Conflict & Tensions

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]

Military guards for Hormuz shipping?

The U.S. is considering putting armed military personnel on commercial ships under constant threat by Iran as they transit the Strait of Hormuz. Officials are offering few details but the planning coincides with the impending arrival of thousands of Marines and Navy personnel in the region. [node:read-more:link]

Russian live-fire in Baltic

Ratcheting up tension in Europe in general and the Baltic states in particular, Russian has begun live-fire exercises in the Baltic Sea, overseen by the navy’s commander, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov. Ocean Shield 2030 involves some 6,000 personnel, 30 warships and smaller vessels, and aircraft. [node:read-more:link]

Wagner worrisome in Belarus

Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, NATO and EU members bordering on Belarus, as increasingly concerned about Wagner Group mercenaries in their neighbour. Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki, already worried about Belarus as a conduit for refugees, says the situation is “even more dangerous” and “certainly a step towards a further hybrid attack.” [node:read-more:link]

More senior changes in China

The leaders of a unit that manages China’s nuclear weapons, General Li Yuchao and his deputy, General Liu Guangbin, have been replaced, respectively, by former deputy naval chief Wang Houbin and Communist Party central committee member Xu Xisheng. No official explanation was given but it has been reported that alleged corruption was being investigated. [node:read-more:link]


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