US to Donate Ammo; Putin Meets Security Council

(Bloomberg) — President Vladimir Putin will hold a regular meeting of the Russian Security Council on Friday, a day after scrapping a trip to southern Russia after an attack in a village near the border with Ukraine.

Most Read from Bloomberg

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken unexpectedly spoke with his Russian counterpart while in India for the G-20 foreign ministers meeting, demanding Russia end its “war of aggression.” A Russian spokeswoman said Blinken initiated the encounter with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and “it doesn’t deserve our attention.” China and Russia refused to join other Group of 20 nations in a statement in which most members condemned the war in Ukraine.

The US is expected to announce more military aid to Ukraine, with an emphasis on ammunition, when President Joe Biden meets with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday at the White House.

Key Developments

  • Scholz Braced for Heat From Biden Over Ammunition

  • Blinken Presses Lavrov on Ukraine in Unexpected Chat at G-20

  • China Joins Russia in Refusing to Agree to G-20 Statement on War

  • EU Leaning Toward More Fiscal Leeway for Defense Spending

(All times CET)

Scholz Braced for Heat From Biden Over Ammunition (6 am)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz may be grilled by President Joe Biden over the struggle to produce enough ammunition for Ukraine’s front lines when the leaders meet at the White House on Friday.

While the US and Germany agreed to send battle tanks and Patriot missiles to Ukraine earlier this year, Kyiv’s forces are still waiting for much of that equipment and face a shortage of basic artillery shells.

Biden and Scholz are likely to discuss ways to cooperate more on stepping up manufacturing. It will be 64-year-old Scholz’s second visit to the White House since taking office in 2021. He is expected to have an hour-long meeting in the Oval Office.

China Joins Russia in Refusing to Agree to G-20 Statement on War (2:44 am)

China and Russia refused to join other G-20 nations in a statement in which most members condemned Putin’s war in Ukraine, showing divisions remain entrenched on how to end a conflict that has roiled the global economy.

“Given the state of polarization around Ukraine, a consensus could not be reached,” said India’s top diplomat Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. “There are occasions when you don’t have an agreement among G-20 countries.”

US Warns Companies Against Doing Business With Sanctions Evaders (9:51 pm)

An advisory from the US departments of Commerce, Justice and Treasury said companies should be on the lookout for “transshipment points” where goods are legally purchased but then sent on to Russia or Belarus.

Those locations include China, Hong Kong, Macau and Russia’s close neighbors Armenia, Turkey and Uzbekistan, according to the notice.

The advisory amounted to a warning that businesses could be held responsible if the parties they transact with turn out to be front companies assisting Russia’s war effort.

US to Provide Ukraine More Military Aid, With Emphasis on Ammunition (9:24 pm)

The US will announce a fresh round of military aid to Ukraine on Friday, when President Joe Biden will receive a visit to the White House from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the new US package will include “mostly ammunition and ammunition that the Ukrainians will need for the systems they already have.” Biden and Scholz will discuss ongoing aid to Ukraine, he said.

Russia Says Lavrov ‘Disregarded Blinken’ at G-20 (8:01 pm)

Lavrov “disregarded in his usual manner” what Blinken told him about US views on current crises during a short encounter on the sidelines of the G-20 foreign ministers conference, according to Lavrov’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

“It doesn’t deserve our attention. There was nothing interesting,” she said in comments on Russian state television. Blinken approached Lavrov, and “we didn’t push him away,” she said.

Russian Support for Army’s Ukraine Actions Increases, Poll Finds (7 pm)

A new poll by the independent Levada Center found 77% of Russians surveyed support the Russian army’s actions in Ukraine, up by 6 percentage points from December. People older than 55, who are exempt from the military mobilization, are much more pro-war than young people ages 18 to 24.

But the poll also suggests a majority of Russians wish for the war to end: 43% favored continued military operations in Ukraine while 50% said Moscow should begin peace negotiations. The share of those who want the war to continue rose by 3 percentage points since December, according to the pollster.

Blinken Presses Lavrov on Ukraine in Unexpected Chat (5:44 pm)

During a stop in Tashkent on Wednesday, Blinken said he had “no plans” to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the G-20 gathering. Yet Russia’s foreign ministry said it was Blinken who sought out Thursday’s conversation, which it said did not qualify as “talks or a meeting,” according to Interfax.

Blinken did not respond to a question during his news conference about why he sought the meeting with Lavrov, and State Department spokespeople declined to comment on the matter.

“I told the foreign minister what I and so many others said last week at the United Nations, and what so many G-20 foreign ministers said today: End this war of aggression, engage in meaningful diplomacy that can produce a just and lasting peace ,” Blinken told reporters after the encounter, referring to a United Nations vote condemning Russia’s invasion.

Putin’s Domestic Trip Canceled Amid Reports of Border Attack (12:10 pm)

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the president was receiving regular reports on the events from top security officials. Russian state news agencies offered conflicting accounts of the events in the border area near Ukraine on Thursday, with some reporting casualties among civilians blamed on unidentified attackers, who numbered in the dozens.

Ukraine dismissed the claims as a Russian “provocation” aimed at building public support for the invasion. Ukraine’s Northern Military Command warned Feb. 23 that intelligence reports showed sightings of troops without insignia and wearing uniforms similar to Ukrainian ones in Russia’s Bryansk region close to the border.

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

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2023 Bloomberg LP

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top