Welcome to today’s Morning Brief.
Welcome to today’s Morning Brief.
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On a personal note: It has been a privilege and a pleasure to fill in as your Morning Brief writer these past few months. Thank you for reading.
And now, for the last time in its current form: Today, we’re looking at a reported meeting between a Russian security official and India’s prime minister, the arrest of a U.S. journalist in Russia, and Jair Bolsonaro’s return to Brazil.
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Top Russian Security Official Reportedly Meets with Modi
Nikolai Patrushev, Russia’s senior most national security advisor, met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a discussion of “matters of bilateral cooperation,” according to Russia’s Security Council. He was in India for a Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting (India and China are Shanghai Cooperation Organization members).
Neither side shared details of the contents of the discussions.
Washington has courted New Delhi as a partner in democracy against autocracy, inviting it to U.S. President Joe Biden’s annual democracy summits, and more specifically against China. But India is also a longstanding partner of Russia, from which it gets the majority of its defense equipment. India has abstained from censuring—or supporting—Russia in most international fora, but it has also continued to import Russian energy, and indeed has increased those purchases. In December, it was reported that India was importing 33 times more Russian oil than a year prior.
What We’re Following Today
Former U.S. President Donald Trump indicted. The former president, and likely 2024 GOP presidential candidate, was indicted Thursday on charges relating to a 2016 hush-money payment made to a porn star. It’s the first time a former U.S. president has faced criminal charges. Trump is expected to be arraigned in New York on Tuesday.
U.S. journalist arrested in Russia. Russia-based Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, 31, was detained in Russia, which has accused him of espionage. The Journal vehemently denies the allegations. Gershkovich’s parents came to the United States from the Soviet Union. “In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the Kremlin’s continued attempts to intimidate, repress, and punish journalists and civil society voices,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that the White House does not believe it is safe for Americans to travel to Russia.
Bolsonaro back in Brazil. Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro arrived back in Brazil after three months in the state of Florida, during which time some of his supporters stormed government buildings. He was greeted by hundreds of supporters in Brasilia. He told one television network, “I’m not without a mandate, but I’m not retired.”
Keep an Eye On
EU chief says Europe must reassess relations with China ahead of visit. Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has said that China’s transition from an era of reform to one of control means that Europe must “de-risk.” The EU’s relationship with Beijing, she said, has become more “difficult and distant.” While delivering a speech in Brussels, von der Leyen said that “How China continues to interact with Putin’s war will be a determining factor for EU-China relations going forward.” Von der Leyen and French President Emmanuel Macron are traveling to China next week.
China warns the United States of “serious confrontation.” In other China news, Tsai Ing-wen, president of Taiwan, landed in New York. The United States had previously try to stress that this visit, a stopover on the way to Central America, was in line with precedents set by other, earlier visits of Taiwan, and so should not be taken as provocation or cause for response from China. However, on her return trip, Tsai may meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which China has said could lead to a “serious confrontation.”
•DoD’s Making a List—and Checking It Twice by Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer
•Israel Is Somewhere It’s Never Been Before by Aaron David Miller and Daniel C. Kurtzer
•How to Benchmark Victory in Ukraine by Liana Fix
Surf’s up and up and up. Japan’s Seiichi Sano turns 90 this month. Sano is, according to the Guiness Book of World Records, the world’s oldest male surfer. Sano told reporters, “I think it would be interesting to try to surf until I’m 100. I think I take better care of myself when I have goals like this. Even now, I take better care of myself than I did before.”
That’s it for today.