Russia-Ukraine talks resume; Red Cross unable to reach besieged Mariupol

Talks between Russia and Ukraine resumed on Friday, as fighting continued on Ukrainian soil.

Meanwhile, Russian state-owned energy giant Gazprom said it is still supplying Europe with natural gas, Reuters reported.

The report comes despite a Friday deadline from President Vladimir Putin that Russian gas be paid for in rubles — a demand that has been rejected by European governments who appear to have found a workaround.3 Hours Ago

Oil supplies, ammunition destroyed on Russian side of border

BELGOROD, RUSSIA - APRIL 1 : An image of damage after Regional Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov says that helicopters of the Ukrainian Army hit the oil refinery in Belgorod, Russia on April 1, 2022. (Photo by Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A massive fire burns at an oil depot in Belgorod, Russia, on Friday. The strike may have been carried out by Ukrainian helicopters attacking within Russian airspace.Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A fire destroyed several Russian oil tanks at a supply depot located within the country near the border with Ukraine, the U.K. Ministry of Defence confirmed on Friday night.

The ministry’s update follows the emergence of video purporting to show an aerial attack on the facility near the town of Belgorod. The Russian regional governor said Ukrainian helicopters carried out the attack.

CNBC is unable to confirm the governor’s claim. Ukrainian officials have not commented on the incident.

In a separate event on Wednesday, explosions were reported at an ammunition depot in the vicinity of Belgorod, which is less than 12 miles (20 km) north of the Ukrainian border.

“The probable loss of fuel and ammunition supplies from these depots will likely add additional short-term strain to Russia’s already stretched logistics chains,” the British ministry said, adding that supplies to Russian forces encircling Kharkiv “may be particularly affected.”

Belgorod is about 37 miles (60 km) from Kharkiv.

Just prior to Russia’s invasion, images from satellite firm Maxar Technologies appeared to show a Russian troop and equipment buildup in the vicinity of Belgorod.

—Ted Kemp5 Hours Ago

U.S. to provide additional $300 million in security assistance to Ukraine

The U.S. Department of Defense will provide an additional $300 million in security assistance to Ukraine, to include laser-guided rocket systems, drones, and commercial satellite imagery services.

“This announcement represents the beginning of a contracting process to provide new capabilities to Ukraine’s Armed Forces,” Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.

Reuters8 Hours Ago

Team trying to aid Mariupol was unable to reach the city, Red Cross says

The International Committee of the Red Cross said a team intending to help people leave the besieged city of Mariupol was unable to reach the port city on Friday.

The Red Cross said in a statement that the team hopes to try again Saturday.

“Arrangements and conditions made it impossible” for the convoy of three vehicles to get safely to Mariupol and they returned to Zaporizhzhia, it said.

“For the operation to succeed, it is critical that the parties respect the agreements and provide the necessary conditions and security guarantees,” the organization said.

— Associated Press10 Hours Ago

U.S. task force on Russian oligarchs sees evidence of sanctions evasion

The U.S. Department of Justice task force targeting assets of Russian oligarchs has seen evidence of attempts to evade those sanctions or move assets in anticipation of possible sanctions, the unit’s chief said on Friday.

Andrew Adams, a veteran prosecutor tapped to lead the department’s new “KleptoCapture” force last month, told Reuters in an interview that the level of cooperation between countries on probes into oligarchs’ ill-gotten gains had reached an “all-time high” in the wake of Russia’s assault on Ukraine —potentially helping prosecutors track down their efforts to hide wealth.

“There are efforts afoot – some of them publicly reported – to move, for example, moveable property in the forms of yachts, airplanes … into jurisdictions where, I think, people have the perception that it would be more difficult to investigate and more difficult to freeze,” Adams said.

The task force’s goal is to put the finances of Russian oligarchs under strain in a bid to pressure President Vladimir Putin to cease attacking Ukraine.

— Reuters

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