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Ukraine and Eastern Europe

Stories under this heading cover Ukraine and Eastern Europe. 

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G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

G7 explores ways to use frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine 

The G7 will explore ways to use future revenues from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine. Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the G7 and its allies froze around $300 billion in Russian assets. "We are making progress in our discussions on potential avenues to bring forward the extraordinary profits stemming from immobilized Russian sovereign assets to the benefit of Ukraine," the draft statement said. G7 negotiators have been discussing for weeks how best to use these assets, which include major currencies and government bonds held mainly in European vaults. The United States (US) has been urging its G7 partners - Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada - to support a loan that could provide Kyiv with up to $50 billion in the near term. The cautious language of the statement, lacking figures or specifics, underlines the many legal and technical issues that would need to be resolved before such a loan could be issued. A G7 source indicated that there would be no significant changes to the statement before the final version is released later on Saturday (25 May).

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Russian and Ukrainian losses as high as 10 to 1 on some days, says Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian losses as high as 10 to 1 on some days, says Ukraine

Writing on Telegram on Thursday (30 March), the Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar has said that Russian and Ukrainian losses in the east of Ukraine are as high as 10 to 1 on some days. This comes a few hours after the UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on Sky News that the total Russian number of dead and injured since 24 February 2022 could be as high as 220,000. "The Russian forces have some really significant and deep systemic problems at the moment in their efforts," Wallace said, adding the Russian military was making "almost no progress whatsoever." Meanwhile, the General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces claimed on 29 March that Russia had lost approximately 172,340 troops in Ukraine since the beginning of its full-scale invasion, including 610 casualties just over the past day. Although these numbers are all but impossible to verify, reports do suggest very high casualty numbers, especially on the Russian side. In other news, Ukraine's Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov has said that Ukraine's counteroffensive involving recent deliveries of Western tanks may begin in April or May, but cautioned that a lot depends on weather conditions.
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IMF reach staff-level agreement to give Ukraine $15.6bn loan

IMF reach staff-level agreement to give Ukraine $15.6bn loan

On Tuesday (21 March) the International Monetary Fund (IMF) located in Washington D.C. announced that it had reached a staff-level agreement with Ukraine for a 48-month financing package worth about $15.6 billion. The BBC also reports that it is the first loan that the organisation has granted to a country at war. In a statement, the IMF announced that the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) "aims to support the Ukrainian authorities anchor policies that sustain fiscal, external, price and financial stability, and support the ongoing gradual economic recovery, while promoting long-term growth in the context of post-war reconstruction and Ukraine’s path to EU accession". The agreement must however still be ratified by the IMF's board, and follows months of negotiations between IMF staff and Ukrainian authorities. The executive board of the IMF is expected to discuss approval in the coming weeks.
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Russian cruise missiles destroyed in explosion in Crimea

Russian cruise missiles destroyed in explosion in Crimea

Russian Kalibr cruise missiles have been destroyed in an explosion in the Crimean city of Dzhankoi late on Monday (20 March). According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, they were being transported by rail at the time of the explosion. As has become standard, Ukrainian authorities confirmed the explosions in Dzhankoi, located in the north of the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula, but they did not claim an attack. "The [explosions] continue the process of Russia's demilitarisation and prepares the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea for de-occupation," the Ukrainian Defence Ministry said in a statement. Sergei Aksenov, the head of Moscow-installed proxies in Crimea, said that Russian air defense had been working in Dzhankoi, saying that the wreckage injured one person and damaged a household and a shop. Meanwhile Igor Ivin, the head of the occupying administration in Dzhankoi, reported a drone attack. The Kalibr missiles which have reportedly been destroyed in the explosion are designed to be launched from surface ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
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UK Foreign Secretary visits Moldova and Georgia to pledge support against "Russian malign interference"

UK Foreign Secretary visits Moldova and Georgia to pledge support against "Russian malign interference"

The UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is on a two-day visit to Moldova and Georgia to announce new funding to "boost regional resilience against Russian malign interference". In a press release from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office issued on Thursday (16 March), the UK Government said they will "underline support for territorial integrity and sovereignty as part of work with Russia’s neighbours to deal with the threat on their doorstep.They added that funding will support governance reforms, fair elections, and anti-corruption programmes. First visiting the Moldovan capital of Chisinau on Thursday, Cleverly announced an extra £10 million (€11.4 million) to support economic and governance reforms in Moldova. This new pledge comes on top of £12 million already contributing to military reforms, and anti-corruption and transparency work in the country. Visiting the Georgian capital of Tbilisi one day later, on Friday (17 March), Cleverly announced a £500,000 package aimed at creating an environment for free and fair elections in 2024, protecting them from external interference.
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EU extends sanctions on Russia for another six months

EU extends sanctions on Russia for another six months

The European Council has announced that it will extend sanctions on Russia for another six months, until 15 September 2023. In a statement released on Monday (13 March), the Council announced: "The existing restrictive measures provide for travel restrictions for natural persons, the freezing of assets, and a ban on making funds or other economic resources available to the listed individuals and entities. Sanctions will continue to apply to 1,473 individuals and 205 entities, many of which are targeted in response to Russia’s ongoing unjustified and unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine."The statement continued: "After 24 February 2022, in response to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, the EU massively expanded sanctions against Russia with the aim of significantly weakening Russia's economic base, depriving it of critical technologies and markets, and significantly curtailing its ability to wage war."