Authorities on St. Lawrence Island notified the Coast Guard that two Russian nationals had landed in a small boat in an attempt to escape Vladimir Putin’s military mobilization, KTUU reports.
Gunmen have shot dead the mayor of a small town in western Mexico, and at least 17 others, the BBC reports.
“The move by OPEC on Wednesday to reduce oil production sharply undercuts President Biden’s effort to avoid an increase in gas prices ahead of the midterm elections, while setting back his push to constrain the oil revenue Russia is using to pay for its war in Ukraine,” the New York Times reports.
“It also exposes the failure of his fist-bump diplomacy over the summer with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.”
Playbook: “The news was met with outrage in Washington, as a growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers on both sides of the Capitol seethed about what they described as an increasingly one-way U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia.”
Wall Street Journal: “As diplomatic humiliations go, it’s hard to top Wednesday’s decision by Saudi Arabia and its OPEC+ allies to cut oil production by two million barrels a day despite U.S. entreaties and a looming global recession.”
David Ignatius: “As Ukrainian troops surged forward on the ground this week, European leaders who gathered at a conference here were heady with what many described as an impending Ukrainian triumph over Russian President Vladimir Putin and the lawless, autocratic system he represents.”
“The victory celebration is stirring but wildly premature. Many months of bloody fighting probably lie ahead, with the danger growing that Russia might use tactical nuclear weapons in an effort to stave off defeat. But politicians from across Europe seemed so galvanized by Ukraine’s recent battlefield success that many dismissed the dangers of Russian escalation and what could be a cold winter for an energy-short Europe.”
“The Biden administration is preparing to scale down sanctions on Venezuela’s authoritarian regime to allow Chevron Corp. to resume pumping oil there, paving the way for a potential reopening of U.S. and European markets to oil exports from Venezuela,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“In exchange for the significant sanctions relief, the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro would resume long-suspended talks with the country’s opposition to discuss conditions needed to hold free and fair presidential elections in 2024.”
“American officials are intensifying efforts to build a giant stockpile of weapons in Taiwan after studying recent naval and air force exercises by the Chinese military around the island,” the New York Times reports.
“The exercises showed that China would probably blockade the island as a prelude to any attempted invasion, and Taiwan would have to hold out on its own until the United States or other nations intervened, if they decided to do that.”
“But the effort to transform Taiwan into a weapons depot faces challenges. The United States and its allies have prioritized sending weapons to Ukraine, which is reducing those countries’ stockpiles, and arms makers are reluctant to open new production lines without a steady stream of long-term orders.”
“United States intelligence agencies believe parts of the Ukrainian government authorized the car bomb attack near Moscow in August that killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist, an element of a covert campaign that U.S. officials fear could widen the conflict,” the New York Times reports.
Yahoo News: “To hear pro-Russian military analysts tell it, in the last 72 hours Ukraine has managed to simultaneously recapture about 1,000 square kilometers of terrain in the northeast of the country and 2,200 square kilometers in the south.”
“Although it is difficult to independently confirm these figures, the very fact that they’re coming from cheerleaders of Vladimir Putin’s war highlights just how disastrously things have gone for the Russian president in a month that has seen him resort to a chaotic mobilization to replenish manpower shortages, and a heralded “annexation” of Ukrainian territory that is slipping through his fingers by the hour. And he is losing ground not just in one of the oblasts he has illegally claimed as his own, but in all four.”
“The protests that have gripped Iran for three weeks started over a headscarf, but are morphing into a broader movement fueled by middle-class anger over the country’s collapsing economy,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Eurointelligence: “Our own assessment is that the likelihood of a nuclear war rises in proportion to the likelihood of a Russian defeat. We are no military experts, but we are trained in logical inference. If we consider the likelihood of a Russian defeat in Ukraine as high, as so many experts now seem to believe, than surely, the likelihood of a nuclear attack cannot be simultaneously low. If we agree with Garry Kasparov that Putin will not personally survive a defeat, then why should he refrain from using nuclear weapons?”
“Taiwan warned it would treat any Chinese incursion into the island’s airspace as a ‘first strike,’ as Taipei seeks to deter Beijing from ratcheting up military pressure around the island,” Bloomberg reports.
New York Times: “After leaving often well-paying jobs and families in Moscow and Vladivostok and many places in between, tens of thousands of young Russians — terrified of being dragooned into fighting in Ukraine — are pouring into Central Asia by plane, car and bus.”
“The influx has turned a country long scorned in Russia as a source of cheap labor and backward ways into an unlikely and, for the most part, welcoming haven for Russian men, some poor, many relatively affluent and highly educated — but all united by a desperate desire to escape being caught up in President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.”
“Former President Barack Obama credited ex-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with fueling the rise of Putinism, alongside other authoritarian leaders, before stepping down from office, newly published quotes reveal,” Haaretz reports.
Said Obama: “What I worry about most is, there is a war right now of ideas, more than any hot war, and it is between Putinism — which, by the way, is subscribed to, at some level, by Erdogan or Netanyahu or Duterte and Trump — and a vision of a liberal market-based democracy that has all kinds of flaws and is subject to all kinds of legitimate criticism, but on the other hand is sort of responsible for most of the human progress we’ve seen over the last 50, 75 years.”
Eliot Cohen: “Putin is making these threats for several reasons. Russia is losing the war in Ukraine and losing it badly. It was routed out of Kyiv in the first phase, its forces were driven from Kharkiv oblast in the second, and its defenses—manned by ill-equipped, demoralized, and badly trained units whose positions have probably been compromised by no-retreat orders from Moscow—are being breached by Ukrainian offensives in the third. The fall of Lyman was but the first disaster; a still bigger blow will occur when the city of Kherson, which may have 10,000 or 20,000 Russian soldiers in it, falls to Ukrainian troops. In the meantime, in the words of the retired Australian general Mick Ryan, Russia’s logistics and command system are being corroded by incessant precision attacks.”
“Putin, one must always recall, is a former secret policeman, for whom mind games are always the first and rarely the last resort. Is former German Chancellor Angela Merkel known to be uneasy around canines? Bring a dog to the meeting. Fear is the Chekist’s chief weapon. Because some Western politicians and many Western pundits are known to get the shakes at the mere mention of nuclear weapons, Putin has an opening for the biggest mind game of all. Judging by continued and credible reports that the United States and Germany, among others, are withholding some types and quantities of weapons from Ukraine, it’s working.”
“Ukrainian troops on Tuesday accelerated their military advances on two fronts, pushing Russian forces into retreat in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to the east and Kherson region to the south,” the Washington Post reports.
“The gains showed Kyiv continuing to recapture occupied territory on the same day that President Vladimir Putin and his rubber-stamp parliament sought to formalize their increasingly far-fetched annexation claims of four Ukrainian regions.”
“As Vladimir Putin’s game of chicken with the US and its allies over Ukraine escalates into a new round of nuclear threats, the smaller weapons that his officials have called on him to use may provide vital hours or even days of warning,” Bloomberg reports.
“While Russia’s long-range missiles and bombers are kept on constant alert, ready to fire in just minutes to ensure they aren’t destroyed by a pre-emptive strike, lower-yielding tactical weapons are locked up in about a dozen warehouses across Russia and it would take time to transport them to launchers.”
David Sanger: “For all his threats to fire tactical nuclear arms at Ukrainian targets, Putin is now discovering what the United States itself concluded years ago, American officials suspect: Small nuclear weapons are hard to use, harder to control and a far better weapon of terror and intimidation than a weapon of war.”
“A Russian convoy transporting equipment for Russia’s nuclear weapons program has sparked fears that Vladimir Putin could be preparing a test to send a ‘signal to the West,'” The Telegraph reports.
“A train operated by the secretive nuclear division and linked to the 12th main directorate of the Russian ministry of defense was spotted in central Russia over the weekend heading towards the front line in Ukraine.”
“North Korea on Tuesday fired a ballistic missile that was believed to have flown over Japan, prompting a rare warning by the Japanese government for residents in two northern prefectures to seek shelter,” the New York Times reports.
“If the missile’s path over Japan is confirmed, it would be the first such launch by North Korea since 2017, and represent a major escalation as Pyongyang has conducted a flurry of missile tests in recent days.”
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