Conflict & Tensions

Ukrainian weapons upgrades delayed

Fighter jets and U.S. tanks promised to Ukraine won’t be ready for a spring counteroffensive against Russia, says General Mark Milley, Chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. While training on M1 Abrams tanks has just begun, training on allies’ F-16s is still being negotiated and Milley’s French counterpart says upgrading Ukraine’s capabilities is a mid-to-long-term goal [node:read-more:link]

Major Ukrainian assault stopped?

Russia said today that it had thwarted a “large scale” Ukrainian attack June 4 at five points in the eastern province of Donetsk, one of four regions Russia annexed last fall. Defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said 40 armured vehicles, including 16 tanks, were destroyed and 250 troops killed but there was no corroboration by Ukraine [node:read-more:link]

China fears “unbearable disaster”

China’s new defence minister, General Li Shangfu, warned June 4 that war with the U.S. would be an “unbearable disaster” for the world. During the Shangri-la Dialogue summit in Singapore, he accused the U.S. of having “a Cold War mentality” and “greatly increasing security risks” but said the two countries should seek common ground. [node:read-more:link]

Anand reasserts Indo-Pacific stance

Defence Minister Anita Anand, in Singapore June 3 for the Shangri-la Dialogue on intergovernmental security, announced June 3 that Canada is reinforcing its military presence in the Indo-Pacific region by deploying a second Royal Canadian Navy warship as well as increasing Canadian involvement in international exercises. The RCN currently has the frigate HMCS Montreal and the support ship Asterix deployed in the region. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian frigate annoys China

HMCS Montreal transited the of Taiwan Strait without incident June 3 in convoy with a U.S. destroyer but drew a sharp rebuke from China for “deliberately provoking risk” even though the passage was in international waters. U.S. warships transit the strait roughly once a month, not usually with allies’ ships. The RCN vessel departed from its Halifax homeport March 26 as part of Canada’s commitment to Indo-Pacific security. [node:read-more:link]

China wants Ukraine weapons aid ended

China’s envoy for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, said today that Ukraine’s allies should stop weapons shipments and focus on negotiating peace with Russia. He acknowledged that there would be “many difficulties” in setting up talks but insisted that “the two sides have not fully shut the door.” [node:read-more:link]

U.S. hits back over START II

The U.S. State Department said June 1 that it will stop notifying Russia about missile and launch locations as required by their moribund 193 nuclear arms treaty and has revoked visas for Russian inspectors and aircrews. It said the decision is a “countermeasure” to Russian “violations” of the accord. [node:read-more:link]

NATO historically complacent?

British Defence Secretary, considered a potential successor to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, a Norwegian politician who has held the post since 2014, says members’ military budgets must grow if Russian expansionism is to be countered. “The world is getting more dangerous, more insecure and more anxious, and the next secretary general has to be able to deliver that,” he says. “Until Ukraine happened, there were too many people who didn’t want to see the threat from Putin, and look where we are now.” [node:read-more:link]

Zelenskyy pitches NATO and EU

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took his quest for more arms as well as EU and NATO membership to a European Political Community summit today in Moldova. It was apparent, however, that the response from NATO leaders meeting in Norway was divided. [node:read-more:link]

Donated U.S. equipment ill-prepared

The U.S. Defense Department Inspector General says equipment drawn from U.S. Army stocks in Kuwait for Ukraine was not fit for combat even though Army policy is that pre-positioned vehicles, armaments and other equipment should be kept ready for immediate use. “We identified issues that resulted in unanticipated maintenance, repairs, and extended lead times to ensure the readiness of the military equipment,” the IG says [node:read-more:link]

Suspected Chinese spies in Alaska

U.S. officials are worried that Chinese nations posing as tourists have made several attempts in recent years to gain access to military facilities in Alaska. Many of the encounters have been chalked up to innocent mistakes but the attempts to enter military bases are a genuine concern. [node:read-more:link]

Social media scrubbing war crimes

Some social media platforms have been erasing posts about potential human rights abuses I what one executive has acknowledged may be an “overcautious” policy of deleting offensive content. YouTube and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, say they try to balance the duties to bear witness while also blocking possibly harmful posts. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine getting SpaceX service again

The U.S. military confirmed today that it has contracted with SpaceX to provide communications service to Ukraine. No details were disclosed but SpaceX had been supplying its Starlink terminals since 2022, following Russia’s invasion, but company president Elon Musk indicated last October that it could no longer afford to provide free services. [node:read-more:link]

Sudanese peace talks stalled

Sudan’s military announced today that it has suspended participation in talks with a paramilitary force, the Rapid Support Force, which it has been battling for control of the country for weeks. A spokesman said the decision is due to the RSF’s “repeated violations” of a cease-fire and its continued occupation of hospitals and other civilian infrastructure in Khartoum. [node:read-more:link]

Emirates withdraws from coalition

The United Arab Emirates confirmed today its withdrawal from a U.S.-led maritime coalition but that it remains committed to dialogue and diplomatic engagement to advance regional security and stability. Headquartered in Bahrain, the multinational coalition was created to counter terrorism and piracy in the Red Sea and Gulf. [node:read-more:link]


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