Russia Strikes After Zelenskiy’s Europe Aid Call

(Bloomberg) – Russia launched its biggest spate of missile attacks against Ukraine this year after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy ended a visit to European capitals where he was scouting for more weapons to repel Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

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While Romania fought back a claim by Ukraine’s supreme commander that two Russian cruise missiles had entered the NATO member’s airspace, Moldova called out the Russian ambassador after the projectiles passed through its territory.

Wheat rose on attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure, while crude oil prices rose after Russia announced it will cut oil production by 500,000 barrels a day next month.

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

Important Developments

  • Wheat rises as Russia launches new missile strikes on Ukraine

  • OPEC+ won’t boost oil supply as Russia makes cuts, delegates say

  • Romania says no Russian missile has crossed airspace after Kiev claims

  • Bank of Russia is biased Hawkish with a more likely rate hike in 2023

  • Russia retaliates for sanctions by announcing cuts in oil production

(All times CET)

Wheat Rises After Russian Attacks (5:02 p.m.)

Chicago wheat futures are up more than 4%, the biggest intraday gain since October, amid Russian attacks.

Ukraine has continued to ship grain throughout the war, although damage to infrastructure can slow logistics. Commodity markets have largely erased risk premia since Russia invaded Ukraine a year ago, but at least some of that risk may need to be resumed, Arlan Suderman, chief commodities economist at StoneX, said in a report.

Zelenskyj calls for a ban on Russian athletes (5:44 p.m.)

Speaking to sports ministers of partner countries, the Ukrainian leader reiterated his country’s position that Russian athletes should be banned from international competitions.

Zelenskyi said 228 Ukrainian athletes were killed in the war, while many Russian athletes held military ranks or were associated with army clubs. It was “only a matter of time” before Putin’s government would force them to spread war propaganda, he said.

World Bank grants Ukraine $50 million for transportation project (3:26 p.m.)

The World Bank announced a new $50 million project to restore Ukraine’s transport network in support of humanitarian aid and increase the capacity of import and export corridors.

Direct damage to Ukraine’s transportation network totals more than $29.9 billion, the Washington-based lender said in a statement.

Moldova appoints new PM amid security risks (2:59 PM)

Moldovan President Maia Sandu appointed Dorin Recean, 48, a former interior minister and senior adviser, as prime minister and said: “The new government must increase the security level of the country.”

The nation of 2.6 million people, sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania, has come under severe pressure since the Russian invasion began. Russian cruise missiles fired in the Kremlin’s biggest attack this year crossed Moldova’s airspace on Friday.

Zelenskyy Condemns Recent Massive Attack (1:48 p.m.)

Zelenskyy condemned the launching of at least 70 rockets and said that “unfortunately there were victims”.

The Ukrainian leader, who was visiting Brussels, Paris and London this week, said in a statement on his website that the missiles had passed through the airspace of Moldova and Romania, adding that it posed a “challenge to NATO”.

The Romanian government earlier Friday dismissed a claim by the Ukrainian military that a Russian missile had entered its airspace. The Moldovan Foreign Ministry has summoned the Russian ambassador about the incident.

Ukraine Says Launched 61 Cruise Missiles (1:22 p.m.)

Russia shot down 71 cruise missiles, up to 35 S-300 missiles and seven drones, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, told Telegram on Friday. Cruise missiles were fired from strategic bombers and from ships in the Black Sea. Ukrainian forces shot down 61 cruise missiles and five drones, he said.

Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal previously said on Telegram that high-voltage infrastructure had been damaged in the western, central and eastern regions of the country, leading to disruptions in electricity supplies.

Romania says ‘air target’ was never in its airspace (12:30 p.m.)

Romania’s defense ministry said it detected an “air target, most likely a cruise missile launched from a Russian warship in the Black Sea” early Friday, but the projectile “never entered” its airspace. The missiles were never closer than 35 kilometers (22 miles) to the north-eastern Romanian border, sources said.

The “target” flew over Ukraine, then over Moldova, “after which it reentered Ukrainian space without entering Romanian airspace,” the NATO member said in a statement.

Romania said it diverted two MiG jets to the north of the country to increase “response capabilities”, but once the situation was clarified the jets resumed their original mission.

OPEC+ Won’t Boost Oil Supply as Russia Cuts (12:19 p.m.)

Russia’s partners in the OPEC+ oil coalition signaled they will not increase production to offset cuts announced by Moscow.

The Saudi-led OPEC+ group will maintain production despite plans by the Kremlin to cut 500,000 barrels a day in retaliation for international sanctions, according to delegates who declined to be identified.

Read more: OPEC+ won’t boost oil supply as Russia makes cuts, say delegates

Bank of Russia switches to Hawkish Bias (12:06 p.m.)

The Central Bank of Russia left interest rates unchanged but signaled that it will consider raising rates at its upcoming meetings if inflationary risks worsen.

Policymakers kept their benchmark on hold at 7.5%, in line with forecasts by all economists polled by Bloomberg. But in a different tone, the central bank said in a statement accompanying the decision that higher borrowing costs could soon be at play.

At least 10 missiles shot down by anti-aircraft defenses over Kiev, Lviv and Kryvyi Rih (11:40 a.m.)

Ukraine’s air defenses shot down at least 10 missiles over Kiev and at least one in the far west of the Lviv region, local mayors Vitaliy Klitschko and Andriy Sadovyi said on Telegram. Kiev’s power grid was damaged and engineers are working to restore it, Klitschko said.

Four rockets were launched over Kryvyi Rih, the Ukrainian president’s hometown, and nearby areas, local mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said. No casualties or major damage were reported.

Missile and Drone Attack Hits Energy Targets in Six Regions (11:40 a.m.)

Friday’s missile and drone strike from Russia, the latest of more than a dozen major barrages since early October, hit thermal and hydroelectric power plants and high-voltage infrastructure in six regions, Ukraine’s energy minister said.

“Emergency outages have been introduced in many regions. The most difficult situation is in Zaporizhia, Kharkiv and Khmelnytskyi regions,” Herman Halushchenko said on Facebook. Air defense and advanced engineering measures helped preserve the integrity of Ukraine’s energy system, he added.

Ukraine, NATO member starts production of artillery shells (11:30 a.m.)

Ukrainian state-owned company Ukroboronprom has started manufacturing 120mm artillery shells in cooperation with a NATO member country, the company said on the website. The NATO country has not been identified.

Some of the production is located outside of Ukraine. Ukroboronprom has been producing 82mm shells since December, using the capabilities of an unnamed NATO member state.

Moldova calls Russian envoy over airspace violation: TASS (11am)

Moldova’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Russian ambassador after Friday’s incident in which Kyiv said Russian cruise missiles crossed parts of Moldovan and Romanian airspace before entering western Ukraine.

The missiles were part of a fresh barrage from Moscow that began overnight and lasted through Friday morning, targeting Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and other targets.

Ukraine vows to meet conditions for EU membership talks this year (10:14 am)

Ukraine’s “tremendous progress” was recognized by European leaders during Zelenskyy’s visit to Brussels on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Olha Stefanishyna told Bloomberg TV. It is important to start the negotiation process this year and the Ukrainian government is carrying out all seven necessary crucial reforms, including the judiciary and the rule of law and the fight against corruption, Stefanishyna said.

On Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Ukraine “needs to do more”, “but it is important to understand that there is no rigid timetable. It is a performance-based process, so it is up to the candidate countries how far and how quickly they achieve the set targets.”

Emergency Power Outages Amid Major Missile and Drone Attack (9am)

Grid operator Ukrenergo conducted emergency power cuts in several areas during the so-called 14th mass attack by Russian missiles and drones on Ukraine’s power system.

The company said on Facebook that high-voltage infrastructure, as well as power plants and transmission stations, had been attacked.

Multiple Russian missiles en route after night raids (8am)

The recent major barrage of Russian attacks on power plants and other key infrastructure began overnight with rocket attacks on Kharkiv and drone strikes in Zaporizhia, Dnipro and Mykolayiv.

Mykolayiv Governor Vitaliy Kim said about 20 missiles were aimed at Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian Air Force, seven drones were fired by Russia from the Sea of ​​Azov overnight and six Kalibr cruise missiles by a Russian ship in the Black Sea. Five drones and five missiles were intercepted.

Precautionary power cuts were issued in the Kiev and Dnipropetrovsk regions due to the threat of oncoming missiles. Russia has consistently targeted Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure since early October.

Scholz urges European leaders to deliver tanks (3:15 p.m.)

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has asked European leaders to deliver the Leopard 2 tanks needed to send two battalions to Ukraine by the end of March.

“I took the opportunity to ask her for active help,” said Scholz early on Friday morning after the EU Council meeting in Brussels. “My impression is that this will work. But it won’t be easy,” he added.

Germany will deliver 14 Leopard 2 tanks. A total of 80 main battle tanks are required to deploy two full battalions.

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