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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – WAGNER
Poland and Lithuania, both NATO members, warned yesterday of “provocations” and “sabotage actions” from paramilitary organization Wagner group forces in neighboring Belarus, Poland’s defense minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, warned. In response to this threat, Poland is redeploying troops to its eastern border from the west. Monika Pronczuk reports for the New York Times.
The paramilitary organization Wagner group in Belarus is trying to “destabilize” NATO, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki warned yesterday. Morawiecki said that the number of Wagner troops in Belarus could exceed 4,000. In a meeting with Morawiecki, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda said, “We stay vigilant and prepared for any possible scenario.” Claudia Chiappa reports for POLITICO.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Russian warships destroyed Ukrainian boat drones as they attacked a Russian naval base near the Black Sea port of Novorossiysk today, Russia’s defense ministry said. Reuters reports.
Russia is looking to secure further munitions supplies from North Korea, a move that U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said would violate several U.N. Security Council resolutions. “This is yet another example of how desperate Putin is becoming, because his war machine is being affected by the sanctions and the export controls,” Kirby added. Ammunition shortages have been a problem for Russia and Ukraine. Vivian Salama reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Ukrainian pilots will begin training in F-16 fighter jets this month, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. The jets would then be transferred after training, a task Zelenskyy conceded would be “challenging.” Niha Masih, Victoria Bisset, Serhiy Morgunov, Natalia Abbakumova, and Eve Sampson report for the Washington Post.
Infighting among Russia’s pro-war bloggers is increasingly coming to the fore. Many bloggers praised Yevgeny Prigozhin, whose paramilitary organization Wagner group relocated to Belarus after a failed armed action. Last month, a well-known pro-war blogger who had criticized the Kremlin’s conduct of the war, Igor Girkin, was accused of engaging in extremist activities after calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “nothingness” who had managed to “throw dust in the eyes” of his people. Valeriya Safronova reports for the New York Times.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – NIGER
Niger’s ousted President Mohamed Bazoum urged the United States and the “entire international community” to help “restore … constitutional order” after last week’s coup. Bazoum warned that the region could drift further into Russia’s sphere of influence via the paramilitary organization Wagner group. Mohamed Bazoum wrote an opinion in the Washington Post.
Thousands have demonstrated in Niger’s capital, Niamey, in support of last week’s military coup. Demonstrators condemned West African countries that have imposed sanctions on Niger and demanded the departure of foreign troops. The United States and France have military bases in the country to help fight Islamist militants. Tchima Illa Issoufou and Megan Fisher report for BBC News.
President Biden yesterday called for the immediate release of President Mohamed Bazoum, who has been detained since last week’s coup, saying the United States “stands with the people of Niger” as the country faces a “grave challenge to its democracy.” The United States has not formally designated Bazoum’s removal from power as a coup. Such a move would require the United States to cut foreign and military assistance to Niger. Arlette Saenz reports for CNN.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
The leader of the self-styled Islamic State militant group has been killed in clashes with a rival group in northern Syria, according to an audio statement attributed to an Islamic State spokesperson. The announcement comes months after Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the same Islamic State leader had been killed in a Turkish intelligence operation. The militant group has named Abu Hafs al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as its new leader. Jared Malsin reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Fourteen people have been injured in a stabbing and car rampage in the South Korean city of Seongnam, officials said. The suspect, a male delivery worker in his early 20s, was arrested on charges of attempted murder. No motive has yet been determined. This marks the second mass stabbing in the greater Seoul area within a month. John Yoon reports for the New York Times.
At least 157 people, including 25 children, were killed in April in the single deadliest attack by the Myanmar military since it seized control from a civilian government in 2021. The military took responsibility for the airstrike but said it had killed rebel People’s Defense Force members, whom the military called “terrorists.” Rebecca Tan and Cape Diamond report for the Washington Post.
Two U.S. Navy sailors have been arrested in California for spying for China. Jinchao Wei, 22, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is accused of conspiring to give a Chinese agent national defense information. Wenheng Zhao, 26, is accused of accepting money for sensitive photos and videos. Mike Wendling reports for BBC News.
The U.S. military may deploy armed personnel on commercial ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz to deter Iran from seizing and harassing civilian vessels. The proposal comes as U.S. marines and military assets are on their way to the Persian Gulf. Officials said Marines and Navy sailors would provide security only at the request of the ships involved. Lolita C. Baldor and Jon Gambrell report for AP News.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
Former President Trump has pleaded not guilty to conspiring to overturn his 2020 election defeat. The judge told Trump not to communicate about the facts of the case, warning him that failure to comply could result in an arrest warrant, revoked release conditions, and contempt of court charges. Bernd Debusmann Jr, Sam Cabral and George Bowden report for BBC News.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
In a 2-1 ruling, a federal appeals court yesterday allowed the Biden administration to enforce its post-Title 42 asylum rules while litigation continues over the policy. The ruling blocked a lower court decision that would have barred the administration from enforcing the policy. The policy, referred to as a transit ban, requires migrants seeking entry to the United States to have been denied protection in another country to be eligible for asylum in the United States. Alicia A. Caldwell reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Sixty-nine percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners say President Biden’s 2020 election win was not legitimate, up from 63%. Overall, 61% of Americans say Biden legitimately won enough votes to win the presidency, and 38% believe he did not, according to a new CNN poll.
Six white former police officers in Mississippi pleaded guilty to federal civil rights offenses yesterday. The plea comes several months after the former police officers raided a house “tortured and inflicted unspeakable” harm on two Black men. One man was shot in the mouth during a “mock execution,” and a sex toy was forced into the other man’s mouth. Michael Levenson and Livia Albeck-Ripka report for the New York Times.
Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson, the two Democratic state representatives in Tennessee expelled by Republicans for their gun safety protest on the chamber floor, won their old seats in elections yesterday. While both lawmakers were reinstated shortly after their expulsion in April, they still had to run for their old seats. Adam Edelman reports for NBC News.
Stefanie Lambert, a Michigan-based pro-Trump attorney, was charged in a state investigation into attempts to tamper with voting machines after the 2020 election, prosecutors said yesterday. Lambert was charged with undue possession of a voting machine, conspiracy to commit undue possession of a voting machine, conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to a computer system, and willfully damaging a voting machine. Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.