Morning Consult Global will be off Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The weekday newsletter will resume Tuesday.
Russia has demanded the United States and NATO respond in writing by next week to its demands for the alliance to halt any eastward expansion. (The Associated Press) With Moscow massing 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, many in Europe are now anxious that the continent stands on the brink of war, but ordinary Russians seem to be facing the prospects of bloodshed or economic sanctions with a degree of sangfroid. (The Guardian)
British intelligence officials have alleged that Christine Ching Kui Lee, a woman linked to the Chinese Communist Party, has been working to interfere in the United Kingdom by coordinating with Beijing’s United Front Work Department to finance parliamentarians and establish a network of friendly lawmakers. (CNN)
North Korea conducted another missile test, according to South Korean authorities. It was the second this week after a hypersonic missile reportedly traveled over ten times the speed of sound on Tuesday, and follows the Biden administration’s imposition of further sanctions on key figures within Pyongyang’s weapons development program. (The Wall Street Journal)
Australia’s immigration minister canceled Novak Djokovic’s visa once again and sought to deport the Serbian tennis star for allegedly lying about his COVID immunization status on immigration forms to play in the Australian Open. The saga has shaken Prime Minister Scott Morison’s government in the lead-up to elections, and Djokovic’s lawyers say they will appeal the decision. (Politico)
China will release crude oil from its national strategic stockpiles around the Lunar New Year holidays that start on Feb. 1 as part of a plan coordinated by the United States with other major consumers to reduce global prices, sources told Reuters.
Authorities in several major cities have unveiled plans to support the development of the metaverse. Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily warned people in November to stay rational amid “metaverse mania”.
The European Union on Thursday prolonged economic sanctions against Russia for six months for failing to live up to its commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine, amid concern that Moscow may be preparing to invade its former Soviet neighbor.
The U.S. is putting pressure on European allies to agree on potential sanctions against Russia, worried about slow progress despite weeks of talks and heightened concerns that President Vladimir Putin could soon invade Ukraine, said people familiar with discussions that have taken place this week.
As infection rates soar across Europe, France has relaxed its travel ban on arrivals from the UK — just in time for the peak ski season. France banned all but essential travel from the UK on December 20, when the Omicron variant was spiraling in the UK but had not yet taken hold on the continent.
Mexico’s immigration agency said Thursday that 105 of its agents have been reported to the internal affairs office for allegedly corrupt behavior. The National Immigration Institute did not describe the purported wrongdoing, but said it was combatting extortion, as when border agents demand bribes to allow people to enter the country.
The United Nations chief urged Mali’s military leaders on Thursday to accelerate the transition to democracy, expressing “great concern” at their recent announcement delaying next month’s elections until 2026.
The Senate blocked a measure to impose new sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany after the Biden administration warned it could disrupt allied unity in the confrontation over Ukraine.
This paper will explore Turkish-Russian and Turkish-Ukrainian relations; the reasons for Turkey’s efforts to “fence sit” and establish itself as a neutral political actor in the Black Sea; and what these efforts portend for US interests in the region. The Turkish-Russian relationship is marred by bureaucratic distrust, which is papered over by a very functional leader-to-leader dynamic that enables the two Black Sea neighbors to cooperate and manage numerous regional conflicts, while the Turkish-Ukrainian dynamic is part of a broader Turkish effort to establish itself as an independent actor, committed to pursuing a foreign policy that often clashes with much of the NATO alliance.