Ukraine Update: G-7 Condemns Russia, Says Sanctions Are Working

Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven nations say that want to isolate Russia from the global economy for its unprovoked “war of aggression” in Ukraine, and that sanctions “are already having the intended massive impact.”

The Biden administration imposed fresh sanctions on Russia — including on a cryptocurrency miner — as security agencies from the U.S. and other countries warned the Kremlin is looking at options for cyberattacks. 

The United Nations secretary-general sought meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as Moscow’s forces step up their offensive in the east. Kyiv called for urgent talks to save the lives of fighters and civilians trapped in the city of Mariupol.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Italy Should Halt Russian Gas Imports, Energy Minister Says (8:01 a.m) 

Italian Energy Minister Roberto Cingolani, who’s in Africa to seal new energy deals, says gas imports from Russia should be ended. Separately, Rome is ready to refuse new payment terms demanded by Russia for gas if they’re shown to violate sanctions, according to people familiar with the matter. 

“In my opinion we should soon halt gas imports from Russia, also for ethical reasons,” he said in an interview with La Stampa Thursday. According to Cingolani, Italy could cut its imports in about 18 months from now.

Ukraine Update: G-7 Condemns Russia, Says Sanctions Are Working

JPMorgan Says Clients Seeking Liquidity After War (5:22 a.m.)

Companies want more liquidity because of volatility caused by the war and the bank is talking with a number of them about “incremental” fund-raising, JPMorgan’s global head of corporate banking Sjoerd Leenart said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

G-7 Ministers Condemn Russia’s War (5:06 a.m.)

Group of Seven finance ministers and central bankers condemned Russia’s “unjustifiable” war in Ukraine and will work to isolate the country from the global economy, according to a G-7 statement after the officials met in Washington. 

“Our sanctions are already having the intended massive impact on the Russian economy,” they said. “The significant long-term hit to the Russian economy will become even clearer over time.”

They are closely coordinating with partners to increase costs of war for Russia, and also aware of the “substantial” increases in commodity prices facing the world economy, with “vulnerable groups” feeling the brunt, according to the statement.

Russia Exploring Cyberattacks, Advisory Says (2:58 a.m.)

Evolving intelligence indicates the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks, while some cybercrime groups are looking to aid Moscow, security agencies from the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.K. said in a joint advisory.

“This activity may occur as a response to the unprecedented economic costs imposed on Russia as well as materiel support provided by the United States and U.S. allies and partners,” the advisory said, adding the cybersecurity agencies behind the joint assessment are urging “critical infrastructure network defenders to prepare for and mitigate potential cyber threats.”

Indonesia Defends Putin Attending G-20 (1:40 a.m.)

Indonesia’s ambassador to Australia defended his country’s decision to invite Vladimir Putin to the November Group of 20 meeting in Bali, saying it was important to pursue the group’s economic agenda.

In an interview with Australia’s Nine newspapers, Ambassador Siswo Pramono said Putin was still invited when Australia hosted the event in Brisbane in 2014, despite Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea. Current Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other G-20 leaders have said it would not be appropriate for Putin to attend due to the invasion of his neighbor.

Ukraine Seeks Urgent Talks in Mariupol (11:35 p.m.)

Ukraine’s government is ready to hold a special round of talks “without any conditions” in Mariupol with Russian officials to discuss saving the lives of fighters and civilians trapped in the city,  Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter. 

Ukrainian forces in the port, which has been subject to some of the most intense bombardment of the conflict, have warned they may be unable to hold out much longer.

Ukraine Update: G-7 Condemns Russia, Says Sanctions Are Working

Sanctioned Russian Banks Can’t Issue UnionPay Cards: RBC (11:03 p.m.)

Russian banks under sanctions won’t be able to issue UnionPay cards because the Chinese payments provider is concerned about the risk of secondary sanctions, RBC reported, citing five sources from major sanctioned banks. Employees at one of them, Sberbank, were told about the decision at a private meeting, RBC reported. 

Some NATO Allies Want to Prolong War, Turkey Says (10:30 p.m.)

Some NATO members want the war in Ukraine to continue in order to weaken Russia, without much concern for the impact on Ukraine itself, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with CNN Turk television. 

Cavusoglu also discussed Ukraine’s requests for external powers act as guarantors of the country’s security in any peace agreement. Turkey isn’t opposed in principle to offering security guarantees, but doesn’t favor commitments along the lines of NATO’s Article 5, in which alliance members pledge to defend each other from attack, he said. 

U.S. Targets Russia Crypto Miner BitRiver in New Sanctions (8:41 p.m.)

The U.S. Treasury sanctioned cryptocurrency miner BitRiver — the first time it has targeted such a company — as well as dozens of other entities and individuals it said were involved in helping Russia evade sanctions linked to its invasion of Ukraine. 

Along with BitRiver, which was founded in Russia in 2017, Treasury penalized 10 of the company’s subsidiaries. It also sanctioned Russian commercial bank Transkapitalbank and a global network of more than 40 individuals and entities led by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev.

Ukraine Update: G-7 Condemns Russia, Says Sanctions Are Working

Ukraine Supports UN Proposal for Easter Truce (8:11 p.m.)

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that a “humanitarian truce” proposed by the UN over the upcoming Orthodox Easter holiday would help allow for the evacuation of thousands of civilians, including from heavily hit Mariupol. 

Luhansk has not received clear signals on any four-day truce, Serhiy Haiday, the governor of the eastern region, said in televised remarks, but is prepared to use it for maximal evacuation and to fill up humanitarian aid stockpiles.

Zelenskiy Calls Russian Attacks on Mariupol ‘Terrorism’ (7:38 p.m.)

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called Russia’s actions toward Mariupol “terrorism.” In an interview with French TV, he said that 95% of the coastal city has been destroyed. 

He said Ukrainians aren’t able to leave the city to safety via proposed humanitarian corridors. An evacuation effort failed Wednesday amid continued Russian shelling.

Ukraine Update: G-7 Condemns Russia, Says Sanctions Are Working

UN’s Guterres Seeks Meetings with Putin, Zelenskiy (6:45 p.m.)

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered a letter to Russia’s mission requesting a meeting with Putin, according to the UN chief’s office. Separately, he delivered a similar letter to the Ukrainian mission asking for a meeting with Zelenskiy, as he seeks to mediate between the warring sides.

Guterres, who has mostly tried not to alienate any of the world’s top powers, took an unusually strong stance against Russia’s invasion at the start of the war. His position was praised by Western leaders but may have alienated Putin, depriving him of a mediator’s role in the conflict.

Lavrov Discusses Mariupol With Turkish Counterpart (6:21 p.m.)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the situation in Mariupol by phone with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, according to a statement on the website of Russia’s Foreign Ministry. 

Russia repeated that its negotiations with Ukraine “depend entirely on Kyiv’s readiness to take into account our legitimate demands,” the statement said.

Russia Tests Ballistic Missile Amid Putin Praise (6:17 p.m.)

Russia’s Defense Ministry released video of a Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile being test-fired from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the northern Arkhangelsk region, Tass said. The ministry previously showed videos of the missile in 2018.

“This unique weapon will strengthen the military potential of our armed forces, will reliably guarantee Russia’s security against outside threats and force those who in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric try to menace our country to think again,” Putin said on state TV.

Ukraine Update: G-7 Condemns Russia, Says Sanctions Are Working

IMF Urges Nations to Help on Ukraine Financing (6:02 p.m.)

The International Monetary Fund called on nations to provide grants and donations to fill a $5 billion monthly financing need for Ukraine, while signaling that more of the institution’s own lending will need to wait for when there is more stability.

The IMF last month approved a $1.4 billion emergency loan for Ukraine — the maximum it can provide with few conditions based on the fund’s rules. Ukraine canceled an existing loan that had $2.2 billion left to disburse but was subject to reforms such as tackling corruption.

Ukraine Update: G-7 Condemns Russia, Says Sanctions Are Working

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