FirstFT: Top Russian diplomat dismisses hopes of quick end to Ukraine war

 FirstFT: Top Russian diplomat dismisses hopes of quick end to Ukraine war

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Good morning. As we near the six-month mark of President Vladimir Putin’s full scale invasion, a senior Russian diplomat has warned that Moscow sees no possibility of a diplomatic solution to end the war in Ukraine and expects a long conflict.

Gennady Gatilov, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, told the Financial Times that the UN should be playing a bigger role in attempts to end the conflict and accused the US and other Nato countries of pressuring Ukraine to walk away from negotiations. There would be no direct talks between Putin and Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he said.

“Now, I don’t see any possibility for diplomatic contacts,” Gatilov said. “And the more the conflict goes on, the more difficult it will be to have a diplomatic solution.”

His remarks, which come despite a flurry of shuttle diplomacy in recent weeks, are a blow to negotiators who had hoped that a recent agreement on grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports could form the basis for a broader deal.

The UN had become mired in “politicisation” because of the war and that had “damaged the authority of the UN and its organizations”, Gatilov said. As a result, it was unable to act effectively as a mediator, I complained.

Global diplomacy was in the worst state he had experienced in his 50-year career, Gatilov added. “The world has changed and the UN will never be the same as it was before,” he said.

Thank you for reading FirstFT Asia. Have a great week. — Sophia

1. Daughter of prominent Putin supporter killed in Moscow car bomb attack Daria Dugina, a nationalist journalist and political analyst, died Saturday night after her Toyota Land Cruiser exploded in a suburb 20km west of Moscow. Dugina is the daughter of Alexander Dugin, a nationalist who is said to have influenced Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

2. Chipmakers caught in the crossfire of US-China geopolitical tensions As Washington seeks to counter China’s rise as a technological power, semiconductor companies are trying to navigate rising restrictions in the US and vying for billions of dollars in US grants through the $280bn Chips and Sciences Act.

3. SoftBank sold Alibaba shares to reassure investors In an abrupt move after logging a record quarterly loss of $23bn, SoftBank sold a large part of its stake in Alibaba, prompting some to question whether there was a looming financial emergency. But the technology conglomerate’s chief financial officer Yoshimitsu Goto acknowledged that the sale was done in an effort to “instantly show” investors that its finances were solid.

4. Taiwan to welcome more foreign delegations despite Chinese pressure Eric Holcomb, governor of the US state of Indiana, arrived in Taiwan last night to meet Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen and sign an economic co-operation agreement with cabinet officials today. Japanese lawmakers and a US Congressional delegation are also due to arrive, even after Beijing’s threats and sanctions in response to Pelosi’s earlier visit.

5. Tourist woes amid China’s rebound In the latest of a series of relentless lockdowns under President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy, 150,000 holidaymakers were stranded this month on China’s southern Hainan island. The lockdown highlights the risks of travel in China, damaging confidence and fueling doubts about an early rebound from the pandemic-slowed economy.

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The day ahead

Corporate earnings Ampol releases their H1 results today, and Zoom Video Communications releases their second-quarter results.

European Economic Association The EEA’s annual conference begins today in Milan’s Bocconi University.

Russia’s Flag Day Russia celebrates its National Flag Day today, but offices remain open.

Former Formula 1 boss goes to court Bernie Ecclestone is due to appear before Westminster magistrates’ court charged with “fraud by false representation”. Ecclestone, 91, allegedly failed to declare to HM Revenue & Customs overseas assets believed to be worth more than £400mn.

What else are we reading and listening to

The VC-fuelled comeback of WeWork founder Adam Neumann After WeWork soared in valuation, crashed, and became a cautionary tale, its mercurial founder is back with a new start-up, Flow, which he claims can disrupt the property industry. Andreessen Horowitz is betting he’s right, to the tune of $350mn.

Covid diagnostics firm Randox faces its next test Randox, one of the so-called winners of the pandemic, made hundreds of millions from Covid-19 contracts. Now, it’s using its profits to expand its health clinics in an effort to normalize private health testing for preventive care.

Salman Rushdie and the sacred right to irreverence The Satanic Verses author has long been one of the modern world’s freest writers: his wordplay defies gravity, his mockery gives oxygen to creativity. After the savage attack earlier this month, Simon Schama argues that disrespect is essential for democracy and free expression.

Salman Rushdie, surrounded by security guards, speaks at Columbia University in 1991 — his first public appearance outside the UK following the 1989 fatwa

Salman Rushdie, surrounded by security guards, speaks at Columbia University in 1991 — his first public appearance outside the UK following the 1989 fatwa © Mark Lennihan/AP

Tinder struggles to attract younger users Gen Z singles are starting to abandon the world’s most popular dating app for rivals such as Bumble and Thursday. The trend has led Tinder to make changes such as restructuring its leadership and betting on the so-called metaverse.

A skeptic’s guide to crypto Despite the crash in cryptocurrency markets this year, many people believe there is a future for digital assets and blockchain technology. FT columnist and avowed crypto skeptic Jemima Kelly isn’t so sure. In our new podcast series, she takes a deep trip into cryptoland to hear the critics, converts and believers.


If you’re looking for your next destination to escape to, check out these small, thoughtful hotels from Bhutan to East Bali.

The views from the terrace at Gangtey Lodge, Bhutan

The views from the terrace at Gangtey Lodge, Bhutan © Gangtey Lodge

Disrupted Times — Documenting the changes in business and the economy between Covid and conflict. Sign up here

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