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ZH Geopolitical Week Ahead: Chaos In Brazil, China Reopens Borders, Heavy Tanks For Ukraine

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jan 09, 2023 - 10:20 PM

A weekly round-up of geopolitical flashpoint and energy news we're keeping our eyes on, and trends impacting global markets, which will later be accessible for Premium members and above...

With the smoke still clearing from Brazil's capital amid the pro-Bolsonaro unrest, Lula is ready to go on the offensive and 'punish' the 'rioters' and so-called "terrorists", with the to-be-expected comparisons to Jan.6 filling mainstream headlines. Bolsonaro himself has been in Florida since last month, and Monday was admitted to the hospital, but there's growing calls from US progressive lawmakers to cancel his visa. This despite widespread admissions, including from the NYT, that he called on his supporters to allow for peaceful transition of power, and to essentially 'move on'. Brazil's currency slipped in the immediate aftermath, with uncertainty in still spooked Brazilian markets after volatile trade amid the initial 'shock' of the capital chaos...

Brasil events meant that media consumers were given a brief respite from non-stop Russia-Ukraine developments dominating headlines, as CNN and others focused on scenes of the weekend chaos which gripped Brasilia. And yet the conflict in Eastern Europe is still escalating, with the Kremlin on Monday stressing it sees itself as already at war with NATO inside Ukraine. This as Western allies, with the UK leading the way, are now weighing heavy tanks for Ukraine, and not just the troop carriers or 'light tanks' earlier pledged by France and the US. The West continues to go 'all in' regarding keeping Kiev away from the negotiating table, as was on display concerning Putin's failed Christmas truce attempt. Zelensky is meanwhile thanking Washington for the latest $3 billion "Christmas present". The White House is touting that Ukraine aid is "rock solid" through at least 2023.

China continues its big reopening amid its Covid strategy pivot, with reports of Chinese citizens scrambling to get their passports in order, perhaps just waiting anxiously for a reversal by Beijing authorities and planners. But reports of huge numbers of infected amid the Covid wave continue unabated for now. China and the US keep signaling over Taiwan, with the Chinese PLA steadily ramping up war drills and muscle-flexing, with breaches of the Taiwan Strait median line now becoming a regular thing. The US-Taiwan trade delegation talks - with the involvement of Biden administration officials - are set to kick off Saturday, with Beijing's reaction anticipated to be fierce. 

Below are global developments we are closely following this week...

Russia-Ukraine

  • Putin's Christmas ceasefire is being widely seen as a failure, with NY Times calling it 'effort to divide the West': NYT

  • Heavy shelling was reported in Ukraine's east through much of the 'ceasefire': Rtrs

  • Friday's new $3.075 billion weapons package is to include some 50 Bradley Fighting Vehicles for the first time: Politico

  • Western allies weigh sending heavy tanks: WSJ

  • "Bloodiest fighting" currently at Bakhmut and Soledar: Axios

  • Russians fleeing possibility of being sent to war stranded at Seoul airport: Moscow Times

  • Kremlin official says 'not at war with Ukraine, but whole of NATO': TASS

  • Over 100 Russian artists and public figures on a Ukraine sanctions list: AJ

  • Zelensky revoked the citizenship of 13 Orthodox priests: IFX

  • Russia probes its own prominent critics: AP

  • US alleged Iran "contributing to widespread war crimes" in Ukraine: Axios

  • Sweden says Turkey making demands it can't fulfil for NATO membership: FT

  • Sweden conscription for better defense readiness? RT

  • Erdogan says he's ready to mediate "lasting peace" in Ukraine: AA

  • Russia claimed Sunday it conducted a retaliation strike on Ukrainian troops, killing 600: VOA

  • Ukraine vehemently denies the Russian strike claims on a barracks in Kramatorsk: BBC

  • Ukraine school at location rejects claim: AP

  • Foreign policy "experts" think Russia will collapse or break apart in next decade: BI

  • US not seeing any indications Belarus will send troops into Ukraine: Sky News

  • Both sides in talks for more prisoner swaps: Sky News

  • Kiev claims Moscow to mobilize 500k more conscripts: Politico

China-Asia

  • New Chinese drills near Taiwan: Rtrs

  • Beijing angry after US Navy's 1st Taiwan Strait transit of 2023: Maritime Executive

  • War-gaming a China-Taiwan conflict: CNN

  • US military deepens ties with Japan and Philippines to prepare for China threat: FT

  • China extending supply and logistics network deep into South Pacific? SCMP

  • European delegation visits Taiwan: Republic World

  • Readying for US-Taiwan trade delegation talks involving Biden admin: BBG

  • Qin Gang's first trip as FM is to Africa: SCMP

  • Travel influx as China reopens: AP 

  • Chinese citizens rush to renew passports as Covid border curbs lifted: Rtrs

  • Hong Kong, China border reopening: Japan Times

  • Official says than 88 million people in 3rd most populous province have Covid: BBC

  • Kim Jong-un recently called for an "exponential" increase in the production of nuclear weapons

  • Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing recently, pledged that maritime disputes will be handled in "friendly" manner: Al Arabiya 

  • Japan PM Kishida starts tour of G7 countries, talks military build-up and chip supply: Rtrs

Middle East

  • Drone shot down over Iraqi air base, Ain al-Asad, hosting US forces: New Arab

  • Iranians demonstrate against protest-related executions: BBC

  • Iranian diplomats to be expelled from Western countries?: VOA

  • Israeli gov bars Palestinian flags from all public places: MEE

  • Over $9BN pledged by international donors for Pakistan flood recovery: AJ

  • Heavy fighting in oil-rich Yemeni province: Xinhua

  • Economic collapse, misery especially in northern Syria: MEE

  • US not happy with Syria-Turkey reconciliation talks; Assad & Erdogan to meet? The Cradle

Latin America/World

  • Immigration, trade top agenda for Biden's Mexico visit: VOA

  • Biden first president to visit Mexico since 2014: WaPo

  • Biden's "tightly controlled visit" to southern border his 1st time as president: CNN

  • Venezuelan Embassy in US shuttered as opposition crumbles: AW

  • Brazil unrest: hundreds of Bolsonaro supporters arrested: WSJ

  • Pundits make J6 comparisons, condemn "terrorism", Lula vows punishment: WaPo

  • Wife says Bolsonaro admitted to hospital in Florida: BBC

  • US progressive lawmakers want Bolsonaro booted: NYT

  • Russian ship under US sanctions stops in S.Africa, prompting questions: WSJ

Energy

  • US gasoline demand and prices still rising: OP

  • China expands South China Sea gas field: SCMP

  • Kuwait plans to increase diesel exports to EU: The Cradle

  • Energy crisis makes Europe the world’s premium LNG market: OP

  • Russia’s Rosneft looks to supply gas to China via Power Of Siberia 2 Pipeline: OP

  • ‘Meltdown’ of European industry averted with warm winter, Germany’s Habeck says: BBG

  • Canadians will see high oil, gas prices through 2023, experts say: 'A very expensive time': GN

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