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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS – NAGORNO-KARABAKH
Over 13,000 ethnic Armenians have fled Nagorno-Karabakh crossing into Armenia after Azerbaijan seized the disputed region last week. Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said ethnic cleansing is underway. Azerbaijan said it seeks to re-integrate ethnic Armenians as “equal citizens.” Both sides will meet for E.U.-backed talks in Brussels today. Kathryn Armstrong and Nataliya Zotova report for BBC News.
At least 200 people were wounded yesterday following an explosion at “the largest” fuel depot in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The explosion reportedly occurred while people waited to refuel their cars as they evacuated. The cause of the blast has not been determined. Ivan Nechepurenko reports for the New York Times.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Mali’s elections, scheduled for February, have been postponed due to “technical reasons,” the military junta announced. No new date has yet been set. Initially planned for 2026, the elections were brought forward to February following pressure from Ecowas. Nicolas Négoce reports for BBC News.
Saudi Arabia yesterday agreed to more oversight from the International Atomic Energy Agency over its nuclear activities. This move could expedite uranium enrichment operations in the kingdom as part of a possible U.S.-backed normalization agreement with Israel. The increased oversight would allow inspectors to monitor Saudi’s nuclear facilities extensively. It could lead to the inspection of non-nuclear facilities to ensure no nuclear material is used in a weapons program. Laurence Norman reports for the Wall Street Journal.
The Philippines’ removal of China’s floating barrier in the contested South China Sea yesterday did not lead to any confrontation. Chinese vessels collected the unmoored barrier once the Philippines’ “special operation” was complete. Coastguard spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela warned, “[China] might still return the floating barrier once again, they might still do shadowing and dangerous maneuvers once again.” Neil Jerome Morales reports for Reuters.
The assassination of Sikh community leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada was a larger and more complex operation than previously reported, new evidence reveals. At least six men and two vehicles were involved in the killing. Witnesses and others in the Sikh community have noted the delay in the police response immediately after the killing and in the subsequent investigation. Maham Javaid and Evan Hill report for the Washington Post.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban told the Hungarian parliament yesterday that there was no urgency to ratify Sweden’s NATO bid. His comments signal further delays in a process that has been ongoing since July 2022. Reuters reports.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Russian forces tortured Ukrainians to death, Erik Møse, Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, told the U.N. Human Rights Council yesterday. The latest field report also revealed that “Russian soldiers raped and committed sexual violence against women of ages ranging from 19 to 83 years,” with family members often forced to hear the violations. Russia denies committing atrocities or targeting civilians in Ukraine. Emma Farge reports for Reuters.
Russia is seeking to rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council after being expelled after its forces invaded Ukraine. A Russian position paper on the bid is being circulated with U.N. members. It states the council should not become an “instrument which serves political wills of one group of countries.” Russia promised to find “adequate solutions for human rights issues.” Russia, alongside Albania and Bulgaria, will compete for the two seats on the council reserved for central and eastern European countries in the forthcoming election on Oct. 10. All 193 members of the U.N. general assembly will vote, which may be a key indicator of Russia’s international standing. James Landale reports for BBC News.
The Biden administration yesterday imposed new restrictions on 11 Chinese and five Russian companies, some of which are accused of supplying drone parts to Russia’s military. Finnish and German companies were also among the 28 firms placed on the trade blacklist by the Commerce Department. David Shepardson and Alexandra Alper report for Reuters.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Thirty-four Russian officers, including the Black Sea Fleet commander, Admiral Viktor Sokolov, were killed and 105 others wounded following a strike, the Ukrainian military claimed yesterday. If accurate, Ukraine’s detailed claims about who was killed or injured suggest it has also won an intelligence victory. Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew E. Kramer reports for the New York Times.
“Abrams [tanks] are already in Ukraine and are preparing to reinforce our brigades,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed yesterday. Ian Lovett reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Near-term border crossing from Mexico will remain high, according to a senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection official. However, additional Mexican enforcement will eventually reduce numbers, the official added. Priscilla Alvarez, Rosa Flores and Sara Weisfeldt reports for CNN.
The Cuban embassy in Washington was attacked with two Molotov cocktails on Sunday night, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla said. No injuries or significant damage was caused. No one is in custody. “We are in contact with Cuban embassy officials and law enforcement authorities to ensure an appropriate and timely investigation as well as to offer our support for future protective efforts,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said. Reuters reports.
The United States has offered Poland a $2 billion loan to help modernize its military, the Biden administration announced yesterday. $60 million of U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) will subsidize the loan’s cost so that Poland can undertake “urgent procurements of defense articles and services from the United States.” AP News reports.
President Biden yesterday hosted the leaders of 18 Pacific Island nations, where he announced the establishment of formal diplomatic relations with Niue and the Cook Islands. Biden also announced his intention to invest $40 million in infrastructure spending for the 18 islands. The prime minister of the Solomon Islands did not attend the summit. The Solomon Islands’ growing relationship with China has concerned the United States. Michael Crowley reports for the New York Times.
DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS – TRUMP LEGAL MATTERS
Lawyers for former President Trump yesterday urged District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan to reject a gag order in the federal election interference case. His lawyers said the gag would unconstitutionally silence him during crucial months of the 2024 presidential campaign. Kyle Cheney reports for POLITICO.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee restricted the release of identifying information about jurors in the Georgia election interference case. In addition to regular protections, McAfee ordered that jurors and prospective jurors be identified only by their numbers while the trial was pending and prohibited disclosing any information that would reveal their identities. McAfee allowed exceptions for recording audio of the jury foreperson’s announcement of a verdict or questions to the judge. Zoë Richards reports for NBC News.
OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS
The U.S. military captured Abu Halil al-Fad’ani, an official of the self-styled Islamic State militant group, in a helicopter raid in northern Syria on Saturday, U.S. Central Command announced yesterday. “The capture of ISIS officials like al-Fad’ani increases our ability to locate, target, and remove terrorists from the battlefield,” U.S. Central Command said. Haley Britzky reports for CNN.
Elliott Broidy, a California businessman with ties to former President Trump who accuses Qatar of hacking and leaking his emails, has received an admission from Joey Allaham, a lobbyist, regarding the hack. Allaham admitted that he knew about the hack and gave Broidy access to some of his emails. Broidy’s lawyers allege Qatar’s lawyers from Covington & Burling, whose partners include President Biden’s first White House counsel, improperly withheld documents. The matter first arose when Qatar’s neighbors imposed a blockade with Trump’s support, alleging it supported terrorism. Broidy sponsored conferences examining whether Qatar supported terrorists, drawing Qatar’s ire. Aruna Viswanatha and C. Ryan Barber report for the Wall Street Journal.
Before the Jan. 6 attack, an internal FBI report noted agents believed domestic violent extremists were “very willing to take action” if the 2020 election was disputed. The analysis predicted two scenarios. The “most likely” scenario was that extremists would be very willing to take action but would lack the capabilities to do so because of disorganization and pressure from law enforcement. A second and “less likely” scenario was that the groups would be both very willing and capable of “a wide array” of violent activity. Ryan J. Reilly reports for NBC News.