The Guardian – Patrick Wintour / Olaf Scholz says world must ‘avoid Putin’s trap’ and claims of discord
- The German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has said the world is more unified in its support for Ukraine than Russia suggests, as the war dominated a G7 meeting also tasked with crises in food supply, the climate emergency and a breakdown in global order.
- “We must not walk into the trap Putin sets of asserting that the world is divided into the global west – the G7 and its friends in the north – and all the rest. That’s not true,” Scholz told Germany’s ZDF television.
- “There are democracies all over the world and they have very similar perspectives,” added Scholz, who is hosting this week’s summit of the smaller Group of Seven industrial powers.
- In an attempt to prevent the G7 from being seen as a rich man’s club obsessed only with a war in Europe, Scholz had invited five counterparts from South Africa, India, Argentina, Senegal and Indonesia to join the discussion on world hunger, development and the environment.
- Foreign Affairs – Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay / Last best hope
The Guardian – Pjotr Sauer / ‘The enemy is planning something’: Kharkiv fears new Russian attack
- In the thick pine forests on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Konstantin was watching over his troops as they inspected their weapons.
- Some were greasing shells from the 1970s, preparing them to be used for an even older 57 mm AZP S-60 anti-aircraft gun developed just after the second world war.
- Since the invasion, the west has spent billions in military support to help Ukraine fend off the Russian offensive, most recently shipping the advanced Himars rocket systems to Kyiv.
- But in the trenches near Ukraine’s second-biggest city, those arms deliveries felt a world away.
- Financial Times – Roman Olearchyk and Derek Brower / Russian missile strike on Ukrainian shopping mall draws outcry
Politico – Lili Bayer / NATO will increase high-readiness force to ‘well over’ 300,000 troops
- NATO will boost its high-readiness forces to more than 300,000 troops, the alliance’s chief announced on Monday, in part of plans that he described as “the biggest overhaul of our collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War.” The current NATO response force compromises approximately 40,000 troops.
- Speaking to reporters ahead of a summit of NATO leaders, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the transatlantic military alliance will strengthen its eastern defenses and adopt a new model for protecting them.
- “We will enhance our battlegroups in the eastern part of the Alliance up to brigade-levels,” Stoltenberg said, adding that allies “will transform the NATO Response Force and increase the number of our high-readiness forces to well over 300,000.”
- Eastern EU countries — and in particular the Baltic states — have been pushing NATO to boost troop numbers along its eastern borders to better defend every part of the alliance and deter Moscow.
- Financial Times – The Editorial Board / NATO must show it is serious about defending its eastern flank
Financial Times – Samer Al-Atrush and Felicia Schwartz / Biden’s about-turn on Saudi war in Yemen
- When Joe Biden ran for the US presidency, he accused Saudi Arabia of “murdering children” in Yemen, where its forces led a military intervention against Iranian-backed Houthi fighters. But in a striking about-turn, just weeks ahead of a trip to the kingdom, Biden praised Riyadh’s “courageous leadership” in the conflict.
- The president’s July visit comes as the US, agitated by high energy prices and inflation, tries to mend relations with Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest energy exporter. Biden will meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom he had boycotted over the murder by Saudi agents of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in which Prince Mohammed has denied involvement.
- Khashoggi’s killing and the war in Yemen severely tested relations between Biden and Prince Mohammed. Some of the president’s first decisions in office were to partly suspend weapons support for Saudi Arabia and reverse the designation of Houthis as a terrorist group. But, in a sign of how things have changed, Biden has praised the prince for his role in sealing a truce, which was first declared in April, and extended in June for another two months.
- “Yemen has been an enhancer for the relationship, certainly for the visit,” said Timothy Lenderking, US envoy to Yemen. “The fact that there is a truce in Yemen has facilitated the president’s trip. I think it would be much more difficult for him to be heading into Saudi Arabia if there were no ceasefire.”
- Foreign Affairs – Peter Salisbury and Alexander Weissenburger / The surprising success of the truce in Yemen
Today’s longer reads:
- Politico / Czech Republic braces for rocky EU presidency
- European Council on Foreign Relations – Susi Dennison / Green peace: How Europe’s climate policy can survive the war in Ukraine