Russian missile deployments. Russia deployed two short-range Iskander missile batteries and launchers to Krasnodar, near the Ukrainian border, and Ulan-Ude, near the Mongolian border. The deployment to Krasnodar places Sevastopol, a strategic port located in Crimea, firmly within range of the missiles. Russia may be preparing to defend Crimea in anticipation of unrest following the upcoming Ukrainian election. Russia may also be preparing to gain greater control over the Sea of Azov, its gateway to the Black Sea. Relatedly, Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to allow German and French observers to monitor the Kerch Strait, where Russian naval forces fired on Ukrainian vessels in November. Germany and France reportedly tried to include Ukraine in the agreement, but Russia has so far refused.
A disputed election. After opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s election, the African Union has asked the country to delay re