-limits strategic partner” in opposing the liberal international order. – The Hill 

Robert A. Manning writes: While the decision about when and what to negotiate is a matter mostly for Ukraine to decide, external pressures on Kyiv may well be a growing factor. The economic havoc and European fears of having a giant North Korea next door, as well as growing fears of escalation, will be a fast growing factor in the decisionmaking of the U.S. and NATO as well as Kyiv. – The Hill 

Samuel Charap writes: An agreement based on the Istanbul communiqué would be exceptionally difficult to negotiate. The politics of the conflict, Russia’s war crimes, and the ongoing fighting present powerful obstacles to achieving it. But so far, it is the most plausible pathway that has been identified to a sustainable peace for Ukraine. – Foreign Affairs 

Natia Seskuria writes: It is time for Western leaders to deal with Russia as it is and not as they want it to be. Russia under Putin cannot be treated as a rational actor, nor it is possible to ever return to business as usual with Putin’s Russia. Unless the West is willing to offer immediate security guarantees to Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia — which seems unlikely — the only way to deter further Russian aggression is by humiliating Russia in this war. […]The cost of providing a face-saving exit to Putin is much higher than of his ultimate humiliation on the battlefield. – Middle East Institute 


Iran accused the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday of publishing an unfair report on its investigation into Tehran’s nuclear activities, possibly setting up a fresh diplomatic clash with the West. – Reuters 

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett accused Iran on Tuesday of stealing internal U.N. nuclear watchdog reports under a plan to prepare ways of staving off scrutiny of its nuclear programme. – Reuters 

Iran urged Greece on Tuesday to cooperate to resolve a crisis over the seizure of ships without involving the United States, after Iranian forces seized two Greek tankers in the Gulf following the seizure of an Iranian vessel off Greece. – Reuters 

Protesters in several cities in Iran chanted anti-government slogans overnight, including “death to Khamenei”, over a deadly building collapse in the southwest of the country, videos posted on social media showed. – Reuters 

Iran disrupted internet access to the outside world as angry demonstrators rallied over the collapse of a tower in the nation’s southwest that has killed at least 36 people, experts said Tuesday as outrage and grief continued to grow. – Associated Press 

Seth J. Frantzman writes: Iran’s program is more complex and it is in part designed to make claims to the world that sometimes go beyond its capacity. On the other hand, it also continues to enrich and stockpile uranium, knowing that if it were to test a device it would likely need to consult in part with its friends in Beijing; as well as Russia, Pakistan and Turkey. – Jerusalem Post 


Finland and Sweden should change their laws if needed to meet Turkey’s demands and win its backing for their bid to join NATO, the Turkish foreign minister said on Tuesday, doubling down on a threat to veto an historic enlargement of the alliance. – Reuters 

A Turkish court is expected to reach a verdict on Wednesday in a case against Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, an opposition figure who opinion polls suggest would be a strong possible challenger to President Tayyip Erdogan in upcoming national elections. – Reuters 

Turkey unlawfully detained the head of the country’s of Amnesty International branch for 14 months, the European Court of Human Rights said in a judgement Tuesday. – Associated Press 

Turkey’s president highlighted the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party as part of his country’s objections to Sweden and Finland joining NATO and said both nations doing so would carry security risks for Turkey. – Associated Press 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has discussed Ankara’s planned military operation in northern Syria and the war in Ukraine with Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Erdogan’s office said Monday. – Associated Press 

Leader of Turkey’s far-right political group the Nationalist Movement Party (NHP) claimed on Tuesday that U.S. military bases located on Greece pose a direct “threat” to Turkish security. – Fox News 

Turkey has sent Rolls-Royce a request for proposals as it seeks a deal to co-produce an engine for the country’s indigenous fighter jet, the TF-X, according to the government’s chief procurement official. – Defense News 

Ben Dubow writes: But the focus within Turkey right now is on the north, not on Russia. As for the Kremlin’s hopes to halt NATO expansion, it’s likely to be disappointed. The Turks on the other hand will very likely get what they seek, a widespread denunciation of Kurdish armed groups and a pledge to keep them at arm’s length. That will allow Erdoğan to undertake his grand plan — a Turkish military push 30km (18 miles) into northern Syria to create a buffer zone filled with relocated Syrian Arab refugees on land including hitherto Kurdish areas. – Center for European Policy Analysis 


The Biden administration remains committed to re-opening a U.S. consulate in Jerusalem and is further discussing the issue with Israelis and Palestinians, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “regarding the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to maintain calm and de-escalate tensions,” the US State Department stated. – Jerusalem Post 

Hundreds of Israel Air Force platforms including fighter jets and refueling aircraft took off overnight Wednesday from various bases to simulate striking targets far from Israel’s borders. – Jerusalem Post 

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi visited Cyprus on Tuesday as part of the Israeli military’s “Chariots of Fire” month-long training drill. – Jerusalem Post 

A Palestinian woman armed with a knife approached a soldier stationed in the southern West Bank before being shot and killed, the Israeli military and Palestinian health officials said Wednesday morning. – Times of Israel 

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi condemned a series of banners posted throughout Judea and Samaria blaming Central Command Commander General Yehuda Fuchs for the IDF’s alleged weak response to a recent spate of stone-throwing attacks in the area. – Arutz Sheva 

According to State Department spokesperson Ned Price, Blinken spoke to Abbas “regarding the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to maintain calm and de-escalate tensions.” – Arutz Sheva 

The London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat is reporting that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has informed the United States, Egypt and Jordan that he will implement the PLO’s central council decision to sever ties with Israel in lieu of the Jerusalem Day events. – Arutz Sheva 

William A. Galston writes: I suspect that many of today’s Israelis and Americans share this weariness and hope for a sign that it can end. I know I do. But doing so will take leaders who are strong enough to face down their most obdurate supporters. – Wall Street Journal 

Stephen M. Flatlow writes: And so, the Al-Makassed Hospital has become the collateral damage in this tragedy, a victim of the Biden administration’s soft bigotry towards Palestinian Arabs. – Jerusalem Post 

Ezequiel Doiny writes: Mahmoud Abbas is not condemned internationally and certainly not by the United Nations for the Palestinian Authority law calling for a death penalty to Arabs who sell a property to Jews. When is the State Department going to revoke his visa? – Arutz Sheva 

Arabian Peninsula

An international charity on Tuesday urged Yemen’s warring sides to extend a two-month truce, appealing to the parties in the conflict to work together to avoid “catastrophic hunger” in the war-wrecked country. – Associated Press 

Amnesty International has called on authorities in the United Arab Emirates to release a group of dissidents who the human rights group said had completed prison terms earlier this year but not yet been freed. – Reuters 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Riyadh on Tuesday and both men praised the level of cooperation inside OPEC+, the Russian foreign ministry said. – Reuters 

In a major about-face, President Biden is warming up to Riyadh. Can the establishment of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel be far behind? It’s no longer out of the question. Certainly adding Saudi Arabia to the list of Arab countries that signed peace treaties with Israel during Donald Trump’s presidency would be a major foreign policy coup for Mr. Biden. – New York Sun 

David Ignatius writes: Realpolitik has its place in foreign policy, but this lack of accountability is a lasting tragedy. In simple terms, MBS got away with it. – Washington Post 

Gulf States

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Saudi state media said, on a visit that Gulf officials said would feature a meeting with foreign ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. – Reuters 

As Iraq moves forward with plans to purchase advanced artillery from the United States and France, while also seeking procurement of Rafale fighter jets, questions are rising about its ability to fund these contracts with a caretaker government and other urgent priorities. – Breaking Defense 

Sardar Aziz and Mohammed Shareef write: In this context, the failure to open the KRG representation in Beijing could be attributed to mutual disinterest on the part of the Chinese and the KRI, each for their own reasons. Kurds cannot sacrifice security for economic development, especially at a time when other regional powers are preparing to intervene and expand in Iraq. – Washington Institute 

Middle East & North Africa

Senior officials from countries represented at this year’s Negev Summit plan to hold their first working meeting in Bahrain next month, sources confirmed from multiple countries involved. – Jerusalem Post 

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday called for the International Criminal Court to investigate allegations of the use of landmines in 2019 by Russian paramilitaries fighting in Libya. – Associated Press 

Lebanon’s longtime parliament speaker who has held the post for 30 years, was reelected Tuesday for a seventh four-year term with the minimum number of votes needed and despite multiple crises plaguing the nation. – Associated Press 

Simon Henderson writes: But that’s another factor that could change. Biden administration officials are working on a Middle East trip for the president, which would end this stalemate, despite White House antipathy toward the entrenched positions of MbS and others. Will MbS compromise on oil production in return for President Biden’s handshake and recognition that he is the real power behind the ailing King Salman’s throne? Don’t hold your breath, but the increasing suggestion that Saudi Arabia and Israel may be on the cusp of what would be truly a historic mutual recognition might shift entrenched positions. – The Hill 

Mike Toth writes: Washington must aggressively seize upon this opening. Yes, it will mean painfully looking the other way when it comes to Saudi Arabia and its misdeeds. However, breakthrough opportunities for peace rarely present themselves in the Mideast. One is now and it is within reach. In 1977, when I first gazed upon the Tiran and Sanafir Islands, they were hazy and forbidding. Now, they are clear and inviting — and instead of being a cause of war, they can and must be a path for peace. The Biden administration must be quick about it. The kaleidoscope that is the Mideast is already starting to twist and what is, soon no longer will be. – The Hill 

Korean Peninsula

The United States said Tuesday it will push for additional sanctions on North Korea if it conducts a new nuclear test explosion. – Associated Press 

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has threatened Seoul with fiery destruction, but as a remote graveyard on a resort island shows, he has closer links to the South than he might like to admit. – Agence France-Presse 

Dustin Carmack and James Di Pane write: President Biden’s trip to South Korea provides an opportunity to continue the forward momentum that has developed on broader cybersecurity cooperation in the Indo–Pacific and with South Korea. Silver-bullet solutions for a constantly evolving cyber environment do not exist. There are, however, many lessons from both sides of the Pacific as both countries continue to develop layered cyber-defense apparatuses, and as they seek to deter and impose costs on foreign cyber adversaries and criminal groups, especially those in China and North Korea. – Heritage Foundation 


Take a walk through the city where China’s foreign minister met on Monday with the leaders of nearly a dozen Pacific Island nations, and China’s imprint is unmistakable. – New York Times 

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Tonga on Tuesday as he continued his regional island-hopping tour a day after failing to ink an ambitious deal with 10 South Pacific nations. – Associated Press 

Hong Kong’s next leader, John Lee, received an official letter of appointment from Beijing on Monday, a month before he is to take over the leadership of the semi-autonomous city. – Associated Press 

China has barred Russia’s airlines from flying foreign-owned jetliners into its airspace, the Russian news outlet RBK reported, after President Vladimir Putin threw the aircrafts’ ownership into doubt by allowing them to be re-registered in Russia to avoid seizure under sanctions over Moscow’s attack on Ukraine. – Associated Press 

China’s support for Russia through oil and gas purchases is irking Washington and raising the risk of U.S. retaliation, foreign observers say, though they see no sign Beijing is helping Moscow evade sanctions over its war on Ukraine. – Associated Press 

Aides to the US defense secretary and China’s defense minister are discussing a potential meeting in Singapore, according to people familiar with the preparations, a sign the Biden administration is more focused on keeping both sides talking rather than worrying that the two leaders are far apart in relative rank. – Bloomberg 

Communist China has made a demand that should be placed in the category of things that will probably never happen, calling for an Israeli newspaper to remove an interview with Taiwan’s foreign minister published Monday. The headline of the article on the Jerusalem Post website read in part, “China preps to invade us, Israel can’t trust Beijing.” – New York Sun 

A think tank says Chinese state media have proven very effective at influencing search engine results for users seeking information on Xinjiang, a region of China where the Uyghur ethnic minority has been subjected to what the State Department calls genocide. – CyberScoop 

Editorial: But Beijing should also take steps to demonstrate that foreign investors remain a valued part of the economy. Official statements to this end would set a positive tone. But a real focus on reducing red tape and ensuring equal treatment with local competitors would alleviate some of the gloom descending upon China’s foreign business community. – Financial Times 

Editorial: The Post acknowledges that Israel’s bilateral ties with China and with Taiwan are very complicated, and issues related to it must be handled with sensitivity. – Jerusalem Post 

Jacob Lavee and Matthew P. Robertson write: Yet the global transplant community has largely accepted China’s claims of reform and ignored evidence to the contrary. Comparisons to the medical atrocities of the Nazis haven’t galvanized a response, perhaps having lost all potency due to overuse. Western political leaders have likewise shown little interest in investigating the abuse. We hope this will begin to change with these most recent revelations. – Wall Street Journal 

Kseniya Kirillova  writes: In addition, China may not share Russia’s ambitions to create its own economic bloc independent of both the West and China. The Russians do not conceal that with the creation of such a group they would want to strengthen the anti-Western inclinations of their potential allies, playing on their colonial past. However, any rise of Russia in Asia or the Pacific runs counter to China’s interests, which could create problems in cooperation between the two countries. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Max Primorac writes: The Biden Administration has instrumentalized U.S. foreign aid to pursue politically divisive goals. In the case of climate politics, the Administration forged an ill-advised strategic partnership with a climate-focused fund that has close ties to senior CCP officials. This partnership needs to end now. – Heritage Foundation 

South Asia

India’s appetite for cheap Russian oil is swelling, even as the West continues to hit Moscow with unprecedented sanctions. – CNN 

Two years after walking out of a China-centric free trade pact in Southeast Asia, India is embracing the chance to become a founding member of another grouping — this one led by the U.S. – CNBC 

Lisa Curtis writes: But the best way for the country to protect itself is to not play into China’s and Russia’s hands. It is, instead, to exude strength—including by speaking out against Russian aggression, rather than being cowed by Moscow. And that means New Delhi should deepen its partnership with the United States, the country best positioned to help India achieve its great-power ambitions. – Foreign Affairs 


The Chinese military said on Wednesday it had conducted a combat “readiness patrol” in the seas and airspace around Taiwan in recent days, saying it was a necessary action to respond to “collusion” between Washington and Taipei. – Reuters 

Taiwan’s chief trade negotiator, John Deng, will hold more talks with the United States on bilateral trade on Wednesday, the island’s government said, after being excluded from a major new U.S. economic plan for the Asia Pacific region. – Reuters 

The United States is planning on “cooperation” between its National Guard and Taiwan’s military, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said on Tuesday, deepening security ties in the face of what Taipei’s government complains is a rising threat from China. – Reuters 

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth on Tuesday reiterated America’s support for Taiwan on her second visit in a year to the self-governing island claimed by China. – Associated Press 

The Philippine government announced Tuesday a new diplomatic protest against China over disputes in the South China Sea, a long-thorny issue that has flared anew as the next Philippine president prepares to take office next month. – Associated Press 

Former Defense Minister Peter Dutton was chosen Monday to lead Australia’s conservative opposition following the party’s election defeat nine days ago. – Associated Press 

China blasted Japan for a “selfish” claim over an area of the Pacific Ocean larger than France, reigniting a longstanding territorial fight between Asia’s two largest economies. – Bloomberg 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country has no desire to engage in “geopolitical competition” over influence of Pacific islands nations, during his marathon tour of the region. – Bloomberg  

A bomb blast in a busy neighbourhood of Myanmar’s commercial hub Yangon killed one person and injured nine others on Tuesday, police and junta authorities said. – Agence France-Presse

President Joe Biden asked New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for advice Tuesday after the latest US mass shooting but the White House also acknowledged the limitations it faces on gun control compared to its close allies. – Agence France-Presse 

On May 15, 2022, Taiwanese freelance journalist Yanmo published an article in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-controlled Chinese media outlet Guancha.cn, titled “Taiwan Is ‘Not Ready To Fight A Ukrainian-Style Cannon Fodder War.” In the article, Yanmo criticized the U.S. State Department for removing the phrases “Taiwan is part of China” and “The U.S. does not support Taiwan independence” from the Bilateral Relations Fact Sheet describing U.S.-Taiwan relations. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Kana Inagaki writes: Even Abe did not come close to fulfilling his ambition to change Japan’s pacifist constitution after nearly eight years as prime minister. Still, the geopolitical landscape and shifting public attitudes may give the more moderate Kishida a bigger chance to make a lasting impact on Japan’s defence capabilities. – Financial Times 

Yogen Simchon writes: Kazakhstan maintains diplomatic relations with western countries. If they want to keep it, and even gain world fame and significant funds in exchange for their oil, they must play by the laws of democracy. Immediately release all the political prisoners, and allow opponents of the administration to demonstrate. It’s that simple. – Jerusalem Post 


The Biden administration plans to provide Ukraine with a guided rocket system capable of striking targets as far away as 48 miles, senior U.S. officials said Tuesday. – Wall Street Journal 

When France, land of Talleyrand and the general strike, decides to abolish the heart of its diplomatic corps at a time of war in Europe, it is perhaps only natural that its diplomats should respond with fierce indignation. – New York Times 

Danish voters will on Wednesday decide whether to join the European Union’s defence policy, potentially becoming the final hold-out in the bloc to sign up as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forces countries to radically reassess their security. – Reuters 

Roman Abramovich has filed a lawsuit at the EU’s general court against the European Union Council, which imposed sanctions on the former Chelsea owner as part of measures targeting Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s close allies. – Associated Press 

Ukraine has challenged French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Kyiv before the end of France’s presidency of the European Union comes to an end on June 30. – Agence France-Presse 

Three more countries have joined a coordination effort set up by U.S. Army special forces to help Ukraine, the Army secretary said Tuesday. – Defense One 

German government and opposition party leaders are lobbying their members to approve a constitutional change that would secure a €100 billion (U.S. $108 billion) defense fund announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz in late February, days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Defense News 

Janan Ganesh writes: Germany can at least claim to have been sceptical about an autonomous Europe all along. The French predicament is more awkward. Macron once attributed America’s toughness towards Russia to its “historic superego”, whatever that means, and the luxury of having a “sea between the two of them”. Well, there are countries rather closer to Russia than France that seem to prefer the US approach to the Elysée’s. Two and a half years since that vivid metaphor of his, it is strategic autonomy, not Nato, that is fighting brain death. – Financial Times 

Mark F. Cancian writes: Hovering in the background is the mounting problem of maintaining all the new systems that Ukraine has demanded and is now receiving. A collapse of the Ukrainian logistics system, with parking lots full of broken-down U.S. and NATO equipment, might disillusion many of Ukraine’s supporters and undermine the entire equipping program. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Zachary Selden writes: Every NATO enlargement changes the alliance, but adding Sweden and Finland will be more transformative than previous rounds. Sweden and Finland bring significant capabilities and resources to the table that will be a welcome addition to the alliance. But these capabilities give them influence that can be expected to further shift NATO’s focus to the Baltic and Arctic regions. […]It will require a deft diplomatic hand to balance priorities and maintain alliance solidarity in what promises to be a challenging period in the transatlantic relationship and European security. – War on the Rocks 


Mercenaries are enjoying a resurgence in Africa, hired to fight in some of the continent’s most intractable conflicts. Perhaps the most famous outfit is the Wagner Group, a nebulous network that combines military force with commercial and strategic interests, now at the vanguard of Russia’s expanding ambitions in Africa. – New York Times 

Rwanda will retaliate if it suffers further attacks from neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, its foreign minister said on Tuesday, after accusing Congo of firing shells across the border earlier this month. – Reuters 

Eritrean forces shelled a town in north Ethiopia over the weekend, according to internal U.N. documents and regional forces, in a rare bombardment after two months of relative peace in the Tigray conflict. – Reuters 

Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Zambian counterpart in a telephone call on Tuesday that China was willing to strengthen and broaden bilateral ties with Zambia, according to a Chinese state television report. – Reuters 

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday strongly condemning piracy, armed robbery and hostage-taking in the Gulf of Guinea, the world’s top hotspot for attacks on shipping and seafarers. – Associated Press 

The war in Ukraine is heaping further pressure on Africa’s fast-growing population of vulnerable people, a UN refugee official says. – Agence France-Presse 

Twenty-four civilians have been killed and around 60 wounded in an attack by separatist gunmen in a troubled anglophone region of Cameroon, the local mayor said on Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse 

The Americas

President Joe Biden will seek regional consensus on a new economic agenda to build on existing trade agreements with Latin America and present a plan to tackle increasing migration when he hosts the Summit of the Americas, senior U.S. officials said on Tuesday. – Reuters 

The Mexican government said Tuesday it has agreed to review a labor complaint filed by the United States under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada free trade pact. – Associated Press 

An Argentine politician is facing legal action launched by the country’s Jewish community over a series of statements deemed antisemitic and anti-Zionist, including one that called for Israel to be “destroyed.” – Algemeiner 


Another attempted hacking of a Costa Rican government agency’s computer system led the country’s public health agency to shut down its systems Tuesday to protect itself, complicating the medical care of thousands of people. – Associated Press 

Manufacturers suffered the brunt of cyber attacks last year, overtaking financial services and insurance as the most targeted sector. As the Covid-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerability of the long, complex supply chains favoured by global manufacturers, hackers bet on the ripple effects that disruption would cause for them. – Financial Times 

Three quarters of manufacturing companies claim they are aware of cyber risks and can deal with most of them — but, in reality, many still lack the skills and security practices to do so, new research has found. – Financial Times 

Electronic voting machines from a leading vendor have software vulnerabilities that could be exploited by hackers if the weaknesses are not addressed promptly, according to a report from a top U.S. cybersecurity agency. – Washington Examiner 

Ukrainian officials met for the first time on Monday with the steering committee of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia, following the country’s successful bid to join the cyber center. – The Hill 

Microsoft published guidance Monday addressing a zero-day vulnerability affecting Microsoft Word documents that cybersecurity researchers say is already being used in attacks. – The Record 


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet with top Biden administration officials this week. – Washington Examiner 

Nearly a decade after it was signed, a directive that laid out the ground rules for U.S. autonomous weapons is due for a refresh, according to the leader of the Pentagon’s emerging capabilities policy office. – C4ISRNET 

At least three U.S. warships are operating in the Baltic Sea ahead of two weeks of international drills in the region, according to U.S. 6th Fleet. – USNI News 

In a first for the class, a Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship is now operating in the Persian Gulf. – USNI News 

Wearable technology is one of the hottest commercial trends of recent years, but penetration into the Pentagon has been fairly limited. In this new analysis, Air Force officers Gabe Arrington and Christopher Mulder argue that the department should embrace the potential of the new technologies, despite privacy and data rights questions that will need to be addressed. – Breaking Defense 

The US arm of Finnish startup ICEYE intends to build, license and orbit a constellation of somewhere around 18 synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites separate from the parent company’s other satellites — a plan initiated to assuage national security concerns voiced by the Pentagon and Intelligence Community about relying on foreign providers, a senior company official told Breaking Defense. – Breaking Defense 

General Dynamics Information Technology is partnering with Microsoft to deliver a suite of Office 365 applications to support the Marine Corps in contested battlefield networks under a new task order awarded by the Defense Information Systems Agency. – Breaking Defense 

Long War

A court in Germany on Tuesday convicted five men for membership in a local cell of the Islamic State group that received orders from a leading IS figure in Afghanistan. – Associated Press 

Kozo Okamoto’s life should have ended in 1972 when he took part in a suicide attack on Israel’s Lod airport that killed 26 people. – Agence France-Presse 

Hamas terrorist cell commander Ahmad al-Atzafra was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison plus 25 years, in connection with the stabbing murder of IDF Cpl. Dvir Sorek on August 8, 2019. – Jerusalem Post