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A Russian serviceman takes part in combat patrol and anti-sabotage drills involving RS-24 Yars road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile systems.

Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

Ukrainian diplomat: Invading would ruin Putin

An invasion of Ukraine could wipe out half of Russia’s invading forces and could even topple Vladimir Putin.

That’s what would happen if Russia invades Ukraine, according to Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting on the sidelines of the 11th BRICS Summit, in Brasilia, Brazil November 13, 2019.

Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov/Kremlin via REUTERS

Putin meets Xi, US takes out ISIS leader, Costa Rica votes

Putin-Xi Olympic meeting. “It's probably the most important geopolitical summit we've had in years,” says Ian Bremmer. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet on Friday in Beijing, where Putin will also attend the Winter Olympics inauguration. The two have a lot to discuss in their first in-person meeting in two years, including tensions over Ukraine, trade, and lunar exploration. Putin will likely assure Xi that Russian oil and gas will continue flowing to China. Xi, meanwhile, is expected to support Russia’s demand that NATO halt its eastward expansion. China’s leader sees the Ukraine crisis as a welcome distraction from COVID and Xinjiang. On the other hand, Xi doesn’t want a war that will hurt the economy, so he would prefer that Putin find a diplomatic resolution.

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Why Xi Jinping might pull off the Winter Olympics

The Beijing Winter Olympics kick off this week against the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic, volatile geopolitics, and diplomatic boycotts over China’s human rights record. But Beijing is still going for gold.

Some anticipate that these dynamics will render the Games — a platform for flexing global soft power — a failure. But there are compelling reasons to believe China’s President Xi Jinping could pull off the massive sporting event successfully, thereby boosting Beijing’s diplomatic bonafides and proving naysayers wrong.

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Inside Beijing's Struggle to Keep the Olympics COVID Free | World In :60 | GZERO Media

Beijing's struggle to keep the Olympics COVID free

COVID-19 positive cases leading up to the Beijing Olympics, a proposed defense pact between Ukraine, Poland, and the UK, and the Joe Rogan/Spotify scandal -- Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week on World In :60.

First, how is COVID-19 affecting Beijing Olympics prep in China?

Well, we've got already well over a hundred members of Olympic athletes and staff that have tested positive twice, which means they ain't playing. They're not involved. They're going to go home. And these numbers are going to go way up. I do think that this idea of a complete closed loop system, the Chinese have more ability to implement and execute on that than pretty much any country in the world. So I doubt you're going to see spread from the Olympics into the broader population, but you're going to see a lot of people with COVID coming in because omicron is so incredibly spreadable. And that's going to be yet one more thing that dings a very weird Beijing Olympics with diplomatic boycotts and populations unhappy about where we are and not having fans and all the political challenges and censorship and surveillance of phones and data going to the government. And it's just so politicized that you hate to see that with global athletes, and global athletics, but that's where we are. I do say that I'm glad that the athletes are still competing. It's one of the few things that can bring us all together on this planet.

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What We’re Watching: COVID Olympics, US-China business dilemma, China and the US midterms

COVID at the Games. The Beijing Winter Olympics, which begin on Friday, will be the most serious test to date of China's zero-COVID policy. President Xi Jinping wants to make a big international splash with the Games, as his predecessor did with the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008. That'll be tough with stadiums only half-full with domestic spectators pre-screened by the Communist Party, and no foreign fans allowed to attend at all. To avoid an outbreak at the Olympic Village, China initially imposed strict testing and quarantine policies for everyone attending the Games. But it’s possible that the CCP is having at least some doubts about this policy's ability to contain the omicron variant: Only days out from the inauguration ceremony, authorities have relaxed testing and isolation guidelines, signaling a slight pivot in China's pandemic management strategy. Does this mean the Olympics will be the beginning of the end of zero COVID? China's economy — and the world's — would surely benefit from a transition to living with the virus. Beijing says it is developing its own mRNA vaccines to achieve this, but that could still be many months away.

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China vs COVID in 2022 | GZERO World

China vs COVID in 2022

Omicron has arrived. It's more contagious, but less severe. Some parts of the world are even looking forward to the pandemic becoming endemic.

Not China. Xi Jinping's zero-COVID strategy has worked wonders until now, but it's unlikely to survive omicron, explains Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

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Omicron and the Undoing of China’s COVID Strategy | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Omicron & the undoing of China's COVID strategy

Omicron is here. The bad news is that it's more contagious. The good news is that mRNA vaccines work against death and hospitalization. COVID may soon become endemic in some parts of the world.

Not in China, where Xi Jinping's zero-COVID approach faces its toughest test to date with omicron. Why? Because China lacks mRNA jabs, and so few Chinese people have gotten COVID that overall protection is very low.

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First Round - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 21, 2020 China's Peng Shuai in action during the match against Japan's Nao Hibino

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

How is China dealing with its biggest #MeToo case?

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai’s disappearance after accusing a former high-ranking government official of sexual assault has prompted public outcry in countries around the world, and the Women’s Tennis Association to boycott China. But in her native country, those allegations were scrubbed from the internet. What does the episode have to tell us about official attitudes towards the #MeToo movement, and threats to Communist Party elites in China? We talked to Eurasia Group analyst Allison Sherlock to get a better understanding of Beijing’s reaction, and what might happen next.

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