Volodymyr Zelenskiy says fierce resistance has pressured Russian forces in Kyiv but Ukraine is preparing for strikes in other regions
Russia is building up its forces in eastern Ukraine in readiness for a new wave of attacks in the breakaway Donbas region, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy has claimed, despite the planned resumption of peace talks on Friday.
In an early morning video address on Thursday, Zelenskiy said that Russia’s announcement that it was pulling troops away from cities such as Kyiv and Chernihiv had been forced upon the Kremlin by the fierce resistance of Ukraine’s armed forces.
The Russian defence ministry announced a local ceasefire on Thursday to allow civilians to be evacuated from Ukraine’s besieged port city of Mariupol, according to Agence France-Presse. A humanitarian corridor from Mariupol to Zaporizhzhia, via the Russian-controlled port of Berdiansk, would be opened from 10am (7am GMT), it said.
The Biden administration is considering a plan to release roughly one million barrels of oil a day from US reserves for several months, in order to combat
rising fuel prices exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, according Bloomberg.
Germany has triggered the first stage of plans to ration power if the standoff with Russia over gas supplies and sanctions is not resolved. Moscow is demanding that payment for energy be made in roubles, but this could undercut western sanctions on Russia and countries are under pressure not to go along with the Kremlin’s plan.
The Russian rouble has recovered to its pre-war value despite western sanctions on the country’s exports and financial systems. The currency was trading at 75.5 to one US dollar on Thursday morning, compared with almost 140 at the beginning of March when it crashed with the onest of sanctions.
Zelenskiy was due to address Australian parliament on Thursday.
Global restrictions on exports of industrial components to Russia have hit car and tank production. A carmaker has shut down and tank production has halted, according to the US. Baikal Electronics, a Russian semiconductor company and computer manufacturer, has been cut off from integrated circuits to support its surveillance, servers, and other domestic communications equipment.
Liz Truss, Britain’s foreign secretary, is due to land in India on Thursday to urge Narendra Modi’s government to reduce its strategic dependency on Russia. Her arrival in New Delhi coincides with that of her sparring partner Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, who will be making his first visit since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Major jewellers including American brand Tiffany & Co, Swiss watch and jewellery-maker Chopard, Signet, the largest retailer of diamond jewellery, and Pandora, the world’s largest jeweller, have released statements saying they will stop buying diamonds of Russian origin.
The UK has announced new laws targeting the access of Russian oligarchs to “UK aviation and maritime technical services”, according to the Foreign Office.