For the third day in a row stocks roared out of the gate and oil tumbled as a result of optimism that a ceasefire was just around the corner, and for a third day in a row the rug has been pulled, this time by Putin himself who just before 12pm ET told European Council President Charles Michel that Ukraine “is not showing a serious attitude toward finding mutually acceptable solutions” in talks with Moscow on ending the fighting.
In a brief statement on the leaders’ phone conversation Tuesday, the Kremlin said they also discussed the military operation and humanitarian-relief measures.
Separately, Russia also told the European Council that it was pulling out, an outcome which was largely expected.
In response, Michel tweeted that he "called for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russia’s military" and that he "discussed ongoing negotiations between Ukraine and Russia" noting that "protection of civilian lives is an absolute priority."
Called for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of Russia’s military.
Discussed ongoing negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.
Protection of civilian lives is an absolute priority.
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) March 15, 2022
In kneejerk response to this latest confirmation that any compromise in Ukraine is a long way away, US equities which had rallied as much as 1.6% since the start of trading retraced some of gains…
.. and European stocks fell sharply following, while Brent bounced back over $100 and gold moved higher after tumbling earlier in the session.