In recent weeks, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed he was uniquely positioned to negotiate a reduction in tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Turkey is a NATO member state that purchased advanced Russian weapons, and has been at decisive odds with the Western foreign policy in Syria. Earlier this week, Turkey announced Erdogan would travel to Ukraine “to be the intermediary in this conflict.”
However, the Turkish president had other plans. The Wall Street Journal reports that Erdogan changed his peace trip into a weapons sale and inked an agreement that allows Ukraine to manufacture armed Turkish drones. Turkey has already sold Ukraine dozens of its armed Bayraktar TB2 drones, which Kiev soon deployed against separatist forces in the Donbas.
Along with the plans to build Turkish drones, Ukraine is adding to its domestic weapons manufacturing with a new missile program, pursuing multiple missile variants including a cruise missile that could be used to target Russian ships, and a second design that would put Moscow within its range.
The Ukraine-Turkey drone deal was signed as the Biden administration was making a new, evidence-free accusation against Russia. State Department Spokesperson Ned Price claimed Moscow was planning to make a graphic video – using crisis actors – of a ‘false flag’ attack on Russians to create an excuse to invade its neighbor.
While Associated Press reporter Matt Lee pushed Price to offer some evidence for the explosive claim, the spokesman insisted he had provided journalists with all the information they needed. When Lee again pressed for proof, Price snapped, suggesting Lee was promoting the Russian narrative.
“If you doubt the credibility of the US government, of the British government, of other governments and want to find solace in information that the Russians are putting out, that is for you to do,” Price said.
The accusations seem to be a new PR tactic from the Biden administration. When an NPR journalist questioned the Pentagon’s narrative about a recent raid on the leader of the Islamic State, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was indignant, asking whether the reporter was suggesting that “ISIS is providing accurate information?”
The journalists were right to question the administration in both cases, as initial claims from government officials have often proven false. Following drone strikes in Kabul on August 29 – some of the last acknowledged combat operations in the 20-year war in Afghanistan – Washington initially claimed the mission was a “righteous” success. It was later revealed that 10 civilians, and zero Islamic State terrorists, were killed in the blasts. More recently, after several senior US officials repeatedly predicted an “imminent” Russian invasion of Ukraine for some two months on end, the White House has now backed off from that claim.
Will Porter contributed to the article.
- Two Biden administration officials suggested journalists were siding with the enemy for questioning the US government narrative on Syria and Ukraine. [Link]
- Biden is looking to appoint an official to oversee the ‘Havana Syndrome’ investigation. [Link]
- The America COMPETES Acts will be introduced in the House this week. The bill authorizes $2 billion in Pentagon spending. [Link]
- Hedge funds increase investments in Russia and Ukraine. [Link]
- Ukraine is developing a domestic missile program. [Link]
- Ukraine and Turkey signed an agreement for Ukraine to manufacture Turkish armed drones. Turkish President Erdogan claimed his visit to Ukraine was about deescalation. [Link]
- The US claims Russia will make a staged video of an attack killing Russians to give an excuse to invade Ukraine. [Link]
- NATO says Russia has moved 30,000 troops into Belarus for war games. [Link]
- The US donates two Blackhawk helicopters to Croatia. [Link]
- Putin travels to China to meet with Xi. [Link]
- The Baluch Liberation Army carried out two attacks on Pakistani Army bases. Fifteen militants and seven soldiers were killed in the attacks. [Link]
- The Israeli firm QuaDream developed a spyware REIGN that was similar to the NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. REIGN was reported to have been exported to Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia. [Link]
- Israel signs a military agreement with Bahrain as part of building a regional bloc against Iran. [Link]
- Israel’s internal intelligence agency sent threatening messages to Palestinians who took part in protests. [Link]
- Turkey says seven more people froze to death along its border with Greece. [Link]
- The Biden administration believes that if it returns to the JCPOA, then Iran would be able to build a nuclear weapon within a year. [Link]
- Sen. Bob Menendez, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, attacked Biden for negotiating with Iran. [Link]
- An Iraqi group ‘True Promise Brigades’ claim responsibility for the most recent drone attack targeting the UAE. [Link]
- Turkey says it killed 43 Kurdish militants in Syria in response to a bombing in al-Bab that killed nine people. [Link]
- A US raid in rebel-held Syria killed IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. Reports say 13 people were killed in the raid including six children and four women. The US called the raid successful. [Link]