Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Thursday, 30 June 2022.
- READ TIME: 3 mins 21 seconds
- Russia-NATO INTSUM
- Indo-Pacific INTSUM
- Geopolitical INSTUM
BULGARIA BOOTS RUSSIAN SPIES: Bulgaria’s government told more than 70 Russian diplomats they must leave the country by 3 July. Bulgaria claims the diplomats were actually spies, accounting for about half the diplomatic presence in Sofia. Bulgaria receives more than 90% of its natural gas supplies from Russia, making that a potential target for Moscow’s reprisal.
BRITAIN TASKING TROOPS & CARRIER GROUP TO ESTONIA: UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said his country would commit an additional 1,000 troops and a carrier group to defend Estonia from possible Russian invasion. The troops will remain in the UK, with equipment staged in Germany, on a short-notice deployment status. Wallace believes a conventional attack on NATO will come with substantial warning as it takes months to move personnel and equipment into staging areas.
EU MAY LIFT SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA: The European Union is considering sanctions carve outs for Russian goods destined for Kaliningrad. Lithuanian officials fear Russia may forcefully secure a corridor from Belarus to Kaliningrad, provoking a conflict with NATO. The proposed deal would ensure goods shipped to the Russian territory will be used there and are not bound for export.
RIMPAC EXERCISE BEGINS AMID RISING TENSIONS WITH CHINA: The U.S.-led RIMPAC 2022 multinational military exercise began yesterday across the Pacific. The biennial exercise includes 26 nations and will showcase the latest in technology and advanced weapons systems, including unmanned naval surface vessels. The exercise, aimed at improving integration and coordination among Indo-Pacific allies, is widely viewed as a defense against Chinese expansion. Washington initially invited the Taiwan military to participate in this year’s exercise but decided to withdraw the invitation in order to avoid a confrontation with Beijing.
CRYPTO CRASH THREATENS NORTH KOREA’S ILLICITLY FUNDED NUCLEAR PROGRAM: The cratering of the global cryptocurrency market has wiped out hundreds of millions of dollars in funds stolen by North Korean hackers. The sudden plunge in crypto values is so severe that it is threatening North Korea’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which survive on cryptocurrency stolen by the North’s state-backed hacking groups. South Korean intelligence believes the North has spent as much as $620 million as it prepares for a seventh nuclear weapons test amid a flurry of ballistic and cruise missile test launches earlier this year. The $615 million dollar hack of the Ronin Project crypto bridge was attributed to the North Korean military’s Reconnaissance General Bureau.
SRI LANKA UNDER LOCKDOWN AS POSSESSION OF PETROL OUTLAWED: Sri Lanka’s economic crisis went from bad to catastrophic this week as the government ordered strict lockdowns requiring all citizens to stay at home and halted the sale of fuel to nonessential personnel for at least the next two weeks. Government authorities also shut down inter-regional transport within the country. Talks continued in the nation’s capital of Colombo, with officials from the International Monetary Fund seeking a $3 billion bailout plan as China and India were asked to extend emergency funds to head off a humanitarian crisis. Colombo also dispatched envoys to Russia and Qatar to request desperately needed fuel supplies.
FCC RECOMMENDS BANNING TIKTOK: Federal Communications Committee Chair Brendan Carr wrote a letter to Apple and Google executives detailing why they should revoke TikTok’s access to U.S. customers. Carr cites national security risks from TikTok sending all user data to China for analysis and exploitation.
DUTCH FARMERS PROTEST FORCED CLOSURE OF FARMS OVER CLIMATE CHANGE AGENDA: Thousands of Dutch farmers gathered in the central Netherlands to protest a move by the Dutch government to forcibly close farms across the country in an attempt to reign in emissions of nitrogen oxide and ammonia. The Farmers, driving tractors and other farm implements, shut down major highways with a series of roadblocks. Anger began rising earlier this month after government officials published nationwide climate change targets which would result in thousands of agricultural workers losing their jobs. Officials said the emissions standards were part of an “unavoidable transition” to save the planet and protect nature.
ARGENTINA GETS CLOSER TO SOUNDING ECONOMIC ALARM BELLS: Amid a fast-approaching global recession and spiraling inflation, Argentina’s economic woes are stoking fears that it will default on sovereign debt, miss targets with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and see a wave of political unrest. Domestic inflation is nearly 70% which will almost certainly result in tightening monetary policy in an already illiquid environment of 52% interest rates. Argentina’s sovereign bonds, which were restructured in a $110 billion deal in 2020, have crashed back into distressed territory, fetching less than 20-30 cents on the dollar. Analysts say countermeasures like higher taxes, tariffs on foreign goods, and restrictions on foreign currency will likely end up being mandated coincident with the coming global recession – a situation that could exacerbate the already dire economic conditions.
IN TODAY’S EARLY WARNING: Mike discusses the worsening economic outlook in the U.S. as well as warnings from utility providers of energy shortages this summer. You can get access to his daily report here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe
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