Conflict & Tensions

Wagner drilling in Belarus

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said today that he has repositioned forces closer to the border with Belarus after Wagner Group mercenaries began week-long drills with Belarusian forces. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, an opposition leader who left Belarus after losing the 2020 to Alexander Lukashenko, said WG’s arrival will add to regional instability.” [node:read-more:link]

British MP derided over Afghanistan

British Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood, chair of the parliamentary select defence committee, is accused of naïvety for calling Afghanistan peaceful and “transformed” under the Taliban. The former Army captain, back in Afghanistan recently with the Halo Trust de-mining organization, said his government should re-engage and reopen its embassy in Kabul. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian nuclear protocols updated

Federal emergency protocols for dealing with fallout from the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe or other radiation sources are being updated, including measures toensure that the government continues to function. The updates are in response to Russian rhetoric during its invasion of Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

MI6 says “come spy with us”

Richard Moore, chief of Britain’s MI6 Secret Intelligence Service, wants dissident Russians to “join hands” in helping to end the war in Ukraine by supplying information to the West. “Perhaps the people around you don’t want to hear the truth (but) we want to,” the career diplomat said today in Prague. [node:read-more:link]

Pro-Russia residencies revoked

NATO member Lithuania is revoking the residency permits of Russian nationals, deeming some as a security threat. It says it stripped 37 residents of their permits last year and 97 so far in 2023. It’s also disclosed that Russians living in the NATO country have been asked for their views on the war in Ukraine and who owns Crimea. [node:read-more:link]

Odesa seaport struck by Russia

Six Russian cruise missiles were shot down during an overnight attack on the Black Sea port of Odesa hours after Russia pulled out of an agreement which enabled Ukraine to export grain. However, port infrastructure and private homes were damaged. [node:read-more:link]

Strategic Crimean bridge damaged

A key rail-highway bridge between annexed Crimea and Russia was heavily damaged by drones early today and while Ukraine did not claim responsibility, the Kremlin suggested Ukraine’s western allies are complicit. The 19-kilometre bridge is used for, among other things, resupplying Russian troops in Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

More U.S. reservists for NATO

The deployment of 3,000 troops from the U.S. Individual Ready Reserve to NATO’s eastern flank has been approved by President Joe Biden. But rather than Increasing the number of Europe-bound troops, the reservists would effectively fill in the shrinking pool of active-duty troop available for rotations. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. F-16s deploying to Hormuz

In response to growing Iranian threats in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the U.S. is deploying F-16 fighters to the region, beefing up A-10 ground-support aircraft already operating there. The move follows Iran’s attempted seizure of two oil tankers near the chokepoint last week. [node:read-more:link]

CAF personnel’s unauthorized activities

A number of Canadian military officers have been “counselled” for using federal resources without permission to help with the creation of a charity which supported Ukrainian troops. They also had briefings with other agencies and U.S. politicians about aid for Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Allies' arms “dangerously” low

The commander of USAF Europe, General James Hecker, says western allies’ arms stockpiles are “dangerously low” due to donations to Ukraine and that there are no “short terms” solutions on the horizon. “We need to get industry on board to help us out.” [node:read-more:link]

Western tanks a Russian priority

Main battle tanks donated by Canada and allies to Ukraine are key targets for Russian forces, Vladimidr Putin said July 13. “Yes, they cause damage, but nothing critical happens in the war zone with their use,” he said, adding that this means there are “a priority target for our guys.” [node:read-more:link]

Swedish NATO status not imminent

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said today that Sweden’s status as NATO’s 32nd member will not be ratified by the Turkish parliament until October, the earliest opportunity after a scheduled summer recess. [node:read-more:link]

Intelligence chiefs discuss Ukraine

Sergey Naryshkin, head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, says he and his U.S. counterpart, CIA Director Williams Burns, discussed “what to do with Ukraine” in a recent phone call. The CIA did not respond to Naryshkin’s comments but Burns had called to assure the Kremlin that the U.S. had no role in the June 23 Wagner Group mutiny. [node:read-more:link]

Zelenskyy calls NATO “absurd”

Many NATO states and other allies have shipped weapons and munitions to Ukraine but Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reiterated July 11 that membership in the alliance cannot be considered until the war with Russia ends. This followed President Volodymyr Zelenskky’s dismissal of NATO’s lack of a time table for Ukrainian membership as “absurd.” [node:read-more:link]


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