The Atlas Newsletter - Volume 30

The Atlas Newsletter – World Updates & International News

Monday August 28th, 2023

Good morning everyone,

Let’s jump right in today.

In Europe, a Russian pilot defected to Ukraine, new countries promise F-16 deliveries, and Romania suffered two major accidents. Over in the Middle East, there are widespread protests in Syria, Libya suspends an official for meeting with Israel, and Jerusalem is getting a new embassy. Meanwhile in Africa, Niger expels the French ambassador, Somalia has major successes against insurgents, and Zimbabwe’s president is re-elected despite voter suppression allegations. In the Americas, gangs in Haiti shoot up a peaceful protest, Canada deals with worsening forest fires, and Florida experiences a mass shooting. In Asia and Oceania, Japan has begun building new missiles and jets alongside Britain and Italy, while China flies a drone off Japan’s coast.

It’s just another day at the office. Let's see:

- Joshua Paulo, Sebastien Gray, Trent Barr, & the Atlas team

Yevgeny Prigozhin, Leader of Wagner Group, Killed in Plane Crash

Yevgeny Prigozhin (Photo - Getty Images)

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023: (2 Minute Read) Both federal aviation authorities within Russia and Telegram channels associated with the Wagner group have verified the fatalities of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of Wagner, and Dmitry Utkin, the co-founder of Wagner, along with eight others. They lost their lives when the Embraer 135 jet (EBM-135BJ), owned by Prigozhin, was brought down, either by hostile fire or deliberate sabotage, over the Tver region of Russia. The details provided by various sources are conflicting.

According to information from Wagner-affiliated channels and individuals on the ground, the jet was supposedly targeted and destroyed using Russian military surface-to-air missiles. In contrast, initial statements from Russian state sources pointed towards the incident being caused by acts of Ukrainian sabotage and terrorism. However, new claims from these state sources suggest the involvement of an explosive device concealed on board.

Regardless, few believe the crash was an accident. The US State Department said it was “highly likely” he was assassinated following his role in the armed mutiny in June which attempted to overthrow several key Russian military leaders.

The opportunity was prime as Wagner forces were stretched thin across Belarus, where they were largely disarmed, and several African countries, leaving them unable to effectively respond to the killing even if they wanted to.

One of the largest questions being posted now is what is the future of Wagner. Without Prigozhin or Utkin, the group has been left without leadership while under a much greater threat of reprisal from the Kremlin. Wagner still has a significant amount of contracts going on in Central and West Africa, as well as speculated backing of the Niger junta. So will the group continue to operate on its own or will they be replaced by the several other PMC organizations propped up by Russian state enterprises in the wake of the mutiny?


August 24th, 2023 - Ukraine confirmed that they successfully convinced a Russian pilot to defect with a fully intact Mi-8 helicopter. In addition to the helicopter, they also convinced him to bring parts for the Su-30 and Su-27 aircraft. Originally, the pilot flew into Ukrainian territory with two other crew members who were not part of the plot. Upon landing, Ukrainian forces said that the two other crew members attempted to resist once they realized what was happening. Because of this, they claimed they were forced to kill them.

Ukrainian soldiers pictured entering the helicopter.

August 24th, 2023 - Norway has joined the list of nations donating F-16s to Ukraine after Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store announced they would be giving Ukraine between 5 and 10 F-16s. Norway follows Denmark and the Netherlands, which have both promised F-16s to be delivered to Ukraine after the US approved the transfer. No date has been established, but the transfer is supposedly to take place after Ukrainian pilots are competently trained in their use.

August 28, 2023 - Two explosions at a crude oil gas station in Romania have left one dead and 57 others injured. The explosions took place in Crevedia, a town just outside the capital of Bucharest. What caused the first explosion is currently unknown. However, following the first explosion, the subsequent fire spread to a house and two oil tanks, which ignited and exploded as well. Authorities evacuated civilians within a 700-meter radius and blocked all incoming traffic into the area. Many of those injured were first responders, while eight people were intubated after suffering severe burns. The fire was officially stated as contained on early Sunday morning.

Middle East

August 26th, 2023 - For several days in a row, Syria has seen widespread anti-regime protests against Assad. Protests like this are distinctly rare. Protests began after the Syrian government ended fuel subsidies, which resulted in a drastic rise in prices for citizens who were already in significant economic distress. Protests began in Sweida, and have since spread to numerous cities countrywide. Notably, a number of protestors have been pictured waving Druze flags, who make up a majority in Sweida. While the protests began due to the rise in fuel prices, they have had a consistent anti-regime focus, with many once again calling for an end to the regime.

Protestors gather in Syria against Assad. The flag seen is the Druze flag (Photo from Reuters).

August 27th, 2023 - Libya’s Foreign Minister has been suspended pending an investigation after she allegedly held a meeting with the Israeli Foreign Minister in Rome last week. Israel and Libya have no diplomatic relations. The meeting was met with protests in Libya after Israel released an announcement claiming the meeting had taken place. Libya’s Foreign Ministry, however, denied holding a professional meeting, instead describing it as "an unprepared, casual encounter during a meeting at Italy's Foreign Affairs Ministry".

August 28th, 2023 - Papua New Guinea is set to open an embassy in Jerusalem during next week’s visit by Papuan Prime Minister James Marape. While Papua New Guinea has a consulate set up in Tel Aviv, it does not have an official embassy within the nation. The majority of countries that operate embassies in Israel do so in Tel Aviv, as the Israeli and Palestinian claims for Jerusalem as their capital are a significant source of contention that most nations avoid worsening.


August 25th, 2023 - France’s ambassador to Niger has been expelled by the military junta. And for a number of hours, it seemed as if the US, Germany, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast ambassadors had been expelled, as well as the Facebook account for the leader of the Niger junta, General Tchiani, which had published documents expelling the ambassadors that looked to be official. However, the Facebook account later deleted the posts, and the Niger junta came out saying the letters were fake, offering little explanation as to how they may have been posted on General Tchiani’s account.

Protestors gather outside of France’s embassy in Niger (Photo from AFP/Getty Images).

August 25th, 2023 - The Somalian government announced on Friday that it had taken control of the Elbur District amidst its offensive operations against Al-Shabaab. Elbur District had been a major Al-Shabaab base and had been held by the group for close to 10 years. Somali General Ibrahim Sheikh Muhyadin said Somali military forces were able to overwhelm the militants and that operations were taking place to secure the area and dismantle explosive devices that Al-Shabaab had planted. Somalia's government has been making significant gains in recent months as they launch an offensive against Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based terrorist group that is linked to Al-Qaeda.

August 23rd, 2023 - Incumbent President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has been declared the winner of the Zimbabwean election amid widespread claims of voter suppression. Some voters had to wait up to 8 hours for their ballots to arrive. Reportedly, in Harare, an oppositionist stronghold, polling booth locations were so unclear that some people had trouble even finding the polling station. In multiple areas around the country, last-minute changes were made to voting boundaries, which caused some to be unsure which voting station they should actually be going to. Mnangagwa won 52.6% of the vote, whereas opposition leader Nelson Chamisa won 44%.

The Americas

August 26, 2023 - At least seven people were killed after a Christian march against gang violence in the suburbs of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, was targeted by the gang that holds power there. Protestors took to the streets, some armed with machetes and clubs, to voice their opposition to the rampant gang violence that has plagued the country for decades. Local media has claimed the total death toll stands at 10 people, while the Director of CARDH, Gedeon Jean, speculates the number is sure to rise as some protestors have been taken captive by gang members and many others were left wounded.

August 25, 2023 - Severe wildfires sweeping western Canada have forced the complete evacuation of the town of Hay River in Canada’s Northwest Territories, which is comprised of an estimated 4,000 occupants. The government has ordered all residents, including essential workers, to evacuate to the Hay River Merlyn Carter Airport to await further instructions concerning the evacuation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ordered the Canadian military to deploy in the neighboring province of British Columbia last Sunday following fires that have led to the displacement of more than 35,000 people within the province. The Prime Minister promised further support from the federal government.

Helicopters putting out fires on the British Columbia - Washington border. (Photo - Coldstream Helicopters)

August 26, 2023 - A mass shooting has struck fear into the hearts of Florida residents after a white man entered a Dollar Tree and shot three black shoppers dead before shooting himself in what officials call a racially motivated killing. The suspect was seen at Edward Waters University, a private African Methodist Episcopal university, where he reportedly donned a mask and tactical vest before commencing the shooting. The shooter used a Glock and an AR-15-style rifle" adorned with swastikas, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff, T.K. Waters. Waters told the press that he believes the shooter acted alone and claims the shooter had published multiple manifestos online before commencing the shooting. Florida's Governor, Ron DeSantis, condemned the attack, saying in an interview, "The shooting, based on the manifesto that they discovered from the scumbag who did this, was racially motivated. He was targeting people based on their race. That is totally unacceptable."

Asia and Oceania

August 27th, 2023 - Japan intends to create a new missile for its next-gen fighter jets, co-developed with Britain and Italy, aiming for deployment in 2035. A joint study by Japan and Britain determined that an indigenous air-to-air missile would initially offer superior performance at a lower cost than the European Meteor missile. However, Japan might later consider adopting British and Italian missiles to enhance capabilities. The collaboration was initiated in response to heightened security concerns due to Russia's Ukraine invasion and China's military expansion. Notably, this marks Japan's first defense equipment venture with a nation other than the U.S. The three nations are also joint-developing new 5th generation fighters that will replace the aging F-2 and Eurofighter jets.

A Japanese F-2, based on the American F-16. (Photo - Lockheed Martin)

August 27th, 2023 -The Japanese Defense Ministry reported that a Chinese BZK-005 military reconnaissance drone conducted a flight between Japan's westernmost island of Yonaguni in Okinawa Prefecture and Taiwan. This marks the fourth occasion the ministry has officially acknowledged the presence of an aircraft suspected to be a Chinese drone within the airspace. Importantly, no infringement of Japan's territorial airspace occurred.

To access all the benefits of an Atlas News subscription, sign in or subscribe.

Thanks for reading.

Our Partners

The Atlas News has partnered with WRMFZY to bring you guy's some awesome merch and other goodies.

More to come!

Join the fastest-growing news company in the world. Covering geopolitics, conflict, terrorism, crime, business, wall-street, underreported stories, and places in the world you've never heard of. Comments, twitter-style brief updates, long-form articles, full podcasts, and documentaries. Join 30,000+ members today on the Atlas News App.

Atlas News

What do you think of todays Atlas Newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.


If you'd like to get involved in anyway with Atlas News, please reach out to us with your experience or ideas. If you're a solid fit, we'll be in touch. – The Atlas News Team

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2022 Atlas News.1