ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Russia / United States (Security threat levels – 4 / 2): On 8 March 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order prohibiting the import of oil, liquefied natural gas and coal from Russia as a further punitive measure for the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. While Biden warned that gasoline prices in the U.S. are likely to increase further as a result, the Department of Energy has authorized the release of 50 million barrels of oil from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve in order to alleviate price increases. According to the Energy Information Administration, approximately 8% of total U.S. imports of petroleum products come from Russia.
Ukraine (Security threat level – 5): As of 9 March 2022, Russian forces in Ukraine continue to fortify troops already encamped in the eastern, northwestern and western outskirts of the capital Kyiv. Russian forces have reportedly gained control of the towns of Bucha, Irpin and Hostomel. However, Russian troops have failed to make strategic gains to advance toward the capital. Russian forces continue to conduct heavy artillery and missile attacks that have deprived residents and the Ukrainian military of essential services, such as power, food and water. Russia-backed separatists and Russian soldiers in southern Ukraine launched additional attacks on the cities of Odesa, Mykolayiv, Mariupol and Zaporizhzhya, resulting in multiple casualties and severe infrastructural damage. In the north, the cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv are encircled by Russian soldiers and are under heavy attack.
Russian and Ukrainian officials agreed to a 12-hour truce on 9 March in the six main hot spots in order to allow safe corridors for residents to evacuate areas occupied by Russian forces, which include the cities of Enerhodar, Mariupol, Izyum, Sumy and Volnovakha, in addition to several towns surrounding Kyiv. The ceasefire will last from 0900 to 2100 local time (0700 to 1900 UTC). Ukrainian officials have accused Russian soldiers of shelling evacuation routes in the cities of Mariupol and Chernihiv, despite agreements to halt attacks in those areas since 2100 local time the previous day.
Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 8 March 2022, thousands of people took to the streets of the capital Khartoum to denounce the country’s military rule. Women’s rights groups organized the demonstrations on International Women’s Day in collaboration with neighborhood resistance committees that have been staging pro-democracy protests. Security forces deployed tear gas to deter demonstrators as they approached the presidential palace. Several injuries were reported among the demonstrators. Additionally, a prominent pro-democracy politician was taken into custody in North Khartoum. Large-scale protests have been a common occurrence in Khartoum since the current military junta ended civilian rule in October 2021.