News Roundup 2/21/2023

by | Feb 21, 2023

News Roundup 2/21/2023

by | Feb 21, 2023

Russia

  • British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said London would be the first country to send long-range missiles to Kiev. Meanwhile, statements from top American and French officials indicate support for Ukraine in Washington and Paris may be weakening. AWC
  • The White House is readying a raft of new sanctions and export controls to impose on Russia, as the war in Ukraine turns one year old, according to Bloomberg. The coming new penalties are said to be focused on targeting key Russian industries as well as so-called sanctions circumvention or business conducted with Russian firms by individuals based in third countries. AWC
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday warned that a Ukrainian attempt at retaking Crimea would be a “red line” for Russian President Vladimir Putin and risks a major response. AWC
  • President Biden on Monday made a surprise visit to Ukraine, marking his first visit to the country since Russia invaded last year, a highly symbolic move that demonstrates Washington’s deep involvement in the war. AWC
  • Victoria Nuland, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, said last week that the US is “supporting” Ukrainian attacks on Crimea and called Russian military installations on the peninsula “legitimate targets.” AWC
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that Ukraine would continue to defend the eastern Donetsk city of Bakmut but “not at any price,” signaling that Ukrainian forces might be considering a withdrawal. AWC
  • Finnish officials have said they would join NATO without Sweden if Turkey only approves their membership, reversing their previous position that they would only join together with Stockholm. AWC

China

  • Four high-ranking Republicans in Congress sent a letter to President Joe Biden demanding more military aid for Taiwan. In their letter, the legislators claimed the White House is not doing enough to respond to the growing threat from Beijing. AWC
  • China on Monday rejected a claim from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Beijing was considering providing Russia with weapons to use in its war in Ukraine. AWC
  • Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation in Taiwan, a visit that comes amid soaring tensions between the US and China. AWC
  • Amid simmering tensions between Washington and Beijing, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. AWC
  • President Biden on Thursday acknowledged that the three unidentified objects he ordered the US military to shoot down were likely harmless weather balloons. AWC
  • Beijing plans to roll out the framework of a treaty to end the war in Ukraine, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced at the Munich Security Conference. At the international summit, America’s top diplomat criticized China and warned of a coming Cold War. The Institute 

Korea

  • North Korea fired off ballistic missiles as a response to war drills carried out by the United States, Japan, and South Korea this weekend. AWC 

Middle East 

  • Tom Nides, the US ambassador to Israel, said Sunday that Israel could do “whatever they need” against Iran and said the US has no plans to pursue a revival of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. AWC
  • The IAEA is turning up its latest concerns about Iran’s civilian nuclear program with media reports of a discovery of uranium enriched to 84% purity, by far the highest enrichment level to come out of Iran. AWC
  • The Pentagon claims that a US helicopter raid near the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor on Thursday ended with the death of an Islamic State (ISIS) leader named Hamza al-Homsi,  who detonated a suicide vest during the raid. The blast allegedly resulted in the injury of four US soldiers and a dog, all of whom are in stable condition. AWC
  • Years after their alleged defeat, remnant Islamic State forces represent a continuing threat in Syria. Underscoring just how many remain, a large Islamic State (ISIS) force has raided the town of al-Sukhna, near the city of Homs, killing at least 68, overwhelmingly civilians. AWC
  • Israel hadn’t launched significant attacks on Syria in several weeks but did so early on Sunday with a missile salvo against the capital city of Damascus. The missiles hit a residential complex, badly damaging it and the surrounding area. AWC

Africa

  • US Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced it launched an airstrike in Somalia against al-Shabaab on Wednesday, the second known US airstrike in the country this month. AWC
  • Two Representatives are demanding the White House rescind a $1 billion arms sale to Nigeria. The demand was issued after reports of horrific abuses by the Nigerian military. The Institute

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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