The Russian’s increase their annual draft….
The Ukraine is building a new Western trained combat force ….
Finland joining NATO….
Sweden can’t get past Turkey (or Hungry) to get in….
Russia will preside over the United Nations Security Council in April for the first time since February 2022….
The Kremlin authorized a larger than normal regular spring draft, although the new recruits are unlikely to be sent immediately to the battlefield. Ukraine is building a network of combat brigades to work alongside the regular armed forces. Here is what we’re covering:
Russia and Ukraine make recruitment pushes as they prepare for a long war.
Belarus, echoing Russia, raises the prospect of nuclear conflict.
The American reporter accused of spying in Russia will likely spend months in a high-security prison.
Russian propaganda channels use the arrest of a Wall Street Journal reporter to parrot a familiar line.
The U.S. says Russia is seeking a food-for-arms deal with North Korea.
In Finland, leaders celebrate NATO membership progress: ‘These are historic days.’
In a secret command center, Ukrainians say they have exhausted Russia’s relentless assaults on Bakhmut….
In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky marked the anniversary of the recapture of Bucha, the town in the Kyiv suburbs where Russian forces are alleged to have committed atrocities against civilians before retreating. Ukrainian authorities exhumed a communal grave near Bucha this month as investigators work to collect evidence of alleged war crimes.
Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.
- The Wall Street Journal said “expelling Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., as well as all Russian journalists working here,” is the “minimum” it expects from the Biden administration. The newspaper said that this was the first arrest of a U.S. journalist on espionage allegations in Russia since the Cold War and that neither it nor U.S. officials had been allowed to contact Gershkovich as of late Thursday.
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was “no reason” to expel Russia’s ambassador and Russian journalists from the United States. “There should be no such thing,” he said Friday. Media groups have condemned Gershkovich’s detention. Reporters Without Borders called for his release and said there was no indication he was “doing anything other than legitimate investigative reporting.”
- The United States called the charges against Gershkovich “ridiculous,” and the European Union’s top diplomat said his detention showed the Kremlin’s “systematic disregard for media freedom.” Gershkovich recently wrote about Russia’s economy and attitudes toward the war in Ukraine. He has denied the charges.
- NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Finland would formally join the alliance “in the coming days,” describing the Nordic nation’s accession as a “historic occasion.” He said that it has been “the fastest ratification process in NATO’s modern history” and that he hoped Sweden also could join “as soon as possible.” The two countries applied for membership last year, prompted by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, but alliance members Turkey and Hungary are still holding out on Sweden’s potential accession.
- Russia on Saturday is to assume the U.N. Security Council presidency, a role that rotates among member states monthly. The White House urged Russia to “conduct itself professionally,” and a spokesperson for Ukraine’s foreign minister called Moscow’s assumption of the presidency an “April Fools’ Day joke.”
- Finland is on course to join NATO after the Turkish parliament voted to approve its membership, which will reshape European security and lengthen the alliance’s land border with Russia.
- Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said infrastructure is ready for Russian nuclear weapons to be stationed in his country. A staunch ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s, Lukashenko said Friday that he has intensified talks with Moscow about returning nuclear weapons to Belarus and that “if necessary, we will decide with Putin and bring strategic nuclear weapons to Belarus.”
- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said he encouraged Chinese President Xi Jinping to talk to Kyiv about a plan to end the war during a meeting between the two on Friday in Beijing, Reuters reports.
- Russian intelligence agencies worked with a Moscow-based defense contractor to strengthen their ability to launch cyberattacks and surveil sections of the internet, according to thousands of pages of leaked confidential corporate documents called the Vulkan Files, The Washington Post reports…..
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