Ukraine Latest: Biden to Speak on Ukraine; Unilever’s Warning | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


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(Bloomberg) — U.S. President Joe Biden plans to deliver remarks Thursday on support for Ukraine as his administration looks to send to Congress a proposal for weapons and humanitarian assistance for Kyiv that would last through September. 

European Union members pushed the bloc to deliver clearer guidance over Russia’s demand for natural gas payments to be made in rubles, after flows to Poland and Bulgaria were cut off. Germany signaled it’s open to a phased-in ban on Russian oil imports.

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is scheduled to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Thursday, after holding talks earlier this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Bulgaria’s Prime Minister is also in Kyiv.

Key Developments

U.S. Sharing More Intelligence With Ukraine for Donbas FightBiden Swaps Prisoner With Russia in Surprise Sign of Accord EU Tells Companies Not to Bend to Russian Gas DemandsWhat Russia’s War in Ukraine Means for Efforts to Cut EmissionsHow Russia’s Gas Ban Rips Through the Core of European IndustryRussia Began Preparing for Cyberattacks on Ukraine in Early 2021

Unilever Warns on Raw Material Inflation (8:14 a.m.)

The food and consumer goods company Unilever Plc warned that raw material inflation will be worse in the second half because of the war in Ukraine.

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Underlying operating margins will probably be in the bottom end of its forecast range of 16% to 17% this year, the company said. Even so, sales growth was above analysts’ estimates.

In contrast, the metals and agricultural trading company Glencore Plc is anticipating bumper profits from soaring metals and energy prices and market volatility created by the war. 

Bulgarian PM in Kyiv for Zelenskiy Meeting (7:38 a.m.)

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and Defense Minister Dragomir Zakov will visit Kyiv on Thursday and will meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. 

The visit comes a day after Russia cut off gas deliveries to Bulgaria and Poland in a major escalation between Moscow and Europe. 

Russia Intensifying Its Offensive, Ukrainian General Staff Says (7:37 a.m.)

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Russia’s offensive operation in eastern Ukraine is picking up pace and there’s intensive fire along the entire line of contact, General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Facebook. 

Russian troops are assembling in large numbers around Izyum, near Kharkiv. Additional airborne troops and as many as 500 military vehicles have been moved by Russia to Izyum, Ukraine said. 

From there, continued attacks are happening on three lines of advance: to the southeast, the southwest, and directly west. 

Japan to Transport Aid Via Dubai After India Balks (4:57 a.m.)

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are set to transport United Nations humanitarian aid for Ukraine via Dubai, after the Asahi newspaper and others reported that India refused permission for its military planes to land. India, the top buyer of Russian weapons, has been reluctant to join the U.S. and its allies in condemning Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. 

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House Passes Bill to Help Fund Rebuilding (4:29 a.m.)

U.S. House of Representatives lawmakers passed a bill urging the U.S. to seize assets valued at more than $2 million that belong to Russian individuals and entities who benefit from ties to President Vladimir Putin’s regime. The funds would be used to help rebuild Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian people should see the boats, planes, and villas of Putin’s enablers being seized and sold, and they should know that the proceeds will help their country and cause,” bill sponsor Tom Malinowski, a New Jersey Democrat, said when the measure was first introduced.

EU Energy Firms Prepare to Meet Putin’s Terms, FT Says (3:26 a.m.)

Some European companies are making preparations to comply with a new payment system sought by Russia to pay for its gas in rubles, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with plans. Energy companies in Germany, Austria, Hungary and Slovakia are preparing to open ruble accounts at Gazprombank in Switzerland, it said. 

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UN Readies Team for Mariupol Evacuation, AP Reports (11:30 p.m.)

The United Nations said its humanitarian office is mobilizing a team from around the world to coordinate the evacuation of civilians from a steel plant in the port of Mariupol, the Associated Press reported, citing deputy spokesman Farhan Haq.

UN officials are seeking to translate Russia’s agreement “in principle” for a UN role, reached during talks between Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Russian leaders in Moscow on Tuesday, “into an agreement in detail and an agreement on the ground,” Haq said, according too the AP. 

U.S. Has Delivered More Than Half of Howitzers (10:01 p.m.)

The U.S. has delivered more than half of the 155 mm howitzers it promised to expedite to Ukraine as the war shifts to the country’s east and south. John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, said the weaponry had arrived and that an initial round of training for Ukrainian troops was completed earlier this week.

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Biden Administration Readies Long-Term Assistance Package (9:46 p.m.)

The White House plans to send to Congress this week a proposal for emergency funds for Ukraine that will cover the rest of the current fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

The proposal will include “security or military assistance, humanitarian economic assistance” to “help address a range of needs the Ukrainians have,” Psaki said. Separately, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told senators the proposal would also include funds to help remove land mines and to combat food insecurity.

EU Nations See Ambiguity in Advice on Russian Gas Demands (8:24 p.m.)

Several European Union nations are pushing for clearer guidance from the bloc on Russia’s demand to pay for gas in rubles, saying the current advice is too ambiguous.

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The European Commission told the ambassadors at a closed-door meeting Wednesday that it will fine-tune the wording of its guidelines, according to people familiar with the discussions. A number of countries who raised the issue want the commission to clarify that buyers don’t have any workarounds to acquiesce to the Kremlin’s demands, one of the people said.

Read the full story here. 

U.S. Sharing More Intelligence With Ukraine for Donbas Fight (7:04 p.m.)

The U.S. has lifted some restrictions on sharing intelligence with Ukraine as it confronts a renewed Russian military assault in the east and south, where it has backed separatist groups since annexing Crimea in 2014, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told Congress of the moves this month after Representative Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote a classified letter urging the Biden administration to remove the restrictions. The expanded sharing is designed to help Ukraine defend and potentially retake territory in the Donbas region, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity about the sensitive matter. 

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