(Bloomberg) — Justice ministers from the Group of Seven nations are gathering in Berlin Tuesday to discuss how to better coordinate efforts to secure evidence of war crimes in Ukraine and prosecute the alleged perpetrators.
“War crimes cannot go unpunished, no matter who committed them and no matter where they were committed,” German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann told reporters, calling the process of investigating some 45,000 documented cases in Ukraine “a daunting task.”
At a meeting in Bucharest, NATO foreign ministers will discuss more air-defense systems and other support for the government in Kyiv, but there won’t be any progress on Ukraine one day joining the alliance.
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Russian forces targeted the southern city of Dnipro with missiles overnight, damaging a private enterprise, local authorities said on Telegram. Parts of the Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions were shelled over the past day, while Ukrainian troops repelled attacks near 10 settlements in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Ukraine’s General Staff said. Russian forces made incremental gains south of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, but the advances are unlikely to trigger an imminent encirclement of the city, according to the latest report from the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.
Estonia, Lithuania Push for Lower Price on Russian Oil Cap (2:42 p.m.)
Estonia’s foreign minister called for the price of any cap on Russian oil to be set as low as possible, while his Lithuanian counterpart brushed off any urgency to agree to any price as the Baltic nations remained holdouts in contentious talks at the European Union.
EU states have debated whether to set a price cap as low as $62 a barrel on exports of Russian crude oil after several countries demanded a level that could put more pressure on Moscow, but the talks remain stuck, diplomats said. Poland and the Baltic nations said the price level was still too high, according to the diplomats.
Russia Says Nuclear Talks With US Unlikely Before Next Year (1:43 p.m.)
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the decision to pull out of a new round of talks under the New START treaty this week was “political” and a signal to the US, according to Interfax and Tass.
Russia will propose new dates for the consultations after some time, and it’s unlikely that they will take place this year, he added. While the US insisted on a resumption of nuclear weapons inspections, Russia has other priorities, Ryabkov said.
The talks would have been the first such discussions since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February and would have marked a step toward the resumption of broader arms control negotiations.
Ukraine Considers Using Bigger Grain Ships (1:20 p.m.)
Ukraine is considering a push for bigger ships to use its crop-export corridor, in an effort to bolster volumes as inspection lags slow trade. Ships transiting the country’s ports have often been delayed near Istanbul, where cargoes must be checked by teams from Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations — the parties involved in the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Given the bottlenecks, Ukrainian officials recently held talks with agriculture industry representatives about prioritizing bigger ships, according to Roman Slaston, head of the Ukrainian Agribusiness Council.
Nordic NATO Bids Need More Work, Turkey Says (12:40 p.m.)
Sweden and Finland have made progress toward winning Ankara’s approval for their applications to join NATO but they still need to do more, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“There are still some issues, they made some progress and some steps were taken but at this moment it’s not sufficient enough,” Cavusoglu told Bloomberg before meeting his Swedish and Finnish counterparts on the sidelines of the NATO meeting. Turkey and Hungary are the only two of 30 NATO allies not to have ratified the Nordic nations’ bids.
Stoltenberg Hails Ukrainian Resilience (12:15 p.m.)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he’s convinced Ukraine will successfully resist Russian attacks on its energy infrastructure, which he said are designed to trigger a wave of migration from the country.
Speaking ahead of the meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Stoltenberg reiterated that he expects more such attacks because of President Vladimir Putin’s failures on the battlefield, even as Russia’s stockpiles of missiles run low. Russia has reached out to Iran to get additional supplies of weaponry, Stoltenberg said.
Slovakia Supplies 30 Fighting Vehicles (11:30 a.m.)
Slovakia has donated 30 infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine as part of a swap agreement with Germany, according to Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad.
Under the terms of the deal, Germany will deliver 15 Leopard 2 battle tanks to Slovakia from armaments industry stocks in a package that includes ammunition, training and logistics, the defense ministry in Berlin said in a tweet.
Russia ‘Trying to Erase Ukraine’s Cultural Identity’ (11:20 a.m.)
Russia is also waging war on Ukrainian culture and the Kremlin’s aim is to “obliterate” the country’s identity, according to Claudia Roth, Germany’s State Minister for Culture.
“We have to do something to counter this,” Roth told reporters before talks with EU counterparts in Brussels, accusing Russia of targeting Ukraine’s “museums, theaters, cinemas, archives and libraries.”
Ukraine’s Power Deficit Remains At 30% (11 a.m.)
Ukraine is still facing a 30% power shortage even after repairs to damage caused by multiple Russian missile strikes on the country’s energy infrastructure, according to Ukrenergo, the nation’s grid operator.
The power deficit widened slightly following emergency blackouts at several generation facilities Monday and after a further increase in electricity consumption due to colder weather conditions. Ukraine’s military expects another missile barrage from Russia targeting its energy infrastructure as early as this week.
Ukraine Wants to Secure Banking Operations (10:30 a.m.)
Ukrainian Central Bank Governor Andriy Pyshnyi and his deputies met with ambassadors from the G-7 and the EU to discuss the country’s financial sector, economic outlook and cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, according to an emailed statement.
“At the moment, one of the issues we are focused on is ensuring uninterrupted operation of banks,” Pyshnyi said, adding that there were “no systemic disruptions” in the system despite the intensity of Russian missile attacks.
Qatar to Supply Germany With LNG (10 a.m.)
Qatar will supply Germany with liquefied natural gas under a long-term deal that will go a small way to helping the European country replace piped flows from Russia.
State-owned Qatar Energy and ConocoPhillips have signed agreements that will see the Persian Gulf state send as much as 2 million tons of LNG a year to Germany from 2026. The deals will last at least 15 years, Qatar’s energy minister, Saad al Kaabi, told reporters in Doha alongside Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips’ chief executive offer.
Moldova Expects More Blackouts (9:45 a.m.)
The prospect of “massive Russian missile attacks” on Ukraine in coming days may again cause blackouts in Moldova, which already suffered extensive outages this month due to its interconnection with the Ukrainian grid, Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu said on Facebook.
Germany’s foreign ministry said ahead of the NATO meeting — which Moldova’s foreign minister will also take part in — that the “European family” will continue to support the government in Chisinau as it’s “directly affected and threatened by Russia’s war of aggression.”
Novak Warns of Risks for Commodities Markets (9:30 a.m.)
A plan by Western nations to introduce a price cap on Russian oil may result in significant risks for commodities markets, Deputy Premier Alexander Novak said at the Russia-China Energy Business Forum in Moscow, according to Tass.
“The latest restrictions, decisions on introducing price caps, all these actions are bringing about huge risks for the industry, provoking energy and investment deficits, not only in oil,” Tass quoted Novak as saying. Russia won’t supply oil to any countries observing the price cap, even if it would be profitable to do so, Novak said.
Putin Ally Kudrin Leaves State Job (9 a.m.)
Alexei Kudrin, a longtime Putin ally, said he is stepping down as head of the Audit Chamber, a government watchdog. Kudrin is poised to take a senior role at Yandex, a top Russian technology company that plans a restructuring amid sanctions imposed on its founder over the war.
Kudrin didn’t confirm the new job in his Telegram post, saying only that it will be connected to a “private initiative.” Putin formally asked the upper house of parliament to remove Kudrin from the Audit Chamber post Tuesday, RIA reported.
Ukraine Asks USAID to Help with Gas Purchases (9 a.m.)
The head of Ukraine’s state-run energy company NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy asked international development agency USAID for help with buying additional volumes of gas for the winter.
Russian shelling has damaged 450 kilometers (280 miles) of gas pipelines and Ukraine has an “urgent need” to boost storage, Naftogaz CEO Oleksiy Chernyshov said after talks with USAID Assistant Administrator Erin McKee. They also discussed providing additional equipment, including compressors and generators.
Zelenskiy Says Grain Drive Exceeds $180 Million (8:30 a.m.)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said an international initiative backed by NATO and the United Nations to get grain to some of the world’s poorest countries in Africa has amassed more than $180 million since it was launched at the weekend.
“This is already one of the historically largest Ukrainian humanitarian initiatives,” Zelenskiy said late Monday in his evening address. “And it will be even bigger.”