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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-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – U.S. RESPONSE
Senate Armed Services Committee members rebuked top military commanders at a hearing yesterday and called for the expedited delivery of Abrams tanks as Ukraine prepares for a counteroffensive to retake territory from Russia. Senators on both sides of the aisle are frustrated with the Pentagon’s monthslong timeline for shipping the tanks. Connor O’Brien reports for POLITICO.
The Biden administration imposed sanctions on Russia’s Federal Security Service and the intelligence organization for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for what it said was a pattern of wrongfully detaining Americans to use them for political leverage. Vivian Salama and Ann M. Simmons report for the Wall Street Journal.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Amnesty International has for months refused to publish a report that is critical of Amnesty’s accusation that Ukrainian forces violated international humanitarian law by putting civilians in danger. While the report acknowledged that it is “entirely appropriate” for a rights organization to criticize violations by a victim of aggression, “provided that there is sufficient evidence of such violations,” it concluded Amnesty’s accusation was “not sufficiently substantiated” by the available evidence. Charlie Savage reports for the New York Times.
At least 12 people have been killed after Russia launched a wave of air strikes on cities across Ukraine, including Kyiv. Ukraine’s air defense system shot down 21 out of 23 missiles and two attack drones, officials said in a post on Telegram. Hugo Bachega and Antoinette Radford report for BBC News.
The Iranian drones sold to Russia are powered by an engine based on stolen German technology, according to Conflict Armament Research, a UK-based organization that investigates weapons’ components. Tim Lister reports for CNN.
Heavy fighting continues in Sudan’s capital, despite the rival factions of Sudan’s military agreeing to renew a three-day ceasefire shortly before it expired. At least 512 people were killed in the fighting, and almost 4,200 were injured. Robert Greenall reports for BBC News.
An estimated 200,000 people attended one of Israel’s largest right-wing demonstrations yesterday supporting the government’s plan to overhaul the judiciary. The crowd was mostly comprised of Israelis from the religious Zionist group who believe secular liberal elites control the judiciary, the mainstream media, and the bureaucratic establishment. Isabel Kershner reports for the New York Times.
A Chinese combat drone that state media says can carry a heavy weapons payload has flown around Taiwan, according to the island’s defense ministry. The drone was one of 19 military aircraft that had entered the island’s air defense identification zone in 24 hours. Helen Davidson reports for the Guardian.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said yesterday that he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to deepen their economic, trade, and agricultural cooperation. Putin was speaking at a ceremony to mark the delivery of nuclear fuel to Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which Russia is building. Reuters reports.
The Biden administration yesterday announced plans to open new migrant processing centers in Colombia and Guatemala as part of efforts to reduce undocumented immigration. Between 5,000 and 6,000 people are expected to be processed monthly, but this will be scaled up. The number of deportations for those ineligible to be in the United States will also be doubled or tripled as the country braces for a spike in undocumented immigration when COVID-19 processing rules end in May. Will Grant and Kathryn Armstrong report for BBC News.
Iran has seized a U.S.-bound oil tanker from international waters in the Gulf of Oman, according to the U.S. Navy’s Central Command yesterday. The vessel had sailed from Kuwait and was broadcasting its destination as Houston, Texas. Iran’s conventional army said the seizure followed a collision with an Iranian boat, injuring two. The crew of the seized vessel said they did not know of a collision or why their ship had been targeted. David Sheppard and Najmeh Bozorgmehr report for the Financial Times.
Former Vice President Pence testified yesterday to a federal grand jury investigating the aftermath of the 2020 election and the actions of former President Trump and others, sources familiar with the matter told CNN. Katelyn Polantz and Devan Cole report for CNN.
Jack Teixeira, accused of leaking intelligence reports, kept an arsenal of guns and said on social media that he would like to kill a “ton of people,” prosecutors said yesterday, calling for Teixeira to remain in jail for his trial. The judge put off an immediate decision on whether Teixeira should be kept in custody. Nomaan Merchant and Michelle R. Smith report for AP News.
Members of an all-female tactical combat unit in Afghanistan, who were evacuated during the United States withdrawal, met with lawmakers in Congress yesterday, saying that their service in Afghanistan has earned them the right to stay in America permanently. The soldiers are in the United States under a two-year humanitarian parole set to expire in August. The soldiers hope to revive a bill to create a legal pathway for permanent residency for Afghans who had risked their lives to help Americans. The bill stalled amid Republican concerns about vetting. Luke Broadwater and Ava Sasani report for the New York Times.
Three soldiers were killed, and a fourth was injured after two helicopters collided in mid-air and crashed in Alaska yesterday, the 11th Airborne Division said. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Phil Helsel reports for NBC News.
Former President Trump has steadily escalated his advocacy for people charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, including by pledging to pardon them if he returns to the White House. While campaigning in New Hampshire yesterday, Trump embraced a woman convicted of defying police orders on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021. Trump has been praising attackers as patriots. Isaac Arnsdorf reports for the Washington Post.
A federal appeals court sided with Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday when it overturned a lower court’s decision on a controversial voting law. In March 2022, District Judge Mark Walker ruled that the law, which would restrict the use of drop boxes and set new requirements for voter registration groups, was discriminatory against minorities and placed unconstitutional burdens on voters. Walker ordered the state to get court approval a decade before enacting changes in three election law areas. However, the Circuit Court of Appeals determined that Walker’s order was based on legal errors and “clearly erroneous” findings of fact. Bruce Ritchie and Gary Fineout report for POLITICO.