Who's Where

Czech president a former NATO official

Petr Pavel, 61, a former Czech Republic army general and head of NATO’s military committee, was elected to the country’s presidency January 28. Campaigning as a social liberal, he promised to keep the country firmly anchored in the West and will take office in March. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian corruption purge

Several senior Ukrainian officials, including a Deputy Minister of Defence and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s deputy head of office, resigned or were dismissed today over widespread concerns about corruption. Officials have been banned from leaving the country except for authorized business. [node:read-more:link]

No military discipline for Fortin

Seven weeks after a Quebec civil court found Major-General Dany Fortin not guilty of sexual assault more than three decades ago, the Department of National Defence has effectively echoed that ruling, saying January 23 that there would be no administrative action. But Fortin said his professional situation remains unresolved and he is continuing with an official complaint about how Military Police handled his case. [node:read-more:link]

Kremlin coy about Putin’s future

The question whether Vladimir Putin will seek re-election in 2024 remains unanswered. Putin has led Russia as prime minister and president since 1999 and speculation has been building in Russian media, but a Kremlin official today said only that there has been no decision. [node:read-more:link]

Turkey cancels Swedish minister’s visit

In a development which does not bode well for Sweden’s NATO membership application, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar abruptly cancelled a January 27 visit by his Swedish counterpart, Pål Jonson. The move was in response to Sweden’s issuance of permits for protests, notably one which involved burning a Quran. [node:read-more:link]

German defence minister resigns

Christine Lambrecht, 57, resigned today after only 13 months on the job , saying that “media focus on my person” had stood in the way of productive debate about her country’s defence and security policies. She had been widely criticized for her management of military modernization and supplying Ukraine with weapons but Chancellor Olaf Scholz said she had been a “first-class” minister. [node:read-more:link]

New Russian head of war in Ukraine

Three months after he was put in charge of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, General Sergey Surovikin, nicknamed “General Armageddon” by for his reputed ruthlessness, was replaced today. The latest in a series of command shakeups saw him replaced by Chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov. Surovikin now becomes one of three Gerasimov deputies. [node:read-more:link]

Familiar faces in key U.S. committees

Republicans Mike Rogers of Alabama and Mike Bost of Illinois were confirmed January 10 as respective chairs of the House of Representatives’ armed services and veterans’ affairs committees. Both previously were the ranking members on those committees. [node:read-more:link]

Cold War spy released

Ana Montes, arrested in the U.S. in 2001 for spying on behalf of Cuba, has been released from prison. Now 65, she was working at the time as a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst and Michelle Van Cleave, then head of counter-intelligence said Montes had “compromised everything - virtually everything - that we knew about Cuba and how we operated.” It turned out that she was motivated by ideology, partly her opposition to U.S. activities in Latin America. [node:read-more:link]

Kim’s No. 2 military chief fired

General Pak Jong Chon, second only to President Kim Jong-un in North Korea’s Central Military Commission, has been replaced without explanation. He is succeeded by General Ri Yong Gil, who has commanded forces station around the capital as well as along the border with South Korea. [node:read-more:link]

Gallant new Israeli defence minister

Israel’s new defence minister is former Major-General Yoav Gallant, who played key operational roles in the 1990s and early 2000s. He will replace Benny Gantz, a retired Army General who has held the portfolio since 2020 and has been Deputy Prime Minister since 2021. [node:read-more:link]

Young Ukrainian a portrait in courage

Eugene Gromadsky, a 22-year-old Ukrainian lieutenant stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his father, Oleg, on the outskirts of Kharkiv when Russia launched its “special military operation” 10 months ago. Outnumbered and outgunned, the Ukrainians stopped the invaders in their tracks, earning Gromadsky, the unit commander at the time, his country's highest military honour. The death of Oleg in combat later hasn’t damped Eugene’s resolve to drive out the Russians. [node:read-more:link]

Putin meets with Lukashenko

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in neighbouring Belarus today for talks his counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, as Russian troops prepare to conduct exercises there. While Russia has used Belarus to stage forces for Putin’s war on Ukraine, Lukashenko so far has refused to deploy his own troops across their mutual border. [node:read-more:link]

New DoD inspector general confirmed

The U.S Senate has confirmed the appointment of Robert Storch as the Department of Defence’s inspector general, a post which has been vacant for nearly seven years. The lawyer and career bureaucrat had previously held the same position at the National Security Agency since 2018. [node:read-more:link]

Kazakh leader secures second term

A snap general election has yielded a second term for Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, an autocrat whose foreign policies have become increasingly independent from Russia. The country’s central election commission said today that preliminary vote counts had given Tokayev 81.3 per cent of the vote with the balance scattered among five little-known challengers. [node:read-more:link]

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