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On Saturday, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said the U.S. expects to see a "reduced tempo" in the fighting in Ukraine to continue over the next few months before counteroffensives resume in earnest in the spring. Ukraine appears keen to rebuff a claim by a U.S. official that fighting in the war could take on a "reduced tempo" over winter. Destroyed Russian vehicles and tanks in Mykhailivska Square on Nov. 19, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ukraine has been keen to dispel any idea of a lull in the fighting or loss of momentum in their counteroffensives, with President Zelenskyy calling for unity and for citizens to support one another as freezing temperatures set in. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense has been posting videos of tanks plowing through muddy, water-logged fields in recent days, and high morale among its soldiers.
European markets are heading for a tepid open on Monday, bucking a positive trend in Asia-Pacific markets overnight, where shares rose on Monday as China relaxed Covid testing rules in some cities and signaled more easing may come. Oil prices rose 2% before paring gains to trade around 1% higher as OPEC+ stuck to its policy of lowering oil production and as China relaxed some of its Covid rules. The alliance of OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed to stay the course on output policy ahead of a pending ban from the European Union on Russian crude. European markets closed lower Friday, influenced by a decline in U.S. markets as investors digested the latest U.S. jobs data that showed payrolls rose by 263,000 in November, a bigger gain than expected. It was the final monthly employment report before the Fed's two-day meeting on Dec. 13-14, in which the central bank is expected to slow to a 50 basis point interest rate hike from the 75 basis point hikes seen in recent months.
Intense fighting around Bakhmut in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine is inflicting high losses on Russian forces, with a Ukrainian official telling CNBC Wednesday that there are "mountains of corpses of Russian invaders" in the area. "Both regular Russian troops, the newly mobilized as well as mercenaries of the Wagner group, they're all fighting [around Bakhmut]. The so-called "Battle of Bakhmut" has been likened to the Battle of Verdun in World War 1, with scenes of trenches and mass destruction being posted on social media. Russia is seen to want to capture Bakhmut and to then advance to Kramatorsk and Sloviansk. It's hard to verify how many casualties both Ukraine and Russia have counted in the Battle of Bakhmut but both claim to have killed hundreds of each other's soldiers.
European markets are heading for a higher open Thursday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said smaller interest rate hikes could begin in December. Speaking at an event Wednesday, Powell said he expects the central bank will be in a position to reduce the size of rate hikes as soon as next month. However, he warned that monetary policy is likely to stay restrictive for some time until real signs of progress on inflation emerge.
European markets are heading for a higher open on Wednesday as regional markets await the latest inflation data from the euro zone in November. Elsewhere overnight, Asia-Pacific shares were mostly higher on Wednesday as the reading for China's November factory activity fell short of expectations, dropping to the lowest reading since April. Chinese health officials on Tuesday announced measures to boost vaccination among the elderly, an indicator seen as important for reopening the economy. When asked if recent unrest would lead to a shift in its zero-Covid policy, they said they were "closely watching the virus" for developments. Meanwhile, U.S. stock futures inched up Wednesday morning as investors await a speech later today from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that may give further insight into future interest rate hikes.
Ukrainian tankers man their positions atop a tank in a muddy field near an undisclosed frontline position in eastern Ukraine on November 28, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The sight of trenches, endless mud and mass destruction — with just the stumps of trees emerging from a boggy, churned up landscape — is rightly associated with World War I. The Donbas is a region in eastern Ukraine that contains two pro-Russian, so-called "republics" that Russia says it wants to "liberate." The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense tweeted a video of trenches in the area, saying the Ukrainian infantry had been holding the line for several months under heavy fire from Russian forces. In the end, the French forces won the battle but it came to symbolize the immense destructiveness and human cost of war.
Members of the Ukrainian army prepare BM-21 Grad rockets to be launched in Bakhmut, Donetsk, Ukraine, on Nov. 26, 2022. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the situation at the front as difficult, with intense fighting in the east, northeast and south of Ukraine. On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a $53 million assistance package to help repair Ukraine's electrical grid, which has been severely damaged by Russian shelling. Millions of Ukrainians remain without power, and many without water, as a result of Russian shelling. Temperatures have plunged in the country, making daily life even harder for civilians.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Leaders meeting in Yerevan on November 23, 2022. That, Russian political analysts say, will be catastrophic for Putin and the Kremlin, who have banked Russia's global capital on winning the war against Ukraine. They told CNBC that anxiety was rising in Moscow over how the war was progressing. Needless to say, that latest withdrawal darkened the mood even among the most ardent Putin supporters. Another Russian analyst said Putin is increasingly desperate not to lose the war.
European markets are heading for a mixed open as investors continue to monitor news from China over Covid restrictions. Stocks in Hong Kong led gains in the Asia-Pacific alongside Chinese indexes after media reports said China's state council will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. Beijing time. There has been some speculation that some kind of change to China's zero-Covid policy could be announced given growing unrest over continuing lockdowns. China saw a drop in the number of daily infections Monday for the first time in more than a week.
Speculation is mounting that Russia could try to mobilize men in the occupied part of Kherson, in southern Ukraine, in December. However, it is not exclusive that all men will fall under the 'mobilization', and not only the holders of enemy passports." Russian forces withdrew from the western bank of the Dnipro river to the eastern (or "left") bank earlier in November. Russia has already attempted to "Russify" occupied areas by handing out Russian passports and promoting Russian language and culture while suppressing that of Ukraine. The Center of National Resistance called on the residents in the "TOT," or "temporarily occupied territory," to leave the region "and not become a resource for the enemy."
European markets are heading for a lower open on Monday as investors keep a close eye on unrest in China as protests against strict Covid measures and lockdowns erupted over the weekend. The unrest came as infections surged, prompting more local Covid controls, while a central government policy change earlier this month had raised hopes of a gradual easing. Youth unemployment has neared 20%. Hong Kong stocks led losses in a negative Asia-Pacific session on Monday amid the unrest in China over its continued zero-Covid policy. Oil futures hovered around new 2022 lows as demand concerns over the world's second-largest consumer of oil weighed on prices.
We know this for a fact," Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Sunday. He urged defense forces and citizens to work together to withstand expected future attacks. Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country must prepare for new missile attacks from Russia, while millions still remain without power as a result of relentless bombardment of Ukraine's energy infrastructure. Ukraine's power network came under intense attack last week, with Zelenskyy saying Friday evening that blackouts persisted in most regions as well as the capital of Kyiv. "I know that, unfortunately, not in all cities the local government has done a good job.
Alexander Nemenov | Afp | Getty ImagesProminent supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin are using increasingly "genocidal rhetoric" when discussing and demonizing Ukrainians, analysts note, with some pro-war commentators cheering the concept of the "liquidation" of the modern state of Ukraine. "To be a 'Ukrainian' one does not even have to speak the Ukrainian language (which is also still being formed). "All this can be stopped only through the liquidation of Ukrainian statehood in its current form," Medvedev said. Another popular motif being used by pro-war, pro-Putin bloggers is characterizing Ukraine and Ukrainians as "evil" or "sadists" or "Satanists." "As ISW has previously reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin has similarly employed such genocidal language in a way that is fundamentally incompatible with calls for negotiations."
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded with the U.N. Security Council to act against Russia, saying it was responsible for a "crime against humanity" as Ukraine continues to suffer relentless missile strikes against its energy infrastructure. Millions of civilians in Ukraine are living without power, water or heat as Russia continues to pound the country's energy facilities as cold temperatures set in. Ten people died yesterday as a result of further shelling, one Ukrainian official said, with Zelenskyy saying Russia had fired 70 missiles at civilian infrastructure. "When we have the temperature below zero, and further millions of people stay without energy supplies, without heating, without water, this is an obvious crime against humanity," he said.
European markets are heading for a mixed open on Thursday as investors assessed the latest meeting minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Minutes from the November meeting signaled that the central bank is seeing progress in its fight against high inflation and is looking to slow the pace of rate hikes, meaning smaller ones through the end of this year and into 2023. "A substantial majority of participants judged that a slowing in the pace of increase would likely soon be appropriate," the minutes stated. Overnight, markets in the Asia-Pacific traded higher, reacting positively to the Fed saying it expected to switch to smaller rate hikes "soon." U.S. stocks closed higher Wednesday following a choppy session.
There are "no immediate safety or security concerns" at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following heavy shelling throughout the weekend, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. However, while key equipment remained intact, the assessment team found widespread damage across the site. Operating and maintenance staff are already repairing some of the damage and plant personnel are cleaning up the site, the IAEA said. Grossi has repeatedly warned against fighting near the site, most recently saying that whoever was responsible for the attacks was "playing with fire." The renewed attacks on and around the nuclear site have intensified Grossi's calls for a protection zone, which would prevent shelling near the plant.
European markets are heading for a higher open Tuesday as investors in the region appear to shrug off concerns among their U.S. and Asia-Pacific counterparts over China's tightening of Covid restrictions, which are continuing to pressure output. Investors continue to watch economic data closely and assess how it could affect the trajectory of monetary policy from central banks. Global investors have taken some heart from recent, lower-than-expected consumer and wholesale inflation prints in the United States, prompting bets that the Federal Reserve would have to slow its aggressive interest rate hikes.
Daily life has become a test of survival for many, with basic necessities such as water, food and medical provisions becoming scarce. Kherson residents collect water at a water point in the city that has had no electricity or water since the Russian retreat on November 16, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine. Firefighters work to put out a fire at energy infrastructure facilities, damaged by Russian missile strike, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv region, Ukraine November 15, 2022. EvacuationsUkrainian officials in parts of the country most badly affected by power shortages are warning residents of a harsh winter ahead. Residents talk with train station staff while waiting to be evacuated from Kherson on Nov. 21, 2022 in Kherson, Ukraine.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Ukraine is in a good position to keep fighting Russia's invading forces through winter. "I think they'll be in much better condition than their adversaries, because of the things that we provide. Their focus is to make sure that they're doing everything to take back every edge of their sovereign territory," he said. He added that it's "hard to predict how things will evolve" or what kind of timeline there might be for the war ending, however. And so we've seen a number of successes on the battlefield."
European markets are heading for a lower open on Monday as investors continue to assess inflationary pressures and the possible trajectory of central bank interest rates. European markets closed higher on Friday last week as investors continued to assess the trajectory of monetary policy after some tough statements from U.S. Federal Reserve officials. Global markets have taken some heart from lower-than-expected consumer and wholesale inflation prints recently, prompting bets that the U.S. central bank would have to slow its aggressive interest rate hikes. Overnight, shares in the Asia-Pacific mostly fell on Monday amid growing Covid concerns in China as its central bank kept the benchmark lending rates, or loan prime rates, on hold. Meanwhile, S&P 500 futures fell slightly Sunday evening ahead of another batch of retail earnings to kick off a shortened week in the U.S. ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
European markets are set to open mixed on Thursday as political uncertainty continues in the region. Global markets are watching developments in Ukraine as the fallout from a missile hitting Polish territory continues. NATO said it was likely that Ukrainian air defenses were trying to intercept Russian missiles when the incident happened on Tuesday evening. Overnight, shares in the Asia-Pacific traded mostly lower with the Hang Seng Index falling 2.5% as Chinese technology stocks saw sharp losses. Investors are also anticipating more than half a dozen speakers from the Federal Reserve talking at events around the country Thursday.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had "no doubt" that his country was not to blame for a missile strike that hit a Polish village, killing two people, despite NATO's initial assessment that the blast took place as Ukraine was trying to defend itself against Russia. Zelenskyy said on Ukrainian TV Wednesday that his top military commanders had assured him that "it was not our missile and not our missile strike" that was the cause of Tuesday's incident, which provoked an international furor and fears that a wider conflict between NATO and Russia could erupt. "I have no doubt in [Tuesday's] report to me personally — from the Commander of the Air Force to Commander-in-Chief [Valery] Zaluzhny — that it was not our missile and not our missile strike," Zelenskyy said. If someone says that this is our rocket, should we be in a joint investigative group? Suspicions as to who was behind the attack fell on Russia, particularly given a huge barrage of missile strikes that its forces had inflicted on cities across Ukraine during Tuesday.
"The enemy thinks that he will weaken our defense with strikes on energy and will be able to hit us in the back. This is a naive tactic of cowardly losers that we are ready for," Yermak said in a statement on Telegram. Ukraine experienced a massive attack on its energy infrastructure on Tuesday with Kyiv claiming that Russia targeted it with around 100 cruise missiles, damaging energy infrastructure in several regions. Ukraine's national energy company, and Energy Minister German Galushchenko, called the Russian attack on Ukraine's energy system the most massive attack in the country's history, and since the war started. It said Tuesday's strikes were "likely the largest number of strikes that Russia has conducted in a single day since the first week of the invasion."
Ukraine's defense ministry responded cautiously to reports suggesting its own armed forces fired a missile that hit Poland, killing two people, saying the issue was "very sensitive" as more details emerge about the incident. Early Wednesday morning, the Associated Press reported, citing three unnamed U.S. officials, that preliminary assessments indicated "the missile that struck Poland had been fired by Ukrainian forces at an incoming Russian missile." Late Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden said it's "unlikely" the missile that killed two people in Poland was fired from Russia, citing the trajectory of the rocket. President Andrzej Duda of Poland said Tuesday night that his government didn't yet conclusively know who fired a missile that struck Polish territory. [U.S. President] Joe Biden, when he was making his comment, he was also cautious because everybody understands that this is a very sensitive issue," he said.
Members of the police searching the fields near the village of Przewodow in Poland on November 16, 2022. Preliminary analysis, as previously reported, suggests that the incident was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to intercept a Russian missile. The comments come after the alliance's North Atlantic Council held an emergency meeting following a missile strike that hit Poland on Tuesday night, killing two civilians. Those assessments came after Biden said Tuesday that it was "unlikely" the missile was fired from Russia, citing the trajectory of the rocket. President Andrzej Duda of Poland said Wednesday that there was no indication that this was an intentional attack on Poland.
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