Today's D Brief: NATO adds 260K troops to response force; Russian debt default; G7 vows $600B to challenge China; Iran's new rocket test; And a bit more.
NATO is boosting its Russia-focused response force nearly eight-fold, from 40,000 troops to “well over 300,000” soon, according to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who announced the changes Monday in Brussels. The 30-nation alliance is expected to formally adopt the change this week at its summit in Madrid, where leaders will also approve a new strategic document for the next decade, Defense One’s Jacqueline Feldscher reports.
“This constitutes the biggest overhaul of collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War,” Stoltenberg said Monday. “These troops will exercise together with home defense forces, and they will become familiar with local terrain facilities and our new prepositioned stocks, so that they can respond smoothly and swiftly to any emergency,” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed G7 leaders remotely on Monday, and asked for air-defense systems first, and economic aid second—including help exporting Ukraine’s available grain to world markets, according to the Associated Press. His message came a day after Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s capital city for the first time in weeks on Sunday. At least one person was killed when four of the missiles hit a nine-story building in Kyiv’s Shevchenkivskyi district, the New York Times reported Sunday. Another 50 or so Russian missiles struck other sites around Ukraine on Saturday. But Zelenskyy said he is in no mood to negotiate an end to the invasion just yet.
G7 leaders’ response: We will support Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” they said in a joint statement on Monday. That includes “financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support,” the leaders promised. (Reminder, the G7 includes the U.S., U.K., France, Canada, Italy, Japan, and Germany.) And that support could soon include U.S.-provided air defense systems and “counter-battery radar systems,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday. CNN reported Sunday that that will include Norwegian Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems.
On Tuesday, the group’s leaders will announce plans to ban the import of Russian gold, a White House official told reporters Sunday. The shiny rock is the country’s second-largest export after energy. Our colleague Jacqueline Feldscher has more, here.
New: G7 leaders say they’ll raise $600 billion for infrastructure funding to challenge Chinese investment around the world. The money is intended for low- and middle-income countries and it’s expected to span a five-year period. The U.S. is pledging $200 billion in grants and funding, and Europe is pledging about $317 billion, according to Reuters, reporting Monday from the latest G7 leaders’ meeting in southern Germany.
Update: The White House says Russia has defaulted on its debt for the first time since 1918. And now U.S. officials are expecting a double-digit decline in Moscow’s GDP as allied sanctions “continue to sap [Vladimir] Putin’s military-industrial complex of critical components, prevent the central bank’s foreign reserves from propping up an ailing economy and deprive Putin of the resources he needs to wage his war,” according to the White House.
Bigger picture: The default isn’t “expected to cause any immediate ripple effects in markets or Russia’s economy,” the Wall Street Journal reports. However, “Because Russia has the money and intent to pay, its default is expected to pose unique legal challenges.” Reuters has a bit of economic history of Russian defaults, here. (And we anticipated the development in a recent podcast with Paul Poast of the University of Chicago, here.)
Also new: U.S. Treasury officials will add new blocking sanctions targeting Russia’s defense supply chains beginning Tuesday. State-owned defense enterprises, defense research organizations, and “dozens of other defense-related entities and individuals” will be targeted with the goal of slowing “Russia’s ability to replace the military equipment it has already lost during its brutal war against Ukraine,” administration officials said Monday. Tiny bit more in a White House fact sheet, here.
- “How Ukrainian defenders left Sievierodonetsk in boats under cover of night,” via Reuters, reporting Monday from Sloviansk;
- And “European mayors duped into calls with fake Kyiv mayor,” via the Associated Press, reporting Saturday from Berlin.
From Defense One
NATO to Approve ‘Biggest Overhaul’ Of Defense Since Cold War, Leader Says // Jacqueline Feldscher: The alliance’s response force is to grow from 40,000 to 300,000 troops, Stoltenberg announced.
G7 To Ban Import of Russian Gold as Bombs Hit Kyiv Kindergarten // Jacqueline Feldscher: Groups like the G7 and EU have played a critical role in punishing Moscow for its invasion and cushioning the war’s global effects, experts said.
‘Matter of National Security’: Democratic Veterans, Advocates Call For Codifying Right To Abortion // Jacqueline Feldscher: “Now that women in uniform have lost their reproductive rights, our country's fighting force is hindered and our security is at risk,” said a former Army helicopter pilot running for Congress.
US Sending Patrol Boats to Help Ukraine Control Its Rivers // Tara Copp: Vessels plus Harpoons could also help defend Odesa port, defense official says.
Budding Spies Might Not Get Weeded Out for Past Drug Use // Courtney Bublé: Activists say this would be a practical step to help ensure all the best candidates are getting considered for intelligence jobs.
Boeing Wants More Money For New Air Force One, USAF Official Says // Marcus Weisgerber: The company is looking for loopholes in its $4 billion contract.
Defense Business Brief // Marcus Weisgerber: Defense Business Brief: College students solving Pentagon problems; Congress panel adds money to DOD budget; New European battle tank; and more.
Welcome to this Monday edition of The D Brief, brought to you by Ben Watson with Jennifer Hlad. If you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. And check out other Defense One newsletters here. On this day in 1905, Russian sailors mutinied aboard the battleship Potemkin during the Russo-Japanese war, where Russian losses just one month prior in the Battle of Tsushima had tanked morale and cost Moscow six battleships and the loss of 5,000 men. The mutiny lasted until the second week of July, when its sailors had exhausted their supplies and surrendered the ship to Romania in exchange for asylum in the port city of Constanța.
Iran test-launched a rocket that can carry a satellite, the country’s state media announced over the weekend. The spokesman for Iran’s defense ministry said the 25.5-meter-long rocket can carry a 485-pound satellite to collect data in low-earth orbit, the Associated Press reported Sunday. The White House called the decision to launch “unhelpful and destabilizing,” AP writes, noting that it comes as talks resume on the 2015 U.S.-Iran nuclear deal. Iranian media believe those talks will take place in Qatar, according to Reuters. More details, here.
- “U.S. Held Secret Meeting With Israeli, Arab Military Chiefs to Counter Iran Air Threat,” via the Wall Street Journal, reporting Saturday;
- “Cyber attack forces Iran steel company to halt production,” via AP, reporting Monday;
- And “Iran is worried about US-Israel-Saudi talks ahead of Biden’s trip,” via the Jerusalem Post reporting Monday as well.