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FirstFT: Putin launches retaliation over Crimea bridge explosion

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Vladimir Putin has described Russia’s air strikes on Ukraine, its most extensive since the early weeks of his seven-month invasion, as retaliation for the bombing of the bridge linking Russia to the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.

Speaking at a meeting of his security council yesterday, the Russian president accused Kyiv of a “terrorist attack” at the Kerch bridge, damaged by an explosion on Saturday, and said “leaving such a crime without a response is just impossible”.

Though Putin claimed the targets were military, energy and communications assets, early footage and evidence of the damage showed that a playground and a bridge in central Kyiv were hit, as well as civilian infrastructure across the country. Russia’s defence ministry said its strikes “hit all the assigned targets”.

The Russian army has been losing ground in regions of south-eastern Ukraine that Putin unilaterally claimed as part of Russia last month. On Saturday, Moscow suffered a blow to its prestige after the attack on the bridge, a symbol of the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea, which it had claimed to be well guarded.

The strikes killed at least 10 people and injured at least 60, Maryanna Reva, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s police, said on state television, citing preliminary details.

Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Now, here is the rest of today’s news — Emily

1. China chip stocks fall hard owing to US export controls Shares in top Chinese chipmakers shed $8.6bn in market value yesterday as new US export controls threatened to obstruct Beijing’s plans for technological self-sufficiency.

2. EY accused of whitewashing suspicious trades Whistleblowers have accused EY of whitewashing suspicions of money laundering and tax evasion in an investigation it conducted this year for longstanding client Leonteq. The fintech company said it had “a strict zero tolerance policy regarding non-compliant business behaviour” and that all allegations were “managed, monitored and reported with due care and process”.

Line chart of Share price (SFr) showing Leonteq's stock has fallen by almost a third this year

3. Tesla hits China sales record Tesla’s sales in China have hit a new monthly high, reportedly selling 83,000 cars in September, just as Elon Musk garnered praise from Beijing for proposing to resolve the geopolitical crisis over Taiwan by placing it in a special administrative zone similar to Hong Kong.

4. Iranian celebrities fan flames of anti-regime protests Protests over the death of Mahsa Amini have widened to include calls for a secular, democratic government. The unrest has been amplified by social media and, in some cases, celebrities with large online followings.

5. Ex-Fed chair Bernanke wins Nobel economics prize Ben Bernanke, the former US Federal Reserve chair, has been awarded this year’s Nobel prize in economics together with Douglas Diamond of the University of Chicago and Philip Dybvig of Washington University, for their work on the role of banks in the economy and financial crises.

  • More US economy news: JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon predicted the US economy will probably tip into a recession next year, warning the downturn threatened to spark “panic” in credit markets.

The day ahead

G7 call with Ukrainian president Leaders will hold an emergency meeting with president Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss Monday’s Russian missile attacks on Ukrainian cities.

UAE president to meet Putin Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan will travel to Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin today, the UAE state news agency has reported. The visit comes days after Opec’s oil output cut, which was made in spite of US pressure against the move.

Meta Platforms’ Connect event The company will hold its annual showcase of new augmented and virtual reality products, including the much touted headset codenamed Project Cambria. (TechCrunch)

Global Financial Stability Report IMF publishes its report assessing the global financial system and markets.

What else we’re reading

The threat to freedom of expression in India India’s clamorous public square and disquisitive journalistic and intellectual culture has been a point of pride for many citizens. But some now decry a clampdown on freedom of expression that, they say, has widened beyond media organisations and journalists to public intellectuals, think-tanks and comedians, too.

Line chart of Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom index, ranking out of 180 countries showing The slow slide of press freedom in India

Why I’d rather have Liz Truss than Xi Jinping as a leader The 20th national congress of the Chinese Communist party will be everything that the Tory party conference was not: choreographed, disciplined and united in support for an all-powerful leader. But the democratic British mess is preferable to China’s authoritarian model, writes Gideon Rachman.

The new rules for business in a post-neoliberal world Over 40 years ago, the Reagan-Thatcher revolution was born. Taxes were slashed, unions were squashed, markets were deregulated and global capital unleashed. But economic pendulums swing and, over the past couple of weeks, it’s become quite clear that anything remotely related to trickle-down theory is now political Kryptonite, writes Rana Foroohar.

Chinese tech groups bank on virtual influencers Virtual idols are having a moment. Over the past year, Chinese investment and tech groups have ploughed hundreds of millions of dollars into companies that develop digital influencers, which considered a safer option than human celebrities who could be deemed too politically outspoken or having questionable morals.

Why Musk didn’t exit his Twitter bid Before suddenly indicating last week that he wanted to complete the buyout on the original terms, Elon Musk had apparently been wavering on his deal to buy Twitter. But the US court ruling over generic drugmaker Akorn serves as a lesson of how hard it would be for any corporate acquirer in similar circumstances, to walk away, writes Sujeet Indap.


The Prince, Sue-Lin Wong’s chilling series about the Chinese president Xi Jinping, is “a Machiavellian story of power”. The new podcast from the Economist charts Xi’s rise through the ranks and the main world events, from the Tiananmen Square massacre to the fall of the Soviet Union, that helped shape his world view.

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