(Bloomberg) -- President Vladimir Putin on Friday said that Russia is annexing four occupied regions in Ukraine “forever” and repeated warnings that Moscow will use all available means to defend the territories. 

The US and European Union members denounced the move, with President Joe Biden calling it a “flagrant violation of the UN Charter and the basic principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.” The US sanctioned hundreds of Russians, including central bank head Elvira Nabiullina and Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, a key figure in Russian dealings with OPEC.

Biden also said that damage to the Nord Stream gas pipelines was a “deliberate act of sabotage.”

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

Key Developments

  • Putin’s War Machine Funding Is Unscathed by Latest US Sanctions
  • Biden Says Nord Stream Leak Was ‘Deliberate Act of Sabotage’
  • Putin Vows Annexation of Occupied Ukraine Lands Is ‘Forever’
  • US Sanctions Russia’s Central Bank Chief, Top Oil Official
  • Putin’s Boasts Ring Hollow in Ukraine Port Bombarded for Months
  • Ukraine Launches NATO Bid Despite Long Odds on Wartime Move 

On the Ground

Russia has launched multiple missile and air strikes, as well as more than 100 rocket attacks at almost 50 Ukrainian settlements, Ukraine’s General Staff said. Moscow’s troops shelled the southern cities of Mykolaiv and Odesa on Thursday night. Kyiv’s troops have likely nearly completed the encirclement of the Russian grouping in Lyman and cut critical ground lines of communication that support Russian troops in the Drobysheve-Lyman area, the US-based Institute for the Study of War said in an update. Seven months into the conflict, Belarus remains highly unlikely to become directly involved in the war in Ukraine on behalf of Russia, according to ISW. 

All times CET:

No Sign Putin Has Decided on Using Nuclear Weapons, Austin Says (4:10 a.m.) 

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says he hasn’t seen any sign that Putin has made a decision on using nuclear weapons in the war on Ukraine.

Speaking to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Austin reiterated US condemnation of Russian threats to use nuclear weapons, calling it “irresponsible behavior,” according to excerpts provided by the television network ahead of the interview which airs Sunday. 

He said the decision will be made by one man -- Putin -- and there are “no checks” on the Russian president, but added he hasn’t seen anything that would lead him to believe that a decision on using nuclear weapons has been made.

World Bank Makes $530 Million Available (4 a.m.)

Another $530 million is available for Ukraine to meet urgent needs created by Russia’s invasion, according to the World Bank. 

The UK provided $500 million while Denmark provided the balance through loan guarantees, the World Bank said in an emailed statement. The bank has mobilized almost $13 billion in financing for Ukraine -- including commitments and pledges from donors -- of which $11 billion has been fully disbursed

Russia Blocks UN Vote Condemning Annexation (9:57 p.m.)

A United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory failed Friday after Russia exercised its veto as a permanent member of the council.

Vassily Nebenzia, the Russian envoy to the UN, blasted the resolution as unprecedented and accused other council members of provoking Russia into vetoing it. The resolution, introduced by the US and Albania, gained the backing of 10 council members, while China, India, Brazil and Gabon abstained. 

Ruchira Kamboj, India’s permanent representative to the UN, said her government was committed to keeping open all diplomatic channels. China’s Ambassador Zhang Jun, cited Beijing’s commitment to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. The resolution can still be submitted to the UN General Assembly but it lacks enforcement authority.

Adding Ukraine to NATO Is for a ‘Different Time’: US (9:33 p.m.)

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan reaffirmed the Biden administration’s position that Ukraine’s request to join NATO should be considered “at a different time.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said earlier Friday that his country would make an accelerated bid to join the alliance after Russia formally annexed areas of Ukraine. “The best way for us to support Ukraine is through practical, on-the-ground support in Ukraine and that the process in Brussels should be taken up at a different time,” Sullivan said in response.

Asked about Ukrainian pleas for more tanks, Sullivan said, “we actually have facilitated the provision of tanks to Ukraine from some of our Eastern European partners who have provided the same type of Soviet-style tanks that the Ukrainian army trained on and is in possession of, and we will continue to do that.”

Pentagon Officials Cite Push to Coordinate Arms Production for Ukraine (8:39 p.m.)

Pentagon officials said arms directors from 45 countries, the EU and NATO that met in Brussels this week to support Ukraine focused in part on expanding NATO’s standard for “interoperability,”allowing countries to produce interchangeable systems and ammunition.

Citing the example of howitzer ammunition, William LaPlante, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, said when 155 mm rounds of ammunition produced in one country can be used in artillery made elsewhere, “the operator doesn’t need to worry about it. That’s a simple version of interchangeable and that’s where we need to go in lots of these systems. But what that also means is it means we’re going to have to agree on standards.”

In the US, he said, that may require congressional support for procurement, development, contracting and production across multiple countries.

Ukraine Says 30 Died in Russian Strike on Car Convoy (8:56 p.m.)

The death toll in a Russian missile strike early Friday near the southeastern city of Zaporizhzhia has reached 30, including two children, according to National Police Chief Ihor Klymenko.

The people were struck while standing in a line that was preparing to leave the city in a humanitarian convoy bound for nearby occupied areas. They planned to take their relatives to safety or to bring aid, Zaporizhzhia’s regional administration said on its Telegram channel.

Biden Calls Pipeline Damage ‘Deliberate Act of Sabotage’ (8:17 p.m.)

Biden said that damage to the Nord Stream gas pipeline system in the Baltic Sea was a “deliberate act of sabotage” and that Russian statements about the incident shouldn’t be trusted.

“It was a deliberate act of sabotage. And now the Russians are pumping out disinformation and lies,” Biden told reporters Friday at the White House, without providing evidence for his conclusion.

“We’re working with our allies to get to the bottom exactly what precisely happened and at my direction have already begun to help our allies enhance the protection of this critical infrastructure,” he added.

Ukraine to Seek $1.3 Billion From IMF in October (8:11 p.m.)

Ukraine plans to ask the International Monetary Fund for $1.3 billion under the IMF’s food aid program, National Bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko said.

“We also hope to start working on a new full IMF program for Ukraine as soon as possible,” Shevchenko says in a statement online. “We are ready to implement such a program, regardless of uncertainties caused by military acts.”

NATO Chief Says Allies Collecting Data on Pipeline Disruptions (6:46 p.m.)

NATO allies have ships and planes in the Baltic Sea and North Sea to help prevent any more disruption to energy infrastructure after the Nord Stream incidents, according to Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the military alliance.

The presence sends a message of “readiness to protect and defend each other, also critical infrastructure,” Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels. “These allies, these capabilities, these planes, these ships are also collecting information, data which can be helpful both for the ongoing investigation but also to monitor these critical energy infrastructures.”

US Sanctions 57 Entities Over Invasion (5:45 p.m.)

American firms will be prohibited from doing business with the entities without first obtaining a US government license. 

A notice from the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security says 56 of the entities are listed under Russia and one under the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Ukraine Vows to Keep ‘Liberating’ Land (5:30 p.m.)

UK Sanctions Russia Central Bank Chief Elvira Nabiullina (4:45 p.m.)

The UK government added Nabiullina to its sanctions list on Friday, according to a government statement. 

“Nabiullina is obtaining a benefit from or supporting the Government of Russia through working for the Government of Russia as Governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation,” it said.

Italy’s Meloni Condemns Russian Annexation (4:30 p.m.)

Giorgia Meloni -- whose right-wing bloc won recent elections and is likely Italy’s next prime minister -- said the move “had no juridical or political validity.” Meloni has vowed to maintain Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s policy of support for Ukraine, despite the past pro-Russia stances of some of her coalition allies, such as Matteo Salvini.

Ukraine Applying for Fast-Track NATO Entry (4:20 p.m.)

Zelenskiy announced the bid in a video address to the nation. Ukraine has already made its “path towards NATO,” demonstrating “compatibility with the alliance’s standards,” he said. “We trust each other, help each other and defend each other. We know it is possible.” 

All 30 members of NATO would have to unanimously agree to invite Ukraine to join, and the process can take years. 

Read More: Ukraine Bids to Join NATO Despite Long Odds Against Wartime Move

EU Presents Tougher Security Rules for Visas for Russians (3:35 p.m.)

The European Commission cited “an escalation of the security threat” by Moscow including alleged war crimes, partial mobilization and plans to annex Russian-occupied areas in Ukraine.

Commissioner Ylva Johansson told reporters the updated guidelines include more thorough security assessments of applicants, and refusing visas to citizens who could stay longer than 90 days in the EU. She said about 190,000 Russians had entered bloc in September, around 10,000 to 20,000 more than usual for that month.

The EU earlier this month adopted higher fees, the need for more documents, an increased processing time, and more restrictive rules for multiple-entry visas for Russians.

Putin Says Russia Annexing Ukrainian Regions ‘Forever’ (3:00 p.m.)

In a speech to officials at a Kremlin ceremony, Putin also called on Ukraine to halt fighting and begin negotiations.

Ukraine has rejected negotiations until Russian forces have been pushed back at least to positions they held before the Feb. 24 invasion. Russia doesn’t control the territories in full that it’s seeking to absorb. The United Nations has condemned Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian regions as illegal. Putin cited the UN Charter in his speech seeking to justify the annexation.

EU Members Reject Russian Annexation (2:55 p.m.)

“We do not and will never recognise the illegal ‘referenda’ that Russia has engineered as a pretext for this further violation of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, nor their falsified and illegal results,” the EU said in a statement. “These decisions are null and void and cannot produce any legal effect whatsoever.”

Work Continues on New EU Sanctions Package (1:55 p.m.)

Negotiations among European Union ambassadors continues on the EU’s proposed eighth package, with talks expected to stretch into next week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Read more: EU Plans Russia Import Bans, Tech Curbs Over Putin Land Grab 

Norway Tightens Controls Along Border With Russia (1:50 p.m.)

A police helicopter equipped with sensors will be used to help detect any illegal crossings of the 19 kilometer-long border, the government said on Friday. The conscription of Russian troops and a possible travel ban for Russian citizens has increased the risk of illegal border crossing, it said.

The government also said it is ready to shut border crossings to Russian tourists, like Finland has done, but will hold off on doing that for now. “We will close the border quickly if it becomes necessary, and changes can come at short notice,” Justice and Public Security Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said. 

There have been few arrivals in Norway compared to Finland.

Ukraine Defense Minister Sees ‘Good News’ Coming After US Call (12:24 p.m.)

Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, spoke by phone with US counterpart Lloyd Austin, he said on Twitter, adding that “good news” would be announced soon. 

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