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Today’s PDB includes a variety of critical, global national security issues.
READ TODAY’S PDB BELOW:
BIDEN OPENS BORDER EVEN MORE – Biden to end ‘Title 42’ border restriction in May: Reports. US President Joe Biden’s administration is expected to lift the effective Trump border policy that prevents most asylum seekers from applying for protection in the United States, after liberal calls to end “Title 42” have grown louder in recent weeks.
BUT CHINESE TROOPS OK? Solomon Islands won’t allow Chinese military base, says PM’s office. A day after officials from the two countries initialed a draft agreement on security, the office of Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said on Friday the agreement does not invite China to establish a military base.
RUSSIA THREAT – UKRAINE WAR
BIDEN GAFFE CREATES MORE DANGER – US soldiers are not training Ukrainians in Poland, Army chief says. The Army’s top general emphasized on Thursday that no U.S. soldiers in Poland were training Ukrainian forces, contrary to reports this week and a statement from the president which seemed to suggest otherwise.
MOVE FASTER – Pentagon disputes claims by lawmakers that US military aid to Ukraine is moving slowly. All of the equipment and supplies included in an $800 million military aid package approved by President Joe Biden on March 16 will be in Ukrainian hands in roughly two weeks, a senior U.S. defense official said.
Russia’s war lacks a battlefield commander, US officials say. Poor logistics and flagging morale have plagued a disjointed military campaign in Ukraine, according to American officials and independent analysts.
Russia drafts 134,500 conscripts but says they won’t go to Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a decree ordering 134,500 new conscripts into the army as part of Russia’s annual spring draft, but the defense ministry said the call-up had nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. NATO also says it is not seeing a pull-back of Russian forces in Ukraine and expects “additional offensive actions,” alliance head Jens Stoltenberg warns.
MERCENARIES – Syrian mercenaries deploy to Russia en route to Ukrainian battlefields. Hundreds of Syrian fighters are en route to join Russian forces in Ukraine, effectively returning the favor to Moscow for helping President Bashar al-Assad crush rebels in an 11-year civil war, according to two people monitoring the flow of mercenaries.
FREEDOM FIGHTERS – A Belarusian battalion fights in Ukraine ‘for both countries’ freedom.’ Many of them have joined the “Kastus Kalinouski Battalion,” named after the leader of Belarus’s insurrection against Russia in the 1860s. It is made up of Belarusians taking advantage of Ukraine’s wartime decision to allow foreigners to serve in the ranks of its armed forces, though not as officers.
REBUILDING THE USSR – Where is South Ossetia and why does it want to join Russia? Russia’s war in Ukraine has rattled Europe, revived the NATO military alliance and helped rekindle conflicts from the post-Soviet era, including in places such as Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory at the center of tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
INEVITABLE? The challenge of containing a nuclear Iran. Barring a great surprise, the Islamic Republic will get its nuke. How will the U.S. respond?
NORTH KOREA THREAT
TESTING BIDEN – N Korea may be preparing new nuclear tests to improve arsenal, US and allies say. Two U.S. officials told Reuters that there were indications, including activity near the Punggye-ri nuclear site, that Pyongyang may be preparing for some sort of test, though an exact timing was unclear.
BIDEN’S AFGHAN DISASTER
International donors face tough choices as Taliban reneges on promises. A Taliban dictum last week banning girls above the sixth grade from attending school broke a promise to donor countries and jeopardized the flow of critical humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
US MILITARY AND SPACE
Air Force commandos are learning how to fight in Sweden’s frigid forests where ‘nothing works.’ Air Force special operators are some of the toughest in the world: their training pipeline is about two years long and it historically washes out 70 to 80% of candidates.
END of PDB
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