Ukraine update: Russian land corridor ambitions still thwarted

(Bloomberg) —

Russia continues to press for a ground assault in the Donetsk region while trying to complete its take of Mariupol in the south, which has been under brutal siege for a month. The reaction continues to pour in after the Russian bombardment of a railway station on Friday killed dozens of people and injured hundreds more.

The European Union and the United Kingdom have announced sanctions against the daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv and promised more sanctions against Russia and financial aid to Ukraine. The UK and Germany have vowed to send more weapons. The Austrian Chancellor will travel to Kyiv on Saturday.

The International Monetary Fund is planning a new account to support Ukraine’s economy, through which Canada has offered to disburse C$1 billion ($795 million).

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian sanctions dashboard.)

Key developments

  • Dozens dead as Russia strikes Ukrainian rail evacuation center
  • Nations Eye Modern weapons for Ukraine as Soviet-era stockpiles dwindle
  • War crimes justice slowly creaks amid fury over Ukraine killings
  • Russia surprises with jumbo rate cut in pivot to protect economy
  • IMF creates new account to help Ukraine as Canada pledges funds

Every hour CET:

Hopes for Russian land corridor still dashed, UK says (7:10 a.m.)

Russian ambitions to establish a land corridor between Crimea and the Donbass region continue to be thwarted by Ukrainian resistance, the British Ministry of Defense said.

Operations remain focused on the Donbass region, Mariupol and Mykolaiv, encouraged by cruise missile launches in Ukraine by Russian naval forces. This includes strikes towards the Odessa region launched from the Crimean peninsula, the Ukrainian military said.

Russia is continuing its “assault actions”, focusing on taking over towns such as Nyzhnye, Popasna, Rubizhne and Novobakhmutivka, and establishing complete control over Mariupol, which has been under siege for a month, the official said. ‘Ukraine.

Nations Eye Modern Weapons for Ukraine (6:00)

Some of Ukraine’s supporters are ready to start helping it move from Soviet-era weaponry to more modern NATO-like equipment in the conflict with Russia, given the prospect of the war dragging on for decades. months or even years.

The countries have largely given up on providing advanced weapons to avoid having to train Ukrainian forces to use them. But the eastern NATO states are likely to run out of Soviet-produced equipment at some point. Some allies may start training Ukrainian troops outside the country to be able to maintain and use more sophisticated weapons.

Russia’s Foreign Currency Rating Downgraded to SD by S&P (3:03 a.m.)

S&P lowered the unsolicited credit ratings of Russia’s long-term and short-term currency issuers to Selective Default of CC/C.

“The foreign currency downgrade follows our understanding that the Russian government made coupon and principal payments on its 2022 and 2042 US dollar ruble-denominated Eurobonds when those payments were due on April 4, 2022.” , said S&P.

The IMF creates a new account to help Ukraine (00:15)

The International Monetary Fund is establishing a new account to give donor countries a safe way to provide support to stabilize Ukraine’s economy after the Russian invasion.

The account would receive donor loan or grant resources in reserve currency or special drawing rights, the IMF’s reserve assets, and disburse support from Ukraine’s account to the fund, the institution said. .

Ukrainian corn and wheat exports set to plunge further (10:57 p.m.)

According to the US Department of Agriculture, grain exports from Ukraine are expected to decline further as shipping routes are blocked following the Russian invasion.

The USDA cut its forecast for corn exports by 4.5 million tonnes and wheat exports by 1 million tonnes, in the latest update to its closely watched supply and demand estimates. world agriculture. The shortages will likely exacerbate food crisis risks in countries that rely on Ukraine and Russia for imports.

EU formalizes sanctions against Deripaska and Putin’s daughters (9:07 p.m.)

The European Union has announced sanctions against 217 people and 18 entities, including the adult daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Oleg Deripaska, a Russian aluminum tycoon.

Deripaska, who has been under US sanctions since 2018, owns an industrial conglomerate that includes a major supplier of military equipment to Russia.

Moscow Shuts Down Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Branches (8:27 p.m.)

The Russian offices of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have been ordered to close, a decision that Amnesty’s secretary general has promised not to halt his organization’s work.

“The authorities are deeply mistaken if they think that by closing our office in Moscow they will stop our work of documenting and exposing human rights violations,” Secretary General Agnès Callamard said in a statement. “We will redouble our efforts to expose Russia’s gross human rights abuses, both at home and abroad.”

Russian government officials did not immediately respond to questions about the closures. Both groups criticized Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Human Rights Watch on Thursday applauded the United Nations’ decision to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council.

Von der Leyen says Ukraine belongs to the “European family” (7:58 p.m.)

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met Zelenskiy in Kyiv after seeing the devastation and the bodies of war victims in Bucha and promised more support – including “continued sanctions” – from members of the EU against Moscow.

“I am here with you in Kyiv today to tell you that Europe is on your side,” she said, adding that the EU would accelerate the second half of a €600 financial aid package. million euros ($650 million). Von der Leyen also handed Zelenskiy a folder with a questionnaire which she described as an “important step towards EU membership”.

US Deploys Patriot Missile System to Slovakia (6:14 p.m.)

President Joe Biden announced the deployment of a Patriot missile defense system to Slovakia after the NATO member said it was sending one of its S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine. “I have directed my administration to continue to spare no effort to identify and provide the Ukrainian military with the advanced weaponry capabilities it needs,” Biden said.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Patriot Battery will be manned by US forces and is expected to arrive in the coming days. The duration of the deployment has not been fixed, he said, adding that “we continue to consult with the Slovak government on more permanent air defense solutions”.

Germany and UK to supply more weapons to Ukraine (5:27 p.m.)

Germany and Britain have vowed to send more weapons to Ukraine and work together to pressure Russian President Vladimir Putin, downplaying differences over imposing tougher sanctions on Moscow.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the UK will send an additional 100 million pounds ($130 million) worth of military equipment. Among the items to be sent will be more than 800 anti-tank missiles, Javelin anti-tank systems, Starstreak air defense systems and a range of helmets, armor and night vision goggles.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany would continue deliveries to Kyiv, without specifying types or quantities.

Russia Offers Surprise Rate Cut (11:02 a.m.)

The Bank of Russia announced a surprise cut in its key rate on Friday, reversing some of the sharp increase it made after the invasion of Ukraine as the ruble rallied.

The central bank cut the rate from 20% to 17% and said further cuts could be made at future meetings if conditions allow.

©2022 Bloomberg LP

Comments are closed.