ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 4 March 2022, the National Liberation Army (ELN) announced a unilateral ceasefire with the Colombian government from 10-15 March to facilitate the participation of citizens in the upcoming legislative and presidential primary elections. Voting is scheduled to take place on 13 March. The ELN warned that it would defend itself if attacked by security forces.
Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On the afternoon of 4 March 2022, a powerful blast occurred at a Shiite mosque in the Kocha Risaldar area of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. A local official stated that two gunmen initially opened fire on police officers stationed at the main entrance of the mosque. One gunman and a police officer were killed in the subsequent gunbattle, while another assailant entered the facility and detonated an explosive device. At least 56 people were killed in the bombing and nearly 195 others were wounded. The death toll is likely to rise, as many of the wounded are hospitalized in serious condition. Although no group claimed immediate responsibility for the attack, both the Islamic State group and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban) have perpetrated similar attacks in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the last suicide attack in Peshawar in June 2018.
France (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 0530 local time (0430 UTC) on 4 March 2022, an explosion occurred at a four-story apartment building located on Rue André Karman in the Aubervilliers commune on the northeastern outskirts of Paris. The blast and subsequent fire forced residents to evacuate the building. In addition, nearby buildings were evacuated. More than 200 firefighters deployed to the site and extinguished the blaze. At least 22 people were injured in the event, including three who suffered serious injuries. The cause of the explosion is unknown.
Ukraine (Security threat level – 5): Early on 4 March 2022, Russian forces in Ukraine seized a nuclear power plant near the southern city of Enerhodar, located on the Dnieper River in the Zaporizhzhia region. The seizure followed shelling of the facility, during which a projectile struck a training building located outside of the plant. Emergency personnel extinguished the fire after several hours following incessant clashes between Ukrainian and Russian troops. Ukrainian nuclear regulators and the International Atomic Energy Agency maintain that surrounding areas remain within normal levels of radiation following the blaze. The incident prompted an emergency phone call between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. President Joe Biden. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy activated its nuclear incident response team. The nuclear plant is the largest such facility in Europe and accounts for approximately 25% of power generation in Ukraine.
Elsewhere in the country, Russian forces continue to move southward in an attempt to capture the capital Kyiv following little progress toward doing so in recent days. Moderate shelling was reported in the city overnight on 3-4 March. However, Russian forces continued intense bombing in the northeastern city of Kharkiv as well as in Chernihiv, located approximately 150 km (95 mi) northeast of central Kyiv. Ukrainian officials claim that 47 people were killed and 18 more were injured in Chernihiv due to Russian missile attacks that targeted residential buildings and two schools in the Staraya Podusivka area. Local emergency crews reported that they could not safely rescue victims due to prolonged clashes between Russian and Ukrainian troops. In the southeastern region, Russian forces and Russia-backed separatists have largely surrounded the port city of Mariupol — located in the Donetsk region — where intense shelling has continued since the previous day. Local correspondents indicate that residents in Mariupol have no access to water and electricity. Following Russia’s capture of the southern city of Kherson on 3 March, Russian troops have met resistance from Ukrainian troops in the nearby city of Mykolaiv. Despite intense shelling in the key cities of Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol, the Ukrainian military maintains control over those areas.
In related diplomatic developments, Russian and Ukrainian representatives held a second round of truce talks on 3 March in the Brest region of Belarus. The session concluded without a ceasefire, although a Ukrainian negotiator stated that progress was made to organize corridors for civilians fleeing the conflict and for delivering basic supplies such as food and medicine. Both Ukrainian and Russian negotiators have reportedly agreed to hold another round of talks. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy publicly asked for direct talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing that engaging in talks with Putin is the only feasible option for ending the conflict in Ukraine.
Iran (Security threat level – 3): On 4 March 2022, a fire broke out in a government data center, causing internet outages across the capital Tehran and surrounding areas. Local media reports indicate the occurrence of extensive outages of mobile and fixed internet services provided by the country’s two main telecommunications operators Shuttle and Mobinont. It is unclear to what extent internet access remains disrupted. The fire at the facility appears to have been accidental and not related to terrorist activity. Communications officials claim that the blaze resulted from a power connection malfunction, which was subsequently repaired.
Norway (Security threat level – 2): On 4 March 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Oslo issued a Security Alert regarding upcoming demonstrations, which reads in part as follows: “A demonstration is planned to take place near the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Norway today, March 4, and continuing over the weekend.
“Demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday are expected to begin each day around 12pm and continue throughout the afternoon. The number of participants is expected to be up to 1,000 people but may increase in size. Oslo Police will be present.
“The start times and number of demonstrators involved in demonstrations are variable. Furthermore, while most demonstrations are coordinated with local police and remain peaceful, even demonstrations expected to be non-violent are unpredictable and can escalate into violence. Accordingly, U.S. citizens are advised to proceed with caution and consider avoiding the area.”
Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 4 March 2022, the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Large protests and demonstrations on Sunday, March 6, in and around Lahore, to include the following areas:
“Significant traffic delays and disruptions to transportation across Lahore are expected. Due to the high potential for gridlock in the vicinity of the consulate, coupled with warnings from the Punjab Police to avoid unnecessary travel during this time, American staff at U.S. Consulate General Lahore are restricted from off-compound movements on Sunday, March 6, 2022, from 1000 to 1900 hours. U.S. Consulate General Lahore strongly encourages U.S. citizens to avoid large gatherings, unnecessary travel, and remain vigilant of their surroundings.”