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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the weekend. Here’s today’s news.
Over 1,000 ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh crossed into Armenia. Fears of violence or persecution are growing, and the risk of a mass exodus increases. About 120,000 ethnic Armenians live in the disputed region. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday called on Azerbaijan to “protect civilians and uphold its obligations to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh.” Sarah Dadouch reports for the Washington Post.
France will withdraw nearly 1,500 troops from Niger by the end of the year following the military coup, President Emmanuel Macron said yesterday. “Imperialistic and neocolonialist forces are not welcome anymore on our territory,” the junta in Niger said in a statement. France’s withdrawal of troops could signal difficulty for U.S. counter-insurgency operations in the region, which previously worked closely with France. Elian Peltier and Aurelien Breeden report for the New York Times.
Sudan’s army is ready to begin peace talks with the rival Rapid Support Forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said. The two factions began fighting in April. At least 5,000 people have died, and over five million have been displaced. James Landale reports for BBC News.
China’s power is increasingly being projected in the South China Sea as it establishes military bases on reefs and artificial islands in part of the Pacific that an international tribunal has determined is not part of China. The Chinese coast guard, Navy, and fishing boats have confronted other nations’ military and civilian vessels. About one-third of global sea trade transits through that region. Hannah Beech reports for the New York Times.
The Philippines will take “all appropriate actions to cause the removal of barriers” that China installed in a disputed area of the South China Sea, Eduardo Año, the Philippine national security adviser, said today. Philippine fisheries bureau and coast guard found the 1,000-foot-long barrier during patrols on Friday. “The placement by the People’s Republic of China of a barrier violates the traditional fishing rights of our fishermen,” Año added. Reuters reports.
Iranian authorities detained 28 terrorists linked to the self-styled Islamic State militant group after 30 bombs were detected in Tehran, Iran’s intelligence ministry reportedly revealed. The bombs were neutralized before they were to explode simultaneously. Reuters reports.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Saturday said he would keep Ukraine aid in the Pentagon funding bill, reversing his Friday statement that he would remove the funding due to opposition from Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Mychael Schnell reports for The Hill.
The United States will send a small number of long-range missiles to Ukraine, President Biden promised Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said. The Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) have a range of 45 to 190 miles. The decision comes as the U.K. and France are wavering on whether they will send more long-range cruise missiles to Ukraine. Jonathan Lemire, Alexnader Ward, Paul McLeary, and Lara Seligman report for POLITICO.
Ukrainian missiles struck the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in the occupied city of Sevastopol on Friday. While Russian accounts of the incident said only one missile hit the building, footage later showed a second missile hitting the headquarters, marking Ukraine’s third major success in 10 days. Ukraine destroyed several significant Russian naval assets and blew up the Black Sea Fleet’s backup communications headquarters. Yaroslav Trofimov reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Poland clarified that it would send weapons it has already committed to Ukraine after Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said, “We no longer transfer weapons to Ukraine because we are now arming Poland.” Polish President Andrzej Duda has said his prime minister’s words were “interpreted in the worst possible way.” While the diplomatic spat between Poland and Ukraine last week appeared to call European solidarity into question, Morawiecki’s comments may have been intended to appeal to the farmers, a critical voting group in Poland’s forthcoming elections. Luke McGee reports for CNN.
Ukrainian armored vehicles have broken through Russia’s main defensive line along the front in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region. While Ukrainian infantry penetrated the final line “two to three weeks ago,” vehicles have only recently broken through, a Ukrainian commander said. Isabelle Khurshudyan, David L. Stern, Alex Horton, and Kamila Hrabchuk report for the Washington Post.
The United States and Vietnam are in talks for arms sales, which, if agreed, would be the largest ever sale between the two countries, according to two people familiar with the matter. The deal could include F-16 fighter jets and be concluded within the next year. Trevor Hunnicutt and Nandita Bose report for Reuters.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has denied there is a “wedge” between the United States and Canada following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s accusation that India was responsible for the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh community leader. Yet, the United States and other Canadian allies have not given full-throated support to Canada following the accusation. The tepid support reflects India’s growing strength on the world stage and the West’s eagerness to work with it. Holly Honderich reports for BBC News.
U.S. spy agencies shared intelligence that contributed to Canada’s conclusion that India was responsible for the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, a Sikh community leader, according to a Western official. It is not unusual for the United States to share tightly guarded intelligence with close allies, including Canada, as they are part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership. Dustin Volz and Paul Vieira report for the Wall Street Journal.
Senator Robert J. Menendez (D-NJ) secretly assisted Egypt in lobbying for the release of funds and helped it secure weapons sales in exchange for cash, checks, and gold, according to a federal indictment. As the ranking Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez can impede U.S. weapons sales. Menendez has previously blocked shipments to Saudi Arabia and Turkey over human rights concerns. Consequently, Egypt took note when Menendez was one of 17 senators who signed a 2018 letter calling on President Trump to push Egypt to address “the erosion of political and human rights.” Vivian Yee and Karoun Demirjian report for the New York Times.
The surge in migration across the southern U.S. border is partly attributable to migrants being reluctant to wait for an appointment on the smartphone app the government wants them to use. The app offers 40,000 appointments each month. The Biden administration said those entering without using the app and asking for protection before reaching the United States would likely be ineligible for asylum. Alicia A. Caldwell reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Ray Epps, a marine who took part in the Jan. 6 attack and was labeled a government agent by right-wing conspiracy theorists, has pleaded guilty to charges that he entered a restricted area on the Capitol grounds. CBS reports.
Baton Rouge police are being investigated by the FBI after a lawsuit suggests officers abused and humiliated detainees in an unmarked “torture warehouse” known as the Brave Cave. Murphy J. Paul Jr., the police chief, said he was “aware of the facility” and referred to the warehouse as a “narcotics processing center.” Allegations of misconduct in the Baton Rouge police have previously arisen in 2016 and 2021. Livia Albeck-Ripka report for the New York Times.
The indictment of Senator Robert J. Menendez (D-NJ) on bribery charges on Friday appears to undermine the Republican assertion that the Department of Justice is operating a “two-tiered system.” Republicans have accused the Department of Justice of singling out former President Trump, a Republican, while shielding Democrats. Glenn Thrush reports for the New York Times.
Senator Robert J. Menendez (D-NJ) faces growing calls to resign following an indictment on bribery charges on Friday. Menendez has responded by saying he is “not going anywhere.” Prosecutors accuse Menendez and his partner of accepting “hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes.” Shauneen Miranda reports for Axios.
Charles F. McGonigal, the former senior FBI official who pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate U.S. penalties and launder funds for a Russian billionaire, on Friday pleaded guilty to charges in a separate case of concealing material facts. The plea is part of a deal in which federal prosecutors agreed to drop all other pending charges and that sentencing guidelines would range from zero to 27 months. McGonigal led prominent intelligence investigations into WikiLeaks and a suspected Chinese spy in the CIA. Spencer S. Hsu reports for the Washington Post.
Colorado District Judge Sarah B. Wallace, overseeing the 14th Amendment case that seeks to keep former President Trump from the ballot, on Friday issued a protective order prohibiting threats and intimidation in the case. Nicholas Riccardi reports for AP News.