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Ukraine Latest: Zelenskiy to Fight for Release of US Veterans

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(Bloomberg) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he will fight for the release of two Americans who were captured while fighting in the country, according to an interview with NBC News.

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Four months after Russia’s invasion, Ukraine’s war-battered budget is coming under more strain, with the Kyiv government and the central bank locked in a row over how much case to print. The US moved to make it harder for three more Russian air carriers -- including the discount arm of Aeroflot PJSC -- to get parts and service for their planes.

Ukrainian troops will pull back from Sievierodonetsk as Russia concentrates its forces to capture a city that became a key target in the Kremlin’s war effort after its failed assault on Kyiv. Moscow’s troops will take control of a city in which about 90% of buildings have been damaged or destroyed by months of constant shelling.

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

Key Developments

  • How One Woman’s Hardball Tactics Opened the EU Door for Ukraine

  • Ukraine to Retreat From Key City as Russian Push Gains Traction

  • Ukraine Budget Lifeline at Risk as Biggest Bond Buyer Gets Antsy

On the Ground

Ukrainian troops are withdrawing from Sievierodonetsk, while Russian forces made some progress in their push toward Lysychansk, the last major holdout in the Luhansk region that Kyiv still controls, local governor Serhiy Haiday said in a television interview. Some Russian forces pulled back from their defense positions near the Olhine settlement in the Kherson region Ukraine’s General Staff said in a statement on Facebook. Russia is demining the Azov Sea port of Berdyansk, according to the Ukrainian military.

(All times CET)

Wimbledon CEO Says Russian Player Ban Is For This Year Only (7 a.m.)

Wimbledon’s decision to ban players from Russia and Belarus may not last beyond this year, according to All England Lawns Tennis Club CEO Sally Bolton. In April, Wimbledon announced the ban, citing Russia’s “unjustified and unprecedented military aggression.”

The ban excludes several highly ranked players such as the world’s number one Daniil Medvedev, or Aryna Sabalenka, who currently ranks sixth.

“The decision we’ve made is for this year’s championships only,” Bolton told Bloomberg. “But we still believe it was the right decision for us to take. It’s impossible to call where we’ll be this time next year.”

Zelenskiy Tells NBC He Will Fight for Release of US Vets (12:30 a.m.)

Zelenskiy said the two Americans who were captured while fighting in Ukraine are heroes and he will fight for their release, according to an interview with NBC News.

The families of veterans Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh reported them missing this month. Some 20,000 people from around the world have responded to Kyiv’s call to join the International Legion of Ukraine’s effort against Russian forces, the Ukrainian government said in March.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has said this week the two men could face the death penalty, adding that the Geneva Conventions likely don’t apply as Moscow doesn’t consider them part of Kyiv’s national army.

US Hits Three More Russian Airlines With Penalties (7:53 p.m.)

The US issued orders suspending three Russian airlines -- including the discount arm of state-owned Aeroflot -- from receiving US parts and services for their planes.

Aeroflot unit Pobeda, Nordwind Airlines and S7 Airlines -- the biggest carrier after Aeroflot -- are the latest companies to receive enforcement actions from the Commerce Department for violation of US export controls imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Friday’s actions raise the number of Russian airlines that are now cut off from the parts, components, and maintenance services they need to sustain operations to eight, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement Matthew Axelrod said in a statement.

Ukraine’s Biggest Bond Buyer is Getting Antsy (3:43 p.m.)

Ukraine’s war-battered budget is coming under more strain as the central bank increasingly raises the alarm about the limits of its ability to provide cash through sovereign debt buying.

The economic fallout from Russia’s invasion, which just reached the four-month mark, has brought budget funding for everything from pensions to military operations to breaking point.

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