UKRAINE WRAP | 'Russian-installed Kherson official killed in bomb blast
June 24 2022 — 14:56
UK considers lifting anti-dumping duties on Ukrainian steel products
Britain is considering lifting anti-dumping duties on some steel products from Ukraine due to Russia's invasion of the country, a trade agency said on Friday.
Duties may be lifted for a maximum of nine months on hot rolled flat and coiled steel (HRFC), mainly used in mechanical and electrical engineering, construction and auto sectors, the Trade Remedies Authority said in a statement.
“Following a request from the government of Ukraine we will investigate whether a suspension of measures on certain Ukrainian steel products is justified because of changed market conditions after the Russian invasion,” it said.
The agency also said it has launched two separate reviews into anti-dumping measures on HRFC from Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Iran plus anti-subsidy measures on imports of stainless steel bar and rods from India.
Britain is assessing the measures, which were inherited from the European Union, and is looking at whether “they are still suitable for the UK’s needs”, the statement said.
The TRA was established after Britain left the European Union to investigate unfair trade practices and measures.
June 24 2022 — 14:20
Ukraine's Zelensky appeals to Glastonbury crowd for support
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appealed via video link on Friday to crowds at Britain's Glastonbury Festival for support, urging them to spread the truth about Russia's invasion and to pressure politicians to help restore peace.
Zelensky, wearing his trademark military fatigues, drew cheers after delivering his pre-recorded message from two large screens at the music festival's Other stage before rock band the Libertines played.” Russia has stolen our peace,” he told the crowds at Glastonbury, the world's largest green field festival.
“Glastonbury is the greatest concentration of freedom these days and I ask you to share this feeling with everyone whose freedom is under attack,” said Zelensky, speaking English.
“The more people join us in defending freedom and truth, the sooner Russia's war against Ukraine will end,” he added. “Prove that freedom always wins.
“Zelensky, who has built a close working relationship with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has routinely appeared via video link before national parliaments and global bodies to implore countries to help Ukraine in the war, which Russia calls a “special military operation”.
He also made a video address before the Eurovision Song Contest.
Glastonbury has returned for its 50th anniversary two years later than planned after the pandemic scuppered the 2020 and 2021 events.
June 24 2022 — 13:08
Russia's war to cast 40-50 million people into hunger - Blinken
Russia's war against Ukraine, not Western sanctions, will add another 40 or 50 million more people to the ranks of the hungry, said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Berlin.
"There is no reason other than Russia's blockade of Ukraine and Russia's refusal in many cases to export its own grain for political reasons," said Blinken at a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday.
Baerbock said international partners were working together to counter Russia's "cynical" and potentially destabilizing grains war and the corresponding propaganda.
June 24 2022 — 11:20
Ukraine Is Fighting the First War Funded by Crypto Philanthropy
Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February, the Ukrainian government and the country’s crypto community would not have been described as allies.
There was scepticism, distrust and even a few police raids on unlicensed crypto exchanges. That shifted with the war: Digital asset leaders in Ukraine are now hailed, by some, as heroes because of their work with the Ukrainian government to finance the war effort.
Ukraine's deputy minister for digital transformation said crypto donations have enabled the army to buy military equipment, and medicine.
In this episode, Bloomberg reporter Alastair Marsh discusses his reporting on how Ukraine has been using crypto during the war to support its armies and its population.
June 24 2022 — 11:00
Swiss customs reviews import of Russian gold in May
Swiss customs officials are looking into the import of 3.1 tonnes of Russian gold in May to see whether the deals via Britain might have violated sanctions imposed on Russians over Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the government said on Friday.
Customs data on Tuesday showed Switzerland imported around $200 million worth of gold from Russia in May, the first imports since the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine in February.
Switzerland is one of the world's biggest refining and transit centres for gold, and Russia is one of the biggest bullion producers.
The Swiss Federal Office of Customs and Border Security said in a statement it could not for legal reasons say who imported the gold of Russian origin from the United Kingdom.
“Around three tonnes of gold originating in Russia and worth CHF 194 million ($202 million) were imported from the United Kingdom to Switzerland. The BAZG (Federal Office of Customs and Border Security) is checking the affected imports with regard to the applicable sanctions,” the BAZG said in a statement posted on the government's website.
Switzerland has adopted practically all European Union sanctions against Russian companies and individuals.
Importing Russian gold to Switzerland is not prohibited, but the export of gold to Russia is banned.
All bars produced by Russian refineries after March 7, 2022 may no longer be traded in Switzerland. In principle, however, bars produced by Russian refineries before March 7, 2022 can continue to be traded, the office said.
There are basically no restrictions for trading gold in other forms such as jewellery and gold coins.
June 24 2022 — 10:48
Germany looking at converting part of Nord Stream 2 for LNG link
The German Economy Ministry is considering converting parts of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline into a connection for a liquefied natural gas terminal on the Baltic Sea coast, magazine Der Spiegel reported on Friday.
The ministry is looking at possibly expropriating the part of the pipeline system located on German territory and cutting it off from the rest of the pipeline, Spiegel added.
June 24 2022 — 10:40
Russian-installed Kherson official killed in bomb blast
A senior official in the Russian-installed administration of Ukraine’s occupied Kherson region was killed in an apparent assassination on Friday, the deputy head of the administration told Reuters.
Dmitry Savluchenko, head of the families, youth, and sports department of the Kherson Military-Civilian Administration, was killed in a bomb blast.
Russia's TASS news agency said there were two burnt-out cars in a courtyard of Kherson, the regional capital where the blast took place, and that the windows of one four-storey house had been shattered.
Kherson sits just northwest of the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula and was occupied during the first week of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which began in February. A large part of the local population has left.
In the first weeks of the occupation there were regular civilian protests in the region, which were put down.
Since then, there have been unverified reports of increasing partisan activity against the Russian-backed authorities.
On June 18, Ukrainian media reported that a local prison head who had joined the Russian-installed administration had been wounded in a bomb blast.
On June 20, Ukraine’s military said two Russian soldiers had been killed and another wounded when a gunman opened fire at a waterside cafe in Kherson city.
June 24 2022 — 10:15
Russia blames US for Kaliningrad transit restrictions
Moscow's foreign ministry on Friday blamed the US for a Lithuanian ban on sanctioned goods crossing from the Russian mainland to the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad, which has increased already high tensions between Moscow and the West.
The foreign ministry also said in a statement that it was “impossible” to hold expert level consultations with Washington on a number of bilateral issues that had been due to take place in the near future. It did not specify which issues it was referring to, or when talks were supposed to take place.
June 24 2022 — 09:54
EU plan for life without Russian gas a priority as leaders meet
EU leaders will on Friday discuss how the bloc would cope without Russian gas, and are expected to accuse Moscow of “weaponising” energy via a supply squeeze that Germany warned could partially shut down its industry this winter.
A day after celebrations over setting Kyiv on the road to membership of the bloc, Friday's summit in Brussels is set to be a sober reflection on the economic impact of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Leaders of the 27 European Union nations will, according to a draft summit statement seen by Reuters, place the blame for soaring inflation and sagging global growth on the war that began exactly four months ago.
Following unprecedented Western sanctions imposed over the invasion, a dozen European countries have so far been thumped by cuts in gas flows from Russia, triggering a frantic search for alternative supplies across the bloc.
“It is only a matter of time before the Russians close down all gas shipments,” said one EU official ahead of Friday's talks.
German Economy Minister Robert Habeck warned his country was heading for a gas shortage if Russian supplies remained as low as currently, and some industries would have to be shut down come the winter.
“Companies would have to stop production, lay off their workers, supply chains would collapse, people would go into debt to pay their heating bills,” he told Der Spiegel magazine, adding it was part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's strategy to divide the country.
Italian newspapers reported on Friday that Rome had called for EU leaders to reconvene for an exceptional mid-July meeting to discuss a possible price cap on Russian gas for which Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has been pushing.
According to Friday's draft, leaders will call on the EU's executive to come up with energy supply solutions in response to Moscow's “weaponisation” of gas imports.
They will also stress their economies remain fundamentally strong and pledge to stay united in response to challenges posed by the war, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.
The bloc responded to the war with uncharacteristic speed and unity, even though some sanctions, such as a planned embargo on Russian oil imports, will have repercussions for its economies.
Inflation in the 19 countries sharing the euro currency has shot to all-time highs above 8% and the EU's executive expects economic growth to dip to 2.7% this year.
In their statement, the leaders will request the Commission seek to secure energy supply at affordable prices.
The Commission has so far not produced any proposals as the issue is highly complex and divisive, with some countries believing import price could disrupt the market and exacerbate the situation.
June 24 2022 — 09:15
Ukrainian forces will have to leave Sievierodonetsk -governor
Ukrainian troops will “have to be withdrawn” from the mostly Russian-occupied battleground city of Sievierodonetsk, the regional governor said on Friday.
Some of the heaviest fighting of the entire Russian invasion of Ukraine has taken place in Sievierodonetsk, where street-by-street battles have raged for a month, with Russia slowly and painstakingly taking more ground.
“Remaining in positions smashed to pieces over many months just for the sake of staying there does not make sense,” Governor Serhiy Gaidai said on television.
He said that the troops in the city “have already received the order to move to new positions,” but did not indicate whether they had already done so or where exactly they were going.
The battle for the city is key for Russia to establish control over the last remaining Ukrainian-held sliver of the Luhansk region, with only the city of Lysychansk left in Ukrainian hands if Sievierodonetsk falls.
The Luhansk region is one of two provinces that make up the Donbas, an area which Russia and its separatist allies in east Ukraine aim to fully capture as one of their war aims.
“In many respects, the fate of the Donbas is being decided there,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said of Sievierodonetsk recently.
June 24 2022 — 08:57
Gazprom's gas exports to Europe via Ukraine edge down on Friday
Russian gas producer Gazprom said its supply of gas to Europe through Ukraine via the Sudzha entry point was seen at 42.1 million cubic metres (mcm) on Friday vs 42.6 mcm on Thursday.
An application to supply gas via another major entry point, Sokhranovka, was again rejected by Ukraine, Gazprom said.
June 24 2022 — 06:15
Russian military cargo plane crashes, killing three -Ifax
An Ilyushin Il-76 military cargo plane crashed and caught fire while landing near Russia's western city of Ryazan on Friday, killing three of the nine people on board, the Interfax news agency said.Six were injured, Interfax added in the report, which cited an unidentified source.
Separately, it quoted Russia's defence ministry as saying the plane had suffered an engine malfunction while on a training flight. The ministry gave no details of crew deaths.
June 24 2022 — 06:00
'This is a victory': Zelensky on EU membership
‘This is a victory,’ President Volodymyr Zelensky said as he hailed the EU's move to accept Ukraine as a candidate to join the 27-nation bloc and promised not to rest until full EU membership and Russia's defeat had been secured.
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