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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
A series of symbolic moves on climate finance suggest that momentum could be starting to build around loss and damage funding for poorer nations suffering the effects of climate change. The U.K. said it would allow some debt payment deferrals for countries hit by climate disasters, while Austria and New Zealand put forward funding for loss and damage. The provision of funding by rich, polluting nations to those vulnerable nations that have done little to cause the climate crisis has been a pivotal issue at this year’s summit. Damian Carrington reports for the Guardian.
Western security advisers are warning that Egypt’s COP27 summit app may be a cyber weapon. Western delegates at the summit are being told not to download the app, amid fears it could be used to hack their private emails, texts, and voice conversations – including those on encrypted channels. Mark Scott and Vincent Manancourt report for POLITICO.
The number of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP27 has jumped 25% from the last meeting. Campaign group Global Witness found that 636 people at the talks in Egypt are linked to fossil fuels. That’s more than the combined delegations from the 10 most climate-impacted countries. Matt McGrath reports for BBC News.
Just Security has published a piece by Mark Nevitt titled “The Egypt Climate Summit: Four Key Questions to Help Frame COP27.”
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – FIGHTING
The Kremlin announced a retreat of Russian forces from the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine. As the only regional capital Russian has captured, Kherson is both strategically and symbolically important. The retreat is one of the most significant setbacks for Russia in its war against Ukraine. Marc Santora, Andrew E. Kramer, Dan Bilefsky, Ivan Nechepurenko and Anton Troianovski report for the New York Times.
The number of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers killed or wounded since the start of the war is likely to have reached 200,000. This is according to Gen. Mark Milley, the chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Milley also suggested that around 40,000 civilians have died during the conflict. BBC News reports.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – GLOBAL RESPONSE
Russian President Vladimir Putin will not attend next week’s Group of Twenty summit in Indonesia, Russian news agencies reported. The Russian delegation will instead be headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. However, Putin may take part in the conference via video link. Ivan Nechepurenko reports for the New York Times.
The Kremlin’s top security adviser arrived in Iran yesterday amid growing signs that Russia is seeking Iranian precision-guided missiles and drones to use in Ukraine. Russian and Iranian state news agencies have described the visit by Nikolai Patrushec, the head of Russia’s National Security Council, as a routine trip. “In Tehran, Patrushev will hold regular Russian-Iranian security consultations,” read a report by Russia’s state-run news agency TASS. Anatoly Kurmanaev and Marc Santora report for the New York Times.
RUSSIA, UKRAINE – U.S. RESPONSE
The U.S. will not give Ukraine advanced drones despite pleas from Kyiv. The Pentagon declined the request due to concerns that providing the weapons could escalate the conflict, U.S. officials and those familiar with the decision said. Gordon Lubold and Nancy A. Youssef report for the Wall Street Journal.
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield has warned that global food security depends on the renewal of the U.N. brokered grain deal. The deal which enables Ukrainian shipments through the Black Sea is scheduled to expire in 11 days. Speaking during a visit to Kyiv, Thomas-Greenfield also announced an additional $25 million to help Ukrainians through the winter. Sam Mednick reports for AP.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s new conditions for negotiations with Russia were influenced by nudges from the U.S., according to people familiar with the matter. Zelenskyy’s decision to drop the requirement that Russian President Vladimir Putin no longer be in power when talks begin, came after days of talks between Kyiv and Washington. Whilst U.S. officials did not directly tell Zelenskyy to alter his position, they did relay that Kyiv must show willingness to end the war reasonably and peacefully, a senior administration official said. Alexander Ward reports for POLITICO.
Just Security has published a piece by Ambassador Daniel Fried titled “Putin’s War Against Ukraine and the Risks of Rushing Negotiations.”
OTHER U.S. RELATIONS
President Biden is expected to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of next week’s Group of Twenty summit in Indonesia. Biden said yesterday that he plans to discuss how the U.S. and China can avoid conflict over Taiwan, but won’t make “any fundamental concessions,” about the U.S.’s Taiwan doctrine. He also plans to talk about trade policies and Beijing’s relationship with Russia. AP reports for NBC News.
OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS
Israel carried out airstrikes in eastern Syria targeting a convoy of vehicles suspected of smuggling Iranian weapons, people familiar with the attack said. The attack destroyed several vehicles and killed at least 10 people, including an unknown number of Iranians. The U.S. military has denied any involvement. David S. Cloud and Benoit Faucon report for the Wall Street Journal.
A highly anticipated report by Brazil’s Defense Ministry has found no evidence of fraud in Brazil’s October elections. The military sent the report to Brazil’s election authorities yesterday after days of speculation that it would back claims by supporters of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro that the election was tainted. Bolsonaro had frequently raised doubts about the integrity of the elections in the run-up to his loss to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Andrew Downie reports for the Guardian.
President Biden celebrated the Democrats’ performance in the midterms yesterday, declaring that he had lost fewer seats in the House than any Democratic president in his first midterm since John F. Kennedy. Voters sent “a clear and unmistakable message” that they wanted to preserve democracy and abortion rights, he said during an extended news conference. He also acknowledged voter concerns about high inflation and governmental dysfunction. Jonathan Weisman and Peter Baker report for the New York Times.
The Biden administration has released a transcript of a 2004 interview that former President Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney gave to a government commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The interview included discussions of intelligence warnings before the attacks and the events that unfolded on the day of Sept. 11, according to the 31-page document. The interview also provides an account of Bush’s actions during the attack and offers a glimpse into the two men’s views of the seminal event that defined their time in the White House. Dustin Volz and Warren P. Strobel report for the Wall Street Journal.
A couple who tried to sell military secrets to a foreign country both received long prison sentences yesterday. Jonathan Toebbe, a civilian nuclear engineer with a top-secret security clearance, was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison. His wife, Diana Toebbe was sentenced to just under 22 years for aiding his plans and then attempting to hide her role. Salvador Rizzo reports for the Washington Post.
The suspect in last month’s attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was indicted by a federal grand jury on 2 charges yesterday. The first charge alleges that the suspect, David DePape, assaulted an immediate family member of a U.S. official. The second charge alleges he attempted to kidnap a U.S. official. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 and 20 years in prison respectively. AP reports.
COVID-19 has infected over 97.900 million people and has now killed over 1.07 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 633.923 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.60 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.
A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.
U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.