The first American diplomatic staff returned to Ukraine (but not Kyiv.) Austria is reopening its embassy in Kyiv.
The U.S. and Russia completed a prisoner swap, but the U.S. stressed that these were separate and apart from anything having to do with the war.
Canada imposed sanctions on 203 additional individuals. Switzerland implemented the EU’s fifth round of sanctions.
Germany is prepared to back an EU ban on Russian oil if it includes a transition period after it struck a deal with Poland. The EU is continuing to discuss creative energy payment ideas to punish Russia, including putting payments into an escrow account that Russia could only access for humanitarian reasons or coordinating a reduction in the amount Europeans pay for oil.
Russia expects its oil output to fall 17% in 2022.
Bulgaria was cut off from Russian gas in addition to Poland over refusal to make payments in rubles but received gas shipments from neighbors, including Greece, to compensate. The EU decried the cutoff as “blackmail” and is warning European companies that paying in rubles violates sanctions. Meanwhile, four European buyers did reportedly make payments in rubles. Austria said it will continue to pay in euros.
Chinese drone manufacturer DJI suspended all business activity in Russia and Ukraine. BASF is winding down non-farming operations in Russia and Belarus.
The UK’s Royal United Services Institute took a deeper dive into the reliance of the Russian military on Western components, including for guided missiles and transport aircraft.
Russia may hold referenda next month in Donetsk and Luhansk about joining Russia, while Moldova is warning that Russia is planning operations to destabilize the country. Unexplained fires and explosions in Russia at sensitive sites are raising the prospect of sabotage. Ukraine declined to comment, raising the possibility that it’s simply “karma.”
The EU suspended tariffs and quotas on Ukrainian imports for one year, while the U.S. may suspend Section 232 steel tariffs on Ukraine in a mostly symbolic gesture.
Australia announced it would send howitzers to Ukraine. The UK is urging the West to provide warplanes to Ukraine.