The Russia-Ukraine War: Latest News And Updates – The Wall Street Journal

Tracers are seen in the night sky as Ukrainian servicemen fire on a drone in Kyiv on Monday.GLEB GARANICH/REUTERS
Tsingshan Holding Group, a large nickel producer, effectively had made a big wager against the price of the metal.Qilai Shen/Bloomberg News

The London Metal Exchange said trading in nickel contracts would resume on Wednesday, a week after trading was halted following large wrong-way trades by a metal producer in China.

Trading was halted March 8, the first time the LME suspended a market since 1985. Tsingshan Holding Group Co. Ltd., a large producer, effectively had made a big wager against the price of nickel. It faced large losses when prices for the metal, used in stainless steel and batteries, surged in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The company said Monday that it and some large banks would continue discussing a settlement of the sums Tsingshan owes the banks for placing those trades, and that the banks had agreed not to close out positions they hold against the company or take certain other measures in the meantime.

The LME will also apply daily price limits for all base metals except nickel, effective Tuesday. Deliveries on nickel contracts entered into before Wednesday and due for delivery between March 16 and 22 will be deferred to March 23.

Correction: The London Metal Exchange said trading in nickel contracts would resume on Wednesday. An earlier version of this post incorrectly called it the London Market Exchange.

An oil field in Cabimas, Venezuela.Henry Chirinos/Shutterstock

The Biden administration isn’t in active discussions with Venezuela about importing oil from the country into the U.S., the White House said on Monday.

“It’s not an active conversation at this time,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday.

Senior U.S. officials traveled to Caracas earlier this month for rare talks with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro’s government.

U.S. officials have discussed easing oil sanctions on Venezuela as part of a broader strategy to temper oil prices that have surged amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal previously reported. Venezuela released two Americans from prison shortly after the diplomatic talks with the U.S.

The prospect of easing sanctions to import Venezuelan oil was met with bipartisan condemnation in the U.S., as well as from Venezuela’s U.S.-backed opposition.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, center, attending a cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem on Monday.Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Tel Aviv–Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett continued his mediation efforts Monday night between Russia and Ukraine, speaking with the leaders of both nations.

Israel has strong ties with both Kyiv and Moscow and has so far unsuccessfully tried to act as a peace broker between the two sides.

In a phone conversation that lasted an hour and a half, Mr. Bennett spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding ceasefire negotiations and Israel’s humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, according to a senior Israeli official. The call followed a decision earlier Monday by Israel’s government to set up a field hospital in Western Ukraine to provide humanitarian assistance.

According to a statement from the Kremlin, Mr. Bennett briefed Mr. Putin regarding his discussions with other heads of state, while Mr. Putin criticized actions taken by the Ukrainian military.

The talk between Messrs. Bennett and Putin followed the Israeli Prime Minister’s discussion Saturday night with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the senior Israeli official said.

Mr. Zelensky tweeted he spoke later Monday night with Mr. Bennett, as well as the president of Poland and prime minister of Luxembourg, regarding “joint steps and steps of our partners against the background of Russian aggression.”

Mr. Bennett’s office didn’t release an official readout of either call.

The Israeli prime minister has spoken several times to the Russian and Ukrainian leaders and has traveled to Moscow and Berlin as part of his mediation efforts.

While Ukrainian officials have expressed dismay over Israel’s refusal to supply it with weapons, on Monday, Ukraine national security adviser Andriy Yermak praised Israel’s mediation efforts.

“Israel undertook the difficult but noble mission of mediating the search for peace and ending Russia’s aggression,” Mr. Yermak tweeted. He added that there is an intense dialogue with Israel on humanitarian issues.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan last month.LEAH MILLIS/REUTERS

WASHINGTON–National security adviser Jake Sullivan pressed a top Chinese official over China’s alignment with Russia during what U.S. officials said was an intense, seven-hour meeting that included discussion of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Administration officials declined to discuss any outcomes of Monday’s meeting in Rome, which came after U.S. officials said Sunday that Russia had approached China for economic and military assistance in its war inside Ukraine.

“There’s a lot of gravity in this moment and I think the conversation reflected the intensity of that,” a senior U.S. official said about Mr. Sullivan’s meeting with Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign-affairs official.

“We do have deep concerns about China’s alignment with Russia at this time, and the national security adviser was direct about those concerns and the potential implications and consequences of certain actions,” the official said.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki underscored that message, suggesting the U.S. would take action against China should it help Russia. “We’ve been clear there would be consequences,” she said at a White House briefing.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have drawn Russian-Chinese relations closer than at any time since the Sino-Soviet bloc of the 1950s, with broad-ranging cooperation aimed at countering U.S. power. Beijing has declined to criticize Moscow directly over its war on Ukraine and has accused the U.S. for exacerbating tensions and leveling economic sanctions.

The Sullivan-Yang meeting had been long planned as a follow-up to President Biden’s November video conversation with Mr. Xi but the focus shifted heavily to Russia and Ukraine, officials said.

“Mr. Sullivan raised a range of issues in U.S.-China relations, with substantial discussion of Russia’s war against Ukraine,” according to a White House readout. “They also underscored the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between the United States and China.”

Members of the Chinese delegation leave a Rome hotel on Monday.REMO CASILLI/REUTERS
Allianz offices in Paris.Nathan Laine/Bloomberg News

Allianz SE said Monday that it won’t insure new business or make new investments in its own investment portfolio in Russia.

The German insurer and asset manager is no longer underwriting new insurance business in Russia and is “decisively” reducing its exposure to Russia “in an orderly manner,” a spokeswoman said. Allianz is also making no new investments in Russia or Belarus on behalf of its policyholders, the spokeswoman said.

The news comes amid a number of financial companies distancing themselves from Russia amid the war in Ukraine. Zurich-based reinsurer Swiss Re said Monday that it would halt new business in Russia and review current business relationships in Russia and Belarus.

Allianz said its operations in Russia and Ukraine represented less than 0.2% of both group revenues and operating profit in 2021. Its overall investment exposure to Russia and Ukraine is around 0.3% of group investment portfolio of €808.5 billion, the Munich-based company said.

Allianz froze its existing portfolio in Russia and Belarus prior to the invasion and won’t invest in either country going forward, the spokeswoman said. The insurer, Europe’s largest by total assets, previously said it had a number of insurance business lines in Russia. Allianz won’t make a decision about any write-offs in its business before the end of March, the spokeswoman said.

‘Starlink service is now active in Ukraine,’ Elon Musk tweeted in late February.Miguel Roberts/Associated Press

The app allowing people to access the satellite-based internet service provided by Elon Musk’s SpaceX is enjoying surging demand.

On Sunday, the software became the most downloaded app from the Apple App Store in Ukraine, and it remained in the top spot as of Monday afternoon, according to Sensor Tower, which tracks downloads.

The app also had the most installs globally in a single day on Sunday–about 21,000–across the App Store and Google Play, with most coming from Ukraine, the app-analytics firm said.

Starlink became available in the war-torn country in late February shortly after the Ukraine minister of digital transformation, Mykhailo Fedorov, tweeted to Mr. Musk, asking him to provide access. “Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals en route,” Mr. Musk responded on Twitter hours later.

Starlink enables video calls, online gaming, streaming and other high-data-rate activities, according to the service’s website. Users can expect to see download speeds between 100 megabytes and 200 megabytes a second, the provider says.

Global downloads of the Starlink app across the App Store and Google Play have more than tripled over the past two weeks, said Sensor Tower. Starlink has reached a total of 98,000 installs across Ukraine’s App Store and Google Play combined, the analytics firm said.

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Last Updated: Mar 14, 2022 at 6:19 pm ET

Full coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine