March 30, 2022Newsletter

Russia Update: March 30, 2022


Russia’s Foreign Minister said that ceasefire talks have made “significant progress” but also said that Ukraine understands that the territorial issues are “settled for good.” A Ukrainian official responded on Twitter that the territorial issues “will be settled for good after Ukraine restores its sovereignty over them.”

As for the security guarantee portion of negotiations, Germany said it is ready to act as a guarantor. The UK is not.

President Joe Biden held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that lasted an hour and 20 minutes. A White House readout notes that Biden pledged $500 million in direct budgetary aid to Ukraine.

President Zelenskyy addressed the parliament of Norway. Slovakia became the latest country to expel Russian diplomats, kicking out 35.


The Commerce Department added 73 Boeing aircraft operated by Russian airlines to its list of aircraft believed to be in violation of export controls. It also removed 12 from the initial list of 100.

The U.S. is weighing imposing sanctions on Russian cybersecurity giant Kaspersky Lab. The National Security Council is pressing the Treasury Department to draw up sanctions, but the effort is on hold because other agencies within the government are urging caution. The hundreds of millions global users would make it difficult to enforce the sanctions. There are also concerns that sanctions could trigger a cyberattack, potentially even through the software itself.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) dropped his hold on a vote on legislation to revoke permanent normal trade relations from Russia and Belarus and empower the President to raise tariffs on the two countries. However, other holds remain and may require legislative text changes.

The UK and EU are having difficulty how to formally synchronize sanctions. The EU is fine with the current ad hoc status quo, while the UK wants to use the G7 more.

A senior U.S. official warned that a significant increase in oil purchases by India could expose the country to “great risk” as the U.S. steps up sanctions enforcement. The National Security Adviser for International Economics is visiting India today and tomorrow.

Bloomberg notes that half of Russia’s 20 richest billionaires are not sanctioned. Law firm Morrison & Foerster, which boasts a roster of former U.S. sanctions officials, is working for Ukraine on a pro bono basis to advise them on sanctions.


Russia will implement its requirement for gas payments in rubles gradually and is exploring expanding the list of products subject to the ruble requirement. Germany says that gas payments will be allowed in euros for now via Gazprombank. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi discussed a system of paying for Russian gas in rubles in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s Central Bank is lifting the ban on short selling tomorrow on a limited basis. Russia authorized retailers to import products from abroad without the trademark holder’s permission. Fitch withdrew ratings for 27 Russian banks and non-bank entities. As many as 170,000 Russian IT workers could leave the country by April.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister called for a boycott of German confectioner Ritter Sport, tweeting a graphic image and saying the company is “sponsoring war crimes.”

Ukraine Sitrep

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy warned his citizens not to “lose vigilance” after Russia’s announcement that it was withdrawing from Kyiv and Chernihiv. Indeed, the two areas faced intense bombing overnight, and Chernihiv may have suffered a cyberattack. The UK assesses that Russia is using the pledge as an opportunity for its forces to regroup in Belarus and Russia. An unnamed Pentagon official echoed that sentiment, saying it does not believe Russia is withdrawing for the sake of negotiations. The Pentagon says Russian troops have withdrawn from the Chernobyl area.

A declassified U.S. intelligence report shows that Russian President Putin may have been misled by his military officials and may not have known that conscripts were being used or the economic toll of sanctions.

The UN estimates that there are now 4 million refugees. The UN also named an expert to probe war crimes in Ukraine. The International Red Cross says that Russian shells hit one of its warehouses in Mariupol. The warehouse was empty.

The Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia says it will take steps to “join Russia” in the near future, mirroring announcements by the Ukrainian breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

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