Ukraine’s Foreign Minister has arrived in Turkey for talks with his Russian counterpart.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants a “new Marshall Plan” for Ukraine.
The White House is weighing its next moves on sanctions, which could include members of Russia’s parliament and nuclear supplier Rosatom.
Congress is still sorting out some issues with the larger spending package, but the House of Representatives released details on the Ukraine aid package and Russian energy import ban legislation. The Ukraine aid package is $13.6 billion (for a sense of how much this has grown, the White House requested $6.4 billion on February 25), and it includes military aid, humanitarian support, and funding to increase sanctions enforcement. The Russian energy import ban legislation would ban imports from Russia classified under Chapter 27 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, effective 45 days after enactment. The President would be able to waive the ban, subject to a congressional resolution of disapproval. The bill would also require USTR to encourage WTO members to suspend trade concessions to Russia and to explore suspending Russia from the WTO. The White House prevailed upon Congress to remove a provision revoking permanent normal trade relations (PNTR).
The EU made official its additional sanctions on Russia and Belarus. For Russia, it expanded export controls to maritime navigation and communication technology, clarified that crypto assets are included in sanctions, and sanctioned an additional 160 Russian individuals (14 oligarchs and 146 members of its upper house of parliament). It expanded many Russia sanctions to Belarus, including SWIFT, central bank, and stock market sanctions, as well as limiting financial inflows from Belarus and prohibiting provision of euro banknotes to Belarus.
Germany is reportedly holding up efforts to expand SWIFT sanctions to additional Russian banks due to concerns about the impact on energy transactions and prices. The EU also presented a plan to cut Russian gas imports by two-thirds this year, but it still appears that the EU will not go so far as to ban Russian energy imports.
The UK banned the export of aviation and space-related goods and technology to Russia. It also strengthened its aviation sanctions, banning Russian-flagged planes from the UK and criminalized flying or landing Russian planes in the UK.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in an interview with the New York Times warned that the U.S. would “essentially shut” down Chinese companies defying Russian sanctions.
Russia’s stock market will not open Thursday. Its most recent day of trading was Friday, February 25. The Russian Central Bank banned banks from selling foreign currency to Russians, capped the amount of dollars that foreign currency account holders can withdraw at $10,000, and prohibited new foreign currency accounts to withdraw anything but rubles. Russian President Vladimir Putin also signed a degree banning exports of unspecified commodities and raw materials. His cabinet has two days to come up with a list of products. The White House said it would “take steps” if Russia follows through on threats to expropriate assets of companies that quit doing business in Russia
Fitch further cut Russia’s rating, calling a debt default imminent and Russia’s five-year credit default swaps continue to hit new records. The London Metal Exchange (LME) has suspended trading on nickel amid a price surge. Global jet fuel prices surged to a 14-year high.
The Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation suspended Russia and Belarus. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Yum Brands, Universal Music Group, and PokerStars are the latest companies to announce they were suspending activities in Russia. The U.S. joined a call by a number of Ministers of Sport calling for Russia and Belarus to be suspended from international sporting competitions.
The mayor of Kyiv told CNN he believes the city has enough resources for a week, maybe two. The U.S. believes that Russian forces have made advances toward Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. The latest attack to stir international attention was on a children’s and maternity hospital in Mariupol, a city in which the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. The UN estimates that 474 civilians have been killed overall, but the mayor of Mariupol claims 1,300 civilians in the city have been killed in his city alone. Russia has destroyed a major gas pipeline in eastern Ukraine. Amnesty International says that the March 3 strike on an apartment building in Chernihiv that killed 47 civilians may constitute a war crime.
The confusing case of donating Soviet-era fighter jets to Ukraine got confusinger. Yesterday, Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement that it was “ready to deploy – immediately and free of charge – all their MIG-29 jets to the Ramstein Air Base [in Germany] and place them at the disposal of” the U.S. The U.S. apparently did not know this statement was coming, with the State Department saying they were not “preconsulted” and other officials using words like “blindsided” and “sideswiped.” The Pentagon’s Press Secretary shot down the proposal yesterday (calling it not “tenable”) and today (“high risk”). However, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. is still open to a transfer, it just wants to make sure it’s done “in the right way.” Confusion aside, the WSJ looked at the road and rail effort to pull off “one of the largest and fastest arms transfers in history.”