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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.
Thousands of protestors supporting Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the presidential palace, Congress, and the Supreme Court in the capital Brasília yesterday. The protesters called for military intervention to remove Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the leftist leader who took office last week. President Lula called the protestors “fanatic fascists,” and decreed a state of federal intervention in Brasília, an emergency measure by which the federal government temporarily replaces state authorities in charge of public security. Samantha Pearson and Luciana Magalhaes report for the Wall Street Journal.
At least 400 people have been arrested following the unrest in Brazil yesterday, Brazilian authorities have said. In a post on Facebook, Lula said that those involved in the “coup” would be “identified and punished.” Marcia Reverdosa reports for CNN.
Bolsonaro criticized supporters who stormed government buildings in the Brazilian capital yesterday. “Peaceful demonstrations, within the law, are part of democracy. However, vandalism and the invasion of public buildings like today’s acts, and like those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, are an exception,” he said. Bolsonaro, who is currently in Florida, denied that he was to blame for the attacks, following a polarizing election that he lost to his leftist opponent. Bolsonaro, an ally of former President Trump, didn’t concede to Lula and missed his successor’s inauguration. Ryan Dube reports for the Wall Street Journal.
China sent 28 warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said. The drills, which were confirmed by China, were the first large-scale military exercises conducted by Beijing around the island this year. Eric Cheung and Brad Lendon report for CNN.
A Chinese invasion of Taiwan in 2026 would result in thousands of casualties among Chinese, U.S., Taiwanese, and Japanese forces, and would be unlikely to result in a victory for Beijing. This is according to a report by Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), which conducted war game simulations of a possible conflict in the region. Brad Lendon and Oren Liebermann report for CNN.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – FIGHTING
Russia’s self-declared 36-hour cease-fire expired with little letup in the fighting. The ceasefire was supposed to run until midnight on Saturday, but Ukrainian officials reported casualties across front-line regions on Saturday. In his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy reiterated his view that the ceasefire was a ploy.“The world was once again able to see today how false any words…from Moscow are,” he said. Ian Lovett and Ann M. Simmons report for the Wall Street Journal.
Two thermal power plants were damaged by Ukrainian shelling in Russian-controlled parts of the Donetsk region, Moscow installed officials said yesterday. Initial information suggested that some people working in the plants had sustained injuries and that one person had been killed. Russia’s state news agency TASS said that the strike was carried out using a multiple rocket launcher system. Reuters reports.
Moscow claimed to have killed 600 soldiers in a strike on the eastern Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk yesterday. However, the town’s mayor denied this claim, saying there had been no deaths from strikes over the weekend. There are several reasons to doubt the Russian version of events, including Russia’s clear motive to claim retaliation following an attack that killed a cluster of Russian soldiers last week. Emma Graham-Harrison provides analysis for the Guardian.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS
One of Ukraine’s top cyber officials said that some cyberattacks on Ukrainian critical infrastructure could amount to war crimes. In an interview, Victor Zhora, chief digital transformation officer at the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine, said Russia had launched cyberattacks in coordination with kinetic military attacks, and that “since the majority of kinetic attacks are organized against civilians – being a direct act of war crime – supportive actions in cyber can be considered as war crimes.” Shannon Van Sant reports for POLITICO.
Top U.S. officials are increasingly tracking the efforts of the Russian paramilitary organization Wagner Group outside of Ukraine. According to cables obtained by POLITICO, officials are gathering intelligence related to the group’s activities in countries such as the Central African Republic, Mali, and Serbia. The recent statement from U.S. officials underscores the degree of concern about the group within the Biden administration. Erin Banco reports for POLITICO.
Sweden can’t meet some of the demands made by Turkey in order for the Nordic nation to join NATO, Sweden’s prime minister said yesterday. “Turkey both confirms that we did what we said we would do, but they also say they want things we can’t and don’t want to give them,” said Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, speaking at a security conference in Sälen, Sweden. He also said it was “impossible to know” whether Turkey would ratify Sweden’s application before Turkey’s coming election, which will likely be held before June. Jared Malsin reports for the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
German authorities have detained a 32-year-old Iranian citizen suspected of planning a chemical attack. The accused, who was detained following a tip from U.S. security officials, “is suspected of preparing a serious act of violence endangering the state by securing cyanide and ricin to carry out an Islamist-motivated attack,” German authorities said in a statement. William Boston reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Ten soldiers and 19 drug cartel members were killed in violent outbursts surrounding the capture of the son of notorious drug lord “El Chapo.” Following the arrest of Ovidio Guzmán López cartel members shot at soldiers and set up roadblocks with flaming vehicles in an attempt to free him. More than 3,500 troops became involved in the operation, officials said. Richard Pérez-Peña reports for the New York Times.
The military junta that controls Mali pardoned 49 Ivorian soldiers and suspended their prison sentences. The decision, which came a week after the soldiers received sentences of 20 years, ends a diplomatic dispute that highlighted the growing isolation of the West African country. Mali had accused the soldiers of being mercenaries, but the government of Ivory Coast said they were in Mali to support a nearly decade-old U.N. peacekeeping mission. Elian Peltier reports for the New York Times.
House Republicans are preparing a wide-ranging investigation into law enforcement and national security agencies. The House plans to vote this week on a resolution to create a special Judiciary subcommittee on what it called “the weaponization of the federal government,” a topic that Republicans have signaled could include reviewing investigations into former President Trump. Charlie Savage and Luke Broadwater report for the New York Times.
President Biden made his first visit to the U.S.-Mexico border since taking office on Sunday. His visit to El Paso’s busiest crossing, follows the announcement of his new immigration enforcement plans, which would see more asylum seekers who try to cross the border illegally sent back to Mexico. Michael D. Shear and Edgar Sandoval report for the New York Times.
COVID-19 has infected over 101.244 million people and has now killed over 1.10 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 664.353 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.71 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.