March 28, 2022Newsletter

Russia Update: March 28, 2022


Ukraine and Russia are meeting in Turkey for the fourth formal round of ceasefire negotiations. The Financial Times reports that Russia is relenting on its demands of “denazification” and regarding legal protection for the Russian language in Ukraine. Russia may even not object to Ukraine joining the EU, provided Ukraine is militarily non-aligned. However, Ukraine still wants security guarantees. The article carries the usual caveats of extreme suspicion as to Russia’s motives. It also notes that the fate of Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk is still unsolved. A senior U.S. official believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin still isn’t ready to compromise. The UK news outlet The Times reports that Turkey is proposing a “long-term lease” for Russia over the disputed territories in the mold of Hong Kong, with the future to be decided at a later date. However, the breakaway region of Luhansk is preparing to hold a referendum on joining Russia in the “near future.”

The Wall Street Journal has a scoop that two Ukrainian negotiators, as well as Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who has helped facilitate talks, may have been poisoned after a meeting earlier this month. All have apparently since recovered.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with their Ukrainian counterparts in-person in Warsaw, Poland. President Joe Biden gave a speech in Warsaw and caused a stir when, at the end of the remarks, he ad-libbed, “For God’s sake, [Russian President Vladimir Putin] cannot remain in power.” The White House walked back the comment was not a call for regime change.


The U.S. is preparing its next sanctions which would target Russian companies that provide goods and services for the military and intelligence. The New York Times reports that Finnish company Nokia has provided equipment for Russia’s surveillance systems.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee is investigating Credit Suisse for sanctions evasion. Russian tankers have been concealing their movements to evade sanctions.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is stepping up criticism of countries for not doing more on sanctions and weapons shipments.


Germany says the G7 rejected Moscow’s demand to pay for natural gas shipments in rubles. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called on energy-producing countries to step up output to prevent Russia from blackmailing Europe and others. Canada said it’s prepared to provide more oil, gas, and uranium to supplant Russian supplies. A Russian billionaire sold most of his stake in a Canadian natural gas producer.

The ruble has recovered a great amount of ground since the initial wave of sanctions. S&P estimates that Russia’s GDP could fall by 22% this year. Fertilizer prices surged 43%.

New York state’s public pension fund will divest its Russian holdings. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is closing its offices in Russia and Belarus. Bloomberg is disconnecting its terminals in Russia. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister called for a global boycott of French companies that have resisted exiting Russia, including Auchan, Alcampo, Leroy Merlin, and Decathlon.

Ukraine Sitrep

Russia launched a counteroffensive to the east and northwest of Kyiv and made gains on Mariupol. Russia also struck the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, hitting a communication tower. The UK says that Russia remains reluctant to engage in urban warfare and is continuing to rely on indiscriminate air and artillery bombardment. It also assesses that Russia continues to suffer from logistics and morale issues.

Ukraine says it retook Irpin, near Kyiv, but the U.S. cannot confirm that yet.

Ukraine’s Ukrtelecom internet service provider went down in a suspected cyberattack.

back to top