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The Kremlin has sought to calm anxiety in Russian society about President Vladimir Putin’s decision to mobilise the army’s reserves by denying reports it has decided to close the border or introduce martial law.
Panic over Putin’s mobilisation order — which has affected a much broader part of the male population than the president said was eligible for the draft — has continued to fuel protests and prompted people to flee across the few remaining open borders.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Monday that “no decisions have been taken” on martial law or border closures, according to state newswire RIA Novosti.
Images of crowded airports and long queues of cars at Russia’s land borders have undermined the Kremlin’s portrayal of the call-up as a widely accepted measure.
The FSB, Russia’s main security service, said it sent an armoured personnel carrier to the border with Georgia, where the longest line to leave Russia has formed, to stop Russian reservists from leaving the country without going through passport control, according to news outlet RBC.
Lawyers and activists have reported border guards in some regions are barring men from leaving on the basis that they are eligible for mobilisation.
Peskov admitted some regions were calling up people who did not meet Russia’s requirements for draft eligibility, but insisted that “instances of deviation from the required criteria are being fixed”.
Military briefing: Putin’s “partial” mobilisation of 300,000 men for his war in Ukraine faces training and logistical obstacles, Europe editor Ben Hall reports.
Opinion: Chief foreign affairs commentator Gideon Rachman argues Putin’s nuclear threats against Ukraine cannot be ignored.
Thanks for reading FirstFT Asia. Here is the rest of today’s news — Amanda
Five more stories in the news
1. Elon Musk offers Iranians uncensored internet access Musk’s Starlink has activated its satellite broadband service in Iran amid deadly protests. The activation follows relaxed sanctions from the US state department that had prevented internet services and communication networks from operating in Iran.
2. Apple shifts iPhone production away from China Apple has begun producing its iPhone 14 model in southern India. The company is working to diversify supply chains out of China as tensions grow between Washington and Beijing. China’s harsh pandemic measures have also disrupted business.
3. UK tax cuts increase global recession risks, says Fed official A top official at the US central bank warned that the UK’s new fiscal plan has increased economic uncertainty and raised the odds of a global recession. The warning comes as the pound sits at a record low against the dollar as investors responded to UK chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s £45bn tax-cutting package.
4. Investors rush to snap up shares in Porsche The German sports car maker is set to deliver one of Europe’s largest IPOs on Wednesday. Listing shares in Porsche will help owner Volkswagen raise money to invest in electric vehicles and develop software as it tries to catch up with Tesla.
5. End of Hong Kong’s quarantine fuels hope of looser China rules Hong Kong ended its Covid-19 quarantine policy on Friday, raising hopes that Chinese authorities will ease the mainland’s own restrictions. The cost of a 2.5-year quarantine has been steep on Hong Kong’s gross domestic product and population, with more than 120,000 residents leaving this year.
The day ahead
Funeral for former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe World leaders gather in Tokyo to attend the controversial state funeral of Abe. The former prime minister was assassinated at a campaign rally in July.
US economy Conference Board publishes its consumer confidence index today, which is expected to show an improved outlook on the US economy. The Federal Housing Finance Agency also releases figures on US housing prices and sales.
Go deeper: The housing data comes as US mortgage rates are rapidly rising. Earlier this month, average US mortgage rates topped 6 per cent for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead. Click to subscribe here. And don’t miss our FT News Briefing audio show — a short daily rundown of the top global stories.
What else we’re reading
Chinese business schools embrace state agenda China is reforming how it will educate the next generation of business leaders. Mandatory classes now include material on Xi Jinping’s policy mantras and admissions have shifted to favour students with backgrounds in technology and manufacturing.
Far-right Meloni taps into Italy’s wish for radical change After two decades of economic stagnation, Giorgia Meloni’s victory reflects Italians’ desire to head in a new direction. Set to be the country’s first female prime minister, the far-right firebrand pledges to boost the economy and continue to work with Brussels.
Chinese metals giant will sell assets and restructure Maike Metals, which handles a quarter of China’s refined copper imports, will sell assets and consider extensive restructuring, chair He Jinbi tells the FT. The group’s announcement shows how China’s economic slowdown is translating into a liquidity crisis at highly leveraged companies in the private sector.
The seven economic wonders of a worried world In periods of economic gloom, it is worth highlighting the few countries that defy the prevailing pessimism. Ruchir Sharma outlines seven that stand out in a world tipping towards recession.
Meet SoftBank’s financial guru No ordinary finance head, Yoshimitsu Goto sits at the centre of SoftBank’s gruelling battle against the global tech rout that has cost the conglomerate $23bn. One of the few who can say “no” to founder Masayoshi Son, Goto is an exception to SoftBank’s executive exodus in the past 18 months.
Young entrepreneurs are capitalising on TikTok and Instagram’s marketing potential to build successful businesses in real life. Their personal, playful and almost grassroots launches contrast sharply against mainstream pop-ups and help lure in long queues of teens.
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