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"Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson - Russia!" A banner on a screen set up ahead of an expected ceremony and concert in Moscow to declare four Ukrainian regions part of Russia.

REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

What We're Watching: Russian annexations, Brazilian election, DeSantis-Biden truce

Bluffs called in Ukraine

On Friday, Vladimir Putin will announce that four regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson – have become part of Russia following referenda in those places that virtually no one outside Russia considers legitimate. Russian officials, including Putin himself, have said that Russia will defend its territory by any means necessary, including with nuclear weapons. This warning will have no impact on Ukrainian forces, who appear close to retaking the strategically important city of Lyman in Donetsk as part of its remarkably successful counter-offensive. Nor will it weaken support for Ukraine from America and Europe. So, what happens when Ukrainian soldiers score more victories on land that Putin claims is part of Russia? We’re about to find out.

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Presidential campaign materials displayed in Rio de Janeiro.

REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Brazil: “Whoever gets the most votes will win, period.”

Brazil is now just two months away from its most pivotal, polarizing and potentially destabilizing presidential election in decades.

The country’s current far-right president Jair Bolsonaro is likely to face off against his nemesis, the leftist former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro, who trails badly in the polls, has spent months raising baseless doubts about the integrity of Brazil’s centralized electronic voting system. Ominously, some members of the military have echoed those concerns, raising the prospect either of January 6 style violence after the vote, or a move by the military to interfere with the transfer of power. After all, just days ago, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned Brasilia to ensure that the military is fully under control ahead of the Oct. 2 vote.

To better understand what’s at stake and why things feel so on edge in Brazil right now, we sat down with Silvio Cascione, a director in Eurasia Group’s Brazil practice. The interview has been lightly edited for concision and clarity.

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Lula attends a news conference after meeting with the Rede Sustentabilidade party in Brasilia.

REUTERS/Andressa Anholete

Can Bolsonaro win re-election after all?

With just six months left before Brazil’s presidential election, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva officially launched his campaign Saturday for the country’s top job. A highly celebrated politician, Lula seeks to lead Latin America’s largest democracy at a tumultuous time amid fears over authoritarianism and a rising cost of living.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro attend a news conference following talks in Moscow.

Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

For Latin America, political risks overshadow economic gain from Ukraine crisis

Countries that rely heavily on imported food and energy face the greatest risk of social and economic crises from the disruption caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet even those that are themselves big producers of these essential commodities are suffering fallout from the war. Rising prices for basic goods in many parts of Latin America, for example, are testing governments already struggling to manage elevated public frustration caused by pandemic hardships. We asked Eurasia Group expert Yael Sternberg to explain how this is playing out.

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Macron shakes hands with Putin, at the French president's summer retreat.

REUTERS/Gerard Julien

Putin invades the year’s big elections

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is shifting politics inside every major country in the world. Here are four countries holding big elections this year — with details on how Vladimir Putin’s war is making a difference in Hungary, France, Brazil, and the United States.

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Annie Gugliotta

Five choices

We have lots of big elections on deck in 2022. Today we’ll preview five that will feature high international stakes and especially colorful candidates.

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Hundreds of migrants camp at the Belarus side of the border with Poland near Kuznica Bialostocka, Poland, in this photograph released by the Polish Defence Ministry, November 10, 2021.

MON/Handout via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Eastern Europe border crisis, US-China climate pledge, Bolsonaro’s a centrist now

Migrants suffer as Eastern European deadlock deepens. The stalemate at the Polish-Belarusian border continues, with reports that several migrants languishing in freezing temperatures in the forest have recently frozen to death while waiting for asylum. The EU says Minsk is using the migrants as a political weapon against Brussels international heavyweights have intervened in recent days to try t chart a path forward. German Chancellor Angela Merkel – who's just days away from her retirement — has been appealing to Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his sway with Minsk to resolve the dispute. Putin, who's no doubt enjoying his clout and leverage, says that Brussels needs to negotiate directly with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko – but that has been a non-starter so far because the EU has cut off communication with the strongman since his rigged re-election last year. Feeling emboldened by the standoff, Lukashenko doubled down Thursday, saying that if the bloc slaps fresh sanctions on him, he would cut off the flow of gas that flows from Russia to Western Europe via Belarusian territory. That's a scary prospect indeed for a Europe which is already dealing with painful gas shortages as winter approaches.

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NBA Player Sparks Backlash From China | Bolsonaro’s COVID Negligence | World In :60 | GZERO Media

NBA player sparks backlash from China; Bolsonaro's COVID negligence

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at the NBA's latest rift with China, Brazil's Senate investigation, and COVID booster shots.

China wipes Boston Celtics from NBA broadcast after the "Free Tibet" speech from Enes Kanter. Is NBA boxing itself into a corner?

Nice mixed sports metaphor there. NBA has some challenges because they are of course the most progressive on political and social issues in the United States among sports leagues, but not when it comes to China, their most important international market. And you've seen that with LeBron James telling everyone about we need to learn better from the Communist Party on issues like Hong Kong and how Daryl Morey got hammered for taking his stance in favor of Hong Kong democracy. Well, Enes Kanter's doing the same thing and he's a second-string center. Didn't even play yesterday and still the Chinese said that they were not going to air any Boston Celtics games. Why? Because he criticized the Chinese government and had some "Free Tibet" sneakers. This is a real problem for a lot of corporations out there, but particularly publicly, the NBA. Watch for a bunch of American politicians to make it harder for the NBA going forward, saying how dare you kowtow to the Chinese when you're all about "Black Lives Matter" inside the United States. No fun.

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