(Bloomberg) — The Polish prime minister and his Czech and Slovenian counterparts are making an unexpected trip to Kyiv Tuesday by train to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and plan to announce a package of support measures.
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The leaders will express “the unequivocal support of the entire European Union for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine,” Czech Premier Petr Fiala said on Facebook, adding that the trip had been coordinated with EU institutions. Ukrainian officials said Russia shelled residential buildings in the capital overnight and that Moscow-led forces were apparently fortifying existing positions rather than pushing forward.
China said it wants to avoid being impacted by US sanctions over Russia’s war, in one of Beijing’s most explicit statements yet on American penalties that are contributing to a historic market selloff in the world’s second-biggest economy. The White House has called on Beijing to use its influence with Moscow to help end the conflict, and cautioned there’ll be consequences for supporting the Kremlin.
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All times CET:
UniCredit Mulls Russia Exit (9:30 am)
Italy’s UniCredit SpA is considering following other European lenders and exiting Russia, according to Chief Executive Officer Andrea Orcel.
Until now, the Milan-based lender has said it’s closely monitoring developments, while stopping short of Italian rival Intesa Sanpaolo SpA and insurer Assicurazioni Generali SpA in signaling a move toward pulling out. UniCredit is among European banks with the biggest exposures to Russia, along with Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International AG and France’s Societe Generale SA.
Equities Slip as China Selloff Continues (9:10 am)
Equities in Europe fell along with US index futures amid a relentless selloff in Chinese stocks stoked by concern about that country’s relationship with Russia. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell about 1.3%, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures were down more than 0.3% each, signaling further declines may be in store after the Nasdaq closed in a bear market on Monday. A gauge of Asian shares headed for a 19-month low. Oil extended a decline, with Brent crude heading toward $100 a barrel.
EU Sanctions Russia on Luxury Goods, Steel, Iron (9:05 am)
The EU formally signed off on its fourth package of sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine, imposing new bans on luxury goods, some steel and iron products, and the provision of any credit-rating services.
The bloc is also prohibiting new investments in the energy sector and sanctioning several Russian business and media figures. The full details will be published soon, the EU said.
Eastern Europe Leaders to Meet Zelenskiy in Kyiv (9 am)
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the country’s de facto leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski are on their way to Kyiv by train together with the Czech and Slovenian premiers, according to the government in Warsaw.
The leaders are traveling as representatives of the European Council to meet Zelenskiy and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and will announce a package of support measures for Ukraine while in the capital, a Polish government official said.
Poland has absorbed the bulk of the more than 2 million refugees that fled Ukraine since Russia invaded its eastern neighbor last month.
Ukraine Says Nine Humanitarian Corridors Agreed (8:50 am)
Nine humanitarian corridors to relieve civilians caught in cities under attack by Russian forces have been agreed upon for Tuesday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video statement.
One of the corridors will allow a humanitarian convoy to move from Berdyansk to Mariupol, a city of 430,000 people which is suffering from a lack of water, electricity and food. The vehicles will then be used to evacuate people from the area.
Ukrainian authorities say that more than 2,000 people have been killed in Mariupol since the start of the war by Russian shelling and air strikes. The city is encircled by Russian troops and the convoy has been trying to reach it since Saturday.
Former Senior Kremlin Official Condemns War (8:20 am)
Arkady Dvorkovich, Dmitry Medvedev’s senior economic advisor during his presidency and a deputy prime minister until 2018, condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a rare example of a former official speaking out against the war.
“Wars are the worst things one might face in life, including this war,” Dvorkovich, who is the president of the International Chess Federation, said from Russia in an interview with Mother Jones. “My thoughts are with Ukrainian civilians.”
Andrei Kozyrev, a foreign minister under Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s who now lives in the US, has been the most outspoken former Russian official. He has slammed the attack and called on Russian diplomats to resign in protest.
Major German Cities ‘Very Stretched’ by Refugees (8 am)
Germany is in the process of distributing Ukrainian refugees around the country to try to ease the burden on “very significantly stretched” major cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said on DLF radio.
Around 150,000 refugees have arrived in Germany from Ukraine since the war began, according to Faeser’s ministry. The numbers could be higher as borders with EU partners to the east like Poland and the Czech Republic are essentially wide open, while some may also have transited through Germany on their way to another country.
Japan Details Russian Exports Ban (7:55 am)
Japan announced more details of its ban on exports of semiconductors and machinery to Russia, a move likely to bolster its security alliance with the US and EU.
The ban, set to take effect on March 18, will apply to about 270 items in such categories as conventional, chemical and biological weapons, nuclear power, electronics and communications, the trade ministry said. It also applies to Russia’s neighbor and ally Belarus. The ban won’t likely affect many of Japan’s shipments to Russia because it doesn’t include cars and construction machinery, which make up a majority of the exports there.
Europe’s ‘Golden Passports’ Under Microscope (7:00 am)
The war has cast a spotlight on the yachts, jets and mansions owned by Russia’s wealthiest citizens around the world, but there’s another luxury good in high demand: passports. In Europe over the last decade, as many as 4,000 Russians are estimated to have obtained so-called golden passports by investing a total of over 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in property or other assets.
But the tide appears to have turned following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Portugal, Greece and the Czech Republic halted the issuance of visas to Russian nationals, and the UK scrapped its investor visa program entirely.
Russian Air Travel Could Disappear, Brokerage Says (5:39 am)
Russia’s commercial aircraft fleet could falter within months and risks being largely grounded in a few years as sanctions block essential spare parts from Boeing Co. and Airbus SE, according to Jefferies Group LLC.
“They’ll be able to fly for the next six months to a year fairly well, then parts start breaking and you’ll need replacements,” Jefferies analyst Sheila Kahyaoglu said during a conference call on the implications of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Then you’ll start getting into safety issues.”
China Says It Wants to Avoid US Sanctions Hit (4:13 am)
“China is not a party to the crisis, nor does it want the sanctions to affect China,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a phone call with Spanish counterpart Jose Manuel Albares to discuss the war in Ukraine. “China has the right to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.”
Concerns are growing among investors that Chinese companies will face US sanctions after American officials said Russia requested military and financial assistance from Beijing.
US Says Russia Wants Armed Drones From China (2:52 am)
The US has warned European allies that Russia asked China for armed drones in late February as it was beginning its invasion of Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter.
The request has alarmed Biden administration officials who are seeking to prevent China — Russia’s most powerful diplomatic partner — from coming to Vladimir Putin’s aid in the war, according to the people, who described the matter on condition of anonymity.
South Korea to Send Non-Lethal Aid, Korean Air Reroutes Flights (2:06 am)
South Korea has decided to send non-lethal military aid to Ukraine and is discussing what items will be dispatched, defense ministry spokesman Boo Seung-chan said in a briefing.
Korean Air won’t fly through Russian airspace when operating its Europe and east coast North America services because of “operational challenges and safety concerns,” the carrier said in a separate statement.
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