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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 – FIGHTING
Russian troops intend to capture Zaporizhzhia, a large city in the country’s southeast, Zelenskyy said. In a press conference yesterday, Zelenskyy announced that the peace negotiations with Russia were at “level zero,” and that “the most threatening situation” has developed in the Zaporizhzhia region, parts of which have already been taken by Russia. Were Russia to capture the city, it would allow Russian troops to advance closer to the center of the country. Oleksandr Stashevskyi and Yuras Karmanau report for AP.
Street fighting continued yesterday as Russia and Ukraine battled for control of Severodonetsk. Russia continued its offensive in the major city while also subjecting other towns to constant shelling as Moscow pushed for control over the eastern Donbas. Zelenskyy remained defiant in the face of Russian success in Severodonetsk, saying that Ukrainian forces have “every chance” of fighting back, he added. Pavel Polityuk and Natalia Zinets report for Reuters.
Guerilla attacks in southern Ukraine signal growing resistance to the Russian occupation. There have been more than a dozen high-profile attacks in recent weeks that analysts say indicate increased partisan activity aimed at Russian occupation forces in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions of southern Ukraine. Marc Santora reports for the New York Times.
Zelenskyy visited the front line in eastern Ukraine in order to boost morale. On Sunday, the wartime leader traveled to the frontline city of Lysychansk, perhaps the closest he has come to active fighting in the east since the war began. In addition to visiting Lysychansk, as part of the same trip, Zelenskyy met in the Zaporizhzhia region with civilians who fled the city of Mariupol, which is now under Russian occupation. Andrew E. Kramer reports for the New York Times.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – GLOBAL RESPONSE
European Council President Charles Michel accused Russia of triggering a global food crisis at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council yesterday, prompting Moscow’s U.N. ambassador to walk out. At the meeting, Michel said that the Kremlin is using food supplies as a “stealth missile” against developing nations. He also pushed back on Russian claims that it is western sanctions that are preventing the export of Ukrainian grain, saying that “our sanctions do not prevent Russian flagged vessels from carrying grain, food or fertilizers to developing countries. Rachel Pannett reports for the Washington Post.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – U.S. RESPONSE
Russia threatened American reporters in Moscow yesterday, the State Department said. Senior American journalists were summoned to the Kremlin to inform them of new restrictions in response to American sanctions on Russian media. In the meeting, the Kremlin warned that their visas and credentials could be at risk in retaliation for what it characterized as U.S. government hostility toward Russian reporters in America, according to State Department spokesman Ned Price. Michael Crowley reports for the New York Times.
On the anniversary of D-Day, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew comparisons between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Germany’s occupation of France. Speaking in Normandy yesterday, the senior general said that Ukrainians are “experiencing the same horrors that the French citizenry experienced in World War II at the hands of the Nazi invaders.” Dan Lamothe reports for the Washington Post.
The U.S. issued warrants to seize two airplanes owned by Roman Abramovich, a close Putin ally. Abramovich violated western sanctions when the planes flew to Russia in March. The actions come as the Biden administration tries to step up economic pressure on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. Abramovich, the longtime owner of the English soccer club, Chelsea Football Club, was forced to sell the club under the pressure of E.U. and U.K. sanctions. Ana Swanson reports for the New York Times.
JAN. 6 ATTACK
The former chairman of the Proud Boys, along with four other members of the far right group, was charged with seditious conspiracy for his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The indictment comes after the men had already been charged with conspiring to obstruct the certification of the 2020 presidential election, and comes just before the House begins its public hearings on the riot. Alan Feuer, Adam Goldman and Luke Broadwater report for the New York Times.
Representative Raskin said that the House committee has found evidence on former President Trump that supports “a lot more than incitement.” The comment from Raskin referenced Trump’s second impeachment in January 2021, when the House voted to impeach the then-president for incitement to insurrection. Raskin said that he plans to lay out precisely what the charges are in the committee’s public hearings, set to begin on Thursday. Mychael Schnell reports for the Hill.
Republicans planning to cast electoral college votes for Trump in Georgia despite Joe Biden’s victory were told to operate in “complete secrecy” by a Trump campaign official. “I must ask for your complete discretion in this process,” wrote Robert Sinners, the campaign’s election operations director for Georgia, the day before the 16 Republicans gathered at the Georgia Capitol to sign certificates declaring themselves duly elected. “Your duties are imperative to ensure the end result — a win in Georgia for President Trump — but will be hampered unless we have complete secrecy and discretion.”Amy Gardner, Beth Reinhard, Rosalind S. Helderman and Jacqueline Alemany report for the Washington Post.
Fox News will not air the January 6 Committee’s public hearings on Thursday. The network said that the host on air may choose to cut into the hearings when or if they feel doing so is warranted. Fox stated while its flagship station will not cover the hearing in full, live coverage will be “offered to FOX broadcast affiliates across any of their platforms.” Kipp Jones reports for Mediaite.
Nick Quested, the documentarian who captured some of the most harrowing footage of the Jan. 6 riot, will testify before the January 6. Committee on Thursday. Quested was embedded with the Proud Boys on the day of the riot and was able to capture some of the day’s most important moments. His crew was also present for key conversations among Proud Boys leaders, as well as a garage meeting between the group’s national chairman, Enrique Tarrio, and Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, whose group also played a central role in the January 2021 attack on the Capitol. Kyle Cheney and Nicholas Wu report for POLITICO.
OTHER U.S. RELATIONS
The U.S. military has begun investigating whether an attack on a base in Syria was conducted by an American soldier. The April 7 attack in the facility known as Green Village in eastern Syria wounded four U.S. troops and was the result of a “deliberate placement of explosive charges by an unidentified individual(s) at an ammunition holding area and shower facility.” According to a defense official yesterday, “a possible suspect, a U.S. service member, has been identified.” Alex Horton and Karoun Demirjian report for the Washington Post.
A new migrant caravan has formed in Mexico on its way to the U.S. Thousands of migrants, many from Venezuela, set off from southern Mexico yesterday. Migration activists said the group could be one of the region’s largest migrant caravans in recent years. At least 6,000 people, according to Reuters witnesses, left the border city of Tapachula. Mexico’s National Institute for Migration did not provide an estimate of the group’s size and provided no additional comment on the caravan. Jose Torres and Lizbeth Diaz report for Reuters.
Mexico’s President will not attend the Summit of the Americas following the Biden administration’s decision to bar Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua from attending. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was one of several leaders who threatened to stay away if not all countries were invited. He said, though, that he plans to meet with Biden in July. Lopez Obrador said he would use his July visit to discuss immigration and push for more U.S. investments in Central America. Kylie Madry reports for Reuters.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
The Israeli government’s coalition begins to crack after losing a vote on a law that supports West Bank settlers. The Israeli Parliament voted yesterday against applying Israeli civilian law to Israelis in the occupied West Bank, a decision that edged the fragile coalition government closer to collapse. Settlers in the territory will now fall under military law. The application of civilian law to settlers in the West Bank was first enforced after Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in 1967, and has usually been extended with ease by lawmakers every half decade since. The inability to pass the legislation may undermine Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet’s ability to hold his coalition together. Patrick Kingsley reports for the New York Times.
Boris Johnson survived a vote of no-confidence yesterday, but is left weakened and vulnerable. The vote, 211 to 148, fell short of the majority of Conservative lawmakers needed to oust Johnson. But it laid bare how badly his support has eroded since last year, when a scandal erupted over revelations that he and his senior aides threw parties at 10 Downing Street that violated the government’s lockdown rules. However, history suggests that most Conservative prime ministers subjected to a vote of no confidence like this are often ousted within months. Mark Landler and Stephen Castle report for the New York Times.
China is secretly building a navy base in Cambodia, according to western officials. Both countries are denying its existence and are taking extraordinary measures to conceal the operation, western officials said.The establishment of a Chinese naval base in Cambodia — only its second such overseas outpost and its first in the strategically significant Indo-Pacific region — is part of Beijing’s strategy to build a network of military facilities around the world in support of its aspirations to become a true global power, the officials said. Ellen Nakashima and Cate Cadell report for the Washington Post.
COVID-19 has infected over 84.44 million people and has now killed over 1.01 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 530.742 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.29 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
A map and analysis of the vaccine rollout 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.