Fdd's overnight brief

March 2, 2022

FDD Research & Analysis

In The News


Russian forces, frustrated in plans for a quick victory, shifted to a new strategy of pummeling civilian areas in an attempt to demoralize Ukrainian resistance and reignite their slowing military advance. – Wall Street Journal

The U.S. government will ban Russian aircraft from American airspace, broadening aviation restrictions as the West expands sanctions over the war in Ukraine, President Biden said Tuesday during his State of the Union address. – Wall Street Journal

Several Russian oligarchs are rushing to distance themselves from Russian President Vladimir Putin, as Western countries threaten to squeeze their assets with an unprecedented sanctions drive. – Wall Street Journal

The European Union was set Tuesday to instruct the Swift financial network to delist seven banks, including Russia’s VTB Bank, Bank Rossiya and Bank Otkritie, according to several diplomats involved in discussions. The measure should be approved Tuesday evening although discussions were ongoing on whether any more banks should be immediately delisted. – Wall Street Journal

Apple Inc., Ford Motor Co. and Dell Technologies Inc. joined the roster of companies retreating from Russia, while other global businesses, including Volkswagen AG , warned of further supply disruptions following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Exxon Mobil Corp. said late Tuesday it was halting operations at a multibillion-dollar oil and gas project in Russia and would make no further investments in the country following its attack on Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

Russian forces resumed airstrikes on central Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and continued pounding other cities as they sought to break the will of Ukraine’s resistance on the seventh day of the war unleashed by President Vladimir Putin. – Wall Street Journal

The Russian military is branching out from relying heavily on guided missiles in its bombardment of Ukraine, firing more artillery, rockets and other weapons that can be difficult to aim precisely and cause devastating carnage in civilian areas, military experts said. – Washington Post

A Russian missile strike that appeared to target Kyiv’s TV Tower also hit the nearby Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site and killed five people, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Tuesday on Twitter. – Washington Post

The invasion that united NATO and Europe on sanctions as never before has also divided Russians. On one side: an outward-looking urban middle class who vacation in Europe and while away spend time scrolling through Western apps on their iPhones and send their children to universities abroad. On the other: Putin loyalists, many less-educated Russians or older people raised on Soviet propaganda. – Washington Post

The early days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have shown that the Kremlin’s plans for its military campaign were flawed at best. Its assumptions about what comes after may be equally unsound. – Washington Post

Russia intensified strikes on cities across Ukraine on Tuesday, but the advance of foreign forces ground to a halt outside Kyiv as local troops and volunteers steeled themselves for a fierce battle for the capital. – Washington Post

Russia, careening toward economic crisis under the weight of devastating Western sanctions, has put its nuclear forces on alert as the Kremlin’s siege of Ukraine intensifies. – Washington Post

Brushing aside international outrage, Russia widened its assault deep inside Ukraine on Tuesday, bombing civilian areas in the two biggest cities, amassing a miles-long convoy near the capital’s doorstep and warning an outside world intent on economic reprisals not to go too far. – New York Times 

When Russia seized Crimea in 2014, President Vladimir V. Putin was so worried about Russian casualty figures coming to light that authorities accosted journalists who tried to cover funerals of some of the 400 troops killed during that one-month campaign. – New York Times

The United States and the European Union have been unwilling to put sanctions on Russian energy exports in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. But some oil traders appear to have concluded that buying oil from Russia is just not worth the trouble. – New York Times

Russia said on Tuesday it would retaliate over the U.S. expulsion of 12 of its diplomats at the United Nations for alleged spying. – Reuters

Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that its forces had captured Kherson, a Ukrainian port, according to a report by Interfax. The government in Kyiv hasn’t confirmed the information, but said overnight that troops were moving toward the city. – Bloomberg

Ukraine’s leader decried Russia’s escalation of attacks on crowded cities as a blatant terror campaign, while President Joe Biden warned that if the Russian leader didn’t “pay a price” for the invasion, the aggression wouldn’t stop with one country. – Associated Press 

As Russia’s top diplomat during the invasion of Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is embodying the Kremlin’s defiant posture with a mixture of toughness and sarcasm. – Associated Press

Moscow’s war on Ukraine and the ferocious financial backlash it’s unleashed are not only inflicting an economic catastrophe on President Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The repercussions are also menacing the global economy, shaking financial markets and making life more perilous for everyone from Uzbek migrant workers to European consumers to hungry Yemeni families. – Associated Press

The International Energy Agency’s 31 member countries agreed Tuesday to release 60 million barrels of oil from their strategic reserves — half of that from the United States — “to send a strong message to oil markets” that supplies won’t fall short after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. – Associated Press

Russian nuclear submarines sailed off for drills in the Barents Sea and mobile missile launchers roamed snow forests Tuesday in Siberia after President Vladimir Putin ordered his nation’s nuclear forces put on high alert over tensions with the West over the invasion of Ukraine. – Associated Press

In war, winning quick control of airspace is crucial. Russia’s failure to do so in Ukraine, despite its vast military strength, has been a surprise and may help explain how Ukraine has so far prevented a rout. – Associated Press

Ambassadors from dozens of countries on Monday backed a proposal demanding that Russia halt its attack on Ukraine, as the U.N. General Assembly held a rare emergency session during a day of frenzied and sometimes fractious diplomacy surrounding the five-day-old war. – Associated Press

Russia is guilty of “geopolitical terrorism” by violating international law in its invasion of Ukraine, EU chief Charles Michel said on Tuesday. – Agence France-Presse

The United States is expelling a 13th Russian official at the United Nations who is suspected of spying. One day after the U.S. government said it was expelling 12 Russian “intelligence operatives” from the Russian Mission to the United Nations over national security concerns, U.N. spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Tuesday of another Russian diplomat who is getting the boot. – Washington Examiner

The International Court of Justice (IJC) will hold public hearings next week on allegations of genocide in Ukraine, as Russia continues its invasion of the country. – The Hill

Russia has fired more than 400 missiles since it began its invasion of Ukraine six days ago, though its advance on Kyiv has made little progress from a day prior, a senior defense official said Tuesday. – The Hill

On February 2, 2022, the Spanish newspaper El País published the full text of NATO’s and Washington’s confidential responses to Russia’s demand for security guarantees in the form of a proposed treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation, known as “Putin’s ultimatum.” The documents were then republished by the Russian news agency TASS. – Middle East Media Research Institute

In the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent nuclear orders to his forces, the top military officer responsible for America’s nuclear arsenal said the U.S. has not made any moves of its own. – Defense News

Seth G. Jones writes: Russia has ruthlessly targeted resistance efforts in Chechnya and Syria and will do so again in Ukraine. Any sanctuary used by Ukrainian rebels, whether in Ukrainian territory or NATO countries, could be subject to Russian attacks. While some Western leaders may oppose aiding Ukrainian fighters because they fear Russian retaliation, being cowed by Mr. Putin is precisely how the West stumbled into the current crisis. – Wall Street Journal

Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. writes: Events can be momentous without meriting grandiloquent description. There can’t be a new cold war because the Russia of today can’t sustain a cold war. It’s not the U.S.S.R. Economically, it’s not even Spain. Operative all along hasn’t been Russia’s historical and geographic imperatives, but the grotty nature of the current regime. […]Mr. Putin’s geopolitical posturing is absurd. His regime is destroying itself over an entirely fictional threat of NATO aggression from Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal

William A. Galston writes: In the short term, the conflict in Ukraine may mean higher fuel prices. In the longer term, it may require a larger military budget. It is Mr. Biden’s job to prepare the American people for whatever sacrifices lie ahead. But whatever hardships we may endure, they will not approach the sacrifices that the defenders of Ukraine are making every hour. Their bravery should inspire all of us to set aside our differences and unite around a strategy that protects our interests and reflects our principles. – Wall Street Journal

David Von Drehle writes: That could be a fatal crack in the strong allied response to Putin’s rape of Ukraine. Zelensky’s courage has thrown open a window of opportunity to be free of Putin and Putinism. But the window will slam shut if the West fails to make hard choices. Europe must be more energy independent, starting with Germany. Step 1: Keep the remaining nuclear power plants going. Step 2: Accelerate capacity to import liquid natural gas. – Washington Post

David Ignatius writes: As we think about ladders of escalation, America is near the top of its chosen domain of economic war. Putin has brought that devastation on himself; he has doomed his presidency, irrevocably. But in the weeks and months ahead, America and its allies will need to allow Russia an exit ramp to escape this folly — or face ever-rising danger. – Washington Post

David E. Sanger writes: In 2022, Mr. Biden’s task is to keep history from repeating itself. But he acknowledged that it would be a while before the full implications of Russia’s decision to go to war to play out. – New York Times

Martin Wolf writes: This is not a conflict with the Russian people. We should still hope for them a political regime worthy of their contribution to our civilisation. It is a conflict with their regime. Russia has emerged as a pariah ruled by a gangster. We cannot live in peace and security with such a neighbour. This invasion must not stand, since its success would threaten us all. We are in a new world. We must understand that and act accordingly. – Financial Times

Andreas Kluth writes: Every aspiring or incumbent leader across the world has taken note — from tin-pot dictators here to mullahs there, from aspiring superpowers to stateless terrorists. Putin has taught them that to disarm is a mistake, no matter what you’re promised, because sooner or later you’ll encounter somebody, well, like him. – Bloomberg

Frederick W. Kagan, George Barros, and Kateryna Stepanenko write: The Russian attack on Kyiv likely consists of a main effort aimed at enveloping and ultimately encircling the city from the west and a supporting effort along the axes from Chernihiv and Sumy to encircle Kyiv from the east. The long Russian column of combat and logistics vehicles north of Kyiv is likely setting conditions for the envelopment to the west, although it could also support attacks directly into the city from the positions Russian forces maintain in Kyiv’s northwestern outskirts. Russian forces are more likely to pursue the envelopment/encirclement than a direct assault into the city. – Institute for the Study of War

Richard Fontaine writes: The global treatment of Russia may well mark the most profound of all of these shifts. It’s the world’s largest country by geography, an oil-and-gas powerhouse with the globe’s largest nuclear arsenal. Nevertheless, a curtain is descending around it, disconnecting Russians from globalization’s benefits, such as trade, travel, finance, and technology. The result will be a poorer, more isolated, and weaker Russia. Governments are no longer trying to alter Russian behavior but are instead trying to diminish its ability to project power. – The Atlantic


Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has cast a shadow over talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal, which extended beyond a presumed deadline Tuesday amid growing doubts that a new agreement is in sight. – Washington Post

Iran likely suffered another failed launch of a satellite-carrying rocket in recent days attempting to reinvigorate a program criticized by the West, even as Tehran faces last-minute negotiations with world powers to save its tattered nuclear deal in Vienna. – Associated Press 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Wednesday that a new Iran nuclear agreement “cannot be postponed any longer”, during a visit to Israel which staunchly opposes efforts to forge a deal. – Agence France-Presse

Editorial: Biden should retain the sanctions that are currently crippling Iran’s economy. Working with France, which is more hawkish on Iran than is commonly understood, and Britain, he should insist that any new nuclear agreement include three key additions. First, it should eliminate the original agreement’s 2030 sunset clause. Second, it should include restrictions upon Iran’s ballistic missile program. Third, it should contain a new inspections protocol that allows for the rapid International Atomic Energy Agency investigation of all suspicious nuclear sites, including military bases. – Washington Examiner

David Albright and Sarah Burkhard write: The findings at Marivan are examples of Iran’s pattern of destroying locations that undermines the IAEA’s responsibility to verify the completeness of Iran’s declarations of nuclear material and activities, a requirement derived from Iran’s comprehensive safeguards agreement and not dependent on the existence of an Additional Protocol. […]At the same time, U.S. negotiators should put Iran on notice that its refusal to expeditiously provide an honest, complete declaration is sufficient cause for the imposition of additional sanctions and their snapback in their entirety in the event of a nuclear deal. – Institute for Science and International Security

Michael Rubin writes: The two points together have created a perfect storm for Iran. It’s hard to take the Iranian regime’s pleas of poverty seriously when it spends several billion dollars annually on terrorists, militias and proxy groups seeking to undermine regional states. Obstruction and terror support do not equate to influence. […]The reality is that the Islamic Republic of Iran at age 43 is a zombie state. Its legitimacy is gone. – The Strategist

Ghazal Vaisi writes: The popular perception in Iran is that the 25-year strategic agreement with China will only strengthen the Iranian regime by helping it to impose new oppressive measures, control information, spread propaganda, and spy on dissidents and their families. What’s more, in return, Beijing will continue to kill off Iranian craftsmanship with a flood of inexpensive goods and destroy the environment with white-elephant infrastructure projects that profit China rather than Iran. – Middle East Institute


The World Bank on Tuesday announced more than $1 billion in humanitarian aid for Afghanistan, stating the money will go to UN agencies and international NGOs while remaining “outside the control” of the country’s Taliban rulers. – Agence France-Presse

On February 19, 2022, As-Sahab, Al-Qaeda’s official central media outlet, released the sixth issue of its Arabic-language magazine, Ummah Wahidah (One Ummah). The 148-page magazine, which focuses on the August 2021 “manifest victory” of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (the Afghan Taliban), contains a lengthy article titled “America Burns 3: A Year of Biden’s Rule and a Succession of Setbacks.” – Middle East Media Research Institute

Philip Kosnett writes: One thing Afghans know too well is war. Many new arrivals have military, para-military, police, or counterterrorism experience or have served alongside US or other allied troops as interpreters. We have here the makings of a deal: Congress can legislate the creation of an Afghan-only Army unit with no requirement for LPR status or citizenship upon entry, where these pre-vetted veterans could put their skills to work. US troops with Afghan experience – including Afghan-Americans already serving — could help stand up, train, and lead the unit. It might be best to start with a small testbed — say, a light infantry battalion of several hundred soldiers. – Center for European Policy Analysis


A small contingent from the United States Department of Homeland Security is in Israel this week to sign commitments to expand cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries, and to discuss Israel’s progress toward joining the US visa waiver program. – Times of Israel

Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan will not address the General Assembly debate on the Ukraine invasion, following orders from Foreign Minister Yair Lapid who wants Israel to keep a lower profile ahead of its vote in favor of a resolution condemning Russia, an Israeli official told The Times of Israel Tuesday. – Times of Israel

Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Herzog, reiterated on Tuesday that Israel supports the sovereignty of Ukraine. – Arutz Sheva

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid warned the other ministers at Monday’s Cabinet meeting that, following the situation in Ukraine, sanctions will soon be imposed on hundreds of individuals – including Russian oligarchs, some of whom have Israeli citizenship. – Arutz Sheva

Simon Henderson writes: The diplomatic outcomes could prove much more valuable, however. Besides potentially ending a decade of political strife with a major regional power in Ankara next month, Herzog’s trips reflect Jerusalem’s desire to advance its good relations with Greece and Cyprus, two important voting members of the European Union. The three countries have also held joint military exercises. Of course, balancing these relationships will still require substantial finesse given Turkey’s deep bilateral disputes with Cyprus and Greece. – Washington Institute

Fardin Eftekhari writes: Though Iran has tools to respond to Israeli attacks on its facilities and forces in Syria — and Russia knows that — the Islamic Republic refrains from retaliating because it sees the damage from Israeli strikes as a marginal threat to its influence there. More than anything, Tehran doesn’t want to alienate Russia by engaging directly with Israel in Syria. – Middle East Institute 

Arabian Peninsula

Dana Stroul, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, said on Monday that Iranian support is helping fuel the Yemeni Houthis’ escalating attacks on the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, while distancing Tehran’s support for the militant group from the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna. – Jewish Insider


Middle East & North Africa

Libya’s eastern-based parliament on Tuesday approved a new cabinet, in a challenge to the unity government of Abdulhamid Dbeibah in the capital Tripoli in the west. – Agence France-Presse

Russia cancelled a bid to send four of its warships through Turkish waters into the Black Sea at Turkey’s request, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, adding the decision was made before Ankara closed the straits over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters

Ericsson breached its US deferred prosecution agreement for a second time by withholding information about possible payments to the Isis terror group in Iraq, as the crisis surrounding the Swedish telecoms equipment maker deepened. – Financial Times

Amid the mounting tensions between Russia and the U.S. and NATO over Ukraine, the Syrian regime has aligned itself fully with its ally, Russia, while attacking the U.S. and Europe, which it claims are seeking to undermine Russia’s national security. Syrian officials have praised Russia’s stance vis-à-vis the West, presenting it as “defending the entire world and the principles of justice and humanity.” – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Andy Milburn writes: All indications are that Putin’s next steps will be to consolidate Russia’s position in the Middle East. The United States can either plan now to preempt him, or simply hope that this is not the case. And as military planners are fond of reminding one another, hope is not a course of action. – Middle East Institute

Andy Milburn writes: We already have a number of bilateral fusion cells scattered throughout the region, focused on the threat from Sunni extremist groups. And when it comes to interdicting the supply chain, the problem is relatively simple. All shipments must pass through one of a small group of Iranian ports and either move overland across Oman or parallel to the coast. Intercepting shipments is not a problem of resources or intelligence assets — it’s one of political will. – Middle East Institute


In sign of rising worry over the conflict in Ukraine, China’s foreign minister expressed concern over civilian casualties and said that preventing further escalation was a “top priority” during a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart. – Washington Post

The self-governed island democracy has long faced the threat of being absorbed by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, which has vowed to do so by force if it deems necessary. As Taiwanese watch Russian troops pour into Ukraine, their unease about their island’s own future is growing. The courage of Ukrainians, as well as the harsh reality of that country’s lonely battle, has driven a greater sense of urgency among many Taiwanese to step up the island’s defenses. – New York Times

China signalled it was ready to play a role in finding a ceasefire in Ukraine as it “deplored” the outbreak of conflict in its strongest comments yet on the war. – Financial Times

A U.S. delegation arrived in Taiwan on Tuesday to demonstrate support for the island nation, drawing swift condemnation from China, which said the efforts were “bound to fail.” – The Hill

China’s purchases of Iranian oil have risen to record levels in recent months, exceeding a 2017 peak when the trade was not subject to US sanctions, tanker tracking data showed. – Reuters

Matthew Brooker writes: There are some growing signs of ambivalence within China. […]China won’t repudiate its alliance with Russia, but the inability to anticipate the Ukraine invasion is an unambiguous failure. It deserves to prompt a reassessment on multiple fronts — from the top down. – Bloomberg

James Kynge writes: In a nutshell, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine presents China with an almost impossible balancing act. […]The question now is what can China do next. It is possible that Beijing may try in coming days and weeks to play up a potential role as a peacemaker. – Financial Times

South Asia

When India abstained from a United Nations vote and the chorus of Western condemnation against the Ukraine invasion, it appeared to be taking sides: offering tacit support for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. – New York Times

Ruth Pollard writes: Something’s got to give. While India is sensitive to international criticism of its treatment of Muslims, it does little to address the problem. It is already a stretch for strategic partners like the U.S. to use the term “shared values” when it comes to New Delhi, while the big economic transformation Modi talks of is never going to happen when so many Indians are trapped in a politically driven cycle of sectarianism, poverty and joblessness. It’s time to turn down the temperature.  – Bloomberg

Shairee Malhotra writes: On February 24th, the world awoke to the news of Russia’s invasion of the sovereign state of Ukraine. As the West levies harsh sanctions to punish Russia, it is no secret that India is caught between a rock and a hard place, given its simultaneously close ties with both Moscow and the West, and its desire for a multipolar world order in which middle powers India and Russia are key actors. – Haaretz 


A plunging ruble, flight cancellations and money-transfer difficulties are prompting Russian and European tourists to cancel trips to Thailand, a blow to the Asian nation’s tourism-revival efforts. – Bloomberg

Days after approving $350mn in military aid for Ukraine, US president Joe Biden sent a message of support to another vulnerable country by dispatching a high-level delegation of former American officials to Taiwan. – Financial Times

Editorial: Mr. Abe is right that Japan can’t answer strategic questions its leaders aren’t willing to ask, and that Japan can no longer afford to leave options off the table. The backdrop is Mr. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which accentuates Japan’s growing concern about the prospect of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan as Beijing amps up its nationalist rhetoric and appears to make common cause with the Kremlin. – Wall Street Journal


U.S. efforts to provide Ukraine weapons to battle the Russian invasion are complicated by limited supply lines, a potentially small window to save Kyiv from collapse and a Cold War legacy that made Western small arms ammunition incompatible with those produced in the Eastern Bloc. – Wall Street Journal

Finnish political parties gathered Tuesday to discuss joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a first step to possibly ending the Nordic nation’s decadeslong nonaligned status and another sign of the tectonic shifts in Europe’s security landscape prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal 

The operator of Nord Stream 2 AG, a major gas pipeline connecting Russia with Germany, has laid off more than 100 workers and wound down its operations, according to a Swiss official. – Wall Street Journal

Over the past few days, leaders in European capitals — not Washington — have taken the public lead on many of the most punishing actions designed to persuade Putin to halt his invasion. – Washington Post 

Six of Ukraine’s 15 working nuclear reactors have stopped sending power into the nation’s electrical grid — a high rate of disconnection compared with routine operations before the Russian invasion. – New York Times

Once seen by Russia — and nervous NATO allies — as the potential soft underbelly allowing Mr. Putin to break Europe’s liberal consensus and strengthen his regional influence, Italy has armored itself in the unity of the bloc and accepted the risk that the Kremlin could cut off much of Italy’s fuel in retaliation. – New York Times 

Hungary’s right-wing nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orban, has for more than a decade nurtured close political and economic ties with Russia, giving him the reputation as the Kremlin’s closest European Union ally. – Associated Press

France said on Tuesday that Western sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine will cause the Russian economy to collapse. – Agence France-Presse

The United Nations launches an emergency appeal for $1.7 billion to provide urgent humanitarian aid to people caught up in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and refugees fleeing the fighting. – Agence France-Presse

The World Bank announced Tuesday that it is preparing a $3 billion aid package for war-torn Ukraine, which will including at least $350 million in immediate funds. – Agence France-Presse

Spain will supply “military hardware” to Ukraine following Russia’s invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told parliament on Wednesday. – Agence France-Presse 

An assassination plot against President Volodymyr Zelensky has been thwarted, according to Ukrainian officials. – Washington Examiner

The government has launched an urgent review into how to reduce Britain’s exposure to Russian gas imports and Kremlin-backed energy companies following the invasion of Ukraine, according to people familiar with the situation. – Financial Times

If joining the EU was a popularity contest, Ukraine would be guaranteed a place after an impassioned plea by its president Volodymyr Zelensky had the European Parliament on its feet on Tuesday. – Financial Times

The EU must accelerate steps to admit Georgia into the bloc to protect it from Russia, the country’s president has said, suggesting Brussels had left it too late with Ukraine. – Financial Times

Images have emerged of Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko standing in front of a battle map that appears to show a planned invasion of Moldova, along with Ukraine. – The Hill

Hungary is backing Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union amid the Russian invasion, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Tuesday at a press conference. – The Hill

Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland have all increased their support for the defence of Ukraine, with Finland being the latest to announce the donation of weapons. – Janes

Editorial: Western governments face wrenching decisions as Mr. Putin tears up Europe’s post-World War II order. Mr. Starmer does his country and Labour a favor by showing that Britain’s party of the center-left will engage fully in these debates rather than retreating into wooly pacifism. American conservatives who want to retreat from the world could learn from the British Labour leader. – Wall Street Journal

Editorial: But beyond that, no change to Americans’ energy use will affect Europe’s current dependency on Russian gas, which is one of the major factors in the current conflict. The best thing Americans can do to support Europe right now and reduce its dependency on Russia is to produce more — much more — natural gas, liquefy it, and ship it to Europe. No amount of windmills erected by Americans will get Europeans the energy they need in order to stand up to Putin without fear. – Washington Examiner

Charles Lane writes: No longer the bland politician who plodded up the ranks of German politics for decades, Scholz did not quite promise Germans “blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He did, however, abandon quasi-pacifist post-World War II and post-Cold War German shibboleths that had prevailed especially strongly in his own Social Democratic Party — and had still constrained his center-left coalition government’s response to Putin only days earlier. – Washington Post

Dan Bilefsky writes: Even though Ukraine’s E.U. membership process is likely to be gradual, the country’s attempt to forge closer ties with NATO and the European Union underlines that President Vladimir V. Putin’s attempt to bring Ukraine back into Russia’s orbit by force appears to be having the opposite effect. – New York Times

Lionel Laurent writes: It is, however, heartening that the EU’s power play is being seen, not just heard: A more assertive bloc willing to invest in defense with U.S. support, confront economic dependencies that make it vulnerable, and find common ground among its members. It’s an idealistic flag, but one worth flying. – Bloomberg

Anchal Vohra writes: U.S. and European sanctions are no match for Russia’s military might and are unlikely to dissuade Putin and his cohorts from withdrawing from eastern Ukraine. Aiding Ukrainian fighters with weapons, by contrast, may halt Putin’s march into Kyiv—but it will certainly heighten fears among Europeans of a nuclear response. – Foreign Policy


At least 440 people were killed in violence between warring parties in the South Sudanese county of Tambura between June and September last year, the United Nations said in a new report on Tuesday. – Reuters

The South African rand weakened slightly against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday, as markets remained on edge following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters

The U.S. Treasury Department announced financial sanctions Tuesday against four men in South Africa it accused of being recruiters and fundraisers for the Islamic State group. – Associated Press

A South African logistics group won lucrative state contracts from Jacob Zuma’s government through “widespread corruption” and bags of cash, according to the latest report by a judicial inquiry into the looting of the state under the country’s former president. – Financial Times

Latin America

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro discussed increasing a strategic partnership between Russia and Venezuela in a phone call on Tuesday, the Interfax news agency reported, citing the Kremlin. – Reuters

Mexico will not impose any economic sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday. – Reuters

Editorial: Having previously been aligned with Mr. Ortega, Mr. Torres was being punished for concluding that the current regime is — as he said in his last public statement before being arrested in June 2021 — “more brutal, more unscrupulous, more irrational and more autocratic” than Somoza’s. The Ortega regime is closely aligned with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, which aids Nicaragua’s army and which dispatched two high-level delegates for talks in Managua during the week prior to and week of the invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Ortega obediently praised Mr. Putin’s recognition of breakaway Ukrainian provinces. – Washington Post

Evan Ellis and Ryan C. Berg write: If the Ukrainians unexpectedly restored hope in those willing to fight for their own political liberty, the actions of anti-democratic regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba, as well as the opportunistic heads of state in Argentina and Brazil embracing Russia’s aggression, serve as a reminder of the importance of doing more to support those fighting for democratic governance in our own hemisphere. Indeed, in the long-term, the anti-U.S. authoritarian regimes in the Western Hemisphere look exposed and potentially at risk of re-galvanized opposition movements. – The Hill

North America

Canada ratcheted up pressure on Russia on Tuesday for its invasion of Ukraine by shutting ports to Russian-owned ships and saying that holdings of all Russian oligarchs and companies in the country are under review. – Reuters

President Biden sought to rally the country against war, inflation and the pandemic during his first State of the Union address Tuesday night, using one of the biggest moments of his presidency to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and pitching a diminished agenda he hopes can win bipartisan support. – Washington Post

Editorial: An anxious world is looking for American leadership in a dangerous new era. Instead Mr. Biden offered a rehash of his first-year domestic agenda that has brought him to his low political ebb. It’s dispiriting that a White House facing so many daunting challenges could come up with so little. The President really does need to fire some people and get better advice. – Wall Street Journal 


As Russia’s war in Ukraine plays out for the world on social media, big tech platforms are moving to restrict Russian state media from using their platforms to spread propaganda and misinformation. – Associated Press

Meta will demote posts from Russian state-controlled media accounts or linking to the outlets across Facebook and Instagram globally, executives said Tuesday. – The Hill

Chinese tech giants are diverging in their responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. […]That’s put Chinese tech companies in a bind. Unlike their Silicon Valley counterparts — many of whom don’t rely as heavily on Chinese consumers — Chinese tech giants find considerable support for their products and services both within China and elsewhere. – Business Insider

Ivan Stefanec writes: The European Union needs to build strong partnerships. Only a common and united approach can counter the Russian pressure. We must forge a robust digital alliance, strengthen transatlantic cooperation, and work with technology companies that take a critical role in identifying security threats. – Center for European Policy Analysis

Frank Cilluffo and Sharon Cardash write: China and Russia each know their cyber neighborhood intimately and are both forces to be reckoned with in this regard. But while Taiwan and Ukraine may each be outmatched by regional cyber powers who have these two countries in their target hairs, others must not be paralyzed. – CyberScoop


The Pentagon is deciding if it should add more U.S. troops to NATO-member countries in Eastern Europe on a permanent basis following Russia’s attack on Ukraine last week, a top Defense Department official said Tuesday. – The Hill 

The US Navy (USN) is participating in an India-led series of biennial naval drills known as Exercise ‘Milan’ for the first time since the activity began in 1995. – Janes

The U.S. Army is preparing to demonstrate an offensive drone swarm capability at its next Project Convergence experimentation effort this fall, according to the service’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office. – Defense News

Mackenzie Eaglen writes: The United States and its allies and partners are faced with strategic competitors in multiple theaters. As Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine violently reorders the security of Europe, America’s military is reminded that it cannot afford to fall further behind or move any slower. – American Enterprise Institute