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UKRAINE WRAP | Hunger fears mount over Ukraine grain blockade

27 May 2022 - 06:30 By TimesLIVE
An aerial view shows an elliptical machine on a balcony of a damaged building on May 26, 2022 in Chernihiv, Ukraine. Chernihiv, northeast of Kyiv, was an early target of Russia's offensive after its February 24 invasion. While they failed to capture the city, Russian forces battered large parts of Chernihiv and the surrounding region in their attempted advance toward the capital.
An aerial view shows an elliptical machine on a balcony of a damaged building on May 26, 2022 in Chernihiv, Ukraine. Chernihiv, northeast of Kyiv, was an early target of Russia's offensive after its February 24 invasion. While they failed to capture the city, Russian forces battered large parts of Chernihiv and the surrounding region in their attempted advance toward the capital.
Image: Alexey Furman/Getty Images

27 May 2022 -  15:04

Russia will need huge financial resources for military operation, FinMin says

Russia will need huge financial resources to fund its military operation in Ukraine, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Friday.

Siluanov said Russia had earmarked 8 trillion roubles ($123 billion) of stimulus to support the economy in the current circumstances. "(These are) huge amounts of money.

We need these resources to support the economy, to support our citizens," Siluanov told a university audience.

Russia sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, triggering a barrage of Western sanctions.

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 14:50

Ukraine fighting to keep control of town of Lyman

Ukrainian troops are fighting to keep control of the northwestern and southeastern parts of the town of Lyman, the country's defence ministry said on Friday, as Russia's offensive in east Ukraine gathers pace.

Ukrainian troops were "counteracting attempts" by Russia to push its offensive towards the key Ukrainian town of Sloviansk, defence ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said at a briefing. 

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 14:28

Germany's gas storage level currently at around 46% - econ minister

Gas storage levels in Germany have been brought up to around 46% from around 20% at the end of the winter, helping the country to decrease its dependence on Russian supply, economy minister Robert Habeck said on Friday.

Before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Germany received around 45 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Russian gas per year, Habeck said. That amount had now been reduced to around 30 or 33 bcm.

In total, Germany imported 142 bcm of gas last year. 

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 14:09

'Fun and Tasty' among possible names for McDonald's Russian successor

McDonald's in Russia has registered possible brand names for the firm taking over its fast-food restaurants there, including "Fun and Tasty" and "The Same One", patent filings showed on Friday.

The world's largest burger chain, with nearly 850 restaurants in Russia, is selling up to one of its local licensees in response to Russia's military campaign in Ukraine and the subsequent wave of Western outrage and sanctions.

The company said on Friday that the trademarks registered with Russia's Rospatent agency, from which it ultimately planned to choose one brand, also included "Just Like That" and "Open Checkout".

McDonald's, which owns 84% of its restaurants in Russia, is one of the biggest international brands to leave since February.

The restaurants that it owns are being sold to Alexander Govor, who runs a franchise operation of 25 restaurants. Other franchisees will be given the option of working under the new brand.

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 13:01

India's GAIL open to buying Russian oil and gas assets, chair says

 India's largest gas transmitter GAIL is open to buying Russian oil and gas assets shunned by Western companies after Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the company's chairman Manoj Jain said on Friday.

European countries and the United States have imposed heavy sanctions on Russia since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 13:00

ANALYSIS | Russia's 'political' debt default sets emerging market precedent

Russia is on the cusp of a unique kind of debt crisis which investors say would be a first time a major emerging market economy is pushed into a bond default by geopolitics, rather than empty coffers.

Until the Kremlin launched an attack on Ukraine on February 24, few would have entertained the possibility of Russia defaulting on its hard currency bonds. Its strong solvency track record, bumper export revenues and an inflation-fighting central bank had made it a favourite of emerging market investors.

But the US Treasury's decision not to extend a licence allowing Russia to keep up debt payments despite wide-ranging sanctions, have set Moscow on the road to default.

The Russian finance ministry has wired some $100 million in interest payments on two bonds due on Friday to its domestic settlement house. But unless money shows up in foreign bondholders' accounts, it will constitute a default by some definitions.

27 May 2022 - 12:18

Ukraine's Naftogaz starts pre-arbitration procedure against Russia's Gazprom

Ukraine's state gas company Naftogaz said on Friday it had launched a pre-arbitration procedure against its Russian counterpart Gazprom, claiming the latter underpaid contractually agreed gas transit fees.

"There is some time during which we should try to resolve the issue before arbitration, if we do not resolve it - (we will begin) new arbitration," Naftogaz CEO Yuri Vitrenko told the Interfax Ukraine news agency on Friday.

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 12:00

Kremlin accuses Ukraine of "contradictory" statements on peace talks

The Kremlin said on Friday that it blames Ukraine for the fact that peace talks between the two countries are frozen, saying it was unclear what Kyiv wanted.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in a call with reporters: "The Ukrainian leadership constantly makes contradictory statements. This does not allow us to fully understand what the Ukrainian side wants."

Reuters

27 May 2022 - 11:53

US slams Putin’s food-for-sanctions relief plan

The US rejected a plan by Russian President Vladimir Putin to facilitate grain and fertilizer exports only if sanctions on his country are lifted, pinning the blame on the Kremlin for blocking shipments and stoking concerns of global food shortages. 

The US may announce a new package of aid for Ukraine as soon as next week that would include long-range rocket systems and other advanced weapons, CNN reported unidentified government officials as saying.

A record volume of Russian oil is on board tankers, with most of that heading to India or China as other nations restrict imports because of the war in Ukraine.

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 11:13

UK's Johnson: Putin making slow but palpable progress in Donbas - 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was making slow but palpable progress in the Donbas region of Ukraine.

"I'm afraid that Putin, at great cost to himself and to the Russian military, is continuing to chew through ground in Donbas," he told Bloomberg TV.

"He's continuing to make gradual, slow, but I'm afraid palpable, progress and therefore it is absolutely vital that we continue to support the Ukrainians militarily."

Bloomberg

27 May 2022 - 10:45

Russian gas deliveries to Slovakia through Ukraine edge lower

Delivery of Russian gas to Europe through Ukraine edged lower on Friday morning while flows from Germany to Poland via the Yamal pipeline were also down.

Nominations for flows into Slovakia from Ukraine via the Velke Kapusany border point stood at 420,009,181 kilowatt hours per hour (kWh/h), down from 421,945122 kWh/h the previous day, data from the Ukrainian transmission system operator showed.

Russian gas producer Gazprom said that its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point stood at 43.6 million cubic metres (mcm), slightly down from 44.5 mcm on Thursday.

An application to supply gas via another major entry point, Sokhranovka, was rejected by Ukraine, Gazprom said.

Flows along the Yamal-Europe pipeline remained eastbound from Germany to Poland and fell to 5,132,735 kWh/h on Friday, from 6,818,958 kWh/h at midnight, data from operator Gascade showed.

Flows to Germany through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline across the Baltic Sea were at 73,043,980 kWh/h on Friday morning, little changed from the previous 24 hours. 

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 10:21

Pro-Russia separatists say they have taken East Ukraine's Lyman

Pro-Russian separatists from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said on Friday that they have established full control over the strategic town of Lyman in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian and Russian forces had been fighting for the Donbas region town for several days.Reuters could not immediately confirm the information.

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 09:24

Separatist leader: more than 5,000 Ukrainian prisoners held in breakaway region - TASS

A pro-Russian separatist leader in East Ukraine said that more than 5,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war were being held in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, TASS reported on Friday.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report. 

Reuters 

27 May 2022 - 08:19

Ukraine is a climate war, says refugee protester in Davos

lyess El Kortbi, a Ukrainian refugee, described the conflict in his home country as ‘one of the first climate wars’ at a protest in Davos.

27 May 2022 - 07:05

Russian Central Bank cuts interest rates from 14% to 11% 

The Russian Central Bank cut interest rates from 14% to 11%, after inflation slowed to 17.5% in May compared to 17.8% in April, which is now forecasting that annual inflation will decrease to 5–7% in 2023 and return to 4% in 2024.

27 May 2022 - 06:00

Hunger fears mount over Ukraine grain blockade

Ukraine's grain mills are struggling to get back into full swing after suffering war damage. That’s bad news for global food supplies as Ukraine is one of the world’s top producers of grain.

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