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Russia-Ukraine highlights: Ukraine girds for renewed Russian offensive on eastern front

Russia-Ukraine highlights: Ukraine girds for renewed Russian offensive on eastern front

Summary

The Russia-Ukraine war entered its 43rd day on Thursday with the United States announcing further sanctions against Russia's major banks and President Vladimir Putin's daughters. On Wednesday, US Vice President Joe Biden accused Putin of committing "grave war crimes" and demanded an investigation. The Ukraine government reiterated that the Russian forces are preparing for a new assault on Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk regions and urged residents to immediately leave the areas. Britain on Wednesday announced what it described as a "significant ratcheting up" of sanctions on Russia. Catch all the latest development around the Russia-Ukraine War here:

Live Updates

And with that, we wrap up today's coverage of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Thank you for joining us today, and do not forget to return tomorrow when CNBC-TV18 resumes live coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. Good night.

European, Asian coal users scramble for new sources ahead of EU Russia ban

European and Asian coal importers are expected to join the scramble for alternative sources of the fuel as a European Union ban imports on Russian coal looms, analysts and company officials said. But with top exporters Australia and Indonesia having already hit production limits and major producer South Africa constrained by logistical problems, some importers may struggle to maintain supply levels, and the rush is expected to keep global coal prices elevated. The EU ban is expected to take effect from mid-August, a month later than initially planned, according to two EU sources, following pressure from Germany to delay the measure.

Swiss have frozen $8 billion in assets under Russia sanctions

Switzerland has so far frozen some 7.5 billion Swiss francs ($8.03 billion) in funds and assets under sanctions against Russians to punish Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, government official Erwin Bollinger said on Thursday. The assets included money in frozen bank accounts and properties in four Swiss cantons, Bollinger told a news conference in Bern. He did not name the cantons. In a sharp deviation from the country's traditional neutrality, Switzerland on Feb. 28 adopted European Union sanctions against Russians involved in Moscow's invasion of Ukraine. It is adopting other EU sanctions as well.

Ukraine pleads for total Russian energy ban, braces for assault in the east and south

Ukraine stepped up calls on Thursday for financial sanctions crippling enough to force Moscow to end the war as its officials rushed to evacuate civilians from cities and towns in the east before an anticipated major Russian offensive there. The democratic world must stop buying Russian oil and cut off Russian banks from the international finance system, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, adding that economic concerns should not come above punishment for civilian deaths that Ukraine and many of its Western allies have condemned as war crimes. "Once and for all, we can teach Russia and any other potential aggressors that those who choose war always lose," Zelenskiy said in an address to the Greek parliament. "Those who blackmail Europe with economic and energy crisis always lose."

Ukraine president call for more Russia sanctions, invokes Greek battle cry

Ukraine's president urged Europe to take a stronger stand against Russia in a video address to Greece's parliament on Thursday that invoked the battle cry of 19th century Greek patriots in the Black Sea port of Odesa.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Mariupol, another port on Ukraine's coast where thousands of ethic Greeks live, had been "reduced to ashes" since Russia's invasion, and called for more humanitarian aid and efforts to evacuate those wounded. "This is a matter of honour for Europeans to answer," he said through an interpreter, in a speech that won him a standing ovation in the Athens parliament.

UN Refugee Agency accepts first stablecoin crypto donation of $2.5 million from Binance charity

USA for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, accepted its first stablecoin crypto donation towards the organisation’s humanitarian support for families forced to flee Ukraine to neighboring countries, the agency said in a press release. The $2.5 million equivalent from Binance through Binance Charity is a further demonstration of how cryptocurrency is playing a key role in raising vital funds and providing humanitarian aid for the crisis in Ukraine, the statement added.

In case you're just joining us, here's what happened so far today

  • Ukraine is bracing for a renewed Russian offensive on its eastern front, as Russian forces withdraw from the shattered outskirts of Kyiv to regroup and intensify their attacks across the Donbas region.
  • Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, has called on Nato allies to supply more weapons to bolster Ukraine’s war effort, including war planes, heavy air defence systems, missiles and armoured vehicles. Speaking at NATO headquarters, where NATO foreign ministers are meeting later today, Kuleba said there are three items on his agenda when he talks to the allies and holds bilateral meetings: “Weapons, weapons and weapons.” The UN General Assembly will vote later today on whether to suspend Russia from the UN human rights council.
  • Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the new package of western sanctions against Russia is “not enough” and without more painful measures and supply of weapons, Russia will view the actions as permission to launch a new bloody attack.
  • Russia’s defence ministry says it used missiles to destroy four fuel storage facilities in the Ukrainian cities of Mykolayiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia and Chuchiv. The ministry said the facilities were used by Ukraine to supply its troops near the cities of Mykolaiv and Kharkiv and in the Donbas region in the southeast of the country.
  • Russian air attacks are now focused mainly on areas of eastern Ukraine, and Russian forces are trying to encircle Ukrainian troops in the region, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said.
  • There are set to be ten humanitarian corridors open for civilian evacuations across Ukraine today, but Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said residents trying to leave Mariupol will again have to use their own vehicles. The mayor of the besieged city says over 100,000 people still need urgent evacuation from the city, and that more than 5,000 civilians, including 210 children, have been killed since the start of Russia’s invasion.
  • Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the US supplying Ukraine with weapons “will not contribute to the success of Russian-Ukrainian talks”.
  • Poland’s deputy foreign minister Marcin Przydacz has said the country needs financial assistance over the arrival of 2.5 million of Ukrainian refugees, many of them children, into the country
  • The Greek foreign minister, Nikos Dendias, says Athens will ask the international court of justice at The Hague to investigate war crimes in the besieged city of Mariupol.
  • Ukraine and Hungary have again exchanged barbed words. Ukraine’s foreign ministry said it considers Hungary’s willingness to pay for Russian gas in roubles an “unfriendly act”. Hungary’s foreign minister Péter Szijjártó has confirmed that fuel for Hungary’s nuclear power plants has arrived by air from Russia, and restated that Hungary does not support proposals for European energy sanctions against Russia.
  • Defence ministers from Black Sea coastal countries have held a video call to discuss the war in Ukraine, mines floating in the sea and regional security, the Turkish Defence Ministry said, adding the ministers called for an immediate ceasefire.
  • Russia’s communications watchdog said it was taking punitive measures against Google, including a ban on advertising the platform and its information resources, for allegedly violating Russian law. Roskomnadzor accused YouTube of being one of the “key platforms” it claims is spreading fake information about Russia’s conduct in the war.
  • YouTube has suspended the account of Chinese national Wang Jixian in Odesa who has criticised Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine after being reported to the platform for content containing “suspected violence”
  • The number of alleged Russian war crimes Ukraine says is currently under investigation has increased to 4,820 according to a recent update from Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office.
  • Foreign minister Marise Payne said this that Australia was imposing sanctions on 67 Russians over the invasion of Ukraine. Austria, meanwhile, is to expel four Russian diplomats.

Japan to unveil further sanctions on Russia after coordinating with G7, PM says

Japan will unveil further sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as early as Friday after coordinating with Group of Seven (G7) allies on further punitive steps, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Thursday. He also said Japan would release a record amount of oil reserves to help curb prices in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

Shell says Russia exit has already cost $5 billion
The reduced value of Russian assets, credit losses and onerous contract terms will cut earnings for the first three months of the year by between USD 4 billion and USD 5 billion, London-based Shell…
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Gold firms as Ukraine crisis perks up demand for inflation hedge

Gold prices inched up on Thursday, as inflation worries intensified by the Ukraine war and mounting sanctions on Russia eclipsed pressure from the U.S. Federal Reserve's aggressive policy stance. Spot gold XAU= rose 0.1% to $1,927.84 per ounce by 0953 GMT. U.S. gold futures GCv1 gained 0.4% to $1,930.90.

While there is "the guidance from the Fed that it wants to increase interest rates faster going forward, on the other side we still see inflation increasing," said UBS analyst Giovanni Staunovo said. "We continue to see relatively strong demand for physical (gold) bars and coins across the board with market uncertainty and concerns about economic growth down the road because of high energy prices."

Germany intercepted calls with Russians discussing Bucha killings: Report

Germany's intelligence agency intercepted radio messages from Russian military sources discussing the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported on Thursday. It said the agency presented the findings in parliament on Wednesday, without giving a source for the information. Bucha, 37 km (23 miles) northwest of Kyiv, was occupied by Russian troops for more than a month following their Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Local officials say more than 300 people were killed by Russian forces in Bucha alone, and around 50 of them were executed. Moscow denies the accusations.

According to Der Spiegel, the radio messages corresponded with known deaths. In one intercept, a soldier discusses shooting someone off their bicycle. A body was photographed lying next to a bicycle. Spiegel added that there were additional sound recordings whose physical origin was harder to pinpoint, which it said suggested similar events had occurred in other Ukrainian cities. (Image: Reuters)

Germany invites NATO foreign ministers to Berlin meeting in May

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Thursday she had invited NATO foreign ministers to an unofficial meeting in Berlin in May to coordinate their response to the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine says Russia has agreed to 10 evacuation routes

Ukraine's deputy prime minister says Russian forces have agreed on 10 humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of civilians in three eastern regions of Ukraine on Thursday. Russia is expected to intensify its military campaign for control of Ukraine's industrial east in coming days and weeks, and Ukraine has appealed to NATO for more weapons to help stop it. Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said civilians from the Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions will be able to evacuate to the cities of Zaporizhzhia and Bakhmut. Vereshchuk said on the messaging app Telegram that it would be possible to travel from Mariupol and Enerhodar to Zaporizhzhia by car and from Berdyansk, Tokmak and Melitopol by car and on buses.

THAT MARTYRED CITY: Pope Francis holds up a Ukrainian flag from the city of Bucha, as he condemns the bloodshed stemming from Russia's invasion

Indicative estimates of Russia’s combat losses as of April 7: Armed Forces of Ukraine