Just a day ahead of the second year mark of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden has announced a fresh package of more than 500 sanctions against Russia for its war on Ukraine and for the death of Kremlin opponent Aleksei Navalny, while urging the House of Representatives to pass a desperately needed aid package for Kyiv. Meanwhile, the European Union announced a fresh package of sanctions against Russia on February 23, on the eve of the second anniversary of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine - RFE/RL

There has been no official reaction from Moscow to the claims that Ukraine has shot down a Russian A-50 spy plane. Yesterday Russian media said that “an unidentified aircraft has crashed in the Krasnodar region” but didn’t specify the type of the plane and causes of the crash. Ukrainian military intelligence agency GUR has provided an audio of what they claim is the conversation of a Su-35 crew that was accompanying the A-50 in order to shield it from attacks. In the alleged intercepted call, the pilot says that he was watching the work of the air defence while “Bayan (the code name of the A-50 plane) was away [from me] and then explosions [occurred]. After that I had to manoeuvre…” The BBC cannot verify the authenticity of the audio. Russian military bloggers, however, claim that the plane crashed because of “friendly fire”, that Russian air defence systems shot down that plane by mistake. Interestingly, they made the same claim last month when Russia lost another A-50 plane along with an airborne command centre Il-22. The loss of an A-50 plane is a massive blow for Russian forces. Its purpose is to detect airborne targets at long distances and coordinate aerial attacks and air defence operations - BBC

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White House Gives Cautious Nod to Ukraine, Israel Bills
Other Topics of Interest

White House Gives Cautious Nod to Ukraine, Israel Bills

Johnson said Monday that his Republican-controlled chamber would vote this week on the bills after after stalling for months over pressure from his party's right wing.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has laid out his vision for a post-war Gaza. Under his plan Israel would control security indefinitely, and Palestinians with no links to groups hostile to Israel would run the territory. The US, Israel's major ally, wants the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) to govern Gaza after the war. But the short document - which Mr Netanyahu presented to ministers last night - makes no mention of the PA. He has previously ruled out a post-war role for the internationally backed body.  He envisages a "demilitarised" Gaza; Israel would be responsible for removing all military capability beyond that necessary for public order - BBC

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Spanish officials say at least ten people are dead, media reports say 14 injured after fire engulfed a high-rise apartment complex. Firefighters were seen rescuing people from balconies, using cranes to reach those trapped on high floors. Although the building is still very hot, firefighters have been able to enter the lower floors and begin searching for the missing people. The city's mayor says there are between nine and 15 people who have not yet been located - BBC

Four foreign nationals have been charged with transporting suspected Iranian-made weapons on a vessel intercepted by U.S. naval forces in the Arabian Sea last month. Two Navy SEALs died during the mission. The criminal complaint unsealed in U.S. District Court in Richmond alleges that the four defendants — who were all carrying Pakistani identification cards — were transporting suspected Iranian-made missile components for the type of weapons used by Houthi rebel forces in recent attacks. “The flow of missiles and other advanced weaponry from Iran to Houthi rebel forces in Yemen threatens the people and interests of America and our partners in the region," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a news release - AP

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A McKinsey-led think-tank advised China to deepen co-operation between business and the military and push foreign companies out of sensitive industries as part of a project for the central government in 2015, reports the Financial Times. The news surfaces amid a wave of critical coverage of global consultancy firms advising bad actors.

This review is reprinted with the author’s permission from his World Briefing blog.

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