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Turkey Blocks Sanctioned Goods on Way to Russia

(Bloomberg) — Turkey abruptly stopped the transit of sanctioned goods to Russia this month as the European Union and the US pressure allies to support measures imposed over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin became the latest international leader to visit Kyiv, joining President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at the funeral of a soldier killed in Bakhmut.

Zelenskiy had earlier called for sanctions on Russia’s nuclear industry after accusing the Kremlin of targeting Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Thursday’s missile barrage.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • Turkey Links Swedish Anti-Terror Law to NATO Membership Approval

  • UK Suspects Russians Using British Firms to Launder War Profits

  • NATO’s Call for Weapons Offers Hope to the Town That Armed the Enemy

(All times CET)

Ukraine Urges EU to Extend Trade Benefits Expiring in June (1:34 pm)

The measures, which suspend tariffs on Ukrainian exports, have been in place since June last year, and the European Commission last month proposed a one-year extension.

“We need to persuade Ukrainian business that the EU market will be open for them, not only during the war but also after,” Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko told reporters before a meeting with EU trade ministers in Sweden. “What we need to achieve right now is to get confirmation from the EU that they will definitely extend the autonomous trade measures.”

Turkey Blocks Transit of Sanctioned Goods to Russia (1:29 pm)

The Turkish government ordered a halt to the transit of sanctioned goods via Turkey from March 1 in compliance with sanctions, according to a senior official speaking on condition of anonymity.

The country has emerged as one of the havens for Russian wealth and a center for sourcing goods over the past year. Turkey’s exports to Russia rose to $9.3 billion in 2022 from $5.8 billion a year earlier.

Kremlin Clears Putin’s Diary for G-20 Summit in India (1:20 pm)

For the moment, the Kremlin plans for Putin to participate in September’s G-20 summit after he skipped the last two, but no final decision has been made, according to people familiar with the planning.

India has formally invited Putin to the summit and the Kremlin has accepted. Last year, amid pressure from the US and its allies over the war, Putin dropped plans to attend a gathering in Indonesia and sent Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in his place.

Read More: Kremlin Clears Putin’s Diary for G-20 Summit as Isolation Eases

Finland’s Marin Visits Kyiv (12:45 pm)

Finland’s Sanna Marin and Zelenskiy laid flowers at a memorial to fallen troops and attended the funeral ceremony of a soldier killed in Bakhmut.

Latvia Ships Cars Seized From Drunk Drivers (12:40 pm)

Cars seized by Latvian authorities as part of drunk-driving violations are being shipped to Ukraine in the latest act of solidarity by one of the staunchest EU backers of the government in Kyiv.

Authorities in the Baltic nation, which began confiscating cars from motorists driving under the influence of alcohol in November, transported eight vehicles this week, the state revenue service said. They’ll be used for the Ukrainian military and hospitals. As many as 200 more are awaiting transportation, he said.

US Envoy Tells Orban to Pivot From Russia (12:30 pm)

The US ambassador to Hungary said Prime Minister Viktor Orban has reached a crossroads and that the “time is now” for him to pivot away from Russia and shore up the country’s relations with its western allies. “Hungary has reached an important moment in determining its future path,” Ambassador David Pressman said in a statement.

The unusually direct remark for a sitting US ambassador about a NATO partner’s international policy adds to mounting pressure on Orban to end his more than decade-long effort to strengthen ties with Russia. On Thursday, Orban said Hungary may need to “think hard” about its cozy relationship with Moscow following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Russia Sending Captured Arms to Iran: CNN (12:15 pm)

Russia has been shipping weapons and equipment sent to Ukraine by the US and NATO-allies and captured on the battlefield to Iran for reverse engineering, CNN reported, citing people familiar with the matter it did not identify by name.

The Kremlin believes that supplying Iran with the weapons — which include shoulder-fired anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons — will encourage the regime in Tehran to maintain support for its war on Ukraine, CNN quoted the people as saying.

Russia Blacklists 144 Baltic Public Figures (10 am)

Russia said it sanctioned 144 public figures from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania including ministers, lawmakers and journalists, in response to what the foreign ministry in Moscow said was “active lobbying” against Russia and “interference in our internal affairs.”

As well as helping Ukraine, the 144 people are involved in the “demolition” of Soviet-era monuments, the “persecution” of Russian-speaking citizens, the “rewriting of history” and “the glorification of Nazism,” the ministry said. in a statement. It did not identify them by name.

US Sanctions Chinese Aerospace Companies (9:10 am)

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on five Chinese companies, and one person, accused of supplying aerospace components to an Iranian maker of drones sold to Russia and used in attacks on oil tankers.

“Iran is directly implicated in the Ukrainian civilian casualties that result from Russia’s use of Iranian UAVs in Ukraine,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement, using an acronym for unmanned aerial vehicle.

Turkey Links Swedish Anti-Terror Law to NATO Bid (9 am)

Turkey linked Sweden’s upcoming anti-terrorism law to the ratification of its entry into NATO, and pushed back against a July deadline raised by allies for completing the enlargement.

Talks between Turkey, Sweden and Finland resumed Thursday to break the impasse that has held up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s expansion since the two Nordic countries were invited to join in June.

Russian Tycoons Unload Alfa-Bank Stake (9am)

Russian billionaires Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven have reached a deal to offload their stakes in Alfa-Bank, the country’s biggest privately owned lender, as they seek to ease European sanctions.

Under the agreement, which is subject to regulatory approval, the two would sell their stakes to longtime partner Andrei Kosogov, who has not been sanctioned, for 178 billion rubles ($2.3 billion), according to people familiar with the situation. It wasn’t immediately clear where Kosogov, a lower-profile executive who had the smallest stake in the bank before the other partners were sanctioned amid the war, would get the money.

Putin congratulates Xi (8 am)

The Russian president congratulated China’s Xi Jinping on his re-appointment to a third term as president, according to the Tass news agency.

Putin said in a telegram that he is sure that Russia and China will increase their cooperation in certain spheres, Tass reported.

Six Ukrainians Killed in Latest Strikes: Zelenskiy (7 am)

In his evening address, Zelenskiy said that Russia’s “massive” missile barrage had killed six Ukrainians Thursday. It also triggered temporary power, heat and water outages in some regions and cities, with Kharkiv in the east and Zhytomyr to the west of Kyiv facing “the most difficult situation,” he added.

Ukraine’s General Staff said its forces shot down 34 of the 95 missiles fired over the past day, according to a morning update on Facebook. That was a lower proportion than usual because Russia’s latest strikes included a new mix of sophisticated weapons that mostly evaded air defenses.

UK Probes Ties to Russian Money Laundering (3:40 am)

The UK government suspects Russian nationals have exploited lax checks by the companies register in attempts to launder war profits stolen from Ukraine, according to people familiar with the matter.

British law enforcement agencies have identified large numbers of sham companies incorporated in the UK by nationals from a range of countries in recent years, likely for the purposes of money laundering or tax evasion, the people said, asking not to be named discussing confidential matters.

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