Ukraine latest: Russia launches strikes on Kyiv, other cities
(Bloomberg) -- Russia launched new strikes on Ukraine early Friday. Several explosions were heard in the capital, Kyiv, marking the first such assaults there in more than a month.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his talk with Chinese leader Xi Jinping was an opportunity to give “new energy” to relations with Beijing. But for Xi, the hard work to make China into a credible and neutral broker for Russia’s war in Ukraine is still to come.
Ukraine’s central bank held interest rates unchanged at 25%, as expected, and increased its outlook for economic growth by more than six-fold at its meeting on Thursday — to 2% from an earlier 0.3%.
Russia rejected a US Embassy request to visit jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich after the US declined to issue visas to Russian journalists for Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to the United Nations this week.
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- Russia Bars US Embassy Visit to Jailed Reporter in Visa Backlash
(All times CET)
Russia Launches Strikes, Explosions Heard (4:15 a.m.)
Russia launched new strikes on Ukraine early Friday. Several explosions were heard in the capital, Kyiv, marking the first such assaults there in more than a month.
Officials in Kyiv said that air defense systems were working.
Explosions were also heard in Kremenchuk, Dnipro, Mykolayiv, Poltava and Cherkassy regions, Tass reports, citing Ukrainian TV channel TCH.
Russia Signals Rosneft Will Manage Seized Uniper, Fortum Units (6:16 p.m.)
Russian oil giant Rosneft PJSC may get control of local utilities owned by Germany’s Uniper SE and Finland’s Fortum Oyj after the government announced it will transfer the management of seized international assets to domestic companies that have been hit by sanctions.
Top managers from Rosneft were appointed to head the Fortum and Uniper units, the companies announced Wednesday, after a presidential order allowed state control of such assets in certain conditions. “The management will be carried out by a company that has suffered from unfriendly countries,” Russian Deputy Finance Minister Aleksey Moiseev said Thursday, according to Interfax news service.
Russia Denies Consular Visit to Jailed WSJ Reporter in Visa Row (2:30 p.m.)
Russia said its decision to reject a request by the US embassy in Moscow to visit jailed Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich came in retaliation for a failure to issue visas to its journalists for Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to New York.
The ministry said it protested to a senior US diplomat for “provocative” actions that prevented visa processing for Russian media. Lavrov this week chaired sessions of the UN Security Council under Russia’s rotating presidency.
Gershkovich, 31, is being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison on allegations of espionage after he was arrested in March while on a reporting trip to the city of Yekaterinburg in Russia’s Urals region.
Fed’s Powell Tricked by Russian ‘Pranksters’ Posing as Zelenskiy (2:06 p.m.)
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell held a call with a pair of Russian pranksters posing as Zelenskiy, according to video shown on Russian state television.
Apparently thinking he was speaking to Zelenskiy, the video shows Powell answering questions on topics from the outlook for inflation to the Russian central bank. There were several clips lasting about 15 minutes, and it’s unclear if the footage was altered.
Ukraine Holds Rates Steady, Raises Growth Forecast (1:30 p.m.)
Ukraine’s central bank held interest rates unchanged and increased its outlook for economic growth by more than sixfold, indicating it may begin reversing wartime monetary tightening earlier than expected.
Policy makers raised their 2023 economic growth outlook to 2%, from 0.3% earlier, and cut the end-year inflation forecast to 14.8% from 18.7%.
Hard Part for Xi Starts Now After Zelenskiy Call (1 p.m.)
After finally speaking with Ukraine’s president, Chinese leader Xi Jinping faces harder challenges in his push to end Russia’s war in Ukraine, which this week entered its 15th month.
Xi’s quest to portray China as a neutral broker was already undermined by his tight relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin — and got another setback from an uproar caused by a Chinese diplomat who last week questioned the sovereignty of ex-Soviet states.
Chinese officials have so far sidestepped or ignored questions about when a Chinese envoy may visit Ukraine, and whether Beijing would support any effort by Russia to keep seized territory.
Russia Doesn’t See Need for More OPEC+ Cuts: Interfax (12 p.m.)
There’s no need for additional oil output cuts beyond what key producers have already agreed, as the global crude market has achieved balance, Interfax reported, citing Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak.
“We took this decision only a month ago, and it will come in force from May for the countries that joined the cuts voluntarily,” Novak said in Moscow, referring to OPEC+ curbs, according to the news agency. The voluntary output reductions will be supportive for the market in case of an imbalance, he added.
Prime Minister Asks Italy, Vatican to Help With Grain Export Deal Renewal (12:20 p.m.)
Ukraine needs help from all of its partners — including Italy and Pope Francis — to pressure Russia to continue the operation of the grains deal corridor after May 18 without additional restrictions, Premier Denys Shmyhal said in Rome.
Russia must be urged not to block Ukrainian grains export as it is doing now, he said.