FirstFT: Russia announces nuclear exercises as fresh Ukraine talks planned
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Russia will start nuclear exercises to test its ballistic and cruise missiles on Saturday as western powers continued to warn that the Kremlin is contemplating an imminent invasion of Ukraine.
Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday that its air force, southern military district, strategic missile forces and northern and Black Sea fleets would take part in the drills.
“The strategic containment forces exercises were planned earlier to test the preparedness of military command organs, launch crews, crews on warships and strategic launch platforms to fulfil their allotted tasks, as well as the reliability of nuclear and non-nuclear strategic arms,” the ministry said, according to Interfax.
Though Russia said the drills were long planned, the US believes Russian president Vladimir Putin decided to hold them in February as a show of strength amid fears of a renewed invasion of Ukraine.
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Five more stories in the news
1. Shari Redstone won the battle for her media empire Paramount. Now comes the streaming war The group is facing growing doubts over its ability to compete with larger digital rivals. Redstone has prevailed in the two-decade long saga over who runs the company, but the future of the $20bn business remains as unclear as ever.
2. Olympics chief slams coach’s ‘chilling’ treatment of Russian skater Kamila Valieva IOC president Thomas Bach used uncharacteristically terse language towards Valieva’s “entourage” in his final press conference of the Beijing Winter Games, after the 15-year-old finished fourth and was berated by her coach Eteri Tutberidze.
3. Renault reports first profit in two years as carmaker slashes costs However, the French group warned that it still expected to produce 300,000 fewer vehicles this year due to the global chip shortages that dogged the industry over the past year.
4. Trump must testify in New York investigation, judge rules Former US president Donald Trump and two of his adult children will be required to testify under oath in a civil investigation by the New York attorney-general into their family business, a judge has ruled.
5. From spyware to landmine clearance: how Novalpina Capital fell apart The private equity firm behind Israeli spyware maker NSO Group held talks to buy a landmine clearance company that works for Saudi Arabia in Yemen — a divisive deal that contributed to the group’s unravelling.
Thanks to those who voted in yesterday’s poll. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said they would vote against Apple chief Tim Cook’s $99mn pay and bonus package.
The day ahead
Munich Security Conference The two-day meeting will be attended by several western allies as well as Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian president.
Vladimir Putin holds talks with Alexander Lukashenko The Belarusian president is expected to visit Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart. Lukashenko said on Thursday that Belarus would host “nuclear weapons” if threatened by the west. (Euronews)
What else we’re reading
Why did we stop building beautiful neighbourhoods? Few beautiful communities have been built, anywhere in the world, in the past century, writes Tim Harford, arguing that governments lack the incentive, businesses usually lack the power and almost everyone seems to lack the skill.
Bonus season 2022 survey: will you invest, save or spend? This year is set to be a bumper one for bonuses, owing to the high profits generated in finance over the past 12 months. But those lucky enough to receive one are weighing the impact of higher taxes, rising inflation and interest rates as they plan to deploy their cash.
Is the age of ambition over? In the wake of the pandemic and 2021’s “great resignation”, Irish writer Patrick Freyne considers generational approaches to ambition and success.
The Premier League at 30 — an English success story? Thirty years ago this week, England’s first division clubs resigned from the Football League to set up the Premier League. Their creation has become the most globally watched league in sporting history.
How medicine anxiety harms people Many of the aches and pains experienced by those who take medication to lower their cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease are caused not by the pills themselves but by fears about their effects.
Steven Soderbergh’s smart thriller Kimi, Netflix documentary Downfall: The Case Against Boeing and animated refugee story Flee are some of our six films to watch this week — reviewed by Danny Leigh and Leslie Felperin.
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