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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – MARIUPOL
Russia called on Ukraine to surrender the city of Mariupol and observe a multi-hour ceasefire. If the Ukrainian soldiers agreed to the ultimatum, Russia has said it will allow them to leave the city unharmed. Matthew Luxmoore reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Shortly after the ultimatum, Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal stated that Ukraine would not accept the surrender and Ukrainians will continue to defend Mariupol against the Russian bombardment. Shmyhal said that Ukrainian troops “will fight until the end” rather than surrender. Mariupol has been under siege since March 1st. A military governor in the Donetsk region, where Mariupol is located, estimated that as many as 22,000 people may have died in the city, although these figures are unconfirmed. Jessie Yeung, Tim Lister, Darya Tarasova, Julia Kesaieva, Manveena Suri and Ivana Kottasová report for CNN.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the situation in Mariupol could be a “red line” and impede future negotiations with Russia. Kuleba called the situation in Mariupol “dire” in the face of what he expects will be “intensification of heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine.” Kanishka Singh writes for Reuters.
In an interview for CNN’s State of the Union, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed concern that the situation in Mariupol is not getting better. Zelenskyy also stated: “All of us want to fight. But we all have to do our best for this war not to be endless. The longer it is, the more we would lose.” Nick Niedzwiadek reports for POLITICO.
Humanitarian corridors in Ukraine were closed due to failed talks. Up to 100,000 civilians are trapped in Mariupol with no way out as Ukraine and Russia have been unable to agree on conditions for a humanitarian corridor. Ukraine continues to call for the opening of a corridor, Joe Hernandez reports for NPR.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – FIGHTING
At least 7 people were killed on Monday morning in Lviv after multiple Russian missile strikes. Lviv has served as a refuge and supply hub as the war continues in eastern Ukraine. Phil McCausland and Dan Gallo write for NBC.
Captured pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk has appeared in a video released by Ukraine’s security service on Monday morning. Medvedchuk appealed to Putin and Zelenskyy to be released as a prisoner swap for civilians and Ukrainian forces trapped in Mariupol. Reuters reports.
British special forces (SAS) are reportedly training local forces in Ukraine for the first time since the war began. Ukrainian military commanders said the SAS soldiers are training Ukrainian forces on how to use British anti-tank missiles that were delivered in February as part of an aid package from the U.K. Catherine Philip reports for The Times.
Russia and Ukraine are expanding their military deployments around the eastern regions of Ukraine as both countries prepare for a new phase of the war. The fighting will take place closer to Russia, which may help ease its supply line woes and the open terrain may be better suited to “massed forces and armored thrusts.” Michael Gordon and Daniel Michaels write in the Wall Street Journal.
Another Russian general has been killed in Ukraine, Russian media reported. Deputy commander of the 8th Army, Maj. Gen. Vladimir Petrovich Frolov, is one of many Russian generals who have been killed in the course of the invasion of Ukraine. Caroline Vakil writes in The Hill.
A British national fighting with the Ukrainian armed forces was captured in Mariupol and has been paraded around on Russian television. Shaun Pinner is thought to have moved to Ukraine four years ago and spoke to the Guardian about his desire to fight with the Ukrainians and defend his “adopted city.” Josh Halliday writes in the Guardian.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – GLOBAL RESPONSE
A line of trucks formed at the border between Poland and Belarus as Russian and Belarussian drivers scrambled to leave the E.U. following a sanctions deadline. The E.U. has banned trucks from both countries unless they are carrying mail, medicine, or petroleum products. It is unknown what will happen to the drivers who are unable to return to Russia or Belarus in time and whether they will be found to have violated the sanctions. The BBC reports.
On Easter Sunday, Pope Francis implicitly criticized Russia for pulling Ukraine into a “cruel and senseless war” and urged all parties to find a peaceful solution, though he avoided mentioning Russia by name. Philip Pullella writes for Reuters.
Ukraine asks the G7 for $50 billion to cover its budget deficit as the war continues. Reuters staff report.
Saudi Arabia pressured the Yemeni president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to step down earlier this month and kept Hadi confined primarily to his home. Hadi had announced his resignation on April 7th but reporting suggests that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave Hadi a decree to transfer his powers to a council of representatives of different Yemeni groups. Saudi Arabia officially welcomed Hadi’s resignation and announced $3 billion in aid to Yemen. Summer Said and Stephen Kalin report for the Wall Street Journal.
A merchant ship carrying 1,000 tonnes of fuel has sunk off the coast of Tunisia. Several of Tunisia’s neighboring countries, including Italy, have offered assistance in the fuel clean up and mitigating environmental damage. Reuters and Agence France-Presse report.
Israeli police entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem again, two days after detaining hundreds during morning prayers at the Mosque. Israeli authorities said they entered the Mosque in order to facilitate visits by Jews to the holy sites. Al Jazeera reports.
Pakistan says that cross-border attacks have increased and urged the Taliban to act against militarized groups conducting the attacks. Gibran Peshimam and Saud Mehsud write for Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani military has reportedly conducted numerous air raids in the eastern Afghanistan provinces of Khost and Kunar. Local officials estimate up to 45 civilians have died in the strikes. The air strikes come at a time when the Taliban is already frustrated with “Pakistani authorities over a fence Pakistan is building along the country’s 1,600 mile border, known as the Durand line.” Safiullah Padshah, Christina Goldbaum and Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud write for the New York Times.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
North Korea tested a new tactical guided weapon that is designed to bolster the regime’s nuclear capability. The weapon test comes just ahead of joint U.S. and South Korean drills and is the 13th weapons test this year. Kim Tong-hyung writes for AP.
China will send its next station crew in June 2022, according to AP.
China and India produce pharmaceuticals imported into the U.S. and are facing increased scrutiny from U.S. regulators. New bills have been introduced in Congress that would promote U.S. domestic production of certain drugs. Kenneth Rapoza writes for Forbes.
Heavy rains in South Africa triggered numerous floods that officials say have killed up to 440 people and dozens still missing. Siyabonga Sishi and Rogan Ward report for Reuters.
Three people have been injured in Sweden after clashes with police. Protests happened across the country over Easter weekend in response to Quran burnings by a far-right anti-immigrant group. The BBC reports.
Official government figures claim that no one has died from COVID-19 since 202o in Shanghai, China but hospital documents suggest dozens of elderly patients have died of COVID-19. These reports come as Shanghai’s 25 million citizens are on a strict lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of the Omicron variant. Robin Brant reports in the BBC.
Biden will host the leaders from Southeast Asia for a summit May 12 and 13. The summit was postponed from last month and has been rescheduled. The White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has emphasized that it was a top priority for the administration to be a strong partner in Southeast Asia. While China was not mentioned, strengthening relations with Southeast Asian countries is key to the Biden administration’s efforts to counter Beijing’s dominance, Politico reports.
French Prosecutors are examining the EU anti-fraud report accusing Marine Le Pen and members of her party of misappropriating EU Funds. Le Pen has been under investigation since 2017 as part of a probe into alleged misuse of EU funds to pay parliamentary assistants. The prosecutor’s announcements come in advance of next Sunday’s second round runoff in the French Presidential elections. Reuters reports.
Spanish police have detained a fishing boat with three metric tons of cocaine. Associated Press reports.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
SpaceX launched another successful spy satellite in conjunction with the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). SpaceX previously launched an NRO satellite in February 2022. Theresa Waldrop and Luis Jaime Rodríguez report in CNN Business.
On Friday, Governor Abbott repealed his order inspecting all commercial vehicles entering the state from Mexico. Amid intense backlash, Gov. Abbott ended the policy which was causing traffic jams of fourteen hours or more at the border, New York Times reports.
The U.S. saw three separate shootings over the holiday weekend: one in Pittsburgh and two in South Carolina. Ramon Antonio Vargas writes for the Guardian.
Dr. Ashish Jha, the new White House COVID-19 response coordinator, stated that individuals over 60 should get a second booster shot. Dr. Jha cited research from Israel indicating that a fourth shot offered strong protection against severe illness, New York Times reports.
The WHO’s efforts to calculate the global COVID-19 death toll found that far more people have died than previously believed. The results of the study have been criticized by India, whose own official estimate is an eighth of the WHO’s estimate of the country’s death toll. Stephanie Nolen and Karan Deep Singh reporting from the New York Times.
A map and analysis of the vaccine roll out across the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.
A state-by-state guide to lockdown measures and reopenings is provided by the New York Times.