(Bloomberg) -- China’s envoy, coming off recent visits to Kyiv and Moscow, said it will be “difficult” for all sides to sit down to talks right now as Beijing tries to broker a peace deal. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US is prepared to respond in concert with Ukraine and other allies “if and when Russia is ready to work for true peace.” Speaking in Helsinki, Blinken said a cease fire “that simply freezes current lines in place” would “legitimize Putin’s land-grab. It will reward the aggressor and punish the victim.”
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Hungary’s premier called for a cease fire before Ukraine’s expected counteroffensive against Russia, drawing a rebuke from one of Voldymyr Zelenskiy’s top aides. Viktor Orban’s position “insults the values of the European Union and international law in general,” Mykhailo Podolyak said on Twitter. “If the Hungarian Prime Minister is really worried about casualties, he should call his ‘friend Putin’ and ask him to withdraw Russian armed forces.”
Zelenskiy met with top commanders to review air defense capabilities and efforts by third countries to help Russia circumvent sanctions and increase missile output, his office said. He also met with Estonian counterpart Alar Karis. Ukraine overnight shot down 15 cruise missiles and at least 21 Shahed drones over the Kyiv region, the sixth consecutive night the capital was attacked from the air. No casualties were reported, after three people were killed in strikes a day earlier. Drone attacks were reported across a widening swath of Russia, including the Smolensk region, some 250 km (155 miles) north of the border with Ukraine.
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Oil climbed on Friday alongside risk assets, with attention focusing on the OPEC+ deliberations, but is still on pace for a weekly decline amid worries about demand.
Wheat prices rose for a third day, extending a rebound from a more than two-year low set earlier in the week tied to booming crops in northern and eastern Europe that could push world production to a new record.
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