D Today’s brief: the EU’s war on Russian oil; Ukraine’s grain problem; tougher Canadian gun laws; The grand opening of TGM; And a little more.
The EU has just intensified its economic war against the Russian “war machine”. European Union leaders said On Monday evening, the 27-nation bloc will ban Russian oil transported by sea, affecting about two-thirds of Moscow’s estimated $10 billion monthly oil exports to Europe. The ban will increase to about 90% of Russian oil imports by the end of the year, as Germany and Poland gradually shift away from these sources by the end of the calendar year to punish more Russia for invading its democratic neighbor Ukraine at the end of February. .
Notable: The new sanctions exempt Russian oil delivered by pipeline. This “temporary” exemption was designed to allow the landlocked countries of Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to continue to access oil through the Russian Druzhba (“Friendship”) line, which has been in service since 1964 and is the longest oil line in the world. pipeline, stretching nearly 3,500 miles.
“Two thirds of the oil we have in the European Union is transported by sea and a third by pipeline”, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said when announcing the sanctions, which is the sixth iteration of the bloc, and includes the withdrawal of Russia’s largest bank (Sberbank) from the Swift financial system and the banning of three other Russian state media from broadcasting throughout the EU. These new sanctions will “immediately” cover these “two-thirds of oil imports from Russia, cutting off a huge source of funding for its war machine”, the head of the European Council said. Charles Michel tweeted Monday. “Maximum pressure on Russia to end the war,” he added.
As regards the approximately 10% who are exempt, von der Leyen and Michel would like to close this pipeline delivery gap as soon as possible; but it’s unclear when that might happen, as it involves the consent of Hungary’s increasingly autocratic ruler. “It’s something we’ll come back to and still have to work on,” she said.
Back-up plan: Croatia says it is ready to ship oil to Hungary via a line known as the Adriatic, if Russia were to cut off supply through Druzhba in the coming months, according to Reuters. But in the meantime, Hungarian refineries “will have to be updated because Russian oil is of a different quality than oil from the Adriatic pipeline,” von der Leyen said. “So it’s good to have some time and some activity to fulfill all these criteria so that Hungary can really turn off Russian oil.”
Overview: New EU sanctions ‘could stoke global inflation, already operating at its fastest pace in decades in major economies, and exacerbating a fuel shortage in poorer regions that will be competing with Europe to import oil,” the wall street journal reports. Already, “Europe’s race to source oil from other producers has pushed the price of high-quality crudes produced from West Africa into Azerbaijan to levels not seen in years.” .
Dollars and Common Sense: According to Log. They could also harm Russian efforts to transport its oil abroad, since the new EU measures include a ban on insuring Russian ships by EU companies. CNBC has a bit more on what is known so far.
Russian Reax: “They all hate us! The basis of these decisions is hatred of Russia, Russians and all its inhabitants,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Telegram.
Next step for the EU: find out how to get 22 million tonnes of Ukrainian cereals to market. It remains stuck in bins and on hoppers due to the Russian naval blockade of the Black Sea. Setting up some sort of reconstruction funding for Ukraine is also on the EU agenda, as well as finding ways to pivot to renewable energy sources.
Milley: “Right now the sea lanes are blocked by mines and the Russian navy” The top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, said in London on Tuesday. “To open these sea lanes would require a very significant military effort” and “would be a high-risk military operation”. Defense News a plus, traveling with Milley to the UK.
- “U.S. Army Signs Deal to Replace Stingers Sent to Ukraine,” also via Defense Newsreport on Friday;
- “A key city in Ukraine ‘split in two’,” Agence France-Presse reported on Tuesday, referring to the eastern city of Severodonetsk;
- “Oil Jumps as EU Agrees to Partially Ban Russian Crude,” via the the wall street journalreport on Tuesday;
- “Russians feel little economic pain now, long-term outlook darkens,” via Reuters, reporting Tuesday;
- “Eurozone inflation hits a record 8.1%,” via FinancialTimesreport on Tuesday;
- “Biden to discuss inflation crisis with Fed Chairman Powell on Tuesday,” via CNN, reporting Monday;
- and “After a stellar 2021, companies may struggle to boost profits,” via the New York Timesreport on Tuesday.
Russian officials are talking about unplugging the country from the internet. But is it possible? // Patrick Tucker: Despite its best efforts, the Kremlin still may not have the ability to block news across borders.
Defense Case File // Marcus Weisgerber: Defense Business Brief: More Top Gun Thoughts; First flight of B-21 delayed; NRO awards large imaging contracts, and more.
Defense Une Radio, Ep. 102: Derek Chollet, the “Swiss army knife” of the State Department // Kevin Baron:
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is visiting the White House today. New Zealand is one of many countries to have tightened gun control laws after a mass shooting, in this case the 2019 massacre at a Christchurch mosque. Canada did it in 1989; Germany in 2002; and Norway joined last year, according to the New York Times, report last week. “Only the United States, whose rate and severity of mass shootings are unparalleled outside of conflict zones, has so consistently refused to respond to these events with tougher gun laws,” the official said. Time writing.
America just suffered 14 more mass shootings over Memorial Day weekend, according to Gun Violence Archive, the latest tragic updates of which were reported Monday by NBC News.
New: Canada may be on the verge of tightening up its gun control laws yet again. And these were already much stricter than the few in place in the United States, the New York Times reported Monday. If passed, the new bill would put a “national freeze” on the sale of handguns; the Washington Post more here.
National Guard in Taiwan? The Pentagon is “proactively planning cooperation” between the US National Guard and the Taiwanese military, the Taiwanese president said today. During a meeting with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., in the Taiwanese capital, Tsai Ing-wen said the island looks forward to “closer and deeper cooperation between Taiwan and the United States.” on regional security issues,” Reuters reported. Duckworth is a major sponsor of legislation to promote this cooperation.
The meeting comes a day after China sent 30 military planes to the island, that is part of a regular campaign; and Taiwan scrambled jets and put defense systems on alert in response, the Associated Press reported.
And finally: 59-year-old actor Tom Cruise just landed his highest-grossing opening weekend ever, as ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ grossed over $150 million in its first few days in some 4,700 theaters, breaking a Memorial Day record, according to the Los Angeles Times. Its previous best weekend was back in 2005 with “War of the Worlds” at $64 million, Fortune reports.
Weekend Showtimes Now Put TGM Among Top-Grossing Films of the current pandemic era, behind “Spider-Man: No Way Home” (with $260 million) and “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” (with $187 million), according to Variety.