Tuesday Briefing

North Korea may supply Russia with arms

Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, plans to travel to Vladivostok, Russia, this month to meet with Vladimir Putin, Russia’s leader, to discuss military cooperation, including the possibility of supplying Russia with weaponry for its war in Ukraine, foreign officials said.

Putin wants Kim to agree to send Russia artillery shells and antitank missiles, and Kim would like Russia to provide North Korea with advanced technology for satellites and nuclear-powered submarines, as well as food aid, the officials said.

The White House warned last week that Putin and Kim had exchanged letters discussing a possible arms deal. But the new information about a planned meeting between them goes far beyond the previous warning.

Background: Late last month, a delegation of about 20 North Korean officials traveled by train from Pyongyang to Vladivostok and then flew to Moscow, an indication that North Korea was serious about a visit by Kim, for whom it would be a rare foray.

Context: The U.S. first warned about cooperation between North Korea and Russia a year ago and later said that North Korea had shipped munitions to Russia through the Middle East and North Africa. But U.S. officials said that the disclosures had deterred North Korea and that few, if any, North Korean weapons had reached the front lines in Ukraine.

In other news from the war in Ukraine:

Putin restated his opposition to the Black Sea grain deal after bilateral talks with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who brokered the deal.

Russia fired drones at Ukrainian grain and port facilities, in the second large-scale drone assault in the past 48 hours in the southern Odesa region.

The removal of Ukraine’s defense minister and the arrest of Ihor Kolomoisky, one of the country’s richest men, are signs of the authorities’ drive to root out corruption.

Rishi Sunak embraces divisive politics

Trailing in the polls and facing stubborn inflation, a stagnant economy, depleted public coffers and long waiting times at hospitals, the British Conservative Party is turning to populist issues like climate, refugees and crime ahead of next year’s election.

But exploiting so-called wedge issues, including by mounting a retreat on an ambitious commitment to phase out fossil fuels, carries risks. Far-reaching climate policies enjoy broad support in Britain, and the party risked turning off swing voters and environmentally conscious supporters in the south, experts said.

Analysis: “It’s part of their strategy to provoke outrage,” Tom Burke, a former government adviser, said. “You provoke outrage to reassure your base. It’s exactly the strategy Trump is pursuing in the U.S.”

Related: The British government faces a mounting crisis over crumbling schools after a former government official said that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had refused to rebuild more schools when he was head of the Treasury, despite warnings about the deadly risks of lightweight concrete.

Xi Jinping will skip G20 summit

China indicated yesterday that its top leader, Xi Jinping, would skip the G20 summit in New Delhi this weekend, dealing a blow to India, the event’s host nation, and raising questions about Xi’s profile as a global statesman.

A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said that China would send the premier, Li Qiang, to the event, but she declined to explain why. Xi has never missed a G20 summit, which brings together 19 countries and the E.U., since taking power in 2012.


Around the World

Once considered a survivor of China’s real estate turmoil, the country’s largest homebuilder, Country Garden, is now at the center of the crisis.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has called for the deportation of all unauthorized immigrants, a day after a riot between rival groups of Eritreans left more than 100 people injured.

Spain’s largest electricity company says daily blackouts in a poor neighborhood of Granada are caused by illegal indoor marijuana farms that overload the grid.

Poor nations have been effectively priced out of renewable energy projects by a global lending system that considers the economies too risky for investment.

Other Big Stories

Iran is using an imprisoned E.U. official from Sweden as a bargaining chip against the West.

As he returned from a trip in Mongolia, Pope Francis had nothing but positive things to say about China.

Thousands of people who had been stranded at the Burning Man festival in Nevada began an uncertain exodus through the mud and slop.

A rescue team broke through Antarctic ice to reach a sick worker at a research station.

A Morning Read

A distinctive Höfner violin bass was the first guitar that Paul McCartney bought after becoming the bassist for the Beatles. The instrument appeared in the recordings of such hits as “Love Me Do,” “She Loves You” and “Twist and Shout” and accompanied the Fab Four as they rocketed to stunning success — before vanishing eight years later.

The Lost Bass Project, started by three Beatles fans, hopes to find it — and hundreds of people have responded to a request for tips about the guitar.

Lives Lived

Steve Harwell, the former lead singer of the rock band Smash Mouth, died yesterday at 56. (Read about the surprising immortality of “All Star,” the band’s greatest hit.)


Iga Swiatek loses at U.S. Open: The top seed was knocked out by Jelena Ostapenko.

Transfer window review: The good and the bad for each Premier League club.

Formula 1 Italian GP takeaways: Max Verstappen is unstoppable, and Ferrari delivers real racing.


Soundtrack of a coup

Since a group of generals toppled Niger’s democratically elected president in July, the country has witnessed a revival of an outpouring of new videos and music praising the military, remixed for the TikTok era.

Artists, academics and entertainment executives said that what could be seen as a paradox in the West made sense in a country with a long history of “griot” culture, where storytellers and keepers of oral history praise figures of authority, and where fear and respect toward the military are deeply entrenched.


Cook up a pot of broccoli mac and cheese.

Lose yourself in new video games releasing this fall.

Watch “Office Race,” a funny and familiar sports movie.

Read new novels recommended by our crime columnist.

Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Thanks for joining me. — Natasha

P.S. Read the back story of a photojournalist who returned home to Venezuela in 2017.

Reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

Natasha Frost writes the Europe Morning Briefing and reports on Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific from Melbourne, Australia. More about Natasha Frost

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