- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Kyiv with a congressional delegation over the weekend, becoming the most senior U.S. official to enter Ukraine since the war started in February. Pelosi promised Pres. Zelensky U.S. support “until victory is won.”
- Russia has ramped up its strikes on Ukraine over the past few days, hitting 800 targets yesterday alone. Its targets included fuel depots and other oil infrastructure, and those strikes have caused a critical shortage of gasoline in Ukraine.
- Meanwhile, Russia says 975,000 people—including 119,000 who are neither Ukrainian nor Russian—have moved from Ukraine into Russia via “evacuations” that Russia calls voluntary. Some of the Ukrainians who “evacuated” say they were forcibly deported.
- EU energy ministers are meeting in Brussels today to address the feasibility of weaning their countries off Russian oil by year end. With Germany on board, the remaining holdouts are said to be Austria, Hungary, Italy, and Slovakia. EU ambassadors will meet on Wednesday, and hope to finalize a plan for a Russian oil embargo by the end of the week.
- Iran’s oil minister, Javad Owji, is visiting Venezuela this week and expected to sign deals to expand energy cooperation between the two pariah states. Iran already sends Venezuela condensate critical for refining its heavy crude oil, as well as engineers and technical support.
- Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada made a rare appearance under heavy security at an Eid celebration in Kandahar’s main mosque, and gave his first public speech since the Taliban took over in Aug. 2021.
- In the speech, Akhundzada celebrated the Taliban’s “victory, freedom, and success” in ensuring “security” in Afghanistan. That seems misleading given the recent spate of Islamic State attacks that have killed at least 100 people across the country over the past few weeks and highlighted the Taliban’s inability to guarantee security.
- Guinea’s opposition—which includes ousted former president Conde’s party—criticized junta leader Col. Doumbouya’s plan for a 39-month transition period back to democratic rule. The opposition boycotted the consultations that reached that plan, but it’s now demanding a more “consensual” timeline.
- Fabrice Leggeri—who heads the EU’s border agency, Frontex—is stepping down amidst criticism of the agency’s human rights record. In his resignation letter, Leggeri complained that Frontex had “silently but effectively changed” its mission. As the NYT points out: “Observers took that to mean he felt as though he was being wrongly accused of failing to honor human rights obligations when the agency’s primary mission is to protect the bloc’s borders.”