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Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin speaks with mercenaries during the withdrawal of his forces from Bakhmut in Ukraine.

Press service of "Concord"/Handout via REUTERS

Wagner Group vs. Russian military, again

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the hardline boss of the Wagner Group mercenary outfit, on Sunday turned down an order for his fighters to sign contracts with the Russian army by the end of June, which Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says would make Russia's war machine more effective in Ukraine. (On Monday, Chechen warlord and Prigozhin rival Ramzan Kadyrov announced that his men had signed on the dotted line.)

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A combination picture shows Chinese leaders Xi Jinping, Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, and Li Xi.

REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

What We’re Watching: Xi the all-powerful, Sunak the frontrunner, Shoigu the (nuclear) warmonger

All the secretary-general’s men

As expected, Xi Jinping was "re-elected" to a third term as secretary-general of China's ruling Communist Party on Sunday, a day after its 20th Congress wrapped up in Beijing. (The tightly scripted event had a bit of drama when his predecessor, Hu Jintao, was escorted out for “health reasons” as Xi looked on.) More importantly, the CCP unveiled its new seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, now made up entirely of Xi loyalists.

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