Fdd's overnight brief

March 22, 2022

In The News


Russia has used hypersonic missiles in Ukraine, President Biden confirmed Monday, a move he suggested was in response to Moscow’s stalled ground campaign. Russia said last week that it had twice launched the missiles, which travel faster than five times the speed of sound and have not previously been used in combat. – Washington Post  

One of the world’s top chess players, Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin, has been banned for six months by the International Chess Federation for publicly declaring his support for Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Post  

Russia on Monday said it would halt negotiations with Japan regarding a post-World War II peace treaty amid Tokyo’s escalating sanctions pressuring Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, the latest sign of deteriorating bilateral relations. – Washington Post  

Russian attacks struck Kyiv, Odessa and other locations across Ukraine as Moscow appears to be shifting its battle plan to compel Ukraine to relinquish claims to its southern and eastern territory. The Ukrainian government on Monday rebuffed Russia’s demand to surrender the embattled port city of Mariupol, where intense fighting continued. – Wall Street Journal 

Nearly a month into the fighting, one of the biggest surprises of the war in Ukraine is Russia’s failure to defeat the Ukrainian Air Force. Military analysts had expected Russian forces to quickly destroy or paralyze Ukraine’s air defenses and military aircraft, yet neither have happened. – New York Times  

In a video address shared online early Tuesday, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine condemned Russian attacks on protesters in the city of Kherson in the south and strikes in the Zaporizhzhia region in the southeast, where four children were hospitalized. – New York Times  

The U.S. State Department on Monday confirmed a meeting between U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan and the Russian government, during which Sullivan demanded that Moscow follow international law and allow consular access to all U.S. citizens detained in Russia. – Reuters 

Ukraine said on Monday it would not obey ultimatums from Russia after Moscow demanded it stop defending besieged Mariupol, where hundreds of thousands of civilians are suffering through Russian bombardments laying waste to their city. – Reuters 

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Monday it had summoned U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan to tell him that President Joe Biden’s calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” had pushed bilateral ties to the brink of collapse. – Reuters 

Imprisoned Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is facing a lengthy prison term on top of the one he is already serving in a trial Kremlin critics see as an attempt to keep President Vladimir Putin’s most ardent foe in prison for as long as possible. – Associated Press 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to virtually deliver his address to the Japanese parliament on Wednesday to rally international support for his country’s fight against Russian invasion. – Associated Press 

Ukrainian leader Volodymr Zelensky said all issues would be on the table if Russia’s Vladimir Putin agreed to direct talks to end the war, including contested Crimea and Donbas, but he warned his country would be “destroyed” before it surrenders. – Agence France-Presse  

US President Joe Biden said Monday that it’s “clear” Russia is considering the use of chemical and biological weapons in Ukraine and warned of a “severe” Western response if it chose to do so. – Times of Israel  

The use of hypersonic missiles raised concern across the world, as the next-gen weapons are able to hit any target on the globe within an hour. With war raging and perhaps escalating, it is important to understand these novel – and controversial – weapons. – Jerusalem Post  

Pat Toomey writes: There is an undeniable cost to energy consumers from cutting off Mr. Putin’s oil and gas revenue. But the price of thwarting his assault on the Ukrainian people isn’t as expensive as allowing him to reconstitute a Russian empire. Secondary sanctions will give Ukraine a fighting chance to win this war, and defeating Mr. Putin now will prevent the next one. – Wall Street Journal 

Adam Taylor writes: Eighty years later, Russia is increasingly using missiles and artillery to inflict maximum destruction in what analysts say is an attempt to compel Ukrainian authorities to surrender key cities. In Mariupol, Ukrainian authorities have accused Russia of targeting an art school and a theater where hundreds of families were sheltering, while persistent street-to-street fighting has hampered rescue efforts. If Putin learned the horror of siege tactics growing up in Leningrad, he learned the effectiveness of that horror in Grozny, Aleppo — and perhaps now Mariupol. – Washington Post  

Andriy Yermak writes: Ukrainian soldiers, citizens and volunteers from around the world are valiantly holding back the Russian invaders, for now. The Ukrainian people have shown they can lead the struggle for democracy against tyranny. We just need more support. To freedom-loving people around the world we say: This is your war, too. Help us win it. If not, the harshest dictatorship since World War II will triumph over Europe. – Washington Post  

Scott Sacknoff writes: We should not lose perspective of the humanitarian and cultural impact that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had. Still, purely from a business perspective, the bottom line is that the financial impact of sanctions on defense companies is likely to result in little harm, especially when weighed against the increased spending and activity for the sector’s products and services. – Defense News  

Niall Ferguson writes: Allowing Ukraine to be bombed to rubble by Putin is not smart; it creates the chance for him to achieve his goal of rendering Ukrainian independence unviable. Putin, like most Russian leaders in history, will most likely die of natural causes. And China watches all this with a growing sense of certainty that it is not up against the U.S. of Truman and Kennan. For that America — the one that so confidently waged the opening phase of Cold War I — is itself now history. – Bloomberg 

Bobby Ghosh writes: To have president of Russia, at a time when his troops are committing atrocities in Ukraine, appeal to this particular line of the New Testament was quite something. It tells you a lot about the way the Putin regime has instrumentalized Christianity and the church in general. – Bloomberg 

James M. Dubik writes: If Putin can withstand the pressure of the sanctions and continue escalating indiscriminate attacks while the West continues its current approach, Ukraine may be destroyed. This is the inherent risk in the current, gradualist approach. If this happens, Western leaders will tell themselves, “We did all we could; we won’t let that happen ever again.” But such a claim has little deterrent value, for it is based on taking counsel of fear — something other nuclear armed authoritative governments will see clearly, even if Western political leaders don’t. – The Hill 

Stephen Collinson writes: Biden’s statement was also a clear warning to US businesses to make a renewed effort to protect themselves from cyberhacking before it is too late. Some firms lack the capabilities of government to protect themselves. The cost of cybersecurity is particularly onerous for smaller businesses and vendors. US firms face cyberattacks every day that cost millions of dollars. But there was a real sense that Biden’s statement was intended as a wake-up to the private sector that something much worse was on the way. – CNN 

Kristin Ven Bruusgaard writes: The unprecedented nature of the Western response to Russian aggression has produced a situation where the Russians, too, are in unchartered territory. […]For now, a range of factors indicate that the Russian leadership is not there. Putin still seeks to deter Western intervention by signaling red lines, including in relation to no-fly zones, arms deliveries, and economic warfare. The Russian president still grasps that a direct confrontation with the West, and crossing the nuclear threshold, would produce the most dangerous situation Russia has ever faced. – War on the Rocks 


The effort to revive the 2015 nuclear deal agreement now hinges on perhaps the most politically sensitive issue in the negotiations: whether to remove the U.S. terrorism designation for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, the country’s powerful security force, diplomats said. – Wall Street Journal 

In her first public comments since arriving back in Britain, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman freed from detention in Iran last week, on Monday appealed for others unjustly held in Tehran to be allowed to leave, saying that she herself should have been released a long time ago. – New York Times  

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday the country’s economy should not be tied to efforts to remove U.S. sanctions. – Reuters 

Russia’s ambassador said on Monday he hoped that efforts to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord would resume after the Nowruz Persian New Year holidays, TASS news agency reported. – Reuters 

An Iranian-American environmentalist who was released from an Iranian prison has been taken back to jail, one of his daughters told a news conference in London on Monday. – Reuters 

Iran’s supreme leader on Monday signaled support for Tehran’s nuclear negotiations to secure sanctions relief, a rare reference to the still-halted talks as world powers near a diplomatic turning point. – Associated Press 

A deal to restore the pact limiting Iran’s nuclear program is not imminent, but Washington is prepared to take “difficult decisions” to make it happen, State Department Spokesman Ned Price said Monday. – Agence France-Presse  

Satellite footage released on Monday revealed the extent of damage of a drone attack attributed to Israel on an Iranian drone warehouse last month. Ynet 

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday that Israel will keep regarding Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization even if the United States removes the label from the powerful paramilitary group. – Ynet  

White House press secretary Jen Psaki promised that negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal would reflect the best interests of the United States and its allies, despite criticism from some corners. – Washington Examiner 

An Iranian dissident has filmed a series of reports from Tehran for Israeli television, depicting the country’s cratering economy, frustrated residents, drug abuse and prostitution. – Times of Israel 

Arash Aalaei and Mehdi Khalaji write: Finally, given current budgetary realities, Washington should reduce and refocus its Persian television component. Rather than trying to be all things to all people, this programming should be exclusively about the United States, U.S. policy, and policy debates. Any cultural content should focus on emphasizing the differences between America’s open society and the strict limits imposed by the Islamic Republic. – Washington Institute 

Matthew Levitt writes: The Biden administration has wisely emphasized the goal of reinvigorating and modernizing its partnerships around the world, but its relationships with key states in the Middle East are unsteady at the moment, primarily over regional security concerns. […]Dropping the IRGC’s FTO designation might not have much practical impact on U.S. counterterrorism authorities, but it could severely undermine broader American interests. – Washington Institute 

Ali Fathollah-Nejad writes: The interests of the regime and those of Iranian society clash over Russia. While the former sees Russia as a formidable military-security guarantor of its stability and survival, the latter sees in such support a looming threat to democratic aspirations. […]The relationship between the Russian and Iranian regimes is also strengthened by their parallels: Both are petro-states with mafia-style ruling classes helmed by all-powerful autocrats unafraid of using a heavy hand and guided by their nostalgia for the glory days of empires past. – Middle East Institute 


The family of Danish Siddiqui, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist for Reuters killed in Afghanistan last year as the Taliban took control of the country petitioned on Tuesday the International Criminal Court to investigate his killing and bring to trial top Taliban leadership for war crimes and crimes against humanity. – Washington Post  

Afghans celebrated Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on Monday but festivities were muted, taking place under Taliban rule for the first time in decades and as the administration cancelled a public holiday. – Reuters 

Schools for all students will open this week, Afghanistan’s Taliban-run Education Ministry announced Monday in the clearest sign yet that girls will be allowed back in school. – Associated Press 

Boris Johnson personally authorised the airlift of staff from a former UK serviceman’s Kabul-based animal charity when the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan’s capital city last year, according to a British government whistleblower. – Financial Times 


As the United States investigates suspected war crimes committed by Russia in its war in Ukraine, Syria is seeking criminal accountability and other recourse against the U.S. as a result of airstrikes that have killed civilians and other alleged violations of international law. – Newsweek 

Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad went on a ferocious anti-Ukraine and antisemitic rant last week, in which he falsely claimed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is “a Zionist Jew” who “supports the Nazis that killed the Jews.” – Algemeiner 

Wa’el Alzayat writes: Growing international apathy toward Syria mixed with guilt is driving some countries to throw in the towel and declare that it is time to patch things up with Damascus. Russia is all too eager to actualize these sentiments given its need to shore up its client’s devastated economy and standing within his own base. If Assad is rehabilitated, not only will his crimes be rewarded, but the fundamental grievances that fueled the uprising in the first place will remain. So will the raw ingredients that fueled the rise of ISIS and displaced millions. All while Russia maintains leverage and cements its foothold in the country. – Middle East Institute 


Moves by NGOs and parts of the UN to define Israel as an apartheid state under international law ignore the dynamism of the country’s Supreme Court, the specifics of the law and other complex realities. – Jerusalem Post  

Dozens of religious leaders from across Israel gathered in Jerusalem Monday to publicly call for peace in Ukraine. – Arutz Sheva  

MK Nir Barkat (Likud) met on Sunday with US Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, two senior members of the Republican Party, in Washington. During the meeting, Barkat and the senators discussed the nuclear agreement that is being formulated with Iran and the immediate need to cooperate to prevent it. – Arutz Sheva  

Singapore will open an embassy in Israel for the first time since diplomatic relations were established in 1965, the country’s foreign minister announced on Monday. – Haaretz  

Days after the director of Amnesty International’s USA branch was met with criticism by lawmakers and Jewish groups for his comments about American Jewish attitudes toward Israel, Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke with the organization’s top official, as well as the leader of Human Rights Watch, both of which have levelled accusations of “apartheid” at Israel. – Jewish Insider 

Herb Keinon writes: That Bennett and Lapid chose to take a different approach now demonstrates two things. First, they genuinely believe the US decision to remove the terrorist designation from the IRGC is utterly foolish and dangerous, being that it not only engages in acts of terrorism itself, but funds, trains and provides weapons to Iran’s proxies, who do so as well: Hezbollah, Hamas, the Houthis and militias in Iraq. – Jerusalem Post  


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hosted Israel’s prime minister and the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates on Monday, two Egyptian security sources said, as talks to revive a nuclear deal with Iran remain in limbo. – Reuters 

Egypt’s Central Bank raised its key interest rate Monday for the first time since 2017, citing inflationary pressures triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine, which hiked oil prices to new records. – Associated Press 

An Abu Dhabi wealth fund agreed with Egypt to invest about $2 billion by buying state-held stakes in some companies, including the North African nation’s largest listed bank, according to people familiar with the deal. – Bloomberg 

Arabian Peninsula

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan met his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi and discussed efforts aimed at achieving stability and balance in international energy and commodities markets, the Gulf country’s foreign ministry said on Monday. – Reuters 

The United Arab Emirates is very unhappy with the US move toward removing the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from its Foreign Terrorist Organizations list, a source in Abu Dhabi said on Monday. – Jerusalem Post  

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister has signed a document with his Kuwaiti counterpart to develop the Durra gas field, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation said in a statement on Monday. – Reuters 

Neville Teller writes: Yet he must be aware that supporting a two-state solution is only a tactic, not a real commitment, of his Islamist friends. Al-Thani must know that they would never agree to endorsing Israel’s legal rights in the region, since their true objective is to acquire the whole of Mandate Palestine “from the river to the sea.” The US will need to keep a wary eye on its newest non-NATO ally. – Jerusalem Post  

Since the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have avoided taking a clear stance on the conflict and endorsing the position of the U.S., their major ally, as they might have been expected to do. The official statements issued by the two countries were diplomatically worded and called on both sides in the conflict to resolve their differences through dialogue. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia said it will not bear responsibility for any shortages in the global oil supply after Yemen’s Houthi rebels struck Saudi energy facilities in at least three cities over the weekend. – Washington Post 

Saudi Arabia’s Aramco chief Amin Nasser said on Monday that escalating attacks by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis against oil installations in the kingdom should be a global concern at a time when the oil market was tight. – Reuters

Oil prices soared Monday as a weekend attack on Saudi facilities and discussions among European Union members over banning Russian crude raised concerns about global supplies. – Agence France-Presse  

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisia’s president, Kais Saied, has amassed nearly absolute power over the last eight months — dismissing Parliament, arresting opponents, ruling by decree — in the name of the Tunisian people. On a self-appointed mission to rescue ordinary Tunisians from their corrupt political system and sinking economy, he called upon the people to join a national dialogue this winter in which they would help shape a new constitution. – New York Times

Jordanian King Abdullah II will visit Ramallah to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas later this month, a senior Palestinian Authority official said on Monday. – Haaretz 

A Lebanese judge charged veteran Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and his brother with illegal enrichment and money laundering, an official in the judiciary said Monday. – Bloomberg 

Firas Maksad writes: Should the Biden administration renew its commitment to regional defense by publicly affirming a strategic alliance, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi will revert to more-cooperative ties with Washington, including on oil prices, at the expense of Moscow and Beijing.[…]More importantly, they would help assure that a strategic part of the world remains within America’s orbit, that policies of key partners remain in sync with U.S. interests, and that phone calls from the president don’t go unanswered. – Wall Street Journal 

Maha Yahya writes: To this political tinderbox, Russia and China have added heightened great-power tensions while Iran and the Gulf countries have stoked conflict and weaponized sectarian identities in pursuit of greater regional influence. Sunnis across the Middle East are bristling at Iran’s expansionist policies, having watched Syrian forces backed by Iran and Russia and a U.S.-led coalition against ISIS destroy four major Sunni cities—Mosul, Raqqa, Homs, and Aleppo. The Middle East’s authoritarian turn should reassure no one. Rather, it should serve as a warning of the greater instability to come. – Foreign Affairs 

Michael Rubin writes: For Biden and Blinken to deliberately undercut European gas alternatives neither furthers national security nor combats climate change; rather, it empowers irredentists in Russia and Turkey and diminishes America’s reputation in Europe. If “diplomacy is back” is to be more than a Biden administration slogan, it is time for Biden to wholeheartedly embrace the EastMed pipeline. It is ironic that the only policy left over from his predecessor that Biden embraces is to treat adversaries better than allies, and to fill the treasuries of dictatorships at the expense of democracies. – The National Interest 

Francisco Serrano writes: In the near term, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia will see inflated budget expenditure as authorities attempt to rein in food prices, especially for staples such as bread. But the countries of the Maghreb will likely continue to face this crisis for the long haul. The destruction in Ukraine and economic sanctions on Russia may disrupt cereal crops in those countries for years to come. […]In the Maghreb, governments’ capacity to protect households from price hikes will determine their ability to maintain social cohesion. In the worst-case scenario, 2022 might just be the start of another decade of regional upheaval. – Middle East Institute 

Gabriel Toole writes: Drones may be Ukraine’s last hope of maintaining some form of air assets. With a potential deal for NATO fighter jets scuttled, a new influx of drones may be Ukraine’s next best option. If Turkey remains willing to continue drone sales to Ukraine this may help their attempts to withstand Russian advances. Hopefully, Turkey will see enough of an incentive to continue drone shipments to Ukraine. – Jerusalem Post  


Rescuers haven’t found any survivors at the site of a plane crash in southern China where a China Eastern Airlines Corp. Boeing 737 carrying 132 people plummeted to the ground, with search efforts complicated by mountainous terrain. – Wall Street Journal 

China on Tuesday said it has the right to develop South China Sea islands as it sees fit in the wake of U.S. accusations that it has fully militarized at least three of several islands it built in the disputed waterway in violation of a previous commitment. – Associated Press 

The United States is restricting visas of Chinese officials for their involvement in “repressive acts” against ethnic and religious minority groups, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday. – Reuters 

U.S. President Joe Biden’s bid to drive a wedge between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine war will be a key topic of discussion this week when Biden travels to Brussels for talks with European leaders. – Reuters 

The U.S. State Department announced Monday a round of sanctions against Chinese officials involved in the repression of religious and ethnic minority groups. – Newsweek 

Adam Minter writes: In the midst of trade wars, hot wars and growing trans-Pacific tensions, it’s easy to mock so-called “people-to-people” exchanges. But as Chinese perceptions of the U.S. plummet, those exchanges — between students, scientists, journalists and others — are a bulwark against deterioration in relations. With travel resuming as the pandemic seems to recede, the federal government, educational institutions and private employers should seek to expand these exchanges. They’re America’s best defense against state-sanctioned propaganda. – Bloomberg 

Anjani Trivedi writes: Can China somehow have its desire for a greater say in that global order met without overturning it and without supporting people like Vladimir Putin? These differences between China and Russia are real, and that’s part of the reason why China is struggling right now with how to behave and what actions to take. – Bloomberg 

Minxin Pei writes: What seemed a brilliant move a few short weeks ago increasingly looks like a terrible strategic decision. Instead of benefiting from Russia-U.S. tensions, China finds itself at the mercy of events and its long game in grave peril. Whoever wins in Ukraine, China has already suffered irreparable losses. – Bloomberg 

David C. Hendrickson writes: It’s still not clear what are the limits, if any, to the U.S. commitment to Ukraine. The Biden administration wants both to avoid war with Russia and to decisively affect the war’s outcome. […]Electorally, Biden’s team must shudder at the consequences of a full-blown war of sanctions with China. Diplomatically, it is committed to doing just that. With such confusion of purpose, events rather than people may be in the saddle, there to “ride mankind.” – The National Interest 


South Asia

U.S. President Joe Biden has said only India among the Quad group of countries was “somewhat shaky” in acting against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, as India tries to balance its ties with Russia and the West. – Reuters 

A Southeast Asian peace envoy met Myanmar’s military rulers on Monday on his first trip to the crisis-hit country, a visit opposition groups denounced for showing deference to the leaders of last year’s coup and disdain for the will of the people. – Reuters 

Australia said it understands New Delhi’s position on the ongoing Ukraine crisis, as the two countries aim to focus on stability in the Indo-Pacific region and pushing through a major trade deal, India’s foreign secretary said on Monday. – Associated Press 

Yet Pakistan faces one of the worst inflation crises in Asia, with a basket of sensitive items such as food and fuel rising 15.1 per cent last week from a year earlier. Pollster Gallup says almost two-thirds of Pakistanis consider it the biggest problem facing the country, with living standards deteriorating. Such is the frustration that Khan’s political future is now in doubt. – Financial Times 


Australia’s military has lifted its gaze upward with a new “Space Command” and a partnership with the Pentagon. – Washington Post 

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh on Monday welcomed the announcement by the United States that it considers the violent repression of their largely Muslim ethnic group in Myanmar a genocide. – Associated Press 

Japan says Russian amphibious ships transiting through a narrow strait between its islands could be moving fresh forces from Russia’s far east to Ukraine. – Defense News  

The president of the Marshall Islands pledged firm commitment to ties with Taiwan on Tuesday, offering his support at a time when Taiwan is facing increased diplomatic pressure from Beijing. – Reuters 

A U.N. human rights expert called on North Korea on Monday to release tens of thousands of people believed to languish in political prison camps, while urging regional and world powers to raise such issues with Pyongyang alongside nuclear concerns. – Reuters 

Editorial: Much more needs to be done. The United States has imposed targeted sanctions on 65 individuals and 26 entities that support the junta, but it must also attempt to stanch the flow of dollars through banks that sustain the regime and continue to press for an international tribunal to hold the junta to account for its crimes. […]By calling those acts what they were — genocide — the rest of the world can help bring that day about sooner. – Washington Post  


The confirmation reached the hostages in Chernobyl before midnight: After more than three weeks working at gunpoint on the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, some of them would finally be allowed to go home. – Wall Street Journal 

The U.S. is sending some of the Soviet-made air defense equipment it secretly acquired decades ago to bolster the Ukrainian military as it seeks to fend off Russian air and missile attacks, U.S. officials said. – Wall Street Journal 

Britain’s Prince William on Monday paid tribute to Ukrainians struggling for survival in their homeland after he and wife Kate visited a British military training camp in the jungles of Belize during their week-long tour of the Caribbean. – Reuters 

The European Union’s foreign ministers disagreed on Monday on whether and how to slap sanctions on Russia’s lucrative energy sector over its invasion of Ukraine, with Germany saying the bloc was too dependent on Russian oil to decide an embargo. – Reuters 

Spain’s prime minister has said EU leaders must act to bring down energy prices to stop Europe becoming the “hostage” of Vladimir Putin and limit the economic damage caused by the war in Ukraine. – Financial Times  

UK ministers want to replicate the country’s successful Covid-19 vaccine task force to deliver new nuclear power stations at “warp speed”, after Boris Johnson said he wanted atomic power to provide at least a quarter of UK electricity generation by 2050. – Financial Times  

The European Union’s foreign and defense ministers reached an agreement on Monday on a security strategy that provides for up to 5,000 troops to be swiftly deployed in times of crisis. – Washington Examiner 

An elite group of shadowy Russian mercenaries has entered Ukraine to again attempt to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky and his right-hand men, the war-torn nation’s military warned Sunday. – Fox News 

Editorial: Europe doing more for its own defense is good news, but the U.S. has more to do as well. On top of nudging the Europeans in the right direction, major increases to American defense spending are essential and would set the right example. – Wall Street Journal 

J.J. McCullough writes: The idea of Canada saving Europe with its energy bounty is a romantic one, affirming the sort of grand, global role many Canadians assume their country is destined to play. It feels decidedly less glamorous to simply be one more generic Western power sending weapons and money to the Ukrainians, or helping Americans fill the energy hole their own boycotts of Russian oil and gas have created. Yet this is what truly benevolent foreign policy looks like: delivering what the world actually needs, rather than what you wish it wanted more of. – Washington Post  

Jane Harman and James Jeffrey write: We urge the U.S., Ukraine and other European states to make clear to the UN that it is past time for that organization to step up and provide peacekeepers to guarantee a safe zone for humanitarian aid and the many millions fleeing the unprovoked carnage by Russia in Ukraine. Surely both Congress and the Biden administration have the leverage to insist that this be done. How sad it would be if a key pillar of the international order built after World War II just stands by while that order faces extinction. – The Hill 

Robert Maginnis writes: Yes, underdog “David” can “win” Putin’s war albeit at the cost of thousands of lives, much of Ukraine’s infrastructure, and the advent of European tensions not seen since the end of the old Cold War. Sadly, the price of this conflict even with the “rosiest” scenario leads to a heavy peace in which Ukraine unlikely ever again really enjoys the freedom and prosperity it experienced since the demise of the former Soviet Union. – FOX News 


The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Sudan’s Central Reserve Police, accusing it of using excessive force against peaceful protesters demonstrating against last October’s military coup. – Reuters 

At least 13 soldiers were killed and eight others wounded in Burkina Faso’s eastern Gourma province in an ambush by suspected Islamic extremists, the army announced Monday. – Associated Press 

This stance has largely typified some African nations’ response to the Russia-Ukraine war. Across the continent, many appear hesitant to risk their own security, foreign investment and trade by backing one side in this conflict. – CNN 

The Americas

Venezuelan leftist organizations orchestrated a disinformation campaign to drive social media narratives supporting a leftist Colombian presidential candidate who is currently polling ahead of the incumbent, according to research published Monday. – CyberScoop 

A Guatemalan judge considered key in fighting corruption announced her resignation on Monday and that she has decided to leave the Central American country. – Associated Press 

Dozens of well-known leaders in Jamaica including professors and politicians are demanding an apology and slavery reparations as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prepare for a trip to the former British colony. – Associated Press 

Hours-long lines formed at gas stations in Cuba´s capital Havana on Monday after local media reported rationing of fuel in at least one province amid a biting economic crisis that has already left food and medicine in short supply across the island. – Reuters 

Ashley Parker and Ellen Nakashima write: In some ways, Biden’s decision-making on Ukraine is reminiscent of his handling of the Afghanistan conflict earlier in his presidency. As vice president, Biden passionately advocated withdrawing U.S. troops from the so-called forever war, but he was overruled by Obama and his team. Biden then campaigned for president on a promise to bring those troops home, and he did so during his first year in office. – Washington Post 


A cybercrime group that’s been targeting a string of high-profile victims with data theft, extortion and website defacements over the last few months claimed this weekend it has breached Microsoft. – CyberScoop 

The Ukrainian government began recruiting local tech specialists for its so-called “cyber forces” unit even before the latest Russian invasion. Its main purpose was to track and repel attacks in cyberspace, according to Serhii Demediuk, a top Ukrainian cybersecurity official. – The Record 

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sought additional data from Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) related to the antitrust review of their deal, the games developer said in a regulatory filing on Monday. – Reuters 

A new report has found that Facebook failed to detect blatant hate speech and calls to violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority years after such behavior was found to have played a determining role in the genocide against them. – Associated Press 

A Moscow court banned Facebook and Instagram on Monday for what it deemed extremist activity in a case against their parent company, Meta. – Associated Press 

The Russian government is “exploring options” for carrying out cyberattacks against the United States, President Joe Biden said on Monday as he urged to strengthen America’s cybersecurity. – Jerusalem Post  

Western lawmakers have demanded that social media companies crack down on Russian state accounts, including the dozens of embassies, government ministries and political leaders that are part of the Kremlin propaganda machine. – Financial Times   

A faction of the hacking collective Anonymous on Sunday claimed to have hacked unsecured printers in Russia to spread anti-propaganda messages, according to outlets like Raw Story. – Newsweek 


The Pentagon’s tech-centric campaign to overhaul military communications and better handle streams of data will not succeed if the human side of things is neglected, a top official recently warned. – Defense News 

Congress provided money for continued development of the U.S. Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System in legislation unveiled this month, but decided to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in procurement funds as kinks are worked out. – Defense News  

The nearly dozen amphibious combat vehicles swam toward the shore, their shuttered hatches providing long-slung silhouettes in the Pacific as USS Anchorage (LPD-23) lingered a mile offshore. Two Navy safety boats from the amphibious transport dock ship trailed in slight swells as the ACVs rolled onto the California sands. – USNI News