Ukraine Latest: US, EU Pledge Crackdown on Sanctions Evasion

(Bloomberg) -- The US and the European Union pledged to step up the enforcement of sanctions on Russia and further choke off supplies and technology for its military.

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“We’re making Russia pay for its atrocious war,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a meeting Friday with US President Joe Biden.

Turkey abruptly stopped the transit of sanctioned goods to Russia this month after coming under pressure from Ukraine’s allies. In the wider region, Azerbaijan summoned Iran’s ambassador after saying an Iranian fighter jet breached its airspace.

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

Key Developments

  • Pentagon Puts Priority on Replacing Munitions in 2024 Budget

  • EU Plans to Ask for Enhanced Trade Monitoring of Sanctioned Tech

  • Turkey Blocks Transit of Goods Sanctioned by EU, US to Russia

  • Putin Decree Puts Popular Route Out of Russia Assets on Hold

  • Kremlin Clears Putin’s Diary for G-20 Summit as Isolation Eases

(All times CET)

Azerbaijan Cites Iranian Fighter Jet Intrusion (7:10 p.m.)

An Iranian fighter jet flew along the Azerbaijani border for almost 40 minutes on Saturday and crossed it at times after failing to give prior warning in a breach of “international practice,” Azerbaijan’s defense and foreign ministries said in a joint statement.

Iran’s ambassador in Baku was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and handed a note of protest. The government in Baku condemned the “act of provocation” and demanded an explanation from Tehran.

Zaporizhzhia Hit in Another Missile Attack (4:30 p.m.)

The Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia was hit by an S300 ballistic rocket, the region’s military authorities said on Telegram, citing preliminary data. Russia is widely using the missile, designed to intercept rockets, to shell Ukrainian border regions as its stockpile of precision missiles is being depleted.

The attack ignited a fire in an urban part of Zaporizhzhia the news service Interfax reported, citing a local official.

Ukraine Says Nearly Done Recruiting Troops For Planned Offensive (3:30 p.m.)

Ukraine’s government has almost completed recruiting volunteers it plans to use in an offensive campaign expected this spring, the Interfax news service reported, citing Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko.

Some 28,000 volunteers have applied for military service in the so-called Offensive Guard brigades, he said on a Telegram-channel on Saturday. The government created those volunteer brigades last month to help Ukraine’s army replenish its forces, in addition to its mandatory conscription of men.

At Least Three Killed by Shelling in Kherson (12.21 p.m.)

At least three civilians were killed near a grocery store in Kherson, as Russian troops continue to shell the southern city that was retaken by Ukrainian forces in the fall, according to Prosecutor General Office in Kyiv.

Officials are still waiting to confirm the casualty toll as shelling is still continuing, prosecutors said via their Telegram channel.

EU to Ask for Better Monitoring of Sanctioned Tech (6 a.m.)

The EU is planning to ask third countries that have seen a surge in imports from the EU of advanced technologies and other goods that could be used for military purposes by Russia in Ukraine to enhance trade monitoring, according to people familiar with the matter.

Exports of advanced semiconductors, integrated circuits and other technologies from the EU and Group of Seven nations to Russia have fallen significantly. But shipments from the EU and G-7 to countries such as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and a half-dozen other economies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia have soared, and in turn exports from those nations to Russia has surged.

Pentagon Puts Priority on Replacing Munitions (2:50 a.m.)

The Pentagon’s $170 billion procurement request for the new fiscal year focuses on replacing munitions supplied to Ukraine as well as well as weapons like long-range missiles, which would be necessary in a conflict with China, according to an internal budget document.

The Defense Department will ask for $76.8 billion for the Navy and Marines, with $32.8 billion in new ship construction; $61 billion for the Air Force, which includes the US Space Force: and $24.4 billion for the Army, according to the official P-1 summary document obtained by Bloomberg News.

EU Aims for Tighter Potash Penalties on Belarus (12 a.m.)

The EU hopes to agree on new sanctions on Belarus by the end of March, which may include tougher restrictions on the potash sector.

Proposals made by the EU in January would align sanctions on Belarus with those already imposed on Russia, its closest ally, but their adoption was delayed by differences between member states over food and agricultural exports, including potash and fertilizer

Ukraine Sanctions Betting Firms Linked to Russia (10:10 p.m.)

Ukrainian authorities imposed sanctions on a fresh batch of firms with business they say are related to Russia, banning 120 individuals and 287 firms, of which most are betting companies.

These firms include Favorit and Matchbet as well as Parimatch Foundation Ltd., which is a large regional player, according to the sanction list published on the website of Ukrainian President’s Office.

Parimatch argues it’s an Ukrainian company and says it stopped working in the Russian market after Moscow ordered its large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, according to a statement on its website.

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