FRIDAY PDB – Putin’s End Game – ‘Independent’ Eastern Provinces in Ukraine? Satellite Images Show Russian Buildup, China Demands US Cease Naval Ops in South China Sea, Oath Keepers Planned Armed Attack on Capitol, Will Space Force Protect Private Moon Bases?

A US Marine Corps (USMC) troop sits patiently manning an M2.50caliber Machine Gun onboard a Riverine Assault Craft (RAC) during an exercise on Lake Al Habbaniyah, Iraq (IRQ), in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM / Photo by LCPL Samantha L. Jones, USMC

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Today’s PDB includes a variety of critical national security issues.

READ TODAY’S EXTENDED ‘UKRAINE-RUSSIA THREAT’ PDB BELOW:


National Security

COUNTERPOINT – NATO should shut the door, but not because Russia said so. For the U.S., however, it’s not Russia’s geopolitical sensitivities that matter most—it’s whether a given policy serves core U.S. security interests. And as far as NATO’s open-door policy is concerned, keeping it alive for the sake of principle no longer makes sense for practical and strategic reasons.

Britain warns Putin and Xi: West will stand up to ‘dictatorship.’ Speaking in Australia, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Britain and its allies in the “free world” must respond together to global threats, deepen ties with democracies in the Indo-Pacific and “face down global aggressors” who were using economic dependence to try to get what they want.

China Threat

NOT LIKELY – China’s military demands end to Navy demonstrations in the South China Sea. A guided-missile destroyer steamed past two disputed island chains in the South China Sea this week, provoking demands from China’s military that the U.S. cease its freedom-of-navigation patrols in the region.

Russia Threat – Ukraine

Russia announces sweeping naval drills amid Ukraine tensions. Russia’s Defense Ministry said the exercise will involve over 140 warships and more than 60 aircraft.

Satellite images show more Russian troops, equipment near Ukraine. Russian military activity has been increasing in recent weeks, with the Kremlin announcing plans to send troops to Belarus for war games.

US allows Baltic NATO members to send arms to Ukraine. The decision will enable Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia to send Javelin antitank weapons and Stinger air-defense systems for Ukraine’s forces.

What are US military options to help Ukraine? How far might the United States and its allies go to help Ukraine defend itself if the buildup of Russian forces along Ukraine’s borders leads to an invasion?

THE REAL GOAL – Russian parliament to discuss recognizing rebel-held east Ukraine as independent. Formally recognizing the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, is seen as one potential step Putin could take if he fails to secure security guarantees he is seeking from the West.

North Korea Threat

North Korea signals it may resume nuclear and ICBM tests, citing ‘hostile moves’ by the US. North Korea may be signaling its intent to restart tests of long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons following a recent statement that took aim at the United States, policy experts told Stars and Stripes on Thursday.

International Security

Israel inks $3.4 billion submarine deal with Germany. Israel signed a €3 billion (U.S. $3.4 billion) deal Thursday to buy three cutting-edge submarines from Germany, the Israeli Defense Ministry announced.

NO KIDDING – EU agency seeks clearer rules on balancing borders, rights. The European Union needs clearer rules on balancing respect for human rights with the need for border protection, the chief of the EU’s Frontex border and coastguard agency said on Friday.

Homeland Security

UNACCEPTABLE – Inside the Oath Keepers’ plan for an armed takeover of the US Capitol. A day before the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, people from three different states wheeled cart after cart laden with weapons and ammunition through an otherwise unremarkable Comfort Inn Ballston hotel located in Virginia, just a stone’s throw from the Pentagon, according to prosecutors.

RELEVANCE? Leaked Oath Keepers list names 20 current military members. When they enlisted in the military, they swore an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, and to obey the orders all the way up to those from the president of the United States.

Military and Space

Will Space Force protect orbiting gas stations and bases on the moon? As U.S. companies venture farther from Earth, whether the newest service will protect them remains under discussion.

END of PDB

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - paulcrespo.substack.com - PAULCRESPO.COM

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