Ukraine expects to get its next batch of U.S. weaponry, including Javelins and Stingers, in the coming days. Evacuations continued on Saturday even as heavy fighting continued, particularly in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, and Russian forces blocked several trucks carrying humanitarian aid.
Russia said it used advanced “Kinzhal” hypersonic missiles for the first time to strike a western Ukraine target; Ukraine didn’t confirm the attack. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said peace talks are Russia’s “only chance” given the growing number of countries imposing sanctions, and urged Moscow to engage.
Oilfield services providers Schlumberger, Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Co. are curbing their Russia operations. Some investors said they received interest payments on Russian debt, easing fears of a default triggered by financial sanctions.
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All times CET
Russia Denies Space Suits Symbolize Ukraine Flag (9:55 p.m.)
Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station caused a stir when they posed in yellow and blue uniforms, but Moscow on Saturday denied that was a show of support for Ukraine.
Roscosmos spokesman Dmitry Strugovets said the yellow flight suits symbolize the emblem of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, from which all three cosmonauts graduated.
“This design was approved long time before the current events,” Strugovets said on Telegram. “To see the Ukrainian flag everywhere and in everything is crazy.”
Ukraine Expects to Get U.S. Weapons Soon (9:55 p.m.)
Ukraine will receive Stingers, Javelins and other U.S. weaponry announced by President Joe Biden in the coming days, National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov said.
“Those will be useful for our army will be on the territory of Ukraine in the nearest future,” Danilov said in an interview on Ukrainian television.
Danilov also urged International Atomic Energy Agency representatives to travel to Ukraine to control the situation at two nuclear power plants — Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia — occupied by Russian troops.
Mariupol Officials Accuse Russia of Forced Deportations (8:37 p.m.)
Mariupol was the scene of heavy fighting Saturday, with the city’s mayor Vadym Boychenko accusing Russian forces of war crimes and forcible deportation of some of the city’s residents to Russia.
“What the occupiers are doing today is familiar to the older generation, who saw the horrific events of World War II, when the Nazis forcibly captured people,” Boychenko said on Telegram.
The besieged city’s council likewise said in a statement that several thousand Mariupol residents were deported to Russia. “Some people were sent to far way cities of Russia, the fate of others is unknown,” the council said.
Russia Blocks Humanitarian Trucks (8:14 p.m.)
Russian troops blocked 14 trucks with humanitarian aid to reach their destinations in southern Ukraine, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Saturday.
In total, eight of 10 humanitarian corridors worked on Saturday and they evacuated 6,623 people from besieged Mariupol, as well as from Luhansk and areas around Kyiv.
Baker Hughes Halts Future Work in Russia (6:05 p.m.)
Baker Hughes Co. on Saturday became the latest oilfield service provider to halt future work in Russia, saying it’s suspending new investments in Russia operations but continuing with existing work there, according to a statement.
“The crisis in Ukraine is of grave concern and we strongly support a diplomatic solution. We condemn violence and our hearts go out to the people and families of those impacted,” Baker Hughes Chief Executive Officer Lorenzo Simonelli said in the statement.
Read more here.
Ukrainian Refugees in Germany Top 200,000 (5 p.m.)
At least 207,742 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Germany, the Interior Ministry said in a tweet.
Officials have indicated that the number could be significantly higher, as there are no systematic checks at Germany’s borders with eastern neighbors like the Czech Republic and Poland. More than 2 million Ukrainians have crossed into Poland alone since Feb. 24. Total refugees are likely to reach 4 million.
Some of those fleeing to Germany, mostly women, children and the elderly, may be in transit to other countries. Germany is trying to distribute arrivals around the country to avoid overloading major cities like Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.
Zelenskiy Calls on Swiss to Freeze All Oligarchs’ Accounts (4:25 p.m.)
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on the Swiss government to freeze the accounts of all Russian oligarchs as he addressed politicians and people in Switzerland’s capital of Bern via live stream.
“I want you to become Ukrainians who feel what it is like when whole cities are destroyed, peaceful cities,” Zelenskiy said. “So that there is no question about banks. About your banks, where the money of all those who started this war is kept. It is necessary to completely freeze all the assets of these people and their accounts. It’s a big fight, and you can do it.”
Zelenskiy also criticized multinational food giant Nestle SA for continuing to do business in Russia, echoing comments by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal from earlier in the week. Nestle has suspended shipments of non-essential items to Russia, but is still supplying necessities including baby food. More than 90% of the products Nestle sells in Russia are locally produced.
Ukraine Prime Minister Urges Nestle to Halt Russia Business
Germany ‘Stupid’ to Become So Reliant on Russia for Gas (2 p.m.)
Germany was “stupid” to let itself become dependent on Russia for about half of its gas supplies, according to Economy Minister Robert Habeck.
Habeck, who’s in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates this weekend to discuss buying liquefied natural gas, told Deutschlandfunk radio that individual suppliers should in future each be limited to providing “10% or 20%” of Germany’s needs.
In a separate interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, he defended the practice of sourcing energy from “non-democratic countries,” saying there’s a difference between a country where the human rights situation is “problematic,” and one like Russia which “is waging an aggressive, illegal war at our front door.”
Boris Johnson Says There Can Be No Concessions to Putin (1:50 p.m.)
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there should be no way back from international isolation for President Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It would be a mistake to consider trade-offs, Johnson told members of his Conservative Party at a conference in Blackpool.
“There are some around the world, even in Western governments, who invoke what they call realpolitik and who say that we are better off making accommodations with tyranny,” Johnson said. “I have to say, I believe they are profoundly wrong.”
“To try to renormalize relations with Putin after this, as we did in 2014, would be to make exactly the same mistake again,” he said.
Bulgaria Rules Out Military Aid (1:38 p.m.)
Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said his country will keep providing humanitarian support to Ukraine but won’t provide military aid for now.
“Being so close to the conflict, at this moment military aid to Ukraine won’t be possible” Petkov said after meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Assen Vassilev said Bulgaria won’t renew a natural gas supply contract with Russia’s Gazprom PJSC when a 10-year deal expires at year end. Bulgaria has had talks with Greece and Turkey, and plans to increase deliveries from Azerbaijan, Vassilev said.
Russia Rejects Peace-Keeping Mission Plan for Ukraine (1:13 p.m.)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov dismissed a Polish proposal for a peace-keeping mission to Ukraine.
The plan, which Poland will formally propose at next week’s NATO summit, would likely mean Polish troops controlling western Ukraine, Lavrov was cited as saying on Saturday by the Interfax news service.
Commenting on Russian demands in ongoing talks with Ukraine, Lavrov said that among other things the Kremlin wants the country to pass a law protecting the use of Russian language in schools and the media.
Lavrov Says No Reason for OPEC+ Deal to Stop (12:42 p.m.)
Lavrov expressed confidence about the future of the OPEC+ deal, saying all its participants are committed to it.
“I don’t see any reason why this mechanism should be destroyed. No one is interested in this,” Lavrov said on Saturday, as cited by the Interfax news service.
Lavrov accused the U.S. of trying to flood the market with more oil to harm Russia. Saudi Arabia affirmed its commit to an OPEC+ agreement with Russia in early March, days after the invasion of Ukraine.
OPEC+ Needs to Rethink Position Amid Supply Shock, Russia War
Putin Speaks With Luxembourg’s Leader (11:40 a.m.)
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel spoke with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Saturday, noting that since the pair’s last exchange on March 14, “the situation on the ground has worsened.”
In a readout, the Kremlin said Putin raised Russia’s allegations of “unacceptable” U.S. biological weapons activity in Ukraine.
Ten Humanitarian Corridors Open on Saturday (10:49 a.m.)
Ten humanitarian corridors are open for evacuation on Saturday, including from the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, said Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk. Evacuation routes are also open in the Kyiv region and in the Luhansk region in the far east.
Vereshchuk announced plans for a delivery of humanitarian aid to Kherson, which is under the control of Russian forces.
Polish border authorities reported that 42,700 people crossed from Ukraine on Friday, and an additional 7,400 early Saturday morning. Poland alone has taken in some 2.04 million people from Ukraine.
Russia Says It Used ‘Kinzhal’ Missile for First Time (8:22 a.m.)
Russia said it used an advanced “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile for the first time on Friday to target a large underground warehouse in southwestern Ukraine. There was no immediate confirmation from Ukraine, and no on-the-ground reports on social media of a strike.
Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a daily briefing that the strike on the village of Delyatyn, in Ukraine’s Ivano-Frankivsk region, also took out aviation ammunition.
Russia has previously used long-range missiles to strike targets in Ukraine’s far west, not far from the border with Poland. The Kinzhal system of air-to-ground missiles is one of a series of advanced strategic weapons unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2018.
The claimed strike comes as the U.K. defense intelligence warns that having failed to achieve its original objectives, the Kremlin is likely to move to “indiscriminate use of firepower.”
Hypersonic Weapons — Who Has Them and Why It Matters: QuickTake
LG Halts Shipments to Russia (5:12 a.m.)
LG Electronics Inc. is suspending all shipments to Russia, joining Samsung Electronics Co. in halting sales to the country because of its invasion of Ukraine. LG is “deeply concerned for the health and safety of all people” and is committed to humanitarian support, the company said Saturday by email.
Samsung suspended shipments to Russia earlier this month and South Korea’s government has also joined a list of countries announcing sanctions against the country.
Schlumberger to Suspend Russia Investment (4:23 a.m.)
Schlumberger said it will suspend new investment and technology deployment to its Russian operations. The oilfield contractor will “continue to actively monitor this dynamic situation and will fulfill any existing activity in full compliance with applicable international laws and sanctions,” Chief Executive Officer Olivier Le Peuch said in a statement.
The company previously said it would take an earnings hit from the combined effects of Russia’s attack on Ukraine and an increasingly snarled global supply chain that is slowing product shipments. Russia accounts for about 5% of its revenue, according to a filing.
Zelenskiy Reiterates Need for Talks With Moscow (3:33 a.m.)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in a nighttime Facebook video message from Kyiv, said that Russia’s “occupation forces were stopped in almost all directions” and that its initial plan to seize Ukraine has failed. Because of the growing coalition of countries imposing sanctions, peace negotiations are “the only chance for Russia,” he said. “It’s time to meet, it’s time to talk,” he said, addressing Moscow.
Halliburton Winding Down Russia Operations (12:25 a.m.)
Halliburton Co. said it’s winding down operations in Russia and will halt future business there amid sanctions imposed in response to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Halliburton, the world’s biggest provider of fracking, is alone among the three major oilfield-service providers to publicly declare a pullout from one of the world’s largest crude producers. The Russian oil sector relies on foreign technology, gear and expertise to sustain domestic output of of the Kremlin’s key sources of revenue.
Russia Default Fears Ease as Payments Reach Investors (10:38 p.m.)
Fears of a bond default by Russia eased after $117 million of interest payments due this week started to reach international investors, promising to temporarily avert a lapse that would have injected even more uncertainty into world credit markets.
Money managers based in the U.K., Germany and the U.S. said on Friday they had received coupon payments on two Russian Eurobonds that were originally due on Wednesday. Credit rating companies still see a significant risk of default after sanctions largely cut Russia off from global finance.
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