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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.
Memorial Day weekend shootings across the U.S. have left at least 16 people dead and dozens more injured. Yesterday evening, nine victims were injured in a shooting in Hollywood Beach, Florida. The violence resulted from an altercation between two groups, in which some children may have been injured. Kalhan Rosenblatt reports for NBC News.
New voting measures that increase penalties for illegal voting and expand state oversight of local elections in Harris County, which includes Houston, have been approved by the Texas Legislature. If approved by Gov. Greg Abbott, the measures would upend elections in Democrat-led Houston a few months before the city’s mayoral race in November by forcing the county to change how it runs elections and return to a previous system. J. David Goodman reports for the New York Times.
Russia’s Interior Ministry announced yesterday that it issued an arrest warrant for Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) over an edited video of his comments on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Graham responded by tweeting, “I will submit to jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court if you do. Come and make your best case. See you in The Hague!” Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.
China has rebuffed a request by the United States for a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart Li Shangfu on the sidelines of the Singapore security forum this weekend, the Pentagon said yesterday. China called the sincerity of the U.S. request into question, pointing to sanctions Washington has imposed on Li since 2018. The rebuff casts doubt over the tentative rapprochement that President Biden had hinted at last week. Nancy A. Youssef reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The coast guards of the United States, Japan, and the Philippines will hold a trilateral maritime exercise in the South China Sea this week. The Jun. 1 to 7 exercise was an initiative of the United States and Japan, and Australia will join as an observer, said Philippine coast guard spokesperson Armand Balilo yesterday. This will be the first such exercise and comes amid growing concern about China’s moves in the region. Karen Lema reports for Reuters.
Tony Holford, a Rhode Island man, was shot at by Maine State troopers yesterday after he refused law enforcement’s orders to stop near the U.S.-Canadian border. A trooper first attempted to stop Holford when he saw a sign indicating that Holford had an explosive device in his vehicle. It is not clear what exactly signaled a possible explosive device. Holford was not injured and surrendered to the police. He has been charged with aggravated reckless conduct, terrorizing, and failure to stop. Sarah Polus reports for The Hill.
Russia has accused Ukraine of launching early morning drone attacks on Moscow today. Officials said that minor damage had been caused to several buildings. Moscow’s mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, says no one was seriously injured. The defense ministry claimed that all the drones were intercepted. BBC News reports.
Russia conducted its third aerial attack on Kyiv in 24 hours. Falling debris killed at least one person and wounded at least four people, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. The air raid was the 17th attack this month. Andrew Jeong reports for the Washington Post.
Ukraine has charged four members of Russia’s National Guard with war crimes in Kherson after they beat prisoners relentlessly and tortured them with electric shocks, waterboarding and mock executions. Three people died in the custody of the Russians that seized control of a detention center in southern Ukraine last year and filled it with 200 detainees. Investigators say they have uncovered hundreds of crimes carried out under the Russian occupation in Kherson. These include executions and deaths in custody, torture, sexual violence, and beatings. Carlotta Gall reports for the New York Times.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential adviser, said yesterday that a demilitarized zone of 62-75 miles should be established inside Russia along the border with Ukraine as part of a post-war settlement. Podolyak said the demilitarised zone could initially have an international presence to control it. Podolyak’s comments come after the governor of Russia’s Belgorod region, which borders Ukraine, called for annexing Ukraine’s Kharkiv region to stop Ukraine’s cross-border shelling. Reuters reports.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – SUDAN
Sudan’s warring sides have agreed to a five-day extension of a shaky ceasefire, Saudi Arabia and the United States announced in a joint statement yesterday. The development came after Riyadh and Washington called out both warring sides on Sunday for specific breaches of a week-long truce. The Guardian reports.
Entire villages in Sudan’s West Darfur region have been razed by militias, with aid agencies warning the region is on the brink of a “humanitarian catastrophe.” Widespread looting and the destruction of vital infrastructure left many with little access to food, clean water, and medicine. The present conflict could reignite communal tensions. Communical tensions flared in Darfur after the Janjaweed, the predecessor of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, was mobilized to crush a rebellion 20 years ago, leading to accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Barbara Plett-Usher reports for BBC News.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – NATO
The foreign ministers of Sweden and Turkey will meet “soon” to discuss Sweden’s delayed bid to join NATO, the Swedish foreign ministry said yesterday. Turkey has blocked Sweden’s NATO bid, alleging Sweden harbors members of militant groups it considers terrorists and that Sweden has not fulfilled its part of a deal struck in Madrid in June last year to assuage Turkey’s security concerns. Discussions between the two countries ground to a halt during Turkey’s election, which has now concluded in President Erdogan’s favor. Reuters reports.
30 NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo were injured in fierce clashes with ethnic Serbs last week. The Serbs had tried to take over an office in the municipality of Zvecan in northern Kosovo, where an ethnic Albanian mayor took up their post. Ethnic Serbs plan to gather again today. Zenel Zhinipotoku and Llazar Semini report for AP News.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Kenya will sign a trade pact with Russia aimed at boosting cooperation between businesses, President William Ruto’s office said yesterday. Russia has stepped up its drive to boost economic ties with Africa to help offset a chill in relations with the West. Russia plans to hold an Africa-Russia summit in St Petersburg in July. Reuters reports.
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has visited Brazil for the first time since he was banned by former far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in 2019. Maduro was received by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ahead of a summit of Latin American leaders in Brasilia. “What’s important about Maduro coming here is that it’s the beginning of Maduro’s return,” Lula said. Will Grant and Jaroslav Lukiv report for BBC News.
14 members of a “terrorist team” linked to Israel have been arrested in northwestern Iran, an official from Iran’s Judiciary said yesterday. The group was “arrested as they were seeking to identify and assassinate various individuals,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. Reuters reports.
China’s deep structural economic problems are reasserting themselves after a short boom caused by the lifting of “zero covid” measures. The property boom and government overinvestment that fueled growth for over a decade have ended. Enormous debts are crippling households and local governments. Deteriorating relations with the West are stifling foreign investment. Economists say these issues will limit China’s chances of extending the growth that transformed it into a U.S. rival. Stella Yifan Xie and Jason Douglas report for the Wall Street Journal.
Two Italian intelligence agents and a retired Israeli security forces member were among four victims of Sunday’s boating disaster on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, local officials say. The boat had been carrying about 25 people celebrating a birthday when a storm developed over the lake, later turning into a “small hurricane.” BBC News reports.
The possibility that COVID-19 leaked from a laboratory should not be ruled out, Professor George Gao, a former top Chinese government scientist, has told BBC News. As head of China’s Centre for Disease Control, Gao played a crucial role in the pandemic response and efforts to trace its origins. The Chinese government may have taken the lab leak theory more seriously than its official statements suggest, as Gao said a formal investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology was carried out. John Sudworth and Simon Maybin report for BBC News.