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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 – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
The United States has transferred over 1 million rounds of seized Iranian ammunition to Ukraine. The ammunition was seized as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps attempted to ship it to Houthi rebels in Yemen, violating the U.N. Security Council Resolution. U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
President Biden reiterated concerns yesterday that recent events in Congress could negatively impact Ukraine, following the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and the near government shutdown a few days earlier. Biden suggested that there may be “another means” of funding Ukraine, though he did not specify what those were. Frances Vinall reports for the Washington Post.
After the Constitutional Court declared a pro-Russian opposition party unconstitutional in June, Moldova’s parliament moved to stop its former members from running in local elections for other parties or as independent candidates. In the June decision, the court held that its members could run in elections if they did not represent the banned party. The parliament now aims to remove that possibility. Alexander Tanas reports for Reuters.
Russia has signed an agreement with the breakaway Georgian region of Abkhazia for a permanent naval base on its Black Sea coast, Aslan Bzhania, the self-styled president of Abkhazia, said today. Most of the world considers Abkhazia to be part of Georgia. Guy Faulconbridge reports for Reuters.
OTHER RUSSIA-UKRAINE DEVELOPMENTS
Russia has withdrawn most of its Black Sea Fleet from its main base in Sevastopol in occupied Crimea, a possible sign that Ukrainian attacks have taken their toll. The vessels have been moved to other bases that offer more protection. While a significant political win for Ukraine as it endeavors to retain international support, the military impact is more limited as the ships will still be within striking distance to target Ukraine. Thomas Grove and Jared Malsin report for the Wall Street Journal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has chosen Andrei Troshev, a retired Russian colonel and a former commander of the Wagner group, to lead the paramilitary organization. Under the new leadership arrangement, the deputy defense minister, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, would also oversee operations. The move indicates that Putin is eager to keep the Wagner brand without giving it much independence. However, social media channels associated with Wagner suggest that some fighters would back former leader Yevgeny Prigozhin’s son to lead instead. Indeed, “many Wagner veterans likely consider [Troshev] a traitor,” British government analysts wrote on X. Brad Dress reports for The Hill.
Despite martial law suspending elections, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has not ruled out a vote in the coming months. Zelenskyy has said he favors holding elections if international monitors can certify them as free and fair. This is a sign that the elections would be used to bolster Ukraine’s good governance credentials. However, his opponents fear that an election at a time of war, when campaigning is challenging, would be unfair. Holding elections now could also forestall the outsize political power that veterans are expected to have once the war ends, locking in Zelenskyy’s power while soldiers are still at the front, unable to run for office. Andrew E. Kramer reports for the New York Times.
Marina Ovsyannikova, the ex-journalist on Russian state television who protested the war live on-air, was sentenced in absentia yesterday to eight and a half years in prison. Ovsyannikova fled to France after escaping house arrest last year. Almost 20,000 people have been detained for “antiwar positions” since the full-scale invasion, according to OVD-Info. Valeriya Safronova reports for the New York Times.
The Chinese military is escalating tensions with Taiwan as it continues to deploy military assets into Taiwan’s Air Defence Identification Zone. China uses “gray zone” tactics, which fall between war and peace and are designed to test the island’s ability to respond to incursions. These tactics also test international support for Taiwan and numb its public to such military activity. Joel Guinto reports for BBC News.
E.U. member states reached a historic migration deal yesterday, which aims to distribute migrants more equitably across the bloc. The agreement was reached when Italy and Germany overcame differences, which encapsulated two opposing views of how to deal with immigration. Germany has eased demands for a paragraph that might have prohibited Italy from using emergency measures to cope with migrants rescued by NGOs. While Italy “[took] into account [Germany’s] suggestions on humanity and order,” Annalena Baerbock, the German foreign minister, said. The new law must still be passed by the European parliament. Lisa O’Carroll reports for the Guardian.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador in a bid to address the fentanyl crisis as well as the surge in migration into the United States along the southern border. While Mexico has taken some steps to address these issues, its focus has often been different; for example, Obrador has pressured the United States to tackle the root causes of immigration rather than focus on the border itself. Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Eileen Sullivan report for the New York Times.
Democrats in the Senate yesterday told President Biden that any normalization efforts between Saudi Arabia and Israel must include a commitment from Israel to stop expanding settlements in Palestinian territories and preserve “the option of a two-state solution.” These demands, which echo Saudi Arabia’s calls, will likely be resisted by the hard-line members of Israel’s government. Mark Mazzetti reports for the New York Times.
The funding passed by Congress to avert a government shutdown has left potential funding shortfalls for Pacific island states, which the Biden administration has been courting in its competition with China. Congress did not approve a 20-year funding package of $7.1 billion. The uncertainty over funding could draw the strategically significant islands closer to China. David Brunnstrom reports for Reuters.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) are both running to become the next House speaker. Both candidates have called for unity within the Republican party, yet some Republicans in the House are deeply critical of the ouster of the former speaker. “Yesterday, effectively, someone threw a grenade right in the middle of the House floor,” Representative Garret Graves (R-LA) said. There may be a House-wide speaker vote next Wednesday, Oct. 11. Clare Foran, Kristin Wilson, and Melanie Zanona report for CNN.
Former President Trump yesterday appealed a judge’s refusal to dismiss the New York civil fraud lawsuit against him and his family business. Jonathan Stempel reports for Reuters.
The Biden administration yesterday said it waived 26 federal laws to allow border wall construction in South Texas. This is the first time the administration used executive powers that were often employed during the Trump presidency. The move comes as Democrats are facing pressure to address the surge in migration across the southern border. Valerie Gonzalez reports for AP News.