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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.
The U.S. is considering sending Bradley armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine, President Biden confirmed yesterday. According to one defense official, the transfer of Bradley vehicles could be announced in coming the days or weeks as part of the U.S.’s next Ukraine security package. Oren Liebermann and Betsy Klein report for CNN.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has dispatched a warship armed with advanced hypersonic missiles on a mission through the Atlantic Ocean, Russian state media reported yesterday. The frigate Admiral Gorshkov set off from an unnamed northern Russian port after Putin spoke with the ship’s commander and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu via video link. “The main efforts during the campaign will be focused on countering Russia’s threats, maintaining regional peace and stability together with friendly countries,” Shoigu said in the TASS news agency report. Brad Lendon and Anna Chernova report for CNN.
Ukraine carried out a string of artillery attacks on Russian barracks in the first days of the year, killing or wounding more than 1,000, according to Ukrainian officials. The Russian military has confirmed one of the three waves of claimed strikes but gave a much lower death toll than Ukraine. Social media posts, reports from residents, and Russians who blog about military affairs offered partial confirmation of the other strikes claimed by Ukraine but did not corroborate the number of casualties. Andrew E. Kramer, Anatoly Kurmanaev and Christiaan Triebert report for the New York Times.
Parts made by more than a dozen U.S. and Western companies were found inside a single Iranian drone downed in Ukraine last fall, according to a Ukrainian intelligence assessment. The assessment, which was shared with U.S. government officials in December, shows the limits of the Western sanctions regimes and the challenges the Biden administration faces in trying to shut down Iran’s production of drones. There is no suggestion that any of the companies which had manufactured the drone parts had fallen foul of U.S. sanctions laws. Natasha Bertrand reports for CNN.
Republican Kevin McCarthy proposed more key concessions after losing another round of voting for House speaker yesterday. These include agreeing to propose a rules change that would allow just one member to call for a vote to oust a sitting speaker, according to two sources familiar with the matter. However, as the stalemate enters its third day it is still not clear whether these concessions will be enough to gain the support of hardline conservatives. Clare Foran, Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju and Lauren Fox reports for CNN.
The FBI yesterday announced that it has increased the award for information that leads to an arrest in the investigation of the placement of pipe bombs at both the Democratic and Republican parties’ national headquarters on Jan. 5 2021. The FBI, along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department, is now offering $500,000 for relevant information on the pipe bombs, which were discovered on the day of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Hannah Rabinowitz, Devan Cole and Holmes Lybrand reports for CNN.
Washington D.C. officials plan to push through an overhaul of the district’s criminal code despite a veto issued yesterday by Mayor Muriel Bowser. According to Mayor Bowser, the proposed changes would weaken public safety at a time of heightened concern about crime. However, Council member Charles Allen, who led the public-safety committee when the district council passed the overhaul bill in November, indicated that the council would vote to override the veto. Scott Calvert reports for the Wall Street Journal.
President Biden said yesterday that he intends to visit the U.S.-Mexico border during his trip to Mexico City next week. The trip would be Biden’s first visit to the border as president. Tarini Parti and Annies Linskey report for the Wall Street Journal.
Biden will host Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the White House next week. According to a statement from White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, the leaders will discuss a “range of regional and global issues,” including North Korea’s nuclear arms buildup, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and Chinese aggression over the self-governing island of Taiwan. Brad Dress reports for The Hill.
Australia said it plans to acquire a U.S.-built High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. The system, which has gained prominence after being used effectively by Ukrainian forces against Russia, allows targets to be struck from far behind the front lines. The decision to acquire such a system is the latest step by the U.S. ally to bolster their military amid increased competition with China in the region. Mike Cherney reports for the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
A North Korean drone entered a no-fly zone surrounding the South’s presidential office last week. This is according to a statement yesterday from South Korea’s military. The unmanned aircraft flew over South Korea for five hours, prompting an armed response. The safety of the office was not compromised by the intrusion. Min Joo Kim reports for the Washington Post.
Iranian officials have summoned the French ambassador to the country to share their displeasure over the publication of a cartoon depiction of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. In a statement yesterday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said that the country will not accept any insult to “its national and religious values,” adding that “Iran is waiting for the French government’s explanation and compensatory action.” Agence France-Presse reports.
Israel’s new finance minister Bezalel Smotrich plans to spend billions of dollars building infrastructure and investing in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Smotrich is the leader of the country’s far-right Religious Zionism party and an advocate of outright annexation of at least parts of the West Bank. His visions for the West Bank underscore the challenges Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face as he tries to hold together a right-wing government, whilst also maintaining relations with international allies who oppose annexation. Dov Lieber provides analysis for the Wall Street Journal.
COVID-19 has infected over 101.044 million people and has now killed over 1.09 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 662.428 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 7.51 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.