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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news.
A second Russian ship was struck by a Ukrainian drone boat over the weekend as violence in the Black Sea intensified. The attack on the tanker coincided with a new directive from Ukraine’s maritime authority, warning that six Russian Black Sea ports would be considered “war risk” areas until further notice. Marc Santora and Christiaan Triebert report for the New York Times.
Moscow mounted a massive missile and drone strike on western Ukraine yesterday in response to the Ukrainian attack on a Russian tanker. Russia launched 70 attack drones and missiles, Ukraine’s air force said. POLITICO reports.
Two people were killed and four injured after a Russian “guided bomb” struck a blood transfusion center in Ukraine, officials say. “This war crime alone says everything about Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. Russia has not commented. It has previously denied all allegations of targeting civilians or war crimes. Jaroslav Lukiv reports for BBC News.
Two bridges connecting Russian-occupied Crimea to the rest of Ukraine were struck yesterday as Ukraine attempts to bring the war to Russian-held territory. The strikes halted traffic on both bridges and injured one driver. A gas pipeline near one of the bridges was also damaged, cutting off supplies to more than 20,000 people. Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Vivek Shankar, and Anushka Patil report for the New York Times.
Over 40 nations, including China, India, the United States, and European countries, took part in the Jeddah peace talks that ended yesterday, which Russia called a doomed attempt to rally the Global South behind Ukraine. Ukraine and its allies said the talks were a productive attempt to secure international support for their 10-point peace plan. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wants a global summit based on that plan to be held later this year. Reuters reports.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida yesterday warned of Russia’s nuclear threat in a speech marking 78 years since the atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima. “A world without nuclear weapons” has become “all the more difficult” to achieve due to Russia’s actions, Kishida said. Sarah Fortinsky reports for The Hill.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – ISRAEL
The Israeli Defense Forces have killed three alleged Palestinian militants heading to carry out an attack in the north of the occupied West Bank, near the Jenin refugee camp. The Israeli Defense Forces said an automatic rifle was found in their car. The incident marks a further escalation in a wave of violence over the weekend. Yolande Knell reports for BBC News.
The State Department “strongly condemned” as terrorism the killing of a Palestinian by suspected Jewish settlers, in a sign of U.S. frustration with surging violence in the occupied West Bank under Israel’s hard-right government. Israeli police detained two settlers on Friday after they allegedly threw rocks, torched cars, shot a 19-year-old, and wounded several others. Dan Williams reports for Reuters.
Four Syrian soldiers were killed and another four wounded in an Israeli missile attack near Damascus today. Israel recently increased its air raids on Syrian airports to disrupt Iran’s transport of arms. Iran’s proxies, including the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, control large areas of eastern, southern, and northern Syria and several suburbs around Damascus. Reuters reports.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Niger’s airspace has been closed by the junta that seized power. The closure comes as the junta defied a deadline to reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum, set by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS. The junta warned that any attempt to fly over the country would be met with “an energetic and immediate response,” as they accused foreign powers of preparing an attack. Sam Mednick reports for AP News.
China is facing international backlash after a coast guard vessel used a water cannon against a Philippine boat as it attempted to deliver supplies to a garrison of Philippine marines on Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea on Saturday. The incident escalated an already tense situation. The United States condemned the Chinese actions yesterday and reiterated that it would meet its mutual defense treaty obligations with the Philippines. Brad Lendon and Kathleen Magramo report for CNN.
Eleven Russian and Chinese naval ships patrolled near the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska last week, the largest such force to approach U.S. shores. The vessels never entered U.S. territorial waters. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AL), a Senate Armed Services Committee member, said the incident was a reminder that the U.S. has entered “a new era of authoritarian aggression.” Michael R. Gordon and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.
In the first five months of 2023, U.S. imports from China were down 24 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the Census Bureau. The decline demonstrates U.S. companies’ efforts to reduce their dependence on Chinese suppliers as U.S.-China trade relations sour. David J. Lynch reports for the Washington Post.
China’s global propaganda efforts are being enhanced by Neville Roy Singham, an American millionaire financing its propaganda worldwide. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on groups linked to Singham that mix progressive advocacy with Chinese government talking points. Mara Hvistendahl, David A. Fahrenthold, Lynsey Chutel, and Ishaan Jhaveri report for the New York Times.
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), in a letter, asked the Biden administration to disclose more information about its efforts to counteract North Korea’s dependence on stolen cryptocurrency to fund its nuclear program. The senators called North Korea’s increasing reliance on digital assets to evade sanctions a severe national security threat. Dustin Volz reports for the Wall Street Journal.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
Former President Trump has said he will ask the judge in his alleged election fraud case, Tanya Chutkan, to step aside, claiming that “there is no way I can get a fair trial.” Trump gave no details of his grounds for asking her to step down. Under U.S. federal law, any judge must disqualify themselves if their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. Trump also said he wanted his case to be moved out of Washington. Ece Goksedef reports for BBC News.
Former Vice President Pence yesterday said that former President Trump’s lawyers told Pence on Jan. 5, 2021, “We want you to reject votes outright.” “They were asking me to overturn the election. I had no right to overturn the election,” added Pence. Trump’s lawyer John Lauro said that Trump didn’t direct Pence “to do anything” that could be considered criminal. “He asked him in an aspirational way,” Lauro said. “Asking is not action. It’s core free speech.” Rebecca Falconer reports for Axios.
Federal prosecutors overseeing the election fraud case asked the judge on Friday to impose a protective order over the discovery evidence, citing a threatening message that former President Trump posted on his social media platform, Truth Social. “IF YOU GO AFTER ME, I’M COMING AFTER YOU!” Trump posted. The post “is the definition of political speech,” a Trump campaign statement said. Trump’s lawyers have until 5 pm today to respond with any objections to the government’s request. Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman report for the New York Times.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
Frederick Francis Goltz, who called for a “mass shooting of poll workers” and threatened two Arizona county officials over the 2022 election, was sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment on Thursday. Eduardo Medina reports for the New York Times.
Southern California judge Jeffrey Ferguson was arrested in connection with the killing of his wife, the authorities said on Friday. Police officers found Sheryl Ferguson dead from a gunshot wound inside the couple’s home. Ferguson posted $1 million bail on Friday and has been released. Eduardo Medina reports for the New York Times.