Conflict & Tensions

Wagner boss Prigozhin dead

Russian authorities have confirmed that Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin was among 10 persons who died today when an Embraer jet crashed with no survivors on a flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Dmitry Utkin, a former Russian special forces officer once described a founder of the mercenary force before Prigozhin confirmed his role, also was on the passenger list. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine blindsides Russian bomber base

One of Russia’s key weapons in the invasion of Ukraine, a long-range Tupolev Tu-22 bomber, was destroyed by a Ukrainian drone at its airbase south of St. Petersburg August 19. Russia has an estimated 60 of the supersonic aircraft, NATO codename “Blinder”, which have been used extensively against targets in Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Baiting the dragon?

In a move virtually guaranteed to infuriate China, the U.S., Australia and Japan are conducting a naval drill in the South China Sea off the western Philippines this week. The drill includes three aircraft carriers and their commanders are set to meet with their Filipino counterparts in Manila afterward [node:read-more:link]

CAF trainers still in Niger

Canadian Armed Forces trainers remain in Niger nearly four weeks after a military coup and despite Ottawa’s decision to suspend direct aid. They are among more than 2,600 foreign troops, mainly from France and the U.S., whose governments have condemned the overthrow of Niger’s elected governmment. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. approves F-16s for Ukraine

Denmark and the Netherlands received U.S. “formal assurances” August 18 that they can transfer F-16 fighters to Ukraine once its pilots have been trained on them, which could take six months. The Dutch air force has about 24 operational F-16s due to be taken out of service and the Danes are planning to upgrade their fleet of approximately 30. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine called “aggressive”

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said August 17 that his country is not being pressed by Vladimir Putin to join the war against Ukraine. “Its goals have already been fulfilled to date,” he said of Russia’s invasion. “Ukraine will never behave so aggressively towards Russia after the end of this war,” he said, calling for negotiations “without preconditions.” [node:read-more:link]

Russians weaponize food chain

Grain storage facilities and Danube River ports Ukraine relies on to export grain were attacked by Russian drones August 16. Air defences did manage to intercept 13 which targetted the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions. [node:read-more:link]

Czech-U.S. defence pact

The Czech Republic has completed ratification of a treaty which makes it easier for the U.S. to deploy troops there. Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s signature August was the final step in in a process which emulates similar U.S. agreements with 24 other NATO states, but any deployment of U.S. forces would still require parliamentary approval. [node:read-more:link]

Russia fires near cargo ship

After Russia withdrew from a Turkish-brokered deal to ensure Ukrainian grain exports could continue, one of its warships intercepted a Palau-flagged cargo ship bound for a river port in Ukraine’s southern Odessa region August 13. According to the defence ministry, warning shots were fired when the vessel did not respond to an order to stop for inspection for “prohibited goods” but it was subsequently released. [node:read-more:link]

Ukraine evacuates 37 communities

Two town and 35 villages in the northeast Ukrainian region of Kharkiv have been ordered evacuated because of what authorities say has been “constant Russian shelling.” Russia claims to have gained ground in the area but Ukraine says the invaders have been rebuffed. [node:read-more:link]

Poland bolstering border forces

Reacting to what it says are illegal immigrants flooding through neighbouring Belarus, where Russian mercenary forces are a growing presence, Poland announced today that it will deploy 2,000 additional troops to its border, double what had been requested. Meanwhile, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said “multiplied” western threats “require a rapid and adequate response” on Russia’s borders. [node:read-more:link]

More Iranians sanctioned

The federal government imposed sanctions on seven more Iranians August 8, boosting the total to 170 individuals and 192 Iranian entities. The targets are deemed to be involved in activities Global Affairs says “gravely threaten international peace and security or that constitute gross and systemic violations of human rights.” [node:read-more:link]

Myanmar’s “brazen” war crimes

UN investigators reported “strong evidence” today that Myanmar’s military is committing “increasingly frequent and brazen war crimes”, including mass executions and sexual violence. The country has been ravaged by violence since the elected government was deposed in February 2021. [node:read-more:link]

More tension in Eastern Europe

Belarus began military exercises near its border with Poland and Lithuania August 7 amid tension already heightened with the two NATO members concerned about Russian mercenary forces having moved to Belarus. [node:read-more:link]


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