Fdd's overnight brief

May 3, 2022

In The News


The European Union is likely to propose ending purchases of Russian crude oil by the 27-country bloc before the end of 2022, and a ban on purchases of Russian refined-oil products by year-end, according to two senior diplomats. – Wall Street Journal 

Ukraine on Monday said it sank two Russian naval vessels in the Black Sea and a Russian missile attack killed civilians in Odessa, while the European Union was set to propose a ban on Russian oil over Moscow’s invasion. – Wall Street Journal 

Russia is assembling an economic relief package equivalent to tens of billions of dollars to soften the blow of Western sanctions and shield its population from the financial fallout of President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. – Wall Street Journal 

Some legal scholars and public figures say Russia’s leaders should similarly be prosecuted for invading Ukraine. They envision a special tribunal with high-ranking defendants, Russian President Vladimir Putin chief among them. – Wall Street Journal 

As Russia wages its brutal war on Ukraine, the Kremlin is cracking down to quell dissent within its own borders. Artistic expression, which flourished openly for more than two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, can quickly provoke threats and arrests. – Washington Post 

Moscow is preparing to annex vast new swaths of Ukrainian territory in coming days, the United States said on Monday, potentially moving to cement control of much of the country’s east even as Russian forces struggle to capture key areas on the battlefield. – Washington Post 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine merits the strongest possible military response and the toughest sanctions, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday, adding that the West should not be deterred by the threat of retaliation from Moscow. – New York Times 

The European Union hopes to pass the sixth round of sanctions against Russia at the next meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, the bloc’s chief diplomat said on Monday. – Reuters 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s suggestion that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had Jewish origins showed that Moscow has forgotten, or never learned, the lessons of World War Two. – Reuters  

The sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine will not be lifted until Moscow reaches a peace agreement with Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, adding that it was for Ukraine to determine the peace terms. – Reuters 

More than 11,500 people, including 1,847 children, were transported from Ukraine into Russia on Monday without the participation of Kyiv’s authorities, Russia’s defence ministry said. – Reuters 

The United States believes that the Russian military’s Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov, visited Ukraine’s Donbas region last week but cannot confirm media reports that he was wounded during fighting, a U.S. defense official said on Monday. – Reuters 

Energy ministers from European Union countries hold emergency talks on Monday, as the bloc strives for a united response to Moscow’s demand that European buyers pay for Russian gas in roubles or face their supply being cut off. – Reuters 

The European Commission may spare Hungary and Slovakia from an embargo on buying Russian oil, now under preparation, wary of the two countries’ dependence on Russian crude, two EU officials said on Monday. – Reuters 

A 14-year-old boy was killed and a 17-year-old girl was wounded in a missile strike in the southern port of Odesa, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday. – Reuters 

Russian attacks on Ukraine’s grain infrastructure look like attempts to reduce the competition in Russia’s export markets, German Agriculture Minister Cem Oezdemir was reported as saying on Monday. – Reuters 

Germany will not make itself a party to the war between Russia and Ukraine by training Ukrainian soldiers, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit said. – Reuters 

Two senior ministers in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government on Monday said Germany would be ready to back an immediate European Union ban on Russian oil imports, and that Europe’s biggest economy could weather shortages and price hikes. – Reuters 

Ukraine has formally closed its four Black and Azov sea ports, which Russian forces have captured, the Ukrainian agriculture ministry said on Monday. – Reuters 

Teams of workers strove Monday to repair a bridge in southwestern Russia near the border with Ukraine that was damaged in what a local governor described as an act of sabotage. The regional administration said it expects the repair work will be completed Wednesday. – Associated Press 

Finnish-led consortium Fennovoima said on Monday it has terminated a contract with Russian group Rosatom to build Finland’s third nuclear power plant, citing risks linked to the Ukraine war. – Agence France-Presse 

Nearly two months after it was seized by Russian forces, there are few signs of the fighting for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine that sparked global fears of a potential atomic disaster. Other than a scorched administrative building, the vast complex in southern Ukraine — Europe’s largest nuclear power plant — appeared largely untouched by the clashes during a visit by AFP this weekend, part of a press tour organised by the Russian military. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia’s top general, Valery Gerasimov, visited the Donbas front in the Ukraine war last week, a Pentagon official said Monday, but reports that he was injured in a Ukrainian attack could not be confirmed. – Agence France-Presse 

Russia is planning on holding a “sham referendum” on two eastern Ukrainian regions sometime this month, the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said. – Washington Examiner 

A former NATO commander now believes the United States should establish a “permanent presence” on the organization’s eastern flank due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Washington Examiner 

As Russia has allowed a small number of civilians to evacuate the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Russian forces appear to be trying to lock in some gains ahead of the annual May 9 Victory Day celebration in Moscow, marking the surrender of the Nazis in World War II. – Washington Examiner 

Unexplained explosions were heard, fires broke out, and a railway bridge collapsed near the Ukrainian border in Russia on Sunday and early Monday morning in three separate incidents, according to Russian officials. – Washington Examiner 

Russia’s highest-ranking uniformed officer made a secret trip to the front lines in eastern Ukraine last week and narrowly escaped a Ukrainian attack, according to a report on Sunday. – Washington Examiner 

A coalition of 25 human rights organizations on Monday called on the United Nations to condemn Russia’s imprisonment of Vladimir Kara-Murza, a journalist, activist and Kremlin critic who is being held for speaking out against the war in Ukraine. – The Hill 

The overwhelming majority of Americans in a new poll said they support Ukraine as well as increased sanctions against Russia. – The Hill 

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to undergo cancer surgery and temporarily hand over power to a hardline former federal police chief, according to a new report. – New York Post 

Some of Russia’s most elite military units will be weakened for years due to damage sustained during its invasion of Ukraine, according to British intelligence. – Newsweek 

The only way Russia’s war in Ukraine ends is with Russian President Vladimir Putin dead, Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s top military spy, said Monday. – The Daily Beast  

In his opening remarks on the Senate floor on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) condemned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s comments accusing Jewish people of perpetrating antisemitism. – Jewish Insider 

Russian troops in the occupied city of Melitopol have stolen all the equipment from a farm equipment dealership — and shipped it to Chechnya, according to a Ukrainian businessman in the area. – CNN 

Russian President Vladimir Putin could formally declare war on Ukraine as soon as May 9, a move that would enable the full mobilization of Russia’s reserve forces as invasion efforts continue to falter, US and Western officials believe. – CNN 

The governments of Denmark and Sweden summoned their Russian ambassadors following reports that a Russian spy plane had entered the two countries’ airspace in succession without permission. – The National Interest 

Editorial: The Ukrainians are in a fight for national survival, and by itself the aid would pass Congress in a rout, a rare moment of productive bipartisan agreement. Democrats run Congress and the White House, and it’s up to them to get the Ukraine aid done quickly. – Wall Street Journal  

Leif Wenar writes: The cost will be high if the West fails to stop Mr. Putin’s annexations. One can only dread how many lives will be lost if the future of war becomes like its past. The book of Revelation says that the first horseman of the apocalypse rode a white horse and went forth to conquer. Without determined action by the West on Ukraine, the fearsome White Horseman may ride again. – Wall Street Journal 

Jillian Kay Melchior writes: That opportunity is gone, but the West would be wise to learn from it, Mr. Grzywaczewski says: “Right now, we need to push Russia as much as we can. The policy of appeasement only leads to war.” And if Ukraine prevails against Russia, Mr. Lukashenko may wish he’d given in to peaceful protesters when he had the chance. – Wall Street Journal 

Walter Russell Mead writes: The Ukraine war is not yet 10 weeks old, and it has already revolutionized world politics. The next 10 weeks could be even more dramatic. President Biden could soon face as stern a test as any American president has since World War II. We must hope, and pray, that he is up to the job. – Wall Street Journal 

Peter Coy writes: John Holdren, who was Barack Obama’s science adviser for all eight years of his presidency, told me he worked with the State Department to “reduce obstacles on our side to people with very valuable skills from many countries.” He said some of those efforts were rolled back by the Trump administration. “It’s an important part of U.S. science policy to be welcoming,” Holdren said. For Putin to drive away some of his nation’s greatest minds is lunatic. But as someone once said, never interrupt your enemy while he is making a mistake. – New York Times 

Henrik Larsen writes: Moscow had a sound understanding of the West’s redlines during most of the Cold War. Today, it sees lines rather as an invitation to test its rhetoric and resolve. The West cannot trust Russia as long as Putin remains president and should use NATO as the cornerstone for its containment. – The Hill 

Jim Jones writes: Putin may soon be coming to the end of his rope. If he can’t figure a way out of the mess he created with his ego-driven war, it may be up to his old KGB cohorts to find a solution. It is quite possible that some among them will not allow him to take their country down with him. – The Hill 

Brahma Chellaney writes: The West will be left with little choice but to negotiate with Putin to end the conflict, as predicted by Javier Solana, a former NATO chief who also served as Spain’s foreign minister. Such negotiations will be vital to halt Ukraine’s destruction and avert Europe from paying the main price. – The Hill 

Tom Rogan writes: And, as has been the case with Russian forces in Ukraine, mismanagement, deferred repairs, and corruption have taken a toll on readiness. In contrast, the U.S. and French Air Force, the U.S., British, and French submarine ballistic missile forces, and the U.S. ground-based missile forces are well-maintained. More importantly, they can penetrate Russian defensive cordons at scale. Putin knows all this, and even if he decides to forget it, his military commanders know it. Their willingness to follow Putin in the annihilation of their honor, families, and nation is highly doubtful. Put simply, we should retain confidence in effective nuclear deterrence. – Washington Examiner 

Kurt Volker writes: President Putin launched this war with a view to eliminating an independent Ukraine, and rebuilding the Russian Empire. The result, however, will be a diminished Russia, a stronger and more fully European Ukraine, and a revived transatlantic community determined to face down future threats even after the current ones abate. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Angela Stent writes: Russian President Vladimir Putin made four major miscalculations before he launched his invasion of Ukraine. He overestimated Russian military competence and effectiveness and underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to resist and determination to fight back. He was also wrong in his assumption that a distracted West would be unable to unite politically in the face of the Russian attack and that the Europeans and the United States’ Asian allies would never support far-reaching financial, trade, and energy sanctions against Russia. – Foreign Policy 

John Hannah writes: Among the most perilous consequences of the war in Ukraine will almost certainly be the increased value placed on nuclear weapons—both by countries bent on wars of conquest and those seeking to deter them. Ukraine’s decision in 1994 to surrender the nuclear arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union, in exchange for what proved to be empty assurances from Great Britain, Russia, and the United States, appears in retrospect to have been an act of historic folly. As a result, preventing a dangerous proliferation cascade today may require America to extend more binding security guarantees to partner nations than it has heretofore been willing to consider. The Dispatch 


Western officials have largely lost hope the Iran nuclear deal can be resurrected, sources familiar with the matter said, forcing them to weigh how to limit Iran’s atomic program even as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has divided the big powers. – Reuters 

Israel’s internal security agency on Monday accused Iran of using a fake Facebook profile to try and get Israelis to collect information and harm people in their country. Shin Bet’s allegation comes days after Israel claimed that the Islamic republic of Iran had plotted to assassinate an Israeli diplomat in Turkey, as global powers seek to revive a nuclear deal with Tehran. – Agence France-Presse 

Iran said it had summoned Sweden’s ambassador following a request by prosecutors in the Nordic country for life imprisonment for a former Iranian official. – Agence France-Presse 

Abdolrasool Divsallar writes: These facts tell us a great deal about the limits of Iran’s power projection in the Middle East. Russia’s more powerful, precise, and diverse missile stockpile was not able to change the course of the war in Ukraine, so there is no reason to believe that Iranian missiles could ever do so, especially against a more powerful opponent. – Middle East Institute 

Sharon Nazarian writes: In an increasingly polarized world, the noteworthy consensus across the political spectrum in the Middle East and the United States when it comes to the IRGC’s continued designation should be taken as a sign of the worldwide commitment to hold the IRGC accountable. Going forward, the Vienna talks should take that global sentiment into account, and other governments should follow America’s lead in designating the IRGC for what it is—a ruthless terrorist entity. – The National Interest 


For decades, the country has been a global hub for opium production, estimated to supply 80 percent of the world’s opiate users. Now its meth industry is growing at breakneck speed, stoking fears among Western experts and officials that, under the Taliban, Afghanistan could become a major supplier as demand rises globally. – Washington Post 

Taliban officials in Afghanistan’s most progressive city have told driving instructors to stop issuing licenses to women, professionals from the sector told AFP. – Agence France-Presse 

Hibatullah Akhundzada, the shadowy leader of the Taliban, appeared in public in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan, to commemorate the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. – The National Interest 


Palestinian militant group Hamas has stepped up a mass-media campaign urging Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel to attack Jews in the wake of clashes between Israeli security forces and Muslims around the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City. – Wall Street Journal 

Relations between Israel and Russia came under new strains after Russia’s foreign minister compared Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, to Adolf Hitler and accused Jews of anti-Semitism—remarks that Israel condemned Monday as unforgivable. – Wall Street Journal  

The Palestinian militant group Hamas claimed responsibility Monday for a deadly shooting that left an Israeli security guard dead at the entrance of a Jewish settlement in the West Bank last week. – Associated Press 

56-year-old Sheikh Esmat Hamouri was indicted for calling directly for acts of terror during a speech to prayer goers on the Temple Mount, the State Attorney’s Office’s Jerusalem District said on Monday. – Jerusalem Post 

A 16-year-old was arrested on Monday after videos on social media showed him pulling down an Israeli flag from a lighting post in Nazareth with his face covered, Israel Police said on Tuesday morning. – Jerusalem Post 

Right-wing politicians attacked Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government for allowing the IDF on Monday to remove three illegally-placed modular settler homes in an area outside the Bruchin settlement in the Samaria region of the West Bank. – Jerusalem Post 

Estonia has bought a lot of weapons from Israel in the past year, including more than 500 Spike anti-tank missiles and the Blue Spear missile system for coastal defense. – Jerusalem Post 

The government of the Netherlands has rejected Amnesty International’s report accusing Israel of apartheid against the Palestinians, Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra has said. – Jerusalem Post 

On April 30, 2022, Hamas leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, gave his first speech in almost a year. Standing before a picture of Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Sinwar said that this image of the “desecration” of Al-Aqsa must never be allowed to repeat itself, and that “thousands” of synagogues and Jewish temples throughout the world will be desecrated if it does. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Israel has prevented the director of a Palestinian civil-society group from traveling abroad to attend a professional conference in Mexico, the activist said. – Associated Press 

Israeli officials are set to discuss expanding aid to Ukraine, including supplies of defensive military equipment so far withheld by Jerusalem, according to a report Tuesday. – Times of Israel 

MK Mansour Abbas, chairman of the Ra’am party, defended himself on Monday after he was accused by Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Al-Sinwar of “betraying” Islam. – Arutz Sheva 

Douglas Altabef writes: Only conduct like this can start to change the mindset of eventual Palestinian victory to inevitable Palestinian defeat, meaning the denial of eliminationist victory. Israel’s leaders must not let what they would like to see happen substitute for what they must know is going to happen. We cannot delude ourselves. Our very sovereignty is at stake. If we are unwilling to assert it, to project and to protect it, we are sending a clear signal that it, our sovereignty, is in play. And then, no amount of economic nor even military prowess will protect us. – Jerusalem Post 

Elder of Ziyon writes: Notably, Hamas seems slightly embarrassed by this blatant Jew-hatred. While that part of the speech was highlighted in the Hamas-oriented Felesteen newspaper and the Al Qassam website, the Hamas.ps website didn’t transcribe that part — and the Hamas English site didn’t even mention the speech at all as of this writing. […]When those who claim to be human rights activists and who pretend to be dead-set against antisemitism pointedly ignore a direct threat against Jews worldwide by genocidal jihadists, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that they don’t really care about Jews or antisemitism at all. – Algemeiner 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia feels “let down” by the United States in tackling security threats to the kingdom and wider region by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement, a senior member of the Saudi royal family and former intelligence chief said. – Reuters 

With Imran Khan’s departure from office in early April, Shehbaz Sharif has attempted to reassure Western officials and financial institutions that Pakistan remains stable and financially solvent. – The National Interest 

Mohammed Khalid Alyahya writes: Saudi Arabia will surely refuse to be a partner to its destruction. Aside from that, what it wants from the United States is for American industry to continue to lead the world and for American innovation to continue to be superior. The obsolescence and failure of American systems and manufacturing is a nightmare for a country that runs on American systems. Together, Saudi Arabia and the United States helped defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and end the Cold War, bringing immeasurable benefits not only to both of our countries but to the entire planet. – The National Interest 

Middle East & North Africa

The government of President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi recently released a handful of the thousands of prisoners swept up in a broad crackdown on freedom of expression over the past decade, including journalists. The releases have come as Egypt faces renewed pressure over human rights abuses. Earlier this year, the Biden administration withheld some aid to Egypt over such concerns. – Washington Post 

Thousands or people fled a northern Iraqi town amid fierce clashes between the army and a militia linked to a Kurdish separatist group, the military and local Iraqi Kurdish officials said Monday. – Associated Press 

Air Cairo launched Monday the planned direct flight route between Tel Aviv and Sharm e-Sheikh, marking the first time an Egyptian airline has operated a flight from Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport to Egypt. – Jerusalem Post 

In reaction to the recent tension in Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Jordanian government leveled baseless allegations against Israel’s “continuous steps to change the historical and legal status quo in Al-Aqsa Mosque” despite Israel’s repeated reiterations of its commitment to protecting the freedom of worship for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. – Middle East Media Research Institute 

Korean Peninsula

China remains committed to playing a constructive role in resolving the North Korea nuclear issue, Beijing’s Korean affairs envoy said on Tuesday, a week after the North vowed to develop its nuclear forces “at the fastest possible speed”. – Reuters 

Beijing is concerned about the tense situation on the Korean peninsula, China’s Korean affairs envoy said as he arrived for talks in Seoul this week, adding that both the symptoms and root cause of tensions needed to be addressed. – Reuters 

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is dispatching his foreign minister to attend the inauguration next week of South Korea’s new president, who had been seeking the premier’s attendance as a symbol of putting troubled ties on a more stable course. – Bloomberg 

Donald Kirk writes: Putin has just tested a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile, and the Russians know how to fire it with a nuclear warhead. The North Koreans are not believed yet to have figured how to fix a warhead onto the tip of their own ICBMs. Putin should be able to resolve that issue. Russian scientists, physicists and engineers may be expected to advise the North Koreans on technology that will deepen the confrontation on the Korean peninsula and bring the world ever closer to a devastating war in which millions might die. – The Hill 


Taiwan’s Defence Ministry on Tuesday said deliveries of shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles could be delayed, saying they were pressing the United States to deliver on schedule as the war in Ukraine pressures supplies. – Reuters 

Eight Chinese naval vessels, including an aircraft carrier, passed between islands in Japan’s southern Okinawa chain on Monday, Japan’s defence ministry said in a news release. – Reuters  

China supports crisis-hit Sri Lanka’s decision to work with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restructure its debt, Beijing’s ambassador Qi Zhenhong told Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ali Sabry at a meeting on Monday. – Reuters 

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Monday it was considering alternative weapons options after the United States informed it that the delivery of an artillery system would be delayed due to a “crowded” production line. – Reuters 

An Australian man who held up a sign displaying an insult against Chinese President Xi Jinping at a busy Asian market in Sydney said he’s been told by authorities he could be charged over the incident even though he was reportedly attacked by Chinese nationalists. – Fox News 

China has for decades vowed to absorb Taiwan, a self-governing island that Beijing regards as a breakaway province. Beijing has said it would pursue unification through force if necessary, and Taiwan’s military has been increasing its budget and intensifying its training in order to improve its ability to fight off such an assault. – Business Insider 

William Alan Reinsch writes: That leads to the other alternative being discussed: initiating another Section 301 investigation. That would allow the administration to punt the issue into next year while providing time both to answer the definitional questions posed above and to construct the narrative of continued Chinese unfair practices that it needs to justify whatever action it will ultimately take. Since the first two tranches of the tariffs expire this summer, it would also enable the administration to finesse an immediate decision. That is not exactly biting the bullet and making the hard choices people expect from their president, but it may be the best way out of the hole dug by the previous administration. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

David Finkelstein writes: Officials in Beijing continue to state that this conflict is not something they wished to see. We should take that statement at face value. Nevertheless, the Russian military campaign is providing the PLA with another “battle lab” from which it will continue to learn as it studies the wars of other countries. – War on the Rocks 

Reva Goujon writes: For all the economic turmoil stirred up by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there is one important step in the escalatory spiral that has been averted so far: China has gone out of its way to comply with the G-7-led sanctions regime. However, as the world moves into the next phase of the war and the U.S. administration’s China strategy, the uneasy detente between Beijing and Washington could break down, feeding a fresh cycle of U.S.-China tensions. – Foreign Policy 

South Asia

In December, Bangladeshi authorities began a crackdown on these schools, calling them illegal, but without trying to provide any alternatives and without removing the prohibition on the Rohingya attending local schools outside the camps. The school closings have come amid a broader effort by the Bangladesh government to tighten its control of the camps. Last month, government authorities destroyed thousands of shops there, according to Human Rights Watch. – New York Times 

Sri Lanka has extended a credit line with India by $200 million in order to procure emergency fuel stocks, the country’s power and energy minister said on Monday, as China said it supported efforts for the island nation to restructure its debt. – Reuters 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz pledged 10 billion euros ($10.51 billion) to help India achieve its climate goals after meeting its Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Berlin on Monday, but the leaders remained far apart in their stance on the Ukraine war. – Reuters 

Germany and India signed a series of bilateral agreements Monday focused on sustainable development that will see the South Asian nation receive 10 billion euros ($10.5 billion) in aid by 2030 to boost the use of clean energy. – Associated Press 

Michael Rubin writes: Despite the demonization with which some Democratic and Republican activists approach the other side, the cores of both parties, and even the most progressive and conservative activists, draw a line at religious bigotry. Politicians should not throw Hindus under the bus to avoid manufactured controversy. It is time Republicans and Democrats jointly condemn the slander. And they should not be alone. Catholics and Jews, who have, at times, also experienced cheap bigotry in political discourse, should stand behind them to ensure that the cost of such tactics is felt not by their targets but by their perpetrators. – Washington Examiner 


The leaders of Japan and Thailand announced a new defence agreement on Monday as well as plans to upgrade their economic relations, as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida wrapped up the last leg of a three-nation tour of Southeast Asia. – Reuters 

Ferdinand Marcos Jr has maintained his wide lead in the Philippines presidential election race in a new survey released on Monday, but some political observers say the game may not be over for closest rival Leni Robredo. – Reuters 

Police in Armenia’s capital on Monday detained 180 anti-government demonstrators that were blocking streets to protest against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. – Associated Press 

Using a helicopter to catch a falling rocket is such a complex task that Peter Beck likens it to a “supersonic ballet.” Rocket Lab, the company that Beck founded, partially pulled off the feat Tuesday as it pushes to make its small Electron rockets reusable. But after briefly catching the spent rocket, a helicopter crew was quickly forced to let it go again for safety reasons, and it fell into the Pacific Ocean where it was collected by a waiting boat. – Associated Press 

Ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi went on trial Monday in a new corruption case against her, alleging she took $550,000 in bribes from a construction magnate. She is charged with two counts under the country’s the Anti-Corruption Act, with each count punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine. – Associated Press 

Editorial: The rest of the world used to worry about cheap Japanese exports. If the fall in the yen now makes Japanese exports cheaper, then it will be exporting deflation: which is exactly what an inflation-hit US wants right now. A weak Japanese currency therefore suits economies on both sides of the Pacific. The BoJ should stay the course and let the yen slide. – Financial Times 

Clara Ferreira Marques writes: More reason, of course, to look forward to a leader who can guarantee openness and, with a coherent vision, bring investment and positive economic change. Filipinos are choosing to look backward instead. – Bloomberg 


Civilian evacuations from the beleaguered city of Mariupol are expected to resume at 7 a.m. local time Tuesday, city officials said. Some 200 civilians, including about 20 children, remain trapped in a steel plant in the city that Russia has resumed shelling, according to a local police chief. There was little detail on when a convoy of civilians that had already left the plant, escorted by international officials, would make it to Ukrainian-held territory. – Washington Post 

Sinn Fein appears on track to claim the top spot in elections in Northern Ireland on Thursday, marking the first time a party devoted to the unification of Ireland, north and south, would dominate in the region that remains a factious member of the United Kingdom. – Washington Post  

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA), the country’s biggest carrier, said on Monday it had leased out its medium-haul Boeing 737-900 aircraft to Latvian carrier airBaltic to try to minimise its losses caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – Reuters 

Britain said on Monday it would provide 300 million pounds ($375 million) more in military aid to Ukraine, including electronic warfare equipment and a counter-battery radar system, on top of around 200 million pounds of assistance so far. – Reuters 

Denmark will reopen its embassy in Ukraine on Monday following its closure immediately after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, the Danish foreign ministry said. – Reuters  

Poland urged its European Union partners on Monday to unite and impose sweeping sanctions on Russia’s oil and natural gas sectors over the war in Ukraine, and not to cave in to pressure to pay for their gas in Russian rubles. – Associated Press 

An expanded UK sanctions regime that took effect last year and is intended to tackle global corruption and illicit money entering Britain from overseas is proving ineffective, according to campaigners. – Financial Times 

The EU must consider radical treaty change if it is serious about Ukraine’s membership and preventing it from succumbing to Russian domination, Austria’s foreign minister has said. – Financial Times 

Germany has warned that EU consumers should brace for a big economic hit and higher energy prices as Berlin said it was willing to back an embargo of Russian oil to punish Moscow for its war on Ukraine. – Financial Times 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her congressional delegation met with Polish President Andrzej Duda on Monday in Warsaw, concluding a trip to Europe meant to show support and pledge assistance amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. – The Hill 

Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s men are reportedly stealing Ukrainian agricultural machinery, according to a video posted by a Chechen opposition Telegram channel. – Newsweek 

The sudden elevation in intensity of top-level talks between Finland and Sweden has raised the bar on the expectation that the two unaligned Nordic states will jointly announce their decisions to join NATO by May 16. – Defense News 

The United States Army is Training Ukrainian Artillerymen on American Howitzers in Germany. The expedited training provides Ukrainians with the basics to get them back to Ukraine as soon as possible. – The National Interest 

Editorial: Ukraine is fighting for its future as a democracy, but there is also a struggle for liberty going on in Belarus and Russia. Such inspired leaders as Ms. Tikhanovskaya, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, and jailed opposition figures Alexei Navalny and Vladimir Kara-Murza in Russia give us reason to hope that democracy will prevail. They deserve the world’s support. – Washington Post 

Therese Raphael writes: The Tories have set expectations for this vote so low that anything short of a total wipeout will be spun as a victory of sorts. Losses will be accepted as a slice of humble pie and a raft of new measures announced. Until either the Tories see a viable substitute for Johnson, or voters view Labour as an acceptable government in waiting, danger isn’t imminent. But with inflation at a high and parliamentary standards sinking to a new low, the pressure will just keep building. – Bloomberg  

Dany Bahar writes: Countries, then, should get busy welcoming fleeing Ukrainians. They should do so for the sake of the refugees, who need safety and stability: it is simply the right thing to do. But they also should do so for themselves. They should do so for the future of Ukraine. And they should do so for future refugee groups, who would benefit from a system practiced in taking in the displaced and helping them thrive. – Foreign Affairs  

Edward Lucas writes: From his hide-out in Moscow, Edward Snowden has gone uncharacteristically quiet since Russia’s attack on Ukraine. High time for that. The commentators who unquestioningly echoed him have room for reflection too. Perhaps they could write an open letter. – Center for European Policy Analysis 

Max Bergmann and Pierre Morcos write: In the aftermath of World War II, the United States pushed so strongly for European integration that West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer once quipped to Secretary of State Dean Acheson that “Americans were the best Europeans.” As war is once again raging in Europe, the United States should rediscover this impulse and push European leaders to seize the moment to strengthen their union. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Mark F. Cancian writes: The use of operational contractors thus has several beneficial aspects. First, it strengthens Ukrainian military capabilities by helping to field well-maintained and expertly operated systems. Second, it avoids the embarrassment and loss of combat power arising from equipment being sidelined because of a lack of operators and maintenance. Finally, it meets the popular demand to do more to help Ukraine without taking the step of putting boots on the ground with all the risks that entails. – Center for Strategic and International Studies 

Jack Detsch writes: The Ukrainian military is increasingly concerned that Russia is creating anti-access air zones in the contested Donbas region to keep Ukrainian aircraft from flying through the area, limiting Ukraine’s ability to support its ground forces. While U.S. officials believe that Russia’s progress in the region has been slow and uneven so far, with troops wary of fighting beyond their supply lines, the introduction of more Russian S-400 air defense batteries and drones, as well as low cloud cover in the region, has left Ukrainian pilots uniquely vulnerable. – Foreign Policy 


The British government’s announcement last month of a contentious plan to send some asylum seekers to the African country has brought confusion and concern to many, like Mr. Mohamad, who arrived here on small boats that crossed the English Channel, or by other irregular means. It is still unclear whom the policy would affect or how the government would carry out its plan. Asylum seekers, many of whom fled war zones and then underwent dangerous journeys to reach Britain, say that the ambiguity is an additional burden that weighs heavily on them. – New York Times 

To start his three-nation tour of West Africa, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on rich countries to increase their investments in African nations as the continent recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and is impacted by the war in Ukraine. – Associated Press 

The European Union will seek to step up cooperation with African countries to help replace imports of Russian natural gas and reduce dependence on Moscow by almost two-thirds this year. – Bloomberg 

Mali’s ruling junta announced on Monday it was breaking off from its defence accords with former colonial ruler France, condemning “flagrant violations” of its national sovereignty by the French troops there. – Agence France-Presse 

The Americas

The Dominican Republic is pressing Haiti to launch an “immediate investigation” into the “apparent” kidnapping of one of its diplomats in a neighborhood east of Port-au-Prince that has been wrecked by violent armed gangs that are increasingly tightening their grip on the country. – Washington Post 

Gustavo Petro, the leftist front-runner in Colombia’s presidential election, on Monday canceled events in the country’s coffee region because of what his office said was a plot by a crime gang to attempt to take his life. – Reuters 

A United States appeals court said on Monday that it has declined to rule on whether Alex Saab, an ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro awaiting trial for money laundering, should receive diplomatic immunity. – Reuters 

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas will meet Tuesday with Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, the Mexican official said in a tweet Monday afternoon. – Reuters 

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday his recent conversation with U.S. President Joe Biden was “very good” but criticized the United States for not investing enough in Central America. – Reuters 

United States

On a dusty field on the east side of Mexico’s sprawling capital, some 500 Ukrainian refugees are waiting in large tents under a searing sun for the United States government to tell them they can come. – Associated Press 

President Biden will travel to Alabama on Tuesday for a domestic trip focused on his response to Moscow’s war in Ukraine. – The Hill 

Walter C. Clemens Jr. writes: If the United States wants to leverage its clout in global affairs, it should support world law instead of poking holes in it. – The Hill 

Arta Moeini and Coleman Hopkins write: Washington faces a choice: accept multipolarity and the rise of middle powers and thus adopt a more sensible, realist grand strategy that is mindful of “the resurgence of both realpolitik and cultural sovereignty,” or deny that reality and insist on an untenable posture of a “Monroe Doctrine for me, but not for thee.” Should hubris impel it to choose the latter, then Washington will have ensured needless strife in many more RSCs than just the former Soviet bloc, damaging America’s standing and jeopardizing the lives of billions. – The National Interest 


The precise movements of millions of users of the gay-dating app Grindr were collected from a digital advertising network and made available for sale, according to people familiar with the matter. – Wall Street Journal 

Data was downloaded from cellphones used by the prime minister and the defense minister of Spain that were infected with powerful spyware known as Pegasus from an Israeli company, the country’s government said on Monday. – New York Times 

Israel’s government on Monday ordered communications firms to step up their cyber security efforts in the wake of a rise in attempted hacking attacks. – Reuters  

The European Union stepped up its antitrust case against Apple on Monday, accusing the company of abusing its dominant position by limiting access to technologies allowing contactless payment. – Associated Press 

The war in Ukraine has pushed the United States to expedite its investment in cybersecurity amid constant — though so far unrealized — warnings of Russian cyberattacks on government agencies, election systems and critical infrastructure. – The Hill 

A man living in Russia whom the U.S. government accused of being involved in multiple REvil ransomware attacks may be involved in a phony emergency disclosure request to Twitter used to threaten a ransomware researcher in recent weeks and force them offline. – Cyberscoop 

Shoshana Zuboff writes: Polling shows that people have lost faith in the tech giants and want lawmakers to act. And while democracy may be old and slow, it enjoys advantages that are difficult to rival. These include the ability to inspire hope in citizens and fear in adversaries. It teaches us that whatever has been made by people can also be unmade through democratic action. Only democracy retains the legitimate authority and power to make and enforce the rule of law, based on cherished values, ideas and principles. – Financial Times 

Brandon Valeriano writes: A layered defensive strategy focused on creating stable norms, declaring the limits of cyber action, and the foundations of defense articulate a positive, restrained vision for cyber security into the future. Properly evaluating the threat, meeting the challenge, and finding methods of minimizing damage will all ensure that the continuity of the government and society will be the prime goal of strategy. Avoiding cyber doom takes the dedicated work of a restrained power. – The National Interest 


Raytheon has run into problems building the first prototypes of the U.S. Army’s new air-and-missile defense radar that will replace the Patriot system’s sensor, but the service still aims to deliver four of them by the end of 2023. – Defense News 

The Naval Postgraduate School and Microsoft have signed a cooperative research and development agreement to tackle four key technology areas where industry investments and naval operational needs may overlap. – Defense News 

A recent live-fire test saw an F-15E Strike Eagle destroy a “full-scale surface vessel” in the Gulf of Mexico with a new, experimental anti-ship munition—a unique foray into anti-ship warfare. – The National Interest 

Erik Khzmalyan writes: Maintaining its independence should be a top priority for the Marine Corps. Berger’s vision seeks to cement the service’s unique characteristics and prepare the Marines for a contingency in the vastness of the Indo-Pacific. – The National Interest 

Long War

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has designated four alleged Islamic State senior members as foreign terrorist operatives, his office said on Monday. This is the first time that the Defense Ministry has designated foreign terror operatives at the request of the United States, Gantz’s office said. – Times of Israel 

Prosecutors on Monday filed charges against a teenage girl for stabbing an Israeli man in Haifa last month amid a spate of terror attacks. – Times of Israel 

The father of a convicted terrorist murderer who threatened the bereaved father of his son’s victim in court last week was indicted on Monday, police said. – Times of Israel