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Mar 31, 2023
Ukraine Latest: Finland Set to Join NATO After Turkey’s Vote
(Bloomberg) -- The International Monetary Fund’s board signed off on a $15.6 billion aid package for Ukraine, the final approval for the institution’s first-ever loan to a nation at war.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed to drive Russia out of Ukraine as he marked the one-year anniversary of the liberation of Bucha, the town northwest of Kyiv that suffered reported wide-scale atrocities under the occupation of Moscow’s troops.
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a new foreign policy concept that set out to confront the US and its allies as hostile, claiming an “era of revolutionary changes” was underway. That came as Turkey’s parliament approved Finland’s NATO membership, removing the final hurdle to the Nordic nation’s accession to the military alliance.
- IMF Board Approves $15.6 Billion Loan for Ukraine Amid War
- Putin Signs New Russia Foreign Policy Against ‘Hostile’ West
- Finland Clears Last Obstacle to NATO Entry With Turkish Nod
- Spanish Premier Urges Xi to Reach Out to Ukraine on Peace Plan
- Russia Tightens Grain Trade Grip as Western Firms Pull Back
- Belarus Seeks to Control Russian Nuclear Arms on Its Territory
(All times CET)
US Prepares to Give $2.6 Billion in Military Aid (10:45 p.m.)
The US is planning to release a package of military assistance to Ukraine valued at $2.6 billion, according to an official who asked not to be identified in advance of an announcement likely to come on Monday.
The latest weapons package includes $2.1 billion under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, including a resupply of Nassam air defense missiles and radar. A $500 million drawdown from existing American equipment includes additional ammunition, the official said.
The planned assistance was reported earlier by Reuters.
European Bank Working to Finance Repairs to Power Sector (7:35 p.m.)
Ukraine’s energy sector was damaged the most in Russia’s war against the country and requires urgent investments, which the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development is already preparing, senior banker Olga Yeriomina said.
The London-based lender wants to help Ukraine reduce risk for private investments in the energy sector as soon as possible, she said. Eastern Europe and Caucasus Managing Director Matteo Patrone said he’s optimistic about the “reform agenda and business environment” in Ukraine, saying it will help attract more private-sector financing to help the post-war recovery.
Zelenskiy Again Urges China to Talk With Him About Peace (7:16 p.m.)
Zelenskiy reaffirmed that Kyiv seeks contacts with Chinese authorities to discuss his proposed formula for peace.
“Everything must be done to involve the maximum number of countries in the victory in this war,” Zelenskiy said at a joint news conference with leaders of Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia and Moldova. “We send signals and say that we are ready to meet and talk. We are waiting for answers.”
While the US and other allies have said China’s own proposal involves a cease-fire that would freeze in place territory captured by Russia, Zelenskiy has stopped short of spurning China’s efforts to mediate as intended to help its ally Putin.
IMF Loan Is Biggest Since Russia Invaded Ukraine (6:29 p.m.)
The IMF’s executive board approved the four-year, $15.6 billion loan to Ukraine on Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified before it’s announced publicly. The loan is the nation’s biggest since Russia invaded the country in February 2022.
A group of Ukraine’s creditors supported the unprecedented deal, which required the IMF to change its lending rules, with assurances that they’d extend a debt repayment standstill for the duration of the program. The creditors — Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US — urged other bilateral and private lenders to help restore debt sustainability for Ukraine, whose economy has shrunk by about a third after Russia’s invasion last year.
Read the full story here.
Putin Signs New Foreign Policy Against ‘Hostile’ West (3:17 p.m.)
Putin signed a 42-page policy document that argues the US is “the source of fundamental risks to the security of the Russian Federation” and most European states are pursuing an “aggressive policy” aimed at undermining Russia’s sovereignty.
The policy “serves as a solid doctrinal basis for our further work on international affairs,” Putin told a meeting of his Security Council. Russia will seek to boost ties with “constructive partners” and create “conditions for unfriendly states to abandon their hostile policy toward our country,” he said.
Russia intends to deepen relations with China and India, and to make military aid to Latin American nations facing “US pressure” a priority of its foreign policy, according to the document.
Belarus Seeks to Control Russian Nuclear Arms on Its Territory (3:16 p.m.)
Belarus will control any nuclear weapons placed there, President Alexander Lukashenko said in a televised address.
“We here will operate everything that there is in Belarus,” Lukashenko said. His comments clashed with statements from Putin last week, who said he’ll station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus without handing control over them to avoid breaching non-proliferation obligations.
Ukrainians See Negotiations Possible Only After Russian Withdrawal (2:09 p.m.)
More than 60% of Ukrainians support the idea that negotiations with Russia are possible only after it withdraws its troops back over the nations’ 1991 borders, according to a poll held by the Kyiv-based Razumkov Center think tank.
Spanish Premier Urges Xi to Reach Out to Ukraine About Peace (1:20 p.m.)
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to speak with his Ukrainian counterpart if Beijing wants to play a role in ending Russia’s invasion.
“We all want peace, but we want that peace to be just and lasting, and for that to happen it has to be based on the position of the country that is being attacked,” Sánchez said after meeting Xi.
Spain is in line with the European Union in supporting the Ukrainian president’s blueprint to end the hostilities released a few months ago, Sánchez added, rebuffing Xi’s call for peace that would freeze in place territory seized by Russian forces.
Zelenskiy Says World Changed After Seeing Bucha Atrocities (1 p.m.)
The world changed significantly after images came to light from Bucha a year ago following its liberation from a month of Russian occupation, Zelenskiy said.
Ukraine’s leader visited the town, northwest of Kyiv, with the leaders of Slovenia, Slovakia, Croatia and Moldova, who also attended a summit on addressing Russia’s responsibility for war crimes committed in Ukraine.
Ruble Heads for Quarterly Loss Against Dollar (12:27 p.m.)
Russia’s ruble slid against the dollar amid importers’ demand for foreign currency and lower FX sales from exporters, and it was poised for a second consecutive monthly decline as the first quarter draws to a close.
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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