‘The time has come,’ NATO chief latest to call for end to restrictions on Ukrainian use of US weapons

STOLTENBERG: ‘THE TIME HAS COME’: As NATO foreign ministers prepare to gather for an informal meeting later this week in Prague, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is calling on the Biden administration to lift restrictions it has imposed on the use of long-range missiles supplied by the United States.

“The time has come for allies to consider whether they should lift some of the restrictions they have put on the use of weapons they have donated to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with the Economist last week. “Especially now when a lot of the fighting is going on in Kharkiv, close to the border, to deny Ukraine the possibility of using these weapons against legitimate military targets on Russian territory makes it very hard for them to defend themselves.”

Stoltenberg’s comments came days before NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria, issued a declaration yesterday urging member nations “to support Ukraine in its international right to defend itself by lifting some restrictions on the use weapons provided by NATO allies to strike legitimate targets in Russia.” 

“Ukraine can only defend itself if it can attack Russia’s supply lines and Russian bases of operation. It is time to recognize this reality and let Ukraine do what it must,” Parliamentary Assembly President Michal Szczerba said. “NATO will be significantly weakened, losing credibility, if we continue assisting with half-measures.” 

POLAND ACCUSES RUSSIA OF ‘KINETIC ACTION’ INSIDE NATO

SWEDEN GIVES GREEN LIGHT: Sweden, NATO’s newest member, has told Ukraine it is free to use Swedish weapons to conduct attacks against targets on Russian territory.

In an interview with the Swedish newspaper Hallandsposten on Sunday, Defense Minister Pal Jonson said Ukraine has an inherent right to self-defense “military actions aimed at the territory of the adversary if they comply with the laws of war.”

Last week, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced a three-year $7 billion military aid package for Ukraine as part of a bilateral security cooperation agreement.

Earlier this month, on a visit to Kyiv, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said as far as the United Kingdom is concerned, it’s up to Ukraine to decide how to use British weapons and insisted it has the right to strike targets on Russian territory.

“Just as Russia is striking inside Ukraine, you can quite understand why Ukraine feels the need to make sure it’s defending itself,” Cameron said, according to the BBC.

CHINA DENIES SUPPLYING WEAPONS TO RUSSIA: Last week, British Defense Minister Grant Shapps said the U.S. has intelligence that China is, or will soon be, providing weapons to Russia to aid its war effort in Ukraine. 

“Lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia and into Ukraine,” Shapps told a conference in London on May 21.

The accusation came the same day Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a Senate committee that the U.S. had not seen evidence of that kind of direct military support. 

“We have not seen China provide actual weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine,” Blinken testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “North Korea’s doing that. Iran is doing that. China is not. What we are seeing is China provide overwhelming support to Russia’s defense industrial base.”

“We condemn the U.K. politician’s groundless and irresponsible vilification of China. We noted the fact those remarks from the U.K. side were not even seconded by its close ally,” said Wang Wenbin, Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman. “Vilifying China will not get the U.K. out of its difficult spot on Ukraine, still less solve the U.K.’s thorny domestic issues. Instead of falsely accusing China, why not take a hard look at what role the U.K. itself has played on the Ukraine issue?”

“As China and the international community work hard to cool down the situation, the U.K. side once again made irresponsible remarks, which is quite alarming,” Wang said.  

NATO ALLIES PLAN ‘DRONE WALL’ AS RUSSIA TESTS BALTIC BORDERS

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HAPPENING TODAY: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, back on the job after a brief hospitalization Friday night, will welcome Angolan Defense Minister Joao Ernesto dos Santos to the Pentagon at 11 a.m.

Austin underwent “a successful, elective, and minimally invasive follow-up non-surgical procedure related to his bladder issue at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, which lasted approximately 2.5 hours,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a statement issued Friday night.

Austin, who came under criticism for failing to inform anyone when he initially was hospitalized for prostate surgery, turned over his authorities to Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks for the brief procedure, but his official schedule was unaffected. 

At a Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery, Austin introduced President Joe Biden and recalled the heroism of Army Staff Sgt. Stevon Booker, tank commander in the 3rd Infantry Division and the first American killed in the 2003 Iraq war.

“During the race towards Baghdad, Sgt. Booker’s unit came under fire. He rushed to protect his teammates and his platoon’s flank. In the heat of the fight, he even fired back with his own personal weapon, lying exposed on top of his tank turret for mile after mile,” Austin said. “It’s only fitting that the Army has named its newest armored combat vehicle the M10 Booker. That name honors both Staff Sgt. Booker and Pvt. Robert Booker of Nebraska, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his stunning battlefield heroism in Tunisia in 1943 during World War II.”

N. KOREA SPY SATELLITE FIZZLES: North Korea’s attempt to put its second spy satellite in orbit failed dramatically yesterday when the rocket carrying the satellite exploded in a fiery blast in the night sky.

“The launch failed due to the air blast of the new-type satellite carrier rocket during the first-stage flight,” the state-controlled Korean Central News Agency quoted the vice general director of North Korea’s National Aerospace Technology Administration as saying. 

The rocket was carrying the “reconnaissance satellite Malligyong-1-1 aboard the new-type satellite carrier rocket,” KCNA reported. “A preliminary conclusion that the cause of the accident is attributable to the reliability of operation of the newly developed liquid oxygen plus petroleum engine.”

The U.S. Indo-Pacific Command called the launch a “brazen violation” of U.N. Security Council resolutions that “raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation in the region.” The U.N. resolutions restrict North Korea from conducting any satellite launches, which are tantamount to testing long-range missiles that are used for military purposes. “This launch involved technologies that are directly related to the DPRK intercontinental ballistic missile program,” the command said in a statement.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry called a satellite launch by the North “a provocation that seriously threatens our and regional security.”

NORTH KOREA LAUNCH OF SECOND SPY SATELLITE FAILS WITH EXPLOSION AFTER LIFTOFF

THE RUNDOWN: 

Washington Examiner: Israeli airstrike kills dozens in Rafah tent camp, authorities say

Washington Examiner: Netanyahu calls Rafah strike that killed dozens a ‘tragic mistake’

Washington Examiner: IDF recovers bodies of three hostages killed on Oct. 7 from Gaza

Washington Examiner: Poland accuses Russia of ‘kinetic action’ inside NATO

Washington Examiner: NATO allies plan ‘drone wall’ as Russia tests Baltic borders

Washington Examiner: North Korea launch of second spy satellite fails with explosion after liftoff

Washington Examiner: Bipartisan US delegation promises Taiwan-ordered weapons ‘forthcoming’

Washington Examiner: Biden commemorates Memorial Day at Arlington by remembering son’s death

Washington Examiner: Trump promised donors he’d deport pro-Palestinian protesters: Report

Washington Examiner: Trump ‘seriously considering’ pardoning Julian Assange

Washington Examiner: ‘Human scum’: Trump blasts legal troubles in Memorial Day post

Washington Examiner: Memorial Day: World War II veterans descend on DC as their numbers dwindle

Washington Examiner: Fleet Week continues at Disneyland, as military veterans are honored

Washington Examiner: Veterans in Congress honor fallen heroes on Memorial Day and reflect on service

Washington Examiner: Austin has elective medical procedure, signs over powers to deputy

Washington Examiner: Opinion: Israel event protests show best of America and Israel

Washington Examiner: Opinion: The ICC’s arrest warrant for Netanyahu is a stunning failure of international law

The Economist: NATO’s boss wants to free Ukraine to strike hard inside Russia

Washington Post: Russian Jamming Leaves Some High-Tech US Weapons Ineffective in Ukraine

AP: Russian POWs get to make phone calls home. Ukrainians don’t. A growing movement wants that to change

AP: Relations between EU and Israel plummet as Spain, Ireland prepare to recognize a Palestinian state

Wall Street Journal: America Is Getting Ready for Space Warfare

SpaceNews: China’s Secretive Spaceplane Releases Object into Orbit

Defense One: Space Force Inches Closer to Classified Remote Work

AP: Iran further increases its stockpile of uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels, watchdog says

AP: Russia to build a small nuclear power plant in Uzbekistan

Air & Space Forces Magazine: AFSOC Put 15 CV-22 Ospreys in Storage to Increase Mission Readiness for Rest of Fleet

Air & Space Forces Magazine: B-1 Bombers Deploy to the Pacific as China Drills Around Taiwan

The Hill: Austin Resumes Pentagon Duties After Minimally Invasive Procedure

DefenseScoop: Gen. Mattis on Foreign Influence Operations: The US Has Never Been ‘More Vulnerable’

Aviation Week: X-Bow Steps Up Hypersonic, Tactical, Launcher Rocket Developments

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Experts: Digital Engineering Can Help Field New Weapons Faster Than Acquisition Reform

C4ISRNET: DIU Sees New Portfolio Deepening Ties Between Labs, Commercial Firms

Air & Space Forces Magazine: Air Force Bumps Up Maximum Payout, Number of Career Fields Eligible for Reenlistment Bonus

Air & Space Forces Magazine: 

Military Times: US Military Funeral Traditions Honor the Fallen on Land, Air, and Sea

THE CALENDAR: 

TUESDAY | MAY 28

10 a.m. — Atlantic Council discussion: “Homeland defense: Evolving capabilities for a new era,” with acting Deputy Defense Undersecretary for Policy Melissa Dalton and Courtney Kube, NBC News correspondent https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/event/homeland-defense

10:30 a.m. 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW — Brookings Institution discussion: “Sanctions on Russia: What’s Working? What’s Not?” with Daleep Singh, deputy national security adviser for international economics; Agathe Demarais, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations; Yuriy Gorodnichenko, professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Department of Economics; Fiona Hill, senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe; David Wessel, director of the Brookings Institution Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy and senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution; Suzanne Maloney, vice president and director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution; and Arshad Mohammed, diplomatic correspondent at Reuters https://www.brookings.edu/events/sanctions-on-russia-whats-working-whats-not/

2:30 p.m. — National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations virtual discussion: “The American Response to the Crisis in Gaza,” with Andrew Miller, deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli-Palestinian affairs https://ncusar.org/

4 p.m. 1616 Rhode Island Ave, NW — Center for Strategic and International Studies ​virtual and in-person book discussion: New Cold Wars: China’s Rise, Russia’s Invasion, and America’s Struggle to Defend the West, with author David Sanger, White House and national security correspondent for the New York Times, and Seth Jones, CSIS senior vice president https://www.csis.org/events/chinas-rise-russias-invasion

WEDNESDAY | MAY 29

12:30 p.m. — American Enterprise Institute virtual discussion: “Lessons for an Unserious Superpower: The ‘Scoop’ Jackson Legacy and U.S. Foreign Policy,” with Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies and former deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser; Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society; and Nicholas Eberstadt, AEI chairman in political economy https://www.aei.org/events/lessons-for-an-unserious-superpower

2 p.m. 2359 Rayburn — Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe briefing: “Ukrainian Culture in Wartime,” with Peter Doroshenko, director, Ukrainian Museum of New York; Ieva Gudaityte, doctoral research fellow, University of Oslo; and Richard Kurin, scholar and ambassador at large, Smithsonian Institution https://www.csce.gov/briefings/ukrainian-culture-in-wartime/

THURSDAY | MAY 30

8 a.m. 2941 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church, Virginia — Potomac Officers Club forum: “Joint Coalition Operations in 2030,” focusing on technologies needed to operate effectively with coalition partners, with Defense Department Director of Intelligence Lt. Gen. Dimitri Henry https://potomacofficersclub.com/events

8:40 a.m. — Advanced Technology Academic Research Center 2024 Federal Quantum Summit discussion: “Quantum Use Cases: Bridging the Gap Between Science Fiction and Reality,” with Air Force Lt. Col. Ken Corigliano, deputy chief of future capabilities and innovation, and Garfield Jones, associate chief of strategic technology at the Homeland Security Department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency https://atarc.org/event/federal-quantum-summit/

9:30 a.m. — Center for Strategic and International Studies virtual discussion: “The Axis of Upheaval,” focusing on China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia, with Richard Fontaine, CEO of the Center for a New American Security https://www.csis.org/events/axis-upheaval

10 a.m. — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace virtual discussion: “Growing tensions between Israel and Hezbollah along the Israeli-Lebanese border, attacks by Iranian-backed Houthis against international shipping in the Red Sea, threatening global supply chains and freedom of navigation, and the danger of another direct clash between Israel and Iran,” with Amos Hochstein, White House senior adviser for energy and investment https://carnegieendowment.org/events

11 a.m. 1201 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — Hudson Institute discussion: “Leading in the Cyber Competition with China,” with Israel Soong, director for cyber policy, National Security Council https://www.hudson.org/events/leading-cyber-competition-china-conversation-israel-soong

11 a.m. — Wilson Center Mexico Institute virtual discussion: “The Future of U.S.-Mexico Security Cooperation,” with Mariana Campos Villasenor, director general of Mexico Evalua, and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne, diplomat in residence at American University’s School of International Service https://www.wilsoncenter.org/node/119261

1 p.m. — Washington Post Live virtual discussion of a new documentary film, “Freedom on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” with former Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky https://www.washingtonpost.com/washington-post-live

FRIDAY | MAY 31

10 a.m. 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW — Wilson Center Global Europe Program discussion: “How to Defeat an Autocracy? Lessons from Ukraine’s Defense Against Russia’s Invasion,” with former Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov and Mariana Budjeryn, senior research associate at Harvard University’s Project on Managing the Atom https://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/how-defeat-autocracy

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