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Vladimir Putin said NATO arms supplies to Ukraine make the alliance a “participant” in the conflict. It’s not a new thought, but one Russia’s president hasn’t followed through on, even as Western allies provide Kyiv with more sophisticated armaments. In a TV interview, Putin cast the year-long war in Ukraine as an existential battle for Russia’s survival.
Group of 20 finance chiefs on Saturday failed to agree on a joint statement after Russia and China balked at wording on the war that G-20 leaders had backed in November. Russia suggested the G-20 needs a reboot.
European Union governments backed the 10th set of sanctions against Russia, including new export restrictions on dual-use and advanced technology that contributes to Russia’s war effort, and measures against dozens of individuals and entities.
Russia’s War in Ukraine: Key Events and How It’s Unfolding
(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)
Listen to our special conversations from last week, including our Twitter Space analyzing Zelenskiy’s press conference as it happened. We also discussed the military strategies of the war, the impact on energy and the environment, the effect of sanctions including on the wealth of Russia’s oligarchs and what the future holds for Ukrainian refugees.
Big Take Podcast: How Does Ukraine Continue to Beat Back Russia?
More Ukrainians Are Settling Abroad as War Grinds On
Biden Rules Out Giving Ukraine F-16s ‘For Now’
Sweden, Germany Pledge Almost 30 Tanks to Arm Ukraine Battalion
Poland Says Russia Stops Oil Flows Via Key Druzhba Pipeline
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine: A Political Year in Photos
On the Ground:
Ukraine’s military staff said Russian troops are reinforcing defense in annexed Crimea, including building fortifications. Russia continues its offensive on Kupyansk, Lyman, Bakhmut, Avdiivka, and Shakhtarske axes in Ukraine’s East, Kremlin forces launched 14 missiles and 19 air strikes, 57 strikes from multiple launch rocket systems, with the shelling causing civilian casualties. Two people were killed and seven injured in Kherson oblast in the past day.
(All times CET)
Croatia Will Send 14 Helicopters to Ukraine (10:34 am)
NATO member Croatia is preparing 14 transport helicopters to send to Ukraine, via Poland, with delivery expected in March, Zagreb-based Juranji List reported, citing people it did not identify.
The Soviet-designed aircraft will be stripped of Croatian insignia to become part of Ukraine’s force. Seven will be transported by land, and the rest will fly to a destination in Poland before reaching Ukraine, according to the report.
Ukraine Hopes to Resume Electricity Exports (10:23 am)
Ukraine is no longer facing power shortages, prompting speculation that the war-torn nation may soon resume electricity exports to the European Union.
After months of regular Russian missile attacks, the electricity situation is improving due to lower consumption, higher production and repairs, according to the grid operator NPC Ukrenergo.
“This issue is on the table now,” Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said in a TV interview. “If we see a stable surplus of electricity in our system, no doubt, the question of exports will be considered.”
Putin Says Arms Supplies Make NATO a ‘Participant,’ Tass Reports (8:48 am)
President Vladimir Putin said arms supplies to Ukraine by NATO countries make the alliance a “participant” in the conflict, reiterating his allegations that the US and its allies are seeking to destroy Russia, Tass reported.
In an interview on a weekly state TV program, Putin said the US-led West is attempting to break up his country, warning that the “Russian people” may not survive: “They have one goal: to disband the former Soviet Union and its fundamental part – the Russian Federation.”
The US and its allies reject such a characterization, which the Kremlin has turned to as it tries to muster public support for the year-long invasion. Moscow has threatened direct retaliation against NATO if the alliance joins the fight, but so far has targeted only Ukrainian forces amid Western warnings of a massive response to any attack.
Three NATO Members Float Defense Pact With Ukraine: WSJ (8 am)
The UK, France and Germany are floating the idea of a defense pact between NATO and Ukraine as a way to prod Kyiv to start peace talks with Moscow, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing officials with the three governments.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reportedly laid out a blueprint for ways to give Ukraine broader access to advanced military equipment, and wants the proposal to be discussed at NATO’s July meeting, the newspaper said.
The reported plan “falls far short of the protections Ukraine would receive from NATO and could reflect a desire to press Ukraine to accept a negotiated settlement on unfavorable terms,” said the US-based Institute for the Study of War.
French Defense Company on Hiring Spree as Orders Climb (12:30 am)
The multinational French defense company Thales SA plans to hire 12,000 new workers this year – for a net headcount gain of 4,000 – as demand is driven higher by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
France’s Thales Plans to Hire 12,000 As Defense Orders Surge
CIA Head Reinforces Warning to China (12:08 am)
CIA Director William Burns said the Biden administration is confident that China’s leaders are considering providing lethal equipment to Russia in its war against Ukraine, echoing comments by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and President Joe Biden over the past week.
China has not made a decision yet and the US has not seen evidence of such shipments, Burns said in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” recorded Friday. That’s why Blinken and Biden “have thought it important to make very clear what the consequences of that would be as well,” Burns said.
Ukrainian General Visits Embattled Bakhmut (4:21 pm)
Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskiy, commander of Ukraine’s ground forces, visited the contested city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region on Saturday, the forces said on Facebook.
Russian troops have been trying since August to capture the city as a springboard to wider territorial gains in Ukraine’s east. Fighting continues on the outskirts of Bakhmut, which had a pre-war population of about 70,000, and around it, the Ground Forces said.
Kremlin forces likely made “marginal territorial gains” in the area on Friday, according to the Institute for the Study of War, which noted that Russian sources are again claiming the capture of nearby villages.
G-20 Finance Chiefs Fail to Reach Agreement (2:44 pm)
Group of 20 finance chiefs failed to agree on a consensus statement at their meeting in Bengaluru due to an impasse over language on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The issuance of a chair’s summary, as opposed to a traditional communiqué, was a backtrack after a joint statement had been agreed at November’s leaders’ summit in Indonesia.
A Russian Foreign Ministry statement responding to the meeting called for the recognition of “new centers of power,” including Russia.
Read more: Russia’s War Sees G-20 Finance Chiefs End With No Communiqué
Hungary’s NATO Expansion Vote Seen in Late March (2:30 pm)
Hungary may not cast its final vote to ratify Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership bids until the second half of March, following separate talks with each country, said Cabinet Minister Gergely Gulyas.
The nation is the only European Union member that has not yet nodded to the NATO enlargement plans. Turkey is the other member of the North Atlantic treaty that so far has not approved the accession of the Nordic countries.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday he supports NATO enlargement.
Poland’s Says Russia Cuts Oil Deliveries (1:36 pm)
PKN Orlen SA, Poland’s biggest oil company, stopped receiving oil via the Druzhba pipeline from Russia, Chief Executive Officer Daniel Obajtek said in a tweet. Orlen said consumers won’t be affected by the halt, which he said he prepared for. No reason was given for the halt.
Read more: Poland’s Orlen Says Russia Cuts Oil Supply Via Key Pipeline
Russia’s Foreign Ministry Denies Swiss Talks (1:14 pm)
Russia isn’t holding negotiations on the Ukrainian situation in Switzerland since it no longer considers the country neutral after it joined anti-Russian sanctions, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in comments on the ministry website.
Zakhorova was referring to comments this week by Ignazio Cassis, the Swiss foreign minister, who told the Le Temps newspaper this week that secret, “non-high-level” talks on trying to reach a peace settlement are under way in Geneva.
Switzerland can no longer pretend to play any intermediary role, including providing a venue for talks, Zakharova said.
EU Adopts 10th Sanctions Package Against Russia (12 pm)
EU member states formally adopted a 10th package of sanctions on Moscow including tighter export restrictions and technology controls, as well as requiring banks to report information on the Russian Central Bank and other sanctioned assets they hold.
The bloc’s envoys signed off on the measures late Friday ahead of its final ratification. The EU also imposed measures against individuals and entities supporting the war, spreading the propaganda, or delivering drones by Russia.
The measures come amid a push to better enforce existing sanctions and crack down on companies circumventing them.
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