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Bloomberg Evening Briefing

Russia’s deputy foreign minister met with the US ambassador in Moscow amid reports that Kremlin-controlled officials in an occupied area of southeastern Ukraine plan to request annexation. In 2014, Russia annexed the nearby Crimean Peninsula from its neighbor. At the same time, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signed “mutual security assurances” with Sweden and is to travel to Helsinki to sign a similar declaration with Finland. The UK is committing to support the two nations’ armed forces if they come under attack, which may smooth the way for both countries to apply for membership in NATO.

A tank during the Finnish military’s Arrow 22 training exercises with the UK, Latvia, US and Estonia on May 4. Swedes and Finns are increasingly in favor of joining NATO, adding pressure on their national leaders to change longstanding policies of non-alignment. Photographer: Roni Rekomaa/Bloomberg

Europe is wrestling with how to buy Russian gas. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi now says European companies will be able to pay for gas in rubles without breaching international sanctions, apparently dismissing European Union guidance to the contrary. With payments looming later this month, businesses have been trying to figure out how they can keep energy supplies flowing legally. Russia has been seeking to prop up its currency by insisting on payments in rubles.

Ukrainian medics inside a field hospital treat soldiers wounded during fighting in Popasna, Ukraine, on May 9. Russia’s botched war on the country has been refocused on the Donbas region in the east, although with limited success. Photographer: Chris McGrath/Getty Images Europe

Ukraine deployed US-supplied howitzers to the front as Ukrainian officials said Russian rockets were targeting areas near Zaporizhzhia, a southeastern city filled with civilians who fled the destroyed port city of Mariupol. Kremlin forces have continued their weeks-long effort to kill the remaining Ukrainians inside a blasted steel plant there, pummeling it with bombs. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he doubts Russia will widen its war to NATO. “This is a fight that he really doesn’t want to have,” Austin told Congress. It would “quickly escalate into another type of confrontation that no one wants to see.” 

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TerraUSD, the controversial algorithmic stablecoin, plummeted again on Wednesday. A celebrated experiment that combined math and software to get a digital currency to behave like a dollar, it has instead crashed in spectacular fashion, posing the biggest test yet to decentralized finance (and the will of its backers to defend it). “It will get worse before it will get better—way too much UST is looking to exit, and The death spiral is very reflexive at these levels,” Nikita Fadeev, partner and head of crypto fund Fasanara Digital. “It’s a long road ahead.”

Citadel Securities, no stranger to social-media controversies, has found itself the subject of another one: the collapse of TerraUSD. But Citadel says it has nothing to do with it.

U.S. inflation seems to be moderating, matching predictions that a spike in prices driven by the pandemic, related supply chain woes and Russia’s war on Ukraine have peaked. But some parts of the picture remain grim. “The peak of inflation may be behind us, but today’s CPI report points to a long, slow descent or maybe even a plateau around 8%,” said Robert Frick, corporate economist at Navy Federal Credit Union.

Fifty Senate Republicans joined by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia (who has made a habit of siding with the GOP) blocked an effort by 49 other Democrats to pass a law guaranteeing access to abortion for American women. The largely symbolic effort comes as fears grow among abortion rights supporters that a Republican-appointee dominated Supreme Court will soon toss out the 49-year-old federal guarantee of reproductive autonomy.

The European Union would likely move fast to launch infringement procedures against the UK and suspend their trade agreement if Boris Johnson’s government puts forward legislation to revoke its commitments over trade with Northern Ireland.

Plant-based burger maker Beyond Meat fell Wednesday after delivering first-quarter revenue that missed Wall Street’s expectations. The shares dropped below the $25 price set in the company’s 2019 public offering for the first time

Beyond Meat Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

What happens when a Wall Street firm pulls up stakes and moves to a red state? AllianceBernstein found out. Hundreds of its employees have been settling into its new headquarters in Nashville, where honky-tonks and pedal taverns dot the bachelorette party mecca. Some of them are complaining of broken promises, not to mention career stagnation. One told of the discomfort of leaving New York for Tennessee, a state where Covid-19 precautions, abortion access and even the teaching of issues related to race are viewed quite differently.

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

A New ‘Hamlet’ Lands at the Metropolitan Opera

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, but not as Shakespeare imagined. No Norwegian prince arrives to seize the Danish throne. And to be or not to be is not the question. So it goes in the latest operatic adaptation of the most famous play in the English language. 

Brenda Rae as Ophelia, left, and Allan Clayton as Hamlet in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Matthew Jocelyn and Brett Dean’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet" on May 4 in New York. Source: Karen Almond/Metropolitan Opera via AP

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