Sign up for GZERO Media's global politics newsletter

{{ subpage.title }}

Donald Trump announces that he will once again run for US president in 2024 during an event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The world watches Trump

Americans were watching as Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy on Tuesday night, but Trump’s entry into the race also grabbed the attention of political leaders around the globe.

Read Now Show less

Damages from the hits in Przewodów, a village in eastern Poland near the border with Ukraine.

Reuters

What We're Watching: Missiles in Poland, Chinese anger at zero-COVID

Who fired those missiles into Poland?

Explosions apparently caused by rockets or missiles killed two people Tuesday in the Polish town of Przewodów, several miles from the Ukrainian border. The incident occurred amid a barrage of Russian missile attacks on critical infrastructure across Ukraine. Poland went on heightened military readiness as some Polish officials suggested the projectiles might be Russian. An investigation is underway.

But the plot thickened early Wednesday when US President Joe Biden said at an emergency meeting on the subject in Bali, where he’s attending the G-20, that preliminary info suggests it’s “unlikely” the weapons were fired "from Russia." This raises the prospect that malfunctioning Ukrainian air defenses could have been responsible, or that the missiles could have been fired from nearby Belarus, which has supported Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Russia, for its part, says it has nothing to do with the incident at all.

The big questions are: Was it in fact a Russian missile or not? If so, is there any evidence the attack was deliberate, as some Ukrainian officials have friskily suggested, or merely a mistake in the fog of war?

The implications are huge — Poland is a NATO member, so any deliberate attack by Russia would raise the prospect of invoking the alliance’s Article 5 collective defense mechanism, in which all members go on a war footing to respond. That, of course, could set in motion an escalation between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.

In the meantime, an Article 4 response is possible: a much mellower undertaking in which the alliance convenes a formal discussion on the incident but doesn’t take military action.

But a big question remains: Even if this incident was a Ukrainian own goal or a Russian mistake, what would NATO’s response be if Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to tweak the alliance with a bite along the Polish border?

Read Now Show less

Evgeny Prigozhin (L) assists Russian President Vladimir Putin

Reuters

The man with his own army

Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Wagner Group mercenary force and a longtime ally to Vladimir Putin, has become an increasingly prominent figure in the war in Ukraine — and perhaps in Russia’s future. His private army, media platform, and Putin’s deepening dependence on his fighters to bolster Russia’s lousy military performance make him a character worth a close look.

Who is Yevgeny Prigozhin?

Little is known about Prigozhin before the nine years he spent in prison as a young adult following his conviction on robbery and fraud charges. After his release in the dying days of the Soviet Union, he set up a highly profitable hot dog stand in St. Petersburg, and from there he built a restaurant business that helped feed Russian soldiers and later catered events for Russia’s richest and most powerful. He also caught the attention of Vladimir Putin.

Read Now Show less

A Lula supporter watches the presidential runoff election results in Brasilia.

REUTERS/Diego Vara

What We’re Watching: Lula wins Brazilian nail-biter, Russia kills Ukraine grain deal

Lula wins a tight victory in Brazil

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will return to the top job in Brazil after winning the runoff election against sitting President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday. It was, as expected, a very close contest: with 99% of the ballots in, Lula got 50.83% of the vote compared to Bolsonaro's 49.17%.

Read Now Show less
Luisa Vieira

Winter is coming

The image of Russian (and Ukrainian) soldiers dug into snow banks to repel invaders has a long history. Napoleon and Hitler learned the hard way that winter provides defenders with a major home-field advantage.

Once again, winter will soon descend on a battlefield. Rain will turn hard earth into mud, slowing military movement. Snow will leave advancing forces with fewer places to hide and no good way to cover their tracks.

Ukrainian fighters know that winter will slow their current momentum, and Russians know it will cripple their ability to push hard in the opposite direction.

Read Now Show less
Annie Gugliotta

Another nuclear showdown?

Sixty years ago on Friday, Maj. Richard Heyser took hundreds of photos of suspicious installations in the Cuban countryside from a US spy plane. Close inspection of the photos back in Washington revealed that the Soviet government, then led by Nikita Khrushchev, had secretly installed missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads over 90 miles of ocean to hit targets across much of the United States. You can hear audio recordings of the initial White House discussion of this threat here.

Over the following days, the White House and Kremlin found themselves looking for ways to avoid nuclear war. The crisis was resolved when a deal was reached that pulled the Soviet missiles from Cuba and later withdrew US missiles from Turkey.

Today, a Kremlin leader has created a new crisis. A Russian invasion has produced a military stalemate in the south and east of Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin has warned that nuclear weapons remain an option for Russia if he believes his country’s national security is threatened. Other Russian officials and allies have issued more explicit threats. President Joe Biden has invoked “the prospect of Armageddon” and spoken about lessons from the Cuban Missile Crisis that might help avert catastrophe today.

Read Now Show less

Leaders pose at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia conference in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Reuters

Hard Numbers: Putin talks, Trump subpoenaed, Social Security boost, France sends Germany gas, Iraq’s new PM

11: Representatives from 11 countries – including Belarus, Iran, Qatar, Pakistan, Turkey, and Russia – are gathering in Kazakhstan to discuss regional economic cooperation. Russia’s Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and reportedly proposed that Ankara become a new hub for Russian gas supplies to third countries (spoiler: that’s not happening).

Read Now Show less

Gasoline pump out of gas following the strike of the employees of the oil refineries in France.

Reuters

What We’re Watching: French fuel fury, China’s next premier, Putin's offer

France’s striking oil workers

Two weeks into strikes by French oil refinery workers over a pay dispute, the government has ordered some striking employees back to work to get petrol flowing. Workers are demanding wage increases to offset rising inflation, and the strikes have taken more than 60% of the country’s oil capacity offline. While ExxonMobil workers reportedly struck a deal for a 6.5% wage increase plus bonuses, unions representing Total Energies employees are demanding a 10% wage increase. On Wednesday, the unions voted to continue striking, defying the summons. The right to strike is protected in France, but a minimum number of workers needed to maintain a public service can be ordered to return to work … or risk a whopping 10,000 euro fine ($9,700) and time behind bars. Although Macron is keen to avoid further disruptions to the energy sector, he must tread carefully. The price of gas is a sensitive issue in France – fuel costs and economic inequality sparked the Yellow Vest movement that brought the country to a standstill in 2018. The last thing he wants to do is fuel more demonstrations, and there are already protests planned for Sunday in Paris over inflation and proposed pension reforms. Given the global energy crisis, heads of state worldwide will be watching carefully to see how Macron navigates the situation.

Read Now Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

Latest