Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told an Italian newspaper, “I’m beginning to think those who say talking to Putin is useless are right.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the U.S. is still evaluating reopening the embassy in Kyiv. Other Members of Congress debated going to Ukraine this past weekend but changed course due to concerns about the security posture there.
Poland’s Prime Minister will visit the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.
The Treasury Department also clarified that shipments of humanitarian goods and food to Russia are not subject to sanctions. A key Treasury Department official said U.S. sanctions would last as long as it takes and that the next round of sanctions will focus on “[taking] apart Russia’s war machine, piece by piece, by disrupting their military industrial complex and its supply chains.” Reports are that sanctions have already snarled Russian military producers’ supply chains ability to restock and resupply, but the impact is still thought to be more long-term than near-term.
Canada announced sanctions on 14 individuals, including the head of the Russian Central Bank. New Zealand sanctioned 18 Russian banks holding approximately 80% of Russian banking assets. The UK is revoking its recognition of Russia’s stock exchange.
France’s Finance Minister said the country is working to convince other EU countries to stop importing Russian oil, though he wouldn’t say which countries were resistant, but Hungary reiterated its opposition. Italian Prime Minister Draghi, in the interview mentioned earlier, said that his idea of capping the price of Russian gas imports is gaining steam.
The IMF estimates Russia’s GDP will fall 8.5% and Ukraine’s 35% this year. Ukraine claims that 30% of its infrastructure (worth $100 billion) has been destroyed. Europe is already making plans to finance most of the reconstruction costs, starting a solidarity trust fund.
The head of the Russian Central Bank told Russian lawmakers that sanctions “will now begin to increasingly affect the real sectors of the economy” because “practically every product” manufactured in Russia requires imported components. Moscow’s mayor said the city is at risk of losing 200,000 jobs due to sanctions.
Greece impounded a Russian oil tanker due to EU sanctions.
McKinsey will stop all client service in Russia after previously announcing on March 3 that it would not undertake any new client work. German software company SAP is moving toward an “orderly exit” from Russia. Henkel, a German household cleaning and hair care company, is exiting Russia after initially opting to stay. Dutch carmaker Stellantis halted production in Russia citing the “rapid daily increase in cross sanctions and logistical difficulties.” Tiremaker Continental announced it was restarting operations in Russia, citing the impact on its employees.
Russia is seeking medical supplies from India. Russians have been snapping up property in Dubai.
Sanctioned Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov posted an expletive-laden rant on Instagram against the war, saying, “I don’t see a single beneficiary from this insane war. Innocent people and soldiers are dying…Please give Mr. Putin a clear exit to save face and stop this massacre.”
Though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declared yesterday that Russia’s eastern offensive had begun, the Pentagon continues to say that’s not quite the case yet, calling it limited operations that are a prelude to a larger offensive focused on Donetsk and Izyum. The UK believes the assault will flow through Donetsk, Luhansk, and Mariupol via Crimea. Russia has taken the town of Kreminna in the Ukrainian portion of Luhansk. The Institute for the Study of War does not believe Russia’s eastern offensive will be dramatically more successful but does see opportunities for Russia to wear down Ukrainian defenses nonetheless.
The U.S. is expected to announce yet another round of military aid that could be around $800 million. The Pentagon’s spokesperson said that Ukraine has “received additional aircraft and the aircraft parts to help them get more aircraft in the air,” though it’s unclear if the aircraft was referring to was the helicopters in the recent military aid package or the ever-elusive MiG-29s. It is also prioritizing deliveries of howitzers that were part of the most recent $800 million package.
Finland and Canada will send further military aid to Ukraine. The Czech Republic said its defense companies would repair damaged Ukrainian tanks and military vehicles. Germany said its ability to supply munitions with which Ukraine’s military is already familiar is “almost exhausted,” but Ukraine will be allowed to buy military equipment from Germany and other Western defense companies. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also said that NATO countries have come to the conclusion that it’s better to send eastern European countries’ Soviet-era tanks to Ukraine and backfill rather than send modern tanks to Ukraine.
The U.S. has provided the most humanitarian and military assistance to Ukraine on a dollar basis, while Estonia has provided the most as a percentage of GDP.
The southern city of Mariupol is still not fully taken by Russia, as last remnants of military and civilians are holed up in a vast steel plant. The mayor of Mariupol also said that 40,000 citizens have been “forcibly deported” to Russia. Ukraine and Russia held their fifth POW exchange.