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Here Are All The Latest News And Developments From The Ukraine War: March 18

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Amid the non-stop firehose of news from Ukraine and related developments, we have filtered out the most important events and developments for the benefit of our readers, courtesy of Newsquawk:

Discussions/ Negotiations

  • US President Biden will speak with Chinese President Xi at 09:00EDT/13:00GMT on Friday, while it was separately reported that President Biden called Russian President Putin a murderous dictator and pure thug.

  • US President Biden's administration reportedly hardened its stance towards China ahead of Biden-Xi call on Friday, while officials believe Russia is moving closer to supporting the Kremlin.

  • Ukraine Deputy PM says nine humanitarian corridors have been agreed for Friday.

  • Ukrainian Presidential aide Zhovkva says talks with Russia are progressing, but only slowly; will not negotiate an inch of Ukrainian territory.

  • Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says Russia's goal is to remove threats to Russia on Ukrainian soil; any weapons cargo to Ukraine is considered as "fair game" for Russia. A number of countries including China, India, Brazil and Mexico "will not dance to the tune of the United States", via Sky News Arabia.

  • Russian Kremlin says that the Russian delegation in peace talks has expressed a readiness to work faster but the Ukraine delegation has not shown a similar readiness, negotiations continue.

  • Russian President Putin and French President Macron will speak on Friday.

Energy/Economic Updates

  • Australian government placed sanctions on the Russian national wealth fund and Ministry of Finance.

  • Australia added that new sanctions were imposed on 11 banks and individuals and that a majority of Russia's banking assets are now covered by sanctions along with all entities that handle Russia's sovereign debt.

  • Japan imposed new sanctions against 15 Russian individuals and 9 Russian groups in which the targets of the new asset freeze sanctions included a defence official and two lawmakers.

  • S&P lowered Russia's credit rating from CCC- to CC; remains on Watch Negative, citing high vulnerability to debt non-payment.

  • Russian sovereign eurobond coupon payments due on Wednesday have been executed, according to Reuters sources. Subsequently, Russian Finance Ministry says it has fully met obligation on paying coupons on Eurobonds due, Citibank has received the USD 117mln.

  • Senior EU officials have an incredibly dire assessment about likely trajectory of Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine over next few weeks, according to Eurasia's Rahman; "The threshold for energy import bans (by the EU) is very high."

  • Ukraine Foreign Minister Kuleba spoke with EU Foreign Affairs Representative Borrell about preparing a 5th sanction package on Russia.

Defense/Military

  • White House warned Russia could use unsupported claims about biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine as a cover for escalating the war, according to Axios.

  • US Pentagon said intelligence provided to Ukraine is making a difference against Russia, according to Sputnik.

  • UK Ministry of Defence said logistical problems continue to beset Russia's faltering invasion of Ukraine.

  • US National Guard denied Russian state media claims that Tennessee National Guard members were killed in Ukraine and said the report is patently false.

  • Russia has set up a no-fly zone over the Donbass region of Ukraine, via Ifx citing a Donetsk separatist official

  • Russian Defence Ministry say Russian-backed separatists, with Russian assistance, are "tightening the noose" around Mariupol, fighting ongoing in the city centre, via Reuters citing Ria.

Geopolitics:

  • Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Friday, according to Reuters sources; Shandong carrier which was shadowed by a US destroyer. The timing of the Shandong's movements, being so close to the US-China President's call, was described as provocative by the source.

  • Global Times, citing an official, writes China will never accept US threats/coercion, will urge the US to fulfil President Biden's commitment not seeking a new Cold War, changes in China's system, a stronger alliance against China.


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