Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of invading the country on Thursday (WSJ), calling for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council and European Council and canceling a trip to Turkey to respond to the crisis (AP). Kiev announced that Russian forces seized the coastal town of Novoazovsk (Reuters), as well as several villages near its border with Russia. NATO said it believes that more than 1,000 Russian troops are operating inside Ukraine, while the European security body OSCE said it would hold a special meeting to discuss the developments (DW).
"Any durable solution to the Ukraine crisis will require both Kiev and Moscow to find political wiggle room and to forge a much-needed long-term accommodation on political, economic and energy ties that cannot be replaced by the West," writes Andrew Weiss for the New York Times.
"We should reassure the Baltic States by deploying forces in those countries. A permanent deployment would contravene the NATO-Russia Founding Act, but a rotating force could be consistent with the Act while indicating to Russia how seriously we take their military actions," write William J. Perry and George P. Shultz for the Wall Street Journal.
"It is time to step up our response, whatever the cost, to the outrageous and illegal steps that Putin is taking to invade Ukraine before the most basic norm of the post-1945 world order–the norm against cross-border invasions and annexations of neighboring states–entirely disappears," writes Max Boot for Commentary.
China Meets Vietnamese Envoy
President Xi Jinping held meetings with a senior Vietnamese envoy in Beijing to address bilateral tensions over disputed islands in the South China Sea (SCMP), saying that the two countries should take appropriate steps to address their differences. The dispute had led to deadly anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in May.
CFR's Infoguide delves into China's ongoing maritime disputes with its Asian neighbors.
INDONESIA: Indonesia and Australia signed an agreement on Thursday ending an espionage row that severely damaged diplomatic relations, paving the way for the resumption of defense cooperation (AFP).
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
Pakistan Talks Fail
A Pakistani cleric demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's resignation has "shut the door" on further talks with the government, exacerbating the political deadlock (AP). Tahir-ul-Qadri and Pakistani politician Imran Khan have been leading anti-government demonstrations for the past two weeks in Islamabad.
CFR's Dan Markey discusses the national security implications of Pakistan's latest political crisis.
INDIA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to launch Thursday a plan that provides banks accounts (India Today) to every household in a landmark initiative to expand credit to the poor and streamline social services.
Islamist Forces Take Over Golan Heights Crossing
Al-Qaeda's Syria wing al-Nusra Front and other Islamist militants have taken control of a border crossing dividing Syria from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a move that could bring the forces within 200 yards of territory controlled by Israel (NYT).
CFR's Janine Davidson gives three points to guide U.S. Operations against ISIS in this new blog post.
ISRAEL: The Gaza truce held for a full day on Wednesday as Palestinian groups face a massive undertaking in the reconstruction of the area. Aid agencies said the cost of immediate tasks is around $367 million (Haaretz).
WHO Pulls Teams From Sierra Leone
The World Health Organization withdrew its Ebola team from Sierra Leone after a health worker was infected with the virus (al-Jazeera). Meanwhile, Canadian health officials said they would also evacuate a three-member lab team from the country after individuals in their hotel were diagnosed with Ebola.
AFRICA: The World Health Organization said Thursday that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa could eventually exceed 20,000 cases (AP), more than six times the level doctors are aware of now.
Erdogan Sworn In
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's twelfth president in parliament on Thursday in what his critics fear will usher an increasingly authoritarian rule. The country's main opposition leader boycotted the ceremony (Hurriyet), saying he did not want to "legitimize a false oath."
Silva Takes Spotlight in Brazilian Election
Socialist Party candidate Marina Silva concluded a strong performance in an election debate, outlining plans for inclusive government that would improve education, public safety, and health care. A poll showed Silva ahead of incumbent president Dilma Rousseff by forty-five percent to thirty-six percent in a runoff (WSJ).
MEXICO: A new poll showed a decline in Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto's popularity ratings in the past year, with a majority of citizens unhappy with his handling of the economy (Bloomberg).