Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine

Russian oil price cap is unlikely to change soon, despite agreeing over its effectiveness

Russia announced that it would cut oil production by 500,000 barrels per day in March after the West slapped price caps on Russian oil and oil products.

Picture Alliance | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

The Group of Seven advanced economies is not expected to update its price cap on Russian oil in the coming weeks amid contrasting views on whether the policy is truly denting the Kremlin’s revenues.

The G-7, alongside the European Union and Australia, decided late last year to impose a cap of $60 a barrel on Russian oil in an effort to ratchet up the pressure on Moscow. As part of the agreement, they said they would review this cap in mid-March.

However, despite calls to do so from several countries in Europe, the threshold was not revised last month even as oil prices fell from the levels seen in the two months prior to mid-March. If a revision had taken place, the $60 barrel level would likely have been reduced.

Read the full story here.

—Silvia Amaro

Ukraine’s GDP dropped 29.1% in 2022 during Russia’s invasion

The grain harvester collects wheat in the field near the village of Zgurivka in the Kyiv region, while Russia continues the war against Ukraine. August 9, 2022.

Maxim Marusenko | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Ukraine’s gross domestic product dropped by nearly a third in 2022, which was dominated by Russia’s full-scale invasion that began on Feb. 24 of that year.

The GDP of the war-battered country fell by 29.1%, Ukraine’s state statistics service reported, although this was just slightly better than the government’s forecast of a 30% drop.

More than 8 million people have fled Ukraine as refugees, amounting to around 20% of the country’s population. Russia’s war has killed tens of thousands of people, devastated industries and destroyed and damaged vital energy infrastructure around the country.

Russia’s naval blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has also throttled the majority of Ukraine’s vital grain and produce exports, which comprise a significant portion of the world’s supply of soft commodities such as grain, corn, and sunflower seeds. Exports as a whole were down 35% in 2022 from the year before, the Ukraine’s economy ministry said.

Still, Kyiv says GDP may grow 1% in 2023 due to improvements in the retail, transportation and construction sectors.

—Natasha Turak

EU’s economic chief says the hardest part is over in transition from Russian gas

EU's Gentiloni sees no risk of systemic banking stress

The European Commissioner for the economy, Paolo Gentiloni, has hailed the EU’s swift transition away from its dependency on Russian gas and said next winter will be less challenging.

“We were expecting a terrible winter, a winter of recession and problems with energy supplies, blackouts,” he told CNBC’s Joumanna Bercetche in Washington, DC on Wednesday. “We didn’t have a recession and we were able to go out from dependencies from Russian gas in eight months. I think, amazing results.”

Asked whether he believed the energy crisis was over, he said: “I think it will be a challenge also for the next winter, maybe a less dramatic challenge than it has been in the past winter, because we should remember we had more than 40 % dependency from Russian fossil fuels, and this is now down around 7%.”

He said the EU would be refiling storage from the end of April without Russian gas and said it was important to diversify pipelines, noting increased Chinese demand following its reopening lockdown may bring liquefied gas prices up.

“More optimistically, the big, big challenge was last winter, next winter will also be challenging but we already know we are able to do something amazing,” Gentiloni said.

— Jenni Reid

Ukraine secures $200 million World Bank grant for restoration of energy sector

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal attends a news conference, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine March 3, 2023.

Stringers | Reuters

Ukraine secured a $200 million World Bank grant to fund the restoration of its energy sector.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said the funds will go toward rebuilding the power grid and heat supply systems in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy and cities in the Chernihiv region.

Russia has targeted Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in waves of air strikes, causing power outages for millions of people.

“Energy infrastructure has suffered $11 billion in damages over the last year and is one of the most critical areas where Ukraine needs urgent support,” World Bank Managing Director of Operations Anna Bjerde said in a statement. “We are grateful for strong partnership with Ukraine and development partners to support this critical sector and act fast.”

Shmyhal previously named energy as one of Ukraine’s key sectors for rebuilding the economy.

He added that Ukraine and the World Bank will intensify three projects in energy, transport infrastructure and health care as part of reconstruction.

Separately, Shmyhal also estimated Ukraine will need $14 billion this year for rapid reconstruction projects.

Audrey Wan

Kremlin passes laws to digitize military draft registry and crack down on draft dodgers

The Kremlin passed legislation to improve its military mobilization efforts and crack down on draft dodgers, in a move that will harvest more of Russians’ data and intensify control over the population, a US-based think tank reported.

The Russian State Duma adopted a bill in its third reading on April 11 to create a digital unified register of Russian citizens eligible for military service,” the Institute for the Study of War wrote in its daily update.

“The unified register harvests Russian citizens’ personal identification information — including medical, educational, and residence history, foreign citizenship status, and insurance and tax data — from multiple Russian legal entities,” it said.

Those summoned cannot leave Russia and must show up at a military recruitment office within 20 days of their summons.

The new legislation “bans summoned individuals who are 20 days delinquent for reporting from driving vehicles, buying or selling real estate, and taking out loans,” the ISW wrote.

Many Russian lawmakers and military bloggers have been pushing for more aggressive mobilization efforts and enforcement for some time.

ISW wrote that it “previously predicted that the Kremlin would marry Soviet-style societal control measures with big data and 21st-century information technology to intensify control over the Russian population after Russia used facial recognition, QR codes, and mobile device geo-tracking technology to enforce a draconian Covid-19 quarantine in 2020.”

—Natasha Turak

Sens. Joe Manchin, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Kelly and country star Brad Paisley visit Kyiv

US Senators Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Joe Manchin, DW.Va, Lisa Murkowski, R-Ala., and country star Brad Paisley attended a news conference in front of destroyed Russian military equipment at the Mikhailovsky Square in Kyiv.

Paisley, who is an ambassador for Ukraine’s United24 fundraising campaign, performed acoustic versions of his own Ukraine-themed single “Same Here”, which he released in February on the war’s one-year anniversary, and a Ukrainian-language folk song.

Mon. Manchin said in a statement: “The level of patriotism, professionalism and sheer endurance of the Ukrainian people is inspiring. After this visit, I am even more convinced that defeating Vladimir Putin and ending his ruthless war against the Ukrainian people must remain our top priority .”

(L to R) US senators Democrat Mark Kelly of Arizona, Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and US country star Brad Paisley attend a news conference in front of destroyed Russian military equipment at the Mikhailovsky Square in Kyiv on April 12, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

US Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona attends a news conference in front of destroyed Russian military equipment at the Mikhailovsky Square in Kyiv on April 12, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

US country star Brad Paisley performs in front of destroyed Russian military equipment at the Mikhailovsky Square in Kyiv on April 12, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

— Natasha Turak, Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

International finance ministers reaffirm ‘unwavering support’ for Ukraine

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (C) speaks during a Multilateral Development Bank Evolution Roundtable at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters during the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, DC, on April 12, 2023.

Stefani Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Governors of international central banks, along with G-7 finance ministers, reiterated their support for Ukraine after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy virtually gave opening remarks before a Multilateral Development Bank roundtable meeting.

“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine continues to cause immense human suffering and exacerbate global economic challenges including through adding to inflationary pressures, disrupting supply chains and heightening food and energy insecurity,” the finance leaders said in a joint statement. “We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine and unity in our condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression.”

The leaders also praised efforts to hamper Russia’s ability to continue invading Ukraine through sanctions and other economic measures. They vowed to strengthen enforcement and take further actions, as needed.

—Chelsey Cox

Ukraine’s prosecutor general alleges Russia has committed more than 77,000 war crimes

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin told the Washington Post that the country has registered more than 77,000 alleged war crimes committed by Russia.

According to Kostin, there are 150 indictments and 30 convictions “with regard to Russian War criminals [who] committed war crimes on Ukrainian lands.” Kostin told the newspaper that 305 alleged perpetrators have been notified of suspicion.

The alleged crimes “include not only murder … not only humiliation and rape, they also include the destruction of private property. They include forced deportation. They include forced detention of Ukrainians on occupied territories. They include looting on a massive scale on the occupied territories,” Kostin said.

CNBC was unable to immediately verify these claims.

Audrey Wan

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

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