Monday, March 4

Ukraine Latest: Russian Bridge to Crimea Closed After Explosions

The Kerch Strait Bridge, which links Crimea to the Russian mainland, was damaged in an explosion early Saturday that also caused the partial collapse of the road running to the peninsula.

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(Bloomberg) —

The Kerch Strait Bridge, which links Crimea to the Russian mainland, was damaged in an explosion early Saturday that also caused the partial collapse of the road running to the peninsula.

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The International Monetary Fund’s executive board approved $1.3 billion to help Ukraine with its financing. European Union leaders edged closer to a Russian gas-price cap as a further measure to punish President Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine, as Kremlin forces intensified strikes on the southern city of Zaporizhzhia.

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The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to backers of human rights in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, collectively cited by the Nobel committee for their “outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses and the abuse of power.” But some in Ukraine made clear their chagrin at sharing the prize.

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

Key Developments

  • Human Rights Champions Win Nobel Peace Prize as War Rages
  • For Europe, Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ Warning Can’t Be Dismissed
  • NATO Once Feared a Putin Victory; Now It Worries Over His Defeat
  • Russia Escalates Strike on Southeast City as Ukrainians Advance
  • Oil Poised for Biggest Weekly Rally Since March on OPEC+ Move
  • European Gas Prices Ease as Bloc Seeks to Blunt Energy Crisis

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On the Ground

Ukraine’s General Staff reports that Russia is trying to hold the temporarily captured territories, at the same time is conducting offensive actions in the Bakhmut and Avdiyivka directions. According to its regular update on Facebook, Russia is shelling the positions of Ukraine’s troops along the entire contact line, more than 20 settlements were hit. Russia also used seven Iranian-made “Shahed-136” unmanned aerial vehicles to strike, 3 of them were shot down.

(All times CET)

Only Bridge From Russia to Crimea Closed After Blast (8 am)

President Vladimir Putin’s flagship bridge to Crimea was damaged in an explosion on a fuel train that also caused the partial collapse of the road running to the peninsula.

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Traffic on the Kerch Strait Bridge is fully closed, the authorities of the peninsula are preparing to start the ferry line, according to Tass. The bridge has been the only connection to Russia after flights to Crimea were canceled following Russia’s invasion into Ukraine in February.

Videos on social media showed flames and back smoke on the bridge. Russian officials blamed Ukraine for the incident. Kyiv hasn’t comment.

IMF Approves $1.3 Billion in Assistance (2:50 am)

The International Monetary Fund on Friday said its executive board had agreed to provide $1.3 billion to help with Ukraine’s balance of payment obligations.

“More than seven months after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the humanitarian and economic toll remains massive, resulting in large and urgent fiscal and external financing needs,” the organization said in a press release.

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“Amid massive population displacement and destruction of housing and key infrastructure, real GDP is projected to contract by 3% in 2022 relative to 2021 and financing needs remain very large,” the IMF added.

Zelenskiy Says Army Has Freed 96 Settlements (9:11 pm)

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Ukraine’s troops have already liberated 2,434 square kilometers (940 square miles) of territory, including 96 settlements, since the start of its active counteroffensive.

“With this war against Ukraine, against the international legal order, against our people, Russia has put itself in conditions that it is now only a matter of time — the real liberation of everything that was once seized and is now under the control of the Kremlin,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly address.

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Zelenskiy Says IMF Approved $1.3 Billion in Immediate Aid (7:45 pm)

Zelenskiy said on Twitter that the International Monetary Fund’s executive board approved providing about $1.3 billion in immediate aid to Ukraine under its Rapid Financing Instrument. The IMF’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shared Nobel Peace Prize Rankles Some in Ukraine (6:28 pm)

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak criticized the Nobel committee for awarding its peace prize to activists from Russia and Belarus together with a rights group in his country, summing up the anger many in Ukraine expressed on social media.

Sardonically calling the peace prize “awesome,” Podolyak wrote on Twitter that “the Nobel Committee has an interesting understanding of word ‘peace’ if representatives of two countries that attacked a third one receive @NobelPrize together. Neither Russian nor Belarusian organizations were able to organize resistance to the war.”

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But Olexandra Matviychuk, the head of the winning Ukrainian rights organization, praised the Russian and Belarusian winners on Facebook. “Delighted that the Center for Civil Liberties, which I lead, received the Nobel Prize today along with our friends and partners at Memorial and Viasna ,” she wrote.

Ukrainian Railways to Restore Connections with Izyum, Minister Says (6:15 pm)

Ukrainian’s state-run railway company, Ukrzaliznytsia, plans to restore connections with the liberated town of Izyum in the Kharkiv region, on Monday, Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Facebook.

“As soon as we get the ‘green light’ from military and pyrotechnicians, will work on connection with Kupiansk, the key railway hub of Kharkiv Region,” Kubrakov said. He said establishing contact with Izyum and other settlements will allow providing aid faster and displaced people will be able to check the homes they left behind.

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Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Activists in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia (11 am)

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 was awarded to a human rights activist from Belarus, Ales Bialiatski, who’s currently in detention, along with the Russian rights organization Memorial and Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties.

“They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses and the abuse of power,” said Berit Reiss-Andersen, head of Norway’s Nobel committee said. “Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.”

Memorial, a group founded by Soviet-era dissidents including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov, was shut down earlier this year on the grounds that it failed to identify itself as a “foreign agent” under Russian law.



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