• Tue. Dec 6th, 2022

Ukraine Latest: Zelenskiy Wants Direct Talks With China’s Xi

ByBloomberg News

Aug 4, 2022
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President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged China’s Xi Jinping to agree to direct talks, saying Beijing hasn’t replied to such requests since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

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(Bloomberg) — President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged China’s Xi Jinping to agree to direct talks, saying Beijing hasn’t replied to such requests since Russia invaded Ukraine in February.  

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Russian forces are using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant it captured early in the invasion to play on Western fears of a nuclear disaster, a US think-tank said. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday conditions at the plant are “out of control.”  

Global wheat prices have given up their 2022 gains as the supply outlook improves. More Ukrainian grain ships may be ready to depart via the Black Sea safe-transit corridor. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone conversation about Ukrainian shipments, Turkish state-run TRT reported. 

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

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  • Oil Plunges to Lowest Since February as US Gasoline Demand Drops
  • Wheat Loses 2022 Price Gains With Improved Global Supply Outlook
  • Putin’s Courting of Israel Fades as Ties Turn Bitter on Ukraine
  • World’s Food Supply Faces New Threat as India Rice Crop Falters

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On the Ground

Ukraine’s northern city of Kharkiv, the southern port of Mykolaiv and Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region were shelled overnight, local authorities said. Russia is conducting offensive operations in the direction of Novoluhanske, Ukraine’s general staff reported. Russian forces conducted a limited ground attack northwest of Slovyansk and continued efforts to advance on Bakhmut from the northeast, east, and southeast. Russian forces are forming a strike group to prevent Ukrainian counteroffensives in northern Kherson region or counterattack against them.

(All times CET)

Russia Leveraging Its Position at Zaporizhzhia Plant, ISW Says (7:30 a.m.)

Russian forces are using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar to play on Western fears of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine, likely in an effort to degrade Western will to support a Ukrainian counteroffensive, according to the Institute for the Study of War. 

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IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said on Wednesday that the plant, occupied by Russian forces since early in Moscow’s invasion, is “completely out of control” and that “every principle of nuclear safety has been violated.” 

Russian forces based around the plant have attacked Ukrainian positions in recent weeks, putting Ukraine in a bind, the US-based think tank said. By returning fire, Ukraine would risk international condemnation and a nuclear incident. By not doing so, Kremlin forces can continue to target Ukrainian positions from an effective “safe zone.”  

Russian Gas Flows Expected to Be Stable on Thursday (7:22 a.m.)

Russian natural gas supplies to Europe via the key Nord Stream pipeline are expected to remain near 20% of the link’s capacity on Thursday. Flows via Ukraine are also expected to be stable, grid data show.

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Zelenskiy Wants Direct Talks With China’s Xi (5:27 a.m.) 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy urged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to hold direct talks, noting Beijing hasn’t replied to such requests since Russia invaded his country in February. 

The last time the pair spoke was one year ago, Zelenskiy told the South China Morning Post in an interview published Thursday. Since Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, he said the Ukrainian side had “asked officially for a conversation” with Xi but hadn’t received a response. Such a dialog, he added, “would be helpful.”

“China, as a big and powerful country, could come down and sort of put the Russian federation in a certain place,” Zelenskiy told the Post.

Zelenskiy Seeks Direct Talks With Xi Amid War With Russia  

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Wheat Prices Have Reversed 2022 Gains (6:50 a.m.)

Chicago wheat fell for a fourth straight trading session on Wednesday, giving up its 2022 gains as easing supply concerns — including the resumption of exports from Ukraine, however tentative — sent prices lower. 

Optimism about improved global trade flows and forecasts calling for rain in key US growing areas weighed on futures. Benchmark wheat is more than 40% below an all-time high reached in March following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The cargo ship Razoni reached Turkey’s Bosphorus Strait on Tuesday, the first trade vessel using a safe corridor in the Black Sea to transport grain from Ukraine. More ships are ready to depart, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.  

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Getting Grain Out of Ukraine Is a Minefield: James Stavridis

US Senate Ratifies Finland, Sweden NATO Bids (6:40 a.m.)

The US Senate ratified adding Sweden and Finland to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a move intended to bolster the military alliance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The vote was 95-1, far exceeding the two-thirds majority required for the approval of treaties. If the ascension wins approval from all current members of the alliance, Finland will join Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland as NATO countries that share a land border with Russia. 

Russia Embarking on New Propaganda Wave, Zelenskiy Says (12:25 a.m.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused Russia of generating a fresh round of propaganda as it begins to realize the legal consequences of its invasion. He discounted remarks by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that the Kremlin is open to talks to end the war. 

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“If Russia really wants to end up the war, it would not withdraw its reserves to the south of Ukraine and would not produce mass graves of murdered innocent people on Ukrainian territory,” Zelenskiy said in a Wednesday evening address. 

“It is disgusting when former leaders of powerful European states with European values work for Russia, which is fighting against those values,” Zelenskiy said.

UN Chief Blasts ‘Immoral’ Oil and Gas Company Profits (6:22 p.m.)

Guterres, the UN secretary-general, tore into global energy companies, saying it’s “immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the backs of the poorest people and communities, at a massive cost to the climate.”

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Saying that the largest energy companies together tallied first-quarter profits of “close to $100 billion” amid the turmoil of the war in Ukraine, the secretary-general urged countries “to tax these excessive profits, and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people through these difficult times.”

Guterres repeated his calls for a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine, which he said has caused not only suffering in that country, but a global “threefold crisis of access to food, energy and finance.”

Switzerland Makes Oil Payment Exemptions From Sanctions (6:06 p.m.)

The Swiss government said it will match European Union sanctions on Russia and allow for some exemptions in respect to oil payments. The EU introduced measures last month allowing for transactions with some sanctioned entities if they’re deemed essential to supplies of food, agricultural goods and oil to third countries.

The package also includes measures targeting gold, which primarily included a ban on buying importing or transporting gold and gold products from Russia. It also includes services in connection with those goods.  

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Image and article originally from financialpost.com. Read the original article here.