Ukrainian official not expecting a major breakthrough at this week’s talks with Russia
Vadym Denysenko, an advisor to Ukraine’s interior minister, speaks during a briefing on March 14, 2022.
Pavlo Bahmut | Ukrinform | Future Publishing | Getty Images
Vadym Denysenko, an advisor to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, has said that he does not expect any major breakthroughs during this week’s talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials.
Delegations from both countries are set to meet in Turkey on Monday for face-to-face talks, which are expected to run until Wednesday.
Denysenko was speaking during a charity “television marathon,” shown around the world, in support of Ukraine.
— Chloe Taylor
Ukraine won’t open humanitarian corridors Monday over fear of ‘provocations’
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said that authorities will not be opening humanitarian corridors today, as officials fear a Russian attack is looming.
“Our intelligence reported possible provocations by the occupiers on the routes of humanitarian corridors,” she said on messenger app Telegram. “Therefore, for reasons of public safety, we do not open humanitarian corridors today.”
Ukrainian officials have operated safe exit routes in various locations across the country on an almost daily basis in recent weeks, with the corridors enabling the evacuation of civilians and the import of vital supplies.
Early attempts to evacuate civilians from the cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha had to be halted, as Ukrainian authorities said Russian forces were violating cease-fire agreements along the evacuation routes.
— Chloe Taylor
Ukraine says 143 children have been killed in the war
In this picture taken on March 18, 2022, 109 empty strollers are seen placed outside the Lviv city council during an action to highlight the number of children killed in the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Yuriy Dyachyshyn | AFP | Getty Images
The office of Ukraine’s attorney general said Monday that 143 children have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24.
A further 216 children had been wounded in the war, officials added.
Children in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Donetsk “suffered the most,” the attorney general’s office said, but noted that children had been badly affected across 14 regions of Ukraine.
— Chloe Taylor
Russia and Ukraine delegates to meet in Turkey for talks
Ukrainian and Russian flags are seen on a table before talks between officials of the two countries in Belarus on March 3, 2022.
Maxim Guchek | Reuters
Delegations from Ukraine and Russia are scheduled to meet in Turkey today to conduct more talks.
David Arakhamia, a Ukrainian official who has been taking part in negotiations with Russia, said in a Facebook post on Sunday that delegates had decided to hold this round of talks in-person.
“Today, at the next round of talks on video connection, it was decided to hold the next live round by two delegations in Turkey on March 28-30,” he said, according to an NBC News translation.
— Chloe Taylor
Ukrainian officials reportedly say Russian forces are withdrawing from some locations
The Mayor of Slavutych — home to employees of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant — said Monday that Russian troops have left the town, Reuters reported.
“They completed the work they had set out to do,” Mayor Yuri Fomichev said in an online video post, according to the news agency. “They surveyed the town, today they finished doing it and left the town. There aren’t any in the town right now.”
On Saturday, Ukrainian media reported that Slavutych had been captured by Russian forces.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s armed forces said in the early hours of Monday morning that some Russian troops were withdrawing from the Kyiv region to Belarus.
“The regrouping of individual units from the composition of the [Russian] Eastern Military District continues,” the armed forces said in a Facebook update.
“Units that have suffered significant losses in the process of offensive actions are usually taken to the territory of Belarus for the restoration of militia,” the update added, saying the withdrawal from the territory of the Kyiv region was “celebrated.”
But officials noted that battles continued across the country, and that Russian forces “continue missile and aviation strikes on important military infrastructure and advanced positions aimed at causing losses and personnel exhaustion.”
CNBC has not been able to independently verify these reports.
— Chloe Taylor
Russia will likely launch cyberattacks on oil and gas infrastructure, warns cybersecurity firm
Russian cyberattacks on oil and gas infrastructure are highly likely given the country’s history of “tit-for-tat” action against sanctions, said Rob Lee, co-founder and CEO of cybersecurity firm Dragos.
“In 2014 when Russia invaded Ukraine and took Crimea, there was a number of … sanctions levied from the Western financial institutions,” Lee said on CNBC’s “Street Sign Asia.”
“As a result, Russia ended up using cyberattacks back against those financial institutions.”
“Now that we’re seeing sanctions against oil and gas infrastructure, Nord Stream 2 etc … we absolutely expect to start seeing cyberattacks against oil and gas infrastructure,” he said. Germany halted the certification of the Nord Stream 2 in late February — the gas pipeline was designed to bring natural gas from Russia directly to Europe.
An oil pumpjack pulls oil from the Permian Basin oil field on March 14, 2022 in Odessa, Texas.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
‘No significant change to Russian forces’ dispositions,’ UK says
Russian soldiers in Volnovakha district in the pro-Russian separatist-controlled Donetsk, Ukraine, on March 26, 2022.
Sefa Karacan | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The U.K.’s Ministry of Defense has said that over the last 24 hours there have been “no significant change to Russian forces’ dispositions in occupied Ukraine.”
A continued lack of momentum and morale among the Russian military, as well as ongoing logistical shortages and aggressive resistance from the Ukrainians are all causing problems for Russia, the U.K. said in an intelligence update.
“Russia has gained most ground in the south in the vicinity of Mariupol where heavy fighting continues as Russia attempts to capture the port,” it added.
— Chloe Taylor
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India is buying up cheap Russian oil at ‘record discounts’ and China may follow suit
Russia’s crude oil deliveries to India were fairly infrequent last year, but there’s been a “significant uptick” since the Russia-Ukraine war began, say industry observers.
Russian crude is being sold at “record discounts,” says the International Energy Agency.
Ellen Wald, president of Transversal Consulting, said a couple of commodity trading firms were also offering discounts of up to $30 per barrel two weeks ago for the Urals blend — the main oil blend that Russia exports.
While India’s motivations are economic, it would also likely weigh its friendship with Russia in purchasing its oil — since both countries having a long history, said Samir N. Kapadia, head of trade at government relations consulting firm Vogel Group.
Analysts say China, the largest oil importer in the world, could also go for discounted oil from Russia. “China really would prefer much cheaper oil … prices are way too high even in the $90 range that’s too high for China,” said Ellen Wald, president of Transversal Consulting.
— Weizhen Tan
Zelenskyy says Ukraine ready to discuss neutrality status
President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds a press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 12, 2022.
Emin Sansar | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country is prepared to discuss adopting a neutral status as part of a peace deal with Russia, though an agreement would need to be guaranteed by third parties and put to a referendum.
“Security guarantees and neutrality, non-nuclear status of our state. We are ready to go for it. This is the most important point,” Zelenskyy said in a 90-minute video address with Russian journalists.
Zelenskyy said that while his government is discussing the use of the Russian language in Ukraine in its talks with Russia, other Russian demands such as demilitarization are not currently on the table. He said Russian-speaking cities in Ukraine have been destroyed during the invasion.
— Ian Thomas, with reporting from Reuters