Ukraine latest: Biden worries Putin ‘doesn’t have a way out’

As the US leader signed into law a measure making it easier for Washington to send weapons and supplies to the government in Kyiv.

President Joe Biden said he’s worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t have a way out right now” of his war in Ukraine, as the US leader signed into law a measure making it easier for Washington to send weapons and supplies to the government in Kyiv.

Congressional Democrats have drafted a Ukraine aid package worth almost $40 billion, more than the $33 billion Biden requested from lawmakers last month.

The European Union’s top executive made a dash to Budapest on Monday in a bid to break a deadlock on the bloc’s proposed embargo on imports of oil from Russia. Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who’s been holding out against the move, said the talks made some progress but “a lot more needs to be done.”

Key Developments

  • Biden Signs Lend-Lease Act to Speed Weapons Delivery to Ukraine
  • Draghi Has Started Unpicking Decades of Italian Ties to Russia
  • Biden Team Sees Tilt to China Buoyed as Putin Falters in Ukraine
  • Germany Comes to Grips With Its Hard-Power Role in Europe
  • Ukraine Bomb Shelters Help Parts Maker Keep VW and BMW Supplied

All times CET:

Ukraine’s Economy to Shrink 30% This Year: EBRD (7:10 a.m.)

That forecast is more than previously expected and in a scenario where the war ends this year, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said.

Russia’s invasion has upended trade in energy, agricultural commodities and fertilizers and disrupted supply chains, resulting in slower growth across eastern Europe.

EU Eyes Joint Debt to Fund Ukraine Reconstruction (7:01 a.m.)

The long-term reconstruction could cost hundreds of billions of euros, according to an official familiar with the plan.

The bloc is also weighing using loans, guaranteed by member states, to provide urgent funds to Ukraine, which says it needs as much as $7 billion a month to fill a budget gap, said the official. The European Commission will present a package addressing Ukraine’s financial needs on May 18.

Draghi Has Started Unpicking Decades of Italian Ties to Russia (6:52 a.m.)

Less than a week before Russia invaded Ukraine, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was planning a trip to Moscow and discussing a possible increase in gas supplies with Putin. His approach is very different now.

What changed Draghi’s thinking was the increasing brutality of the war. He was particularly horrified by images of alleged war crimes in Bucha and other areas occupied by Russian troops, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Draghi is set to meet Biden at the White House Tuesday.

Germany Comes to Grips With Its Hard-Power Role in Europe (6:24 a.m.)

Germany’s complex relationship with Russia has been turned on its head by the latest war to afflict Europe.

As Alan Crawford writes, it’s not just the country’s policy of engagement with the east known as Ostpolitik that’s come unstuck. Pretty much Berlin’s entire postwar consensus has been ripped up, and the German government is struggling to come to grips with the new reality. How it resolves the dilemma has ramifications for all of Europe.

Oil Extends Slump as EU Softens Sanctions Plan (4:11 a.m.)

Oil extended its biggest drop in more than five weeks as the European Union softened its proposed sanctions on Russian crude exports and economic growth concerns weighed on sentiment across markets.

West Texas Intermediate futures fell toward $101 a barrel in Asian trading after sliding around 6% on Monday. The bloc will scrap a proposed ban on EU-owned vessels transporting Russian crude after objections from members including Greece. Talks on a sixth package of sanctions are continuing.

Japan Sanctions 141 Individuals (3:07 a.m.)

Japan imposed asset freezes on 141 more individuals and said it would ban trade with 71 entities over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The individuals include Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and officials of separatist republics in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the government said.

Separately, Japanese Trade Minister Koichi Hagiuda told reporters a ban on Russian natural gas would be a “difficult step” for the world to take.

Biden Says Putin Is a ‘Very Calculating Man’ (1:35 a.m.)

Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin believed he could break up NATO and the European Union with the war in Ukraine, calling the Russian leader “a very, very, very calculating man.”

The US president, speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraising event near Washington, added “the problem I’m worried about now is that he doesn’t have a way out right now. I’m trying to figure out what we do about that.”

Hungary Sees ‘Some Progress’ in EU Talks on Oil (10:15 p.m.)

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s talks with the head of the European Union about proposed sanctions on Russian oil imports made “some progress,” though further talks are needed to assuage Hungary’s energy security concerns, according to the country’s foreign minister.

Orban, who is blocking EU sanctions citing Hungary’s reliance on Russian energy, hosted European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in his office in Budapest on Monday evening for a working dinner.

“We made some progress, we could say we took a small step forward,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a Facebook video after the conclusion of the talks. “A lot more needs to be done, though, for us to potentially change our position.”

Democrats Weigh $40 Billion Ukraine Aid (10:05 p.m.)

Democrats have drafted a Ukraine aid package worth almost $40 billion and plan to vote on it this week without attaching Covid pandemic funding, according to two people familiar with the plans.

President Joe Biden told lawmakers to separate the two requests to avoid stalling the Ukraine money, according to one of the people. The House could vote as soon as Tuesday on the Ukraine package, which is larger than the $33 billion Biden requested from Congress last month. Lawmakers are adding $3.4 billion in military aid and $3.4 billion in humanitarian assistance.

Biden Signs Lend-Lease Act to Speed Weapons Delivery (9:21 p.m.)

Biden signed into law a measure designed to make it easier for the US to send weapons and supplies to Ukraine. “Every day Ukrainians pay with their lives,” Biden said of Russia’s continuing attacks, adding the legislation would be another tool to aid the government in Kyiv.

The measure, which borrows its name from a law that ended the US policy of neutrality ahead of World War II and stepped up support to the UK and other allies, cuts some red tape but does not include additional funding.

European Gas Drops as Russia Tries to Calm Clients (6:42 p.m.)

Natural gas prices in Europe fell by the most in three weeks as top supplier Russia tried to reassure buyers that they can keep paying for gas without breaching sanctions.

Benchmark futures closed 7.8% lower and power prices also fell. In a letter seen by Bloomberg, Gazprom PJSC told European clients that a new order published by the Kremlin on May 4 “clarifies the procedure” set out in the initial decree demanding ruble payments for gas.

Ukraine Says It Loses $170 Million Daily on Port Blockade (6:38 p.m.)

Ukraine is losing $170 million every day because of Russian military blocking its sea ports as the country’s export capacity has declined by more than half, according to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Seventy vessels remain blocked, including 10 in the port of Odesa, Shmyhal said during a trip to the city on the Black Sea coast together with European Council President Charles Michel, according to a statement on the government’s website.

US Delivered Howitzers, Artillery Rounds, Official Says (6:24 p.m.)

At least 86 of the 90 M77 howitzers that the US has committed to Ukraine have been delivered, and about 310 Ukrainian soldiers have been trained on their use, a US defense official told reporters. About 60% of the promised 184,000 artillery rounds have arrived as well.

In addition, about 20 soldiers have been trained to operate the classified US Air Force drone known as Phoenix Ghost, the official said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

COMMENTS   1

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He has a way out !!!!!
Withdraw his forces immediately, apologize to the Ukrainians and fund the rebuild !!!
NO EASY WAY OUT !!!!!!!!!

End of comments.

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