Thursday, July 7

Ukraine Latest: Russia Bans Yellen, Fink; Kyiv Eyes Grain Outlet


Russia “indefinitely” banned 61 US officials and executives, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and BlackRock’s Larry Fink, from entering the country to retaliate for what it called “constantly expanding sanctions” against its citizens.

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(Bloomberg) — Russia “indefinitely” banned 61 US officials and executives, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and BlackRock’s Larry Fink, from entering the country to retaliate for what it called “constantly expanding sanctions” against its citizens.

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Ukraine is in talks with the United Nations on ways to export grain from ports blocked by Russia’s military, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said, but Kyiv remains skeptical toward a tentative deal between Turkey and Moscow to restart shipments.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Vilnius on Tuesday to meet with leaders of the three Baltic nations, which have been seeking to boost NATO’s presence in the region.

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

Key Developments

(All times in CET)

  • Russia’s Default Tussle With Bondholders Is Only Just Starting
  • The Internet Pioneer Brought Low as Kremlin Ally by EU Sanctions
  • Raw Material Gauge Soars to Fresh Record Amid Supply Crunch
  • Putin Critic Kallas Needs New Estonian Allies to Keep Power
  • US Moves to Seize Two Abramovich Jets Over Russia Sanctions
  • Ukraine’s Tactics Show Smaller Countries How to Fight Back

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Separatist Leader Confirms Russian General’s Death (9:01 am)

Denis Pushilin, who heads the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, confirmed Russian Major General Roman Kutuzov’s death. It was first reported over the weekend by a journalist who works for state-run Russian media.

Russian forces have lost a number of senior commanders during the war. The army doesn’t regularly disclose military deaths and last reported casualty figures in late March, when it said 1,351 soldiers had died. Ukraine says about 30,000 Russians have been killed and the UK estimates about half that number.

Russia May Classify International Reserves Data (6:45 am)

The Russian Economy Ministry drafted anti-sanction amendments to legislation on financial markets, RBC reported, citing a copy of bill, which it said was approved by a governmental commission on Monday.

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The amendments allow for classifying data on Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves. In April, central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said sanctions cut off access to half of Russian reserves.

Other proposals in the measure would include the cancellation of a cross-default provision on eurobonds and allowing companies to issue “substitute” bonds to repay eurobonds, it said.

Ukraine May Need $8 Billion in Gas Imports (11:15 pm)

Ukraine will need to import as much as $8 billion-worth of natural gas for the next heating season, Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko said on Bloomberg TV.

Ukraine is in talks with the US on financing for purchases of liquefied natural gas, which could replace the pipeline gas that the country has been buying from the European market, Vitrenko said.

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Serbia Will Keep Opposing Russia Sanctions, Vucic Says (9:09 pm)

Serbia still “refuses to be part of the pack” that imposed sanctions against Russia, President Aleksandar Vucic said. He deplored the ban by some of its neighbors on Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s flight to Belgrade as blocking Serbia’s leadership from even talking to the Russian official .

The embargo on Russian oil would cost the Balkan country an estimated $600 million a year because it will have to pay instead for Iraqi crude that costs some $30 more per barrel, Vucic said in live interview on state broadcaster RTS.

Russia Bans Entry to 61 Americans, Including Yellen and Fink (8:17 pm)

Russia slapped back at the sanctions with the ban on American individuals that also includes Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, several White House advisers and Universal Pictures President Peter Cramer, according to a statement from its Foreign Ministry.

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The ministry said the “indefinite ban” targets leaders of the US defense industry, media platforms and rating agencies, air- and ship-building companies and several State Department officials cited for spreading allegedly fake news about Russian cyberattacks.

US Goes After Billionaire Abramovich’s Planes (6:35 pm)

The US obtained a warrant to seize two jets owned or controlled by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

US Magistrate Judge Sara Cave signed a warrant of seizure for a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and a Gulfstream G650ER, according to documents released by the office of Manhattan US Attorney Damian Williams.

The Boeing has remained in Dubai since March, while the Gulfstream has been in Moscow since then, according to an FBI affidavit.

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Zelenskiy Says Russia Wants to Occupy Zaporizhzhia (5:46 pm)

Zelenskiy said that “the most dangerous situation” of the war at present is in Zaporizhzhia, a region west of Donetsk partly occupied by Russian forces.

“We understand, and we see from intercepted calls, that the enemy wants to occupy Zaporizhzhia,” Zelenskiy told journalists at a news conference in Kyiv. Ukrainian forces are still fighting in Sievierodonetsk, although they are outnumbered by Russian personnel and heavy weapons, he said.

Russia’s Crude Oil Revenues Take a Hit Even as Exports Swell (5:43 pm)

Russia is earning less from its oil exports, even as seaborne crude shipments surge to a six-week high, because of the big discounts that Moscow is having to offer Asian buyers to snap up barrels shunned by Europe.

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While shipped volumes increased in the week to June 3, Russia’s revenue from export duty fell 5% to $162 million, reflecting a lower per-barrel rate on the shipments.

Ukraine in Talks With UN to Export Grain, President Says (4:47 pm)

Ukraine is in talks with the United Nations on ways to arrange grain exports, Zelenskiy said, adding that he has discussed the situation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As much as 25 million tons of grain is blocked from export in Ukraine’s ports, and that may rise to 75 million tons by autumn, Zelenskiy said. Ukraine rejected an offer to use Belarus’s rail links, he said, adding that Kyiv wasn’t invited to talks between Russia and Turkey.

While Ukraine wants guarantees from “countries which we can trust and which will have accords with Russia,” the best guarantee for safe exports will be weapons Ukraine can use to strike Russian ships if they attack Ukrainian ports, Zelenskiy said.

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