Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine – HiGood


Latest news on Russia and the war in Ukraine – HiGood

Zelenskyy lands in Jeddah for first ever Saudi visit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday said on Twitter that he was starting his first ever visit to Saudi Arabia and was prepared to take Kyiv’s cooperation with Riyadh to a “new level,” according to a Google translation.

Earlier in the day, Saudi news agency Al-Hadath said that Zelenskyy had arrived in Saudi port city Jeddah, facing the Red Sea, and would attend the 32nd Arab League summit of May 19.

Saudi Arabia has maintained a delicate diplomatic balance throughout the war, with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in September securing the release of several foreign fighters captured by Russia during the conflict.

Riyadh is a close ally of Russia in the influential OPEC+ oil producers’ bloc, but has in the past voted in a U.N. resolution to condemn Moscow’s annexation of a swathe of Ukrainian territories.

Ruxandra Iordache

G-7 leaders commit to additional Russia sanctions

Leaders of Kyiv’s allied G-7 powers on Friday said they have committed to further sanctions on Russia, as well as stating they have “ensured Ukraine has the budget support it needs for 2023 and early 2024.”

They once more condemned Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, stressing peace cannot be achieved without the “complete and unconditional withdrawal” of Russian forces.

“We are imposing further sanctions and measures to increase the costs to Russia and those who are supporting its war effort,” the group said in a statement, outlining intentions to further target those who operate in key sectors such as manufacturing, construction and transportation.

“We will starve Russia of G7 technology, industrial equipment and services that support its war machine,” the bloc said, reiterating plans to reduce Russian revenues and Moscow’s resourcing to progress its war in Ukraine.

The group said it had “dramatically” dwindled its reliance on Russian energy and commodities following the export ban and its price cap scheme on Moscow’s seaborne crude oil and oil products, and added intentions to “continue to work closely together to restrict trade in and use of diamonds mined, processed or produced in Russia.”

Read more here.

— Ruxandra Iordache

UK formally announces new Russia sanctions

The U.K. government has formally revealed more sanctions against Russia, targeting the theft and resale of Ukrainian grains, major energy and arms-shipping companies, and enterprises connected to Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom that are “producing advanced materials and technology.”

The new designations cover 86 individuals and companies.

The U.K. government also affirmed the announcement of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak — who is in Japan for the Group of Seven summit — who said the U.K. was banning imports on Russian diamonds and copper, aluminum and nickel.

The U.K. and its G-7 allies are set to disclose new sanctions against Russia after G-7 discussions, to reduce the Kremlin’s coffers and stall Moscow’s progress in its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Ruxandra Iordache

Russian train incident could disrupt supply to Moscow’s fleet, UK says

A railway disruption in the vicinity of the base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet could affect supplies and deliveries of weapons, such as Kalibr cruise missiles, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence update.

A train was derailed near Simferopol in the Crimean Peninsula, blocking the route to Russia’s BSF base at Sevastopol after the interference of “unauthorized individuals,” Russian state news agency Tass reported. Russian authorities are currently working to address the incident.

“Any sabotage in this area will further increase the Kremlin’s concerns about its ability to protect other key infrastructure in Crimea,” the British Ministry of Defense said. “The peninsula retains a vital psychological and logistical role in enabling Russia’s war in Ukraine.”

Russia invaded and annexed the peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

— Ruxandra Iordache

‘Russian diamonds are not forever,’ European Council chief warns

“We are now focused on shutting the door on loopholes. And continuing to cut Russia off from critical supplies. We will restrict trade in Russian diamonds. Russian diamonds are not forever,” European Council President Charles Michel said.

Thierry Monasse | Getty Images News | Getty Images

European Council President Charles Michel signaled the EU’s willingness to consider sanctions on Russian diamonds in a press conference ahead of the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, Japan, this weekend.

“We are now focused on shutting the door on loopholes. And continuing to cut Russia off from critical supplies. We will restrict trade in Russian diamonds. Russian diamonds are not forever,” he said.

The EU has so far fallen short of taking steps against Russian diamonds, but has implemented several waves of sanctions against Russian banking, trade and energy since the start of Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The U.K. on May 18 announced intentions to ban Russian diamonds, alongside imports of Russian-origin copper, aluminum and nickel.

— Ruxandra Iordache

Zelenskyy to attend G-7 summit in person, Ukrainian official confirms

A Ukrainian security official confirmed that the country’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in person this weekend, in line with an earlier report from the Financial Times.

“Very important things will be decided there and it is therefore the presence of our president that is absolutely essential in order to defend our interests,” said Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, in comments reported by Reuters.

Officials of the world’s seven richest nations are expected to discuss tighter sanctions on Russia, with Britain on May 18 announcing intentions to ban Russian diamonds, as well as imports of Russian-origin copper, aluminum and nickel. It also plans further sanctions on 86 additional people and companies. The EU is likewise targeting trade restrictions on Russian diamonds, according to European Council President Charles Michel.

Ruxandra Iordache

G-7 members expected to roll out new sanctions and export controls aimed at Russia, Biden administration official says

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the development of unmanned aircraft, at the Rudnyovo industrial park in Moscow, Russia, on April 27, 2023.

Mikhail Klimentyev | Sputnik | Reuters

A senior Biden administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity per ground rules established by the White House, said G-7 members are planning on rolling out new sanctions and export controls on Russia.

“Tomorrow you will hear a powerful statement of unity, strength and commitment in our response to Russia’s war of aggression,” the senior administration official said on a conference call with reporters.

“We have taken an array of actions to hold Russia accountable in coordination with our G-7 partners, we’ve put in place the largest set of sanctions and export control actions ever imposed on a major economy,” the official said of the coordinated rounds of sanctions imposed on Moscow since the start of the war in late February.

The official said that the Biden administration will also be “rolling out a substantial package of our own” but declined to provide specific details other than the sanctions will address evasion loopholes.

— Amanda Macias

Zelenskyy to attend G-7 Summit in person: Financial Times

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the Group of Seven meetings in person on Sunday, Financial Times reported, citing people briefed on the preparations on Friday.

The surprise visit comes after the president was expected to attend the meetings virtually instead.

Zelenskyy’s trip to Hiroshima is “aimed at hardening western resolve in support of Ukraine and winning over other non-G7 attendees at the summit, including India and Brazil,” the Financial Times report said.

— Jihye Lee

Despite grain deal renewal, Moscow does not see progress

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov listens as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres speaks during a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters on April 24, 2023 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Moscow had agreed to renew the Black Sea grain deal for two months even though it did not see results when it came to implementing the parts of it which apply to Russia.

Speaking at a press conference with his Ugandan counterpart, Lavrov said the deal was aimed at bolstering the food security of the world’s poorest people.

Lavrov denied that Russia’s renewal of the part Turkish-brokered deal was related to presidential elections in Turkey.

— Reuters

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