Headlines — May 20


New Russian tactics show scaled-down ambition, Pentagon says
Russian leaders are responding to the historic move by Finland and Sweden to apply to join NATO with talk of “retaliatory measures.”

A Russian solider pleads guilty to committing war crime in Ukraine
Sgt. Vadim Shyshimarin faces 10 years to life in prison for shooting a 62-year-old man on a bicycle in the village of Chupakhivka in the Sumy region, about 200 miles east of Kyiv.

Russia touts new laser weapons, but Ukraine and US are skeptical
A senior Russian official told state media on May 18 that a state-of-the-art laser weapons system has been deployed for active use in Ukraine, a claim that U.S. defense authorities and military experts say has not been substantiated and that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has mocked.

US embassy in Kyiv reopens after nearly three months of war
“The Ukrainian people, with our security assistance, have defended their homeland in the face of Russia’s unconscionable invasion, and, as a result, the Stars and Stripes are flying over the Embassy once again,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on May 18.




These countries received the most US military aid in 2020
Ukraine is among the 10 countries that received the most U.S. military aid; most were in the Middle East, Africa or Central Asia.

South Korea selects Bell’s 505 helicopter for military training
South Korea has chosen the Bell 505 to be its next military training helicopter, according to manufacturer Bell Textron.




Senators reach deal to advance sweeping military toxic exposure legislation
Senate leaders on May 18 announced they have reached a deal to pass sweeping military toxic exposure legislation later this summer, paving the way for millions of veterans exposed to burn pit smoke and other battlefield toxins to receive more medical care and disability benefits in coming years.

Junior service members being hit hard by inflation, senior enlisted leaders say
Inflation and supply chain concerns are having an impact on service members and their families, just as they’re affecting other families nationwide, but “our junior service members feel the largest impact,” the top enlisted Marine told lawmakers May 18.

Sailors must wait 5 weeks for mental health appointments as Navy battles suicides, top enlisted leader says
It takes more than a month for sailors struggling with thoughts of suicide to get a mental health appointment, the Navy’s top enlisted leader told House lawmakers May 18.

Helmet cam footage triggers medal upgrade for soldier killed in Niger ambush
After viewing new helmet camera footage recovered last year, Army officials have decided to award the Silver Star medal to one of four U.S. troops killed in an ambush by Islamic State-aligned militants in Niger nearly five years ago, Army Times has learned.

Cruiser USS Vicksburg nearly finished with modernization program, set for decommissioning
A Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser the Navy wants to decommission next year is nearly finished with a modernization overhaul that costs hundreds of millions of dollars, a service official told lawmakers.

USAF leaders on hypersonics, B-21 production, the E-7 transition, and buying fewer HH-60s
With a repeat of a hypersonic missile test coming up in the summer and the potential to speed up production of the B-21 Raider, the Air Force is “committed” to putting hypersonic missiles on its long-range bombers, said Lt. Gen. Duke Z. Richardson, the top Air Force acquisition official.




Congress gives VA watchdog subpoena power after hampered investigation into West Virginia murders
Congress is strengthening the Department of Veterans Affairs’ watchdog’s ability to compel witness testimony after the office struggled to investigate problems that allowed a string of patient murders in West Virginia to go undiscovered for two years.

Thai archival find may resolve fate of missing WWII US pilot
The remains of an American airman missing in World War II may be heading home, thanks to a chance discovery of records in flood-threatened archives in Thailand.

Congress bestows its highest honor on WWII merchant marines
Congress has bestowed its highest honor on merchant mariners who fought in World War II, almost eight decades after the conflict in which more than 8,000 of them were killed.

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