Conflict & Tensions

Potential Chinese spying alleged

U.S. officials say that Chinese nationals, some posing as tourists, who have accessed military bases and other sensitive sites in recent years, are a potential espionage threat. The more than 100 incidents in recent years have included entries into a New Mexico missile range to scuba divers in murky waters near a Florida launch site. [node:read-more:link]

Russian social media recruits Cubans

Cubans are being recruited for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with promises not only of generous monthly pay as well as offering to help with moving to Russia and possibly even citizenship. Cuban authorities said today that they had confirmed that an alleged human trafficking ring is involved in one recruitment effort. [node:read-more:link]

Canada continues F-16 role

Even though the RCAF has never operated F-16 fighters, it remains involved in the U.S.-led multinational plan to train Ukrainian pilots. “These planning efforts are focused on training students with no prior experience to become pilots, technicians and support staff,” says a DND spokesperson. “This type of initiative requires multiple training phases that are not necessarily tied to a specific platform, such as the F-16.” [node:read-more:link]

Who is Rustem Umerov?

Ukraine’s new defence minister, Rustem Umerov, 41, is a Crimean Tatar Muslim who entered politics in as a reformist in 2019 after working in the private sector, first in telecommunications and then in investment, and who has not been tainted by corruption allegations. Prior to succeeding Oleksii Reznikov in the defence portfolio, he figured prominently in negotiating prisoner exchanges with Russia and is considered a key to undoing Crimea’s 2014 annexation. [node:read-more:link]

Putin refuses grain cooperation

Despite a personal appeal today by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that Ukraine be permitted to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports, Russian President Vladimir Putin flatly refused, reiterating that shipments would not resume until the West facilitates Russian exports. They met only hours after Russia launched an overnight attack on one of Ukraine’s export terminals. [node:read-more:link]

New Ukrainian defence minister

Citing the need for “new approaches” after more than 18 months of conflict with Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has replaced his defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, who resigned today before the leader’s decision could be ratified by parliament. Reznikov, who has held the portfolio since November 2021, is replaced by Rustem Umerov, head of the State Property Fund. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. not out of ammo

Despite having sent more than $43 billion in military aid to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began, the U.S. is not “running out” of munitions and equipment for its own forces, according to William LaPlante, Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition & Sustainment. “We’re managing all of that,” he said, dismissing political and media speculation. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. diplomatic error

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says that an independent judicial inquiry found no evidence that his country has supplied weapons to Russia, as claimed by U.S. Ambassador Reuben Brigety. Ramaphos said that a Russian ship docked in Capetown last December actually was delivering arms to South Africa and his foreign ministry said Brigety had “apologized unreservedly.” [node:read-more:link]

BAE plan worries Russia

Shortly after Britain’s BAE Systems announced plans for a Ukrainian entity to improve that country’s arms production, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the “negative” development would be the focus of “special attention for our military.” He also said the move “cannot in any way influence the predetermined successful outcome and completion of the special military operation.” [node:read-more:link]

New U.K defence secretary

Grant Shapps, formerly Britain’s energy secretary, was shuffled to the defence portfolio September 1 by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. He succeeds Ben Wallace, who recently stepped down after four years. Shapps, who has no military experience, said he looks forward to continuing “support for Ukraine in their fight against Putin’s barbaric invasion.” [node:read-more:link]

Peacekeepers frustrated in Lebanon

The UN Security Council has approved a resolution demanding that the Lebanese military and Hezbollah stop interfering with peacekeepers and permit “announced and unannounced patrols.” The council voted 13-0 in favour of the resolution with Russia and China abstaining. [node:read-more:link]

Putin says Russia “invincible”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said September 1 that his country is as “absolutely invincible” as it was during its Second World War conflict with Nazi Germany “I understood why we won the Great Patriotic War,” he said during a televised meeting with teenage students at the start of their school year. “We were absolutely invincible and, today, we still are.” [node:read-more:link]

BAE partners with Ukraine

Britain’s largest defence contractor, BAE Systems, has set up an entity in Ukraine and signed deals with the government with a view to ramping up weapons and materiel deliveries. President Volodymyr Zelesnskyy says “development of our own weapons production is a top priority.” [node:read-more:link]

Border exercises in Belarus

More than 2,000 troops in Russia-led multinational security alliance have begun exercises in three regions of Belarus near the borders of NATO members Poland and Lithuania. Belarus said September 1 that the exercises are to prepare for joint operations, including responses to a nuclear accident. [node:read-more:link]

Papal exhortation backlash

The Vatican tried today to quell an international uproar after Pope Francis praised Russia’s imperialist past, insisting that he did not intend to encourage Russian aggression in Ukraine. “You are the heirs of the great Russia,” the Pope had told Russia Catholics during a videoconference. “Never forget this inheritance.” [node:read-more:link]


Subscribe to RSS - Conflict & Tensions