Welcome to Axios World, where two evenings a week we break down what you need to know about the big stories from around the globe.
Ukrainian servicemen look at activists digging trenches on the coast of the Sea of Azov. Photo: Sega Volskii/AFP/Getty
Much of Ukraine is now under martial law a day after Russia intercepted, fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off of Crimea, wounding at least six sailors in the process.
Why it matters: “This is a new, more dangerous form of aggression,” says John Herbst, a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine now at the Atlantic Council. “In the light of day, Moscow demonstrated that it will attack Ukraine with its conventional forces.” Absent U.S. and European pushback that turns “a Kremlin tactical victory into a strategic defeat,” he says, further aggression is likely.
The big picture: Alina Polyakova of Brookings writes for Axios Expert Voices that “Moscow has been harassing commercial ships bound for Ukraine’s ports in the Sea of Azov for months.” The attack on naval vessels now “opens a new front in Russia’s four-year aggression against Ukraine, which includes the ongoing land war in Ukraine's east and the occupation of Crimea.”
How it happened:
The Trump administration was all but silent on Sunday’s attack until outgoing UN Ambassador Nikki Haley denounced Russia’s “outlaw act” this morning at an emergency Security Council session.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko sought and received parliamentary support for a declaration of martial law that will last 30 days and affect areas bordering Russia.
What's next: Trump will meet with Vladimir Putin in just a few days at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.
Crimea is just one of several disputed territories in the former Soviet Union.
Go deeper: Front lines of a frozen conflict
Putin and Merkel in Germany. Photo: Steffen Kugler/Bundesregierung via Getty Images)
7 in 10 Americans say the U.S.-German relationship is "good," according to a new Pew poll. Just 24% of Germans agree, and 72% say they want more independence from the U.S. when it comes to foreign policy.
Why it matters: It has been well-documented that views of the U.S. have fallen sharply around the world since President Trump took office. But this poll shows a clear preference among Germans not only for weaker ties with Washington, but for stronger ties with Moscow.
Trump and May during July’s state visit. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
With U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May working desperately to sell her Brexit deal to a skeptical Parliament, President Trump slammed it today as "a great deal for the EU" that could keep the U.K. from securing a trade deal with the U.S.
Why it matters: Trump is unpopular in the U.K., but his comments could deepen what, from May's perspective, is an unwelcome debate over the U.K.'s ability to negotiate trade deals under her plan, which won the approval of all 27 EU leaders over the weekend but still needs to pass through the House of Commons.
Sebastian Payne, political editorial writer for the Financial Times, emails from London with his take on what's next:
The bottom line: "There is no obvious majority in Parliament for any Brexit deal. There is also no majority for a no-deal Brexit. When the first critical vote is held — 11th December — we will find out if MPs feel as strongly as they presently claim about May’s compromise. They'll have a chance to change their minds if May tries again with a slightly tweaked version of her deal in late December or early next year. Time, however, is running out," writes Payne.
Peña Nieto (left) makes way for López Obrador. Photo: Carlos Tischler/Getty Images
On Dec. 1, Mexico’s leftist president-elect, Andres Manuel López Obrador, will be inaugurated in Mexico City. It's likely to be just hours after Mexico's outgoing president, Enrique Peña Nieto, joins with President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to sign the NAFTA replacement deal in Buenos Aires.
Why it matters: Trump has insulted, threatened and scapegoated Mexico since the day he announced his presidential campaign. The signing ceremony will underscore Peña Nieto's decision to, as Mexico’s Ambassador to the U.S. Gerónimo Gutiérrez puts it, “Remove political rhetoric from negotiations.” But López Obrador’s arrival signals a new, unpredictable era for the crucial relationship.
The primary obstacle is immigration, he says, and the relationship will remain at a “critical moment” until a solution is found. We saw evidence of that yesterday, when U.S. border agents fired tear gas on migrants at the border.
Go deeper: Read the full piece.
The United Arab Emirates has pardoned Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old Ph.D. student who was sentenced to life in prison last week on charges of spying for the British government.
Two other cases have not reached a satisfactory conclusion:
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
President Trump twice raised to the Iraqi prime minister the idea of repaying America for its wars with Iraqi oil, a highly controversial ask that runs afoul of international norms and logic, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported yesterday in his fantastic Sneak Peek newsletter.
In March last year, at the end of a White House meeting with Iraq's then-Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, Trump brought up the subject of taking oil from Iraq to reimburse the United States for the costs of the war there.
Protesters on Paris' Champs Elysees. Photo: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images
"It's important that we back up the intel community if we think they're right."— Sen. Lindsey Graham to Axios, saying he'll push to have Mohammed bin Salman sanctioned if the CIA confirms to him that the Saudi crown prince is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Thanks for stopping by — see you Thursday!