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Ukraine Latest: US Gives Additional $400 Million in Military Aid

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(Bloomberg) -- The US announced a new military aid package of about $400 million that includes high-precision artillery to improving targeting of Russian forces and equipment.

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President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visited front-line troops in the Dnipropetrovsk region on Friday in a rare foray from Kyiv. Germany expects Canada to release a key part for a Russian gas pipeline that’s been caught up in sanctions, a move that could ease the squeeze on gas flows to Europe as natural gas prices are set to post another weekly advance.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Moscow over blocking Ukraine grain exports. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting in Indonesia, but the Russian diplomat left the room for some of the G-20 speakers.

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

Key Developments

  • Biden Lauds CIA for Punching ‘Gigantic Hole’ in Putin’s Playbook

  • Germany’s Uniper Seeks Bailout, Victim of Russia’s Gas Curbs

  • Blinken Tells Russian Diplomats to Stop Blocking Ukraine Grain

  • Germany Sees Russian Pipeline Part Released in Gas De-Escalation

  • Yellen Heads to Asia With Russia Oil-Price-Cap Top of Mission

On the Ground

Ukrainian forces repelled several Russian attacks and forced Russian forces to pull back near the border of Kherson and Mykolayiv regions and in Donetsk region in the direction of Lysychansk, the General Staff of the Ukrainian Army said on Facebook. Russian offensives in Luhansk region have slowed down after Ukrainian forces destroyed ammunition supply depots, Luhansk regional governor Serhiy Haiday said on Telegram. Evacuation from occupied parts of Luhansk region is “difficult but possible,” he added.

(All times CET)

Biden Speaks to Sister of Former Marine Detained in Russia (2:30 a.m)

President Joe Biden spoke Friday to the sister of a former Marine detained in Russia after facing demands from advocates to do more for him and other US citizens entangled in the country’s legal system.

Paul Whelan was arrested in Moscow in 2018 and convicted of espionage in 2020. He denies the charges. The president, in a telephone call, assured his sister Elizabeth Whelan of his commitment to bringing her brother and the other detained Americans back to the US, a White House official said.

Biden Praises CIA (11:45 p.m.)

Biden praised the Central Intelligence Agency’s efforts to expose Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine, telling the staff that they had “punched a gigantic hole” in President Vladimir Putin’s objectives.

“It was thanks to the incredible work of our intelligence professionals that we were able to forewarn the world what Vladimir Putin was planning in Ukraine,” Biden said during his first visit as president to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. “We saw what he was doing. You saw it, the forces he was amassing, the plans he was making.”

In the prelude to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, Biden and administration officials publicized the typically secretive work of the CIA, in an effort to warn Kyiv and the rest of the world of Putin’s intentions.

US Providing High-Precision Ammo in $400 Million Package (7:30 p.m.)

The US announced an additional $400 million in military aid for Ukraine, which will include four High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and high-precision ammunition allowing its forces to strike deeper and more accurately behind Russia’s front lines, according to a senior defense official. Ukraine will have a total of 12 HIMARS after the new units arrive, the official said.

The latest US aid package includes 1,000 155mm artillery rounds as well as three tactical vehicles for equipment recovery, the official said in a briefing for reporters. The official declined to say if the ammunition was GPS-guided Excalibur artillery shells.

Russia Demands Fast Resolution on Kaliningrad (5:18 p.m.)

Russia’s Foreign Ministry threatened unspecified “harsh measures” against the European Union and Lithuania unless a blockade of sanctioned goods to the Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad is lifted within days.

Moscow continues dialogue with Lithuania, which imposed the restrictions, and the European Commission and keeps receiving assurances the situation will be resolved shortly, the ministry said on its website.

On Thursday Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was “hoping for the best, but we are preparing for the worst” on restoring transport links to the Kaliningrad.

Moscow Council Member Imprisoned for Anti-War Comments (4:30 p.m.)

A Moscow district council member was sentenced to seven years in prison for making anti-war comments, the harshest punishment yet under a law enacted after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Alexei Gorinov was found guilty of spreading “knowingly false information about activities of Russian military forces,” Interfax and other Russian media reported.

Russia Country Risk Rises to Record High (4 p.m.)

Russia’s country risk rose to its highest on record, according to Geoquant indices, which quantify risks to investors based on governance, social and security indicators. Russia’s risk rose to 62.8214 on a scale from 0 to 100.

Geoquant risk indices correlate with changes in sovereign bonds’ yields, credit-default swaps, equities, foreign flows and currencies, according to a 2018 study by Bloomberg.

Zelenskiy Visits Troops, Briefed in Dnipropetrovsk (2:10 p.m.)

Ukraine’s president was briefed in the Kryvyi Rih district of Dnipropetrovsk in the country’s central region in a rare foray outside of Kyiv. His visit follows trips to Kharkiv and Mykolaiv since late May.

Zelenskiy received updates on the situation on the ground and the state of affairs for military units and detachments, as well as about the functioning of the city under martial law and the status of food and medical supplies, according to his website.

He also visited frontline positions of Ukrainian troops, talked with service members. and presented state awards to military personnel.

Germany Sees Russian Pipeline Part Released by Canada (1:40 p.m.)

Germany expects Canada to release a key Russian pipeline part caught up in sanctions, a move that both Berlin and Moscow have said could ease the squeeze on gas flows to Europe.

According to a person familiar with the situation, Germany expects Canada to send the turbine back soon. A German government spokesman told reporters that there are “positive signals from Canada,” though he couldn’t confirm the part was on its way yet.

Germany Sees Russian Pipeline Part Released in Gas De-Escalation

Blinken to Russian Diplomats: Stop Blocking Ukraine Grain (1:30 p.m.)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken blamed Russian diplomats for Moscow’s role in worsening global food insecurity in a rare encounter at the G-20 meeting in Indonesia.

Blinken told them that Ukraine didn’t belong to Russia. He said that Moscow should stop blockading Ukrainian ports and allow the country to export vast amounts of stored grain to ease shortages that have caused commodity prices to skyrocket, hurting developing countries.

Blinken Tells Russian Diplomats to Stop Blocking Ukraine Grain

Balkan Pipeline Set to Reduce Reliance on Russian Gas (12:40 p.m.)

Greece and Bulgaria completed a natural-gas pipeline linking the two countries, promising new sources of supply for southeastern Europe as the region seeks alternatives to Russian fuel.

Completion of the project, first planned in 2009 and under construction since 2019, is a boon to a region that’s particularly dependent on Moscow for its gas.

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