Your Tuesday Briefing: Putin Addresses Russia

Putin addressed the revolt

President Vladimir Putin addressed the rebellion over the weekend by the Wagner mercenary group, led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a short televised speech yesterday. In his first public comments since Saturday, Putin tried to project unity and stability as questions swirled about the strength of his grip on power.

Putin appeared visibly angry as he denounced the rebellion as “blackmail” and claimed that “the entire Russian society united and rallied everyone.” He did not mention Prigozhin by name.

“They wanted Russians to fight each other,” he said. “They rubbed their hands, dreaming of taking revenge for their failures at the front and during the so-called counteroffensive.”

Earlier in the day, Prigozhin also spoke publicly for the first time since Saturday. He said that he wasn’t seeking to oust Putin and denied that he had any intention of seizing power. He said that he was only protesting the new law that he said would have effectively halted Wagner’s operations in Ukraine.

“We went to demonstrate our protest, and not to overthrow the government in the country,” Prigozhin said. Now, the future of the Wagner group remains unclear and Prigozhin could still face charges.

Analysis: The short-lived rebellion — the most dramatic challenge to Putin’s authority in his 23-year reign — could undermine his power in the long-term.

The war: Ukraine’s leaders are hoping to capitalize on the chaos in Russia to make gains on the front lines. The counteroffensive is off to a halting start, but leaders are urging patience and say the main push is yet to come.

A crackdown in Pakistan’s military

Pakistan’s military fired three senior army commanders and disciplined 15 top officers over their conduct during recent protests that supported Imran Khan, the former prime minister. Analysts said it was the strongest action the military has taken against its own in decades.

The crackdown sent a message that support for Khan would not be tolerated in the ranks. The punishments also underscored that the military would use an increasingly strong hand to quash support for Khan, who was ousted from power last year but has made a comeback in the months since.

Details: Violent demonstrations erupted last month after Khan was briefly arrested on corruption charges, accusations that he denied. A military spokesman said that the members of the military who had been disciplined had failed to secure military installations against attacks by protesters.

Arrests: Since the protests, at least 5,000 of Khan’s supporters have been arrested. A military spokesman said at least 102 will be tried in military courts, which has drawn widespread criticism from human rights groups.

U.S.-China relations complicate lending

Middle- and lower-income countries are grappling with untenable debts after years of low interest rates encouraged borrowing. The rivalry between China and the U.S. is now complicating their ability to get relief on time.

For decades, the I.M.F. has regularly prescribed austerity as a condition for financial aid. But in recent years, China has emerged as a major lender for developing countries across the world, and its loans are accompanied by fewer demands.

Now, the I.M.F. and the U.S., its most influential participant, have balked at providing some relief to debt-stressed countries until Chinese financial institutions participate. Otherwise, they say, Chinese lenders are free-riding on debt forgiveness extended by others. But as Beijing grows increasingly assertive, it has refused to bow to the West.

As a result, countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia and Pakistan — each facing escalating debts, much of it to state-owned Chinese lenders — are caught in the crossfire.

Case in point: Suriname was offered low-interest loans from the I.M.F., but the agency was adamant that Chinese creditors restructure $545 million in debt — loans Suriname had used to build roads and housing. The impasse delayed relief as inflation soared and children went hungry.


Around the World

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of a conservative Greek party, was sworn in for a second term after a landslide victory. It’s another win for the right in Europe.

An anticorruption candidate stunned Guatemala’s establishment by advancing to a runoff in the presidential race against a former first lady.

Sierra Leone’s main opposition party accused the military of attacking their headquarters after weekend elections.

A study found that loan officers in Uganda were more likely to offer credit to heavier-looking people. In a place where food can be scarce, obesity can signal financial security.

U.S. News

Climate change is intensifying flood risks in some of the country’s most populous areas.

A shortage of cancer drugs is forcing doctors to give priority to patients who have the best chance of survival.

Yasufumi Nakamori, a senior curator at the Tate Modern in London, will become director of the Asia Society in New York.

A Morning Read

In the Philippines, an annual rodeo on the island province of Masbate is both a competition and a celebration of the country’s unique cowboy culture, with roots in the Spanish and American colonial eras.

“Where there’s cattle, there’s rodeo,” said a livestock farmer who directs the festival’s rodeo events. “It is not necessarily American.”


Inside Barbie’s dream house

In 1962, American women were denied mortgage applications because of their sex or marital status. But that year, Barbie bought her first home. It had a record player and a television set, but no kitchen. She was there to have fun, not to be a housewife.

In the years since, Barbie’s Dreamhouse has been a mirror for social, political and economic changes across the U.S. It responded to the sexual revolution, to the environmental movement and even to pandemic remote work.

Throughout that time, Barbie’s house has given little girls a subliminal, maybe even subversive, blueprint for economic liberation. Notably, the Dreamhouse was all her own — Ken wasn’t on the deed.

Barbiecore: Hot pink and magenta are surging in popularity in home décor. The forthcoming “Barbie” movie is serving as a catalyst.


What to Cook

This shish kebab is marinated in spiced yogurt.

What to Read

The novel “Banyan Moon” traces a family from 1960s Vietnam to present-day Florida.

What to Listen to

Here are nine new songs from our playlist.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Bit of fire (five letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Amelia

P.S. Take our photo-based geography quiz.

“The Daily” is about the rebellion in Russia.

You can reach us at [email protected].

Amelia Nierenberg writes the Asia Pacific Morning Briefing for The Times. @AJNierenberg

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