Taiwan to Join in U.S.-Led Sanctions on Russia: Ukraine Update
(Bloomberg) -- Western allies see Kyiv poised to fall to Russian forces soon as fighting continued after President Joe Biden announced additional sanctions on Russia, and said Europe is facing “a dangerous moment.”
Russian troops attacked Ukraine from the north, south and east, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s defense chief predicted a new wave of attacks. Zelenskiy said 137 of his country’s soldiers have been killed so far, Tass reported.
The Biden administration said the U.S. was preparing to accept Ukrainians who were fleeing the violence, as America’s partners in Europe and Japan announced new economic penalties. Taiwan plans to hit Russia with sanctions and called for an end to the attack on Ukraine, a nation that shares similar security worries as the democratically run island.
- Biden Ratchets Up Russia Sanctions as West Fears Fall of Kyiv
- Details of the U.S., EU and U.K. Sanctions Against Russia
- Russian Stocks’ 33% Crash Is Fifth-Worst in Market History
- Companies React to Invasion of Ukraine by Sending Workers Home
- Wild Commodity Swings Signal Risk of Shortages in Ukraine Attack
- In Private, Bankers Debate Nuclear War, Russian Trading Risk
All times CET:
Taiwan to Hit Russia With Sanctions (4:55 a.m.)
Taiwan plans to slap sanctions on Russia, with its presidential office condemning Moscow for “violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and damaging regional and global peace and stability.”
Taiwan shares similar security concerns with Ukraine because China’s Communist Party sees the island as part of its territory despite never having ruled it and seeks to block its official interactions with other countries.
While there are few signs of widespread unease in Taiwan, markets have been jittery. Some 160 km (100 miles) of sea separate the island from China, a nation of 1.4 billion people whose government has threatened to use military force to stop the leadership in Taipei from moving toward formal independence. That threat is a part of daily life in Taiwan, though officials see the current risk of a Chinese attack as low.
Macron Conveys Zelenskiy’s Message to Putin (3:21 a.m.)
French President Emmanuel Macron said he had a frank, direct and quick conversation with Vladimir Putin at the request of Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Macron said Zelenskiy wanted him to ask Putin to stop the fighting and engage in diplomacy.
Zelenskiy has said he hasn’t been able to reach Putin.
“It didn’t produce any effect so far as you can see, because the Russian president has chosen war,” Macron said.
China Can’t Mitigate Semiconductor Sanctions, Lawmakers Told (3:10 a.m.)
Senior Biden administration officials told House and Senate leaders that China, if it’s inclined to mitigate the effect of American sanctions on Russia, cannot produce the sort of sophisticated semiconductors the U.S and its allies are blocking, according to a person familiar with the briefing calls.
The officials, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, briefed senators and representatives on separate calls.
The officials, the person added, declined to provide a timeframe on, if or when, Kyiv might fall to Russian forces, and told lawmakers there would be more U.S. troop deployments to NATO allies in coming weeks.
Pressure on EU to Shut Russia Out of Swift (2:49 a.m.)
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said many EU leaders have called for Russia to lose access to the international payment system, Swift.
Such a move could create major disruption to the supply of key commodities for the European economy, making some leaders reluctant to press ahead.
“More work needs to be done to assess what it means if Russia is cut off from Swift,” Rutte said. “That really has to be worked through to make sure that we assess all eventualities what will happen.”
Zelenskiy Says 137 Ukrainian Soldiers Killed: Tass (1:59 a.m.)
Zelenskiy said 137 of his country’s soldiers have been killed in fighting so far since Russia attacked early Thursday, Tass reported, citing a video address on his Telegram channel. He added 316 soldiers have been injured.
Stocks Climb in Early Asia Trade (1:51 a.m.)
Stocks climbed in Asia while U.S. equity futures wavered as traders grappled with the economic and monetary-policy implications of the Ukraine conflict and Western sanctions on Russia.
Shares rose in Japan, South Korea and Australia. U.S. contracts slipped after a choppy Wall Street session Thursday that left the S&P 500 with a 1.5% gain and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 -- which briefly fell into a bear market -- up 3.4%.
Japan Broadens Sanctions on Russia (0:39 a.m.)
Japan will broaden its sanctions against Russia to include semiconductor exports, banking services as well as freezing assets of targeted groups, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a news conference in Tokyo. He also said Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine was unacceptable.
U.S. Says It Will Take in Ukrainian Refugees (12:12 a.m.)
The U.S. is prepared to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing their country after the Russian invasion, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday.
The administration is also deploying a disaster response team from the U.S. Agency for International Development to evaluate and assist with the burgeoning humanitarian crisis. Despite those efforts, Psaki said, the White House believes the majority of refugees fleeing Ukraine would probably enter neighboring European countries like Poland and is working with those governments to assist with the anticipated influx.
White House Says It Steered Clear of Energy Sanctions (11:50 p.m.)
The Biden administration defended its decision not to sanction Russia’s energy sector, with an official saying it was reluctant to disrupt an area “where Russia has systemic importance in the global economy.”
“We’re not going to do anything which causes an unintended disruption to the flow of energy as a global economic recovery is still underway,” Deputy National Security Advisor Daleep Singh told reporters at the White House.
European Leaders Sign Off on a Sanction Package (10:48 p.m.)
European Union leaders gave a green light to a new set of sanctions that will restrict Russia’s access to Europe’s financial sector and key technologies. The measures could be formally adopted as soon as Friday once officials hammer out final details.
“The European Council today agrees on further restrictive measures that will impose massive and severe consequences on Russia for its action, in close coordination with our partners and allies,” according to the conclusions of a virtual summit meeting.
Biden Cites Turmoil for Russia’s Ruble, Markets (10:14 p.m.)
Biden suggested in a tweet that the sweeping package of sanctions announced by the U.S. and its partners following the invasion of Ukraine had already hit the Russian economy, pointing out that the ruble on Thursday hit its weakest level ever.
“The Russian stock market plunged today,” Biden wrote. “And the Russian government’s borrowing rate spiked above 15 percent.”
The benchmarks mentioned in Biden’s post actually occurred before the he spoke at the White House to announce the latest round of sanctions, as traders anticipated the financial penalties hitting Russian companies and financial institutions.
Ukraine Says Russia Is Preparing a New Wave of Attacks (9:46 p.m.)
Russia is preparing new wave of attacks, including using airborne troops, Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in a Facebook post.
“Heavy fighting occurring in Luhansk and Sumy, north of the capital,” he said, adding “it is not an easy situation in the south.” He said the Ukrainian army is ready to repel the new attacks, and is using “modern weapons.”
At the Pentagon, spokesman John Kirby said Russia has launched more than 160 missiles, most of them short-range ballistic missiles.
China Readies Flights to Evacuate Citizens from Ukraine (9:04 p.m.)
China’s embassy in Ukraine is asking Chinese citizens to start registering for flights as charter planes are being prepared to evacuate them as the Ukraine tension escalates, according to a notice posted on the embassy’s website.
China, which has forged a strategic bond with Russia, urged restraint from “all parties” in the Ukraine crisis without joining in the widespread condemnation of Putin’s decision to invade.
U.S. Expands Flight Restrictions Around Ukraine (8:37 p.m.)
The U.S. is expanding its restrictions on flights above war-torn Ukraine and nearby nations.
The Federal Aviation Administration said in an emailed statement that all of Ukraine and Belarus, along with a western portion of Russia, are off-limits for U.S.-registered airlines and pilots.
Biden Won’t Rule Out Sanctioning Putin Personally (8:34 p.m.)
The idea of sanctioning Russia’s Putin personally was “not a bluff” and remains “on the table” as the U.S. ratchets up its response to the invasion of Ukraine, Biden said in his appearance at the White House on Thursday.
But the U.S. leader also conceded that even the sweeping sanctions targeting Russia’s financial sector imposed Thursday would take time to have an impact, and that he didn’t believe their announcement would cause Putin to stand down his invasion.
“They are profound sanctions – let’s have a conversation in another month or so to see if they’re working,” Biden said.
Pentagon Sending 7,000 Service Members to Germany (8:15 p.m.)
The U.S. is sending about 7,000 additional service members to Germany.
The armored brigade combat team, with associated capabilities, is aimed at reassuring NATO allies and deterring Russian aggression and will depart for the assignment in coming days, according to a senior defense official.
Biden Says He’ll Try to Shield Americans on Energy Prices (8:12 p.m.)
Biden said he’s seeking to protect Americans from higher energy costs by exempting energy payments from sanctions and through a potential additional release of emergency crude stockpiles.
“I will do everything in my power to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump. This is critical to me,” Biden said in his address from the White House. “But this aggression cannot go on. If it did, the consequences for America would be much worse.”
The U.S. already authorized the release of 50 million barrels of crude from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve last year. Biden said the U.S. will release additional supplies as conditions warrant, and is “actively working with countries around the world” on a potential collective discharge of emergency supplies. He also warned U.S. oil and gas companies not to “exploit this moment to hike their prices, to raise profits.”
Western Allies See Kyiv Falling to Russian Forces Soon (7:54 p.m.)
Kyiv may fall to Russian forces soon as Ukraine’s air defenses have been effectively eliminated, according to a senior Western intelligence official.
Russian troops are advancing toward Ukraine down both sides of the Dnieper river and look set to take the capital, the official said.
Biden Imposes Sanctions, Export Controls on Russia (7:50 p.m.)
Biden denounced Russia’s “brutal assault” in a “premeditated attack” on Ukraine in a speech Thursday from the East Room of the White House and said he would impose a “severe cost on the Russian economy.”
The U.S. is implementing export controls designed to cut Russia off from semiconductors and other advanced technology crucial to the military, biotechnology, and aerospace industries. Rules allow the U.S. to restrict exports to Russia from anywhere in the world using American technology, including software.
Biden also announced that the U.S. would be sanctioning Sberbank – Russia’s largest lender – and four other financial institutions that represent an estimated $1 trillion in assets, as well as a broad swath of Russian elites and their family members. The sanctions didn’t appear targeted at Russian energy, aluminum, and wheat industries after the White House said it hoped to minimize the impact of the penalties on American consumers.
Ukraine Says Russia Troops Seize Chernobyl Power Plant Site (7:11 p.m.)
The prime minister made the announcement in a televised briefing, saying Russian troops had taken control of the zone and the nuclear power plant.
The facility is located about 80 miles (129km) north of Kyiv, several miles south of the Belarus border. Holding Chernobyl would provide Russian troops a staging point that couldn’t be shelled.
Putin Warns West Not to Push Russia Out of Global Economy (6:10 p.m.)
Russia remains part of the world economy and “for as long as it remains a part, we are not going to damage the system in which we feel we’re” involved, Putin told a meeting with billionaires and heads of leading Russian businesses. “Our partners should understand this and not set themselves the task of pushing us out of this system.”
He urged Russian businesses to work “in solidarity” with the government against the impact of international sanctions, saying he’d been obliged to invade Ukraine because the West hadn’t “given a millimeter” in response to Russia’s demands for security guarantees.
While he’s sought to argue the invasion was a response to NATO breaching Russia’s “red lines,” the U.S. had warned for months that Putin was preparing for a potential assault with his military buildup near Ukraine’s borders, and NATO says it is a defensive alliance that poses no threat to Russia.
Russia Used 75 Bombers, More Than 100 Missiles (4:57 p.m.)
The initial wave of Russia’s attack on Ukraine involved 75 heavy and medium bombers and more than 100 missiles of various types, according to a U.S. defense official who briefed reporters.
The Russian attack appears designed to seize key population areas, including Kharkiv, and invading forces have so far not been seen in western Ukraine, according to the official, who added that the goal appears to be the decapitation of Ukraine’s government.
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