Japanese, Korean Fighters Scrambled in Response to Joint Russia-China Bomber Patrol

Four Russian Tu-95MS bombers and two Chinese H-6 bombers conducted a joint patrol over the Sea of Japan Wednesday, prompting fighter scrambles by Korea and Japan in response. The joint patrol was the most recent one since May this year, which occurred the same day U.S. President Joe Biden met his Australian, Indian and Japanese […]

A Russian Tupolev Tu-95 Bear off Japan in May. Japanese MoD Photo

Four Russian Tu-95MS bombers and two Chinese H-6 bombers conducted a joint patrol over the Sea of Japan Wednesday, prompting fighter scrambles by Korea and Japan in response.

The joint patrol was the most recent one since May this year, which occurred the same day U.S. President Joe Biden met his Australian, Indian and Japanese counterparts in Tokyo, though both the Russian and Chinese defense ministries stated the flights in May were part of their annual military cooperation plan and not intended to be provocative.

On Wednesday morning, two Chinese H-6 bombers were confirmed to have flown from the East China Sea through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan before heading north, according to the Japanese MoD. Around the same time, two Russian aircraft flew south before turning back and heading north. Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) fighter aircraft scrambled in response, according to a statement from the MoD.

Path of the Joint Russian, Chinese bomber patrol on Nov. 30, 2022. Japanese MoD image.

According to Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, the Republic of Korea’s (ROK) Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Wednesday a total of two Chinese H-6 bombers, four Russian Tu-95 bombers and two Russian Su-35 fighters entered the Korea Air Defence Identification Zone that day with the Chinese bombers entering twice on their own and once with the Russian aircraft. The JCS stated that Republic of Korea Air Force fighters scrambled in response, but the Russian and Chinese planes did not violate ROK airspace.

The JCS said that the two Chinese H-6 bombers entered the Korean ADIZ at 5:48 a.m. local time, in an area 78 miles north of Leo Islet, a submerged rock south of Jeju Island, and left at 6:13 a.m. Following this, the H-6s entered the ADIZ from an area northeast of the port city of Pohang at 6:44 a.m. before exiting at 7:07 a.m. The two Chinese bombers and the four Russian bombers and two Russian fighters then flew together into the ADIZ from an area 125 miles northeast of the ROK’s Ulleung Island at 12:18 p.m. before exiting at 12:36 p.m. Both Russia and China do not recognise the Korea ADIZ.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said in a Wednesday release that the air forces of Russi and China conducted a joint air patrol in the Asia-Pacific region, adding that an air group of Russian Tu-95MS bombers and Chinese H-6 bombers carried out air patrols over the waters of the Sea of Japan and East China Sea.

The Russian bombers were in the air for eight hours, and the combined air group was escorted by Russian Su-30SM and Su-35S fighters, according to the release. Foreign fighter aircraft flew escort on the air group on occasions on the flight route, although the MoD did not state which countries these fighters came from. The release also stated that for the first time in the course of joint air patrols, Russian aircraft landed at an airfield in the People’s Republic of China and Chinese aircraft at an airfield in the Russian Federation though it did not give the locations where this took place.

The Russian MoD also said the aircraft of both countries acted in full accordance with the provisions of international law and there were no violations of the airspace of third countries, according to the release. Upon completion of the joint air patrol, the aircraft involved returned to their home bases. The patrols were carried out as part of the military cooperation plan for this year and are not directed against third countries.

PLAN Ships Huanggang (577) and Taizhou (138). Japanese MoD Photo

China’s Ministry of National Defense issued a brief statement on Wednesday about the joint operation.

“According to the annual military cooperation plan between the Chinese and Russian militaries, on November 30, the air forces of the two countries organized a routine joint air strategic patrol over the Sea of ​​Japan, the East China Sea, and the western Pacific Ocean,” according to the statement.

Chinese ships have also sailed through the Tsushima Strait as well this week.

At 5 p.m. Monday, a People’s Liberation Army Navy frigate was sighted sailing northeast in an area 93 miles southwest of Tsushima with the image and hull number identifying the frigate as CNS Huanggang (577), according to a Tuesday JSO release.

A PLAN destroyer was sighted 9 a.m. Tuesday sailing northeast in an area 20km southeast of Tsushima. Image and hull number provided in the release identified the destroyer as CNS Taizhou (138).

Both Taizhou and Huanggang then sailed northeast through the Tsushima Strait into the Sea of Japan. The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force destroyer JS Setogiri (DD-156) and JMSDF P-1 Maritime Patrol Aircraft of Fleet Air Wing 4 based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Honshu shadowed the PLAN ships, according to the release.

Russia Oil Turmoil Seen Driving Tanker Market Higher

By Jonathan Saul LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Tough new sanctions on Russian oil shipments taking effect from December are likely to boost already high tanker rates as buyers race to replace…

By Jonathan Saul LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Tough new sanctions on Russian oil shipments taking effect from December are likely to boost already high tanker rates as buyers race to replace...

SECDEF Austin, Chinese Defense Minister Meet, Agree to Keep Lines of Communication Open

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasized the need to keep open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition in his meeting this week with China’s Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe. Austin met with Wei on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. […]

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III meets with General Wei Fenghe, Minister of National Defense of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Nov. 22, 2022. DoD Photo

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasized the need to keep open lines of communication and responsibly manage competition in his meeting this week with China’s Minister of National Defense Gen. Wei Fenghe.

Austin met with Wei on the margins of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) Defense Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Both defense chiefs last met in June in Singapore during the Shangri-La Dialogue.

Austin and Wei discussed U.S.-China defense relations and regional and global security issues and Austin emphasized the need to responsibly manage competition, according to a Pentagon readout on the meeting.

The U.S. defense chief also brought up the importance of substantive dialogue on reducing strategic risk, improving crisis communications and enhancing operational safety. He raised concerns about the increasingly dangerous behavior demonstrated by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft in the Indo-Pacific region that increases the risk of an accident, according to the readout. The United States will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, Austin said.

During the meeting, Austin discussed Russia’s war against Ukraine and expressed concerns about recent provocations from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). He called on the PRC to fully enforce existing U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding the DPRK’s unlawful weapons programs.

The U.S. defense chief told Wei that the United States remains committed to the longstanding one China policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the Three U.S.-China Joint Communiques and the Six Assurances. Austin spoke about the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and underscored his opposition to unilateral changes to the status quo and called on the PRC to refrain from further destabilizing actions toward Taiwan, according to the release.

China’s Ministry of National Defense also issued a release on the meeting stating that Wei stressed that the Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests and is the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations.

“Taiwan is China’s Taiwan. The settlement of the Taiwan question is the Chinese people’s own affair, and no external force has the right to interfere. The Chinese armed forces have the backbone, resolve, confidence and capability to resolutely safeguard the national reunification” according to the release.

During the talks, both sides agreed that the two militaries should implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, maintain communication and contact, strengthen crisis management and control and strive to maintain regional security and stability, according to the release. The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional situations, the Ukraine crisis, the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula issues.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States (collectively referred to as the “Plus Countries”), to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region with the main meeting between the defence chiefs of the countries taking place on Wednesday. Cambodia as the current chair of ASEAN is the host for the event.

While the secretary of defense met with his Chinese counterpart, Vice President Kamala Harris visited the Philippines where she reiterated the U.S. commitment to the country.

Harris told Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the U.S. stands with the Philippines in defense of international rules and norms as it relates to the South China Sea during her opening remarks on Monday.

An armed attack on the Philippines Armed Forces, public vessels or aircraft in the South China Sea would invoke U.S. mutual defense commitments, “and that is an unwavering commitment that we have to the Philippines,” Harris said, echoing similar remarks made by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in July this year.

On Tuesday, the vice president visited the Philippine island of Palawan, which lies around 320 km from the disputed Spratly Islands, which is claimed by Brunei, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. With the exception of Brunei, all the claimants maintained military stations on their claims in the area, with China expanding the capabilities of its military stations there in recent years. Harris conducted engagements with the fishing community, local officials and the Philippine Coast Guard in Palawan.

In a speech aboard the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) patrol vessel BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701), the vice president repeated the U.S. commitment to the Philippines, saying that as an ally, the United States stands with the Philippines in the face of intimidation and coercion in the South China Sea.

“We must stand up for principles such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, unimpeded lawful commerce, the peaceful resolution of disputes, and the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, and throughout the Indo-Pacific,” Harris said.

The vice president also stated that the United States supported the 2016 ruling of the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal which “ firmly rejected China’s expansive South China Sea maritime claims,” adding that the tribunal’s decision was binding and must be respected. The United States will continue to rally its allies and partners against unlawful and irresponsible behavior and that when the international rules based order is threatened somewhere, it is threatened everywhere, Harris said.

The United States will provide new funding to Philippines maritime law enforcement agencies allowing them to combat IIU fishing, enhance their capabilities and upgrade their monitoring systems, Harris said.

Among the initiatives was the provision of $7.5 million in additional assistance to enhance the capabilities of Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies and that the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, pending Congressional notification, will support the Philippine Coast Guard in upgrading and expanding its vessel traffic management system (VTMS) to enable improved maritime safety and environmental monitoring, according to a White House release.

On Sunday, the White House issued a release about the new Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (ECDA) locations that had been identified to enable the United States and the Philippines to continue to work together towards achieving the agreed objectives under EDCA.

Currently, five EDCA locations have already been agreed upon, namely Cesar Basa Air Base and Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Luzon; Lumbia Airfield in Mindanao; Antonio Bautista Airbase in Palawan and Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief Lieutenant General Bartolome Vicente Bacarro said in an interview with Philippine news channel GMA Network on Nov. 14 that the AFP had identified five sites for the additional EDCA facilities with two sites being in Cagayan, and one each in Palawan, Zambales and Isabela.

USS George H.W. Bush Operates with French, Italian Carriers in the Ionian Sea

U.S., French and Italian aircraft carriers operated together near Italy, the Navy announced on Wednesday. USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) joined with Italian carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550) and the French carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) for unspecified exercises in the Ionian Sea a week after the Pentagon announced five allied carriers would operate in […]

From top clockwise ITS Cavour (CVH 550), FS Charles de Gaulle (R91), USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)

U.S., French and Italian aircraft carriers operated together near Italy, the Navy announced on Wednesday.

USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) joined with Italian carrier ITS Cavour (CVH 550) and the French carrier FS Charles de Gaulle (R 91) for unspecified exercises in the Ionian Sea a week after the Pentagon announced five allied carriers would operate in Europe.

“We are stronger when we work together, and operations like these highlight not only our interoperability, but our interchangeability with our partner and allies,” Rear Adm. Dennis Velez, commander, Carrier Strike Group 10 said in a statement.

Bush, its escorts and the embarked Carrier Air Wing 7 have been operating in the Mediterranean Sea since August. Prior to Bush’s arrival to the region, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75), its escorts and CVW-1 had been in the Mediterranean Sea since December ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February.

Both carriers have exercised with Charles de Gaulle and Cavour going in and out of NATO command while flying presence missions along NATO’s eastern front and have been operating mainly around Italy.

Charles de Gaulle left its homeport of Toulon last week for Mission Antares which will see the carrier and its airwing deploy to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean with about 3,000 sailors, according to the French Navy.

“The CSG demonstrates France’s ability to intervene by controlling any escalation The sea and air operations of the carrier strike group are coordinated with the allies,” reads a statement from the French MoD.

Its escorts include ships from France, the U.S. and Greece but the French Navy did not specify the specific ships.

Ship spotters identified U.S. guided-missile destroyer USS Roosevelt (DDG-80), Hellenic Navy Elli-class frigate Adrias (F459), Italian Navy FREMM frigate Virginio Fasan (F591) and French Navy FREMM DA frigate Alsace (D656) departing with the carrier, according to Naval News.

Not included in the exercise, the U.K. carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) is operating in the Atlantic taking over for missions that were earmarked for the now side-lined HMS Prince of Wales (R09).

Pentagon leaders highlighted the several NATO carriers underway last week.

“These operations present an opportunity for allied nations to coordinate critical combat power throughout the Euro-Atlantic area while showcasing NATO cohesion and interoperability,” Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters Thursday.

The five NATO carriers in Europe will be soon down to four. Carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) which has operated in the Atlantic since leaving Naval Station Norfolk, Va., on Oct. 4, is set to return to the U.S. on Saturday, U.S. 2nd Fleet announced.

U.S. Needs to Demonstrate Ability to Assist Taiwan, Congressman Says

The U.S. needs to show Beijing that it can stop China if Chinese President Xi Jinping were to risk a cross-strait invasion to bring Taiwan under Chinese control, a congressman involved with military innovation this week. The United States must realize that it cannot rely on the Taiwanese people to be the only fighters, as is […]

Taiwan’s indigenous fighter. CNA Photo

The U.S. needs to show Beijing that it can stop China if Chinese President Xi Jinping were to risk a cross-strait invasion to bring Taiwan under Chinese control, a congressman involved with military innovation this week.

The United States must realize that it cannot rely on the Taiwanese people to be the only fighters, as is the case in Ukraine, if China invades Taiwan, Rep. Seth Moulton, (D-Mass.) and co-chair of the congressional Future Defense Task Force, said Tuesday at a Hudson Institute event. Washington would need to commit American forces to the fight.

There are “lots of parallels in legacy motivations” between the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and Xi Jinping’s threats to forcibly unite the self-governing democracy with the mainland, he said.

Taiwan would need to have in place the weapons, systems and trained forces to hold off the invasion long enough for the United States to overcome a blockade of the island to come to its aid, Moulton said. Ukraine, on the other hand, is being supplied overland by rail and highway.

With Ukraine, the better late than never approach worked, but that is not an option with Taiwan, Moulton said.

The Biden administration rallied NATO and the European Union to Kyiv’s defense with arms and ammunition, economic aid, refugee relocation and imposed severe sanctions on Russian leaders, business leaders and its commercial sector.

Ukraine showed “the usefulness of the national guard” in blunting the Russian invasion. Many of its members were well-trained and had combat experience in the Dombas region fighting separatists backed by the Kremlin since 2014. Kyiv took preparedness seriously, Moulton said.

“Taiwan is behind, but making progress,” he said.

The value of asymmetric warfare –“a $1,000 drone” destroying much more expensive tanks – was also made clear on land and in the Black Sea on Russian warships, he said. Later, Moulton cited the Ukrainians’ use of Starlink, a commercially available internet system, that gave its communications networks redundancy when attacked as another successful Ukrainian use of unconventional means in combat.

Where resiliency is required for nuclear threats, using commercial networks would also give U.S. forces redundancy in conventional operations, he added.

The Pentagon did “a remarkable job of sharing intelligence with the Ukrainians [and] information with the world” on Russia’s intentions before Feb. 24 and its intentions to use disinformation campaigns to cover “false flag” operations and lies over the fall of the government in Kyiv, Moulton said.

Moulton warned that Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine had to be taken seriously since it is part of Moscow’s military doctrine. “That is a risk for humanity” that Russia could be willing to take.

Similarly, he viewed advancing artificial intelligence technology in warfare without having “norms, treaties and conventions” in place, as there has been with nuclear arms, as increasingly dangerous.

“China doesn’t care about civilian casualties; China doesn’t care about collateral damage” in using all the weapons in its arsenal, including artificial intelligence, “the future of warfare,” Moulton said.

The goal of the House Armed Services Committee Future Defense Task Force is “to drive the forces to do more and do it quickly,” he said. In its “report card” on progress in areas like asymmetric warfare, Moulton said, “the Army and Navy are dragging their feet” citing size of force and infrastructure as reasons progress seems slow.

Those were poor excuses for slow response if Taiwan reached a military crisis point, he said.

On the other hand, the Marine Corps and Air Force are “moving but not fast enough” to meet new challenges posed by a rapidly modernizing Chinese military, Moulton said. He singled out the Defense Innovation Unit for its cut- through- the-red- tape of the acquisition process as a success in adopting existing commercial technology for the Pentagon’s use.

He added while Congress has approved a number of authorities allowing flexibility in recruiting and retention as well as weapons systems development, the services have been slow to use these tools. At the same time, Congress itself has blocked the services’ moves to divest themselves from legacy systems to invest more in future technologies, creating more challenges to paying for future modernization.

Canada, France Should Join AUKUS Style Tech Agreement with U.S., Senator Says

A senior Republican senator suggested Washington craft a military technology agreement with Canada and France to strengthen alliances with the U.S. and to deter Russia and China. Sen. James Risch, (R-Idaho) — ranking member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee — said at the Halifax International Security Forum that Canada and France should be part of […]

Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate St. Johns leaving Portsmouth, U.K. Ralph Edwards photo used with permission

A senior Republican senator suggested Washington craft a military technology agreement with Canada and France to strengthen alliances with the U.S. and to deter Russia and China.

Sen. James Risch, (R-Idaho) — ranking member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee — said at the Halifax International Security Forum that Canada and France should be part of an agreement similar to the one the U.S. established with the U.K. and Australia.

The technology sharing agreement between the countries includes U.K. and U.S. assistance to help Australia build and operate its first nuclear-powered attack submarines.

The “administration had a really, really good idea” in signing the technology sharing agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and United States [AUKUS], Risch said, but he would criticize the administration for not consulting the Senate before moving ahead on AUKUS. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, (D-N.H.) part of the bipartisan delegation to the forum, nodded in agreement.

In response to the question over Canadian concerns about the secrecy surrounding the agreement, Risch said, “if you think the Canadians are unhappy, you ought to talk to the French.”

Risch referred to Australia’s cancellation of a more than $66 billion contract with the French to build conventionally powered submarines to replace the Royal Australian Navy’s aging Collins-class diesel attack boats.

Following the announcement of the AUKUS agreement in September 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa wouldn’t change Canada’s security and intelligence relationship with the three allies through the “Five Eyes” program. New Zealand is also part of the Five Eyes group.

Risch added the AUKUS agreement would not affect Canada’s ability to defend its interests in the Indo-Pacific. Canada has not officially expressed an interest in building and operating nuclear-powered submarines.

But like other allies and partners, Canada was kept in the dark about the agreement itself and the extent of its terms.

Shaheen said at the forum AUKUS was “another opportunity for us to engage our partners in the Indo-Pacific,” but added the United States will continue to explore similar security arrangements with other allies. Neither she nor Risch said any new agreement should include nuclear-powered attack submarines.

This spring, following Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, the U.K., U.S. and Australia, announced they would be working more closely on hypersonic weapons engine development, electronic warfare and cyber technology.

The French design of the Attack-class submarine that was canceled by Australia last week. Naval Group image

In this announcement and the one in the fall, China was never mentioned as the underlying reason for the agreement.

Since the announcement on closer cooperation on advanced technologies in the spring, pressure has grown in Canada for a similar arrangement with close allies. The Trudeau government is undertaking a new defense review in light of Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine and China’s growing global ambitions.

Rep. Michael McCaul, (R-Texas), who is expected to chair the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the new Congress, said, “I think the Five Eyes is a good model” for expanded technology sharing among allies like Canada, France, Japan and the Republic of Korea. At a later session of the forum, he added technology is how the U.S. will win in competition with China. He emphasized artificial intelligence, 5G telecommunications and semiconductor production.

At the press conference, Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.) said to the Canadians in attendance “rest assured that everyone knows that our partnership and what we work on together in terms of our shared defense industrial base is well-known among partners and allies and is recognized by us in the United States as well.”

Banana Supply Headache Fuels Russia-Latin America Shipping Talks

MOSCOW, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Fesco FESH.MM, one of Russia’s largest transportation companies, said on Tuesday it was in negotiations to establish a shipping route between Russia and Latin America, in a move …

MOSCOW, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Fesco FESH.MM, one of Russia’s largest transportation companies, said on Tuesday it was in negotiations to establish a shipping route between Russia and Latin America, in a move driven by the need...

U.S. CENTCOM Reveals New Details on Iranian Drone Attack on Tanker

An analysis of debris left over from a drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman confirm the drone was Iranian, according to a Tuesday U.S. Central Command statement. On Nov. 15, a Shahed 136 explosive-tipped drone flew into the aft section of the merchant oil tanker M/T Pacific Zircon punching a […]

Graphic identifying specific debris fragments collected by a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal team aboard M/T Pacific Zircon, Nov. 16. The graphic shows how the collected fragments indicate the unmanned aerial vehicle that attacked the commercial tanker was an Iranian-made Shahed-136. US Navy graphic

An analysis of debris left over from a drone attack on an oil tanker off the coast of Oman confirm the drone was Iranian, according to a Tuesday U.S. Central Command statement.

On Nov. 15, a Shahed 136 explosive-tipped drone flew into the aft section of the merchant oil tanker M/T Pacific Zircon punching a hole through the hull, “while subsequently penetrating and damaging internal compartments. The UAV’s explosive impact also damaged a shipboard boiler, potable water tank and life raft,” reads the statement.

The next day, the U.S. Navy sent two explosive ordnance technicians aboard the Liberian-flagged tanker to assess the damage to the ship and analyze the debris.

“During a two-hour survey and evidence collection process, the technicians also obtained explosive residue samples for lab testing,” reads the statement from CENTCOM.
“U.S. 5th Fleet transported the gathered evidence to a lab at its Bahrain headquarters where technicians confirmed Iran’s connection to the attack. The aerial drone that hit the commercial tanker was identified as a Shahed-136 UAV, fitting a historical pattern of Iran’s increasing use of a lethal capability directly or through its proxies across the Middle East.”

Graphic illustration and images captured by a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal team aboard M/T Pacific Zircon, Nov. 16, showing the location where an Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) penetrated M/T Pacific Zircon’s outer hull during an attack Nov. 15. The one-way UAV attack tore a 30-inch-wide hole in the outer hull on the starboard side of the ship’s stern, just below the main deck. US Navy graphic

CENTCOM released images that tied debris discovered aboard Pacific Zircon from the strike — including a satellite navigation guidance antenna, hatches and stabilizer that match the Shahed-136 design.

The release stopped short of saying the drone had originated in Iran. The Shahed 136 design has been used by the Houthi rebels in Yemen and tied to a fatal attack last year on the tanker Mercer Street on July 30, which killed two crewmembers, USNI News reported at the time.

Last week, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters, “we are confident that Iran likely conducted this attack using a UAV, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing directly and via its proxies throughout the Middle East.”

Israeli officials told CNN the attack was intended to disrupt the World Cup soccer tournament in Qatar.

“It’s not an attack against Israel,” the official told CNN. “It’s the same thing they usually do in the Gulf, trying to disrupt stability and mainly influence World Cup events.”

Iran is also exporting the delta-winged drones to Russia for use in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s War Rewires Global Crude Trade

By Elina Ganatra (Bloomberg) — Oil tanker tycoons are enjoying a surge in revenue as the sanctions triggered by Russia’s war are redrawing the global trade in crude. And it’s set…

By Elina Ganatra (Bloomberg) — Oil tanker tycoons are enjoying a surge in revenue as the sanctions triggered by Russia’s war are redrawing the global trade in crude. And it’s set...

Black Sea Grain Deal Extended by Another Four Months

A Turkey-United Nations brokered deal to allow for Ukraine grain exportation was extended by 120 days, the U.N. announced Thursday. The deal, which was signed in July — automatically extended — with the extension beginning on Saturday, which is when the original deal was set to expire, according to a U.N. news release. Secretary-General António […]

Wheat fields in midsummer in Ukraine, Oblast Lviv in 2012. Raimond Spekking Photo

A Turkey-United Nations brokered deal to allow for Ukraine grain exportation was extended by 120 days, the U.N. announced Thursday.

The deal, which was signed in July — automatically extended — with the extension beginning on Saturday, which is when the original deal was set to expire, according to a U.N. news release.

Secretary-General António Guterres praised the extension on Twitter.

“I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine,” he tweeted. “The initiative demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions.”

The July deal allowed merchant ships to collect grain from three Ukrainian ports. On Thursday, three merchant vessels left Ukrainian ports in Odesa and Chornomorsk with 98,840 metric tons, of grain and foodstuffs, according to the U.N. release.

Since the deal was signed, 11,186,228 metric tonnes of foodstuffs have been exported from Ukraine, according to the U.N. Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The grain deal was threatened in late October after Russia temporarily suspended its participation after an attack on Sevastopol. It resumed participation days later, USNI News previously reported.

Ukraine and the U.N. sought to extend the deal by one year, Reuters reported. While Russia agreed to the extension, it has repeatedly said it has not gotten everything it wanted out of the deal, including the ability to export fertilizer.