(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warnings that he may resort to deploying tactical nuclear weapons must be taken seriously. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s staff clarified comments he made Thursday after Russian officials seized on them to accuse the Ukrainian president of calling on NATO allies to carry out a nuclear strike against Russia.

Russia’s top energy official, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, said a price cap on its exports would backfire and might lead to a temporary cut in production. Novak reinforced the Kremlin’s warning that his country won’t sell oil to any countries that adopt the cap. The Kremlin said the production cut isn’t a sign of solidarity. 

Moscow’s forces launched multiple rockets against the city of Zaporizhzhia, about 52 kilometers (32 miles) from the namesake nuclear plant, on Wednesday night. And two Russians sought refuge in the US after fleeing to Alaska to avoid their country’s conscription.

 

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Key Developments

  • Biden Team Seethes Over OPEC+ Cut That Darkens Election Outlook
  • Biden Says Putin Threats Real, Could Spark Nuclear ‘Armageddon’
  • Mark Carney Sounds Alarm Amid Weaponization of Fossil Fuels
  • Kremlin Lets State Media Tell Some Truth on Putin’s Stalling War

On the Ground

Five of Russia’s drones -- four of them made in Iran -- were destroyed by Ukraine’s anti-missile forces on Thursday, the Ukrainians said in a statement on Facebook. Ukraine’s General Staff said Moscow’s troops are still trying to disrupt Kyiv’s counteroffensive, while continuing attempts to conduct offensive actions in the direction of Bakhmut and Avdiivka. Kyiv’s forces are advancing farther in the Russia-occupied Kherson region.Two missiles were launched by Russian jets from Belarusian air space - for the first time since late August, and both hit the area near Shepetivka in central Ukraine, hundreds of miles from the front line. 

(All times CET)

Biden Says US Trying to Find ‘Off-Ramp’ for Putin (3:55 a.m.)

Biden said the US is trying to find an “off-ramp” for Putin and worries that his threats to use tactical nuclear weapons are real and could lead to “Armageddon.”

“We’re trying to figure out what is Putin’s off-ramp? Where does he get off? Where does he find a way out?” Biden said Thursday at a fundraiser in New York City. “Where does he find himself in a position that he does not, not only lose face but lose significant power in Russia?”

“He is not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological and chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming,” Biden added. 

Russia Pounces on Zelenskiy’s ‘Strike’ Comment (10:04 p.m.)

Zelenskiy’s staff issued a statement clarifying comments he made earlier Thursday after Russian officials seized on them to accuse the Ukrainian president of calling on NATO allies to carry out a nuclear strike against Moscow.

Zelenskiy said that in the days before Russia invaded his country in February, NATO should have deterred the Kremlin from using nuclear weapons by carrying out “preventative strikes.” His office said he meant sanctions, which were the only measures on the table at the time.

“Colleagues, you have gone a little too far with your nuclear hysteria and are now hearing nuclear strikes even where there is none,” Zelenskiy’s staff said in the statement. 

Two Russians Seek Refuge in Alaska, Fleeing Conscription (9:46 p.m.)

Two Russians are seeking refuge in the US after fleeing to Alaska to avoid military conscription for the war in Ukraine.

The pair arrived Oct. 4, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. According to a spokesman, they were brought to Anchorage where their claims under US immigration law will be processed.

“This incident makes two things clear: First, the Russian people don’t want to fight Putin’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” Senator Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, said in a statement. “Second, given Alaska’s proximity to Russia, our state has a vital role to play in securing America’s national security.”

Zelenskiy Urges IAEA Chief to Condemn Russian Claim to Nuclear Plant (8:01 p.m.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he urged Rafael Mariano Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to condemn Russia’s move to take formal ownership of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which Russian troops have been occupying since March. 

“We have been waiting for a tough IAEA’s statement, the society’s waiting too,” Zelenskiy said after meeting with Grossi in Kyiv. The president also wants to resume the plant’s operation, which would allow the government to ensure the electricity supply to Ukrainian and European customers.

Grossi will also visit Russia as the IAEA pushes for a safety zone around the nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe.

Ukraine Picks Successor to Central Bank Chief Accused of Graft (7:55 p.m.)

Ukraine tapped a former bank chief to replace central bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko, who said anti-graft authorities had accused him in an embezzlement case. Zelenskiy nominated Andriy Pyshnyi, formerly the chief executive of government-controlled lender Oschadbank and a politician, to take over from Shevchenko.

Earlier, the anti-corruption bureau said it sent a notice of suspicion in an embezzlement case to an unnamed senior official involved in an alleged scheme to siphon 206 million hryvnia ($5.6 million) from a state-run lender. Shevchenko, who resigned Tuesday citing health reasons, denied wrongdoing, calling the investigation politically motivated. 

Shevchenko wrote on Facebook that he decided to cite “my deteriorating health” as the sole reason for his resignation because “I was fully aware of my responsibility for Ukraine’s financial stability and reputation.” But he added, “I decided not to talk about the almost two years of political pressure, which had intensified on the eve of my resignation, and seriously aggravated my health problems.”

Kremlin Lets State Media Tell Some Truth (6:20 p.m.)

With its troops losing ground almost daily, the Kremlin has told some of its state media to start admitting some of the failings of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, worried that its relentlessly upbeat propaganda was fueling growing public doubts.

“We have to stop lying,” Andrey Kartapolov, a former general who now heads the Defense Committee in the lower house of parliament, said on a popular online talk show this week. “Our people aren’t stupid.” 

Ex-Banker Pyshnyi Top Candidate for Ukraine Central Bank (2:30 p.m.)

The nomination of Andriy Pyshnyi, formerly the chief executive officer of government-controlled lender Oschadbank and a politician, is to be submitted to parliament on Friday. He is the top candidate to take over Ukraine’s central bank after Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko unexpectedly resigned this week.

Ex-Banker Pyshnyi Top Candidate for Ukrainian Central Bank Chief

US Giving Ukraine $55 Million for Winter (1:45 p.m.)

The new funding will be administered via the USAID Energy Security project , its administrator, Samantha Power, said in Kyiv, according to the agency’s website. The aid package will help support the reparation and maintenance of pipes and other equipment to deliver heating nationwide.

Seven million Ukrainians will benefit from the assistance for homes, hospitals, schools and businesses. Power generators, alternative fuel and shelters will also be provided, including for the socially vulnerable and for internally displaced people.

Putin Critic Charged With State Treason, Tass Says (12:57 p.m.)

Russian opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza has been charged with state treason for allegedly working for a NATO state, the Tass state news service reported, a move that threatens him with as much as two decades in prison.

Kara-Murza has been in detention since April, charged with spreading disinformation about the Russian army in Ukraine. 

Kara-Murza twice suffered near-fatal poisonings. According to an investigation by the Bellingcat group, the same Russian intelligence agents accused of poisoning opposition leader Alexey Navalny in 2020 also tailed Kara-Murza.

Sweden Says Detonations Damaged Nord Stream Pipelines (12:45 p.m.)

The Swedish Security Service stated that the detonations caused the damage to the Nord Stream pipeline system in the country’s exclusive economic zone.

The completed investigation has “strengthened the suspicions of serious sabotage,” the Security Service said in a statement. 

OPEC+ Decision Not Sign of Solidarity, Kremlin Says (12:26 p.m.)

The OPEC+ decision to cut production isn’t a sign of solidarity with Russia, but is aimed at stabilizing the oil market, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response to a question about US criticism that the deal reflects closer ties between Moscow and Saudi Arabia.

 

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