Signup to receive the Early Edition in your inbox here.
A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
At least 13 people were killed in southern Russia yesterday after a Russian military jet crashed into the courtyard of a large apartment building. The Russian Defense Ministry said the jet had been on a training flight when one of its engines caught fire and it plunged into a residential area. The warplane, a Su-34, crashed in Yeysk, a port and resort town across the Sea of Azov from the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, military officials told Russian news outlets. The Russian Emergency Ministry wrote on Telegram early today that rescue efforts were complete. An additional 19 people were injured, the ministry said. Randy Pennell and Victoria Kim report for the New York Times.
The mayor of Moscow announced the end of the draft for new recruits in his city yesterday, saying that the Russian capital had fulfilled its quota. In addition to Moscow, authorities in more than 30 Russian regions have also said that they had fulfilled their draft quotas. These announcements came just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin predicted that the call-up to bolster his flagging forces in Ukraine would end within the next two weeks. It is unclear how many servicemen were sent to fight in Ukraine from Moscow and other big Russian cities, where there had been strong resistance to the draft. The quota numbers have not been publicly disclosed. Ivan Nechepurenko reports for the New York Times.
Russia is threatening to refuse to extend the U.N.-brokered deal that resumed Ukrainian agricultural exports by sea. In a meeting yesterday, Col. Gen. Alexander Fomin, the Russian deputy defense minister, told Martin Griffiths, the U.N.’s humanitarian chief, that Moscow’s support for the deal, known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative, depended on its demands regarding Russia’s food and fertilizer exports being met. Whilst the deal’s primary goal was to end the block on Ukrainian exports, which had been contributing to a global food crisis, as part of the deal, the U.S. and E.U. gave assurances that banks and companies involved in trading Russian grain and fertilizer would be exempt from sanctions. However, Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, has criticized the deal for not increasing Russian exports as promised. Carly Olson reports for the New York Times.
Russia and Ukraine exchanged dozens of prisoners yesterday, many of them women, according to Russian and Ukrainian officials. Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian president’s office, said that 108 women who had been prisoners of war had been freed from Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his nightly address that 12 of the released prisoners were civilians. Russia’s defense ministry confirmed the prisoner swap, saying that 110 Russian citizens had been freed by the Ukrainian authorities and were returning to Moscow via military transport. Dan Bilefsky reports for the New York Times.
Ukrainian technicians working at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant have been told by Russian authorities that they have until Thursday to choose sides in the escalating struggle for control of the reactor complex. Senior officials of Russia’s Rosatom said Ukrainian staff who sign up as employees of Moscow’s atomic-energy company would keep their jobs and could be offered Russian passports, according to plant workers, Ukrainian officials and diplomats posted to the U.N.’s nuclear agency. Under Ukrainian law, joining Rosatom could make the technicians collaborators and subject to arrest, trial, and imprisonment. However, Ukrainian officials have said that there may be concessions for workers who sign the Russian contracts since they are needed to prevent an accident at the plant. Drew Hinshaw and Joe Parkinson report for the Wall Street Journal.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – GLOBAL RESPONSE
The U.S. plans to further crackdown on Iran for helping Russia in its war on Ukraine, a U.S. official said yesterday following reports that Tehran plans to send Moscow missiles to use on the battlefield. The penalties, which will likely include economic sanctions and possibly some export controls, would also target third parties that help Tehran and Moscow. “For anybody in the world who is either selling material to Iran that could be used for [unmanned aerial vehicles] or ballistic missiles, or who is involved in flights between Iran and Russia: Do your due diligence, because we are absolutely going to sanction anybody who’s helping Iranians help Russians kill Ukrainians,” the official said. Nahal Toosi and Matt Berg report for POLITICO.
Although E.U. sanctions against Russia ban the trade of products in nearly 1,000 categories, certain goods and sectors remain conspicuously exempted. Some of these exemptions reveal intense back-room bargaining and arm-twisting by some nations and by private industry, as well as the compromises the E.U. has made to maintain consensus. The Belgians have shielded trade in Russian diamonds. The Greeks ship Russian oil unimpeded. France and several other nations still import Russian uranium for nuclear power generation. Whilst the impact of these exemptions on the effectiveness of Europe’s penalties against Russia is hard to assess, and whilst they have drawn criticism from the Ukrainian government, they have also allowed the bloc to pull together a vast sanctions regime at exceptional speed. Matina Stevis-Gridneff provides analysis for the New York Times.
China has recruited as many as 30 retired British military pilots to train pilots in China’s People’s Liberation Army, according to the U.K.’s Defense Ministry. The ministry is worried that the practice could threaten British national security, a senior official said. The U.K. is working with its allies to try and stop the practice but does not have obvious legal tools to do so. None of the retired pilots are suspected of violating the Official Secrets Act, the British law that covers espionage, sabotage and other crimes. However, the official said that Britain was determined to tighten the controls on retired service members to guard against training activities that could contravene espionage laws. Mark Landler reports for the New York Times.
China has delayed the release of economic indicators scheduled for publication this week, including its third-quarter gross domestic product data which was due 10 am on Tuesday local time. The highly unusual delay comes amid the weeklong congress of the ruling Communist Party, a twice-a-decade event that is an especially sensitive time in China. According to Bruce Pang, chief economist at Jones Lang Lasalle in Hong Kong: “The delayed economic data release is not because of bad economic recovery but the ongoing congress, as authorities want media and the public to concentrate on the key messages delivered by the big event.” Reuters reports.
President Biden will host Israeli President Isaac Herzog for an official visit next week, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said yesterday. The two leaders “will consult on key issues including regional and global challenges of mutual concern, opportunities to deepen Israel’s regional integration and ways to advance equal measures of freedom, posterity and security for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Jean-Pierre said. The trip comes less than a week before Israel’s Nov.1 election and will be Herzog’s first official trip to Washington since he assumed office in 2021. Kelly Garrity reports for POLITICO.
Biden administration officials are considering trying to discourage American companies from expanding business ties with Saudi Arabia, three current and former U.S. officials have said. This would form part of the U.S. response to a recent Saudi-led decision by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to cut global oil production. Whilst no decisions have been made about whether to proceed with such an effort, the thinking behind the move is that it could influence Saudi Arabia without directly affecting U.S. security in the region, and without undermining core U.S. objectives in the Middle East, namely uniting Israel and its Arab neighbors against Iran. Carol E. Lee and Courtney Kube report for NBC News.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
The E.U. has imposed the bloc’s broadest sanctions package against Iran in almost a decade in response to the country’s crackdown on protesters. At a meeting in Luxembourg yesterday, E.U. foreign ministers placed a travel ban and asset freeze on 11 people and four entities—including Iran’s morality police and the Iranian Law Enforcement Forces, which is tasked with suppressing internal dissent—over Tehran’s harsh response against protests that have entered their second month. The E.U. measures come after the U.S., Canada and the U.K. imposed their own penalties against Iran over the authorities’ reaction to the protests. Iran has accused Western countries of meddling in its affairs, warning it would respond to sanctions with its own measures. Laurence Norman reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The Australian government has reversed a decision by its predecessor to recognize West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The previous government, led by former Coalition Prime Minister Scott Morrison, recognized West Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in 2018, following an announcement made by former U.S. President Trump and the subsequent relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. On Tuesday Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong reaffirmed Canberra’s “previous and long-standing position” on Israel, emphasizing the new Labor government’s unwavering support both for Israel and the Palestinian people. “Australia is committed to a two-state solution in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist, in peace and security, within internationally recognized borders,” Wong said. “We will not support an approach that undermines this prospect.” Australia’s decision to revert to its previous position has drawn criticism from the Israeli government. Jake Kwon, Hadas Gold and Richard Greene report for CNN.
Government soldiers seized control of the key city of Shire in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray yesterday after days of airstrikes and an artillery barrage. The renewed hostilities, pitting Tigrayan forces against the Ethiopian military and its Eritrean allies, have triggered fresh anxieties among diplomats that Africa’s second-most-populous nation will remain mired in a long, devastating war that will further destabilize the already volatile Horn of Africa region. “The situation in Ethiopia is spiraling out of control. The social fabric is being ripped apart & civilians are paying a horrific price,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres wrote yesterday on Twitter after the news that Shire had fallen. “Hostilities in Tigray must end now — including the immediate withdrawal and disengagement of Eritrean armed forces from Ethiopia,” he added. Katharine Houreld reports for the Washington Post.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – JAN. 6 ATTACK
In the days before the Jan. 6 attack, Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes spent $20,000 on weapons across the country. Setting out for Washington from Texas, his home state, Rhodes stopped at least six times, bank records show, purchasing items like assault-style rifles, ammunition and scopes. By the time he reached his destination, he had amassed a small arsenal that included at least three rifles and an Israeli-made semi-automatic, prosecutors said at the trial of Rhodes and four others for seditious conspiracy. Whilst prosecutors have not yet told the jury precisely what Rhodes did with the weapons, the purchases took place as he was overseeing the creation of what he has called an armed “quick reaction force” that was staged in hotel rooms in Virginia, ready to rush to the aid of Oath Keepers stationed at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The armed contingent is central to the Justice Department’s case that Rhodes and his four co-defendants committed seditious conspiracy by plotting to use violence to stop the transfer of power from President Trump to Joe Biden. Alan Feuer and Zach Montague report for the New York Times.
The Justice Department asked a federal judge yesterday to sentence former Trump adviser Steve Bannon to six months in prison and a fine of $200,000 for contempt of Congress. In a 24-page sentencing memorandum, prosecutors described Bannon’s refusal to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 committee as “sustained, bad-faith contempt of Congress.” The committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack repeatedly sought documents and testimony from Bannon, but he “flouted the Committee’s authority and ignored the subpoena’s demands,” prosecutors said. Bannon is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday. Rebecca Shabad reports for NBC News.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has agreed to buy the right-wing social media platform Parler, the company has announced. In a statement, Ye said he’s buying the platform to ensure people with conservative opinions “have the right to freely express ourselves” online. Earlier this month, Ye’s Twitter and Instagram accounts were locked, after he posted anti-Semitic messages. Parler was created in September 2018 as a free speech alternative to apps like Twitter and Facebook. The app was de-platformed from Google and Apple’s app stores in Jan. 2021, following the Jan. 6 attack. Sara Fischer reports for Axios.
The Supreme Court yesterday refused to consider whether American Samoans have full U.S. citizenship at birth. In doing so the court also declined an opportunity to reconsider the so-called “Insular Cases,” a series of early 20th-century Supreme Court rulings that have long been criticized for their racist foundation. The challenge was brought by three American Samoans living in Utah, as well as the Southern Utah Pacific Island Coalition, who argued that the current law, under which people from the group of islands in the Pacific Ocean are considered U.S. “nationals” at birth but not citizens, is a vestige of racist policies towards territories. “The subordinate, inferior non-citizen National status relegates American Samoans to second-class participation in the Republic,” the challengers’ lawyers say in court papers. Lawrence Hurley reports for NBC News.
COVID-19 has infected over 96.990 million people and has now killed over 1.07 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 625.340 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.57 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
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.