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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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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

Hungary Announces State of Emergency Due to War in Ukraine

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  • Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has officially declared a new state of emergency for Hungary in a Facebook video that was posted on Tuesday. Orban stated that the war in Ukraine poses “a constant threat to Hungary” and that the state of emergency would allow the Hungarian government to respond more efficiently to difficulties that arise due to the war.
  • The state of emergency will allow the Hungarian government to pass laws without the involvement of the Parliament and will offer them the opportunity to temporarily digress from existing laws. This is the third state of emergency that Orban has passed while in office. Previously, Hungary dealt with a state of emergency due to the European refugee crisis as well as one declared due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Emese Pasztor of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union criticizes Orban and his government stating that another introduction of a special legal order “will become the new normal, which will threaten the fundamental rights of all us, and rule by decree will further diminish the importance of the Parliament.”
  • A few have criticized the introduction of another special legal order stating that it makes Orban’s government too powerful considering that his party, the Fidesz party, already holds a two-thirds majority in the Parliament. Orban has stated in the Facebook video that the first measures will be announced on Wednesday. 

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.

Samar Idlibi
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Samar is a UC San Diego graduate with a degree in Communication and a minor in Business. In addition to her passion for research and writing in relation to current events, she also utilizes her skills in areas such as digital marketing. Furthermore, she is deeply interested in positions that involve oral communication skills such as leadership roles and public speaking.

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Iraqi Citizen Arrested in Plot to Assassinate Former President George W. Bush

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  • An Iraqi citizen living in the U.S. has been arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force on Tuesday after he told a confidential FBI source that he had plans to assassinate former President George W. Bush. 
  • Shihab Ahmed Shihab shared that he had plans to smuggle four former Baath party members into the U.S. where the men would obtain firearms for carrying out their assassination on the former president. The assassination plot was meant to be a retaliation against Bush for his connection to the 2003 invasion of Iraq which killed many Iraqis.
  • Shihab first entered the US in September of 2020 on a visitor visa that the FBI Affidavit stated was obtained through “a corrupt Iraqi American contractor at the U.S. embassy.” He worked various jobs in Indiana and Ohio and traveled to Dallas in February to survey the neighborhood and home of the former president. 
  • A spokesperson for Bush shared that the former president “has all the confidence in the world in the United States Secret Service and our law enforcement and intelligence communities.” Shihab is charged with aiding and abetting a plot to murder a former U.S. official and with attempting to bring an individual into the country illegally. He awaits his hearing on Friday.

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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.

Samar Idlibi
+ posts

Samar is a UC San Diego graduate with a degree in Communication and a minor in Business. In addition to her passion for research and writing in relation to current events, she also utilizes her skills in areas such as digital marketing. Furthermore, she is deeply interested in positions that involve oral communication skills such as leadership roles and public speaking.

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Daily Brief

18 Year Old Massacres 14 Elementary Students and a Teacher in Texas

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  • Salvador Ramos, an 18 year old, entered Robb elementary School in Uvalde, Texas with a handgun and shot dead 14 children and a teacher before being taken down by an officer. 
  • The incident occurred at 11:32 am on Tuesday May 24th, 2022. Two reporting officers have also been injured trying to capture the shooter. Ramos has been reported dead as well.  
  • Ramos had also killed his grandmother right before driving to the elementary school. 
  • Investigation is still taking place as the school is trying to make sure all the other students are accounted for and handed off to their parents safely. 
  • President Biden is to speak on the school shooting this evening. Just this year, 2022, alone, there have been 27 school shooting incidents in the United States thus far. 

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

Starbucks Leaves Russia After 15 Years

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  • Starbucks is leaving Russia and closing its 130 locations after fifteen years of operating there. McDonalds, Exxon Mobil and other companies made similar moves in recent weeks.
  • Starbucks will pay its estimated 2,000 employees for the next six months, while also helping them find new jobs. The company has not disclosed the financial impact of these actions.
  • The decision to leave Russia was made in March, with the CEO at the time, Kevin Johnson, stating that the company condems “the horrific attacks on Ukraine by Russia and our hearts go out to all those affected.”
  • The US placed many economic sanctions on Russia after they invaded Ukraine, some of which make it more difficult for western companies to operate there.

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

Biden Agrees to Militarily Defend Taiwan

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  • While visiting Japan, US President Joe Biden stated that the United States would militarily intervene if China were to attack Taiwan, while also drawing a parallel to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
  • Under the “One China” policy, the US acknowledges that Taiwan is a part of China, however, this is one of the most direct statements made by a US president regarding the repercussions if an invasion were to take place.
  • Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin expressed “strong dissatisfaction” to Biden’s comments, stating that “China will take firm action to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests.”
  • The US does not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but provides weapons to the island, while also maintaining formal ties with China.

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

Over a Million Homes Without Power Due to Severe Storm in Canada

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  • A powerful thunderstorm in Southern Canada caused over 900,00 homes to lose power. Ontario’s power company Hydro One claims it would take several days to reconnect every home. 
  • The strong winds of the storm destroyed trees, disrupted traffic, damaged homes, and saw emergency services swarmed with calls for help. 
  • Among the casualties are four people who were killed by falling trees as well as a woman who died due to a boat capsizing in the Ottawa River.
  • Firefighters and utility workers removed tangled power lines and phone poles in media circulating in Canada. The town of Uxbridge, which lies just north of Toronto, declared a state of emergency as the storm left “significant damage in its wake.”

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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