(Bloomberg) – Russia’s war on Ukraine has displaced nearly 5 million people both inside and outside the country, the UN chief said, adding that the conflict could create instability around the world.
Meanwhile, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday began talks with China’s top diplomat, according to people familiar with the meeting, the first of their kind since Russia’s invasion. Discussions in Rome come as the Biden administration seeks Beijing’s influence to influence President Vladimir Putin to end the war.
A fourth-day talks between Ukrainian and Russian negotiators also paused so each side could take stock. Russia may also suspend grain exports from Tuesday, the Interfax news service reported, increasing wheat prices.
Russia considers criminalizing sanctions (17:05 CET)
Russia’s ruling party will propose changes to the law to make it a crime for local businesses to comply with US and European sanctions and refuse to trade with those affected by the borders, a top official said.
The proposal will include criminal sanctions for top executives in companies that follow Western restrictions, said Andrey Turchak, party secretary in the United Russia, in a statement from the website. “This is practically helping to aggravate the economic situation,” he said.
A senior senator said the upper house of parliament would support the plan, Tass reported.
Nearly 5 million displaced by Russian invasion: UN chief (16:35)
At least 1.9 million people have been displaced from their homes inside Ukraine by Russia’s invasion, with the country’s neighbors receiving more than 2.8 million refugees in the past two weeks, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters on Monday. Hundreds of thousands are without water and electricity, he said.
The UN will allocate an additional $ 40 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to increase vital assistance to reach the most vulnerable. “Ukraine is on fire. The country is being decimated before the eyes of the world. The impact on civilians is reaching alarming proportions,” Guterres said.
The conflict is sowing instability around the world, especially in developing countries struggling to recover from the pandemic that is now facing “record inflation, rising interest rates and threatening debt burdens,” he said. “Now their bread basket is being bombed.”
Germany warns that Russian energy ban would not have the desired effect (16:41)
Shutting down energy imports from Russia may not serve as a last resort to stop Russia’s invasion, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told reporters in Brussels ahead of a meeting with eurozone finance ministers.
“All options are on the table, but we need to seriously consider what means are putting pressure on Putin and what means can hurt ourselves more,” he said in response to a question about whether Germany would consider a two -week stop in imports. “From my perspective, a ban would not have the effect on the current situation in Ukraine that we would all hope.”
Evacuation of civilians from Mariupol starts (15:51)
More than 160 cars and other vehicles left the besieged port city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea during a ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine, reached Berdyansk and moved towards the Ukrainian government-held city of Zaporizhzhia, Mariupol city council said.
A humanitarian aid column for Mariupol, which was stuck in Berdyansk for two days, is also moving towards the city, which is suffering from a shortage of water, electricity and food. Ukrainian authorities say more than 2,000 people have been killed in Mariupol since the start of the war by Russian shelling and airstrikes.
Russia may halt grain exports on March 15, reports IFX (15:35)
Russia may temporarily ban exports of wheat, rye, barley and corn from March 15 to June 30, Interfax reports, citing the Ministry of Agriculture. Russia is past its seasonal high for wheat sales, but still had about 8 million tonnes left to ship, the FAO estimated this month.
Russia and Ukraine account for about a quarter of global wheat trade, and shipments from both countries have largely dried up after the invasion.
Zelenskiy addresses the US Congress (15:20)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is to deliver one virtual address to Congress on Wednesday. Only senators and members of Parliament will attend the speech at 9, according to a letter to lawmakers from President Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Zelenskiy briefed several U.S. lawmakers practically earlier this month, but his remarks were not livestreamed. Lawmakers on both sides have been pushing for the Biden administration to do more for Ukraine.
Oil withdrawals focusing on Ukraine-Russia negotiations (15:10)
Oil fell and futures fell about 6% to trade near $ 103 per share. barrel.
For those watching the offer, talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators showed some signs of becoming more substantial. On the demand side, China placed 17.5 million people in the technology hub Shenzhen under lockdown for at least a week amid a rise in Covid-19 infections, telling people in Jilin province not to travel.
US rises as Chinese shares fall (14:20)
Contracts on the S&P 500 received gains, while contracts on the Nasdaq 100 fell as panic sales of Chinese technology stocks weakened sentiment. Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong had their worst day since the global financial crisis due to concerns over Beijing’s close relationship with Russia.
The route follows a report citing U.S. officials that Russia has asked China for military assistance for its war in Ukraine. Even after China denies the report, traders worry that any potential breach by Beijing against Vladimir Putin could bring a global backlash against Chinese companies, even sanctions. Meanwhile, a drop in crude oil companies’ shares dragged down US pre-market trading.
Borrell says Russia is “barbaric” against civilians (13:45)
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned President Vladimir Putin’s “barbaric aggression” against Ukraine, saying Russia’s army was launching air, missile and artillery attacks on civilians, including food depots, hospitals and schools.
The UN has reported over 1,600 civilian casualties since Russia’s invasion began, though it said the numbers are likely to be “significantly higher” in government-controlled areas amid intense fighting in recent days. The Kremlin has denied attacking civilians.
Russia says it did not ask for Chinese aid (12:35 p.m.)
Russia has not asked China for military assistance in what it calls a “special operation” in Ukraine and has all the resources it needs to complete the mission as planned, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.
“Russia has the independent capacity to continue the operation,” Peskov said at a conference call. “As we said, it is going according to plan and will be completed in full.”
Peskov rejects claims by US and European officials that the campaign is progressing slower than Moscow expected, saying it will end on schedule. He declined to comment on when the war is expected to end.
Singapore imposes targeted sanctions on Russia (12:35 p.m.)
Singapore’s central bank revealed details of targeted financial measures against Russia, part of the city – state’s broader package of unilateral sanctions caused by the war in Ukraine.
The Singapore Monetary Authority said the measures apply to all financial institutions in the island republic, including banks, finance companies, insurance companies, capital market intermediaries, stock exchanges and payment service providers.
Israel says there will be no loophole for sanctions (11:53 p.m.)
Israel will not be a way to circumvent sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and other nations, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday.
“There is no justification for violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and there is no justification for attacking a civilian population,” Lapid said after meeting with Slovak Foreign and European Minister Ivan Korcok in Bratislava.
EU launches plan for rule of law on Ukraine (11.52)
The European Union is likely to wait immediately to unleash its powerful new rule of law mechanism that allows the bloc to withhold budget payments to countries accused of democratic backwardness, particularly Poland and Hungary.
The sanctions would be risky given the legal barriers required to exercise the powers and at a time when member states are struggling to cope with higher energy costs, the prospect of further economic downturn from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and an influx of refugees, according to to people who are familiar with the discussions.
Instagram is now blocked in Russia (11:13 p.m.)
Instagram is now completely blocked in Russia, according to GlobalCheck, a service that studies Internet restrictions in former Soviet states.
Russian prosecutors last week asked a court to declare Meta Platforms an “extremist” organization and ban its operations after Facebook temporarily relaxed its policies to allow Ukrainian users to send threats of violence against the Russian military.
Russia has already blocked Twitter and Facebook in recent weeks. Many Russian Instagram users – including small businesses, influencers and opposition figures – sent farewell messages over the weekend, asking their followers to move to Telegram. The decision will cut off 80 million people in Russia from the platform, said its leader, Adam Mosseri.
EU considers Russia’s export ban on luxury cars (10.17)
The EU is discussing a ban on the export of luxury cars worth more than 50,000 euros to Russia as part of its latest sanctions package, according to two diplomats familiar with the proposal.
The proposed ban, which is due to be approved as early as Monday and is still subject to change, could apply to models from several European car brands, including Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Ferrari and Porsche. The EU measure will also cover boats and aircraft as well as chairlifts and motorcycles worth more than 5,000 euros.
China rejects report Russia seeks help (9:29)
China on Monday rejected reports that Russia had sought military assistance for the invasion of Ukraine, dismissing the allegations as US “disinformation.”
“The highest priority now is that all parties should exercise restraint in order to de-escalate and cool the situation down,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. “We should promote a diplomatic solution instead of escalating tensions further.”
Beijing has tried to present itself as neutral to the war. Still, Zhao reiterated Russian claims that the United States operates biolaboratories in Ukraine, despite the UN Security Council on Friday saying it was “unfamiliar” with such biological weapons programs, underscoring its support for Moscow in countering US narratives.