Fdd's overnight brief

June 28, 2022

In The News

Russia & Ukraine

Russia has defaulted on its foreign currency debt for the first time in more than a century, as tough Western sanctions designed to punish Moscow for invading Ukraine restrict its ability to pay overseas creditors. – Washington Post

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged President Biden and other leaders gathered here Monday to urgently provide Ukraine with heavy weaponry, a move he said would help drive Russia out of his country by winter. – Washington Post

Global exports to Russia fell sharply after the Ukraine invasion, not only from Western countries that enacted sanctions but also from non-sanctioning countries including China, a new analysis shows. – Washington Post

President Biden and other NATO heads of state and government will gather in Madrid on Tuesday for a three-day summit focused on urgent support for Ukraine as well as the alliance’s longer-term strategy. – Washington Post

A Russian missile strike on a shopping mall in central Ukraine killed at least 15 civilians and left scores injured, Ukrainian officials said Monday, adding urgency to the appeals from Kyiv for Western nations to send more advanced weapons. – Washington Post

In the arched dining hall of a former boarding school in Lviv, Kamila Horbachova and other teenage girls set out dishes, as younger children scrambled into seats and then tucked into dinners handed out by the cafeteria staff. – New York Times

The all-too-familiar blare of an air raid siren signaled rockets within striking distance of this city in western Ukraine on Monday afternoon. It was the fifth time in less than 48 hours. – New York Times

Four months into Russia’s invasion, unprecedented Western economic retaliation and military aid to Ukraine have not curbed Vladimir V. Putin’s ability or apparent determination to wage war, leaving leaders of the world’s wealthiest democracies grasping for new ways to deter him. – New York Times

Leaders of the Group of 7 nations are close to an agreement in principle to begin the process of potentially imposing price caps on Russian oil and are set to impose other new economic penalties on Moscow to support Ukraine, Biden administration officials said on Monday. – New York Times

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to Group of Seven leaders for more support from allies to push Russia out of newly conquered territories, according to officials present for the video address, as the U.S. said it would provide more military aid for Ukraine and impose new sanctions against Moscow to try to turn the tide of the war ahead of the winter months. – Wall Street Journal

The father of a Moroccan man facing execution after being captured by Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine appealed Monday to Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene, “as a father,” to spare his son from the firing squad. – Associated Press

A display of war-damaged Russian weapons in downtown Warsaw serves as a reminder of the horrors of the war in Ukraine but also that Russia’s aggression can be defeated, officials said Monday. – Associated Press

Less than two weeks remain for two Britons and a Moroccan to appeal the death sentences imposed by separatist forces that captured them during fighting in eastern Ukraine. – Associated Press

Russia sanctioned 43 Canadian citizens on Monday, barring them from entering the country in a tit-for-tat response to Western sanctions on Moscow. – Reuters

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at a summit of the Group of Seven rich democracies on Monday there would be no return to the times before Russia’s attack on Ukraine, which had ushered in long-term changes in international relations. – Reuters

Any encroachment on the Crimea peninsula by a NATO member-state could amount to a declaration of war on Russia which could lead to “World War Three,” Russia’s former president, Dmitry Medvedev, was quoted as saying on Monday. – Reuters

Poland is to send a protest note to Russia after it removed a Polish flag at the Katyn cemetery, which commemorates Polish military officers killed by Soviet forces in 1940, the government said on Monday. – Reuters

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday raised the tariff rate on certain Russian imports to 35% as a result of suspending Russia’s “most favored nation” trading status over its war in Ukraine, according to a proclamation issued by the White House. – Reuters

Moldova’s president said during a visit to Ukraine on Monday that her country was “fragile and vulnerable” and needed help to remain “part of the free world”. – Reuters

A former South Korean Navy SEAL turned YouTuber who risked jail time to leave Seoul and fight for Ukraine says it would have been a “crime” not to use his skills to help. – Agence France-Presse

Five emerging powers have become the object of the G7 industrialised powers’ charm offensive, as the club of rich nations seeks broader support in their backing for Kyiv. – Agence France-Presse

Ukraine’s retreat from Severodonetsk after weeks of fighting against Russian forces in the eastern city was a “tactical” move to avoid a repeat of the fateful Azovstal siege in Mariupol, according to the country’s military intelligence chief. – Financial Times

After a stopover in Hawaii, the $325 million superyacht that’s tied to Russian billionaire Suleiman Kerimov and that was seized by US authorities in Fiji has sailed into a port in Southern California. – Bloomberg

A restriction on railway shipments from mainland Russia across Lithuania has put a harsh spotlight on a dangerous boundary between NATO and Russia. – Washington Examiner

The United States is planning to include an advanced air defense system in its next set of military aid for Ukraine, a senior Biden administration official said at the Group of Seven summit. – Washington Examiner

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen leader and key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is forming four new military battalions “with an impressive number of personnel” to help replenish Russia’s troops during the ongoing war with Ukraine. – Newsweek

A Russian state television host warned that the country is ready to confront NATO as tensions between Moscow and the West continue to escalate over the war in Ukraine. – Newsweek

Russia’s military will be relying more on its reserve forces as the war in Ukraine amid slow military progress in the east and the war drags on into its fifth month, according to U.K. intelligence. – Newsweek

An unconfirmed photo of a retired Russian general in Vladimir Putin’s army has sparked speculation amid reports that Moscow is deploying retired personnel in the war against Ukraine because of combat losses. – Newsweek

Editorial: Russia has signed the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit attacks that deliberately target civilians and civilian facilities. Mr. Putin doesn’t care, and he thinks he’ll get away with it if he can defeat Ukraine or force it to submit to his peace terms. There will be more of this in more countries if Russia prevails in Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Paul Roderick Gregory writes: Why doesn’t the Kremlin shut down Ms. Zubarevich? There are two explanations: First, she is careful to cite only official Russian administrative statistics. It isn’t she who is sounding the alarm, it is the Russian government itself. Second, the Kremlin can’t shut down the means of transport of her message (YouTube) because that would signal that something is very wrong and must be hidden. – Wall Street Journal

Andreas Kluth writes: The West’s leaders, once they’re done jetting between summits and posing for pictures with one another, have a job to do. They must get the rest of the world out of this no-man’s-land. So they should offer generous support — in dollars, euros and other forms — to countries that pledge help in defending global democracy against the autocrats in Moscow and Beijing.[…]Today, Putin is the elephant, Ukraine the mouse. And no-man’s-land is no place to be. – Bloomberg

Kristina Hook writes: Putin shouldn’t get away with his crimes — or be able to replicate Stalin’s. Western democracies need to step up now to fully support Ukraine’s independence, end Putin’s blockade and prevent a modern Holodomor on an international scale. – The Hill

Harlan Ullman writes: Fortunately, Putin’s advantages are not necessarily as strong or as valid as he believes. Yet, unless the West understands why Putin believes time is on his side and acts to reverse that perception, it is hard to be optimistic about the chances for a viable counter strategy. And, given current flash points, memories of June 28 and the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in 1914 in Sarajevo loom. – The Hill

Gideon Rachman writes: In the short term, however, the global energy crunch caused by the war in Ukraine is increasing demand for non-Russian fossil fuels — including coal, the dirtiest of the lot. Germany is reopening mothballed coal plants. And China is clinging even tighter to its most reliable form of domestic energy production — coal. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is bad news for the world. It may be even worse news for the planet. – Financial Times

Dave Anderson writes: The time is right for President Biden to meet privately with President Zelensky and explain that we can’t keep giving tens of billions of dollars of military support and have no say in a war that affects our own interests in many critical ways. Major NATO allies who are supporting Kyiv should also have a say, and indeed three met recently with Zelensky to share their point of view. – Jerusalem Post

SaraJane Rzegocki and Alvina Ahmed write: Most immediately, the EU and NATO must send a clear message to Russia that the West will continue to defend European security, aid the Ukrainian people, and make Putin a pariah until he stops this senseless war. But behind the scenes, the Transatlantic community must decide its future shape. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Mark F. Cancian writes: The recently announced 13th aid package to Ukraine ($450 million in total) continues to strengthen Ukrainian artillery since artillery has become the dominant combat arm in the recent fighting and provides 18 coastal and riverine patrol boats to start rebuilding the devastated Ukrainian navy. – Center for Strategic and International Studies


Indirect talks between Iran and the United States will start on Tuesday in Qatar’s capital, the Iranian foreign ministry said on Monday, amid a push by the European Union to break a months-long impasse in negotiations to secure a 2015 nuclear pact. – Reuters

Saudi Arabia wants to resume diplomatic talks with Tehran, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference on Monday a day after Iraq’s prime minister pushed for a revival of talks between the regional rivals. – Reuters

Iran has submitted an application to become a member in the group of emerging economies known as the BRICS, an Iranian official said on Monday. – Reuters

One of Iran’s major steel companies said Monday it was forced to halt production after being hit by a cyberattack that also targeted two other plants, apparently marking one of the biggest such assaults on the country’s strategic industrial sector in recent memory. – Associated Press

To mark the first anniversary of his presidency this month, Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi shunned the conference halls and speeches favoured by his predecessors and instead went to Varamin, a poor suburb of Tehran. – Financial Times

Seth J. Frantzman writes: It may have longer-term consequences for Iran’s role in the region and also its plots abroad, as well as its internal security at home. What also matters is that countries are watching closely what Iran’s regime is doing at home. – Jerusalem Post

Seth J. Frantzman writes: For Iran the talks via Iraq with the Saudis matter. Iran is capitalizing on outmaneuvering Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq and potentially winning some ground there. But Iran is also continuing to threaten Erbil with attacks by proxies. Iran wants to talk to Turkey but also uses proxies to attack the Turkish base at Bashiqa in Iraq. This means everything is in flux. Iran is paying close attention to potential Israel-Saudi ties as part of this regional shift. – Jerusalem Post

Yonah Jeremy Bob writes: If there is no deal, Israel’s shadow war with Iran may continue to escalate in the near future. If there is a deal, with major nuclear limits due to expire in 2025, those options may return to the forefront sooner than later. – Jerusalem Post


A NATO summit this week is unlikely to see a breakthrough to overcome Turkey’s opposition to Sweden and Finland’s membership bids as Ankara takes an unrushed approach to negotiations, according to Turkish officials and Western diplomats. – Reuters

Turkish defence firm Baykar said on Monday it would donate three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Ukraine, after a crowdfunding campaign there raised enough funds to buy “several” of the Bayraktar TB2 model. – Reuters

Asil Aydintasbas writes: A master of geopolitical balancing, Erdogan has already demonstrated Turkey’s displeasure at support for Syrian Kurds. He should now use a green light as leverage for better relations with transatlantic allies, including the United States. – Washington Post

Neville Teller writes: Inevitably, there has been speculation that Finland might disengage from its joint application with Sweden to join NATO. Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, and its prime minister, Sanna Marin, hastened to quash it. Both have said that Finland would continue its application in lockstep with Sweden. As long as Erdogan remains adamant in his demands, Putin‘s worst fears regarding NATO’s expansion to his very doorstep will remain unrealized. – Jerusalem Post

Nimrod Goren writes: Climate change is already reshaping the international system, creating common interests and fostering cooperation between countries that used to be at odds. Israel-Turkey relations stand to benefit from this trend. Tackling climate change can become a central pillar in the new chapter in relations, bringing benefits not only to the citizens of both countries, but potentially also to the region as a whole. – Jerusalem Post

Magnus Norell writes: Since domestic pressure is rising on President Erdogan due to the election in Turkey next year, it’s probably in his interest to have any conflicts with other NATO-members resolved before those elections take place. Not objecting to a Swedish membership in NATO could help Erdogan smooth relations with NATO especially when relations are already fraught because of Turkish ties with Moscow amid the war in the Ukraine. – Washington Institute


Israel will work with world powers to have an impact on any deal that may emerge from their nuclear negotiations with Iran, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday. – Reuters

Gaza’s Hamas rulers on Monday said the condition of one of the Israelis it is holding captive has deteriorated. – Associated Press

As Western powers are set to return to the negotiating table with Iran over its nuclear program, the Israeli defense establishment is at odds over whether a deal would be good for the country, according to a report in Yediot Aharonot. – Jerusalem Post

A 40-year-old Jewish resident of Samaria who is suspected of murdering a Palestinian was finally able to meet with his lawyer on Monday afternoon, following five days of interrogation by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) that include claims of torture. – Jerusalem Post

The IDF and the Border Police’s Magan unit thwarted an attempt to smuggle about 80 kilograms of hashish worth about NIS 3 million along the Egyptian border on Sunday night. – Jerusalem Post

The man responsible for a massive drug smuggling operation in southern Lebanon last week has been confirmed by the IDF Arabic Spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, as Leon Elalem, a man with connections to Hezbollah. – Jerusalem Post

The Biden administration said Monday that recent meetings held between its energy envoy and Israeli and Lebanese officials have resulted in progress toward resolving a long-held maritime border dispute between the neighboring countries. – Times of Israel

Israel is offering Jordan assistance following Monday’s toxic gas blast at the Port of Aqaba as the death toll rose to 13. – Algemeiner

David Makovsky and Dennis Ross write: Finally, despite speculation to the contrary, Bennett’s political career is not necessarily over. Recall that in 1982, a legal commission required Ariel Sharon to give up the Defense Ministry, and in the 1999 election, Netanyahu lost and “retired” from politics. Obviously, both leaders came back to become prime minister. In Israeli politics, never say never. – Washington Institute


Top U.S. energy company Schlumberger (SLB.N) has said it will not apply without Baghdad’s consent for any tenders in the oil and gas sector of Iraq’s Kurdistan region, according to a letter sent to the Iraqi oil minister and seen by Reuters. – Reuters

Seth J. Frantzman writes: The agenda is to threaten Erbil’s economy and security. The US puts out statements but does little to stop the attacks. The US has also reportedly ignored some 29 other attacks since last October that have targeted US troops and other facilities across Syria and Iraq. – Jerusalem Post

Michael Knights writes: A targeted intervention by the United States and its partners, the author argues, could guide the dispute toward a long-overdue resolution that greatly aids U.S. interests and the global effort to find a substitute for Russian and Iranian oil and gas. – Washington Institute

Arabian Peninsula

The Grand Mufti of Oman, Ahmed bin Hamad Al-Khalili said in a June 19, 2022 interview on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) that the Taliban’s “victory” over the United States was a miracle, and he praised the Afghan mujahideen, saying that they won because they combined the Quran with guns. – Middle East Media Research Institute

The World Food Programme said it has further reduced rations in Yemen, where millions face hunger, due to critical funding gaps, global inflation and knock-on effects of the Ukraine conflict. – Reuters

Peter Salisbury and Alexander Weissenburger write: But pressuring the Saudis and Yemen’s government to work out a settlement with the Houthis without addressing any of their rivals’ demands would be setting any peace process up for failure. […]Getting the Houthis to agree to reopen at least some of the roads that the government proposes will be a hard slog and will require careful diplomacy with Houthi officials in Sanaa. But any effort that lets Taiz—and Houthi concessions—fall by the wayside is a recipe for further disaster. – Foreign Affairs

Saudi Arabia

Against the backdrop of sweeping change in Israel-Arab relations, a group of 13 American Jewish leaders toured Saudi Arabia last week to learn about Islam and teach the Saudis about Judaism, the first trip of its kind for federation leaders and clergy to the Arab kingdom. – Jewish Insider

The United States has hinted that more Arab nations could take steps to improve ties with Israel, ahead of President Joe Biden’s trip to the Middle East. All eyes are on Saudi Arabia, which Biden will visit in mid-July, after he once vowed to treat the kingdom as a “pariah” state over the 2018 murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. – Times of Israel

James M. Dorsey writes: Saudi Arabia has signaled for some time that it would like to formalize its expanding informal relations with Israel, but needs a cover to do so. Future weeks will see how relations continue to unfold. – Algemeiner

Abdullah F. Alrebh writes: This paper aims to investigate the Iranian influence within the Shi’a community in Saudi Arabia by focusing on the followers of the supreme leader’s marj’aiyyah, known as “Khat al-Imam,” and its military wing, “Hezbollah Al-Hejaz,” also known as “Saudi Hezbollah,” often held responsible for carrying out the 1996 attack. – Middle East Institute

Gulf States

The state-owned oil and gas company Qatar Energy said Monday it is joining a new industry-led initiative to reduce nearly all methane emissions from operations by 2030. – Associated Press

Crude oil exports from the U.S. Gulf Coast are expected to reach a record high of 3.3 million barrels per day this quarter, analysts from the global energy consultancy Rystad Energy said Monday, thanks to more supplies and limited capacity to refine them. – Washington Examiner

Two top OPEC oil producers, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, can barely increase oil production, French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said he had been told by the UAE’s president. – Reuters

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisia’s former prime minister and senior official of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, Hamadi Jebali, was released on Monday, four days after he was arrested, one of his lawyers said. – Agence France-Presse

The African Union Commission chief has voiced his shock at the “violent and degrading” treatment of African migrants trying to cross from Morocco into Spain after 23 people died, and called for an investigation into the incident. – Agence France-Presse

Spain’s prime minister is defending the way Moroccan and Spanish police repelled migrants last week as they tried to cross the shared border into the north African enclave of Melilla, depicting the attempt in which at least 23 people died as “an attack on Spain’s borders.” – Associated Press

The U.N. political chief urged Libya’s rival factions on Monday to agree on measures governing the transition to elections during talks in Geneva later this week, expressing hope this will lead to long-awaited voting “at the earliest possible date.” – Associated Press

The United States, Israel and four Arab countries agreed to closer cooperation and annual foreign ministers’ meetings on Monday, two weeks before President Joe Biden’s first visit to the Middle East. – Agence France-Presse

A crane loading chlorine tanks onto a ship in Jordan’s port of Aqaba on Monday dropped one of them, causing an explosion of toxic yellow smoke that killed at least 13 people and sickened some 250, authorities said. – Associated Press

Editorial: When Shimon Peres outlined his vision for the new Middle East in 1995, he was considered an unrealistic optimist. But two years after the Abraham Accords ushered in a new era in the region, Peres’s vision appears to be materializing. The meeting in Manama is just the latest example. – Jerusalem Post

Benny Avni writes: A gelling Mideast alliance could become President Biden’s crowning foreign policy success – unless he undermines it by re-entering a nuclear deal that would fill Tehran’s dwindling coffers. – New York Sun

Herb Keinon writes: And that is not an insignificant message. When then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was fighting then-US president Barack Obama against the Iranian nuclear deal in the middle of the last decade, he was doing it alone, albeit with much of the Arab world in the background rooting silently for his success. Now, however, that Arab support is neither silent nor in the background but rather out there, and, via meetings such as the one held Monday in Bahrain, apparent for all to see. – Jerusalem Post

Korean Peninsula

A top South Korean official said Monday that North Korea is increasingly targeting the South with its nuclear arms program, and urged China and Russia to persuade the North not to conduct a widely expected nuclear test. – Associated Press

North Korea has accused the United States of setting up a military alliance like NATO in Asia, saying the unwavering U.S. aim to oust North Korea’s government compelled it to develop stronger defences. – Reuters

South Korea would expect the U.S. to respond militarily to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, according to a South Korean official. – Axios


Hong Kong has weathered financial crises, mass demonstrations and COVID-19. As the city prepares to mark the 25th anniversary of its handover to Chinese rule, Reuters spoke to five people who described the highs and lows since 1997. – Reuters

Every few generations, Hong Kong transforms itself, evolving from a swampy fishing village to 19th century colonial port, to capitalist outpost and factory after China’s 1949 revolution, to 21st century financial center. – Associated Press

The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to combat illegal fishing by China, ordering federal agencies to better coordinate among themselves as well as with foreign partners in a bid to promote sustainable exploitation of the world’s oceans. – Associated Press

Chinese President Xi Jinping kept Hong Kong guessing on Monday about his possible appearance at the 25th anniversary of the former British colony’s return to Chinese rule. – Associated Press

Nato will warn that China is a challenge to its members’ security in its new 10-year doctrine to be agreed this week, as the western alliance seeks to juggle emerging global threats with war on its eastern border. – Financial Times

Marti Flacks and Madeleine Songy write: G7 members have committed to take action to prevent forced labor in global supply chains, but stopped short of committing to parallel import bans; the upcoming G7 Summit provides an opportunity to take these discussions further. […]Both Mexico and Canada are bound under the USMCA to adopt laws prohibiting goods made with forced labor from entering their markets. Broader outreach, including within central Asia, would make such collective prohibitions even more impactful. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

South Asia

As Ukraine’s allies seek to broaden the coalition of nations against Russia, the United States and Europe are working to persuade India to abandon its neutral stance in the war in Ukraine. – New York Times

Cash-strapped Sri Lanka announced a two-week halt to all fuel sales except for essential services starting Monday and called for a partial shutdown as its unprecedented economic crisis deepened. – Agence France-Presse

Protesters in India’s financial capital Mumbai on Monday demanded the release of a critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who was arrested over the weekend on suspicion of faking documents about anti-Muslim riots in 2002. – Reuters

Sri Lanka is sending two government ministers to Russia to negotiate for fuel — one of the necessities nearly exhausted as a result of the Indian Ocean nation’s economic collapse. – Associated Press

Police in India’s capital New Delhi arrested a Muslim journalist Monday evening for allegedly hurting religious sentiments in what many have slammed as the latest example of shrinking press freedoms under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. – Associated Press


Abroad, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand remains a leading liberal light. During a recent trip to the United States, she delivered the commencement address at Harvard, cracked jokes with Stephen Colbert and met in the Oval Office with President Biden. At each stop, she highlighted her successes in passing gun restrictions and handling the pandemic. – New York Times

A Taiwan-based company said it plans to build a $5 billion factory in Texas to make silicon wafers used in semiconductors, but the deal hinges on financial incentives bogged down in Congress. – Wall Street Journal

Senior US and Taiwanese officials held inaugural talks about developing an “ambitious roadmap for negotiations” to deepen economic and trade ties, a move likely to exacerbate tensions between Washington and Beijing. – Bloomberg

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has warned the Chinese government to learn the lessons of Russia’s “strategic failure” in Ukraine, as he heads to Europe for a meeting of NATO leaders. – Bloomberg

Rodrigo Duterte, who steps down as Philippine president Thursday, has earned international infamy for his deadly drug war and foul-mouthed tirades but remains hugely popular among Filipinos fed up with the country’s dysfunction and political elite. – Agence France-Presse

Ferdinand Marcos Jr has reached the end of a decades-long campaign to rehabilitate the family brand: the presidency. – Agence France-Presse

Myanmar’s Supreme Court heard final arguments on Monday in a long-running, bitter dispute between the country’s ousted leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and her estranged elder brother over the property where she was held under house arrest for 15 years. – Associated Press

Australia will set up a defence school to train Pacific island militaries, Canberra’s new Pacific minister said, amid mounting competition for security ties in the region and as China lays plans for a rival meeting to next month’s Pacific Islands Forum. – Reuters

The foreign minister of Tuvalu pulled out of the United Nations Ocean Conference opening in Portugal on Monday after China blocked the participation of three Taiwanese included in the tiny Pacific island nation’s delegation list, according to Radio New Zealand. – Reuters

A U.S. Navy aircraft’s flight through the Taiwan Strait last week demonstrated a U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, the U.S. military said on Tuesday, after China complained it endangered peace and stability. – Reuters

Dorothy Wickham writes: Washington and Canberra are now saying that we in the Pacific matter to them. They will need to back that up with sustained action. Their wartime sacrifices saved us long ago. But loyalty does not last forever. It must be earned. Small, fragile, but strategic countries like mine have no choice but to chart our own course, with whatever friends we can find. – New York Times


The international community should explore all options to alleviate a Russian squeeze of energy supplies that has spiked prices, including talks with producing nations like Iran and Venezuela, a French presidency official said on Monday. – Reuters

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday he would take a decision nearer to the time whether to attend the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia in November if Russian President Vladimir Putin also attends. – Reuters

Kurds in Sweden’s large diaspora are worried they will become a pawn in the negotiations over Stockholm’s ambition to join NATO if the West makes concessions to win Turkish support. – Reuters

President Biden reportedly plans to announce the extended presence of American troops in Poland who were stationed there over the winter amid Russia’s war against Ukraine. – The Hill

Boris Johnson on Monday secured a 74-vote House of Commons majority for legislation to rip up the Northern Ireland element of his Brexit deal with the EU, but only after the plan was mauled by his predecessor. – Financial Times

Lukas Mengelkamp, Alexander Graef and Ulrich Kühn write: Permanently staging large-scale heavy-armored formations in the immediate vicinity of the NATO-Russia contact zone could be misperceived by Moscow as threatening an offensive operation against Russian territory. […]Given the manifold uncertainties that NATO is facing, confidence-building defense remains the best way to simultaneously reassure allies in a realistic and feasible way while avoiding further escalation with Moscow. – War on the Rocks

James Stavridis writes: But the process of thinking through the potential challenges, crafting a document that lays out a broad course of action, and working together to implement it, will inherently make the alliance more prepared for whatever the next decade brings. This 2022 strategic concept will emphasize the core strengths of NATO — a shared belief in democracy, liberty, rule of law and the other values we cherish. I just wish Madeleine Albright was here to see it. – Bloomberg

Tom Røseth and John Weaver write: Given the shifting geopolitical landscape, NATO allies would be better served by using the summit as a means to strengthen their purpose, rather than pulling back. Allowing Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, unanimously confirming support of Ukraine, and perhaps most important for the United States, embracing NATO’s new Strategic Concept, which will include security issues stemming from China, would send a strong message to other would-be aggressors, that NATO is alive and well. – The Hill


Ethiopia killed seven Sudanese soldiers and a civilian in a border area in the latest sign of deteriorating ties between the east African nations. – Associated Press

German officials said Monday that numerous priceless artifacts taken from African nations during colonial times will be permanently returned. – Associated Press

Spain is shifting its foreign policy towards Africa while lobbying the EU and NATO for support to address migration from the continent, aggravated by the Ukraine invasion, two senior government officials and two diplomatic sources told Reuters. – Reuters

About 30 villagers were killed in weekend attacks in the Akwaya district of Cameroon’s South West region in what local sources described as a feud over land between neighbouring communities aggravated by separatist insurgents acting as hired guns. – Reuters

The Americas

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei landed in the United States for a two-day working tour on Monday, a presidential spokesperson confirmed, as bilateral ties remained strained after he opted out of the Summit of the Americas this month. – Reuters

Editorial: This latest gross human rights violation vindicates President Biden’s refusal to permit Cuba’s attendance at the recent Summit of the Americas; it should embarrass Latin American governments, led by Mexico, that protested that exclusion. Any regime that jails peaceful artists deserves all the denunciation the world can muster. – Washington Post

Miranda Devine writes: Joe Biden betrays at least a guilty knowledge of one of his son’s most lucrative Chinese business deals, in a new voicemail unearthed from Hunter’s abandoned laptop. The president’s own words put the lie to his repeated insistence that he knew nothing about Hunter’s overseas business dealings. […]That is the hope of the Bidens, that Americans will shrug off mounting evidence of their wrongdoing. – New York Post

Latin America

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, discussed global food security and confirmed their intention to strengthen their strategic partnership, the Kremlin said on Monday. – Reuters

Senior U.S. government officials have quietly traveled to Caracas in the latest bid to bring home detained Americans and rebuild relations with the South American oil giant as the war in Ukraine drags on, forcing the U.S. to recalibrate other foreign policy objectives. – Associated Press

Ryan C. Berg and Alexandra Winkler write: Unfortunately, with the new diplomatic outlet provided by Petro’s recognition of Maduro and the region’s generally leftist tide, the Maduro regime already has a best alternative to a negotiated agreement: to continue its criminal activity and strengthen Chavismo’s sphere of influence across the region. – Center for Strategic and International Studies

Benjamin R. Young writes: With its focus on Putin’s war in Ukraine, the Biden administration has underemphasized Latin American affairs, which was on display during the recent Summit of the Americas. In a sign of solidarity with Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, who were excluded from the meeting, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador declined an offer to come to the summit. […]If the United States hopes to prevent growing Chinese and Russian cyber influence in the Western hemisphere, Washington must build long-term economic and cyber links with its partners in Latin America and the Caribbean. – The National Interest


Just days after Moscow threatened retaliation against Lithuania for placing restrictions on cargo traffic to the isolated Russian territory of Kaliningrad, computer hackers “linked to the Russian state” attacked dozens of Lithuanian government and private organizations, the Baltic nation’s deputy defense minister said. – New York Times

A hacking group aligned with the Russian government took credit for a large cyberattack on several government institutions in Lithuania on Monday. – The Record

As hundreds of AI initiatives and programs are underway across the Department of Defense, many are facing new and diverse challenges when it comes to operationalization. Selecting a solution and putting it into practice are certainly not the same task, creating challenges that span both organizational and data facades. – C4ISRNET

The State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) released a cybersecurity strategy Monday meant to address what the bureau’s chief called “technical debt” and to create a more proactive culture when it comes to finding and fixing vulnerabilities. – CyberScoop

U.S. Cyber Command wants more tech companies and others on the front lines of the global fight to secure the internet to share more cybersecurity intelligence so that the organization can improve its defensive capabilities, Cyber Command Executive Director Dave Frederick said in an interview Monday. – CyberScoop

Andrew Garbarino writes: Without adequate funding invested in K-12 cybersecurity education, we risk falling even further behind on the global stage and in the Great Power Competition with Russia and China. By prioritizing K-12 cybersecurity education and training development, we are advancing our national security interests, preparing our future workforce to be more cyber resilient, and equipping them with the skills needed to keep our nation safe and secure now and for future generations. – The Hill


NATO will sharply increase the number of forces it keeps at a high readiness level to 300,000 in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post

NASA has spotted the crash site of a mystery rocket that slammed into the far side of the moon in March, leaving behind a double crater. – Business Insider

Every branch of the U.S. military is struggling to meet its fiscal year 2022 recruiting goals, say multiple U.S. military and defense officials, and numbers obtained by NBC News show both a record low percentage of young Americans eligible to serve and an even tinier fraction willing to consider it. – NBC News

Two months into his new job as the Air Force’s acquisition chief, Andrew Hunter has no shortage of challenges on his plate. The COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine have stretched vital supply chains to their breaking point. The Air Force is arguing with a key contractor over a program that continues to be delayed. And the service is facing tight timelines as it works to develop and field new capabilities in time for a potential major war. – Defense News

Lockheed Martin’s Sikorsky unit won its 10th five-year contract worth $2.3 billion for 120 H-60 Mike-model Black Hawk utility helicopters with options for an additional 135 aircraft for both the Army and other customers through Foreign Military Sales, the Pentagon said. – Defense News

Both teams competing to develop the Missile Defense Agency’s Next-Generation Interceptor are planting deeper roots in Huntsville, Alabama, as part of an effort to try to speed NGI’s fielding as intercontinental ballistic missile threats from North Korea and Iran grow. – Defense News

This month, as Congress starts crafting the fiscal 2023 Defense Department budget, policymakers must decide how to deal with inflation’s erosion of the Pentagon’s purchasing power. A growing number of legislators have called for increasing the budget above the Biden administration’s $773 billion request to compensate for high inflation, among other rationales. Many policymakers have shied away from proposing dollar amounts, instead endorsing specific levels of real growth — the year-to-year percentage change in spending after accounting for inflation, such that 0% means spending grows at the forecast inflation rate. – Defense News

The Senate confirmed a new leader for the U.S. Air Force’s information warfare branch, the latest move in a shuffling of cybersecurity leadership in the military. – C4ISRNET

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercise this summer near Hawaii, USNI News understands. – USNI News

The Navy welcomed the 21st Virginia-class submarine into the fleet over the weekend, the service announced Monday. – USNI News

Adm. Stuart Munsch assumed command of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa on Monday, the Navy announced. – USNI News

Editorial: The alliance could have presented a more compelling image of solidarity, however, were Turkey not still blocking membership for Finland and Sweden over their links to Kurdish separatists. Appearances matter. The north Atlantic alliance is, belatedly, adopting a strategic concept that recognises Russia as the “most significant and direct threat” to its security. But, as in the Cold War, Nato allies must be ready once more to put serious effort and expense into preparing for something it hopes will never happen — with the aim of making sure that it never does. – Financial Times

Lt. Gen. David W. Barno and Nora Bensahel write: To take advantage of this opportunity, Army leaders need to go beyond the broad lessons that Wormuth discussed last month. They need to rigorously reexamine the ways in which the service trains, organizes, and equips its soldiers, and must be willing to change the Army’s trajectory wherever necessary. They cannot afford to miss the lessons of this terrible modern war, so that the Army is as prepared as possible for the challenges that it will face in the future. – War on the Rocks

Long War

Pakistan sentenced one of the militants linked to the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India to 15 years in prison for terror financing unrelated to the assaults, according to court documents viewed by The Associated Press on Monday. – Associated Press

A shootout between Pakistani soldiers and militants in the country’s northwest, near the border with Afghanistan, has killed two soldiers and seven militants, the army said. – Associated Press

The U.S. military conducted a strike on Monday against an individual whom it described as a “senior leader” of an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria. – Washington Examiner

Overnight, IDF, ISA and Israel Border Police forces conducted counterterrorism activities in a number of locations in Judea and Samaria, including in the towns of Halhul, Doha, Silat al-Harithiya, Adic, Abu Dis and Al-Yamun. – Arutz Sheva