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​A Canadian protestor in Montreal denounces the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

A Canadian protestor in Montreal, dressed as a “handmaid” holds a sign reading “This is no longer fiction” to denounce the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Joel Silvestri, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet

👋 Grüss Gott!*

Welcome to Monday, where Volodymyr Zelensky addresses G7 leaders as strikes hit Kyiv, reverberations continue after the end of U.S. federal protection for abortion rights, and Japan asks 37 million citizens to turn the lights off. Meanwhile, for French economic daily Les Échos, Benjamin Quénelle looks at the “inevitable” recession around the corner for Russia, despite its apparent resilience to Western sanctions.

[*Swabian - Germany]

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🌎  7 THINGS TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

• Zelensky addresses G7, Russia defaults: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the G7 summit via video-call today, where he reportedly asked the leaders of Western nations for anti-aircraft defense systems, more sanctions on Russia, security guarantees, and help to export grain from Ukraine. Meanwhile, Russia has defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time in more than a century as Western sanctions continue to isolate the country from much of the world economy.

• Post-Roe protests continue as more states move to restrict abortions: Mass protests are taking place across the United States following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the precedent setting case on abortion rights Roe v. Wade. Eighteen states have already effectively banned abortions, and many have severely restricted access to them. The ACLU plans to sue the states of Kentucky and Florida over their abortion bans, and abortion pill manufacturers have announced that they are prepared for a surge in nationwide demmand.

• Suspect named in case of Oslo gay bar shooting:Norwegian authorities have named the suspect in a deadly shooting at a popular LGBTQ+ bar in Oslo as a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin. The shooting, which killed two and injured 21, is being treated as an act of Islamic terrorism.

• Saudi Arabia changes Hajj overnight: The travel plans of Muslims across the West have been disturbed after Saudi Arabia suddenly instated a lottery system and demanded that all Westerners who plan to make the pilgrimage cancel prior travel arrangements and use the new system. British Muslim travel agencies say they may go out of buisiness, and thousands of travelers will be forced to pay more than expected to make the pilgrimage this year.

• 22 bodies found at South African bar: At least 21 young people have been confirmed dead after 22 bodies with no visible wounds were found at a nightclub in East London, South Africa. The cause of death is unknown and the bodies are being submitted for autopsies.

• Colombia bullfight stand collapses: At least six people were killed and 100 more were injured after a stand collapsed at a bullfight in Espinal, Colombia. The new president-elect of Colombia Gustavo Petro released a statement demanding that events which involve the death of people or animals should be outlawed.

• Luxottica founder dies at age 87: Leonardo Del Vecchio, the Milan-born founder of the world’s largest eyewear company Luxottica has died at age 87. Del Vecchio started Luxottica as a tiny eyeglass shop in Italy’s Dolomite mountains. The conglomerate now produces frames for many of the world’s top eyewear brands, including Armani, Prada, Ray-ban, and Oakley.

🗞️  FRONT PAGE

“A very, very strong signal of unity,” titles German daily Die Welt, quoting Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz who is hosting the annual G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps with U.S. President Joe Biden. The war in Ukraine, food insecurity and the looming economic crisis are on the agenda of the world leaders who are gathering until Tuesday. “The West demonstrates unity but the challenges are huge,” writes the daily.

#️⃣  BY THE NUMBERS

40.2 °C

As an unusual heat wave is hitting the country, Japan topped its highest temperatures ever recorded in June with 40.2°C in the city of Isesaki. Government officials have urged up to 37 million Japanese to reduce their consumption of energy in the afternoons and to switch off their lights in order to avoid potential power shortages.

📰  STORY OF THE DAY

How much longer can the Russian economy survive sanctions?

Vladimir Putin boasted at the recent forum in St. Petersburg International Economic Forum about Russia’s economic resilience against Western sanctions. But behind the scenes, Russian business leaders tell a different story, reports Benjamin Quénelle for French daily Les Échos.

💰 Officially called the "International" Economic Forum, the annual event organized by Putin is meant to attract foreign investors — but this year, the elite of the national business community were cut off from the rest of the world. "Just among Russians... And forced to line up behind the regime and its economic strategies that lead us to a dead end,"a Russian manager in one of the main state-owned companies says.

🇷🇺 🙅 At the beginning of the Kremlin’s “special operation” conducted in Ukraine, many top business leaders were shocked and did not hide their disapproval of the military offensive. Four months later, the successive series of sanctions are making it impossible for them to leave Russia. Departures that, on the contrary, would have weakened the Kremlin and its economic strategy.

📉 The first real damages to the economy, the performance of Russian companies' earnings, are expected to arrive in the fall. Recession looks inevitable. But, defying earlier forecasts, the gross domestic product drop is likely to be closer to 15% than to 25%. Because the very structure of Russia’s economy helps it to cope. Moscow's state aid and intervention has thus helped with short-term resilience, but the false picture of an invincible Russian economy in the face of Western pressures is bound to backlash among a bewildered middle class.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

📣 VERBATIM

I think it’s better to tell him to his face what we think of him.

— In an interview with German broadcaster ZDF, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said the potential presence of Russian president Vladimir Putin at November’s G20 shouldn’t be a reason for Western leaders to boycott the summit. The Russian leader has been invited to the meeting by Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo, who has also extended an invitation to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, although Ukraine isn’t a G20 country.

✍️ Newsletter by Joel Silvestri, Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou and Anne-Sophie Goninet


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Geopolitics

Inside Putin's Deal For Iranian Drones

Outgunned by Ukraine's Turkish-made Bayraktar drones, Russia has reportedly started importing armed drones from Iran, which may have explained Vladimir Putin's recent visit to Tehran, which is looking to flex its muscles internationally. But it could prove to be a dangerous turning point in the war.

At an underground drone base, in an unknown location in Iran

Christine Kensche

The satellite images show a hangar. The rough outlines of two geometric shapes are visible — a triangle and an elongated object with wide wings. According to intelligence information from the United States, this is the Kashan airfield south of Tehran, where Iran is training its regional militias.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

The geometric objects are drones: the Shahed-191 and the Shahed-129, both considered capable of carrying weapons. Their name translates to martyr. According to U.S. information, the picture also shows a transport vehicle for visitors from Russia. If what the White House recently said is true, the "martyr" drones could soon be circling Ukraine, controlled remotely by Russian soldiers.

Tehran's drone army

According to national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Iran wants to deliver "several hundred" drones to Russia and train Russian soldiers on the devices. Training may have already begun, Sullivan said. In June, Russian delegations traveled to the Iranian airfield twice. Russian President Vladimir Putin was in Tehran in person on Tuesday.

It's a turning point for Iran as an international arms dealer.

"This is a significant turning point for Iran as an international arms dealer," says Israeli drone expert Seth Frantzman, who has published a book on the subject (Drone Wars). So far, outside the circle of its allies in the region, Tehran has only sold its technology to Venezuela and built a drone factory in Tajikistan. "The deal with the world power Russia finally makes Iran an international player in the drone business, with its influence reaching as far as Europe."

In terms of technology and trade, the world's drone powers are the U.S., Israel, China and, by some margin, Turkey. Indeed, the Turkish-designed Bayraktar drones are deployed by Ukraine against Russia, which initially gave Kyiv important strategic successes.

There are two key reasons why Russia is now apparently buying from Iran: its own drones cannot keep up. And Iran's drones are technically less sophisticated than those of Western competitors. But they do the job – and are quicker and cheaper to make. Even Iran's nemesis Israel recognizes the powerful potential of Tehran's drone army.

"Iran has massively upgraded its drone program in recent years," says Frantzman. The Shiite regime introduces new types of drones almost every week. According to information from the Israeli army, Iran has a complete production chain, from missiles to navigation systems. The parts are often copied — for example, from U.S. drones that Iran shot down in the past. It now has a variety of different series and types — from unarmed reconnaissance devices to combat drones and those called kamikaze drones (small unmanned aerial vehicles with explosive charges that ram their target). The damage Iranian technology can do has been demonstrated by the regime's devastating attacks in recent years.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei receiving Russian President Vladimir Putin in the presence of his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi (right) in Tehran

Iranian Supreme Leader's Office/ZUMA

Attacks by Iranian drones

Iran's arsenal of remotely piloted aircraft stretches from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq to the Gulf and Yemen. The technology is used by Iranian allies — by Hezbollah and Hamas against Israel, by Yemen's Huthis against Saudi Arabia, by Shiite militias against the U.S. Army. Or, indeed, by Iran itself.

The "Pearl Harbor" of the drone war happened three years ago: Iran used drones and rockets to attack the Abqaiq refinery of the world's largest oil company Aramco in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi air defenses were powerless. The attack shut down Saudi Arabia's oil exports for several months. Global oil production collapsed by six percent.

Iranian drones were used in the last Gaza war.

Since then, Iran has systematically relied on weapons. Drones are said to be responsible for at least five attacks on U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq in May and June last year. Iranian drone technology also played a role in the last Gaza war. Hamas not only fired 4,000 rockets at Israel last May. It also deployed a new explosive-laden drone.

Last year, Iranian drone attacks claimed human lives for the first time: Kamikaze drones attacked the Mercer Street oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world's most strategically important choke points between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Two crew members died, including the captain. Then, in the spring, drones attacked tankers and Abu Dhabi airport. Three people lost their lives. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are supplied with weapons and technology by Iran, said they were responsible for the attack on the U.A.E.

A military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) launched from an Iranian navy vessel in the Indian ocean

Iranian Army Office/ZUMA

No war is won by drones alone

There is no precise information on exactly which drones Russia could acquire. The types shown by the U.S. on the satellite images are among Iran's most important reconnaissance and combat drones. The Shahed-129 is the country's oldest combat drone. It can stay in the air for up to 24 hours and can be armed with eight guided missiles. Also known as the Saegheh (Thunderbolt), the Shahed-191 is a combat drone whose specialty is great mobility. It can be mounted on the back of a truck and launched while the vehicle is in motion.

Kamikaze drones are easier and cheaper to produce.

This combat drone, which can be equipped with two remote-controlled anti-tank missiles, is therefore extremely flexible. However, it is doubtful that Iran can actually deliver hundreds of these types in a hurry. A deal with Russia is therefore likely to include kamikaze drones, which are easier and cheaper to produce.

If Russia were to use Iranian drones in the near future, it would not be a turning point in the Ukraine war, says expert Frantzman: "You don't win a war with drones." However, Russia could use them to damage Ukraine's strategic infrastructure comparatively cheaply, without having to put expensive war equipment at risk.

And another target could become the focus of Iranian drones — Western war equipment, such as the HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, which the U.S. supplied to Ukraine and which play a central role in defense against Russia.

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