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The Daily Brief: Russia-Ukraine Conflict Swells With Kremlin’s “Muscle Flexing”

Russia’s military build-up and border security increase has escalated tensions with Ukraine and may foreshadow a renewal of war.

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Russia Ukraine Conflict Swells With Kremlins Muscle

Summary:

  • In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine leading to 7 years of conflict between the two countries which continues to this day.
  • A majority of the fighting between the two nations has occurred in border skirmishes between Ukranian troops and pro-Russian separatists near Donbass, a region in eastern Ukraine.
  • Unverified video footage points to the Kremlin moving large numbers of tanks, equipment, and military personnel near the Ukrainian border and Crimea.
  • Both the US and the Ukraine have reported Russian troop movement in regions near Russia and Ukraine’s shared border.
  • NATO has also voiced concerns over Russia’s military build-up, and has held an ambassador meeting to address recent spikes in violence near Donbass.
  • A Nato official has stated, “Allies shared their concerns about Russia’s recent large-scale military activities in and around Ukraine. Allies are also concerned about Russian violations of the July 2020 ceasefire that led to the death of four Ukrainian soldiers last week,”
  • Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of creating a “threatening atmosphere” and “muscle-flexing in the form of military exercises” to possibly provoke border conflict.
  • Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has responded to accusations by stating that Russia’s military build-up is meant to secure their own borders and that it “should not bother anyone and it poses no threat to anyone”.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has hopes that Ukraine will “not be ‘incited’ by politicians, who in turn will be ‘incited’ by the West, led by the United States,”
  • An estimated 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine to date. 

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Trump Grapples For Platform Following Prohibition From Mainstream Social Media Outlets

  • Facebook and Instagram joined Twitter and Youtube in banning Donald Trump from their social media sites in January following capital riots believed to have been incited by the former US President. The suspension is currently being reviewed by Facebook’s new Oversight Board.
  • Facebook recently took down a video of Trump posted by his daughter-in-law Lara Trump after warning her that “further content posted in the voice of Donald Trump will be removed and result in additional limitations on [her] account”.
  • Lara Trump responded to the removal on Instagram by commenting, “And just like that, we are one step closer to Orwell’s 1984. Wow”.
  • In lieu of social media blocks from all major outlets Donald Trump and his wife Menalia Trump have created the website ‘45office.com’ which allows visitors to the site to issue invitations to events and request personal greetings from the Trumps.

UK Report Denies Institutional Racism

  • A UK government report on race concluded that while racism is still present, there is no institutional racism and other factors, such as family influence, socioeconomic background, etc., play a larger role in quality of life. The report also calls Britain a “model for other white-majority countries.”
  • Many have disagreed with the conclusions of this report, specifically about the nonexistence of institutional racism and claims regarding the slave trade.
  • The report was prompted in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement in the summer of last year when thousands protested against racial inequality, specifically the death of George Floyd. 
  • The trial for the killing of George Floyd started shortly before this report was released. 

Hong Kong Activists Found Guilty

  • A Hong Kong court found seven pro-democracy activists guilty for involvement in “unauthorized assembly” for a peaceful protest in August of 2019.
  • While Hong Kong allows freedom of assembly, the court argued that restrictions still apply. The police allowed for a rally in Victoria Park that day, but the expansion of the rally into Hong Kong’s Central District was not permitted; the defense argued the expansion was due to overcrowding.
  • This latest ruling continues a pattern of convicting pro-democracy supporters and giving China greater control over the city.

Illegal Chinese Constructions Found On Reefs In Philippines 

  • The Phillipine military said it discovered structures in the Philippine territory of the South China Sea, violating international law that give the Philippines “exclusive right over the area” according to military officials.
  • China and Philippines both claim territory on Whitsun Reef; yet recently, Philippines has said more than 200 fishing boats from the Chinese maritime militia have been found encroached on its economic zone on Whitsun Reef.
  • Beijing claims the Chinese vessels were simply taking refuge from rough seas by moving in the lagoon of Whitsun Reef, an area it claims to be part of China’s territory.

Pakistan Reverses Trade Decision With India

  • Pakistan will continue to suspend trade with India, in reversal of its earlier decision to allow resumption of partial trade with its nuclear-neighbor and rival, India.
  • Pakistan’s opposition parties strongly opposed the lifting of the two-year ban on imports of sugar and cotton from India, citing the unresolved issue of Kashmir and the government’s actions without Parliament’s approval.
  • Disputes over Kashmir, a shared territory across both countries, has been the source of intense conflict between Indian and Pakistan, causing two of three wars fought between the neighboring countries.
  • Pakistan’s Foreign Minister said in a Cabinet meeting that trade would be suspended with India until the reversal of the 2019 ruling by India that confers Kashmir special constitutional status and statehood.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kerberus

    2 April 2021 at 12:40 pm

    I wonder how much the India/Pakistan/Bangladesh relations and China/Philippines (with an Indian Chancellor and Secretary of Home Office) impacted on recent travel bans.
    Not sure what the situation is with Kenya, but bet there is something going on there too.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/apr/02/covid-england-adds-pakistan-bangladesh-kenya-and-philippines-to-travel-red-list

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Daily Brief

Salman Rushdie Severely Stabbed due to his Publication of the Book “The Satanic Verses”

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Salman Rushdie 2014
  • Salman Rushdie, an author, was severely stabbed in his neck and abdomen on stage by a suspect named Hadi Matar, causing him to be on a ventilator and potentially losing an eye.
  • An Iranian leader back in the 20th century wanted Rushdie killed because of his novel, Satanic Verses, that many Muslims found disrespectful. This led Salman to go into hiding for almost a decade.
  • Translators from different countries reading this book were harshly stabbed to death when the book came out and Iranian leader, Ayatollah Khomeini called for Salman’s execution for three million dollars.
  • The Iranian government has not yet responded to this issue, but many Iranians in the media claim him to be an apostate who later became an atheist.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

China Threatens Consequences if Pelosi Visits Taiwan

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  • US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has landed inTaiwan. Prior to the visit, China’s Foreign Ministry has voiced their disapproval, stating that “China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized in response  that “The speaker will make her own decisions about whether or not to visit Taiwan,” and that the US is looking to Beijing to “act responsibly and not to engage in any escalation going forward.”
  • The US has made it clear that members of Congress routinely visit Taiwan and that this trip is non-threatening and has precedent. Even so, some officials have expressed concern that China may invade Taiwan’s air defense zone or send missiles near Taiwan in retaliation.
  • Pelosi has criticized China’s leadership and vocalized support for Taiwan in the past. She is currently on her tour of Asia, with scheduled visits to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

First Grain Ship Departs Ukraine After Six Months of Russian Blockade

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Odesa pristav
  • The first shipment of grain departed the port of Odesa on Monday after Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports for the last six months trapped around 20 million metric tons of wheat and corn.
  • Russia recently made a deal with Ukraine, brokered by the UN and Turkey, allowing grain exports to resume, appeasing fears of a global food supply crisis and rising prices.
  • Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba celebrated the shipment, calling it a “day of relief for the world, especially for our friends in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.”
  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was more hesitant to celebrate the shipment, stating “it is too early to draw any conclusions and make any forecasts” and he wants to “see how the agreement works and whether security will be really guaranteed.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Concerns Rise As US Teeters on the Brink of Recession

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US Stock Market Investing in the United States
  • The US economy declines for the second quarter in a row, causing, what other countries would consider, an economic recession. 
  • The prices for groceries, gas, and other basics are rising at the fastest pace since 1981. The US Central Bank is quickly trying to raise borrowing costs in order to cool the economy and ease the prices on goods, but with the contraction, at the annual rate of 0.9% in the 3 months to July, many are still getting concerned. 
  • President Biden struggles to convince the public that the economy is sound, with the unemployment rate at a low 3.6%. But with inflation in the US hitting 9.1% in June, the fastest price appreciation in 4 months, consumer spending has slowed at an annual rate of 1%. 
  • Many other countries, such as China and the UK, have been hit harder by the surge in energy prices and the War in Ukraine, causing risks from abroad. Other countries are facing much more serious problems and once they’re hit, their problems can spill over and affect the US. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

North Korea Could Possibly Be Preparing another Nuclear Test

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North Koreas ballistic missile North Korea Victory Day 2013 01
  • North Korea could be preparing a seventh nuclear test, especially after Mr. Kim announced that the country is fully ready for any military confrontation with the US at a Korean War Anniversary event. 
  • A US special representative in North Korea states that Jong-Un has tested an unprecedented number of missiles this year—31 to 25. Jong-Un also stated that threats from the US required North Korea to achieve the urgent historical task of strengthening its self-defense. 
  • Jong-un also stated that South Korea is reviving a plan to counter North Korea’s threat by mounting precautionary strikes; in June alone, South Korea launched 8 missiles of its own.
  • The North Korean regime is especially angry with South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol and his so-called Kill Chain strategy. This strategy allows South Korea to launch ballistic missiles and air strikes on North Korean targets if it ever feels threatened. 
  • North Korea has also not been getting as much engagement with Washington ever since Biden replaced Trump, and could be hinting at some sort of deliberate escalation by the North, and preparations have been underway at the Punggye Ri test site since March.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Russia Limits Gas Supply to Germany

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Black Sea port of Theodosiya panoramio
  • Gazprom, a major Russian energy provider, has stated it will reduce the supply of gas to Germany by half via the Nord Stream 1 pipeline due to repair work. 
  • Germany has said that they see no technical reason for the decrease in gas supply. The European Union continues to accuse Russia of weaponizing energy, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stating, “This is an open gas war that Russia is waging against a united Europe.”
  • Ukraine and Russia signed an agreement to allow the export of grain via the Black Sea after Russia continued to block millions of tonnes from being exported. The next day, Russia struck missiles at the port, some of which hit the infrastructure of the port.
  • The US and Ukraine are optimistic that the agreement will still be implemented, with the US State Department stating, “Despite these attacks, we do understand that the parties are continuing preparations to open Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for food and fertilizer exports…we also continue to expect that the Black Sea agreement will be implemented.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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