Economically:

Russia and Europe:

  • OBI, a large German DIY franchise that operates throughout Europe, sells all its stores in Russia. These stores have been transferred to the ownership of Boris Lyuboshits, and will continue to operate without the trademark.
  • SAS has left the Russian market and fired all 300 of its employees there. If you weren’t aware, because I wasn’t, SAS is the largest privately held software business in the world and its products are used in most Fortune 500 companies.
  • Belarus limits the export of flour, sugar, salt and other products.
  • The Swiss-Dutch oil trading company Vitol Group plans to abandon the trade in Russian oil by the end of this year.
  • Russia says that supplies exist for medicines and drugs for the next 8-12 months.
  • Airbus is looking for buyers for Aeroflot planes once destined to be sold to Russia.
  • Pepe Escobar on Europe’s economic suicide. He was recently banned from Twitter, like RWA and Scott Ritter.
  • Putin: “The implementation of projects in the Russian Arctic must not be postponed because of sanctions; on the contrary, their implementation rate must be increased”
  • “The restructuring of the Russian economy will take many years”, predicts the head of the Accounting Chamber of the Russian Federation Alexei Kudrin. He says that inflation in Russia may be in the range from 17% to 20% this year.
  • The UK stops the import of Russian iron and steel, as well as high-tech materials.
  • Britain’s inflation rate climbed to 7 percent, the highest in 30 years, with the tightest squeeze on household budgets forecast since records began in 1956.
  • Sweeping majority of foreign firms want to stay in Russia, says First Deputy PM Belousov
  • Russia will not nationalize foreign firms' assets

Elsewhere:

  • Afghanistan farmers begin destroying fields of poppies.
  • China’s trade with Belt and Road countries increased by 16% this year.
  • Bloomberg: U.S. Natural Gas Closes at 13-Year High With Inventories Falling. The cold weather isn’t helping.
  • Indian oil refinery Nayada Energy has been sanctioned. 49% of its shares belong to Rosneft, in Russia. Indian bank HDFC and some other foreign banks have stopped giving trade credit for oil imports to Nayara.
  • Huawei cautiously suspends some Russian activities.
  • AP writes an article about fertilizer shortages, with many farmers complaining about how it will be impossible for them to survive if buying fertilizer wipes out any money they make from eventually harvesting.
  • Reuters reporting that Indian Oil Corp (IOC) is no longer buying Russian crude oil. However, they did buy it from Russia twice previously during the invasion already, and IOC is also saying they aren’t buying crude from US sources either, as it wants sweet oil rather than sour. So I think this is a nothingburger that was just badly timed with Biden saying that it wasn’t in India’s interest to buy Russian oil. Put a pin in this, regardless.
  • The trade turnover between Russia and China in January — March increased by 28.7%.
  • China’s top offshore oil and gas producer is preparing to exit the UK, US, and Canada due to fear of western sanctions.
  • Nakedcapitalism: Overheating Conditions Indicate High Probability of a US Recession: Since 1955, there has never been a quarter with average inflation above 4% and unemployment below 5% that was not followed by a recession within the next two years.
  • China Port Congestion Strands Ship Cargos From Grains to Metals
  • A new Texas policy to have state officials inspect every truck entering from Mexico has prompted a massive protest among drivers, backing up cargo for miles and leaving loads of fruit, vegetables and other material sitting idle for days.
  • Germany, Hungary and Austria are against an immediate ban on Russian gas supplies to Europe.

Diplomatically and Politically:

In/between Ukraine/Russia:

  • Russian telegram speculates that the capture of Viktor Medvedchuk, the opposition leader to Zelensky, was timed to distract from the situation in Mariupol, and that it is unlikely he will be killed in captivity as it would be too toxic even for western media (I disagree on that last point).
  • Medvedev: “Certain freaks calling themselves the ‘Ukrainian authorities’ report that they want to beat a statement out of Viktor Medvedchuk, then convict him ‘quickly and fairly,’ and then exchange him for prisoners. These figures should look around carefully and lock their doors tightly at night, lest they themselves end up among those to be exchanged.”
  • Ukraine offers the opposition leader in exchange for Ukrainian POWs; Russia is basically like ‘Uhhh… he’s not even our guy…? You can keep him.’
  • The Russian Federation Council supports a law on the introduction of fines for identifying the USSR with Nazi Germany or denying the decisive role of the Soviet people in its defeat. Up to 2000 rubles (~25 dollars) or up to 15 days of administrative arrest for citizens, all the way up to 50,000 rubles (~600 dollars) for legal entities. Repeated offenses carry more severe fines.

Elsewhere:

  • The Pentagon cannot confirm reports of the use of chemicals in Mariupol, says a Pentagon representative. lol. lmao
  • Chinese Foreign Minister: “By hyping “space threat from China and Russia, the US is making excuses to develop its own military capabilities and seek hegemony in space. China advocates peaceful use of outer space and opposes weaponisation and arms race in outer space”
  • Sweden and Finland will have a discussion with NATO about the details of joining it, tomorrow. Sweden is applying for NATO membership according to Swedish media. Reminder that Russia is moving military equipment to their border with Finland…
  • Kyrgyzstan reports that the situation on their border with Tajikistan is now stable.
  • In Moldova, more than 70% of citizens approve of the decision not to impose sanctions against Russia.
  • Russia and Belarus build joint satellite group.
  • The UN refugee agency has called on the UK government to intervene to stop single British men from being matched up with lone Ukrainian women seeking refuge from war because of fears of sexual exploitation.
  • US military leader raises concerns about increasing Chinese influence in the Pacific, saying that the Solomon Islands may end up regretting the deal, and that the US needs to “show humility in its outreach to Pacific nations”.
  • Biden accuses Putin of genocide: “Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank, none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide half a world away,” My brother in christ, you put sanctions on Russia.
  • Ukraine refuses to invite Germany’s President Steinmeier to Kiev due to Germany’s unwillingness to cut off Russian banks or energy supplies.
  • The Pentagon looks to vastly expand weapons for Ukraine, though the exact details have not been revealed yet. However, Ukrainian officials met with the maker of Reaper and Predator drones.
  • Finland will decide whether to join NATO within weeks, says the government.
  • Sweden’s Prime Minister on joining NATO: “We need to consider it … We have to analyze the situation to see what’s best for the Swedish people. We are not going to rush into anything”. According to her, “there are risks and possibilities with all the different alternatives for action and all the different scenarios.”
  • Macron declines to join Biden in describing the actions of the Russian military in Ukraine as a genocide.
  • Le Pen says that France will withdraw from NATO if she’s elected, but that she doesn’t necessarily want to leave the EU, saying that she wants the EU to “evolve”.
  • Article on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline.
  • Biden must promote de-escalation, not talk about ‘genocide’ in Ukraine — Chinese diplomat
  • Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister offers to meet with protesters, but the protestors are unimpressed.
  • The European Space Agency (ESA) suspends cooperation with Russia.
  • Russia was suspended from participation in the Nuclear Energy Agency.
  • Latvia wants to break with Russia, but does not want to remain without electricity, and so is in a dilemma. There is a unified power grid with Russia in Latvia. An interconnector between Poland and Lithuania would solve the problem but is still under construction.
  • Massive protests continue in Pakistan in response to Khan being replaced with the opposition leader, and without even an election. Protestors are rightfully angry, seeing this as the US interfering in their country, and some are demanding a general election.

Militarily:

  • The Russian army found an AUV with liquid containers and sprayers abandoned by the Ukrainian army.
  • Russian missiles strike Mirgorod, west of Kharkiv, destroying infrastructure.
  • Footage of Chechen forces going through the underground, presumably in the factories. Throwing grenades around corners and such.
  • Russia confirms that 1,026 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered in Mariupol.
  • Strong explosions in Kharkiv and the region continue.
  • Ukraine reports a heavy battle near Polohy, northwest of Mariupol, and that the Ukrainian forces retreated. Defense Politics Asia has Polohy already captured by Russia and no longer on the front, so… old news or fog of war? Or a failed Ukrainian offensive?
  • Ukraine reports that Russia is ready for an offensive in Donetsk and Zaporozhye.
  • Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Russia considers U.S. and NATO vehicles carrying weapons to Ukraine as legitimate military targets … Attempts by the U.S. and Western countries to slow down the Russian special operation in Ukraine will be thwarted”
  • Canada trained some far-right forces in Ukraine.

Also:

  • Putin gives his thoughts on the isolation of the USSR vs today: “In 1961, the Soviet Union was in complete technological isolation, and the sanctions against it were overwhelming. Nevertheless, the Soviet Union became the first country to orbit an artificial earth satellite, the first man in space was a Soviet citizen, and the first space station was ours, and the first mission to the Moon was ours as well, if memory serves, the first spacewalk was made by our man, and the first woman in space was our Valentina Tereshkova, God bless her. We did all of that in conditions of complete technological isolation, and yet we made these incredible achievements.” He goes on to mention the success of Russia’s agriculture since 2014.
  • Communism too much food?! Critics accuse China of hoarding grain. Based Economist calling out the kulaks?!
  • Biden: “The two largest grain producers are China and… sorry, Ukraine and Russia,”