Russia bans Americans; Kyiv looks to ship grain

President Vladimir Putin threatened to strike new targets in Ukraine if longer-range missiles are delivered.
Image: Erin Trieb/Bloomberg

Russia “indefinitely” banned 61 US officials and executives, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and BlackRock’s Larry Fink, from entering the country to retaliate for what it called “constantly expanding sanctions” against its citizens.

Ukraine is in talks with the United Nations on ways to export grain from ports blocked by Russia’s military, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, but Kyiv remains skeptical toward a tentative deal between Turkey and Moscow to restart shipments.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was prevented from visiting Serbia after that country’s neighbours banned his flight from their airspace. President Vladimir Putin threatened to strike new targets in Ukraine if longer-range missiles are delivered, shortly after the UK joined the US in pledging to send the weapons to Kyiv.

Key Developments

(All times in CET)

  • Russia’s Default Tussle With Bondholders Is Only Just Starting
  • The Internet Pioneer Brought Low as Kremlin Ally by EU Sanctions
  • Raw Material Gauge Soars to Fresh Record Amid Supply Crunch
  • US Moves to Seize Two Abramovich Jets Over Russia Sanctions
  • Ukraine’s Tactics Show Smaller Countries How to Fight Back
  • Putin Critic Kallas Needs New Allies to Stay in Power in Estonia

Russia May Classify International Reserves Data (6:45 a.m.)

The Russian Economy Ministry drafted anti-sanction amendments to legislation on financial markets, RBC reported, citing a copy of bill, which it said was approved by a governmental commission on Monday.

The amendments allow for classifying data on Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves. In April, central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said sanctions cut off access to half of Russian reserves.

Other proposals in the measure would include the cancellation of a cross-default provision on eurobonds and allowing companies to issue “substitute” bonds to repay eurobonds, it said.

Ukraine May Need $8 Billion in Gas Imports (11:15 p.m.)

Ukraine will need to import as much as $8 billion-worth of natural gas for the next heating season, Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko said on Bloomberg TV.

Ukraine is in talks with the US on financing for purchases of liquefied natural gas, which could replace the pipeline gas that the country has been buying from the European market, Vitrenko said.

Serbia Will Keep Opposing Russia Sanctions, Vucic Says (9:09 p.m.)

Serbia still “refuses to be part of the pack” that imposed sanctions against Russia, President Aleksandar Vucic said. He deplored the ban by some of its neighbors on Foreign Minister Lavrov’s flight to Belgrade as blocking Serbia’s leadership from even talking to the Russian official.

The embargo on Russian oil would cost the Balkan country an estimated $600 million a year because it will have to pay instead for Iraqi crude that costs some $30 more per barrel, Vucic said in live interview on state broadcaster RTS.

Russia Bans Entry to 61 Americans, Including Yellen and Fink (8:17 p.m.)

Russia slapped back at the sanctions with the ban on American individuals that also includes several White House advisers and Universal Pictures President Peter Cramer, according to a statement from its Foreign Ministry.

The ministry said the “indefinite ban” targets leaders of the US defense industry, media platforms and rating agencies, air- and ship-building companies and several State Department officials cited for spreading allegedly fake news about Russian cyberattacks.

US Goes After Billionaire Abramovich’s Planes (6:35 p.m.)

The US obtained a warrant to seize two jets owned or controlled by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

US Magistrate Judge Sara Cave signed a warrant of seizure for a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and a Gulfstream G650ER, according to documents released by the office of Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams.

The Boeing has remained in Dubai since March, while the Gulfstream has been in Moscow since then, according to an FBI affidavit.

Zelenskiy Cites Intel Saying Russia Wants to Occupy Zaporizhzhia (5:46 p.m)

Zelenskiy said that “the most dangerous situation” of the war at present is in Zaporizhzhia, a region west of Donetsk partly occupied by Russian forces.

“We understand, and we see from intercepted calls, that the enemy wants to occupy Zaporizhzhia,” Zelenskiy told journalists at a news conference in Kyiv. Ukrainian forces are still fighting in Sievierodonetsk, although they are outnumbered by Russian personnel and heavy weapons, he said.

Russia’s Crude Oil Revenues Take a Hit Even as Exports Swell (5:43 p.m.)

Russia is earning less from its oil exports, even as seaborne crude shipments surge to a six-week high, because of the big discounts that Moscow is having to offer Asian buyers to snap up barrels shunned by Europe.

While shipped volumes increased in the week to June 3, Russia’s revenue from export duty fell 5% to $162 million, reflecting a lower per-barrel rate on the shipments.

Ukraine in Talks With UN to Export Grain, President Says (4:47 p.m.)

Ukraine is in talks with the United Nations on ways to arrange grain exports, Zelenskiy said, adding that he has discussed the situation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As much as 25 million tons of grain is blocked from export in Ukraine’s ports, and that may rise to 75 million tons by autumn, Zelenskiy said. Ukraine rejected an offer to use Belarus’s rail links, he said, adding that Kyiv wasn’t invited to talks between Russia and Turkey.

While Ukraine wants guarantees from “countries which we can trust and which will have accords with Russia,” the best guarantee for safe exports will be weapons Ukraine can use to strike Russian ships if they attack Ukrainian ports, Zelenskiy said.

Latvia Bans 80 Russian TV Channels Until War Ends (2:01 p.m.)

Latvia banned the remaining 80 Russian-registered TV channels operating there from broadcasting until Russia ends its war and returns Crimea to Kyiv’s control, the Leta news service reported, citing Ivars Abolins, the chairman of the National Electronic Mass Media Council.

The Baltic country, which neighbours Russia and has a large Russian-speaking minority, is one of Europe’s harshest critics of the war in Ukraine. Abolins said Monday that Latvia had given a broadcasting license to TV Rain, an independent Russian TV channel that was banned by Moscow in March.

Serbian Leader Decries Derailing of Lavrov Visit (1:42 p.m.)

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who was supposed to host Lavrov this week in Belgrade, said he was displeased how neighboring countries prevented the visit by banning Lavrov’s flight from their airspace.

Still, Lavrov will soon meet his Serbian counterpart, Nikola Selakovic, at an undisclosed location and time, Vucic said. In Moscow, Lavrov called the move by Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Montenegro to block him from their airspace “unprecedented.”

Lavrov is a great and proven friend” of Serbia, Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin said in separate comments in Belgrade. “Serbia is proud of not being part of the anti-Russia hysteria,” Vulin said.

Russian Car Sales at Record Low as Sanctions Sting (12:39 p.m.)

Russian car sales plunged 84% in May, as sanctions and international isolation brought an industry that had once been a showcase for foreign investment to a near standstill.

Fewer than 25,000 vehicles were sold last month, according to the Association of European Businesses, the lowest since at least 2006 and less than a 10th of the monthly levels seen in peak months in the past.

India in Talks to Increase Oil Imports From Rosneft (12:21 p.m.)

India is looking to boost Russian oil imports, with state-owned refiners eager to take more heavily discounted supplies from Rosneft after Europe enacted a partial ban.

State processors are collectively working on securing new six-month supply contracts for Russian crude to India, according to people with knowledge of the companies’ procurement plans. They are in talks with Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil champion, with the seller set to handle shipping and insurance matters, they said.

Ukraine Skeptical of Turkey-Russia Deal to Ship Grain (11:31 a.m.)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has offered military help to clear mines off the coast of Odesa and escort grain ships but Ukraine has yet to endorse the plan, worried that removing defenses could leave the vital port open to Russian attack, people familiar with the deal said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that aren’t yet public.

Russia’s Lavrov is expected to hold talks in Ankara on the plan Wednesday. It remains unclear whether Ukraine will send a representative. “By commenting in advance on reaching the deal, Russia is seeking to shift responsibility to Ukraine” for disrupting supplies, Ukraine’s Deputy Economy Minister Taras Kachka said.

The Kremlin’s invasion has cut off shipments of grain and other farm products from Ukraine, threatening millions of people in its traditional markets with food shortages. Moscow has denied responsibility for the disruption but demanded relief from US and European sanctions limiting its exports of fertilizer and agricultural products.

Ukraine Says Russian General Killed (8:31 a.m.)

Russian Major General Roman Kutuzov was killed, Ukraine’s army said on its Facebook page. Earlier, Meduza reported Kutuzov died in fighting in the Luhansk region, citing a journalist for Russian state-run television station. Russia’s Defense Ministry hasn’t commented.

UK to Send Rocket Systems (12:01 a.m.)

The UK is to send multiple-launch rocket systems to Ukraine, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said. The move has been coordinated closely with the US decision to send the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System variant of MLRS to Ukraine, where forces have requested longer-range precision weapons.

The M270 weapons system, manufactured by Lockheed Martin, can strike targets up to 80 kilometers (50 miles) away with high accuracy, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Defence. The UK will also supply M31A1 munitions “at scale.”

© 2022 Bloomberg

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