Ukraine Update: Kyiv Sets Out ‘Minimum’ Goal From Russia Talks | #cybersecurity | #cyberattack


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(Bloomberg) — Ukraine “minimum” goal from talks with Russian negotiators starting on Tuesday in Turkey will be an improvement in the immediate humanitarian situation, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, adding Kyiv is striving for a cease-fire agreement.

President Joe Biden said his weekend remarks that Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, cannot stay in power reflected his “moral outrage,” and didn’t mean the U.S. had adopted a policy of regime change. 

Poland, which has accepted around 2.3 million refugees from Ukraine, estimates that about half a million people have moved on to other destinations. Ukraine’s military recaptured the town of Irpin west of the capital from Russian troops, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said as other officials noted that a major cyberattack against telecommunications infrastructure had been “neutralized.”

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Key Developments

NATO Allies Are Split on Whether They Should Talk to PutinGlobal Supply Lines Brace for ‘Menacing’ Economic Costs to WidenBiden Says Putin Remark Showed Outrage, Not Change in Policy OPEC+ Must Stay Out of Politics, UAE Says Ahead of Key MeetingUkraine, Covid and Soaring Prices Are Changing the Way We EatAbramovich Suffered Suspected Poisoning During Ukraine Talks

All times CET:

Japan Expands Russian Export Controls  (2:50 a.m.)

Japan expanded its export controls currently in effect against Russia to include luxury goods including cars, fur, jewelry, tobacco, cosmetics and artwork. The move will be effective from April 5, the trade ministry said.

Stocks Climb as Traders Await Talks (2:31 a.m.)

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Asian stocks rose Tuesday after a climb in U.S. equities, a slump in crude oil and the prospect of more cease-fire talks between Russia and Ukraine helped support investor sentiment.

Oil extended a slide, taking West Texas Intermediate crude to about $105 a barrel, on concerns that China’s mobility curbs against Covid will sap demand.

Kyiv Forces Retake Town, Zelenskiy Says (10:35 p.m.)

Ukraine’s military recaptured the town of Irpin west of the capital from Russian troops, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his daily video address.

“Our defenders are pushing forward in the Kyiv region, regaining control over Ukrainian territory”, the president said. He said fighting continues in the area, while the southern port city of Mariupol remains blocked.

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Ukraine Seeks to Resolve at Least Humanitarian Issues (9:35 p.m.)

Resolving humanitarian issues will be the “minimum” goal for Ukraine’s negotiators in two days of talks with Russia in Istanbul scheduled to begin Tuesday, Kuleba said. The maximum goal is a stable cease-fire agreement, he said.

“We are looking forward to the conversation of the two delegations to see if the Russians will come to these talks ready to really agree on something, or just repeat their demands, which were heard from the very beginning,” Kuleba said. In the latter event, he said, “the sides will disperse in the same way as they arrived.” 

Cyberattack on Ukraine Telecoms Company ‘Neutralized’ (9:10 p.m.)

A major cyberattack against Ukraine’s telecommunications infrastructure has been “neutralized” and service is gradually being restored, said Yurii Shchyhol, head of Ukraine’s State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection. 

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Officials said Ukrtelecom was temporarily limiting its services to most private users and business clients to prioritize the country’s armed forces. Earlier Monday, the firm NetBlocks reported a “major” disruption across Ukraine, saying connectivity fell to 13% of pre-invasion levels.

Abramovich Suffered Suspected Poisoning in Ukraine Talks (8:26 p.m.)

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian negotiators suffered a suspected poisoning after meetings in Kyiv at the beginning of the month as part of talks to end the war in Ukraine, according to people familiar with the situation.

He and Ukrainians at the talks experienced peeling skin, red eyes, loss of eyesight and headaches, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information wasn’t public. The Wall Street Journal first reported the alleged poisoning.  

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Biden Says He Was ‘Expressing My Outrage’ in Putin Ad Lib (8:15 p.m.)

President Joe Biden said he wasn’t announcing a U.S. policy change when he said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” but was expressing his own anger about the invasion of Ukraine.

“I was expressing my outrage, he shouldn’t remain in power, just like bad people shouldn’t continue to do bad things,” Biden said Monday at the White House. “But it doesn’t mean we have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way.”

Nuclear Material at Damaged Kharkiv Facility Intact (06:52 p.m.)

Ukraine told the International Atomic Energy Agency that the nuclear material at a damaged facility in Kharkiv remains intact despite the complex coming under renewed fire “a few days ago,” according to an IAEA statement. 

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“Ukraine said the building, its thermal insulation and the experimental hall were damaged, but the neutron source, that contains nuclear material used to generate neutrons for research and isotope production, was not,” according to the statement. 

Germany May End Russian Oil, Coal Imports This Year (6:05 p.m.)

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany is working full-speed to reduce its dependence on Russian energy imports and possibly wean itself off Russian oil and coal by the end of the year.

“We now want to create the technical conditions in order to have different sources of imports,” Scholz told a conference in Berlin. “In view of the fact that in the past we always imported a lot by ship, this will be accomplished with coal and oil relatively quickly, perhaps even this year.”

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U.S. Sending Growler Electronic Warfare Planes to Germany (5:43 p.m.)

Six U.S. Navy Growler airplanes will arrive in Germany Monday to bolster NATO’s electronic warfare capabilities on its eastern flank, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

The planes built by Boeing Co. will be temporarily based at the Spangdahlem air base in Germany, Kirby said, and will be accompanied by 240 personnel. The planes, which came from Whidbey Island in Washington state, won’t be used against Russian forces in Ukraine, Kirby said. 

Ukraine Says 5,000 People Killed in Mariupol (3:50 p.m.)

Russia’s siege of Mariupol has killed almost 5,000 people, including 200 children, as of March 27, Mayor Vadym Boychenko said.

The Sea of Azov port city has been under attack since March 1, and 90% of its residential houses and hospitals — including all maternity wards — have been damaged or destroyed by Russian shelling and air and missile strikes, Boychenko said.

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Of Mariupol’s pre-war population, about 170,000 people remain. Some 140,000 left before the siege and 150,000 during the attacks. Russian troops, which control part of the city, deported 30,000 citizens to unknown destinations, Boychenko said.

Poland Estimates 500,000 Ukrainian Refugees Moved On (3:45 p.m.) 

Poland, which has accepted around 2.3 million refugees from Ukraine, estimates that about half a million people have moved on to other destinations, Polish President Andrzej Duda said. The population of Poland’s capital, Warsaw, has swelled by 300,000, or about 20% — alone, in four weeks, and accommodation is running out. 

The European Union nation has set aside 8 billion zloty ($1.9 billion) to help refugees find work, gain access to schools and health care and pay those who host them in their homes. Until last month, the country of 38 million people was already home to roughly 1 million Ukrainians who fled the separatist conflict in the east of their country that started in 2014.

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G-7 Rejects Putin’s Demand for Ruble Gas Payments (3 p.m.)

Group of Seven energy ministers unanimously rejected Russian President Vladimir Putin’s demand that natural-gas contracts be paid in rubles.

Putin’s demand represents a “one-sided and clear breach of contracts,” German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said Monday after chairing talks that also included European Union officials.

Carlsberg, Heineken Quit Russia (2:39 a.m.)

Carlsberg, which owns the biggest brewery in Russia, and Heineken announced they would leave the country. 

Carlsberg said in a statement the decision to sell its Russian business “is the right thing to do.” Earlier Monday, Heineken said it expected impairment and other charges to amount to some 400 million euros in announcing plans to sell its business and exit Russia.   

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EU Members Have 17 Billion Euros to Fund Refugee Aid (2:15 p.m.)

EU member states will have about 17 billion euros ($18.6 billion) available to finance their help to refugees, of which more than 3.8 million have crossed the bloc’s border, according to an EU diplomat.

Credit Suisse Stops Pursuing New Business in Russia (2:08 p.m.)

Credit Suisse Group AG has stopped pursuing new business in Russia and is cutting its exposure to the country as a result of the invasion of Ukraine, according to an internal document seen by Bloomberg.

The Swiss bank is also helping its clients unwind their Russia exposure, according to the memo. The bank added that it has moved roles out of the country and is helping employees relocate elsewhere. A spokesperson for Credit Suisse confirmed the content of the document.

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Russia Signals Payments Coming for Bonds Due (2:04 p.m.)

Russia signaled its intention to make coupon and principal payments for bonds due next month and in April 2042, according to filings with the National Settlement Depository. 

Russia’s Novaya Gazeta to Close (1:54 p.m.)

Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper announced on Twitter it is suspending publication “until the completion of the ‘special operation’ in Ukraine.” 

Novaya Gazeta Monday received a second warning from Russian censor Roskomnadzor for posting material from a so-called foreign agent without the appropriate labeling. 

Russian Stocks Fall on First Day All Shares Trade (1:15 p.m.)

Russian stocks retreated on Monday, erasing gains from last week as trading was expanded to all Moscow shares, while government measures to prevent a deeper selloff remain in place.

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The MOEX Russia Index fell 2.2% in a shortened four-hour session. Gas giant Gazprom PJSC was the top decliner along with the state lender Sberbank PJSC. Energy companies like Lukoil PJSC dropped as oil retreated. PhosAgro PJSC outperformed.

EU Urges End to ‘Golden Passports’ (12:25 p.m.)

The European Commission urged member states to immediately repeal any existing “golden passport” schemes. The 27-nation EU’s executive also asked national governments to assess whether citizenship previously granted to Russian or Belarussian nationals on the EU sanction list in connection to the war in Ukraine should be withdrawn. 

Russia’s War Puts Europe’s ‘Golden Passports’ Under Microscope

Kremlin: Biden Comments on Putin ‘Alarming’ (11:54 a.m.)

U.S. President Joe Biden’s statements about President Vladimir Putin are “alarming,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. Russia will continue to monitor the U.S. president’s words, he said.

Biden clarified comments he made in Warsaw at the weekend that the Russian president “cannot remain in power,” saying that he was not advocating regime change.  

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