Ukraine Update: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will take part via video in this week’s special NATO summit to discuss the Russian invasion, his spokesman said. Kyiv said the evacuation of civilians from the besieged southern port of Mariupol continued, but about 100,000 people remain there under bombardment.
U.S. President Joe Biden, who’s traveling to Europe for the NATO meeting, said further sanctions on Russia will be announced during his trip. European Union members Germany and Hungary sought to put the brakes on a potential embargo on Russian oil.
Russia’s parliament voted to expand a law targeting the publication of “fake” news that has already curbed reporting from the country. A Russian court sentenced jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny, who denounced the war in Ukraine, to another nine years in jail.
(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)
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All times CET:
Vietnam Airlines to Halt Hanoi-Moscow Flights (3:10 a.m.)
Vietnam Airlines will suspend Hanoi-Moscow flights from Friday after insurance partners sought changes to contracts due to the fighting in Ukraine, according to a spokesperson for the airline.
The carrier said in a statement it was working to resume the flights as soon as possible.
Chelsea FC Bidders Wait on Sale (2:55 a.m.)
Potential buyers for Chelsea Football Club remain in limbo days after making their bids, as the New York-based bank handling the sale sifts through offers.
The Raine Group has spent the days since the deadline for making bids last Friday deciding which would make the final cut. One group led by Centricus Asset Management offered more than 3 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) for Roman Abramovich’s club, Bloomberg News reported earlier.
Pelosi Says Putin Is ‘Already Failing’ (2:35 a.m.)
Vladimir Putin’s forces are “in a stalemate with Ukraine” and that means “he’s already failing,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin Texas.
When asked about Putin possibly installing a puppet regime in Ukraine, she said: “It’s never going to be a success for him.”
Pelosi was also asked whether she feared a Putin victory might embolden China to invade Taiwan. “I think they are even seeing the pariah” that Putin has become, she said. “China should take no heart from the reaction that Putin is getting from the rest of the world.”
Oil Rises Before NATO, EU Summits (2:30 a.m.)
Oil ticked higher before meetings of European Union and NATO leaders in Brussels that may see fresh curbs placed on Russia. West Texas Intermediate climbed toward $110 a barrel after ending Tuesday slightly lower.
U.K. Lawmakers Call for More Sanctions (1:01 a.m.)
The U.K. should press ahead with its sanctions against Russia because they are inflicting pain on Putin’s regime, but it should also help lower-income families cope with the higher energy and other living costs, according to a report from the cross-party Treasury Committee.
Economic punishments mooted by the U.S., EU and U.K. against Russian energy imports could have a “catastrophic and long-lasting” effect if fully implemented, while the existing measures placed on Russia’s central bank are particularly effective, the report said.
Zelenskiy Says About 100,000 Still in Besieged Mariupol (11:20 p.m.)
About 100,000 people remain in the port of Mariupol, “under full blockade, without food, without water, without medicine, under constant shelling,” Zelenskiy said in his daily video address to the nation. Kyiv officials say another 6,000 people were evacuated from the city on Tuesday, while Russian troops seized buses and cars sent there by emergency services to help more people leave.
The president said peace talks with Russia are “very difficult” but “step by step we are moving forward.” He also said he’s “grateful” to Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias for announcing his intention to accompany an aid mission to Mariupol.
Zelenskiy to Join NATO Summit by Video (11:01 p.m.)
Zelenskiy will take part via video in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting on March 24, where he’ll deliver an address and may “fully participate” in the talks, his spokesman Serhiy Nykyfotov said on television.
The president will reiterate Ukraine’s demands for an end to “Russia’s crimes against civilians and civilian infrastructure,” Nykyforov said. “That is possible to do in several ways — impose a no-fly zone, give Ukraine strong air defenses, and provide jets. It will be up to those countries what to choose.”
Ukraine Says Almost 6,000 Evacuated From Mariupol (9:30 p.m.)
More citizens of the besieged southern port escaped to the city of Zaporizhzhia, about 150 miles to the west, in their own cars along a humanitarian corridor, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said.
She said Russian troops at a checkpoint outside Mariupol seized 11 buses and 2 cars sent by the State Emergency Service to evacuate civilians, and Ukraine is negotiating the release of drivers and other personnel.
Russian Cyberattack on Ally Could Trigger NATO Response (8:35 p.m.)
A cyberattack by Russia on a NATO country could trigger a collective response from the U.S. and its allies, but not necessarily a military one, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said at a White House press briefing.
“We and other countries could bring capabilities to bear to help a country both defend itself and respond to a particular cyberattack,” Sullivan said. “That’s not necessarily the same thing as a military response. That response could take many different forms.”
Biden Aide Says Allies to Impose More Sanctions (7:02 p.m.)
Sullivan told reporters at the White House that on Thursday Biden “will join our partners in imposing further sanctions on Russia, and tightening the existing sanctions to crack down on evasion and to ensure robust enforcement.”
“He will announce joint action on enhancing European energy security and reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas at long last,” Sullivan said.
Germany Says Russia’s G-20 Status Isn’t on Table for Now (6:12 p.m.)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said it’s too soon to discuss Russia’s continued membership in the Group of Twenty and World Trade Organization, telling reporters “we first need direct negotiations between Russia and Ukraine that go beyond what we have seen so far.”
Scholz didn’t rule out a discussion on Russia’s membership in future but said that should happen as a collective and not among individual states. Russia was excluded from the Group of Eight after its annexation of Crimea in 2014, but the G-20 is a more diverse group of nations including China and Saudi Arabia, so terminating its membership would also be more complex.
Credit Agricole Says It Suspended Activities in Russia (6 p.m.)
Credit Agricole SA has suspended its activities in Russia, joining a growing list of lenders scaling back their business in the country after the invasion of Ukraine.
The Paris-based bank, which has stopped all commercial activity in Russia, contacted its international corporate clients to agree on suspension modalities for the services provided by its local unit, the bank said in a statement on Tuesday.
Ex-U.S. Defense Chief Calls War Devastating for Russia (5:30 p.m.)
Russia has failed to achieve any of its major objectives in Ukraine, former U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Bloomberg Television. He said it’s clear Russia’s equipment isn’t well-maintained and that its military suffers from poor morale.
Esper said he doesn’t currently support a no-fly zone over Ukraine but that if the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, the U.S. could be “morally compelled to act.”
Lagarde Says Cryptos Being Used to Evade Russian Sanctions (5:20 p.m.)
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said there are signs that some Russians are attempting to bypass sanctions over the war in Ukraine by converting rubles into cryptocurrencies and stablecoins.
Crypto assets “are certainly being used, as we speak, as a way to try to circumvent the sanctions that have been decided by many countries around the world against Russia,” she told a virtual event on Tuesday.
But as of last week, there was no evidence of Russia using cryptocurrencies to evade curbs, according to Jonathan Levin, co-founder of blockchain-analytics firm Chainalysis.
Latvia Detains Blogger for Pro-Russia Content (4:45 p.m.)
Latvian authorities detained an individual for posting videos and recordings on YouTube, Telegram and social media that backed Russia’s invasion. The unidentified suspect is under investigation for “glorifying the war crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in Ukraine,” the Baltic nation’s security service said in a statement.
The suspect, who remains detained, posted material “reflecting events in Russia’s interest,” praised the Kremlin’s military tactics, accused Ukrainian forces of committing crimes and made statements against Latvians and the state, the security service said in the statement.
Zelenskiy Aide Sees No Territorial Concessions (4:15 p.m.)
Alexander Rodnyansky, a top adviser to Zelenskiy, told Bloomberg Television there is “no wiggle room” for territorial concessions but that he sees potential for progress in talks on neutrality.
Rodnyansky expressed concern that Putin isn’t serious enough about talks and called on the world to draw a red line should Russia use chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine.
Ukraine Gets Equivalent of $206 Million in War-Bond Sale (3:01 p.m.)
Ukraine raised 6.04 billion hryvnia ($206 million) from its latest auction of domestic bonds to help fund its military resistance to Russia’s invasion. Tuesday’s sale is the fourth such auction, and adds to the roughly $691 million already raised since the invasion started.
UN Chief Says It’s Time to Talk Instead of Fight (2:58 p.m.)
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in New York that diplomatic progress is being made and “there is enough on the table to cease hostilities now.,”
Guterres said Russia’s war on Ukraine is intensifying and “getting more destructive and more unpredictable by the hour.” So far, 10 million Ukrainians have been forced from their homes and are on the move, he said.
Estonia Pledges Support for Russians in EU Nation’s East (2:38 p.m.)
The Estonian government pledged to invest in roads, schools and jobs in the nation’s largely Russian-speaking northeast in a show of support for a region that has been a source of cultural tension even before the invasion of Ukraine.
On a visit to Ida-Virumaa, a region that has trailed other areas in reaping the advantages of Estonia’s 2004 EU entry, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas pledged to widen a single-lane highway that connects the region to the capital, provide more EU funds and invest in schools. She also pledged to increase spending on language classes for Estonia’s more than 170,000 Russian-speaking residents, many of whom face difficulty in finding jobs due to a lack of fluency in Estonian.
Ukraine Says Food Infrastructure Destroyed (2:29 p.m.)
Ukraine’s agriculture minister, Roman Leshchenko, warned that Russia’s invasion was destroying vital infrastructure and would create new hot spots of hunger and famine across the world by preventing Ukraine’s exports of grain, vegetable oils and meat.
“Today Ukraine has no choice, we have to limit our exports to ensure our survival,” he told the European Parliament via videoconference, repeating calls for Europe to stop any kind of cooperation with Russia and its companies. He said Ukraine’s grain port in Mykolaiv on the Black Sea was destroyed by Russian bombs on Tuesday, accusing Russia of intentionally exporting famine.
“We understand that our other ports and infrastructure for agriculture export will be destroyed within another couple of weeks,” he said.
Putin Foe Navalny Sentenced to 9 Years in New Conviction (1:37 p.m.)
A Russian court on Tuesday sentenced jailed opposition leader Alexey Navalny to nine years in a high-security prison, according to Interfax, in a ruling that will keep President Vladimir Putin’s top critic sidelined amid a harsh crackdown on the opposition.
The conviction comes amid a harsh crackdown on dissent since the start of the war a month ago, with Putin labeling those opposed to the invasion as “traitors.” Navalny has dismissed the legitimacy of the proceedings and used his appearances during the trial to denounce the war.
Russia Expands New Law Criminalizing ‘Fake’ News (1:08 p.m.)
Russian lawmakers on Tuesday approved the expansion of a law that authorizes imprisonment for publishing “fake” news about the military’s operations abroad to include the international activities of all state agencies.
The State Duma lower house of parliament backed amendments criminalizing the public dissemination of “knowingly false” information about the activities of state bodies to protect the interests of Russians abroad. The offense carries a penalty ranging from a fine up to 1.5 million rubles ($14,300) to imprisonment for up to 15 years if the allegations led to “grave consequences.”
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