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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.
Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis will announce between Jul. 11 and Sep. 1 whether or not former President Trump and his allies will be charged with crimes following the investigation into their efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Kelly Garrity reports for POLITICO.
The federal criminal trial against five Proud Boys accused of plotting to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, moved to its final stage yesterday. One prosecutor and two defense attorneys gave their closing arguments to the jury tasked with deciding whether Enrique Tarrio, Dominic Pezzola, Zachary Rehl, Joseph Biggs, and Ethan Nordean are guilty of several federal crimes, including seditious conspiracy. All five of the defendants have pleaded not guilty. Closing arguments are expected to continue today. Holmes Lybrand and Hannah Rabinowitz report for CNN.
Four men have been charged with laundering cryptocurrency stolen by an infamous North Korean online criminal syndicate, the Justice Department said yesterday. The charges, filed in three cases in federal court in Washington, outline a complex long-term effort to launder cryptocurrency obtained by the Lazarus Group, an organization linked to espionage, online theft, and cyberattacks. None of the charged men are in the United States. Glenn Thrush reports for the New York Times.
A Guantánamo prosecutor yesterday proposed a March 2025 trial date for three men accused of conspiring in the 2002 nightclub bombings in Bali, Indonesia. Defense lawyers protested that the timeline is too long for the Indonesian man and two Malaysian men, who have been held by the United States since 2003. The lead prosecutor, Colonel George Kraehe, said neither the prosecution nor a judge would be ready any sooner than March 2025. Carol Rosenberg reports for the New York Times.
The largest two-day annual military exercises between the United States and the Philippines began this week with a focus on the defense of the northern Philippines and preparations for conflict if China moves to take Taiwan by force. The exercises simulate the defense of a critical maritime transit point known as the Bashi Channel. Alastair Gale reports for the Wall Street Journal.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – CHINA
British foreign minister James Cleverly will today urge China to be more open about the reasons behind what he called the biggest military build-up in peacetime history, warning that secrecy could lead to a “tragic miscalculation.” Cleverly will also express Britain’s openness to deepening cooperation with allies in the Indo-Pacific. While the U.K. is open to working with China on climate change, pandemic prevention, economic stability, and nuclear proliferation, Cleverly will affirm that the U.K. will protect its national security interests and call out Beijing if it breaks its international obligations or abuses human rights. Andrew Macaskill reports for Reuters.
European navies should patrol the disputed Taiwan Strait, the E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said over the weekend. Borrell said: “Taiwan is clearly part of our geostrategic perimeter to guarantee peace,” and stressed the moral and economic reasons for defending Taiwan. The Guardian reports.
Chinese journalist Dong Yuyu, a writer and former Harvard University fellow known for his sharp observations on Chinese society, has been arrested on espionage charges, according to his family. The charges against Dong relate to his connections with foreigners, highlighting the extreme lengths Chinese authorities are going to sever connections between Chinese citizens and foreigners, seen as a destabilizing force. Given the high conviction rate of Chinese courts, Dong is almost certain to be found guilty of a charge with a penalty of more than 10 years in prison. Lily Kuo reports for the Washington Post.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Sudan’s warring factions have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire following U.S.-Saudia mediation efforts. It is unclear whether the ceasefire will hold, especially as most communications are down in the capital. Robert Wright, John Paul Rathbone, George Parker, Andres Schipani, and Felicia Schwartz report for the Financial Times.
Five people were injured yesterday in a car-ramming attack by a Palestinian in central Jerusalem, Israeli police say. The attacker was shot and killed at the scene by a civilian. Police say the assailant was a 39-year-old man from occupied East Jerusalem. Raffi Berg reports for BBC News.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – LEAKED INTELLIGENCE REPORTS
The Ukrainian military “agreed, at Washington’s request to postpone strikes” on Moscow that it had planned to carry out during the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, leaked intelligence reports show. The Biden administration feared that attacks inside Russia could provoke an aggressive response from the Kremlin. Shane Harris and Isabelle Khurshudyan report for the Washington Post.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Over the past six months, Russian ships have ferried more than 300,000 Iranian artillery shells and a million rounds of ammunition across the Caspian Sea to resupply troops fighting in Ukraine, Middle East officials said. According to U.S. officials, Iran has primarily used cargo planes to ship weapons to Russia, making it all but impossible to intervene. Officials from the U.S. military have visited Turkmenistan on the Caspian Sea to discuss various issues, including ways to deepen their cooperation and expand maritime security. Dion Nissenbaum and Benoit Faucon report for the Wall Street Journal.
Russia’s global leadership rating fell from 33 percent to 21 percent since its invasion of Ukraine, according to “Rating World Leaders,” a report published by Gallup today. Across the 137 countries and territories that Gallup surveyed in 2022, a median of 57% said they disapprove of Russia’s leadership – a dramatic increase from 38% in 2021. Zacc Ritter and Steve Crabtree report for Gallup.
China has distanced itself from the remarks of Paris-based Ambassador Lu Shaye, who questioned the sovereignty of Ukraine and other former Soviet countries. Yesterday, China’s foreign ministry said it respected the independence of all post-Soviet republics. Robert Greenall reports for BBC News.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, led a U.N. Security Council session yesterday to extol the virtues of peace and diplomacy, drawing heavy criticism from Western diplomats, who accused Russia of hypocrisy. The United States and European members of the Council did not send their foreign ministers to the session. Farnaz Fassihi reports for the New York Times.
Ukrainian military forces have established positions on the eastern side of the Dnieper River, which could be an early sign of Kyiv’s long-awaited spring counteroffensive. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, reported on Saturday that geolocated footage from pro-Kremlin military bloggers indicated that Ukrainian troops had established a foothold near the town of Oleshky, along with “stable supply lines” to their positions. The Kremlin-installed head of the Kherson region, Vladimir Saldo, said Russian forces are “in full control” of the area. David Rising and Joanna Kozlowska report for AP News.
Three Ukrainian drone boats attacked a Russian-controlled military port in Crimea, and an aerial drone crashed in the Moscow area, Russian authorities said. The drone boats attacked the base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, a critical military port city on the Crimean Peninsula. The Russian-installed governor, Mikhail Razvozhaev, said no damage was caused. The armed aerial drone crashed in a forest near Moscow after running out of fuel. Bojan Pancevski and Ian Lovett report for the Wall Street Journal.