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Firefighters at the site of a Russian missile attack in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine.

State Emergency Service of Ukraine via Reuters Connect

What We’re Watching: G7 stands up to Putin, Israel and Lebanon reach maritime deal, South Korea touts missile shield

The war grinds on

Following another day of sound and fury as Russia fired more missiles into Ukrainian cities on Tuesday, G7 leaders announced “undeterred and steadfast” military and financial support for Ukraine’s defense and warned Vladimir Putin’s government that any Russian use of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons in Ukraine would be met with “severe consequences.” Ukrainian air defenses shot down some of Russia’s missiles on Tuesday, but Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky told G7 leaders that more and better systems were an urgent priority. On Wednesday, Putin is expected to meet with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at a security conference in Kazakhstan, and the Kremlin spokesman told reporters the two leaders might discuss the possibility of peace talks. So, in a week of dramatic images from Ukraine, what has really changed? Ukraine has proven it still has partisans inside Crimea that can inflict real damage on important Russian infrastructure. Putin has demonstrated that he’s willing to satisfy the demands of Russian nationalists to punish Ukrainian civilians, though he says the next steps will continue to be incremental. Russia’s dwindling stockpile of precision-guided missiles, which Western export controls will make hard to replace, dwindled further. And despite pleas for peace from foreign governments, neither Russia nor Ukraine has signaled any credible basis for compromise.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during an interview with Reuters in Kyiv.

REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

What We're Watching: Ukraine won't negotiate, AMLO busted spying, North Korean missile diplomacy

Ukraine on offense

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree on Tuesday asserting that all the lands that Russia’s Vladimir Putin claimed to annex last week — and Crimea, which Russia seized in 2014 — remain part of Ukraine. Zelensky and his generals appear to believe that Ukraine is winning the war with Russia, and they have battlefield advances to back up their case. The Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based military think tank, has reported that Ukraine has made “substantial gains” on both the eastern and southern fronts over the past few days and that the units they’re defeating are “some of Russia’s most elite forces.” No wonder Zelensky and many others would swat away suggestions from billionaire eccentric Elon Musk that Ukraine might trade land for peace. Russia has acknowledged recent losses, and blame continues to land on the country’s military brass. It’s not clear how far Ukraine can extend its current gains, but the recapture of Crimea, in particular, will be even more difficult than the more immediate tasks ahead for Ukrainian forces. But for now, Ukraine has pushed the Russian military, and the Kremlin, onto its heels.

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Ari Winkleman

The Graphic Truth: North Korea's missile menu

North Korea recently conducted its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile in almost five years. Pyongyang claims that the Hwasong-17 is its most advanced missile to date. Theoretically, the multi-warhead and nuclear-capable projectile (whose name means “Mars” in Korean) can reach the US mainland. We take a look at the range of North Korea’s missiles.

The photo, published on September 29, 2021, by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), shows the launch of what North Korea claims to be a new hypersonic missile, from Toyang-ri, in the Ryongrim region, in the province of Jagang, which was carried out this Tuesday.

REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Kim goes hypersonic, confident Europeans, Japan’s new safe hands

Kim Jong Un breaks the sound barrier: North Korea has announced the successful test of a "strategic weapon" that travels five times faster than the speed of sound. The Hwasong-8 missile, which is believed to be nuclear-capable, is a hypersonic weapon which is much harder for missile defense systems to track than conventional ballistic missiles. The US, China, Russia, and India are the only other countries known to be working with this highly sophisticated technology. And although experts aren't quite sure how developed the Hwasong-8 actually is, this is the third missile test that North Korea has conducted in the last month, suggesting that Pyongyang is getting plucky again as nuclear negotiations with the US remain in a deep freeze.

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China & US Economic Interdependence Hasn't Lessened | World In :60 | GZERO Media

China and US economic interdependence hasn't lessened

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at the China-US economic relationship, North Korea's missiles tests, and the New York Times' investigation of the US drone strike in Afghanistan.

China owns more than $1 trillion US debt, but how much leverage do they actually have?

I mean, the leverage is mutual and it comes from the enormous interdependence in the economic relationship of the United States and China. And it's about debt. And it's about trade. It's about tourism. It's about sort of mutual investment. Now. There is some decoupling happening in terms of labor, increasingly moving domestic in terms of the China five-year plan, dual circulation focusing more on domestic economy, and in terms of data systems breaking up, the internet of things, being Chinese or American, but not both. And indebtedness is part of that. But I don't see that unwinding anytime soon. And certainly, the Chinese knows if they're going to get rid of a whole bunch of American debt, they wouldn't be as diversified in global portfolio. Not as great, it's much riskier. And also, the price of those holdings, as they start selling them down would go down. So, I don't think there's a lot of leverage there, frankly. I think the leverage is interdependent.

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