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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.
Following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, some legal experts fear that prosecutors will use intimate pieces of evidence, such as text messages, internet search histories and period tracking apps, to build cases against providers. Whilst states with abortion bans have focused punishment on providers, and not those seeking an abortion, this increased surveillance means that women will be in the line of fire, according to Farah Diaz-Tello, legal director of If/When/How, a reproductive justice group. “We anticipate an increase in people being criminalized in spite of what the law says, because of the additional surveillance, stigma and scrutiny on pregnancy outcomes on people who are suspected to have had abortions,” she said. Safia Samee Ali reports for NBC News.
A weekend fire at a Christian pregnancy center in north-central Colorado is being investigated as a possible arson, local police have said. The front door was broken and the front of the building had been spray-painted with the words, “if abortions aren’t safe neither are you.” On the concrete porch were the words “bans off our bodies.” The fire was reported at 3.17 am on Saturday, just hours after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. AP news reports.
The anonymous message board user known as “Q”, who inspired the QAnon conspiracy theory, has posted for the first time in more than 18 months. On Friday night, someone with Q’s login credentials posted on 8kun, the anarchic internet community where Q last posted in December 2020. “Shall we play a game once more?” the first post, which was signed Q, read. This was followed by two further posts: “Are you ready to serve your country again?” and “Remember your oath.” It is not clear whether the new Q posts are meant to coincide with the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Will Sommer reports for the Daily Beast.
A Biden administration policy that prioritized the arrest of undocumented immigrants who are considered a threat to public safety and national security has been suspended, rendering millions of people vulnerable to deportation. A federal judge in Texas had ruled the prioritization policy illegal on June 10, a ruling that took effect late Friday after a federal appeals court failed to issue any decision blocking it. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it effectively had no discretion under the ruling to set priorities for how its agents enforced the nation’s immigrant-removal laws. “While the department strongly disagrees with the Southern District of Texas’ court decision to vacate the guidelines, DHS. will abide by the court’s order as it continues to appeal it,” the department said in a statement. Miriam Jordan reports for the New York Times.
JAN. 6 ATTACK
Leader of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, told members of the group to adopt a defensive posture on Jan. 6, during a video conference held a week before the attack. In a recording of the conference, obtained by the Times, Tarrio can be heard telling members of the group to obey police lines and keep away from ordinary protestors. However, despite these apparent directives, the far-right group played aggressive roles in several breaches at the Capitol, moving in coordination and often taking the lead in removing police barricades. Alan Feuer reports for the New York Times.
GROUP OF SEVEN SUMMIT
Group of Seven (G7) leaders are seeking a deal to impose a “price cap” on Russian oil as the group works to curb Moscow’s ability to finance its war in Ukraine. Talks are set to continue today, having begun yesterday, with leaders expected to discuss enlisting a range of countries beyond to G7 to put a ceiling on the price paid for Russian oil. They hope a cap will limit the benefits of the soaring price of crude to the Kremlin while cushioning the impact of higher energy prices on western economies. The proposal has been strongly promoted by the U.S. and recent comments by German officials suggested Berlin was also coming around to the idea. Guy Chazan, Sam Fleming and David Sheppard report for the Financial Times.
The U.S. and other G7 countries are also set to ban imports of gold from Russia. The move will be formally announced on Tuesday, and it is hoped that it will help further isolate Russia from the international financial system. “Together, the G7 will announce that we will ban the import of Russian gold, a major export that rakes in tens of billions of dollars for Russia,” President Biden wrote on Twitter. The New York Times reports.
G7 leaders are expected to agree on a further batch of sanctions, targeting Russian individuals accused of war crimes and human-rights abuses, including those responsible for blocking Kyiv grain exports. New actions to be announced include blocking sanctions on major state-owned defense enterprises and research organizations to limit Russia from replenishing its weapons supply, the U.S. said. President Biden and G7 leaders will also seek authority to use revenue from existing tariffs to help the people of Ukraine. Further, the U.S. will impose blocking sanctions on private military companies operating in Ukraine and Russian military units “that have been credibly implicated in human rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law in Ukraine,” according to a government fact sheet distributed earlier today. Tarini Parti and Alex Leary report for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. and Europe are working to persuade India to abandon its neutral stance on the war in Ukraine, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to join the G7 summit today. Previous efforts to persuade Modi to stop buying Russian oil have failed, with its purchases of Russian crude having doubled since the conflict began. Four other nations with close relations with Russia — Argentina, Indonesia, Senegal and South Africa — were also invited to the summit. Suhasini Raj and Emily Schmall report for the New York Times.
Whilst the summit has largely focused on the war in Ukraine, G7 leaders also laid out plans yesterday to invest hundreds of billions of dollars for infrastructure projects in developing countries in an attempt to address a similar program in China. The U.S. will contribute $200 billion over five years toward the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, with the aim of mobilising $600 billion in overall investments with funding from allies. “This isn’t aid or charity,” President Biden said, standing with G7 leaders at the Schloss Elmau resort in the Bavarian Alps. “It’s a chance for us to share our positive vision for the future…because when democracies demonstrate what we can do, all that we have to offer, I have no doubt that we will win the competition every time.” Alex Leary and Tarini Parti report for the Wall Street Journal.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – FIGHTING
Russia launched the largest missile barrage on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in weeks yesterday. Several missiles flew toward Kyiv early on Sunday, and Ukrainian air defenses shot down at least one on the outskirts of the capital, Ukrainian government officials said. One missile hit an eight-story residential building, where city officials said residents were pulled from the rubble. One person died and four were injured, including a 7-year-old girl and her 35-year-old mother. Speaking at the Group of Seven summit yesterday, President Biden called the attack “more of their barbarism.” Alan Cullison and Yuliya Chernova report for the Wall Street Journal.
The Russian military will soon exhaust its combat capabilities and be forced to bring its offensive in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region to a grinding halt, according to Western intelligence and military experts. The assessments come despite continued Russian advances against outgunned Ukrainian forces, including the capture on Friday of the city of Severodonetsk, the biggest urban center taken by Russia in the east since launching the latest Donbas offensive nearly three months ago. Liz Sly reports for the Washington Post.
Russian forces are trying to blockade Lysychansk in Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region while subjecting the city to constant artillery fire, the regional governor has said. Among the latest targets were a bus station, two churches and local administrative buildings, Serhiy Haidai said on Telegram. At least five high-rise buildings were destroyed, he added, including one in which 10 apartments burned down at once. He called on all residents to evacuate as soon as possible and said leaving the city was becoming more and more difficult. Several evacuation trains were scheduled for this afternoon. Rachel Pannett and Annabelle Timsit report for the Washington Post.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – U.S. AND NATO RESPONSE
The U.S. plans to announce as soon as this week that it has purchased an advanced, medium-to-long-range surface-to-air missile defense system for Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have asked for the missile defense system, known as a NASAMS system, given the weapons can hit targets more than 100 miles away, though the Ukrainian forces will likely need to be trained on the systems. Other military assistance is also likely to be announced this week, including additional artillery ammunition and counter-battery radars. Kaitlin Collins, Natasha Bertrand and Phil Mattingly report for CNN.
NATO is to agree on an overhaul of its battle plans to offer better protection to its Baltic member states, discarding a model that could have meant relinquishing and then attempting to recapture them in the event of a Russian invasion. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary-general, has said that the new military blueprint, to be agreed at an annual summit of alliance leaders this week, would drastically upgrade its eastern defenses, shifting the focus from deterring any invasion to a full defense of allied territory. Henry Foy reports for the Financial Times.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
Russia has defaulted on its foreign sovereign bonds for the first time since the Bolshevik revolution. The default shows how dramatically the sanctions were impacting Russia’s economy, a U.S. official told reporters in a briefing on the sidelines of the G7 summit. “This morning’s news around the finding of Russia’s default, for the first time in more than a century, situates just how strong the actions are that the U.S, along with allies and partners have taken, as well as how dramatic the impact has been on Russia’s economy,” the U.S. official said. Karin Strohecker, Andrea Shalal and Emily Chan report for Reuters.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko this weekend, promising him weapons capable of holding nuclear warheads. Putin promised to deliver the Iskander-M systems, which have a range of about 300 miles and can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads, “within months,” and also vowed to upgrade Belarusian Su-25 fighter jets. Ukrainian officials and Western observers think it is highly unlikely that Belarus, will directly join the war at this time, given the risks of provoking social unrest at home. However, analysts believe Lukashenko, an autocrat beholden to the Kremlin, is desperately trying to show his value to Putin, with some believing it is only a matter of time before pressure from Putin forces him to take more direct action in the war. Marc Santora and Ivan Nechepurenko report for the New York Times.
Vladimir Putin will visit two small former Soviet states in central Asia this week, in what will be the Russian leader’s first known trip abroad since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Pavel Zarubin, the Kremlin correspondent of the Rossiya 1 state television station, said Putin would visit Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and then meet Indonesian President Joko Widodo for talks in Moscow. In Dushanbe, Putin will meet Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon, a close Russian ally and the longest-serving ruler of a former Soviet state. In Ashgabat, he will attend a summit of Caspian nations including the leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran and Turkmenistan, Zarubin said. Reuters reports.
OTHER U.S. RELATIONS
The U.S. convened a secret meeting of top military officials from Israel and Arab countries in March to explore how they could coordinate against Iran’s growing missile and drone capabilities, U.S. and regional officials have said. The previously undisclosed talks, which were held at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, marked the first time that such a range of ranking Israeli and Arab officers have met under U.S. military auspices to discuss how to defend against a common threat. The meeting brought together the top military officers from Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan and came as Israel and its neighbors are in the early stage of discussing potential military cooperation, the officials said. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain also sent officers to the meeting. Michael R. Gordon and David S. Cloud report for the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner who was arrested at Moscow airport for cannabis possession is to appear in court today for a preliminary hearing ahead of her trial. The trial date has not been announced, but is expected soon; Griner was recently ordered to remain in pretrial detention until July 2. The hearing in the court of the Moscow suburb of Khimki is to address procedural issues. Jim Heintz reports for AP.
COVID-19 has infected over 86.96 million people and has now killed over 1.02 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 543.646 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.33 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.