April 8, 2022Newsletter

Russia Update: April 8, 2022


Though Ukraine and Russia are still holding virtual talks, civilian casualties in Bucha and elsewhere have slowed progress.

Finnish government websites suffered hacking attacks as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the country’s parliament and as Finland weighs NATO membership.


The Treasury Department announced sanctions on Alrosa, the Russian diamond mining company, and United Shipbuilding Corporation. The Commerce Department announced that Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein have joined onto export control efforts, bringing the total to 37 countries.

The EU adopted its fifth wave of sanctions, which includes:

  • An import ban on Russian coal and other solid fuels, effective in August
  • Closing EU ports to Russia vessels, except for delivery of agricultural and food products, humanitarian aid, and energy
  • Closing access to Russian and Belarusian road transport, except for delivery of pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products, and humanitarian aid
  • Export bans on jet fuel, quantum computers, advanced semiconductors, high-end electronics, software, sensitive machinery, and transportation equipment
  • Import bans on wood, cement, fertilizers, seafood, and liquor
  • Banning Russian companies from public procurement, financial support to Russian public bodies, and deposits to crypto-wallets, and the sale of banknotes or transferrable securities in any official EU currency to Russia or Belarus

The EU also expanded individual sanctions, including on aluminum oligarch Oleg Deripaska, Sberbank head Herman Gref, and the adult children of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and company and banking sanctions.

The UK made official its sanctions on Putin’s children.

Japan will ban Russian coal imports, as well as new investments in Russia and imports of liquor and timber.

Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced the Kleptocrat Liability for Excessive Property Transactions and Ownership (KLEPTO) Act, which would help identify hidden Russian oligarch assets. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) helped scuttle legislation to seize Russian oligarchs’ assets and give the proceeds from the sale to Ukraine.


The U.S. said it secured secret court orders to remove Russian malware from computer networks around the world in recent weeks to preempt cyberattacks. Microsoft says it has been fending off cyberattacks targeting Ukraine.

Russia’s Central Bank cut interest rates from 20% to 17% as it says ruble and inflationary pressures have eased. The UK estimates Russia’s GDP will fall by between 8.5 and 15%. Sovcombank, Russia’s ninth largest bank, is suspending interest payments on $1.2 billion in Eurobonds due to sanctions. Russia deregistered 15 foreign NGOs.

Chinese state oil refineries are honoring existing contracts but avoiding new ones, even though Russian oil is available at steep discounts.

The EU estimates it has frozen €30 billion in Russian assets, including helicopters, yachts, and houses.

Prices for basic foodstuffs have hit a record high, according to statistics published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Ukraine Sitrep

The U.S. woke up to another attack on civilians, this one a missile attack on a train station where refugees were waiting to escape in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk. It has left an estimated 50 dead. Russia initially said it used high-precision rockets on the train station, but once videos of the carnage emerged, it blamed the attack on Ukraine.

The Pentagon assesses that there are 60,000 reservists mobilizing and that Russia’s goal is to completely occupy Donetsk and Luhansk. It also believes that much of Russia’s logistics and sustainment issues haven’t been fixed.

Slovakia sent its only Soviet-era air defense system to Ukraine, while the U.S. backfilled. The UK and Australia are sending armored vehicles. Germany is holding up a decision on whether to deliver 100 high-end tanks to Ukraine, though, as it faces intense pressure to do more.

The President of the European Commission, the EU’s foreign policy chief, and the Prime Minister of Slovakia went to Kyiv. They also went to Bucha. Austria’s Chancellor will visit Kyiv tomorrow. The head of Russian aluminum producer Rusal called for an investigation into the civilian massacre in Bucha. A few of yesterday’s humanitarian corridors had some success. The Washington Post detailed the “scorched earth” policy of the Russians in the eastern Ukrainian town of Izyum.

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