World roundup: June 21 2023
Stories from Myanmar, Mozambique, Ukraine, and elsewhere
TODAY IN HISTORY
June 21, 1791: French King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette attempt to flee Paris to meet up with royalist troops at Montmédy in what’s become known as the “Flight to Varennes.” As the name suggests, they didn’t make it and were arrested in the town of Varennes-en-Argonne. The attempted escape made it clear to the French public that Louis was conspiring to end the revolution and caused popular sentiment to turn toward abolishing the monarchy rather than maintaining it under constitutional limitations.
June 21, 1813: A Bonapartist army under the command of then-Spanish King Joseph Bonaparte is badly defeated near the Spanish city of Vitoria by a joint British, Portuguese, and Spanish army commanded by Arthur Wellesley, Marquess (later Duke) of Wellington. Wellington outmaneuvered the Bonapartists so thoroughly that, in their retreat, Joseph’s men left behind their artillery as well as the (soon to be former) king’s considerably baggage train. While the Battle of Vitoria didn’t entirely end the Peninsular War (only Napoleon’s surrender and abdication in April 1814 did that), it did chase Joseph out of Spain. By December, the Allied army’s position was secure enough to restore—with Napoleon’s acquiescence—the previously abdicated Ferdinand VII to the Spanish throne.
June 21, 1942: Axis forces under Erwin Rommel capture the Libyan city of Tobruk. Rommel was promoted to field marshal for his trouble, but the Allies retook the city in November.
In today’s global news:
Worldometer is tracking COVID-19 cases and fatalities.
The New York Times is tracking global vaccine distribution.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Syrian military killed at least three civilians on Wednesday when it shelled a town in Aleppo province. The shelling was part of an apparently all-day bombardment of rebel-held parts of northwestern Syria.
The Kazakh government announced on Wednesday, apparently with no warning, that it will no longer host negotiations on resolving Syria’s lingering civil war. The Russian government has been using Kazakhstan, and specifically the city of Astana, as a locale for talks involving any or all of the Syrian, Iranian, and Turkish governments since 2017. The Gang had, in fact, just wrapped up another round of negotiations in Astana when the Kazakh Foreign Ministry made its announcement. These negotiations haven’t made much progress on actually resolving the war, but in recent months the talks have been a key component of Russia’s efforts to broker improvements in the Syria-Turkey relationship. It’s unclear why the Kazakhs made this decision now but it could suggest some sort of tension with Moscow.
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