(Bloomberg) — Negotiators from Kyiv and Moscow are holding fresh talks in Turkey on Tuesday, aiming to agree on a cease-fire to bring a breakthrough in the 34-day war in Ukraine.
Heading into talks, both sides differed vastly on questions, including the state of territories occupied by Russian troops and security guarantees. Russia’s benchmark MOEX Index erased gains of as much as 4.4% to fall 2.5% as investors awaited the outcome of talks.
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Ukraine Says Only Security Guarantees Can End War (11:47 a.m.)
Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak, who is meeting his Russian counterparts in Istanbul, said a cease-fire to resolve humanitarian problems and security guarantees are topics under discussion in talks that are underway.
The key point for Kyiv is about international security guarantees that Ukraine is seeking from European Union and NATO countries.
“Only with this agreement we will be able to end the war,” he said. “The second issue, which is not less important, is a cease-fire to resolve all humanitarian problems, which needs to be resolved immediately.”
Russia Makes Latest Coupon Payment on Sovereign Bonds (11:40 a.m.)
Russia has transferred a $102 million coupon payment on bonds due in 2035 to the National Settlement Depository in Moscow, as the government continues to service its foreign debts even after the invasion of Ukraine severed ties with the global financial system.
From the NSD, the funds are due to be distributed to investors. While the U.S. Treasury has made a carve-out in its sanctions on Russia that allows bond payments to go ahead, the foreign banks involved in the transfers are cautious of falling foul of the sweeping penalties on Russian banks and businessmen. Restrictions imposed by the main international settlement systems have also contributed to payment delays for holders of Russia’s sovereign and corporate debt.
By transferring the cash, the Finance Ministry said Russia has performed its obligations under the 2035 bond “in full,” according to its statement Tuesday.
Oil Storage Site Outside Lviv Hit (11:20 a.m.)
A Russian missile strike outside Lviv deliberately struck an oil terminal that stored fuel meant for the country’s spring sowing campaign, the city’s mayor, Andriy Sadovy, told Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper.
It was one of several attacks on oil storage, adding to pressure on Ukrainian farmers struggling to get started with the planting during the war. Ukraine’s agricultural makes up more than 40% of the country’s exports.
Lithuania Backs Biden on Putin Remark (10:36 a.m.)
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said he agreed with President Joe Biden’s statement in Warsaw that Russian leader Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.”
Regional Government Office Hit in Mykolaiv (10:10 a.m.)
The regional government office in Mykolaiv was severely damaged by Russian shelling, according to Governor Vitaliy Kim, who has become a popular war-time figure for many Ukrainians. Emergency workers are still looking for eight civilians and three soldiers who may be missing in the rubble.
Turkey’s Erdogan Expects Good News From Istanbul Talks (9:01 a.m.)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Ukrainian and Russian delegations he expects “good news” from Tuesday’s peace talks in Istanbul.
“We are at a time that requires concrete results from the talks,” he said in televised comments. “An immediate cease-fire and peace is in everyone’s interest.”
U.S., European Equity Futures Rise, Oil Drops (8:59 a.m.)
U.S. and European equity futures rose as upcoming cease-fire talks between Russia and Ukraine helped sentiment. Crude oil fell, taking West Texas Intermediate to about $105 a barrel, and gold held a decline. European natural gas gained as colder weather at the end of winter combined with a dip in flows from Norway.
Ukraine Protests Curbs on Hryvnia Use in Occupied Areas (8:52 a.m.)
Russia has curbed circulation of the hryvnia currency in occupied areas of Ukraine and has instead introduced the use of the ruble, the central bank in Kyiv said, citing information from banks and local media.
Such actions are illegal and violate international law, the regulator said. “The aggressor country should stop its attepts to terrorize Ukrainians financially,” the statement said.
NATO Allies Are Split on Whether They Should Talk to Putin (7:25 a.m.)
With the war now in its second month, a series of dilemmas are coming into sharp focus over which conditions could be deemed acceptable by Ukraine for any accord, especially as regards the security guarantees alliance members might be able to offer Kyiv.
There are also divergences over what further weapons to send Ukraine, and on the question of whether talking to Putin is helpful or not, according to people familiar with discussions that have taken place in the past week between leaders on both sides of the Atlantic and documents seen by Bloomberg.
France and Germany are of the view a cease-fire should be achieved quickly and then the withdrawal of Russian troops. But other NATO members believe the dialog that Paris and Berlin are pursuing with the Kremlin is counterproductive and could play into Putin’s hands, according to one of the documents.
World’s Longest Passenger Flight to Avoid Russian Skies (7:23 a.m.)
Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. plans to reroute its New York-Hong Kong service to avoid Russian airspace, in what would be the world’s longest commercial passenger flight by distance. It will take about 17 hours.
Several airlines have plotted routes to avoid Russia, mostly between Asia and Europe. Such flight changes are likely to be temporary given the costs carriers face from high oil prices, as well as uncertainty over the accessibility of Russian airspace.
Space Station in Spotlight Over Russia’s War in Ukraine (7:18 a.m.)
With the U.S. and allies imposing sanctions on Russia, will Moscow retaliate by dooming the International Space Station? No one knows, but the possibility is real. “I think this is the biggest threat to the international partnership in its history,” says Ron Garan, a former NASA astronaut who spent five months aboard the station in 2011.
What’s at risk is the largest and most complex international project ever, a $100 billion testament to human ingenuity and cross-border cooperation. The 490-ton assemblage has been inhabited continuously for 21 years, a record in manned spaceflight, and at any given time more than 100 scientific experiments are under way.
Australia Plans First Magnitsky-Style Sanctions (4:08 a.m.)
Australia will target sanctions and place travel bans on nearly 40 Russians who Canberra said were responsible for the corruption that lawyer “Sergei Magnitsky uncovered and those complicit in his subsequent mistreatment and death,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement.
Japan meanwhile expanded its export controls currently in effect against Russia to include luxury goods including cars, fur, jewelry, tobacco, cosmetics and artwork. The move will be effective from April 5, the trade ministry said.
U.S. Sees No Sign Asia Firms Flouting Sanctions (4:00 a.m.)
“Major players know that there’s significant risk to their business if they don’t comply because of the various actions we can take,” Matthew Borman, the deputy assistant secretary for export administration at the Department of Commerce, told a teleconference. He cited reports hundreds of companies have stopped engaging in business activities in and with Russia.
Kyiv Forces Retake Town, Zelenskiy Says (10:35 p.m.)
Ukraine’s military recaptured the town of Irpin west of the capital from Russian troops, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his daily video address.
“Our defenders are pushing forward in the Kyiv region, regaining control over Ukrainian territory”, the president said. He said fighting continues in the area, while the southern port city of Mariupol remains blocked.
Ukraine Seeks to Resolve at Least Humanitarian Issues (9:35 p.m.)
Resolving humanitarian issues will be the “minimum” goal for Ukraine’s negotiators in two days of talks with Russia in Istanbul scheduled to begin Tuesday, Kuleba said. The maximum goal is a stable cease-fire agreement, he said.
“We are looking forward to the conversation of the two delegations to see if the Russians will come to these talks ready to really agree on something, or just repeat their demands, which were heard from the very beginning,” Kuleba said. In the latter event, he said, “the sides will disperse in the same way as they arrived.”
Abramovich Suffered Suspected Poisoning in Ukraine Talks (8:26 p.m.)
Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian negotiators suffered a suspected poisoning after meetings in Kyiv at the beginning of the month as part of talks to end the war in Ukraine, according to people familiar with the situation.
He and Ukrainians at the talks experienced peeling skin, red eyes, loss of eyesight and headaches, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information wasn’t public. The Wall Street Journal first reported the alleged poisoning.
Biden Says He Was ‘Expressing My Outrage’ in Putin Ad Lib (8:15 p.m.)
President Joe Biden said he wasn’t announcing a U.S. policy change when he said Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” but was expressing his own anger about the invasion of Ukraine.
“I was expressing my outrage, he shouldn’t remain in power, just like bad people shouldn’t continue to do bad things,” Biden said Monday at the White House. “But it doesn’t mean we have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way.”