KW 17: Two German soldiers killed in highway truck crash, US begins local withdrawal from Afghanistan, Russia expels Italian diplomat, calls in envoy

NEWS

Two German soldiers killed in highway truck crash: Two fatalities were reported on Monday after a German military vehicle was reportedly run off the road in the eastern state of Brandenburg. The two soldiers were in a medium-sized Unimog truck as part of a convoy of some 27 vehicles from the German Bundeswehr. The accident reportedly occurred when a truck attempted to overtake the convoy but swerved to the right, pushing the Unimog off the road and into a traffic sign pole on the roadside. The two soldiers died at the scene from their injuries. Police said they were investigating the cause of the accident, and were reported to have interviewed the driver of the overtaking vehicle, who was also injured.
dw.com

US begins local withdrawal from Afghanistan: Gen. Austin Scott Miller, commander of US Forces Afghanistan and NATO’s Resolute Support Mission, confirmed Sunday that the US has begun to withdraw troops from the country in local areas. Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden announced his decision to end America’s longest war, arguing that the decades-long conflict no longer aligned with American priorities. The deadline the President has set for troops to withdraw is absolute – with no potential for an extension based on worsening conditions on the ground. There are roughly 3,500 US troops in Afghanistan and around 7,000 NATO and allied forces. Those NATO forces will probably withdraw alongside the United States, as many countries in the coalition are dependent on American support. Atop the international military forces in Afghanistan, there are also roughly 18,000 contractors in the country, almost all of whom will also depart.
cnn.com, nytimes.com

Russia expels Italian diplomat, calls in envoy: Russia expelled an Italian diplomat on Monday and called in Italy’s ambassador to its foreign ministry over what it said was a groundless move by Rome to expel two Russian diplomats last month. The Italian foreign ministry said the Russian move was unfounded and unjust. Italian police said in March they had caught an Italian navy captain passing secret documents to a Russian military official in return for money. The incident was the latest in a series of spying accusations in recent months against Russians in European countries.
reuters.com

Erdogan calls on Biden to reverse calling mass killings of Armenians a genocide: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on President Joe Biden to immediately reverse his declaration that 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire constituted genocide, a move he said was upsetting and diminished bilateral ties. In his first comments since Biden’s statement, Erdogan said „the wrong step“ would hinder ties and advised the United States to „look in the mirror,“ adding Turkey still sought to establish good neighborly ties with Armenia. Biden’s statement came at a time when Ankara and Washington have been struggling to repair ties, strained when Turkey purchased Russian defense systems resulting in US sanctions; policy differences in Syria; and legal matters.
nbcnews.com

17 migrants found dead off Canary Islands: Spain’s coast guard has found 17 dead migrants on a boat off the Canary Islands, the country’s local emergency services announced on Monday. Three survivors, two men and one woman, were transferred by military helicopter to a hospital on Tenerife. The boat was first spotted by an Air Force plane, about 265 nautical miles from El Hierro. A spokeswoman from Spain’s maritime rescue service said that all migrants on the boat were sub-Saharan Africans. It wasn’t immediately clear where the migrants had come from.
dw.com

Right-wing extremism: The Gray Wolves are talking about a Turkish master race and want to gain a foothold in German politics nzz.ch
Ethiopia: US fears famine in Tigray dw.de
Covid-19: India falls back on army in pandemic dw.de
EU Parliament: Harsh words in trade deal negotiations with the UK faz.net
Israel: Rockets from Gaza, street battles in Jerusalem welt.de

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

35 years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, people across the Ukraine have commemorated the victims of the disaster.
france24.com

BACKGROUND

Silk Road in the Middle East – China is expanding its cooperation with Iran and Israel: US President Joe Biden’s announcement that American troops would be withdrawn from the Middle East confirmed that the United States has been turning away from the region – a strategy that has been in the making for quite some time. A few weeks before Biden’s announcement, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed an agreement with Iran on economic, political and security cooperation. This marks the first strategic partnership between China and a longstanding adversary of the US. China is simultaneously deepening ties with America’s closest allies in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and even Israel. In contrast to America’s more military motivations, China’s interests seem to be primarily economic. In addition to more and more investments in Israel’s high-tech industry, China will now also take over the management of the new port in Haifa.
tagesspiegel.de

100 days Biden presidency: Before being elected president, Joe Biden promised he could accomplish a lot of things in his first 100 days in office. As we approach the 100-day mark of his presidency, Biden has made a lot of progress on Covid-19, and Americans largely approve of the job he’s doing handling the coronavirus pandemic and the economy. It’s a different story, however, when it comes to immigration, which polls show is the president’s biggest vulnerability at this point. Biden has also made efforts on racial justice, the environment and switching back to a more multilateral approach to foreign policy. But so far he has not been able to get everything done that he set out to do.
npr.org

Largest opposition party wants to „repair“ Poland’s foreign policy: Poland’s largest opposition party, the Civic Platform (PO), presented its foreign policy program “Safe Poland” at a conference in Warsaw over the weekend. According to party leader Borys Budka, Poland had not been so isolated internationally since the end of the 18th century. He announced that his party would end the conflict with the EU and rebuild relationships with partners. Former Foreign Minister and current MEP Radoslaw Sikorski emphasized that Poland is already the twentieth largest economy in the world and that membership of the G20 is therefore appropriate. Other PO program items include joining the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) and restoring the importance of the so-called Weimar Triangle, consisting of Germany, France and Poland. So far only 22 of the EU countries belong to the EPPO; in addition to Poland, Hungary, Sweden and other nations have also decided not to join. The party also wants to encourage more cooperation between the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries and to return to partnership relations with the US.
euractiv.de

QUOTE

„I cannot find any justification for the way I was treated in the European Treaties. So, I have to conclude, it happened because I am a woman.“
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has vowed to defend women’s rights after admitting to feeling „hurt“ by a chair snub during a summit with male leaders in Turkey.
bbc.com

SECURE?

Germany military has to rent helicopters: Germany’s Bundeswehr has too few helicopters to train its pilots. This is nothing new: The army has had to borrow helicopters from German automobile club ADAC before. And now it’s happening again: The ADAC is leasing several helicopters that it is now renting out to the Bundeswehr.
welt.de

Newsletter subscription
Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter with a compact overview of security policy:
Previous editions

Other political briefings

Our digital news briefings