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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 is buying millions of artillery shells and rockets from North Korea, according to newly declassified U.S. intelligence. The disclosure comes days after Russia received initial shipments of Iranian-made drones. According to U.S. government officials, Russia’s decision to turn to Iran, and now North Korea, was a sign that sanctions and export controls imposed by the U.S. and Europe were hurting Moscow’s ability to obtain supplies for its army. Julian E. Barnes reports for the New York Times.
Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was disconnected from the nation’s power grid after renewed shelling on Monday, according to Ukrainian energy officials. This once again placed critical cooling systems at risk of relying solely on emergency backup power. Herman Galushchenko, Ukraine’s energy minister, said a fire resulting from the shelling had severed the Zaporizhzhia plant’s last connection to a reserve line that had provided its only source of outside power. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is part of the U.N. said that, according to Ukrainian officials, the reserve line had been “deliberately disconnected in order to extinguish a fire.” “The line itself is not damaged, and it will be reconnected once the fire is extinguished,” the agency said. The New York Times reports.
Russia’s gas supplies to Europe via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline will not resume in full until the “collective west” lifts sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin has said. Dmitry Peskov, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, blamed E.U., U.K. and Canadian sanctions for Russia’s failure to deliver gas through the key pipeline, which pumps gas to Germany from St Petersburg via the Baltic Sea. Although Moscow continues to claim technical faults have caused the cuts in gas supplies, Peskov’s comments were the starkest demand yet by the Kremlin that it wants the E.U. to roll back its sanctions in exchange for Russia resuming full gas deliveries to the continent. The announcement came just hours after the Group of Seven nations announced efforts to introduce a price cap on Russian oil exports. Max Seddon, David Sheppard and Henry Foy report for the Financial Times.
Western sanctions against Russia are not working and actually harm Italy, according to Matteo Salvini, the leader of Italy’s far-right League party. Speaking at a conference of political leaders on Lake Como, Salvini claimed the sanctions meant to punish Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine had in fact helped Russia, resulting in an export surplus of $140 billion, during the year ending July 2022. “Do we have to defend Ukraine? Yes,” Salvini said. “But I would not want the sanctions to harm those who impose them more than those who are hit by them.” Salvini’s remarks come just weeks before Italians head to the polls in a national election in which a right-wing coalition that includes the League is expected to win. Whilst Salvini said the League would not break with Western allies if they continue to impose sanctions, he also called on other leaders to rethink their tactics. Hannah Roberts reports for POLITICO.
Five Palestinians, two of whom were accused of spying for Israel, have been executed in Gaza, officials have said. The executions were the first reported in Gaza in a half-decade and occurred amid anxiety within Hamas — the militant Islamist group that seized control of Gaza in 2007 — about Israeli infiltration of its ranks. In a statement, the Gaza Interior Ministry said that one of the people accused of spying had been arrested in 2009 after supplying information to Israel since 2001, while the other was arrested in 2015 after providing Israel with intelligence since 1991 about the locations of militants, rocket factories and rocket launch sites. The ministry did not provide evidence, and a spokesperson for the Israeli government, which does not typically respond to such claims, declined to comment. Patrick Kingsley reports for the New York Times.
An Israeli soldier likely shot Palestinian-American Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh by mistake in May, Israel’s military has said. The revelation came after mounting pressure from the U.S. to release the results of its investigation into her killing. Despite the likelihood that Abu Akleh was killed by Israeli fire, the Israeli military advocate general decided against opening a criminal investigation. Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi said she concluded no soldier had violated the rules of engagement or intentionally targeted non-combatants. The Israeli conclusion is similar to that of a separate U.S. investigation into the incident released in July, which found that Israeli soldiers likely fired the shots that killed Abu Akleh but “found no reason to believe that this was intentional.” Dov Lieber and Aaron Boxerman report for the Wall Street Journal.
Israeli forces have killed a Palestinian man and wounded 16 others during a raid in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli military said its troops had come under heavy Palestinian fire during the raid in which they blew up the apartment of Raad Hazem, who shot into a Tel Aviv bar on April 7, killing three Israelis. “The soldiers responded with riot dispersal means and live fire,” the military said on Twitter. Raneen Sawafta reports for Reuters.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Britain’s Conservative Party announced yesterday that its members had chosen Liz Truss to replace Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. Truss prevailed over Rishi Sunak, a former chancellor of the Exchequer, whose resignation in July set in motion Johnson’s ouster. Her victory, by a margin of 57.4 per cent to 42.6 per cent, was widely expected in recent weeks after she took a commanding lead in the polls. It makes her Britain’s fourth prime minister in six years and third female leader, after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. Like them, she will be greeted by a fearsome array of problems, including double-digit inflation, a looming recession, labor unrest, soaring household energy bills and possible fuel shortages this winter. The New York Times reports.
Ireland has fined Instagram a record 405 million euros (approximately $403 million) for alleged mishandling of teens’ data. The decision by Ireland’s data privacy watchdog came after a two-year investigation into Instagram’s “business accounts,” which give users more advanced metrics for tracking views and likes but before 2019 were prone to publishing users’ phone numbers and email addresses under default settings. A 2019 study by data analyst David Stier found that more than 60 million Instagram users under the age of 18 were given the chance to change their personal accounts into business accounts. And many did so, partly motivated by access to metrics such as how many people had visited a profile and views for individual posts. Instagram “engaged fully” with the regulator throughout the investigation but disagreed with how the penalty was calculated, a spokesperson for its parent company, Meta Platforms, said in an emailed statement. “This inquiry focused on old settings that we updated over a year ago, and we’ve since released many new features to help keep teens safe and their information private,” the statement said. Lyric Li reports for the Washington Post.
Thousands of people have rallied in Indonesia’s biggest cities, demanding the government reverse its first subsidised fuel price increase in eight years amid soaring inflation. Protests took place in and around the capital, Jakarta, and in the cities of Surabaya, Makassar, Kendari, Aceh, and Yogyakarta, among a series of demonstrations led by students and labour groups that police say could draw big crowds this week. Thousands of police were deployed across Jakarta, many guarding petrol stations, fearing they could become targets of mounting anger over a price increase that unions say will hurt workers and the urban poor the most. Stanley Widianto reports for Reuters.
Canadian police have found the body of one of two brothers wanted for a mass stabbing attack that left 10 people dead and 18 injured in the province of Saskatchewan on Sunday. An officer said Damien Sanderson, 31, had injuries that did not appear self-inflicted – but gave no details. He was found at the James Smith Cree Nation, the indigenous community where most of the victims lived. Sanderson’s brother Myles is at large and dangerous, police say. The stabbing spree has rocked the usually peaceful province, with police investigating 13 different crime scenes. The suspects’ motives remain unknown. Both were charged with murder, despite not being arrested. Jessica Murphy, Holly Honderich and Malu Cursino report for BBC News.
Chileans overwhelmingly voted against a proposed new constitution on Sunday, rejecting what would have been one of the world’s most progressive charters. While nearly 80 per cent of Chileans voted to draft a new constitution in 2020, nearly 62 per cent of voters rejected the new text with 99.74 per cent of ballot boxes counted. President Gabriel Boric, whose government is largely tied to the new text, said cabinet changes were coming and the government would work to draft another constitution. “We have to listen to the voice of the people. Not just today, but the last intense years we’ve lived through,” Boric said. “That anger is latent, and we can’t ignore it.” Center-left and right-wing parties that promoted the reject campaign, have also agreed to negotiate to prepare a new text. Reuters reports.
The Supreme Court of Kenya has upheld the election of William Ruto as president, ending an acrimonious courtroom battle over disputed results from the Aug. 9 election. In a lengthy judgment that rejected accusations by Ruto’s rival, Raila Odinga, that the vote had been rigged, Chief Justice Martha Koome swept aside claims of stuffed ballots, hacked computers and falsified results that she variously described as “sensationalism,” “hot air” and “a wild-goose chase that yielded nothing of value.” The unanimous verdict means that Ruto, the charismatic and populist vice president who pitched his campaign at Kenya’s “hustlers,” or young strivers, could be inaugurated as early as Sept. 13. Declan Walsh and Abdi Latif Dahir reports for the New York Times.
At least 35 civilians were killed and 37 wounded when a convoy carrying supplies in Burkina Faso’s jihadist-hit north struck an improvised explosive device. The incident took place as the military-led convoy was supplying towns in the restive north on a road between Bourzanga to Djibo, according to a statement by Sahel region governor Rodolphe Sorgo. “One of the vehicles carrying civilians hit an improvised explosive device. The provisional toll is 35 dead and 37 injured, all civilians,” it said. “The escorts quickly secured the perimeter and took measures to help the victims,” the statement said, adding that the convoy had left the north for Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou. Agence France-Presse reports.
Two employees of the Russian embassy in Kabul were killed yesterday in an explosion near the mission, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. According to the ministry, an unknown assailant set off an explosive device at around 10:50 a.m. local time at the entrance to the consular section of the Russian embassy in the Afghan capital. Afghan citizens were among the victims, the ministry said, noting that the embassy was in close contact with Afghan security services, which were investigating the incident. Ann M. Simmons and Esmatullah Kohsar report for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. has approved a $1 billion arms deal with Taiwan, in an effort to bolster the island nation’s defenses amid rising tensions with China. The pending sale of as many as 60 Harpoon antiship missiles and 100 Sidewinder missiles for warplanes was approved by the State Department and shared with Congress on Friday, the department said. The U.S. has also approved $665 million in logistics support contracts for Taiwan’s surveillance radar, a State Department spokesperson said. William Mauldin and Charles Hutzler report for the Wall Street Journal.
John Sullivan, the U.S.s’ ambassador to Russia, left his role and departed Moscow on Sunday, according to a statement from the U.S. embassy in Russia. Sullivan left the post suddenly because his wife, Grace Rodriguez, was very ill with cancer. “I don’t want anybody to think I was not doing my duty,” Sullivan said in an interview yesterday. He stressed the decision was about his wife, not about the Russian war in Ukraine or Biden administration policy. Olivia Olander reports for POLITICO.
A federal judge has granted former President Trump’s request for a special master to review the documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago residence. The judge, Aileen M. Cannon of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida, also temporarily barred the Justice Department from using the seized materials for any “investigative purpose” connected to its inquiry of Trump until the work of the arbiter was completed. The order does not, however, affect a separate review of the documents by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence seeking to determine what risk to national security their removal to Mar-a-Lago may have caused. Alan Feuer, Glenn Thrush and Charlier Savage report for the New York Times.
Leonard Francis, the former military contractor known as “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated the largest corruption scandal in U.S. Navy history, is on the run after escaping house arrest in San Diego. Francis managed to escape after cutting off his GPS monitoring ankle bracelet, according to the U.S. Marshal Service. The escape comes just three weeks before his sentencing. The Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force, San Diego division — which is run by the U.S. Marshals — is searching for Francis. Mary Kay Mallonee reports for CNN.
COVID-19 has infected over 94.768 million people and has now killed over 1.05 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 605.678million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.50 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.