10th package of EU sanctions, Russians blocking grain corridor, Budanov profile

16 February, 03:15 PM

Your slice of the top headlines in Ukraine. Daily. Thursday, February 16th, 2023.

•  The European Union’s tenth package of sanctions against Russia will contain trade bans and controls on technology exports, including of Iranian-made drones.

“Our 10th sanction package contains trade bans and controls on technology exports worth EUR 11 billion,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter. “Russia is using hundreds of Iranian-built drones. We propose to extend our export controls to Iranian entities.”

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•  The Russian Federation is blocking the operation of the humanitarian grain corridor through the Black Sea, Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba and Reconstruction and Development Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov.

Kuleba and Kubrakov highlighted that Russian representatives in the inspection groups and the coordination center in Istanbul have been delaying the inspection of ships passing through the Bosphorus strait to or from Ukrainian ports for several months in a row.

•  The European Union is preparing new sanctions against shipping company SUN Ship Management Ltd, which helps Moscow with illicit oil shipments circumventing EU’s restrictions on trade with Russia.

According to Politico, the company secretly hosted 92 ships of Russian state-owned company Sovcomflot in April 2022. It was done in order to organize the secret transportation of Russian oil in the event of future sanctions against Russia.

•  Greece has handed over a package of military aid to Ukraine, which includes 20 Soviet-era BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles and ammunition.

Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos also took part in the Conference of the Contact Group on Defense of Ukraine, which was organized at the initiative of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. During his speech, the minister stressed that the invasion of Ukraine is a flagrant violation of international law, which undermines peace, security, and stability in Europe.

•  The U.S. Army has signed contracts worth $522 million with companies that will manufacture artillery shells for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In particular, contracts were signed with defense firms Northrop Grumman Systems and Global Military Products, over fears that the Ukrainian military was depleting its stockpiles of artillery shells too quickly.

•  Yuriy Boyko, a Ukrainian MP from the outlawed Opposition Platform – For Life (OPZZh) party, may own several energy companies in Ukraine through offshore holdings.

An investigation by journalists from Bihus.Info revealed that although the lawmaker has no official business assets, and his wife owns only Kyiv’s Stolychna (Capital) Real Estate company, the Boyko family erected large houses in the villages of Ivankovychi and Hnidyn, as well as on the coast of the Kyiv Reservoir outside Kyiv itself, while the politician’s wife bought more than 50 hectares of land in Kyiv Oblast in 2020.

•  Ukraine reduced its nitrogen fertilizer production by 4.6 times in 2022, while tripling imports, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy said in a statement on the situation with fertilizers in Ukraine on Feb. 14.

In 2022, Ukraine produced 1.13 million tons of nitrogen fertilizers, which is 4.6 times less compared to 5.2 million tons in 2021, the ministry report states. At the same time, fertilizer imports increased by 3.1 times to 4.3 from 1.4 million tons.

•  The Swiss believe that the seizure of private Russian assets, stored in Swiss institutions, would contradict its constitution, the Swiss government said.

A working group tasked with the question came to the conclusion that "the expropriation of private assets of legal origin without compensation is unacceptable under Swiss law.” The confiscation of frozen private assets is "incompatible with the Federal Constitution and the current legal order and violates Switzerland's international obligations.”

•  The European Union has established an ad hoc working group to develop plans for the use of frozen and immobilized Russian assets to support rebuilding Ukraine.

“EU ambassadors today approved the establishment of an ad hoc working party on the use of frozen and immobilized Russian assets to support Ukraine’s reconstruction,” the the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU tweeted. As noted, the purpose of the working group is to address the use of frozen and immobilized Russian assets in line with EU and international law. It includes preparatory work on the legal, financial, economic, and political analysis of the feasibility of such use in close coordination with international partners.

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