Blinken visits Kyiv as a Russian missile kills 17
At least 17 people were killed yesterday in a Russian strike on Kostyantynivka, a city in eastern Ukraine that is close to the front lines, President Volodymyr Zelensky said. The attack, one of the deadliest strikes in Ukraine in months, came hours after the U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken, arrived in Kyiv for an unannounced visit.
The attack hit an outdoor market around 2 p.m., a time when it is usually bustling with activity, Ukrainian officials said. A child was among those killed, according to the prime minister, and the interior minister said 32 people had been injured.
In Kyiv, Blinken announced more than $1 billion in new U.S. aid to Ukraine, including $665.5 million in military and other security assistance. He noted that much of the aid was intended not for the current fight but for long-term security and rebuilding Ukrainian society. In total, the U.S. has pledged more than $70 billion in financial, humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine.
The visit from Blinken, who met with Zelensky, came as the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the southeast gained some traction after three months of grueling fighting. Ukrainian troops have broken through a main line of Russia’s defenses in one location, Ukraine’s Army has said, and are turning their attention to breaking through in another heavily defended patch of territory.
China’s economic slump is testing Xi’s agenda
Economic setbacks in China — gloomy consumers, sluggish private investment, high youth unemployment and more — are emerging as perhaps the most sustained challenge to Xi Jinping’s agenda in over a decade in power.
The recent troubles have fed an unusually candid domestic debate about the direction of economic policy under Xi, especially his expansion of the state’s control over the economy. Proponents of the private sector argue that such statist policies are taking China down a dead end.
Xi now faces a tangle of difficult choices. To spur growth, he may have to open up new sectors for private entrepreneurs and investors, or offer financial support to debt-saddled local governments. Or he may have to push through painful steps that some experts say are needed to fix the economy, such as introducing new taxes.
Africa’s first climate summit
Leaders from across Africa called for an urgent restructuring of the way wealthier nations engage with the continent as they concluded an inaugural climate summit yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya.
In a declaration, the leaders stressed that Africa is primed for leadership on clean energy and environmental stewardship. But to make that happen, the world’s industrialized countries, which are largely responsible for the pollution that is causing climate change, must first unlock access to their wealth through investments, the declaration said.
A new Rolling Stones album
Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood — the band’s three current members — provided details yesterday about their first record of new material in 18 years.
The anticipated 12-track “Hackney Diamonds” will be released on Oct. 20, and is the group’s first album of original material since the release of “A Bigger Bang” in 2005. It’s also the first since the drummer Charlie Watts died in 2021.
Fans of the Stones, which formed in 1962 and are one of rock’s most enduring acts, have been awaiting a new album since “Blue & Lonesome” in 2016, which featured a dozen blues covers. Although the Stones have said “Hackney Diamonds” marks a “new era,” Philip Norman, who wrote a major biography of the group, said he was anticipating a classic Stones sound.
“This is the Stones we know and some of us have loved for the past six decades,” he said.