Protection & Nationwide Safety — US navy assist to Ukraine hits $20 billion

The Pentagon on Friday introduced one other $275 million in weapons and tools for Ukraine, pushing the quantity of navy assist dedicated to Kyiv beneath Biden to almost $20 billion — with most since Russia first attacked the nation.

We’ll share what’s within the newest bundle plus what the White Home is warning about deepening navy ties between Russia and Iran. 

That is Protection & Nationwide Safety, your nightly information to the newest developments on the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill and past. For The Hill, I’m Ellen Mitchell. A pal ahead this text to you? Sign up here or in the box below.

US sending another $275M in aid to Ukraine

The latest $275 million package for Ukraine will include more ammunition for high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS), 80,000 155 mm artillery rounds, counter-unmanned aerial systems equipment, counter air defenses, additional High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, ambulances and medical equipment, 150 generators and other field equipment, according to a Defense Department release.   

Restock: There are no major new weapons included in the latest U.S. lethal aid package, with the aid instead meant to restock systems already in Ukraine, including HIMARS, as well as bolster its air defenses.   

“This security assistance package will provide Ukraine with new capabilities to boost its air defenses in addition to providing critical equipment that Ukraine is using so effectively to defend itself on the battlefield,” the release stated.   

Adding up: The United States has now committed about $19.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the start of the war in February and about $20 billion since the beginning of the Biden administration.  

The latest aid tranche comes as Russia has been bombarding Ukrainian civilian infrastructure and energy grids as winter settles in, though on the ground fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops is expected to slow. 

Read the full story here 

White House warns of deepening Russia, Iran ties

The White House on Friday warned Russia and Iran are laying the groundwork for joint weapons production, citing U.S. intelligence surrounding Moscow and Tehran’s deepening military ties. 

The warning comes as Russia has sourced explosive drones from Iran for use in Ukraine, targeting the country’s energy and electricity infrastructure; striking residential buildings, parks and streets; and killing and injuring civilians. 

A new production line: National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Friday that Moscow and Tehran “are considering the establishment of a joint production line for lethal drones in Russia.” 

Unnamed Western officials have reportedly observed that Russia has depleted its drone stockpiles. 

Seeking resupply: A public British intelligence assessment said drone strikes had stopped being reported since round Nov. 17, including that Russia “has possible very almost exhausted its present inventory however will most likely search resupply.” 

Aspirations: Kirby, in a briefing with reporters, stated Russia has aspirations to work on a joint manufacturing line with Iran however that the U.S. doesn’t have perception into how Iranians are weighing a call to take part. 

  • “As we get extra data and extra constancy on all that that we are able to share with you, we are going to,” Kirby stated. 
  • One profit for Iran, Kirby added, is that Russia is ready to supply Iran “an unprecedented degree of navy and technical help,” which might embody Russia offering Iran with superior navy elements. 

A warning: Whereas the U.S. and outdoors specialists say they haven’t seen any indication Russia helps Iran with its nuclear program, Kirby warned that the deepening navy ties between Russia and Iran are resulting in “a full-fledged protection partnership.” 

“What I wish to convey to everyone is the forest in entrance of us, which is a deepening and a burgeoning protection partnership, almost full-fledged right here, between Russia and Iran,” he stated. 

Learn extra right here 

Jan. 6 panel contemplating legal referrals: experiences

The Home choose committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, riot is contemplating making legal referrals to the Division of Justice (DOJ) for former President Trump and a minimum of 4 different people, a number of retailers reported Thursday. 

CNN first reported that the Jan. 6 committee is weighing making suggestions to the DOJ that it launch legal investigations or file fees in opposition to Trump, former White Home chief of workers Mark Meadows, legal professional John Eastman, former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark and former Trump legal professional Rudy Giuliani. 

The committee has not determined whom to discuss with the division for prosecution and for what doable fees, a number of sources advised CNN. 

Bloomberg additionally reported that the committee is contemplating referrals for these 5 people, citing an individual accustomed to the matter. 

The experiences come after Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) advised reporters on Thursday that the committee will launch its listing of legal referrals and its closing report on the assault on Dec. 21. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the committee, advised reporters that the members had been nonetheless deciding who ought to be included within the listing. 

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), one other member, advised CNN that there’s “consensus” among the many members on the referrals. 

The referrals wouldn’t be binding, and the DOJ would make the final word resolution on whether or not to cost anybody. 

Learn extra right here. 

US blacklists Chinese language firm over human rights

The Biden administration on Friday introduced sanctions in opposition to a Chinese language firm listed on the NASDAQ inventory trade, saying Pingtan Marine Enterprises Ltd. engaged in “unlawful, unreported and unregulated” fishing that contributing to grave human rights abuses. 

Pingtan was one in all two corporations hit with U.S. sanctions, together with two enterprise officers.

  • The Treasury Division additionally named 157 fishing vessels that sail beneath the flag of the Folks’s Republic of China which might be related to the sanctioned corporations and people. 
  • “Treasury condemns the practices of these sanctioned right now, which frequently contain the abuse of human rights, undermine elementary labor and environmental requirements, and hurt the financial prospects of native populations within the Indo-Pacific,” Beneath Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Monetary Intelligence Brian E. Nelson stated in an announcement.

Treasury laid out a sequence of allegations, together with that one in all the sanctioned corporations was concerned in unlawful shark finning, taking almost 1,550 lbs. of fins, together with from endangered sharks.  

Pingtan particularly obtained a $19 million subsidy from the Chinese language authorities in 2021 to develop its deep water fishing business “to fulfill China’s demand for seafood,” Treasury stated.

Vessels with the corporate had been discovered to have illegally transshipped 6,600 shark carcasses, together with from endangered species, via the protected waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve, Treasury stated.

Treasury described the working circumstances for crew on the vessels as depressing, with excessive isolation and experiences of bodily violence and compelled labor. 

Treasury stated one ship, working beneath the Dalian Ocean Fishing Co. (DOF), the opposite firm sanctioned, noticed 5 crew members die, with three our bodies being dumped into the ocean “fairly than repatriated dwelling.”

  • “When the surviving crewmembers returned dwelling, they had been identified with malnutrition and obtained solely a fraction of their promised pay,” Treasury stated. “They’ve since described misleading recruiting practices, the confiscation of identification paperwork, punishing work, and bodily abuse.”
  • Treasury additionally sanctioned Xinrong Zhuo, whom it recognized because the founder and chairman of Pingtan Marine Enterprise Ltd., and Li Zhenyum, listed because the chairman and common supervisor of the DOF.

Learn extra right here.


That’s it for right now! Take a look at The Hill’s Protection and Nationwide Safety pages for the newest protection. See you Monday!