Good morning. Here’s your Daily Situational Awareness for Friday, 17 June 2022.
- READ TIME: 2 min 49 seconds
- Russia-NATO INTSUM
- Indo-Pacific INTSUM
- Geopolitical INSTUM
RUSSIA WARNS EUROPE OF ESCALATING TENSIONS: Russian state media is increasing the frequency of warnings to European leaders of increasing tensions and hostilities with the Kremlin. Pro-Russian propagandist, Elena Karaeva, said Western leaders traveling to Ukraine by train will find “Orient Express levels of comfort.” Her claims build on previous Russian warnings that European politicians could “wake up in Moscow instead of Kiev.” She further criticized Western-supplied artillery as causing indiscriminate destruction in eastern Ukraine.
WESTERN WEAPONS FROM UKRAINE ON BLACK MARKET: During an interview with a German public media outlet, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Western-supplied Stinger and Javelin missile systems are “already on the black market.” He said the weapons are showing up in Albania and Kosovo at a discount. Lavrov didn’t specify who was trafficking the arms intended for Ukrainian troops.
EUROPEAN UNION WILLING TO LIFT SANCTIONS: European Union leaders are ready to lift sanctions on Russia if it meets certain conditions. To gain sanctions relief, Russia must complete its special military operation in Ukraine, withdraw Russian troops and equipment from its territory, and stop seizing territory in Donbas. Russia is unlikely to take the EU up on its proposal at this time.
CHINESE OFFICIALS USE COVID APPS TO RED-LIST PROTESTERS, BLOCK PROTESTS. A planned protest by hundreds of Chinese bank depositors seeking access to their frozen funds has been thwarted because government officials have turned their mandatory COVID health code apps red. The depositors were planning to travel to the central province of Henan this week from across China to protest against an almost two-month block on accessing at least $178 million of deposits, which has left companies unable to pay workers and individuals unable to access savings. The protest would have been the latest among numerous such demonstrations in Henan in recent months. Being red-listed on the mandatory COVID app restricts individual movement and contact with other persons.
CHINA INCREASES CRUDE OIL STOCKPILES AS REFINERY OUTPUT SLUMPS: China stockpiled crude oil at the fastest rate in two years in May as the number of petroleum products produced at its refineries slumped to the lowest level in a decade. The crude stockpiling and weak refinery output were due to significant demand reduction caused by Beijing’s strict zero-COVID policies that locked down several major financial and industrial centers. Additionally, Chinese government regulators have restricted allowable exports of petroleum products.
MYANMAR MILITARY JUNTA TARGETING CHILDREN IN FIGHT AGAINST REBEL ARMY: According to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, the Myanmar military junta is targeting children for abduction, torture, and killing. The military has killed over 142 children and arbitrarily detained more than 1400. At least 61 children are reportedly being held as hostages in an attempt to detain relatives associated with the anti-junta rebel groups. A U.N. official stated, “I received information about children who were beaten, stabbed, burned with cigarettes, and subjected to mock executions, and who had their fingernails and teeth pulled out during lengthy interrogation sessions.”
U.S. IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON CHINESE AND UAE COMPANIES SELLING IRANIAN OIL: The U.S. Treasury Department announced Thursday that it was placing sanctions on two companies based in Hong Kong, three in Iran and four in the United Arab Emirates. The companies are known to sell Iranian petroleum products on the world market. According to Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brin E Nelson, “The United States is pursuing the path of meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.”
RUSSIAN SPY CAUGHT AT THE HAGUE: The Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) announced it detained a Russian military intelligence operative attempting to infiltrate the International Criminal Court at the Hague. Dutch authorities say Russian GRU officer Sergey Vladimirovich Cherkasov intended to use an internship at the ICC to access ongoing investigations of Russian war crimes.
SINO-RUSSIAN ENERGY RELATIONSHIP DEEPENS: Chinese and Russian energy cooperation is deepening with a new technical agreement on cross-border pipelines. Russian state-owned oil giant Gazprom announced the deal with China’s CNPC after highlighting a 67% increase in gas shipments to China this year. China’s oil demand is expected to rise, providing market opportunities for Russian products while avoiding Western sanctions.
IN TODAY’S EARLY WARNING: The team holds the Weekly Warning Roundtable at 12 Noon Central time. Join Mike, Dustin, and Max as they break down the latest in political warfare, Russia’s next potential target in Europe, and global geostrategic developments. You can get access to his daily report here: https://forwardobserver.com/subscribe
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