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Ukraine latest: US says it has slowed tech goods to Russia

Hurting its manufacturing and military sectors, a Biden administration official said.
Image: SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Restrictions by the US and its allies have led to a fall in more than half of Russia’s imports of high-tech goods and parts, hurting its manufacturing and military sectors, a Biden administration official said.

Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal told global policy makers it would cost $600 billion for his country to rebuild. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said it might be possible to get Russia to foot part of that bill, adding Europe should be “careful” about a ban on Russian oil that could hurt the world economy.

The US Justice Department has been assisting Ukrainian prosecutors in gathering evidence for possible war crimes cases after several nations have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces of committing atrocities against civilians — something the Kremlin denies.

Key Developments

  • Russian Oligarch Billions Are Hard for Investors to Shake Off
  • Ukraine Sees Rebuild Costing $600 Billion as It Seeks Global Aid
  • US, Allies Cut Bulk of Russia High-Tech Imports, Raimondo Says
  • US Blasts China’s Support for Russia, Pledges to Help India
  • Ukraine-Focused Venture Fund Races to Support Startup Refugees
  • Why Mariupol and the Donbas Region Matter to Putin: QuickTake

All times CET:

Wheat Eyes Longest Losing Run Since November (5:10 a.m.)

Grains extended losses in Chicago as US exports slumped and Russian shipments continued to flow through ports. Wheat futures fell as much as 0.9% to head for a fourth day of declines, which would be the longest losing streak since November.

Prices remain almost 40% higher this year as the war in Ukraine stokes concern about fieldwork and plantings for its next harvest.

Read more: Wheat Eyes Longest Losing Run Since November as US Sales Slide

US Warns China of Support for Russia (2:25 a.m.)

A senior U.S. diplomat again warned China of sanctions if it offers “material support” for Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, while also pledging to help India end its dependence on Russian weapons.

China wasn’t helping the situation in Ukraine by doing things like amplifying Russian disinformation campaigns, US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said at an event in Brussels. She said she hoped Beijing will learn the “right lessons” from Russia’s war, including that it can’t separate the US from its allies.

Russia’s High-Tech Imports Fall, US Says (2:10 a.m.)

Actions by the US and its allies to restrict Russia’s access to high-tech imports and parts has seen those shipments fall by more than 50%, frustrating the nation’s manufacturing and servicing efforts, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.

“The Russian military is struggling to find spare parts for their tanks, for their satellites, for their rocket-mounting systems,” Raimondo told reporters in Washington.

Garland Says Aiding War Crimes Inquiry (12:40 a.m.)

Attorney General Merrick Garland told reporters the Justice Department was assisting the prosecutor general of Ukraine in preparing potential war crimes cases.

“We are helping in the collection of evidence and preservation of evidence related to possible war crimes,” Garland said.

White House Names Ukraine Aid Coordinator (12:04 a.m.)

The White House named retired three-star general Terry Wolff to the National Security Council to help coordinate the security assistance the US and allies are providing to Ukraine, a senior administration official said Thursday. The announcement comes a week after a bipartisan group of senators urged the president to name a coordinator.

US Streamlines Procedures for Ukrainian Refugees (11:07 p.m.)

The US Department of Homeland Security unveiled a streamlined process for Ukrainians with US connections to come to the country under humanitarian parole. The temporary immigration status allows individuals to live and work in the US for two years.

Applicants must be Ukrainian nationals who lived in Ukraine as of February 11, have US sponsors, get vaccinations, and undergo security vetting. Immigration officials will then consider their applications on a case-by-case basis, the DHS said. The Biden administration last month committed to taking in up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

Russia Suspended From Observer Status at OAS (10:38 p.m.)

Russia was suspended as an observer at the Organization of American States, a move the US said showed that OAS member states “do not stand on the sidelines in the face of the Russian government’s violations of international humanitarian law and human rights abuses.” The vote was 25 in favour, zero against and eight abstentions.

Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman earlier said she believed Russia, which was suspended from the United Nations Human Rights Council this month, would face similar action in other international organizations.

Yellen Warns Europe to Be ‘Careful’ With Russia Oil Ban (10:02 p.m.)

Yellen said Europe should be “careful” about imposing an outright ban on Russian oil, warning that the could hurt European and other economies without inflicting as much impact on Russia as hoped.

The US treasury secretary also said that she expects efforts will be made to get Russia to help pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine, adding that any move to deploy confiscated Russian assets for that purpose would need to be considered carefully.

Ukraine Puts Rebuilding Price Tag at $600 Billion (9:48 p.m.)

Rebuilding Ukraine after the Russian invasion will cost $600 billion, the nation’s prime minister told the International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings in Washington. He asked IMF members to donate 10% of their reserve assets received from the institution to support the effort.

In the short term, Ukraine needs $4 billion to $5 billion per month in funding, Shmyhal said at a roundtable aimed at rallying support for the country. In the longer term, the nation needs a recovery strategy similar to the Marshall Plan for Europe after World War II, he said.

Ukraine Prime Minister Meets With Biden (7:07 p.m.)

Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal met with Biden before the US president announced additional military aid and, separately, Shmyhal spoke with Yellen and Blinken.

Secretary Janet Yellen

@SecYellen

This morning, I met with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. I shared with him our continued, firm stance alongside Ukraine as they defend their lives & their country. I am committed to working with our partners and allies to support Ukraine’s economic needs.

Sent via Twitter Web App.

View original tweet.

Russia Bans Zuckerberg, Others in Symbolic Move (6:59 p.m.)

Russia barred entry to Meta Platform Inc’s Mark Zuckerberg and 28 other Americans, a symbolic retaliation for US sanctions against its top officials and business figures.

The latest Russian “stop list” includes US Vice-President Kamala Harris alongside White House, Pentagon and State Department officials and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Zhovkva Says It’s Premature to Say Russia Took Mariupol (6:02 p.m.)

Ukraine’s deputy chief of staff, Ihor Zhovkva, said that even though Russia controls major parts of the port city of Mirupol that’s been under siege since March 1, the Ukrainian army is still there.

“Most of them as well as many civilians are blocked at the Azov steel plant,” Zhovkva said in an interview with Bloomberg. Ukraine offered to exchange Russian wounded soldiers for those Mariupol civilians and soldiers who are wounded, he said, adding that “we have not received any answer.”

Poland to Extend Support for Refugees (5:07 p.m.)

Poland will extend state support, initially planned for two months, for families and hotels hosting Ukrainian refugees by another 60 days. The government estimates that 600,000 Ukrainians are still benefiting from the program. The aid, amounting to 40 zloty ($9.38) for each person per day, is expected to cost the state $1.9 billion. Since the start of war, more than 2.8 million people from Ukraine have arrived in Poland.

European Commission ????????

@EU_Commission

Since the war in Ukraine started, over 4.7M people fled the country arriving in the EU.

Latest updates on the situation of refugees coming from Ukraine to Europe ⬇️

#StandWithUkraine

Sent via Twitter Web App.

View original tweet.

Biden Unveils $1.3 Billion in Arms, Aid (4:31 p.m.)

President Biden said the U.S. is sending Ukraine another $1.3 billion in arms and economic aid, and that he’ll ask Congress to authorize further assistance as Russia steps up its attacks in the country’s east.

The money adds to $2.4 billion in U.S. aid already authorized for the fiscal year, much of it weaponry. Of the new package, $800 million will go toward arms. “We’re in a critical window now of time where they’re going to set the stage for the next phase of this war,” Biden said.

Володимир Зеленський

I’m grateful to @POTUS & ???????? people for the leadership in supporting the people of Ukraine in the fight against Russian aggression. This help is needed today more than ever! It saves the lives of our defenders of democracy and freedom and brings us closer to restoring peace in ????????.

Sent via Twitter Web App.

View original tweet.

Russia’s Lukoil CEO Resigns After Being Sanctioned (1:19 p.m.)

Russia’s second-largest oil producer said Chief Executive Officer Vagit Alekperov will resign, in the latest sign of growing pressure on the nation’s energy industry since the invasion of Ukraine.

The 71-year-old joins a long list of Russian CEOs who’ve stepped down after being targeted with Western sanctions. The bosses of the country’s biggest petrochemical producer Sibur Holding, internet company Yandex NV and e-commerce firm Ozon Group have all resigned in recent months.

Ukraine Seeks Retail ‘Peace Bond’ for U.S, EU Diaspora (12:31 p.m.)

Ukraine is in talks with the European Union and the US to establish a so-called peace bond for retail investors to help fund war efforts and reconstruction.

Kyiv has held talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the US, as well as with the EU’s executive arm, the European Commission, said a person familiar with the plans. The commission has offered to be the go-between with national authorities that would oversee and approve a sale of the new bonds.

UK Hits Russian Military Officials, Others With Sanctions (12:22 p.m.)

The UK government on Thursday sanctioned Russian generals they said were “committing atrocities on the front-line in Ukraine,” according to a statement.

The fresh sanction also targeted individuals and businesses supporting the Russian military — 26 new entries in all. The sanctions hit “the generals and defense companies that have blood on their hands,” said U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.

Spring Planting Pushes Ahead (11:59 a.m.) 

Ukraine’s spring sowing campaign is gathering momentum with about 20% of projected area having been planted, according to the agriculture ministry.

Even in the eastern and southern regions, where fighting continues or is intensifying, farmers will be able to sow as much as 40% of planned area in the worst-case scenario, the ministry said. Landmines left behind by retreating Russian forces is a problem for farmers in the north.

Sweden Plans to Speed Up Its NATO Analysis (11:45 a.m.) 

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said political parties deliberating a potential application for NATO membership may speed up the process, initially planned to conclude by the end of next month.

The talks should be finalized by May 13, Linde said in an interview with Swedish public radio’s Ekot. “The situation in Ukraine continues to worsen, Finland has submitted its analysis, and there is strong pressure on Sweden to finalize its analysis,” she said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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