TUESDAY PDB – Putin’s Ukraine Guessing Game, Russian ‘Lightning Raid’ Option, Can US Subs Deter Russia? 8,500 US Troops on Alert, Military Coup in Burkina Faso, US Negotiating Team Divided on Iran Nukes, North Korea Fires Cruise Missiles

A Marine with Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, simulates engaging a potential threat as part of a mechanized raid training event during Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), May 20. COMPTUEX is the second at-sea period during the 11th MEU's predeployment cycle, during which the MEU will conduct concurrent mission planning and execution integrated across all elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force while supporting Amphibious Squadron 5 in their evaluated training. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Melissa Wenger/Released

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

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


Russia Threat – Ukraine

Up to 8,500 U.S. troops on heightened alert in case of Russian move on Ukraine. Thousands of U.S. troops could be called on to deploy in support of NATO’s Response Force.

On the brink of war with Russia, Ukrainians are resigned, prepared. The nation has struggled to maintain a sense of stability since it became an independent country in 1991 and has been at war since 2014. But with 100,000 Russian troops gathered nearby, threatening Europe’s biggest land war since the 1940s, people there say something feels different this time.

US and NATO allies intensify diplomacy in push to deter Russian ‘lightning raid’ on Ukraine. President Biden on Monday held a video call with European leaders to discuss joint efforts to deter further aggression by the Kremlin against Kyiv, amid a massive buildup of Russian forces along Ukraine’s border that has raised fears of a renewed invasion.

Lawmakers ask Austin to rush M1A2 Abrams tank sale to Poland. Top Republicans on Monday made a push to accelerate Washington’s proposed sale of 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks to NATO ally Poland, which has been pending since last summer, in light of the escalating crisis with Russia.

Lawmakers: US submarine force can help check Russian ambitions in Ukraine. The U.S. Navy must dedicate forces to pushing back against Russian activity throughout the European theater in the coming weeks, two lawmakers said, even as the world’s focus is on Ukraine’s land borders with Russia and Belarus.

For Ukrainian soldiers, a nervous guessing game on the front. Given Russia’s penchant for misdirection, it’s unclear how a military incursion would start. And that keeps the Ukrainian troops on edge.

Iran Threat

BIDEN WEAKNESS – Differences splinter US team in talks with Iran on nuclear deal. Some members of the U.S. negotiating team have left or stepped back after urging a tougher line on Tehran in stalled talks to restore the 2015 nuclear agreement.

North Korea

N Korea fires cruise missiles amid tension over lifting nuclear moratorium. North Korea fired two cruise missiles into the sea off its east coast on Tuesday, South Korea’s military said, amid rising tension over a recent series of weapons tests.

International Security

Burkina Faso president detained in apparent coup. It is the third coup in West Africa since May.

Who is Paul-Henri Damiba, leader of the Burkina Faso coup? The 41-year-old officer was promoted in December to commander of Burkina Faso’s third military region by President Kabore.

Biden Afghanistan Disaster

CIA-backed Afghan fighters are still waiting to reach US. Commandos who played a key role in helping American forces are waiting for visas in the United Arab Emirates and are among the last of the evacuated Afghans to get a chance to reach the United States.

Threatened and beaten, Afghan women defy Taliban with protests. The Taliban have begun cracking down harder as women insist on their rights and as Western governments call for reforms.

Military and Space

US Air Forces Africa gears up to extend its reach. The tyranny of distance is the oft-spoken biggest challenge for African air forces in a continent more than three times the size of the United States.

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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