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Ukraine Latest: China boosts plan; Spain pleas for LNG buyers

(Bloomberg) — China urged Europe to support its proposal for talks on Russia’s war in Ukraine, even though the US has said Beijing’s framework would stall the Kremlin’s territorial gains. President Xi Jinping is set to meet with more dignitaries, including the leaders of Brazil and Spain, in an effort to build momentum for the blueprint.

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Ukraine’s president urged EU leaders to convene a “peace summit” in “one of the world’s capitals” when he addressed a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels via video on Thursday.

Spain, the biggest European buyer of liquefied natural gas from Russia, urged importers not to sign new contracts with Moscow.

major events

  • Credit Suisse, UBS among banks in DOJ Russia-sanctions probe

  • Xi’s diplomatic momentum picks up after Moscow visit: The Next China

  • US fights for influence in Africa where China, Russia loom large

  • Russian wanted by US for tech smuggling narrowly escapes arrest in Italy

(CET each time)

Denmark shielding unidentified object in Nord Stream blast probe (11:26 AM)

Denmark is saving an unidentified object found next to the Nord Stream 2 undersea gas pipeline, which was damaged in an explosion last September, as investigators continue to seek who was behind the attack.

The operation came two weeks after German officials said they had searched a ship that may have contained explosives used in attacks on Russian pipelines.

Read more: Denmark shielding unidentified object in Nord Stream blast probe

Spain urges LNG importers to steer clear of Russia (11:18 am)

Spain, the biggest European buyer of liquefied natural gas from Russia, is urging importers not to sign new contracts with Moscow.

LNG importers have received a letter from the government recommending that companies not sign up for new purchases from Russia, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The letter, seen by Bloomberg News, does not explicitly mention spot contracts, but makes a general request to step up efforts to find non-Russian supplies of LNG.

Read more: Spain urges LNG importers to diversify away from Russian supplies

Estonia expels Russian diplomat on security grounds (10:49 am)

Estonia is expelling a diplomat from the Russian embassy in Tallinn for what it described as “undermining” the Baltic nation’s security, Estonia’s foreign ministry said in a statement. The man, who must leave the country by March 29, was accused of spreading propaganda that justifies Russia’s military action, causing divisions in Estonian society, the ministry said.

Estonia expelled about 20 Russian embassy staff in January – half its staff – later saying many were engaged in intelligence gathering. The move triggered a diplomatic row in which Russia expelled Estonia’s ambassador to Moscow, to which Baltic neighbor Latvia responded by pulling out its own Russian envoy.

Russia strikes multiple areas with drones, guided bombs (9:14 am)

The Ukrainian air force said on Telegram that Kremlin troops struck several areas with Iranian-made martyr drones and guided bombs early Friday.

According to the Air Force statement, the drone was launched from Russian territory close to Ukraine’s northeastern border and hit targets in the Krivy Rih and Sumy regions.

Russian tactical aircraft took off from airfields in Morozovsk and Akhtubinsk; Ten Sukhoi-35 fighter jets fired 11 bombs and one Kh-31P missile over the Sumy area. No details of casualties or damage were immediately available.

Russian wanted by US for tech smuggling escapes arrest in Italy (8:42 am)

A politically-linked Russian facing extradition to the US on charges of money laundering and sanctions avoidance escaped detention in Milan after breaking his electronic bracelet.

Artem Us, 40, the son of a Siberian governor, was accused by US prosecutors of being part of a global network that illegally imported US technology to support President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Read more: Secret Chip Deals Reportedly Help US Tech Flow to Russia

European defense lobbying group welcomes ammunition plan (8:30 am)

A European defense lobbying group, which counts Rheinmetall and Airbus among its members, welcomed an EU plan to help speed up production of ammunition for Ukraine, but called on governments to increase production volumes. called upon to provide long-term certainty for

“The challenge is not only to scale up production to meet the immediate peak of demand, but also to increase industrial preparedness for possible future crises,” said Jan Pai, head of the Aerospace and Defense Industries Association of Europe.

ASD also urged the EU to implement additional support measures for the European defense industry, including guarantees of reliable access to finance.

Five killed as missile hits ‘point of invincibility’ (7:00 am)

Five people were killed when a Russian missile hit a “point of invincibility” in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kostyantynivka, according to the Kiev-based Prosecutor General’s Office. The Russians used S300 missiles, which were originally designed to intercept rockets.

Thousands of “points of invincibility” have been set up around Ukraine to provide residents with basic services – from internet access and mobile phone charging to drinking water supply, first aid and personal hygiene products.

Wheat prices fall with focus on Russian exports (6:38 am)

Wheat futures in Chicago headed for their biggest weekly loss in a month as traders assessed the strength of Russian exports.

The Black Sea continues to dominate the wheat trade as the 2022-23 marketing year comes to an end. Russian shipments usually stop at this time of season, yet ample stores from last year’s bumper crop mean its exports are running hot.

Read more: Wheat heads for weekly decline with focus on Russian exports

US fights for influence in Africa to counter China, Russia (6 AM)

The administration of President Joe Biden is stepping up a campaign to build American influence in Africa, where the US has lost ground to its main rivals in what looks like a new Cold War.

Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia follows visits by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken next week.

China Urges Europe to Support Its Blueprint (4 AM)

China’s top diplomat urged Europe to play a role in supporting peace talks, even as the US said Beijing’s latest blueprint would effectively halt the Kremlin’s territorial gains in Ukraine’s east and south over the past year .

Wang Yi told a diplomatic adviser to the French president in a phone call on Thursday, “Ceasefire, stopping the war, resuming peace talks and a political solution to the crisis should become a strategic consensus between China and Europe.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s diplomatic push is gaining momentum after his return from Moscow. Xi is set to meet with more dignitaries during an effort to speed up a ceasefire proposal to halt Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Xi’s diplomatic push intensifies after Moscow trip

Zelensky says residents are returning to destroyed villages (10:45 pm)

Zelensky said he had returned from a tour of Kherson in the south, where some 50 villages had been almost completely destroyed by the Russians. However, he added that residents were coming back anyway.

“In some places, more than 90% of the buildings in the villages have been destroyed. But even in such villages people return and this is proof that life still goes on.

“I especially want to thank everyone involved in mining,” Zelensky said. It is good to see that the fields of the Kherson region, cleared of Russian mines and shells, are cultivated again, survive again.

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