25 May 2022

Russia's dreaded cyberwarriors seem to be struggling in Ukraine

Evan Dyer

One day after Russian tanks broke through Ukrainian border posts on February 24, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a rare "Shields Up" alert warning that "every organization — large and small — must be prepared to respond to disruptive cyber activity."

The expectation was that Russia would attack not only Ukraine but also Ukraine's western allies.

For some reason, that hasn't really happened in a big way.

"We haven't seen anything that we can directly attribute to Russia turning its sights to Canada," Sami Khoury, head of the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, told CBC News. "There's been probably spillover effects in some cases, but we haven't seen anything that is directly targeted at the Canadian infrastructure or Canadian ecosystem."

Guam Needs Better Missile Defenses—Urgently


The Defense Department has dithered as China builds ballistic, hypersonic, and cruise missiles to attack Guam, America’s most important military base in the western Pacific. The good news is that the Pentagon is finally requesting nearly $1 billion for the island’s missile defense in the 2023 budget. But seeing it through on time will require assertive congressional oversight and action.

It is easy to see why Guam is an appealing target to China. The island hosts the U.S. Navy’s only submarine base in the western Pacific, one of the few facilities where submarines can reload weapons in theater. Guam is home to an enormous air base that hosted bombers, fighters, and support aircraft in World War II and the Vietnam War and would likely play a similar role in any contingency with China, including in a conflict in the Taiwan Strait. Guam is also home to 170,000 U.S. citizens who expect to be defended in a conflict.

Pakistan Reaps What It Sowed

Husain Haqqani

For the last two decades, conventional wisdom in Pakistan held that an Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban would be a boon to Pakistan’s security. Islamabad has long supported the Taliban with the understanding that the militants could help deny India­—which many Pakistani officials see as an existential threat—any influence in Afghanistan. But since sweeping back to power last August, the Taliban have confirmed how misguided the conventional wisdom truly was. Pakistan has become less safe, not safer, after the Taliban’s victorious march into Kabul.

The success of the Taliban in Afghanistan has galvanized the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, a militant group also known as the Pakistani Taliban or the TTP. This group has launched more than 124 terrorist attacks since the Taliban returned to power in Pakistan (including suicide attacks) from bases in Afghanistan. The TTP’s activity has led to tensions between Islamabad and the Taliban in Kabul. Retaliatory air strikes by the Pakistan Air Force have provoked protests from the Taliban authorities. Taliban border security guards have challenged Pakistani efforts to fence the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. A senior Pakistani general, who until recently headed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had to visit Kabul for talks with the TTP, facilitated by the Afghan Taliban.

Has The Quad Passed Its Peak? – Analysis

Sourabh Gupta

The Quad’s anti-China maritime deterrence function was usurped by the AUKUS trilateral partnership in September 2021. New Delhi’s pro-Moscow tilt in the Ukraine conflict has soiled the grouping’s democracy versus autocracy framing. And the Quad’s geoeconomics and ‘China-minus’ supply chain functions are about to be cannibalised by the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework — due to be unveiled a day prior to the forthcoming Tokyo Quad summit.

Since 2017, the Quad has aspired to a more structured identity that retains its original purpose as an ad hoc coordinating mechanism, composed of democracies, built around a functional agenda of four-way mutual interest that confers significant public goods to the wider region. It also seeks to be defined as much by what it is — a ‘partnership of like-minded democracies’ that promotes an ‘Indo-Pacific free of coercion, intimidation and economic retaliation’ — as much as by what it is not — ‘a security alliance, an Asian NATO or a formal institution’.

(Jennifer’s note: The following is the English translation of a leaked secret audio file of the war mobilization meeting of the Standing Committee of the Provincial Communist Party Committee of China on May 14, 2022. The audio file was released by Lude Media. The Chinese version of the transcript is here. The photos of some of the participants, the links to their bios, and links to the website of some enterprises and labs mentioned in the audio file were found and added by me. The subheadings of the transcript were also added by me to make the reading easier.)

After receiving the national mobilization order and Normal Time to War Defense instructions, the provincial government determined that the Guangdong Provincial Committee immediately hold an expanded meeting of the Standing Committee.

Pakistan: Ahmadis Killed, Tortured, Hounded – Analysis

Sanchita Bhattacharya

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), condemning the killing, tweeted, “The brutal murder of an Ahmadi man in Okara, who was reportedly stabbed to death by a seminary student, serves to remind us just how precarious the lives of religious minorities have become. Until the rising tide of religiosity is stemmed and better protection mechanisms put in place, they will remain lesser citizens. This is unacceptable and the perpetrators must be brought to book.”

Earlier, on March 5, 2022, a man was killed and another wounded when unidentified assailants attacked the clinic of an Ahmadi doctor in the Scheme Chowk area of Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). A Police official disclosed that the doctor was not at the clinic when the attack took place.

As reported on February 7, 2022, the Punjab Police defaced as many as 45 Ahmadi graves in the Hafizabad District of Punjab, removing plaques and destroying gravestones at the cemetery.

Wang Yi: There Should Be a Big Question Mark on the U.S. Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

In response to a reporter's question about various parties' mixed reactions to the U.S. President announcing the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework during his visit to Asia, Wang Yi said, China, like regional countries, is glad to see initiatives conducive to strengthening regional cooperation, but opposes attempts to create division and confrontation. What category does the U.S. Indo-Pacific Economic Framework belong to? First of all, there should be a big question mark on the framework and we should see through the hidden plot behind it. It's China's view that the evaluation criteria should be "three shoulds" and "three shouldn'ts".

First, it "should" promote free trade, and "shouldn't" engage in disguised protectionism. Asia is a region broadly accepting globalization and free trade, and has made outstanding achievements in this regard. By acting on the rules of the World Trade Organization, all parties in the region have established the goal of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, launched the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and built an ASEAN-centered regional cooperation platform, thus effectively liberalizing and facilitating regional trade and investment. In contrast, the United States has engaged in protectionism and withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) advocated by itself, thus standing squarely against free trade. What the United States should do is to earnestly act on the rules of free trade, instead of starting things anew, impacting the current regional cooperation structure and turning back the wheel of regional integration.

Why We Must Resist Geoeconomic Fragmentation, And How – Analysis

Kristalina Georgieva, Gita Gopinath and Ceyla Pazarbasioglu

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has compounded the Covid-19 pandemic—a crisis upon a crisis—devastating lives, dragging down growth, and pushing up inflation. High food and energy prices are weighing heavily on households around the world. Tightening financial conditions are putting further pressure on highly indebted nations, companies, and families. And countries and companies are re-evaluating global supply chains amid persistent disruptions.

Add to this sharply increased volatility in financial markets and the continuing threat of climate change, and we face a potential confluence of calamities.

Yet our ability to respond is hampered by another consequence of the war in Ukraine—the sharply increased risk of geoeconomic fragmentation.

How did we get here? Over the past three decades, flows of capital, goods, services, and people have transformed our world, helped by the spread of new technologies and ideas. These forces of integration have boosted productivity and living standards, tripling the size of the global economy and lifting 1.3 billion people out of extreme poverty.

The Russia-Ukraine war at three months

Steven Pifer

Three months after Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine began, the Russians have failed to achieve their objectives. U.S. officials now expect a war of attrition, with neither side capable of a decisive military breakthrough. How the war will conclude remains unclear.


On February 24, Russian forces invaded Ukraine from the north, including from Belarus, from the south out of Crimea, and from the east. The multiple axes of attack suggested that the Russian military aimed to quickly capture the capital of Kyiv, depose the democratically-elected government, and occupy perhaps as much as the eastern two-thirds of Ukraine.

The Russians failed. Their forces reached the outskirts of Kyiv but retreated at the end of March. The Russian army’s thrust toward Odesa bogged down around Mykolaiv after three weeks. In May, Russian forces attacking Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city and located just 25 miles from the Russian border, were pushed back, having entered only the city’s outskirts.

Reliable COVID Data Is Still in Short Supply

Jeremy Youde

Reliable and accurate data are supposed to be the bedrock of the global health governance system. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is demonstrating just how difficult it is to collect such information, and why this failure has so many consequences for national and international responses to infectious disease outbreaks.

Let’s use North Korea as an example. How many cases of COVID-19 have there been in the so-called Hermit Kingdom? If you ask North Korean government officials, the answer prior to the middle of May 2022 was zero—despite reports in the South Korean press that nearly 200 North Korean soldiers had died of the disease as early as March 2020. Since Kim Jong Un confirmed the first cases of the disease in May 2022, though, the estimated number of cases varies wildly. North Korean state media have reported nearly 1.5 million cases of “fever,” with outside experts believing that a large portion of those are COVID-19. The Coronavirus Resource Center website puts the figure of COVID-19 cases significantly lower, with 56 officially reported cases and one death, while the World Health Organization, or WHO, reports no official cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Ukraine war, 3 months in: Russian mistakes, Ukrainian resistance — and no end in sight

Tom Nagorski

Grid convened a Twitter Spaces conversation to look at the state of the war at the three-month mark, with Grid Global Security Reporter Joshua Keating and Rita Konaev, senior fellow at the Center for New American Security and an expert on armed conflict and the Russian military in particular. They get at the “inner rot” of the Russian military, the battle for the east, what Russian occupation of newly captured territory may look like and more.

The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Grid: Rita, you have a piece just published in Foreign Affairs on this question: “Can Ukraine’s military keep winning?” And I’m also mindful of something you say within the piece: “Attempting to predict the trajectory of this war has proved an exercise in futility.” So with apologies, help us to understand where we are and the trajectory of the war at the moment.

Why India won’t join the U.S. in isolating Putin

Nikhil Kumar

The American account of what happened when President Joe Biden met India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of an international summit on Tuesday said that the U.S. leader “condemned Russia’s unjustifiable war against Ukraine.” There was no mention of India’s leader doing the same — a telling omission that reflects the difference between how conflict is viewed from Washington and how it is seen from New Delhi, and several other capitals beyond the West.

Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, the U.S. has led efforts to line up the world against the Kremlin. But beyond Europe, the results have been mixed; Russia maintains ties with several major powers, China and India in particular, and in this and other cases countries are calibrating the costs and benefits of joining the West’s condemnation of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Those calculations, apparent again as Biden met Modi in Tokyo, help explain why Putin is hardly the global pariah that the U.S. and its European allies might wish him to be.

Spies’ night eyes: Once-restricted tech is helping spot Russian troops, Chinese missile sites and raging wildfires

Sarah Scoles

Todd Master has been spending a lot of time lately looking at the weather forecasts in Ukraine. He doesn’t need to meteorologically or militarily prepare — he lives safely in Santa Barbara, California. Instead, he wants to know whether satellites might be able to take good pictures of the besieged country that day. Those images can reveal details about the ongoing war with Russia that might otherwise be inaccessible to people thousands of miles away.

Satellite images of the Russian invasion revealed the miles-long military convoy near Kyiv, a new base in Crimea, bodies on streets, a bombed-out theater. But the total number of public, high-resolution pictures is low given how long the war has been going on. “It’s not because they’re not sharing all of them,” said Master, chief operating officer at a satellite company called Umbra. “It’s because those are the only really great ones.”

The reason? “It’s pretty much cloudy every day,” he said.

A toxic mix of recession risks hangs over the world economy

Just a year ago the world’s economists were celebrating a rapid rebound from recession. Now they are worrying that the next downturn could be looming. In America the Federal Reserve is preparing to do battle with high inflation by raising interest rates sharply and shrinking its balance-sheet. In Europe expensive energy is sapping consumers of spending power and making factories costlier to run. And in China an outbreak of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus has led the authorities to impose the strictest lockdowns since the start of the pandemic.

It is a gloomy combination for global growth, and the outlook is darkening. Several economies could even suffer recessions, though at different times depending on the obstacles they face.

Russia claims it's using new laser weapons against Ukraine

J. Fingas

Russia is supposedly using its invasion of Ukraine to try new technology on the battlefield. As Reuters reports, the Russian government says it's using a new wave of laser weapons to counter the Western technology aiding Ukraine's self-defense. Deputy prime minister Yury Borisov claimed Russia was using prototypes for a drone-destroying laser weapon, Zadira, that can burn up drones. One test incinerated a drone 3.1 miles away within five seconds, according to the official.

A more established system, Peresvet, reportedly blinds satellites up to 932 miles above Earth. This was already "widely deployed," Borisov claimed. The deputy leader maintained that new lasers using wide electromagnetic bands could eventually replace traditional weapons.

China-India Border Crisis Has Quietly Resulted In Victory For Beijing


Two years have passed since the height of the most recent flare-up in the border crisis between China and India that started in May 2020. The event saw lethal melee combat over Aksai Chin, which the Chinese claim as a part of Xinjiang and India claims as a part of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. Both India and China reported casualties as a result of a June 2020 altercation in this region's Galwan Valley. The crisis itself ended through a number of limited withdrawals of frontline positions on both sides. But now, two years later, the overall strategic picture is one of remarkable Chinese military buildup and encroachment.

Being one of the largest disputed areas between India and China, Aksai Chin sits adjacent to the Kashmir region, another turbulent border for India due to its overlapping claim on the region with Pakistan. Sitting at 38,000 square kilometers, Aksai Chin is a cold, arid, and largely uninhabited desert just a little bigger than Maryland. The area has been long disputed between the two with China extending its first military grab over the region after the Sino-Indo war of 1962. Four decades passed with both countries regularly entering into minor scuffles in the region, but 2020 witnessed a complete change in tempo, pushing two nuclear-armed neighbors into a rapid escalation. Some reports have suggested that China’s aggression came as a result of a new road – the Darbuk–Shyok–Daulat Beg Oldi Road, or DSDBO – that India was building in the region. Another possible catalyst linked to the conflict was a move by India to change the status of Jammu & Kashmir, redrawing maps and borders which included the disputed area — a move China has regularly voiced opposition to.

New Milestone For Turkey’s ‘Next-Gen’ Akinci Drone – A Record Breaking Flight Over Three Countries To Azerbaijan

Tanmay Kadam

Turkey’s most advanced and sophisticated drone – Akinci Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), has conducted an unprecedented flight from northwestern Turkey to Azerbaijan, which is rumored to be among the first countries in line to receive the advanced combat drone.

Two Akıncı drones took off from northwestern Tekirdağ’s Çorlu district on May 21, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon hours, and traveled through Turkey and Georgia before they landed at Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku, said Baykar, the developer of the Akinci and the famous TB2 Bayraktar drone.

The two drones covered a distance of around 2,000 kilometers, thereby completing a five-hour flight traveling through three countries, a first in Turkish aviation history.

An Army Laser System Shot Down Mortar Bombs


A laser system designed to protect ground troops from drones and aircraft has been used to successfully shoot mortar bombs out of the sky. The U.S. Army’s DE M-SHORAD laser weapon system downed several mortar bombs in a series of tests, making it one of the few, if any weapons in the history of warfare, capable of protecting troops from indirect fire weapons. If the system proves useful against larger shells and rockets, it could stand modern warfare on its head.

The tests, according to Raytheon, took place at the U.S. Army’s White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The DE M-SHORAD system “acquired, tracked, targeted and defeated” multiple 60mm mortar rounds in mid-flight.

Indo-Pacific framework to begin with 13 nations, including India


TOKYO -- The U.S. government has announced that its new economic grouping for the Indo-Pacific will begin with 13 inaugural members, accounting for about 40% of the world's gross domestic product.

The 13 initial members of the group, the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), are the U.S., Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei, the Biden administration said Monday.

Taiwan was not included, nor were Myanmar or the China-friendly members of ASEAN, Cambodia and Laos.

Eleven of the 13 countries in the IPEF -- all but India and the U.S. -- are part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest trade bloc which accounts for 30% of the world's GDP. China also belongs to RCEP.

Pakistan: Islamabad Versus Rawalpindi – OpEd

Nilesh Kunwar

Things don’t seem to be going too well for Pakistan. While the country’s financial condition continues to worsen with each passing day, with former Prime Minister Imran Khan declaring ‘jihad’ [holy war] to save the country from the allegedly “imported” Shehbaz Sharif led government, the political situation has turned extremely volatile. While Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal is accusing Khan of “using tools of hybrid warfare against Pakistan,” Prime Minister Shebaz is sanguine that “Imran Niazi wants civil war.”

Declaring that “dropping an atomic bomb [on Pakistan] would have been better than handing over the helm to the thieves [the current government],” the former Prime Minister has even gone to the extent of openly blaming Pakistan army for the country’s burgeoning financial crisis by tweeting- “Both myself and Shaukat Tarin had warned the ‘neutrals’ [a reference to Pakistan army] that if [the] conspiracy [to oust him] succeeded, our fragile economic recovery would go into a tailspin.”

Leaders Of Azerbaijan, Armenia Meet In Brussels To Discuss Nagorno-Karabakh

(RFE/RL) — The leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia met in Brussels to discuss a peace plan for Nagorno-Karabakh, even as opponents in Yerevan accuse Prime Minister Nicol Pashinian of what they say are unacceptable concessions made during negotiations with Baku over the disputed region.

European Council President Charles Michel on May 22 held bilateral talks with both Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev before a trilateral meeting in which the Karabakh situation was discussed.

Azerbaijan said in a statement that Aliyev told Michel “that Azerbaijan had laid out five principles based on international law for the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and for the signing of a peace agreement.”

China should move reserves out of US Treasuries


China has built a foreign exchange-earning economy and accumulated US$3.3 trillion in reserves over the past few decades, but such policies are outdated and need to be adjusted.

After the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the United States has frozen US$300 billion in Russian banks. The incident shows that it is completely possible for the US to seize China’s overseas assets, particularly forex reserves, if it deems it necessary.

US inflation and foreign debt accumulation will lead to dollar depreciation. China should buy less US Treasury bonds, buy more commodities and strategic materials, and shift away from exports to domestic consumption. It also should try to fulfill the Sino-US trade agreement as much as possible. It should spend its forex reserves. All these will help promote renminbi internationalization and improve the security of China’s overseas assets. (Translator’s summary)

Biden says US would respond 'militarily' if China attacked Taiwan, but White House insists there's no policy change

Kevin Liptak, Donald Judd and Nectar Gan

Tokyo (CNN)President Joe Biden said Monday that the United States would intervene militarily if China attempts to take Taiwan by force, a warning that appeared to deviate from the deliberate ambiguity traditionally held by Washington.

The White House quickly downplayed the comments, saying they don't reflect a change in US policy. It's the third time in recent months -- including during a CNN town hall in October -- that Biden has said the US would protect Taiwan from a Chinese attack, only to have the White House walk back those remarks.

During a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida in Tokyo, Biden was asked if the US would be willing to go further to help Taiwan in the event of an invasion than it did with Ukraine.

THE FINAL FRONTIER Outer Space Security & Governance

Gahyun Helen You

In 65 years since the first satellite was launched, mankind has evolved from having no presence in outer space to developing a dependence on space assets to power the global economy, support military operations, and further innovation.

In a rapidly digitizing world that is reliant on digital infrastructure, space systems are vital to governments, businesses, and our everyday lives. Space-based assets and data play critical roles in human and national security, touching everything from communication and intelligence to navigation, weather forecasting, monitoring climate change, and disaster mitigation.

Not “business as usual”: The Chinese military’s visit to Iran

Tuvia Gering, Jason M. Brodsky

Amid stalled nuclear talks with the P5+1, a senior Chinese military delegation, headed by Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe, landed in Iran for a visit in late April. The readouts from Tehran were rather dull, with the usual platitudes about the close relations between Beijing and Tehran. But there is more to this visit than meets the eye. While a new “axis” may not necessarily be forming, there are troubling trendlines, particularly concerning arms transfers; drone, dual-use, and missile technologies; and cyber and intelligence capabilities, that Western policymakers need to counter. In the end, these may undermine China’s own regional interests as well.

Deepening engagement

The Chinese delegates met with senior Iranian officials during their visit, including President Ebrahim Raisi, Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri, and Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani. Also pictured in these meetings were officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Ukraine’s Other Front Line

Amy Mackinnon

Russian forces failed to capture Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and are making but fitful progress in the east, but the economic carnage of the war and Moscow’s blockade of Ukraine’s ports could pose its own existential threat if the country’s partners and multilateral institutions are unable to make up the shortfall.

Ukrainian government officials estimate the country needs an additional $5 billion each month to cover essential services and pay soldiers’ salaries as tax revenues have nosedived since the beginning of the war in late February. The physical damage wrought by Moscow’s campaign is estimated to have already reached $94 billion, with reconstruction projected to be upward of half a trillion dollars.

The World Bank has projected that the Ukrainian economy is set to shrink by as much as 45 percent this year. In contrast, the Russian economy, which has been hit with unprecedented Western economic sanctions and a rapid withdrawal of nearly 1,000 Western companies, is set to contract by about 11 percent.

Russia Is a Real Threat to NATO

Kathleen J. McInnis and Daniel Fata

Recent events in Ukraine have once again proved that reports of NATO’s death are an exaggeration. Many leaders across the alliance have been quick to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with aid to Kyiv, increases in their own country’s defense budgets, or both. But as the war grinds on and the geopolitical reality of an adversarial relationship with Russia sets in, NATO must once again take the longer view on what all this means for trans-Atlantic and global security.

Conveniently, in less than two months, NATO leaders will meet in Madrid to endorse the alliance’s new strategy. The key question, therefore, is whether member states will use the moment to reforge NATO’s raison d’être to meet current and future challenges—in particular, by naming Russia as a threat to the alliance itself. Given the implications of Ukraine for European and global order, the stakes could hardly be higher.

The Echoes of America’s Hypocrisy Abroad

Howard W. French

When I landed at the international airport in Lomé, Togo, in late February 1986, the first thing I did, even before clearing immigration, was turn on the tiny Sony shortwave radio that I carried with me everywhere to catch the start of a BBC world news bulletin.

I was a freelance reporter in Africa at the time, but the story I was so eager to receive an update about was from another continent, then still completely unfamiliar to me: Asia. There, in the Philippines, unfolding dramatically throughout that month, a popular movement built around gigantic street protests had begun to crumble the once unassailable authority of the longtime dictator and U.S. client Ferdinand Marcos. While still on the tarmac, I learned that the opposition movement, which had adopted the slogan “People power,” had triumphed, and that Marcos had flown off into exile.

I have been haunted by this memory since the election two weeks ago of Marcos’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., as president of the Philippines after a populist electoral campaign that scarcely reckoned with his father’s dictatorial rule and the massive corruption that went with it. The Philippines’ drift back into personalized and increasingly authoritarian rule began under its outgoing ruler, President Rodrigo Duterte, who took office in 2016 and whose daughter Sara Duterte is the new vice president-elect. Events in the Philippines offer an ideal opportunity to think about the hard work of creating lasting democracy in the wake of long-standing authoritarian rule.

A Persistent Crisis in Central America

Violence and corruption in Central America, particularly in the Northern Triangle countries, is causing a wave of outward migration. The Trump administration’s restrictive measures and pressure on regional governments did nothing to address the root causes of the problem, which the Biden administration has now pledged to tackle. Meanwhile, efforts at reform across the region face opposition from entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo. Explore WPR’s extensive coverage of the Central America crisis.

For years, Central America has contended with the violence and corruption stemming from organized crime and the drug trade. More recently, the countries of the region also found themselves in former U.S. President Donald Trump’s line of fire, due to the many desperate Central Americans who make their way across Mexico to seek asylum at the United States’ southern border.

Putin complains about barrage of cyberattacks

Oleksandr Stashevskyi

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country has faced a barrage of cyberattacks from the West amid the invasion of Ukraine but has successfully fended them off.

Speaking Friday to members of Russia’s Security Council, Putin noted that “the challenges in this area have become even more pressing, serious and extensive.”

He charged that “an outright aggression has been unleashed against Russia, a war has been waged in the information space.”

Putin added that “the cyber-aggression against us, the same as the attack on Russia by sanctions in general, has failed.”

He ordered officials to “perfect and enhance the mechanisms of ensuring information security at critically important industrial facilities which have a direct bearing on our country’s defensive capability, and the stable development of the economic and social spheres.”