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Ukraine latest: U.S. announces $270m more in military aid to Kyiv

The Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on Feb. 24 continues, with casualties mounting on both sides.

Ukrainian forces are putting up resistance in the east, where the focus of the war has shifted, and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy regularly calls on the world to do more to help. Governments around the globe have imposed heavy sanctions against Moscow but have stopped short of direct intervention for fear of sparking a wider conflict.

Meanwhile, rising geopolitical risk and volatile energy and financial markets are rocking Asia.

For all our coverage, visit our Ukraine war page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

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Entries include material from wire services and other sources.

Note: Nikkei Asia decided on March 5 to temporarily suspend its reporting from Russia until further information becomes available regarding the scope of the revised criminal code.

Here are the latest developments:

Saturday, July 23 (Tokyo time)

10:00 a.m. Credit rating firms Fitch and Scope downgraded Ukraine two days after the war-ravaged country requested a debt payment freeze. Both firms cut the country’s long-term foreign-currency rating to a ‘C’ grade, just one step from default, with both also signaling that a default now looked likely. A “default-like process has begun” Fitch said referring to Kyiv’s ‘consent solicitation’ request for a two-year deferral on its $20 billion-plus stock of international debt. “The rating would be downgraded to ‘restricted default’ and the affected instruments to ‘D’ following the consent solicitation “effective date,” should it be accepted, which we view as likely,” Fitch added.

8:00 a.m. The U.S. is exploring whether it can send domestically made fighter jets to Ukraine, a White House spokesman told reporters on Friday, as the conflict with Russia enters its fifth month and fighting rages in eastern Ukraine. While the Biden administration was making preliminary explorations into the feasibility of potentially providing the jets to Ukraine, the move is not something that would be done immediately, White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters in a briefing. “It’s not something that would be executed in the near term,” Kirby added.

6:30 a.m. The U.S. announces an additional $270 million in military assistance to Ukraine.

The aid includes security assistance valued at up to $175 million, as well as $95 million under a Defense Department initiative. The package includes four more HIMARS rocket systems, four command post vehicles, 36,000 rounds of 105 mm ammunition, and up to 580 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones.

The additions bring the Biden administration’s total security assistance so far to $8.2 billion.

Friday, July 22

11:57 p.m. Russia and Ukraine have agreed to reopen Ukrainian Black Sea ports for grain exports, taking a step that United Nations chief Antonio Guterres says will help avert a global food crisis. Read more.

11:40 p.m. The Japanese government is expected to refuse Russian President Vladimir Putin as a guest at the state funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this fall should he desire to attend.

The Russian leader is subject to a de facto entry ban imposed in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more.

9:30 p.m. Russia’s central bank has lowered its key interest rate by 150 basis points to 8%, a sharper cut than analysts had expected.

The rate decision cites slowing inflation and says “the external environment for the Russian economy remains challenging and continues to constrain economic activity significantly.”

Central Bank of Russia Gov. Elvira Nabiullina later says the bank does not see a trend of deflation in Russia.

5:45 p.m. Russia’s defense ministry says that its forces have destroyed four U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems between July 5 and 20. “Four launchers and one transport-loading vehicle for the U.S.-made multiple launch rocket systems (HIMARS) were destroyed,” it said in a daily briefing.

4:53 p.m. The Russian ruble eases slightly in early trade on Friday, lacking momentum as the market awaits the central bank’s rate-setting meeting that is expected to deliver the fourth cut so far this year. At 7:19 GMT, the ruble was 0.4% weaker against the dollar at 56.87 and eased 0.2% to 57.37 against the euro on the Moscow Exchange. The ruble has become the world’s best-performing currency so far this year, boosted by measures — including restrictions on Russian households withdrawing foreign currency savings — taken to shield Russia’s financial system from Western sanctions imposed as a result of the war in Ukraine.

9:23 a.m. Japan’s core consumer inflation remained above the central bank’s 2% target for a third straight month in June as the economy faced pressure from high global raw material prices that have pushed up the cost of the country’s imports. The nationwide core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes volatile fresh food costs but includes those of energy, rose 2.2% in June from a year earlier, government data shows.

A farmer harvests crops around a crater left by a Russian rocket 10 km from the front line in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine, on July 4. 

  © AP

7:33 a.m. Turkish officials say a deal on a U.N. plan to unblock exports of Ukrainian grain amid the war and to allow Russia to export grain and fertilizer will be signed today in Istanbul. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said that he, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and officials from Russia and Ukraine will oversee the signing ceremony. It did not provide further details. Guterres has been working on a plan that would enable Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain that have been stuck in its Black Sea ports — a move that could ease a global food crisis that has sent wheat and other grain prices soaring.

2:30 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin has discussed oil with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman the week after U.S. President Joe Biden visited the kingdom.

“They focused on the importance of further coordination within OPEC+,” the Kremlin says in a readout of their telephone call.

12:30 a.m. The U.K. says it will supply Ukraine with “scores of artillery guns, hundreds of drones and hundreds more anti-tank weapons” in the coming weeks. This will include more than 20 M109 155 mm self-propelled guns and 36 L119 105 mm artillery guns. “Counter-battery radar systems and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition for Ukraine’s existing Soviet era artillery will also follow,” the Ministry of Defense says.

The U.K. “will also send more than 1,600 more anti-tank weapons in the coming weeks, along with drones, including hundreds of loitering aerial munitions,” the ministry says.

Thursday, July 21

4:50 p.m. Talks between Turkey, Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations on resuming Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea are going well, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says, adding he is hopeful about reaching a deal. Turkey hosted officials from Russia, Ukraine and the U.N. to discuss details of the U.N.-led plan last week. Ankara has since said a general agreement was reached, and that it wants to put this into writing this week. Speaking to state broadcaster TRT Haber, Cavusoglu said he hoped to be able to announce “good news” on the talks in coming days, but added there were still minor issues being discussed between the parties.

Pipes at Nord Stream 1 facilities in Lubmin, Germany on March 8. The gas pipeline will start operating again after a 10-day outage.

  © Reuters

2:31 p.m. Russian gas resumes flowing through the biggest pipeline between Russia and Germany on Thursday after a 10-day outage, the operator says, easing concerns that a maintenance period would be extended. Europe has been on edge about the restart of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline after annual maintenance, with governments bracing for possible further supply cuts. The resumption could take several hours, a spokesperson told Reuters.

12:37 p.m. Japan posted its biggest half-year trade deficit of 7.9 trillion yen ($57 billion) in the first half of 2022, inflated by a surge in import costs amid soaring energy prices and the yen’s depreciation, government data shows. Imports jumped 37.9% from a year earlier to 53.9 trillion yen on the back of rising crude oil and coal prices propelled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Finance Ministry’s preliminary report.

A Ukrainian clears away debris in a house in Nikopol, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, on July 20 following a Russian military strike. 

  © Reuters

10:31 a.m. Ukrainian armed forces say they have killed 111 Russian soldiers in the south and east over the past day. Comments from Russia’s foreign minister meanwhile show the Kremlin’s goals have grown during the five-month war. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told state news agency RIA Novosti on Wednesday that Russia’s military “tasks” in Ukraine now go beyond the eastern Donbas region. Lavrov also said Moscow’s objectives will expand further if the West keeps supplying Kyiv with long-range weapons such as the U.S.-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). “That means the geographical tasks will extend still further from the current line,” he said.

4:35 a.m. Russia will refuse to supply oil to the global market if the price is capped below the cost of production, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak says.

“If these prices spoken about are lower than costs of producing oil … Russia will definitely not provide for supplies of such oil to international markets,” he says on Channel One, according to the government’s Tass news agency. “It means that we will not simply run at a loss.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after a bilateral meeting at the Group of 20 foreign ministers meeting in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, on July 8.

  © Pool photo/Reuters

4:30 a.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend the East Asia Summit foreign ministers meeting, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the ASEAN-Russian foreign ministers meeting, slated to be held in Cambodia in late July and early August.

This has been confirmed by the Russian Embassy, according to the Agence Kampuchea Presse state news agency. Cambodia, the 2022 chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, had recently invited Lavrov to the ASEAN Regional Forum and other related meetings.

His possible attendance had come under heavy scrutiny, given the war. Russia, Japan, the U.S., China and South Korea are among the regular participants in East Asia Summit and ASEAN Regional Forum meetings.

Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska speaks to the U.S. Congress in Washington on July 20.

  © Reuters

12:30 a.m. Speaking to the U.S. Congress, Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska tells the stories of dead and injured civilians as she details the toll of Russia’s “unprovoked invasive terrorist war” on her country.

Zelenska thanks America for its help so far and says: “I’m asking for something now I would never want to ask. I am asking for weapons.”

She requests air defense systems in order for rockets “not to kill children in their strollers, in order for rockets not to destroy children’s rooms and kill entire families.”

The speech comes the day after Zelenska met with U.S. first lady Jill Biden at the White House.

Wednesday, July 20

11:45 p.m. Europe must brace for a complete shutdown of natural gas supplies from Russia, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says.

“We have to prepare for a potential full disruption of Russian gas,” von der Leyen tells a news conference.

She says European Union member states are being asked to reduce their gas consumption by 15%.

“The quicker we act, the more we save, the safer we are,” she says.

Ukrainians receive food donations as the country grapples with Russia’s invasion that has led to its plans to delay payments to its creditors.

  © Reuters

10:15 p.m. Network operator Gascade has announced gas deliveries through Nord Stream 1 for Thursday, German media report, as a scheduled maintenance period on the key pipeline from Russia to Germany ends.

The pipeline, which accounts for more than one-third of Russian natural gas exports to the European Union, was halted for 10 days of annual maintenance on July 11.

4:34 p.m. Ukraine plans to postpone repayment of its Eurobonds and interest payments on them for 24 months from Aug. 1, according to the government. The finance ministry has been instructed by the government grappling with the impact of Russia’s invasion to negotiate with creditors on deferring payments that were due by Aug. 15. The government has promised to pay higher interest on those postponed payments. Ukraine also plans to postpone payments on GDP-linked warrants to August 2024 from May 2023.

2:32 p.m. China’s coal imports from Russia rose 22% in June from a month earlier despite a decline in its total coal purchases, as traders were drawn to discounted cargoes following Western sanctions on Russia. The world’s biggest consumer of the fossil fuel brought in 6.12 million tonnes of coal from Russia last month, data from the General Administration of Customs shows. That compares with 5.01 million tonnes in May and 5.24 million tonnes in June 2021.

10:10 a.m. Russia is laying the groundwork to annex Moscow-controlled Ukrainian territory amid the war, a White House official says, based on U.S. intelligence, warning that any such attempt would be met with more sanctions from the United States and its allies. “The Russian government is reviewing detailed plans to purportedly annex a number of regions in Ukraine,” including Kherson and Zaporizhzhia in the south and Donetsk and Luhansk in the east, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby tells a news conference. He also says Russia is beginning to roll out a version of what can be called an “annexation playbook,” using tactics very similar to those seen in its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

5:26 a.m. Reports come that Ukraine’s parliament has dismissed the domestic security chief and prosecutor general, two days after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suspended the pair for failing to root out Russian spies. Ivan Bakanov was fired from his position at the helm of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) by a comfortable majority, several lawmakers said on the Telegram messaging app. The head of Zelenskyy’s political faction said Iryna Venediktova had also been voted out as prosecutor general. Zelenskyy later announced he had fired one of the SBU’s deputy heads but gave no details.

5:00 a.m. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan credits Russia’s stance in talks on restarting shipments of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea.

“The approach of the Russian delegation in the last Istanbul meetings was very positive,” Erdogan said ahead of a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Tehran, the Anadolu Agency reports. “The outcome of the talks will have a positive impact on the whole world.”

Last week, Turkey said a deal had been reached in talks involving Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations on grain shipments, which Kyiv accuses Moscow of blocking to the detriment of global markets.

1:30 a.m. London-listed mining group Polymetal International says it is weighing a disposal of its assets in Russia.

“If completed, the potential transaction would result in the company focusing primarily on its operations in Kazakhstan,” Polymetal, one of the world’s biggest gold miners, says in a statement.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev vowed there would be peace in Ukraine “on our terms,” in a post on Telegram.

  © Reuters

Tuesday, July 19

9:30 p.m. Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers flew over the Barents Sea in northern Europe, Russia’s Defense Ministry says, describing their mission as a “scheduled flight” over neutral waters. Tu-160s are designed to launch nuclear missiles.

The Defense Ministry said that Russia’s air forces “perform all the flights in strict compliance with the international rules of using the airspace,” Tass reports.

5:00 p.m. Russia’s former president, Dmitry Medvedev, says that Russia will prevail in Ukraine and will set the terms for a future peace deal with Kyiv. “Russia will achieve all its goals. There will be peace — on our terms,” Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said in a post on Telegram. The former leader is becoming increasingly hawkish and outspoken in his criticism of the West since Russia started the invasion into Ukraine in February.

3:02 p.m. In his first trip outside the former Soviet Union since the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Iran for a summit with his Iranian and Turkish counterparts on the Syrian conflict, Iranian state TV says. The three countries are working together to try to reduce the violence in Syria despite supporting opposing sides in the war. Putin’s visit to Tehran is being watched closely, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reconfigured the global oil market and because of Washington’s warning about Tehran’s plan to provide Russia with up to several hundred drones. Tehran has denied selling drones to Moscow to use in Ukraine.

2:34 p.m. British military intelligence says Russia has struggled to sustain effective offensive combat power since the start of its invasion of Ukraine, and the problem is likely becoming increasingly acute. “As well as dealing with severe undermanning, Russian planners face a dilemma between deploying reserves to the Donbas or defending against Ukrainian counterattacks in the southwestern Kherson sector,” the Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update. The ministry added that while Russia may still make further territorial gains, their operational tempo and rate of advance is likely to be very slow.

After failing to capture the capital Kyiv early in its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has shifted to a campaign of bombardments to extend its control of the country’s south and east.

  © Reuters

10:05 a.m. Russian forces kept up their bombardment of cities across Ukraine, with intense shelling of Sumy in the north, cluster bombs targeting Mykolaiv and a missile strike in Odesa in the south, authorities say. After failing to capture the capital Kyiv at the outset of the invasion on Feb 24, Russia has shifted to a campaign of devastating bombardments to cement and extend its control of Ukraine’s south and east. Ukraine says Russian forces have intensified long-distance strikes on targets far from the front, killing large numbers of civilians. Moscow says it is hitting military targets.

4:45 a.m. The European Commission will urge European Union members next week to use less natural gas in order to save reserves of the fuel for winter, the Financial Times reports, citing a draft document.

“Acting jointly now will be less disruptive and costly, facilitating solidarity and avoiding the need for unplanned and uncoordinated actions later in a possible crisis situation with gas reserves running low,” the FT quotes the document as saying.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen signs a natural-gas supply deal with Azerbaijan that aims to boost deliveries to Europe by 48% this year and to more than double them by 2027. But the Central Asian nation supplies only a fraction of the EU’s gas needs.

Olena Zelenska, wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, arrives at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington on July 18.

  © Reuters

3:45 a.m. Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska will deliver remarks to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday at 11 a.m. local time, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office says.

Zelenska is already in Washington and has met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “She has a really tremendous mental health initiative for citizens affected by the war,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price says. “USAID has supported this as well. And he ultimately reiterated that we remain committed to helping the people of Ukraine recover, to helping them rebuild, and that we will continue to stand by their side going forward.”

Zelenska is also expected to meet with U.S. first lady Jill Biden.

Monday, July 18

11:16 p.m. Alphabet’s Google was fined 21.1 billion rubles ($373 million) by a Moscow court for repeated failures to remove content Russia deems illegal, such as “fake news” about the conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s communications regulator says. Moscow has long objected to foreign tech platforms’ distribution of content that falls foul of its restrictions. But the simmering dispute has erupted into a full-on battle since Moscow assembled its armed forces before sending them into Ukraine in February.

10:22 p.m. Sweden’s H&M will wind down its business in Russia, a move that will cost almost $200 million and affect 6,000 staffers.

The world’s second-biggest fashion retailer suspended its business in Russia in early March. Russia was H&M’s sixth-biggest market, and the company was increasing its store count there while reducing physical shops in many other markets, Reuters reports.

Several other retailers including Inditex and Adidas have halted sales in Russia, while U.S.-based fashion retailer TJX and Poland’s top fashion retailer LPP decided to sell their businesses in Russia.

3:21 p.m. British military intelligence says that Russia has used private military company Wagner to reinforce its front-line forces in the Ukraine conflict and that Wagner is lowering its recruitment standards by hiring convicts and formerly blacklisted individuals. “This will highly likely impact on the future operational effectiveness of the group and will reduce its value as a prop to the regular Russian forces,” the Ministry of Defense says in the intelligence update.

5:18 a.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has suspended the head of the domestic security agency — a childhood friend — and the prosecutor general who led the effort to prosecute Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

Many cases have come to light of people in Ivan Bakanov’s and Iryna Venediktova’s agencies collaborating with Russia, Zelenskyy explains.

“As of today, 651 criminal proceedings have been registered regarding treason and collaboration activities of employees of prosecutor’s offices, pretrial investigation bodies and other law enforcement agencies. … In particular, more than 60 employees of the prosecutor’s office and the Security Service of Ukraine remained in the occupied territory and are working against our state,” Zelenskyy says in a video address.

Zelenskyy has appointed Oleksiy Symonenko, one of Venediktova’s deputies, as acting prosecutor general.

Sunday, July 17

Ukrainian troops fire from a BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle as part of a training exercise not far from the front line in the Donbas region on July 15.

  © Reuters

11:05 p.m. Ukraine and NATO members threaten Russia by not recognizing its 2014 annexation of Crimea, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says.

“If any state, either Ukraine or a NATO country, thinks that Crimea is not part of Russia, it is a systemic threat,” says Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, to World War II veterans in Volgograd in comments reported by the official Tass news agency. And if such a state belongs to a “hostile bloc,” then it is a “permanent threat for us,” he adds.

Going into Ukraine was a “forced decision” and a “preventive measure to neutralize a military threat” from “those people who have power there, the nationalist circles,” Medvedev says.

7:40 p.m. Russia’s defense ministry says its aircraft have shot down a Ukrainian Mi-17 helicopter near the eastern town of Sloviansk and a Su-25 aircraft in the Kharkiv region. It also says its long-range air-based missiles have destroyed a depot at an industrial site in the southern Ukrainian city of Odesa that stored Harpoon anti-ship missiles supplied to Ukraine by NATO countries. Reuters cannot immediately verify the claims.

3:00 p.m. Russia is reinforcing defensive positions across the areas it occupies in southern Ukraine, according to the British defense ministry. The reinforcements include movement of manpower, equipment and defensive stores between Mariupol and Zaporizhzhia, and in Kherson, the ministry tweets, adding that Russian forces in Melitopol are also increasing security measures.

4:45 a.m. Moscow vows to step up military operations in “all operational areas” as Russian rockets and missiles pound cities in strikes that Kyiv says have killed dozens in recent days. Rockets hit the northeastern town of Chuhuiv in the Kharkiv region overnight, killing three people including a 70-year-old woman and wounding three others, regional governor Oleh Synehubov says.

Ukraine says at least 40 people have been killed in such attacks on urban areas in the last three days. Russia says it has been hitting military targets.

Saturday, July 16

8:10 p.m. Group of 20 finance ministers fail to find common ground regarding Russia’s war in Ukraine and its repercussions on global inflation as their meeting in Bali closes.

4:28 p.m. Washington believes Russian officials visited an airfield in Iran recently to view attack-capable drones, national security adviser Jake Sullivan says. The U.S. earlier this week said it has information showing Iran is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred drones, including some that are weapons capable, and that Tehran is preparing to train Russian forces to use them. Iran’s foreign minister denied Sullivan’s assertions.

3:45 a.m. Ukrainian rocket strikes have destroyed more than 30 Russian military logistics centers in recent weeks and significantly reduced Russia’s attacking potential, Ukraine’s defense ministry spokesperson said on Friday. “In the last weeks, over 30 of the enemy’s military logistical facilities have been destroyed,” Oleksandr Motuzianyk said on national television. He singled out the role played by U.S.-produced HIMARS rocket systems, one of several types of long-range weapons supplied by the West to help Ukraine fight back against Russia.

12:45 a.m. Russian investors will have the right to ask foreign institutions holding their frozen securities to transfer depositary accounting rights to a Russian organization, according to a law signed by President Vladimir Putin. Around 6 trillion rubles ($105.1 billion) of foreign shares held by Russians have been frozen as a result of Western sanctions as well as by Russia’s own authorities and platforms restricting trading in foreign assets, the central bank has estimated.

Friday, July 15

10:28 p.m. Russia imposes sanctions against 384 members of Japan’s parliament, as Moscow says the measures target those who had “taken an unfriendly, anti-Russian position.”

Tokyo has hit Russia with harsh sanctions, joining fellow Group of Seven countries in freezing the central bank’s assets, since Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Emergency workers inspect the damage from a Russian missile strike in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, on July 14: Moscow says the building was the site of a meeting with foreign arms suppliers.

  © Reuters

6:41 p.m. Russia’s Defense Ministry says Thursday’s cruise missile strike on the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia was directed at a building where top officials from Ukraine’s armed forces were meeting foreign arms suppliers. Ukraine has denied any military target was hit, saying the attack killed at least 23 people and struck a cultural center used by retired veterans. “On July 14, Kalibr (cruise) missiles were launched at the House of Officers in Vinnytsia,” the ministry said in its daily update. “The facility was hosting a conference of the Ukrainian Armed Forces command with representatives of foreign arms suppliers … The attack resulted in the elimination of the participants.”

11:29 a.m. China’s economy eked out a 0.4% year-on-year expansion in the second quarter, slowing sharply from the first three months as COVID-19 lockdowns in Shanghai and other major cities hit factory output and consumer activity. The tepid results marked the slowest quarter since the first three months of 2020, when the economy contracted 6.9% as China battled an early outbreak of the coronavirus, first detected in the city of Wuhan.

10:44 a.m. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen condemns Russia’s “brutal and unjust war” in Ukraine and says Russian finance officials taking part in a Group of 20 meeting in Indonesia on Friday share responsibility for the “horrific consequences” of the war. Yellen, speaking at the opening session of the gathering of G-20 finance ministers and central bankers on Bali, welcomed Ukraine’s finance minister and blamed the negative spillovers of the war “solely” on Russia, a Treasury official said.

9:55 a.m. Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati says that failure by Group of 20 finance chiefs to reach consensus at their meeting in Bali could be catastrophic for low-income countries hurt by soaring food and energy prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. In her opening remarks to the meeting, Sri Mulyani said Indonesia would be an honest broker and find creative solutions to overcome the “triple threat” of surging commodity prices, global inflation and war.

3:30 a.m. Ukraine’s Kyiv Ballet begins a tour of Japan on Friday. The tour is being described as the company’s first international appearance since the Russian invasion.

Twenty-eight dancers who fled the war to Germany and other countries will take part in Japanese performances over the coming weeks.

“The arts bring people together,” artistic director Elena Filipyeva told a news conference, adding that she hoped to reconnect with dancers in Russia after these difficult times end.

Works by Tchaikovsky and other Russian composers will not be performed, at the direction of Ukraine’s ministry of culture.

Dancers from the Kyiv Ballet take part in an open rehearsal in Maebashi, near Tokyo, on July 14 ahead of their tour of Japan. (Photo by Ryuji Nishijima)

1:00 a.m. Russian missiles strike the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, far behind the front lines, on Thursday in an attack that Ukrainian officials call a war crime and say killed at least 22 people, including three children.

About 100 more are reported injured in the attack southwest of Kyiv and far from the heart of the fighting in Donbas, according to media reports.

The strike, which Ukraine said had been carried out with Kalibr cruise missiles launched from a Russian submarine in the Black Sea, came a day after a breakthrough in talks between Moscow and Kyiv to unblock Ukrainian grain exports and underscored how far the two sides remain from a peace settlement. Read full storyRead full story

“What is this, if not an open act of terrorism?” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy writes on the Telegram messaging app.

12:34 a.m. The U.S. and 44 other countries — including Canada, European Union states and Australia — sign a declaration during a conference in The Hague to coordinate investigations into suspected war crimes in Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied involvement in war crimes since it invaded Ukraine in February.

Steps they will take include creating an umbrella group to avoid duplicating investigations, training Ukrainian prosecutors and expanding the number of forensic teams operating in Ukraine. They also pledged 20 million euros ($20 million) to assist the International Criminal Court, as well as the prosecutor general’s office in Ukraine and United Nations support efforts.

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson on July 14 complained that Ukraine was using U.S. HIMARS rocket systems “everywhere,” causing civilian deaths. (Pavlo Narozhnyy via Reuters)

  © Reuters

Thursday, July 14

6:02 p.m. Russia’s Foreign Ministry attacks the U.S. and Britain for helping train Ukraine’s armed forces, calling it part of “hybrid warfare” being waged by NATO countries against Russia. In a media briefing, spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Washington had provided Ukraine with instructors who were helping Kyiv’s forces use advanced U.S.-made high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS). She noted the rockets, which have a longer range and are more precise than other artillery weapons, were being used “widely” by Ukrainian forces.

“Ukrainian forces are using HIMARS received from the United States everywhere,” Zakharova said. She said Washington had “secretly sent instructors” to Ukraine to help its forces learn how to use and aim the new weapons, resulting in civilian targets in Russian-controlled areas being fired upon.

5:23 p.m. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says representatives of President Vladimir Putin had no place at a meeting of the Group of 20 major economies, warning that the war in Ukraine was causing a negative spillover around the world. Yellen was speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting of finance leaders on the Indonesian island of Bali, which Russia is also attending.

Children play near an area where Ukrainian servicemen are training on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine on June 17.

  © Reuters

10:58 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken strongly condemns the “unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons” from areas in Ukraine that Russia controls. “Russian authorities must release those detained and allow Ukrainian citizens forcibly removed or coerced into leaving their country the ability to promptly and safely return home,” Blinken said in a statement. An estimated 900,000 to 1.6 million Ukrainian citizens — including 260,000 children — have been interrogated, detained and deported to Russia, with some sent to the country’s Far East, he said.

9:44 a.m. The central bank of Singapore tightens its monetary policy in an out-of-cycle move as the city sees inflationary pressure rising on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The state also announced its economy grew 4.8% on the year in the April-June quarter, according to preliminary figures released on Thursday, faster than the 4% spurt the previous term.

4:10 a.m. Turkey, Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations have reached a deal in talks aimed at resuming Ukrainian grain exports blocked by Russia, the Turkish defense minister says.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres hails the development as a “major step forward” that shines “a ray of hope in a world darkened by crises.”

2:00 a.m. Ukraine has severed diplomatic relations with North Korea, which Kyiv condemns for recognizing Russian-occupied breakaway regions that have declared independence.

North Korea is one of a handful of countries, including Syria and Belarus, that recognize or support the recognition of the “people’s republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.

Ukraine maintains these regions are part of its territory, a position for which it has widespread international support.

“Russia has no more allies in the world, except for countries that depend on it financially and politically, and the level of isolation of the Russian Federation will soon reach the level of isolation of the DPRK,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba says in an statement on cutting diplomatic ties with North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

North Korea’s recognition of the two breakaway regions came on Wednesday. The North Korean ambassador to Russia, Sin Hong-chol, met his Donetsk counterpart Olga Makeyeva in Moscow. Makeyeva said she was confident that “cooperation between countries, which now has official status, will be fruitful and mutually beneficial,” Tass reports.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: His country joins Syria in recognizing breakaway Ukrainian regions as independent “people’s republics.” (KCNA via Reuters)

1:30 a.m. Chinese and Russian military activity around Japan increased 2.5 times in the four months following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, sparking alarm here over a potential escalation.

Releases by Japan’s Ministry of Defense show 90 instances of activity by Chinese and Russian military vessels and aircraft near Japan in the four months after the invasion began. There had been 35 in the four months before.

A Chinese vessel and Russian vessel entered Japan’s contiguous zone near the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands on July 4. China claims the islands as the Diaoyu. Read more.

A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rocket is fired in the Philippines in 2016: Ukraine is using the U.S.-provided artillery with growing effectiveness against Russia, analysts say.

  © Reuters

6:57 p.m. Chinese exports to sanctions-hit Russia tumbled in June for the fourth straight month, while Russian shipments to China continued at an elevated pace, official data show. Shipments to Russia fell 17% from the same month a year earlier in dollar terms, worse than May’s 8.6% year-on-year decline, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data. Imports from Russia, however, surged 56% in June versus the same month in 2021, on top of a jump of 80% in May.

Wednesday, July 13

For the first half of the year, China’s exports to its neighbor slumped to meager growth of 2.1%, as international sanctions on Russia bit. Imports, on the other hand, jumped 48%. Russia is a major source of oil, gas, coal and agricultural commodities for China.

10:33 a.m. Ukraine launched long-range rocket attacks on Russian forces in southern Ukraine and destroyed an ammunition dump, its military said, as Russia continued to pound the country’s east. The strike on Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region killed 52 people, Ukraine’s military said on Tuesday. The town’s Russia-installed authorities said that at least seven people had been killed and around 70 injured, Russia’s TASS news agency reported. The strike came after Washington supplied Ukraine with advanced HIMARS mobile artillery systems which Kyiv says its forces are using with growing efficiency.

6:37 a.m. Ukraine sparked hopes Tuesday for an increase in grain exports despite Russia’s blockade of Black Sea ports, noting that ships had started to pass through an important mouth of the Danube river. “In the last four days, 16 ships have passed through the Bystre rivermouth,” Deputy Infrastructure Minister Yuriy Vaskov was quoted as a saying in a ministry statement. “We plan to maintain this pace.” The ministry said the 16 vessels were now waiting to be loaded with Ukrainian grain for export to foreign markets, while more than 90 more vessels were awaiting their turn in Romania’s Sulina canal.

2:00 a.m. Myanmar armed forces leader Min Aung Hlaing has agreed to deepen military and “military-technical cooperation” with Russia on his second trip to the country since taking control of the Southeast Asian nation last year.

The Myanmar general met with Russian defense ministry officials in Moscow on Tuesday, Tass reports, citing a Ministry of Defense statement. He also reportedly met with state space company Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin.

“The meeting was held in a traditionally friendly atmosphere and confirmed the mutual commitment to gradually increase the wide-ranging cooperation between the defense ministries of the two countries,” the defense ministry says.

12:30 a.m. A court in Russia finds Apple guilty of failing to localize Russian users’ personal data within the country’s territory.

The U.S. tech giant has been fined 2 million rubles ($34,000), Russian and other media report. Apple representatives reportedly told the court that the company is not responsible for gathering personal data in Russia.

12:00 a.m. The euro is within a hair of parity with the dollar for the first time since 2002 as investors weigh the risk of a deep economic slump triggered by an energy shock.

Foreign exchange markets are “discounting a severe European recession,” into the euro-dollar trade, Greg Anderson and Stephen Gallo of BMO Capital Markets write in a note to clients, the Financial Times reports.

Children sit in a bomb shelter in the town of Rubizhne in Ukraine’s Luhansk region on June 1.

  © Reuters

Tuesday, July 12 (Tokyo time)

5:46 p.m. A Russian ammunition depot was apparently targeted by Ukrainian forces overnight, resulting in a massive blast captured on social media. The Ukrainian military’s southern command said the rocket strike targeted the depot in Russian-held Nova Kakhovka, about 35 miles (55 km) east of the important Black Sea port city of Kherson, which is also occupied by Russian forces. Video on social media showed a massive explosion. The nature of the strike suggested that Ukrainian forces used U.S.-supplied multiple-launch High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to strike the area.

12:00 p.m. The White House says it believes Russia is turning to Iran to provide it with “hundreds” of unmanned aerial vehicles, including weapons-capable drones, for use in its war in Ukraine. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that it is unclear whether Iran has already provided any of the systems but that Iran apparently is preparing to train Russian forces to use them as soon as this month. “Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline,” he told reporters.

11:44 a.m. The global price of oil could surge by 40% to around $140 per barrel if a proposed cap on the price of Russian oil is not adopted, along with sanctions exemptions that would allow shipments below that price, a senior U.S. Treasury official says. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will discuss implementation of the U.S. proposal and global economic developments with Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki when they meet later on Tuesday. The goal is to set the price at a level that covers Russia’s marginal cost of production so Moscow has an incentive to continue exporting oil, but not high enough to allow it to fund its war against Ukraine, the official said.

9:12 a.m. The United Nations announces it will start monitoring the war in Ukraine and conflicts in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Africa’s central Sahel region for violations against children, including killings, injuries, recruitment, rape and other forms of sexual violence. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his annual report to the Security Council on children and armed conflict that those four new conflicts have been added to 21 conflicts that the U.N. already is monitoring for violations of the rights of children. He said the latter conflicts saw “a high number of grave violations” in 2021.

2:45 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plan to meet soon to discuss facilitating grain exports from Ukraine. Turkey has been mediating between Moscow and Kyiv since Russia sent its armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24. The last talks between representatives of Russia and Ukraine were held in Istanbul in late March.

Barley is harvested in the Odesa region of Ukraine. Russia has blockaded Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea, preventing Ukrainian grain from reaching global markets.

  © Reuters

2:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin signs a decree extending a simplified Russian naturalization process to all citizens of Ukraine, a document published on the government’s website shows.

Previously, the simplified procedure applied only to residents of the self-proclaimed breakaway territories of the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine.

Monday, July 11

5:50 p.m. Ukrainian forces have recaptured the village of Ivanivka in the southern Russian-occupied region of Kherson, a Ukrainian infantry brigade says. “The only thing left of the Russian occupiers in Ivanivka are horrible memories and ‘dead’ military equipment,” it said. There is more than one village of Ivanivka in the area. One of them is located along the front line.

The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Germany’s main source of Russian gas, is scheduled to be out of action until July 21 for what Russian supplier Gazprom called routine work.

  © Reuters

3:20 p.m. A major gas pipeline from Russia to Germany began shutting down for annual maintenance Monday, amid German concern that Russia may not resume the flow of gas as scheduled. The Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Germany’s main source of Russian gas, is scheduled to be out of action until July 21 for routine work that the operator says includes “testing of mechanical elements and automation systems.” The operator said the gas flow was reduced progressively, starting at 6 a.m., German news agency DPA reported. German officials are suspicious about Russia’s intentions, particularly after Russia’s Gazprom last month reduced the gas flow through Nord Stream 1 by 60%. Gazprom cited technical problems involving a gas turbine powering a compressor station that partner Siemens Energy sent to Canada for maintenance and couldn’t be returned because of sanctions imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

5:02 a.m. Dozens of Ukrainian emergency workers labored Sunday to pull people out of the rubble after a Russian rocket attack smashed into apartment buildings in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 15 people. More than 20 residents were believed still trapped. The strike late Saturday destroyed three buildings in a residential quarter of the town of Chasiv Yar, inhabited mostly by people who work in nearby factories. On Sunday evening, rescuers were able to remove enough of the bricks and concrete to retrieve a man who had been trapped for almost 24 hours. Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region that includes Chasiv Yar, said an estimated 24 people were believed still trapped, including a 9-year-old child.

Rescuers sift through rubble after a Russian rocket hit an apartment block in Chasiv Yar, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on July 10.

  © AP

Sunday, July 10

11:03 p.m. The Russian Tennis Federation was quick to claim Elena Rybakina as “our product” on her run to the women’s title at Wimbledon. They then praised her training program in the country after she won the Venus Rosewater Dish as Wimbledon champion while representing Kazakhstan. “It’s the Russian school, after all. She played here with us for a long time, and then in Kazakhstan,” Russian Tennis Federation President Shamil Tarpishchev told sports website Championat on Saturday.

5:15 p.m. The Canadian government says it will allow the delivery to Germany of equipment from a key Russia-Europe natural gas pipeline that has undergone maintenance. Russia’s Gazprom last month cited the missing equipment as a reason for more than halving the flow of gas. The return of turbines from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline sent to Montreal for a scheduled overhaul has been complicated by sanctions. Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s minister of natural resources, said in a statement late Saturday that “Canada will grant a time-limited and revocable permit for Siemens Canada to allow the return of repaired Nord Stream 1 turbines to Germany.”

Saturday, July 9

3:46 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the Indonesian island of Bali. The two top diplomats held their first face-to-face talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20’s ministerial meeting since last October and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February this year. “In a relationship as complex and consequential as the one between the United States and China, there is a lot to talk about,” Blinken said as the two top diplomats began the meeting. Wang said, “We do need to work together to ensure that this relationship will continue to move forward along the right track.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attend a ceremony marking the anniversary of the beginning of the war against Nazi Germany in 1941, by the Kremlin wall in Moscow on June 22.

  © Reuters

3:00 p.m. Russia is moving reserve forces from across the country and assembling them near Ukraine for future offensive operations, British military intelligence says. A large proportion of the new Russian infantry units are probably deploying with MT-LB armored vehicles taken from long-term storage as their primary transport, Britain’s Ministry of Defense tweeted in a regular bulletin.

3:20 a.m. The U.S. will send another $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, including more HIMARS missile launchers, the Financial Times and others report, citing a senior defense official.

Four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems will be delivered to help Ukrainian forces, the official is quoted as saying.

The Biden administration is reportedly considering sending more coastal defense systems and updating Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.

“If the Russians think they can outlast the Ukrainians, they need to rethink that because we are already pivoting toward thinking what the Ukrainians need in the months and years ahead,” the official says.

Friday, July 8

11:55 p.m. Russia warns Lithuania and the European Union of “harsh measures” it could use against them if the transit of some goods to and from the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad did not resume.

“If the situation does not stabilize in the coming days, then Russia will take harsh measures against Lithuania and the European Union,” Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, says, according to Reuters. “The issue has taken too long to resolve.”

Lithuania has banned the transit of goods subject to EU sanctions across its territory to and from the Baltic exclave.

8:00 p.m. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joins world leaders in condemning the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

6:40 p.m. Russia has used only a small portion of its potential in its “special military operation” in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells reporters. President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia had barely started in Ukraine and dared the West to try to defeat it on the battlefield, while insisting that Moscow was still open to the idea of peace talks. “Russia’s potential is so great that only a small portion of it is being used in the special operation,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.

Smoke rises over Donetsk, Ukraine, after shelling amid the Ukraine-Russia conflict on July 7. 

  © Reuters

6:15 p.m. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen this month will visit the Indo-Pacific and use the trip to make the U.S. case for a price cap on Russian oil aimed at reducing revenue to the Kremlin. Yellen will address the economic and humanitarian challenges wrought by Russia’s war in Ukraine as she represents the U.S. at G-20 finance minister meetings on the Indonesian island of Bali and makes additional stops in Tokyo and Seoul. During the July 12-19 trip, Yellen will notably avoid visiting China, although she did hold a call with China’s vice premier on Monday.

4:50 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressed Russia directly at the G-20 foreign ministers meeting in Bali and called on Moscow to let Ukrainian grain out to the world, Reuters reports citing a Western official. Blinken spoke at a plenary session of the meeting, which was focused on food and energy insecurity, said the official, who did not want to be identified. “He addressed Russia directly, saying: ‘To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. Its grain is not your grain. Why are you blocking the ports? You should let the grain out,'” the official said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov scolded Russia’s rivals for scuppering a chance to tackle global economic issues at the G-20 meeting in Bali, Indonesia on July 8.

  © Reuters

3:30 p.m. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismisses what he cast as the West’s “frenzied” criticism of the war in Ukraine at a G-20 meeting, scolding Russia’s rivals for scuppering a chance to tackle global economic issues. “During the discussion, Western partners avoided following the mandate of the G-20, from dealing with issues of the world economy,” Lavrov said. He said the West’s discussion “strayed almost immediately, as soon as they took the floor, to the frenzied criticism of the Russian Federation in connection with the situation in Ukraine. ‘Aggressors,’ ‘invaders,’ ‘occupiers,’ — we heard a lot of things today,” Lavrov said.

12:52 p.m. Indonesia urges the G-20 to help end the war in Ukraine, as foreign ministers from the group gather for a meeting that has put some of the staunchest critics of Russia’s invasion in the same room as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The buildup to the gathering on the Indonesian island of Bali has been dominated by the war and its impact on the global economy, with top officials from Western countries and Japan stressing it would not be “business as usual” at the forum. Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said at the opening of talks, “It is our responsibility to end the war sooner than later and settle our differences at the negotiating table, not on the battlefield.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in remarks to Russian lawmakers on July 7, said the West was welcome to try to beat Russia militarily, but that this would harm Ukraine. (Kremlin via Reuters)

7:00 a.m. Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses the West of decades of aggression toward Moscow and warns that if it wants to attempt to beat Russia on the battlefield it is welcome to try, but this would bring tragedy for Ukraine. His remarks came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov prepared for a closed-door foreign ministers’ meeting at a G-20 gathering in Indonesia on Friday. “We have heard many times that the West wants to fight us to the last Ukrainian. This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, but it seems that everything is heading toward this,” Putin said in televised remarks to parliamentary leaders.

4:00 a.m. Ukrainians feel saddened by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says.

“We are sincerely grateful for the decisive and uncompromising help since the first days of the war,” Zelenskyy says in a Facebook post. “I thank you in particular for the leadership in defending the interests of Ukraine in the international arena.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson meet in Kyiv on April 9. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service handout via Reuters)

3:00 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden will discuss energy security with Gulf leaders on his trip to the Middle East next week, White House spokesman John Kirby says.

His itinerary will include meetings with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, Kirby says.

1:53 a.m. U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner pleads guilty to a drugs charge in a Russian court but denies she intentionally broke the law. Griner was speaking at her trial on the narcotics charge carrying a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, days after she urged U.S. President Joe Biden to secure her release.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was detained in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport after authorities found what they said were vape cartridges containing hashish oil. She has been kept in custody since.

1:45 a.m. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov posts an update on the country’s “dronation” campaign of collecting drones and cash donations to buy them for front-line troops.

“An Army of Drones will allow us to constantly monitor the 2,470 km long front-line and provide an effective response to enemy attacks,” the donation website says.

Fedorov doubles as Ukraine’s minister of digital transformation and is known for reaching out to Tesla chief and SpaceX founder Elon Musk with a request for Starlink satellite phones.

Thursday, July 7 (Tokyo time)

5:50 p.m. Pavel Zavalny, head of the energy committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, says that the Sakhalin-1 oil and gas project in the country’s Far East will be put under Moscow’s jurisdiction, as has the neighboring Sakhalin-2. President Vladimir Putin last week signed a decree enabling the seizure of full control of the Sakhalin-2 gas and oil project, a move that could force out investors including Shell and Japanese entities. Four companies — Rosneft, ExxonMoobil, Japan’s SODECO and India’s ONGC Videsh — are partners in the Sakhalin-1 group of fields. ExxonMobil decided to pull out from the project in March.

Afghans receive aid at a camp in the province of Paktika on June 26 following an earthquake. The United Nations Development Program said July 7 that the number of people living off $1.90 a day or less grew to 9% of the global population in the first three months after the Ukraine war.

  © AP

3:30 p.m. A staggering 71 million more people around the world are experiencing poverty as a result of soaring food and energy prices that climbed in the weeks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Development Program says in a report. The UNDP estimates that 51.6 million more people fell into poverty in the first three months after the war, living off $1.90 a day or less. This pushed the total number globally at this threshold to 9% of the world’s population. An additional 20 million people slipped to the poverty line of $3.20 a day. “The cost-of-living impact is almost without precedent in a generation … and that is why it is so serious,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said at the launch of the report.

11:00 a.m. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says attempts by the West to punish a nuclear power such as Russia for the war in Ukraine risk endangering humanity. “The idea of punishing a country that has one of the largest nuclear potentials is absurd. And potentially poses a threat to the existence of humanity,” Medvedev, now deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said on Telegram on Wednesday. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered the most serious crisis in relations between Russia and the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when many people feared the world was on the brink of nuclear war.

7:23 a.m. Spikes in the prices of food, fuel and fertilizer sparked by the war in Ukraine are threatening to push countries around the world into famine, bringing “global destabilization, starvation and mass migration on an unprecedented scale,” a top U.N. official warns. David Beasley, head of the U.N. World Food Program, said its latest analysis shows that “a record 345 million acutely hungry people are marching to the brink of starvation” — a 25% increase from 276 million at the start of 2022, before Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. The number stood at 135 million before the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

More than 424 million faced hunger in Asia in 2021, according to the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report.

3:00 a.m. Sri Lanka’s president has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to help finance fuel imports for the crisis-stricken South Asian nation.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa tweets that he had a “very productive” phone call with Putin.

“I requested an offer of credit support to import fuel,” Rajapaksa adds. He writes that he asked for Russian airline Aeroflot to resume operations in Sri Lanka.

For earlier updates, click here.



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