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Early Edition: November 16, 2022

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A curated weekday guide to major national security news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.

RUSSIA, UKRAINE – POLAND

Representatives of the NATO alliance are set to meet in Brussels today, following a deadly explosion in Poland four miles from the Ukrainian border. Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO, called the incident an intentional Russian strike on a NATO member. However, the Kremlin has denied involvement, and there is as yet no evidence that the strike or intentional, or that Russia was responsible. Richard Pérez-Peña and Shashank Bengali report for the New York Times. 

During today’s meeting, NATO representatives will likely discuss a request to strengthen air defenses on the alliance’s eastern wing. This is according to Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger and Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad. Reuters reports. 

Polish President Andrzej has said the explosion that killed two people within its borders was most likely an accident caused by Ukrainian air defense responding to a Russian missile strike. “There is no indication that this could be qualified as an attack against Poland,” Duda said in a news conference today. “It is highly probable that one of the missiles fired by the Ukrainian missile defense unfortunately fell on our territory,” he added. NBC News reports. 

Officials briefed on initial U.S. assessments have said it appears the missile that killed two people in Poland originated in Ukraine, even though it was Russian-made. The preliminary assessments suggest the missiles were fired by Ukrainian forces in an attempt to intercept an incoming Russian strike. Phil Mattingly, Kevin Liptak, Alex Stambaugh, Rhea Mogul, Radina Gigova, Pierre Bairin and Sophie Tanno report for CNN

President Biden has said that Russia does not appear to be the origin of the missile fired into Poland. “There is plenty of information that contests that,” Biden said. “I don’t want to say until we completely investigate.” However, the trajectory indicated that the missile probably was not fired from Russian territory,  he added. Matt Viser and Ben Brasch report for the Washington Post

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that he does not think the missile strike on Poland had anything to do with Russia. Speaking at a conference during the G20 summit, he also called for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Rachel Pannett reports for the Washington Post

RUSSIA, UKRAINE – OTHER DEVELOPMENTS 

Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, held talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Lavrov on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty (G20) summit yesterday. Whilst China has affirmed that it wants to “deepen” practical cooperation” with Moscow, the official summary of Wang’s comments suggests that Beijing is becoming more guarded about the course of Russia’s war with Ukraine. In particular, Wang welcomed recent Russian comments denying it might use nuclear weapons, as well as Russia’s agreement to allow the resumption of the Black Sea grain initiative. Chris Buckley reports for the New York Times

Russian President Vladimir Putin is open to extending the initiative allowing grain exports from Ukraine through the Black Sea. At a news conference at the G20 summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that whilst discussions were still ongoing Putin had given him “green lights” in relation to an extension. The initiative is due to expire this week. Jason Douglas reports for the Wall Street Journal

CIA director, William Burns visited Ukraine yesterday for talks with Ukrainian officials. According to a U.S. official, his visit was aimed at reinforcing American support for Ukraine and reassuring Ukrainian officials that the U.S. is not attempting to negotiate an end to the war with Russia. Julian E. Barnes reports for the New York Times.

U.S. RELATIONS 

China has stolen more U.S. data than every other nation combined, FBI Director Christopher Wray said yesterday. Speaking at the House Homeland Security Committee’s annual worldwide threats hearing, Wray referenced the prevalence of TikTok and its parent company ByteDance, as a major intelligence concern. Chloe Folmar reports for The Hill

During her visit to Thailand and the Philippines Vice President Kamala Harris will cast the U.S. as a “better partner” for economic stability than China. The trip comes amid China’s bid to expand its own influence in the Indo-Pacific. During the trip, Harris will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders summit, hold bilateral meetings with Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Philippines President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, as well as meet with other leaders, local activists, and notable women to reaffirm the U.S.’s economic commitment to the region. Jasmine Wright reports for CNN

OTHER DOMESTIC DEVELOPMENTS 

Former President Trump launched this third White House bid yesterday. “In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said during a prime-time event from his Mar-a-Lago estate. Alex Leary reports for the Wall Street Journal

A federal judge yesterday blocked the government from continuing to use Title 42 to expel migrants who cross the southern border unlawfully. The Trump-era public health measure has been a key enforcement tool at the border and has held back thousands of migrants who might otherwise have been allowed to pursue asylum claims. In passing his judgment, Judge Emmet Sullivan for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia concluded that the measure was “arbitrary and capricious” and had been implemented in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. Miriam Jordan and Eileen Sullivan report for the New York Times.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops elected a new national president and vice president yesterday. Both of the men elected are considered doctrinal conservatives and have taken confrontational stands on abortion politics. This is in contrast with the more conciliatory approach favored by Pope Francis and signals strong support among the nation’s top bishops for a policy platform centered on opposition to abortion. Francis X. Rocca reports for the Wall Street Journal

NASA launched its most powerful rocket ever yesterday. The massive Space Launch System rocket is the first spacecraft designed to fly humans to the moon since the Apollo era. The launch forms part of NASA’s Artemis program. Whilst the launch was a test flight and no astronauts were on board, a lunar landing is scheduled for 2025. Christian Davenport reports for the Washington Post

OTHER GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS 

A Palestinian assailant killed three Israeli citizens in the occupied West Bank yesterday. The attack began in an Israeli-controlled industrial zone, where the assailant stabbed several civilians. He then fled by car, hitting another person with the vehicle. The attack ended when the assailant was fatally shot by a soldier. Isabel Kershner reports for the New York Times

Iranian shopkeepers are striking in solidarity with the anti-government protest movement sweeping the country. The planned three-day strikes began yesterday and mark the anniversary of a violent crackdown on protestors in 2019, the last time Iranians seriously challenged the ruling establishments. Sune Engel Rasmussen reports for the Wall Street Journal. 

An Israeli-owned oil tanker was hit by a suspected Iranian drone last night. The tanker was traveling through the Gulf of Oman when it was hit, according to people familiar with the incident. The strike made a hole in the back of the ship, but the vessel wasn’t disabled and no injuries were reported. Dion Nissenbaum and Benoit Faucon report for the Wall Street Journal

COVID-19

COVID-19 has infected over 98.088 million people and has now killed over 1.07 million people in the United States, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Globally, there have been over 635.961 million confirmed coronavirus cases and over 6.61 million deaths. Sergio Hernandez, Sean O’Key, Amanda Watts, Byron Manley and Henrik Pettersson report for CNN.

A map and analysis of all confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. is available at the New York Times.

U.S. and worldwide maps tracking the spread of the pandemic are available at the Washington Post.

The post Early Edition: November 16, 2022 appeared first on Just Security.

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