Today's D Brief: Russia strikes Ukrainian mall; Moscow's missile escalation; US, Turkish strikes in Syria; Last Black Hawk order?; And a bit more.

Russian missile strikes hit a Ukrainian shopping mall at about 4 p.m., killing at least 18 people in the centrally-located city of Kremenchuk on Monday. “I didn't think they would hit a mall; it's a safe place,” one resident told the BBC. Watch video of the strike—and the varied responses from nearby civilians and their children—via several different surveillance cameras positioned around a nearby park and posted to social media on Monday evening, here

G7 leaders called the strike an apparent “war crime,” and promised “Russian President Putin and those responsible will be held to account,” they said in a statement on day two of their three-day summit in southern Germany. Russia’s defense ministry denied that its missiles hit the mall, saying instead on Tuesday that the explosions there resulted from “detonation of stored ammunition for Western weapons.” Ukraine's police countered by displaying "fragments of Russian X-22 cruise missiles found inside [the] shopping centre," The Guardian's Lorenzo Tondo reports.

Trendspotting: Russia seems to be burning through cruise missiles over the past several days, according to Ukraine’s top military officer, Lieutenant General Valerii Zaluzhnyi. “Four days ago, the enemy fired 53 cruise missiles from various platforms,” he said Tuesday morning on Facebook. “Three days ago, 26 missiles; two days ago, almost 40; and 12 in the last 24 hours.”

“We're not quite sure about the Russian objectives of the strikes,” a senior U.S. defense official told reporters Monday. “But it was more strikes over the last week than we had seen in recent weeks…It could be related to the G7. Certainly could be related to the Ukrainian movement of [long-range artillery systems known as] HIMARS in the theater, or it could be a larger portion of their long-term battle strategy here. I'm just not sure.”

Analysts say: “As Russian forces continue to burn through their supply of high-precision weaponry, such attacks [like the mall strike] that cause substantial collateral civilian damage will likely escalate,” according to the latest public assessment from the Institute for the Study of War. 

Battlefield latest: “The most intense hostilities are conducted in the north of Luhansk and Kharkiv regions,” Zaluzhnyi said. “In this area, in the last 24 hours alone, the enemy carried out 270 artillery raids, using 45,000 rounds of ammunition, two missile [attacks], and 32 air strikes. The situation is very difficult but controlled,” he added, and asked for more weapons and ammunition from friendly nations. “I hope that, together with our partners, we will be able to overcome the aggressor and prevent the spread of this armed conflict to other countries,” he said Tuesday. 

Zaluzhnyi also spoke with America’s top military officer, Joint Chiefs Chairman Army Gen. Mark Milley, as well as his British counterpart, Admiral Sir Antony David Radakin, on Monday evening. “I informed my American and British colleagues about the operational situation,” he said. “We have no right to hand over this war to our children. The enemy must be destroyed here and now, otherwise, it will not stop.”

Coverage continues below…


From Defense One

Proposed Tech-Industry Legislation Would Hurt National Security // James R. Clapper: Provisions could force tech companies to break apart integrated security tools currently embedded in device and platform operating systems to screen for spyware and malware.

The US Army Just Placed What Might Be Its Last Order for Black Hawk Helicopters // Marcus Weisgerber: The deal with Sikorsky comes just months before the military is expected to choose a company to build a replacement.

Pentagon Sourcing Air Defense Options For Ukraine  // Tara Copp: Biden told Zelenskyy the systems—badly needed to defend against cruise missiles—will be part of a future security package.

Quantum Sensors—Unlike Quantum Computers—Are Already Here // Chris Jay Hoofnagle and Simson Garfinkel: And they’re improving at a rate that demands urgent attention.

Welcome to this Tuesday 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


Ukrainian forces seem to have attacked a Russian ammo depot about 10 miles west of Luhansk on Monday, according to video and imagery analysis shared on social media (here, e.g.). Maybe that was the result of a HIMARS strike; but it’s unclear just yet.
ICYMI: Russia’s military chief finally visited Ukraine for the first time since the invasion began. The Wall Street Journal’s Yaroslav Trofimov noted Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s battlefield appearance over the weekend on Twitter, sharing video of the visit from Russian state media.
Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin is flying to Spain today ahead of an alliance-wide NATO summit in Madrid, which begins Wednesday. Austin called up his Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian counterparts on Monday, the Pentagon announced in a short readout afterward.
Austin’s boss, President Joe Biden, is participating in the last day of the G7 leaders’ summit in Germany today. Later in the afternoon, he’ll fly to Madrid to join Austin for that NATO summit. The Associated Press has a preview interview with Spain’s prime minister, here.
What’s the outlook for Sweden and Finland’s bids to join NATO? Leaders of the two countries are set to meet their Turkish counterpart—since Turkey objects to expanding the alliance unless five conditions are met—during a meeting hosted by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Madrid this week. Turkish President Erdogan tossed a bit of cold water on that one with remarks Tuesday when he told reporters, “We do not want dry words, we want results. We are sick of passing the ball around in the mid-field. As of now, they are producing words.” Reuters has more context, here.
Get to better know 15 of Putin’s top propagandists via a who’s-who published Tuesday by Poland’s intelligence services. “Particularly active in this area are the hosts of political shows, broadcast with great frequency, who act on behalf of the Kremlin,” officials in Warsaw said. There are 10 men and five women on the list, including Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT television. More here
Additional reading: 

The U.S. military says it killed an alleged al-Qaeda-linked leader in Syria on Monday. The man, Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, was the senior leader of “an al-Qaeda-aligned terrorist organization” called Hurras al-Din, according to U.S. Central Command. He was traveling alone at the time of the strike and there were no civilian casualties, CENTCOM said.
For what it’s worth: “Abu Hamza has been reported killed several times, most recently in Sept 2020 in a U.S. strike outside Binnish,” Middle East analyst Charles Lister tweeted Monday. “In the months since, it's emerged he faked his death—a practice used extensively and repeatedly by leading al-Qaeda figures in northwest Syria.” Lister has more to say about all this, here.
Also: Turkey’s president reportedly said again that he’ll launch a new military operation inside Syria soon, which is pretty much what President Recep Erdogan said on May 23 while protesting Finland and Sweden’s NATO applications.
Related reading: 

And lastly: U.S. Army Secretary Christine Wormuth is speaking this morning at a Land Warfare Conference hosted by the Royal United Services Institute in London. That’s slated for 11 a.m. ET. Details here.
Back in the United States, the Center for Strategic and International Studies is hosting an in-person and virtual event on national security and artificial intelligence that includes a panel discussion with the Pentagon’s deputy chief digital and AI officer, Margaret Palmieri, as well as the military’s AI assurance chief, Jane Pinelis. That begins at 4 p.m. Details and registration here

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.