Ukraine latest: Japan PM decries Russia’s war in Biden meeting

As many as 100 Ukrainian soldiers may be dying each day in the Donbas.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told US President Joe Biden that Russia’s aggression cannot be tolerated, as the two leaders met in Tokyo to discuss regional security and economic cooperation.

The war in Ukraine and other conflicts pushed the number of people around the world forcibly displaced from their homes above the 100 million mark for the first time, a United Nations agency said in a report.

As many as 100 Ukrainian soldiers may be dying each day in severe fighting in the Donbas, currently the main focus of the Kremlin’s invasion, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said.

Key Developments

  • Putin’s War Means Russia’s Rich Aren’t Welcome at Davos Anymore
  • G-7 Officials Roll Out $19.8 Billion Aid Package for Ukraine
  • How an Energy Expert Triggered Vladimir Putin With One Word
  • Aeroflot Is Back to the Future as Sanctions Ground its Ambitions
  • Ruble Hits 5-Year High as Gazprom Clients Heed Putin on Gas
  • Facebook Slammed for Spreading Putin’s Propaganda in NATO’s East

All times CET:

Biden, Kishida Meet in Tokyo (4:22 a.m.)

Prime Minister Kishida told Biden at their meeting that “Russia’s aggression in Ukraine shakes the foundations of the global order, and changes to the status quo by force such as this cannot be tolerated anywhere.”

Resource-poor Japan plans to phase out its use of Russian oil and coal, but Kishida has said it would take time to make the change. The Kishida administration’s sanctions against Russia have proved popular with the public ahead of a key upper house election in two months.

US, Partners Slam Russia at APEC (3:45 a.m.)

The US and several of its partners in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group jointly condemned Russia’s aggression, issuing a statement expressing “grave concern” after a gathering of the bloc’s trade ministers over the weekend.

The unified stance among the US, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea comes after the gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group failed to issue a customary joint statement. The US and Russia staged tit-for-tat walkouts during their presentations at the meeting.

New Zealand Sends Artillery Training Team (3:15 a.m.)

A New Zealand Defence Force artillery training team of up to 30 will be deployed to the UK to help train Ukrainian military personnel in operating L119 105mm light field guns, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Forcibly Displaced Exceed 100 Million, UNHCR Says (2:43 a.m.)

The global figure must “serve as a wake-up call” for more action, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said in a statement on the report, adding the war the war in Ukraine has displaced 8 million within the country this year.

“The international response to people fleeing war in Ukraine has been overwhelmingly positive,” Grandi said. The number of forcibly displaced worldwide had risen toward 90 million by the end of 2021 before Russia’s invasion started, propelled by new waves of violence or protracted conflict in countries including Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Nigeria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNHCR said.

Zelenskiy Says Ukraine Suffers High Casualties in Donbas (5:52 p.m.)

As many as 100 Ukrainian soldiers may be dying each day in the most severe battles in the country’s east, President Zelenskiy told reporters in a joint press conference Sunday with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.

It was a rare instance of Zelenskiy hinting at the level of casualties the nation’s troops are incurring. He made the comment after being asked whether he plans to lift a ban on leaving Ukraine for men of conscription age.

In his address to the nation on Saturday night, Zelenskiy described the situation in the Donbas as “really hard.”

France Says Ukraine’s EU Entry May Take 20 Years (3:52 p.m.)

The exhaustive process for Ukraine to join the European Union may take 15 to 20 years, said Clement Beaune, France’s junior minister for Europe.

“If we were to say that Ukraine is going to join the EU in six months, or a year, or two, we would be lying,” Beaune said in an interview on Radio J on Sunday. “It will be long, very long. I don’t want to sell illusions or lies.”

Beaune’s comment was consistent with one from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said this month that the stringent process of bringing Ukraine into the EU could take decades, and suggested the formation of a “parallel European community.” That idea is expected to be debated at an EU summit in late June.

Poland’s Duda Says Unity With Ukraine Can’t be Shaken (12:17 p.m.)

President Andrzej Duda draw repeated ovations as he described unshakable unity between Poland and Ukraine in an address to the Parliament in Kyiv.

“Only Ukraine has the right to decide about its own future,” Duda said, adding there are “voices in Europe” asking Kyiv to cave in to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “If for some kind of peace of mind Ukraine is sacrificed, it will be a big blow not only for Ukraine, but also for the entire western community,” he said.

Duda, the first foreign head of state to address Ukrainian lawmakers in person since Russia’s invasion almost three months ago, said he was committed to ensuring that Ukraine is granted EU candidate status as quickly as possible.

Polish PM Says Norway Should Share Oil Profits Windfall (11:42 a.m.) 

Norway should share the “gigantic” profits it’s recently made as a result of higher oil and gas prices, especially with Ukraine, said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

Morawiecki, answering a question about his government’s energy policy Sunday at a meeting of a youth group, said coal-reliant Poland plans to switch to renewables and nuclear energy, while shedding oil and gas deliveries from Russia and at some point from the Middle East as well.

Russian Troops Focus on Severodonetsk, US Analysts Say (8:30 a.m.)

Russian forces intensified efforts to encircle and capture Severodonetsk in Ukraine’s Luhansk region and will likely continue to do so as efforts on other axes of advance, including Izyum, remain largely stalled, according to the Institute for the Study of War.

Troops may also be assembling in certain areas of Zaporizhia and Kherson oblasts to prepare for further offensive operations on the southern axis, the US military think tank said.

The UK defense ministry said Moscow has likely deployed BMP-T Terminator tanks to the Severodonetsk area, adding that “their presence suggests that the Central Grouping of Forces is involved in this attack.” The unit suffered heavy losses near Kyiv in the first phase of Russia’s invasion.

Aeroflot Back to the Future as Its Operations Shrink (8:00 a.m.)

Russia’s Aeroflot PJSC succeeded over the last two decades in transforming itself from a punchline about Communist-era service into an award-winning international carrier flying one of the youngest fleets in the world.

It now faces a future that looks more like its Soviet past and, with its Boeing and Airbus jets cut off from parts and service, it is shifting its focus to domestic routes and locally produced planes as the impact from unprecedented economic sanctions on Russia becomes clearer.

Aeroflot “will be a shadow of itself,” said Christopher Granville of London-based consultancy TS Lombard. “This is a mirror for the Russian economy as a whole.”

Serbia’s Vucic to Discuss Russian Gas with Putin (11:47 p.m.)

Serbian President Aleksandr Vucic will likely speak with his Russian counterpart on Wednesday or Thursday to discuss gas supplies, TV Pink reported, citing an interview with Vucic.

The country is focused on three aspects: volume, price and reliability of supplies, Vucic told TV Pink.

Kuleba Calls for ‘Clear Goals’ as Path to Victory (9 p.m.)

Ukraine’s foreign minister on Twitter, said “setting clear goals” and building policies to that end was the first step for Ukraine to emerge victorious.

Russia May Consider Swapping Ukraine’s Mariupol Defenders for Putin Ally (8:17 p.m.)

Russia “will explore” swapping some of Ukraine’s defenders of the port city of Mariupol for Viktor Medvedchuk, an ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin, Interfax news agency reported, citing senior lawmaker Leonid Slutsky, a member of the Russian negotiating team that took part in peace talks with Kyiv.

“We will study the possibility,” Slutsky said Saturday in Donetsk, a eastern Ukrainian city occupied by Russia, according to Interfax.

Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian politician and a businessman, was put under arrest after prosecutors accused him of high treason and terrorist financing. Putin called the case political, and Medvedchuk denies wrongdoing. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy offered to swap Medvedchuk for captured Ukrainian soldiers last month.

Zelenskiy Urges Help to Unblock Ukraine’s Ports (4:59 p.m.)

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged partners to help reopen Ukrainian ports and clear the way for some 22 million tons of grain and sunflower exports now being blocked by Russia.

“There will be a second crisis in the world after the energy crisis” if the Black Sea ports aren’t unblocked, Zelenskiy said during a press conference with Portugal’s prime minister.

His comments echo those of Sara Menker, CEO of Gro Intelligence, who told a UN briefing this week that price increases for major food crops this year — driven in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — have “made an additional 400 million people food insecure.” Attempting to export Ukraine’s grain through Europe via rail is “not enough,” she said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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