Yahoo Finance’s Rick Newman joins the Live show to discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin raising geopolitical tensions after announcing a partial military mobilization that could add an additional 300,000 citizens to Russia’s military in Ukraine.
BRAD SMITH: Welcome back, everyone. Tensions rising in the Russia-Ukraine crisis as Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a partial military mobilization that could add an additional 300,000 personnel to Russia's military campaign in Ukraine. For more on what this means moving forward, our very own Rick Newman joins us now. What should we take away from this most recent mobilization effort from Russian President Vladimir Putin?
RICK NEWMAN: It's a big deal. It's a lot more than just adding a few new troops to the fight in Ukraine. For one thing, this is going to be politically unpopular in Russia. And this is something that Putin really wanted to avoid.
That's why, at the beginning, he called it a special military operation. He was going to do this with the peacetime military. It was-- he was not going to have to bring this home to regular citizens in Russia. And now that's changing, and there's some speculation that even though he's saying, well, right now it's just reservists, we only need 300,000, it's people who already have some military experience, it could-- he could actually expand it beyond that. It's an acknowledgment that he is losing, and he needs to do something dramatic.
So I think it's not overstatement to say this is probably the most perilous moment for Putin in the 20 years he's been in power in Russia. And it raises some very weird questions about how does this end because he's not going to win the war in Ukraine. How desperate is he going to get?
How dramatic are their-- are whatever might come next, the military moves that might come next? He hinted at the possible use of nuclear weapons. That's probably a bluff. He's probably not going to do that. But probably the likelihood of those types of desperation moves is now rising.
JULIE HYMAN: It's so interesting to me to see the market reaction, or lack thereof, to this latest, what you said-- I mean, this is a dramatic step that he's taking. And maybe the takeaway is that it doesn't change the eventual calculus for the outcome of the war, perhaps it just changes Russia's calculus and Putin's calculus here. I thought it was also interesting-- I was seeing reports this morning of plane tickets out of Moscow--
BRAD SMITH: Right.
JULIE HYMAN: --being booked. People are trying to flee so that they won't be conscripted, which also tells you something about how this is being received.
RICK NEWMAN: Yeah, and plane tickets now to places like Georgia or the UAE are now, if you can get a ticket, it's like between $2,000 and $4,000. That tells you interesting supply and demand dynamic there. This affects markets relatively directly through energy.
JULIE HYMAN: Right.
RICK NEWMAN: And markets have been figuring this out since Russia invaded back on February 24. And markets are going to have to continue to figure it out. So, I mean, is further turmoil in the energy markets priced in right now? It's-- maybe not because there are some energy analysts who think that we are going to see Russian oil supplies coming off the market as this gets worse over the winter.
There's supposed to be a European boycott of most oil purchases from Russia that goes into effect in December. That does not appear to be priced into the market in terms of energy prices right now because that probably would take some Russian supply off the market. And the oil market is tight right now. So you lose any, supply prices are going to go up. I think markets don't think Europe is actually going to go through with that boycott. So that is something to watch, for sure.
And then we've got the whole situation with natural gas in Europe, which-- well, people should know-- does affect natural gas here because we are now exporting as much natural gas to Europe and other places as we have capacity to export. And natural gas prices here are up as well, not by nearly as much as they are in Europe, thank god. But we're going to have an expensive winter here, and it's going to be really dicey in Europe.
BRAD SMITH: OK. So there are broader implications here in terms of how Russia has cozied up to China as well. In all of their movement forward with their military operation, have we heard any type of response from China and--
RICK NEWMAN: Yeah.
BRAD SMITH: --I guess, on the other side, too, if we look at the Western response, given that this would also entail even more of an acknowledgment from the West that if Russia is going to continue to ramp up, then there could be some type of support that is still necessary to provide to Ukraine?
RICK NEWMAN: Putin met recently with the leaders of both China and India, and they were kind of like, hey, Vlad, how about you wrap this thing up? So China has not really lined up right behind Russia and said, we'll give you whatever you want. They have not been backfilling a lot of the exports that Russia now is not getting from other countries because of sanctions.
India has kind of said the same thing, although both of those countries are benefited-- benefiting from getting Russian oil on the cheap, at a discount of $20 to $30 below market value. They're still buying it. They're getting a good deal on oil. But Putin does not have very many friends here. And the thing to keep in mind over the next several months is, is this the end game for Putin?
So if there are going to be internal challenges to his rule in Russia, it is going to come through the types of dynamics we are now starting to see with he's losing the war. He's mobilizing, so he has to bring the war home to Russia. People are trying to get out of Russia, men, so that they don't get conscripted. So is it possible that this could build into something that means the down-- Putin's downfall? I mean, it probably not likely today, but we're closer to that, I think, than any time we've been over the last 20 years. So watch what happens.
JULIE HYMAN: Yeah, definitely. And I imagine we can also watch what happens with President Xi, for example, to see if he sort of pulls back further from his support. All right. Thanks, Rick.
RICK NEWMAN: Thanks, guys.
JULIE HYMAN: Appreciate it.