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Biden speaks to Scholz during an EU leaders summit in Brussels.

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

What We're Watching: US-EU gas deal, Putin's ruble ruse, China-India meeting

EU signs US gas deal amid Biden's European trip

US President Joe Biden kicked off his meetings in Europe on Thursday with a few big salvos. Ship more weapons and humanitarian aid to the Ukrainians? Check. Welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to the US? Check. Zoom with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky? Of course. Biden also said Russia should be booted from the G20, a grouping of the world's largest economies, ahead of a summit later this year in Indonesia.

The G-7 countries and the EU leveled new sanctions on Thursday against more than 400 Russians, including members of the Russian legislature. But the allies still aren't giving Zelensky what he really wants: a NATO-enforced no-fly zone to let civilians escape Russian attacks.

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What We're Watching: Few Iraqis vote, Czech Republic in crisis, China-India talks crash again

Iraq's dud of an election: Just 41 percent of eligible Iraqi voters showed up at the polls this weekend, the lowest turnout in the post-Saddam Hussein era. Lack of enthusiasm for the vote – the first since mass protests in 2019 over political corruption and economic stagnation prompted a fierce crackdown – shows the depths of popular dissatisfaction with the political elite. The election came as Iraq grapples with crumbling infrastructure, a moribund economy, and ongoing sectarian strife among Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish players, with Iran meddling on behalf of the Shia groups. Preliminary results show that no candidate is on a path to win a clear majority, meaning that negotiations to choose a PM tasked with forming a government could take weeks or even months. Gulf countries and the US are hoping for a moderate who can ensure the stability of Iraq and challenge Iran's clout in the region. Iraq's current prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, in some ways fits the bill, having played a key role in mediating negotiations between longtime rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

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